Welcome to our Blog

We're glad you checked into our Blog. Our team is very excited about our trip and we hope you continue to follow our blog and share your thoughts and encouragement with us. Meet our team:
Joe (leader), Mary (boss), Bill, Kathy, John, Bill, Denise, Fern, Heather, Julia, Lisa, Rob, Carol, Tom
We will be working right outside of Port-au-Prince. The school at Rue-Frere in Petionville. This school is operated by Pastor Sannon and his wife. The couple does not have the financial resources to operate the school - never mind the resources required to repair the damage left by the earthquake and subsequent termite infestation. This faithful couple is struggling to make ends meet and is unwilling to turn children away.

There is vast unmet need in Haiti. Hunger, disease, and political unrest continue to be the norm. We hope to bring just a small amount of relief, hope, and love into the lives of those we meet.

Children of Haiti

Children of Haiti

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fuel for the tank

"...every blessing you pour out, we'll turn back to praise..."

As we sang "Blessed Be Your Name" in worship tonight, I was reminded that all He has blessed us with in this very short, but full week, we want to turn back to praises to Him. He has been so present. Our group feels charged up at the end of this time, and we talked some in devotional time about what all this will mean for us when we  transition back to our routines shortly. We heard sixteen amazing testimonies this week. Everyone shared 'their' story and Joe reminded us that Jesus spoke to us in stories and how important our storytelling was to the depth of this week. It was the general concensus that this time was a kickstart in our spiritual lives. Bill T told us that God reminded him that this week was 'fuel for hist tank' and that he was now to drive forward and continue to be a missionary in his world back home.

Our work was about 70% done when we left the jobsite at Rue Frere this afternoon. We left 2 large duffel bags full of school supplies, a banner for their church and tools for the team that was going to work on completing the roof and classroom work. A highlight was when John Gary, our driver for the week, sang a song of gratitude and prayed for us in Creole before we departed.

Rachel Pitot, our team leader from Partners with Haiti for this week, told us tonight that they have been praying for a team for four years to be able to come and do this work for Pastor Sannon and his wife at this school that they run. And the results of our efforts and the resources so many of you contributed, will live on for years to come. This week we got acquainted with 13 year old Wagley who attends first grade, yes, first grade at this school. The children here have such limited opportunites for education, so we are grateful to be even a small part of making this a reality for more children.

One of the children we met that touched the heart of so many lives right here in the tent city across the street from us. His name is Richard and he is 12 years old. He is one of the only children we met, maybe the only one who speaks English. He came to us and told us that he loves Jesus. He said "please pray for Haiti...Jesus loves Haiti and Jesus is doing so much for Haiti right now." It was so powerful. And we know that it was most likely the sacrifice of others that made English as a second language a possibility for Richard and for him to realize the call and power of God even as such a young kid. Some of our team members reminded him of how important it was for him now to share what God has shown him to the many, many other children that live right here.

We are amazed. We are weary. We are energized. We are at a loss for words to describe so many parts of the week.  We are struck by the level of poverty that is everywhere. We learned but have so much more I'm sure we haven't begun to capture in this short time. Thanks for doing the journey with us. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

We are soooooo ready for food from home---at least some of us. Thanks Pastor Rob for the cheese and crackers this afternoon....it was the best.


The Sannons


Crackers and Cheese a la Fringer

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mark 10:15

Today was a crazy crazy day.  We made great progress at the school - pouring columns, finishing walls, and even begining the new roof! The rain storm was unbelieveable and the nearly 4 hour journey home was quite an experience.   The team has been excellent.  I try and take a break every few hours to take a few pictures and see how the team is doing. During every break I noticed the same thing - Carol laughing, playing, drawing, reading to and teaching children.  Carol does not speak Creole - but language for her has not been a barrier at all!

Her spirit is amazing, and as Rob and I discussed the day we made the same comment - she is childlike in her spirit.  She is just so absolutely thrilled to be amongst these children - so overjoyed to be serving in anyway possible. Her spirit and joy are infectious -- and her love for these children is genuine.  What an amazing thing to witness - and what a blessing she is to our team. She is truly like a child that has just been given the most wonderful of gifts ------ bubbling over with joy to rush out and share it and show it to everyone she encounters.  Inspirational. 

 Mark 10:15...."whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child does not enter it. 

Many of our team memebers are building special relationships with children, the workers laboring along side us, and our various hosts.  You'll need to ask Bill and Denise about their amazing connection today.  As a team we are accomplishing a great deal - and the hand of God is certainly guiding us.

Tom

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heaven opens up

By Bill and Kathy:

 Getting into a rountine today with the tasks that we've been doing for the past few days.  Completed the last of the 30 desks we were building and saw some finishing coats of stucco going up on the walls.  We even watched with some amazement as the hired crew starting putting the roof on the first section of the school building With nothing more than a small assortment of hand tools they managed to put the whole frame up. Also watched in amazement as Denise took her aggressions out on a part of the wall that was to become a doorway.


When the work day was over, we set up in the church to show the Jesus film to a group of locals, adults and children, as we felt and watched a storm approach.  Once the rain started, the noise on the roof became deafening.  Nothing we have ever experienced before. We managed to finish the movie and waited for the rain to let up as we packed up all of our equipment. When we left it became obvious by the rivers in the street that it was going to be a long ride home.  Because of the traffic we immediately hit, our driver decided to take a different way home. What was a 45 minute ride the past few days took us almost 4 hours.  It couldn't have been more than a dozen miles.  Bumper to bumber in over a foot of rapidly flowing water, motorcylcles zoomin in, out and around us, everything from normal street debris to trash, garbage and who knows what else, just churning through the rapids that should have been the road.  There were lots and lots of  people walking through the water, some out in the middle of the road among the mayhem of traffic some in nothing more than flip flops, but many just plain bare foot, with water up over their knees.  You couldn't help but wonder about the potential of disease floating down the streets.

Our God is an awsome God.  He got us home safely.  He provided for our needs for another day, including a very necessary pit stop in the middle of the long journey home and another wonderful meal served by the staff here who waited for us to get home.  And He continues to teach us through our late night devotional time and testamonies.

Bill & Kathy






Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rock and Sand

A good long day of work today with much accomplished.  I think we are all learning the lesson of giving up control - as we are certainly not in charge at the work sight.  There are several Haitan work crews each handling a different aspect of construction ---- and we are working along side them at their pace, in their manner, as their helpers.  I think this is a challenge for some of us - but today things just seemed to flow. 

Our bench builders continued to build and turned out nearly 30 benches for the students.  Several of us worked on finish coats on the walls (cement).  Many of us took turns sifting the rocks to produce the various grades of sand required for our cement work.  We had torn walls down yesterday and today needed to prepare the area for new columns.  This proved to be a huge challenge as the ground was more solid than granite and our only tools were small hand held hammers and picks. Many of us took turns hammering at the rock and slowly breaking it appart.  As we were working on the final and most challenging part - Bill took a break from the benches and came over to help. I have never seen someone so excited to hammer away at a large solid piece of stone. He was joyous!  At first I kind of chuckled to myself at his excitment - but as I work with him I began to understand the reason for his emotion.  He was just so happy to be working - at a task as menial as hammering a large rock - happy to be working with a team from his church, a church in which he is looking to become more coneccted, happy to be serving the Haitan people in any way possible,  happy to be serving God.  He was determined to finish the task - not, I think, to gain a sense of accomplishment but simply for the pure joy.  It humbled me.  I was reminded of Jesus' words about building your house on rock...and thought how true this was.   I thought - that joy in Bills voice, eyes, and entire demeanor was the kind of joy that could only come from having firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Thank you Bill.

We defeated the rock, sifted load after load of sand, built and varnished benches, and skim coated numerous walls. As we closed our day with a team meeting and devotional - many of the group shared their thoughts as to what they have seen and learned from the Haitan people.  Please go read Galatians 5:22 and you will read about the people we have encountered today.






Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Men Anpil, Chay Pa Lou.......

(Mary's blog today)
WORK! At last we made it to our first day on the worksite at Rue Frere in Petionville. Took us about 35 minutes to the job site, though it's probably a 15 minute ride without traffic. Several of the team sanded boards and constructed 12 desks/benches for the children (the goal is 30). Bill L threw concrete at a wall most of the day and of the other team members broke down a wall and tore up a concrete floor in the school building. We had some help from workers at the school and met Pastor and Mrs. Sannon and some of their children. They gave the children that attend the school the week off because we are working there, which was necessary for sure, but we are missing the chance to really get to know them. We are hoping to have them come over for a movie night one day before the week is done.

We had a little break at the end of the day and Joe has had a few trips to the local grocery story. Yes, there are literally guards in the parking lot with rifles. It is such a different world here but we are grateful for the privilege of 'seeing' this part of His world.  Took a little break at day's end and then it was dinner hour. We had a little 'spider' adventure during dinner hour. (Denise is not over it!!) See the photo below that Tom took with his special lense. :)

Super warm and humid tonight so we had our devotions outside. We heard testimonies from Bill & Denise and John F. We are so grateful for the tapestries of each other's lives and the reminders as we hear each other's stories of how awesome our God is. It also gives us hope for our friends and family members that are not walking with the Lord right now. God is at work weaving the story of their lives together as well, even when we are not aware of all that He is doing. We all shared a favorite Psalm and things we are thankful for. The time was rich.

Back to the work site in the morning for more work on the building, roof and the desks/benches. We will be back at Pastor Martinez' church tomorrow night to show the Jesus film to the children from that church. We continue to depend on your prayers for His grace and strength. We desire to honor Him in our relationships with one another and with those the Lord chooses to bring into our path.


Denise's Spider

Our Super worker
connecting



building shcool benches

Today's thoughts from Mary....

As Tom described, Haiti is such a beautiful land especially when you have the view we had from way up the mountains today. But the chaos in the land that we spent the better part of the day driving through is indescribable. There is traffic out of control, streets strewn with food and products, trash everywhere and people lining the sidewalks and walking through the traffic. They are a subdued people at the least and in some ways a very stern and angry people. There's no way for us to understand life from their perspective. But one thing I was assured of today as I looked in the faces of so many, God loves each one of them. Each one of them in these masses of people. And just as He taught me when I first came into a relationship with Him that He had a purpose for my life, He has a purpose for each of their lives and that thought amazes me. We continue to wonder about God's purpose in calling us here. As we anticipated, it is somewhat different than "we planned". But I saw pieces of the plan as we came upon a motorcycle accident and Rachel and Kathy were able to administer care to a woman who had fallen off her bike and as I looked at these small children who were riveted watching the Jesus Film just outside the place we are staying tonight. They left their tents about 25 feet across from our house and came over and sat on the ground to watch the movie with us. We have four busy and full day ahead of us. Continue to pray for our safety (you just can't imagine these roads and how the traffic operates) and for the sweet Spirit of God to reign supreme. Colossians 3:17 is our verse for the day. Join us in praying that scripture. Miss you all....

The question is not "Is it worth it, but is HE worth it.

For me, an American male focused on doing and feeling complete when accomplishing the task at hand - today was a bit of a challenge.    We were unable to work at the school today and had to settle for a brief `visit and a quick discussion regarding the next four days.  Our idea of hitting it hard day after day and accomplishing our goal was not progressing to plan.  Personally frustrating - both because I want to work and finish our project and I draw a sense of personal worth through working - but also because I feel a sense of responsibility towards those I have helped lead on this trip and grow anxious about making sure their trip is succesful. I think many of us felt the same.

During our group devotional and prayer time, Pastor Jovin shared with us.  He told us a story of about a time in his life when he gave up. His ministry was accomplishing nothing and was ready to walk away.  God had other plans for Martinez --- God reminded Martinez that it's not for us to be concerned about what the results are, about who is reached, about what is accomplished.  We are simply called to be faithful and to leave the rest to Him.  He told us a friend of his who counseled him with a simple saying..."it's not if what I do is worth it, but is He worth it."  
These were words I needed to hear.  We/I may accomplish nothing this week that I can measure - or that we planned or hoped to do.....I may not affect the life of a single person.....and yet my effort, my work will all be worth it...or more appropriately said my work/my effort will all be worth HIM.  Our scales, our timing, our goals are nothing.....but serving and doing whatever I can, no matter what the results....yes He is worth it.

So today - we built nothing.  We did show the Jesus film to 100 or so people from the tent city outside the house we are staying in.  Tomorrow - we will work and hopefully make tremendous progress.....but if we don't it's all OK because our God is.....is....worth it.


The first picture below is from a high point in Haiti --- the second is from the village below.  When looking through pictures from today the contrast struck me.....you don't think of picture #1 when thinking of Haiti.  It gave all of us a new perspective. Haiti is beautiful and God willing, just like our lives if we work together to let Jesus in when we drill down into the "city" it will again be beautiful.
The view from within

The view from above

A few pictures from our Movie Night"

Carol watching with the kids



having fun

Sunday, April 24, 2011

United by the Holy Spirit

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:26-27)

Christ promised the Holy Spirit after his leaving and sometimes we forget the power of this Holy Spirit to unite us.

Today we saw first hand this power. We sat in a service where we didn't understand the language and where those who heard us didn't understand us either. Yet, despite the language barrier, the Holy Spirit brought us together. Desipite the cultural barrier, we were able to worship Christ together. We sensed the Peace that God has promised us. I have traveled to many different areas and everytime I walk into a Christian church, I sense I am with family. The reality of our relationship with Christ is that we usually have more in common with 'strangers' who are Christians than we do with family members who are not. This is because the Spirit is thicker than blood.

Continue to pray for us as we unite with the Haitians to live out God's grace and love and to bring His word to this area.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Rob

Christ is Risen - Christ is Risen Indeed

We awoke to a beautiful day in Haiti - a bright and sunny Easter Sunday.  Pastor Jovin hosted us at one of his churches in PAP.  The church has a girls school attached.  The school houses 50 students from throughout Haiti - who otherwise would have no access to education.  The are provided one meal a day at the school.  We saw happy happy children laughing and playing - very much happy with their school

kitchen at girls school
wall mural in school painted by team from Canada


Rob was called on to preach today and delivered a powerful and uplifting sermon.  He spoke of the darkness that came over the land as Christ was crucified....and of the power and wonder of the Light found in His resurection.  Calling us all to be the light in a dark world.

Pastor Rob and Pastor Martinez


The team singing Might to Save
 More to come later today.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Safe Arrival - God is Good all the time. All the time God is good.

At 4:15 am this morning I awoke at home....warm, safe, and comfortable, a hot shower.....ready to leave the my wife and baby girls to spend a week in Haiti.  We left Boston at 9am and after a brief stop in Miami we landed in Port-Au-Prince by 4pm ---- a few short hours but worlds away.  We are 16 strong, 14 from Community Chapel and 2 from Partners with Haiti.  16 people with a desire to make a even a minor difference - to change the world maybe - but most likely 16 people who will dramatically changed by a world so vastly different from ours.

I hope this week to not only update you on our progress and provide a pictorial on our journey - but to share our experiences, emotions, reactions, and involve you in our mission here in Haiti.  God has been gracious enough to call us here....and we will certainly work hard to accomplish the physical task at the school Rue-Frere.  What excites me more is the work that God will do in each of us as we are here.  I pray for his guidance, wisdom, and refining fire to grab hold of each of us and work in us as only His love can.  That we leave here marveling at how He works in us and humbled by how He can work through us.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter in Pastor Jovins church here in Port-Au-Prince.  Rob is preparing a sermon (as I write this) and we are looking forward to meeting our Haitan brothers and worshiping together.  Our travel today was painless - all of our bags and supplies arrived and if I can post the picture they were stacked high on our truck as we drove through PAP.  The Jovins have a great home/guest house for us and we will be very comfortable. 

Please share your comments, your encouragement, and of course your prayers. 

Tom



A Word from Pastor Rob

"In him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:4-5)

As we drove through town I was reminded of the darkness that often seems to overshadow hope. We all have different times of 'darkness.' For some it is the darkness of a lost loved one, for others the darkness or addition, for others the darkness of bad choices and their consequences, for other it is ___________ (you fill in the blank). Yet, no matter how dark the darkness is in your life, we have a bright hope in Christ Jesus. He is the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the light that came into the world and no matter how hard the world tried to 'overcome it' (destroy the light), it could not! This is the reality of our hope in Christ. The darkness tried to defeat Christ and was not able. Christ overcame the darkness! He can overcome the darkness in your life as well!

As we prepare to enter Resurrection Sunday, may you claim the Light of the World in your own life. May you embrace His hope and through it, may you be hope to others! This is what we are preparing to do and be in Haiti. Pray for us as we also pray for you.

grace and peace,

Pastor Rob

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Team Member Comments

We are just 2 days away from Haiti.  We are very excited and a little anxious - and I'm sure that we're all running around in preparation.  Thank you all for your support in prayer and finances.  Please continue to keep our team and the people of Haiti in your prayers.  
Some additional comments from some team members:

Bill:" As I look toward Haiti, I am overwhelmed that this once thriving “Pearl of the Caribbean” has been stripped, and seemingly reduced to a state of utter hopelessness.  It is my prayer that through our efforts in serving the Haitian people, that Jesus, the Hope of the World, will be revealed and have an eternal impact for God’s kingdom. (Rom 15:13)"


Denise:"Going to Haiti has been my dream ever since the earthquake hit over a year ago. To have the privilege of going there with a great group of people to help those so much more unfortunate than we are, will be life changing. I know I’m the one who needs to be changed, but I hope that there will be many lives changed there by our small but willing efforts. God is Good!!!"

Mary: "I am so grateful for this week-long opportunity to serve Him in a new and different way. A year or so ago, Joe & I were feeling God tug at our hearts about stepping out in faith and doing something out of our comfort zone. We offer our hands and hearts to Him as we seek to serve Him well. We consider it a privilege to be traveling to Haiti and  to meet and share a week of life in their world with the Haitian people. We look forward to sharing the stories of what we have learned from them during this week with you when we return."


Friday, April 15, 2011

Team Member Comments continued

Hello:

More comments from some team members

Me(Tom):  "I am so grateful to all of my friends and family for their overwhelming support - both financially and in prayer.  We will certainly be a blessing to the children of the school at Rue-Frere because of you all."

Lisa: "I'm very excited to meet the people of Haiti and lend a helping hand."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Team Member Comments

Hello Friends:


I thought you might like to hear from a few of our team members.  I asked each of them for a line or two describing their thoughts on our upcoming trip.  Their comments are below.

Pastor Rob:  "God is Good! So excited about going to Haiti. Can’t wait to see what God will do in spite of our short comings. To Him be the glory!"

John:  " I am going with an open heart and mind to see what God has planned for me this time.  Hoping to be able to help get the church back to a safe environment (structurally sound and new roof) for the kids to start using it again for school.  Maybe my construction skills will be used or maybe HE has something totally different coming my way.  Whatever it is, I look forward to being able to serve and being part of this Work and Witness trip."

Heather:  "I think summing up why I'm going to Haiti i one sentence is an impossible assignment!  That being said, I've done my best.  It's a quote...not my own sentence.  It's from The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen. 
The sentence before (also important)..."But God has called you to speak the Word to the world and to speak it fearlessly."
And then the one that sums up my feelings right now..."While acknowledging your woundedness, do not let go of the Truth that lives in you and demands to be spoken.""

Carol: "I am looking forward to see how God will use me on the trip! How can I show God's love to others? We have a great group going together."