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Missionaries in Haiti

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Missionaries in Haiti

This blog contains messages from our missionary team in Haiti.  Please check back often to get the latest "news" from Haiti.  Also, the plans are to include video clips and pictures that will appear on this page as they are received.  The newest submissions will be on the top, the older ones will be at the bottom.
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All I can say is, what a week. This last week has probably been the busiest week since I have been here. A wonderful group of people from Northland Church in Orlando Florida was here this last week. They brought individuals who were skilled in all areas. Each day was filled with visits to orphanages providing medical attention to children who were in great medical need. They also provided a two day CERT class for 31 interpreters which focused on disaster response training. Time was spent interacting with the children coloring, singing, and many other things which you can see in the photos that were posted for this week. It was a wonderful presence that they brought here. Many things were done this week to reflect Christ and His love for His people and Northland Church will be greatly missed.
I have decided this week to focus on an aspect of what a missionary goes through instead of what is physically going on around them. So I am going to share some of my thoughts with you this week that I have experienced for the first time. My focus this week has been directed on the use of the things one needs. For example toothpaste, Q-tips, deodorant, soap, shampoo, ect. After my arrival I found how hard it would be to receive money and supplies which I was counting on. It wasn't for the lack of anyone offering to send those supplies but a logistical barrier that turned out to be the main problem. So as the days have gone by since my arrival I have had some revelations about myself and conserving. I remember one morning as I was brushing my teeth, I began by putting toothpaste on my toothbrush, and it hit me suddenly like a ton of bricks. This is the only tube of toothpaste that I have and I just put a huge glob on my toothbrush like I have always done. I started thinking do I really need that much to brush my teeth for one brush, and how long is my toothpaste going to last using it like that. Normally if the toothpaste were to fall off the brush, I would just squeeze out another big glob and I wouldn't think twice about it. This got me to thinking about everything else. Like maybe I need use a little less shampoo each time, and maybe I need to cut back on the amount of Q-tips that I use each week. Now I have never been one to live in excess and have had times of great need. But when put in certain situations you begin to re-evaluate the way you do things. Especially when you have to wash your clothes by hand. It helps you to decide about maybe wearing your clothes a little longer and it makes you appreciate more those mechanical devices that were created to make life easier. I wonder how much those of us who have always gone about life like normal and never really paid attention to what we really need verses what makes us feel comfortable. Even those who live humbly might find that some of the things that they do reach a level of excess. Please understand that I am just trying to get everyone to think a little more about excessive use. I challenge you to try it. See by going one week and use only what you need and see how much you are able to save. You might be surprised.
I am also surprised at how after one goes through this that you find more joy in the simple things. Like when your regular diet consists of beans and rice and you splurge and by a Sprite. It seems as though that Sprite tastes like it never has before. Another example is when some of the wonderful ladies from Northland Church made french toast and pancakes for everyone. Now I have been here three weeks and those pancakes and french toast was closest thing to home that I have had since I've been here. My point to all this is that many times we complain about what we don't have and we are always spending time thinking about getting more than we've got. When one really gets serious with themselves they realize that maybe what they have isn't so bad. And when you really began to think about those that have even less you start to really put things in perspective. Even in my situation I have a huge excess compared to others here by just having a couple of warm meals every day, fresh drinking water, and other things that I have always taken for granted. So I am asking you the reader to re-evaluate your life, truly appreciate those loved ones that surround you instead of taking them for granted, and thank God for ALL that He has given you.

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This week has not disappointed when it comes to life changing experiences. Like I have said before I intend to be as honest as possible about what I see and what I feel without going into too much detail. Some things that I have experienced already have left me in awe and undecided, testing also what I have believed or understood for many years. I did not have the oppurtunity to go to the english speaking church service at the Adventist Hospital this week. Instead I was able to attend a local Adventist church service that was strictly in Creole. What I saw at first glance would probably be dissapointing to most but made me very excited. First I had to walk a couple of miles through back alleys in the sweltering heat. All the way I was stared at like I was going to be mugged. I went with the house cook who also is an Adventist but doesn't speak a word of english. We had to traverse through mud and rubble in the streets to get there. After a little while she looked at me and made a gesture as if to say that we had arrived. I looked around but saw nothing but rubble and destruction. She then pointed off the road a bit and I finally saw the church. It was a building with four columns that had greatly been affected by the earthquake. It was a concrete and block structure that was partially finished with rebar sticking out everywhere and tarps for a roof, and the floor of the church was rubble and mud. The seating arrangment wasn't much better. They had incorporated broken benches, chairs, concrete blocks and anything else that could be used to sit on. There was a simple poduim covered with a sheet. I looked around as the sevice began and noticed that everyone was sweating profusly and no one looked like they were physically comfortable. No one got up for fear that they would lose their seat. Many stood in the back. There were so many that it would rival attendance of any normal size church that I have been to in the US. It was a full service, meaning that it was long, it was packed, it was hot and we were visited by just about every mosquito in Haiti. And to top it off, I didn't understand a word the whole time. So by now you're probably wondering how in the world could I possibly get excited about this. Well I was inspired by one thing and one thing only. We have such luxuries like being able to drive to church on good roads. We don't generally have to worry about being mugged and killed on our way to church. We have padded pews, air-conditioning, potluck so that those who have traveled a long way aren't inconvienenced and some churches have even resorted to providing donuts and refreshments just to get people to come and worship. We have errected magnificent churches with their splendor and beauty. We complain if we don't have the exact music that suits our taste. If the platform isn't arranged just the way we want it or someone tries to get involved and does it differently than "the way it's always been done" it becomes a not so christian enviroment. In America we have a hard time trying to get to church on time. Many always have some excuse for not making it to the small group classes before church. And while we are there we spend most of the time whispering to our friends or worse-about our friends, and things like getting up to use the restroom, or counting the spots on the ceiling. What I saw this Sabbath was a group of people who were cast down but unconquered. They had a fervent passion to meet with fellow believers and the Lord on His holy day. No matter how hot it was, no matter how dangerous it was to get there, no matter how muddy or rough the roads or the church floor was. No matter how uncomfortable the seating arrangment was or how long the service lasted. Even in the face of the horrific earthquake that took place months ago people here have not given up. I started to feel ashamed of myself and all the preconceived notions that I have come to hold about church . I am not really for sure that I can put the rest of this into words...
All I can say is, when the church represents what I saw, then I know that there is something more there than just a great worship sevice. And my question to you the reader is, if all the luxuries that you have come to expect as being part of a church service were suddenly taken away would you still attend. Would your focus still be on how the service can please you. Or, would what I saw take place. A fervent passion to worship. Love for fellowship with each other. And best of all true desire to seek the loving God that gave us life and all those luxuries. I'll I can say is, I can never look at church the same way ever again.

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