I wish you could have seen...

... How I just spent my last 15 mintues.

I don't even know where to begin. I can't stop laughing.

Background story:
So one of my Haitian friends is deathly afraid of frogs. Earlier she found one in her cabin! Before she went to sleep tonight she insisted that we find it. We searched for it, but without any luck.

 Once we had kinda moved on I hear Alicia, the cook, who is a very expressive, funny individual exclaimed, "AIAH!!!!" She found it! I ran over to see. She ran outside to get the broom and I thought she was going to sweep it out the door. No. She was going to use the handle side to smash it!!! Immediately images of frog guts all over the place is in my head and I start yelling "pa mouri!" (Which actually translates to "Not dead!" but in my haste I disregaurded proper vocabulary. I think it got the point across to not kill the frog.)
... So the frog jumps under the icebox, and immediately Alicia and I start laughing. partly because its funny, and partly, on my end, manic-panicked laughter. This laughter continues until the end of the story.

For the next five minutes Alicia is laying on the floor trying to see under the icebox. I'm holding the broom and we are both laughing. Betty is screaming for Mervil or Jerome to come save the day. So the story ends up with me holding the broom, Mervil holding the flashlight and a leaf (I don't know why anyone would come armed to fight a frog with a leaf?), and Alica laying on the floor yelling, "M' we li! M' we LI!!!" (I see it! I see IT!!!). I almost peed my pants at least 3 times, either because I was laughing so hard, or because the frog jumped out in my face at one point. We finally see it and Mervil sqashes it. I hear *Gleck, squiat, melgh* so. Gross.... but we were all still laughing.

We thanked Mervil for saving the day and cleaning up the frog guts with the leaf, and reported to our friend that the frog was terminated. I'm still giggling thinking about how funny it was. I can't exactly describe it all because it was in another language, but it was hysterical.

Funny things happen in Haiti.


Baby Steps of Victory

I sat down to interview these two beautiful girls from the village a few nights ago to write these peices for something that Betty and Gersan needed. They were both counselors at camp a few weeks ago. Their stories are a testament to the freedom that comes through Christ. Please be praying for them and for the rest of the village. While these girls have incredible stories they still have a long way to go. Living here is so much different than living in North America with all the biblical resources and bible studies and solid churches with good foundations. Churches with good, biblical foundations are few and far between here. Pastors with good, biblical foundations are very rare. Bible studies for new believers are non-existent in this area. Church is based a lot on appearances and not real biblical life.

The longer I am in this area the more I see the needs. I have pages and pages, and many thoughts for things that need to happen here. Things that could set these people free. Even the ones that are "free" from hell and know Christ as their Savior are enslaved to SO many sins. I am not saying this as if I am not a sinner, or as if christians in America are perfect. I AM a sinner. American christians are NOT perfect. But we do have resources. We have people to disciple and teach us. We have solid churches to plug into. We have support groups to encourage us.

These people don't. Pray for this village. It is so very broken.

But there are baby steps of victory being made every day. Here are two examples.

Sandrine Pierre is a gorgeous girl that lives in the village of Ti Guinea. She grew up being involved in the voodoo ceremonies that her dad, a voodoo priest held in his temples. When the church in Ti Guinea started she could hear the singing from the services and always wanted to attend. She started coming to church because she loved the singing so much. She told me that while she was there she heard that Christ came for her, died for her and wanted to wash her sins away, and she accepted that gift. When her dad found out what she had done he rejected her and refused to acknowledge that he knew her. He doesn’t talk to her or pay for anything and he tells people that he only has four children, not five. He told her that he hopes her new friends at the church will take care of her because he isn’t going to support her anymore. After a while her mom came to church and accepted Christ also, and recently her brothers and sisters started attending church as well. Her dad has realized that it is inevitable that they will come to church, but he as forbidden any of them to accept Christ. We are encouraged by Sandrine and her mother’s story and hope and pray for the rest of her family, including her father to see, and accept Christ as the Lord of their lives.
Blemise Colas sat down with me tonight to tell me about how her life has been changed because of Christ. Blemise is in 9th grade, 22 years old and one of 7 children. She lives in the village of Ti Guinea, Haiti, where Jacob’s Well Camp is located. Blemise told us that she did not grow up in a Christian home, in fact, her father is a voodoo priest. When she was a little girl she used to go and watch the voodoo ceremonies as her father preformed them. She began to live a life full of worldly things, got involved with men, and some other bad situations. Blemise became interested in church and would have her friends tell her where the churches met, but she was very sad because she didn’t have anything to wear to church. In this culture it is important for people to dress up in dresses and skirts for church, and keeping  up appearances is very important. Eventually one of her gave her some clothes that she felt would be appropriate for church, and that is when she started attending church and accepted Christ. She wants more than anything for her family to accept Christ too, and prays constantly for their salvation. She even told us that some of her friends think she will go crazy because she is praying and talking to Jesus all the time. Her brother started coming to church not long ago because he was sick and demon possessed. He accepted Christ, but is now walking away. She prays often for the salvation of the others in the family. Her father, the voodoo priest is glad that she has been attending church because then she will not be under the bondage of slavery to the devil that he is. He has tried to resist the demons before and they possessed him and caused him to walk all the way from our village, Ti Guinea, to Port Au Prince. He is fearful of the power that the demons have, and we, along with blemise are praying that he will come to realize that Christ is ALL powerful and can set him free from the chains of darkness and sin that he lives in.


Remember when I thought I lost a picture that I loved? I didn't!
Meet Jessica, 100% cutie.

Also, apparently I can load pictures. I just have to begin the process and then walk away for an hour or 4 and it will evenutally load! Yay!


10 on Tuesday

So I have this friend, and she lives in Africa with her new husband. She has this great blog. You should check it out here. Point being, she does this cool thing called the 10 on 10, where on the 10th day of each month she posts 10 pictures to document her day. That way people back home will have an idea of what a 'normal' day in Africa looks like for Katy.

As soon as I saw Katy's 10 on 10 I decided I wanted to do it on my blog. But there are a few problems.
#1. I am only going to be in Haiti for 5 months therefore only giving me five 10 on 10s. So I decided to call it 10 on Tuesday and do it that way, which will give me an excuse to load lots of pictures once a week. Sounds like a great idea right? Well....

Problem #2 is that the internet that I have here is not very good. It is too slow to add pictures. AND I won't have it for a few more weeks which will cause me to miss a few more Tuesdays.

So I have decided to draw word pictures for the next couple of 10 on Tuesdays and you can imagine what things are like here until I get better internet.

Here goes my first official 10 on Tuesday - word edition

  1. eating a pb&j Sandwich for breakfast
  2. Walking down the road from camp to the clinic (which meets at the school/church building. I'm planning on posting a photo tour as soon as I get good internet.) There is a house at the corner that has somewhere between 7 and 12 kids and when I walk by they all shout "Noelle! Noelle! Noelle!" Its so adorable. The snapshot of the house this morning would look something like this: one kid totally naked and soaped up for his bath. One kid standing dripping wet in the bucket taking a bath, one kid with just his shirt on playing in the dirt. one little girl sorting the charcoal into piles in the yard, and other miscellaneous children peeking around trees or playing in the yard.
  3. counting tablets of high blood pressure medicine in the pharmacy
  4. getting distracted by the baby that totally needed me to hold her for an hour. So adorable.
  5. missing getting peed on by the baby. (I put her down for less than 4 minutes and when I went back to get her.... pee. streaming down her legs.... at least it wasn't on my shirt. No diapers here.)
  6. going on a walk with Gersan to look at his new land that was purchased last week. He showed me the mahogany, bannana, mango, coconut, and oak trees that are on it. Also showed me where the future road will be and where the future permanent residences will be located.
  7. Road trip to Cap Haitian to take Gersan to the airport.
  8. Grocery store trip. The grocery store was the size of a gas station, And I'm not talking buc-ees. I have no idea how they got everything to fit in there.
  9. Dinner and hanging out in the kitchen with Betty, Boss Varis, Alicia, Jerome, and Danger, our driver... Our driver's name is danger... sounds safe?
  10. Ending the day sitting in my cabin on skype and blogging.
And these are small wordy snapshots of my day.
They say a picture says a thousand words... Too bad I don't have picture capabilities.

P.S. I have the beginning of about 4 blogs in my head. There are a lot of neat things happening in this village! Keep the prayers coming!


Lazy Sunday

As I sit here on a lazy Sunday I can't help but be terribly thankful for what I have and for being blessed with the opportunity of being here. I missed church this morning because I was a little under the weather, but I sat on my porch and spent some time with my Savior. I listened to the sound of singing in the church nearby and I heard the little boys that live next door singing as well... guess they didn't go to church either. Tonight I am sitting on the porch once again and can hear singing in the distance. Haitians sing so beautifully, its such a priveledge to live here and be able to hear them praise our God.

Today was a true day of rest. Much needed may I add. There has been a team of 7 from Minnesota here and they have been running a little clinic in the village. So far they have seen 300 patients and treated many for worms, infections, blood pressure, stomach problems, skin infections, and generalized pain. The people in this village need so much and it has been so great to see them improve even over the past few days. There was one girl with a horrible fungal skin condition. I had seen her for the past few weeks and couldn't tell what was going on with her. Her skin just looked dirty and had white flakes on her face and hair and there was always a swarm of gnats around her head. The kids in the village were not mean to her, but they didn't seem like they wanted her too close either. We gave her some anti-fungal cream and I saw her this afternoon. She looks 100 times better and happy!! Its such a blessing to see what a little bit of cream will do and how that can change the life of a little girl, who is about to have enough problems as she hits the awkward stage that hits all kids like a freight train and all adults look back at and laugh awkwardly. I hope for her this skin condition is gone for good and she can live the carefree childhood that she deserves.

It has been such a joy and a pleasure to work with this team. They are all very experienced nurses and one is a PA, who is functioning as our, very capable doctor. We held clinic Tuesday-Saturday and today was our day of rest. We will continue to do clinics Monday through Wednesday and the team will leave to head back to the -30 degree weather that is in Minnesota.

So I'm thankful for the opportunity that I have been given to live here and see these people's lives change. I'm glad that I will be here to see the patients improve and continue to grow. Its been such a blessing over the last few years to see the village grow and change and see my friends get older.

So on this lazy sunday afternoon I've done a lot of thinking. I feel as if I have been here for a long time, but at the same time not. I feel like I have so many things to do and I'm leaving so soon, but I'm really not. I decided not to be stressed, or even really think about the amount of time I'll have here, but sit, enjoy the singing going on around me, and be thankful for the time I have here!


Who told boys...

That they need to stop being adorable?

I was watching my friends Kenzi and Devon play today. They are the most adorable little boys ever. They are about 4 years old and I watched them walk up holding hands and chatting and laughing. Then, just for fun gave each other piggy back rides, and then came to watch us in the clinic. As they stood there, they had their arms around each others shoulders leaning on one another and discussed what they saw. Super adorable.

Then when it was time for me to leave they walked with me ALL the way home. Each holding a hand of mine and jibber jabbering all the time. I was thinking about how much I wanted them to stay that way forever. I know sometime soon people will tell them that they should be tough and fight and not be adorable. But I wish they wouldn't.

... I promise I'm going to post a real update soon! Thank you all for praying for me. Keep them coming!


"This is Haiti"

Ok. Now it feels real. I don't think I really believed that I was actually staying here when the team all went home. I mean, I told the kids that I would be back Sunday, but it didn't feel real. Now it does. I said goodbye to my last pieces of America about 6 hours ago. I hugged everyone once, then once again. Then one last time, I hugged a teary-eyed little sister and as they were all leaving I kinda wanted to scream out, "Wait!! Take me with you!!" It feels real now. I wiped silent tears from my eyes as we drove home from the airport. I'm not sure why the tears were there, but they were... There are so many reasons. I laughed and told Betty that I didn't expect to cry and I was suprised that Hope cried and she said, "Well. This IS Haiti."

I couldn't help but smile knowing that was true. Of all the tears I've cried in the last year, 99% of them were for this country. Sadness and grieving over the quake. Missing my Haitian people. Joy for them when I heard good news. Rejoicing with tears over lives saved from death and darkness. Hopeful tears when I see the changes in my village and thankful tears when I see my kiddos singing praises to our Savior.

So, this IS Haiti- TIH.
Haiti has a way of opening your eyes. Shaking you up. Messing with your heart.

...And making you want nothing more than to live in a village and have your name pronouced wrong  forever(NOwaa or nOelle) because that means you can hold the hands of your little black babies and kiss them and hug them again and again and tell them over and over that you love them and that they are special.

I wish with all my heart I had a picture to put up to illustrate what I'm feeling, but I either misplaced my camera or it got relocated by one of the locals and I lost my pictures from last week... I'll be sure to take another one, but I'll describe the specific picture I want you to see.

One of my babies... she's nine years old, but is about the size of an American 4 year old. Missing one of her front teeth and waiting for a grown up tooth to replace it. Poofy pigtails in her hair with bows at the end. Brown striped shirt. You can tell she is going to be BEAUTIFUL when she grows up. We are talking. She is holding my hands and touching my hair and face like I'm some kind of novelty... (which I guess I am because not only am I white... I am SUPER white... like almost clear! But that's beside the point.) She kisses my forehead and tells me she loves me. I wanted to cry right there but instead I gave her a huge hug and told her I loved her back. Later I get my camera to get a picture with her. First picture, no smile. Typical for Haitian kids. Second picture, I tell her to smile and get the tiniest smile you've ever seen. Third picture, I say, "Big big big smile!" I get the most adorabe, one-tooth-missing smile you've ever seen as I hold her on my hip and she has a death grip on my neck. Jessica is why I'm here.

I want to just love these children forever. Spend time with them. Kids are so easy to talk to. I don't have to worry about my grammar, or sentence structure, or even vocab because they are so happy to be touched and held.

I love my babies. And I can not wait to see them tomorrow when I get back to Ti Guinea!
I don't know what I will do with my life or where I will be in 20 years, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what I was created to do from now until May.

Love God's Children. This is Haiti. This is why I'm here.


Catch up

So I last updated when I was leaving Port au prince. We were headed out on a 6 hour tour of the country. Our drive from PAP to Limbe was actually enjoyable for the most part. We basically drove the entire east coast and through the mountains in the north. Very pretty country! We were in the back of a flat bed truck with walls on it and spent most of the time standing up because it hurt too much to be bounced around through the bumps. We drove out Road 1 through PAP to Xaragua. We drove past Global Outreach, and I saw the clinic that I worked in, and pointed out the flour mill that exploded and the building I was in when the quake hit. Thankfully no bad memories or flashbacks bothered me. God is so faithful. I can't believe I am emotionally where I am today after the issues I struggled so deeply with for a large part of this year.

We got to camp later than expected (our 6 hour drive turned into 7)... did I mention PAP and Limbe are actually only 80 miles apart as the crow flies? They are about 235kilometers apart on the road... which means absolutely nothing to me. Anyway, we got to camp and I barely recognized anything. Really, to be honest, the only thing I recognized that night was my three friends that had already been living there. Everything has changed so much. There are buildings everywhere, its crazy! And there is beautiful landscaping everywhere! I can't wait to have time to take my camera around the camp and village and post a complete photo tour. Its great! I found out that the girl who will be living with me is not just in charge of mango trees, but also coffee trees coconuts, bananas, coco, and flowers! A friend of mine gave me seeds for cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peppers, and all kinds of other stuff and Guerline, my roommate was so happy when I gave them to her!

Its been so fun to be here. I've panicked only a once about being left here, but quickly got over it. My biggest problem is that I'm a 5 year old and I'm scared to death of the dark... and it does get pretty dark here! But I think its going to be ok. We shall see. I talked with Betty yesterday and she told me that on Friday I'll be driving back to PAP with the team and then returning to camp on Sunday with Gersan to meet the medical team from Minnesota. And then I think that Betty and Gersan are going to take a week or so off from life in PAP and come stay here with me for a week before leaving me here with Guerline. She speaks not a WORD of english, so its all me and my kreyol but hopefully my kreyol will be pretty good after that... we shall see.

I've really enjoyed being with the kiddos as well. I've met a decent amount of new ones and gotten to talk with the old friends. I love seeing their faces when I talk to them and they look at me in shock and say, "Ou pale Kreyol!?!?!?" (you speak kreyol.) Its the best. I can't wait to post pictures, but my internet is unbearably slow, so bear with me in posting pictures!

Please be praying for Haiti tomorrow as it is the anniversary of the earthquake. I'm thankful that I am here in Haiti, but also thankful that I am in Limbe and not PAP. Sometimes those two areas feel like different worlds entirely. God has been so faithful to all those in PAP and even though the families in Little Guinea haven't been through an earthquake, they are still living in poverty. Pray that their eyes will be opened to see the bright and shining hope that Christ brings! Tomorrow is the second day of camp and we will share the gospel completely again. Pray that it is recieved well.

Anyway, sorry for being scatterbrained. Thanks for bearing with me until life slows down a little bit. I'll get in a groove soon, I promise!


Here in Haiti!

I wrote this randomly throughout the day... sorry for the changes in time. I don't have enough time to go back and re-do it. So here are my thoughts all throughout the day :)

Well here I am on the plane! I can't wait to get back to Haiti and hear everyone around me speaking Kreyol and smell the smells and everything!

A week or so before I leave I usually go through a period of "OH my goodness! What am I thinking!? I can't do this. I can't go on this trip. or I can't LIVE THERE ALONE!!!" I went through that for a little while, but for about a week now I've been at the point where I am just ready to go. Usually the night before I leave I can't sleep, but I got a good night's rest. Thankfully because we had to get up at 2:45 to catch our plane!

I'm going to recap my last few days in Texas and all the things that made me thing "oh I should write about that!"

On Monday night we had a few close friends of my family over to my house to pray for me and send me off. I can't even express how glad I am that we did this! I almost decided not to because I didn't want to have to get up in front of people and talk and be the center of attention, but I really appreciated the prayers that my dear friends offered up to the heavens for me! Some prayed for exactly what my fears in my heart are, and some prayed for things that needed to be prayed for that I hadn't even realized until they were praying blessings over them. It was suh a blessing to be surrounded by those who love me and to be thouroghly praye d for! My only regret is that we didn't get pictures of everyone.

Tuesday afternoon the group from Frontier camp of 16 people came over to my house to pack our things. We have a capacity to check 1,600 lbs of luggage and I thinkg we packed everything that we needed and had room to spare! And I'm happy to report that I fit everything I will be using personally for the next 4 months in one carry on, one large "personnal item" backpack, and one checked bacg. Minus all the granola bars I am bringing for breakfast. Ever wonder what 4 months worth of breakfast looks like? I'll take a picture later and show you! My mom graciously offered our home to let everyone sleep after we packed, and I ate a delicious last American meal of taco soup. The weather decided to open up and pour buckets of rain, so my dad, being the genius that he is offered to pack everything in the horse trailer instead of trying to cover the truck bed with a tarp. That was a sight to see. I'm sure the security guards at the airport thought we were crazy by bringing horses to the airport... It didn't help that we would talk through the windows to our pretend horses to make them think we were actually bringing horses to check at the airport. I'm sure they got a good laugh when they saw us getting our 40 something bags out of the trailer.

Let me tell you... Getting 16 people and all of our things checked into the airport is no small feat! But we did it. I'm currently sitting on a plane looking out oer the wing and watching the sun rise over the clouds that look like a wavy ocean of white, red, orange, and purple while sipping my last starbucks until the summer. I had to indulge :)

We had a 50 minute layover in Miami,then we should arrive in Port Au Prince around noonish!turns out our layover was really only long enough to get our stuff off one plane and run onto the other one. (I realized as I was boarding the flight to PAP that I left my Nalgene bottle and a neat carabiener in the other plane... :( Good thing I brought a backup. TIH)

This will be the first time I have been back to Haiti and in Port Au Prince since the EQ. I'm honestly feeling good and excited about being back. The Lord has been so faithful in healing my heart and I know this is going to continue the healing process. It may be hard for me to see though, as I'm sure things have changed since I was last in the city!! I'm praying that I will not have any flashbacks or nightmares this evening, and especially, that there will not be any tremors. I know its geologically possible for tremors to continue to occur, and I don't think I'd handle that well. I mean. In all things God is faithful, but It would be great if all things were smooth sailing!

We are spending the night at the Valcins house and will wake up bright and early to hop in the back of an open truck and drive 6 hours over the mountains and through the woods to the campsite in Ti Guinea. That is assuming that we don't have any car trouble or other unforseen issues. Which would be awesome, but I've been in Haiti enough to know the phrase "TIH- This is Haiti." That gets said more often than not when things pop up and suprise you and change all the plans you have. Hopefully we won't have TIH moments today or tomorrow, but we'll see!

So I should arrive in Ti Guinea on Thursday night, then I will get to hopefully meet my roommate and see where I will be living and get re-aquainted with camp since all the changes have occured. After that I will hopefully get my internet set up and be able to update.

Its 3am

And I'm getting on a plane bound for Miami!!

By this afternoon I'll be in Haiti!

I'll update as soon as possible!

Pray that we are safe and that my internet works once I get there!!


Praise Christ!!

I just got this note from Gersan, the Haitian Pastor I work with, via some friends that he wrote on New Year's Eve, I'm sure it is a sentiment he would like to share with all their supporters: He is speaking of the village that I will be moving to on Wednesday. He grew up in this village and his heart is truley to see their freedom!

"As we are about to go to bed, we can hear the voices of people singing in the dark, praises to God. They were singing with such harmony that one would believed they were angels. I knew that village 10 years ago, it was filled with voodoo temples and fear ruled everyone, people were dying from diseases. Now they are free to sing the song of the redeemed. If only I could see the transformation of each village of my country like this one, I would know that I accomplished my life's destiny. We thank God for all of you supporting us this Year! Thank you for serving Him together with us!

Happy new year!

Gersan & Betty "

I can't even express how excited I am to soon, and for a short time, call this village home. God is moving mightly in Ti Guinea!


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