Sunday, November 2, 2014

Morning in Haiti

November 2

I woke at dawn to listen to the early song of Haiti...mourning doves calling to one another and a dogs quiet bark in the distance. The air feels clean and fresh after another downpour of rain before bed.
Once again, my heart is filled with so much gratitude having had the opportunity to serve in this beautiful country of Haiti. I once had a card with a photo of a hand, in the palm of the hand held two doves. The caption read "we give love and we take love...sometimes at the same time"

Kathy H.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Busy Day in Haiti!

Hello from Port-au-Prince!
Yesterday (Thursday) was quite a busy day for our team. We started off the day with a trip to a metal market called Croix-des-Bouquets. We walked through all the little shops and snagged some awesome finds. It was really cool to see the artisans sitting outside their shops pounding and painting their metal artwork. After a few hours of shopping, we headed out to Grace Village and got a tour of all the facilities. It is an amazing place that has constant projects underway aiming to better serve the community of Titanye and the Grace Village members. We were able to see the new family homes that the orphans have moved into and also saw the construction of a library and additional classrooms. The way Grace Village works with Haitian families, children and elderly is truly life changing and it was inspiring to see it firsthand. After our visit to Grace, we headed down the road to visit an elderly couple Pierre and Lauramise. They were a beautiful couple who lived in a tiny one room house with their children and grandchildren. We were able to pray and sing with them and they were so thankful for our visit and all of their blessings despite having so few material things. Our last stop of the day was Juno's Orphanage. We brought t-shirts for them to paint and they happily got right to work. When they were finished with their fantastic creations, we sang and danced on the front porch complete with our staff member Patrick's guitar accompaniment . The best part of the entire day was watching these children jump, dance and sing at the top of their lungs for Jesus. It was one of those moments that will stay with me forever, a perfect moment of pure worship. We then said goodbye to the kiddos and headed home to the guest house. This was one of my favorite days here in Haiti. It was filled with so much joy and love and left me In awe of God and His people.
God Bless,

Friday, October 31, 2014

Scott Hartzell's trip to Haiti

I am having a great time in Haiti. I played with children a lot and they loved being picked up and held. They were always happy to see us. We delivered water two days and they came running after the truck when they saw us. They never wanted us to leave, but always had huge smiles on their faces. We are taking an orphanage group of children to the ocean tomorrow. They have never seen or swam in the ocean before and we are all excited and looking forward to a wonderful day together. We'll let you know tomorrow how it all goes.
Scott H.

Team Photos

Our amazing team at Cite Soleil 17.  A great day of water truck deliveries!

                                    A few of the beautiful children we met delivering water!

The children were so proud to show us their room at Juno's orphanage.  They broke out in a dance party.

Nick at the water truck. Smiling bucket after bucket!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Water Truck Day!

Today our journey took us into the poorest city in Haiti, city soleil. As we arrived to each of the three water stops we were greeted by smiling children waving, and yelling "hey you," words we soon learned were their adorable and trying to get our attention and basically saying hi. As we got off our truck the children swarmed to us wanting to be picked up and loved.  We spent many hours holding them giving each of them a little piece of ourselves and it felt amazing!  We brought a jump rope and the children laughed and played sometimes trying to jump ten at a time (it never worked but they did not care and neither did we).  As the water truck turned on to fill the many buckets that were lined up a greater appreciation for the simple things we have (like clean water) came over the team. These Haitians needed this water for their families, what we were providing was their bathing water, drinking water, and the water the cooked their meals with.

The city itself was hard to take, the devastation was heartbreaking. The streets were covered in trash and yet the children played in it many with no shoes. They walked around many with little or no clothing and happy for what little they did have. The houses that the people their live in we're not houses at all. They were broken piles of rubble with tarps and randomness holding them together. Will I ever complain again about trivial things like my house being to small or my furniture not being new enough?  I pray that I never forget how lucky I am and just how much I have. I will be leaving a piece of my heart in Haiti


Monday, October 27, 2014

First Day Out And Already Learning About Prayer

Our team finally met for the first time today! God took charge pretty much immediately with my trip by letting me practice trusting in Him. For the first--and hopefully only--time in my life I went to the wrong airport. I found this out when American Airlines' staff thought I was crazy and told me LGA meant La Guardia and not JFK. I had to speed my way across Queens! Thankfully La Guardia and JFK are closer than I thought and God proved that he had control over traffic too. And probably put the thought in my head that I should leave even earlier than my normally paranoid punctual self would have left. Surprisingly I didn't even panic--just prayed and appreciated His sense of humor.

But everyone arrived safely in Miami and the sky was wonderfully blue when we stepped foot in Haiti. It was definitely the opposite of a New York winter. We saw our tap tap (painted cage truck?) for the first time and it was really cute, with "Healing Haiti" painted on the side to show us it was our very own truck.

The guesthouse is beautiful, with colorful walls and these sink-inable sofas. And dinner was amazing for our bunch of weary souls! We ended the day with Word of the Day which is when we think of one word to summarize our feelings and thoughts for the one day. Mine was Trust.

So good night from Haiti! I hope we learn more from God every minute here.

Gillian W

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Fall to Remember

Welcome to our team blog!!

  Fall is my favorite season of the year, the beauty of the trees, the crispness of the air and the anticipation of the Holiday season to come.  It is with much anticipation that I await my return to Haiti with another amazing team!!   In less than 2 weeks, our team will be embarking on a journey to remember.

My co-lead is my amazing daughter Kristina DeMuth who has led many trips as well as served as a long term missionary in Haiti for a year.  Two of my three sons will be joining us for their first trip to Haiti, Scott and Nick.  We have several Healing Haiti alumni joining us including Kathy Hartzell,  Scott Hartzell and Nash Anderson from Minnesota  California alumni include Anrea Rupp and Sonia Gomez.  New Healing Haiti team members include Lily Lauzon from California, representing the Big Apple is Gillian Wong and from the great state of Michigan is Dawn Cook.

Please pray for us as we prepare our hearts and minds for this amazing journey and follow us as we follow in the hands and feet of Jesus and allow our hearts to be broken wide open in serving the beautiful people of Haiti.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Last Big Day in Haiti

Today was another beautiful day as we were blessed to bless (Laurene and Lynn's feelings today). This was the theme of our church service this morning at Grace Village church and very appropriate for the end of our week.

We spent most of the day touring downtown Haiti and traveling up the mountain to get a terrific view of Port Au Prince. We also helped feed a few families through souvenir purchases.

Sam is feeling "done," given the completion of his big project. Kristina is feeling refreshed by coming back to the town where she has been missed by everyone we see. Crystal is feeling happy with the week, our team and activities.  

Our final opportunity to serve on this trip will be tomorrow morning as we hand out Feed My Starving Children Manna Pack Rice to one of the nearby tent cities.  It's satisfying to see the other end of the FMSC chain!

Thanks for following along with us all week. We are excited to share all of the photos and stories when we return.
Lynn, Sam, Laurene, Kristina and Crystal        

Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Haiti Time

After a slow start to the day, we Treated 10 teenagers, preparing to move out of Grace Village and live on their own, to their first meal in a restaurant. As with all of the Haitian youth we have met, they were on their best behavior and worked hard to master use of a knife.

Crystal prepared for our lunch by having her hair done, tightly. The girls did not understand why her blond hair kept falling out of the braids.

Sam prepared by gazing at the port, from the Grace Village clinic, with Cite Soleil smoking in the background.

Kristina ended the day with some resistance training equipment left in Haiti by Fred Flintstone - yes these are cement filled buckets for weights.

It's a total downpour in Haiti right now. The carnival singing is over and the rocky, potholed dirt roads should be really interesting tomorrow.  We pray for our Haitian friends who have dirt floors and holes in their roofs.  Based on what we have found this week, they will continue to smile tomorrow and praise God.  Hatians are incredible people, filled with faith in our Lord. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Eagle project completed!

Today I finished my Eagle project. We delivered the medical supplies I have been collecting over the past month or so to Grace Village's medical clinic. In total, I collected an estimated $10,000 in medical supplies along with a good amount of financial contributions which will be donated to Haiti for additional projects in the coming months. A special thank you to all who helped and contributed to my collections, and may God bless all of the supplies that were donated today!  Sam 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Water, something we rarely think about, yet is so valuable. Today we delivered free water to 4 areas, thanks to Healing Haiti. There other water trucks that deliver water but the people must purchase the water from other trucks. Our first delivery was to Cite Soleil, section 17. Our leader Laurene warned us, this is the rock bottom of poor, in the poorest country in the world. The people were anxious to fill their buckets to the brim; if we were under by 1 inch they would not leave.  They were very thankful. We filled buckets, moved buckets along, held the hose or played with the little kids too young to carry water. After the long line of buckets were all filled and carried away, we walked with the children out to the shoreline. The shoreline was more of a dump, toilet and burial ground. The kids walked easily over the shards of glass while tugging and pulling at us to hold them and give them some love.  

While their situation seemed so desperate, the kids would laugh and giggle with us, especially when they had a chance to get soaked from the hose.   They know nothing else and as a result, seemed very satisfied, at least at that moment in their day.

Later in the day we brought 19 boys from the tent city down the street to a soccer field.  They had a blast playing.  The Eden Prairie team lost to team. Team member Crystal, a loyal Eagan fan, felt uncomfortable playing for EP.  These boys of all ages played for about an hour with no real squabbles. We wonder how often they get to venture five miles from their home in a vehicle.  They are not on travel sports teams, don't go to the mall or restaurants and don't have cars.  Nevertheless, they too are pretty happy guys.

That's it for today. Enjoy the pictures
Lynn (blogging as Sam because it works better)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hello to all our friends and family back home in the United States.  It started out very hot and sunny but luckily there were a few clouds in the afternoon to keep the temperature down a bit.  This morning we ventured to the home for the sick and dying babies.  Just the name breaks a piece of your heart.  However I am grateful that there is a place here for the children who may not have any home if not for this place and the wonderful volunteers who take care of these children.  The minute we arrived, a toddler came running over to me.  I picked him up and we were two peas in a pod the rest of my visit.  I tried to find out his name but was unsuccessful so decided to name him Henry for the time being.  We spent time in the shade just resting.  We saw animals, people, and cars go by from a distance.  My favorite of course, 'la chien, woof, woof,' my little buddy said.  And of course the one word I understood quite well "oui."   Oui or non to everything.  We even went down the slide.  Henry was very excited when he could see the exhaust fan on the roof of an adjacent building spinning.  It reminds us of the little things that bring the most joy in life.  These kids did not have toys like our children have so they created their own toys with rocks, sticks, and leaves.  The kids even figured out to pull down ripening almonds from a tree for a little snack.  While Henry went to eat his lunch, I fed another little boy that couldn't sit up yet and barely could move his head.  Now his name tag said he was 2 years old but he seemed more around 10 months to 12 months.  The last baby I held that was this small and fragile was my own daughter about 14 years ago.  I think I made more of a mess on his bib then he did.  After he was finished eating, I laid him down to clean off his face and remove his bib.  Just when I started panicking about how I was going to remove his bib without him moving his neck, he moved his head to the other side, along with a huge grin.  The biggest brown eyes I have ever seen.  Moments like this I know God is right there.  Both of these boys will forever be in my heart.

After visiting with the babies, we traveled to the Apparent Project.  This is a store selling all Haiti made products from bags to necklaces, bracelets, earrings, metal art, etc.  We were told we had just missed the Clintons (yep Bill and Hillary) who had just donated two kilns for the pottery making.

Later in the day we went and visited an orphanage.  There were 22 children ranging from toddlers to teenagers.  I was very impressed by how well behaved all the children were and how healthy they looked.  Sam had a great chat with one of the teenage boys about music, sports and even speaking Spanish.  We sang some songs, had a snack, and did a craft project in which they each got to decorate a t-shirt in puff paint and jewel pieces.  Kudos to my teammate Lynn for coming up with this great idea.  Not only did the kids get to decorate but they each have another piece of clothing to wear.  We also met the man who runs the orphanage.  He gave us a quick tour where we saw the library, nurse's office, and play area.  These probably don't look anything like what you are picturing if you've never been to Haiti.  The play area is dirt and rocks covered by concrete walls, the library and nurse's office are one in the same in a small 10x10 room.  These kids have it better than a lot of the children here.  My heart goes out to the people who run the orphanages.  Without them these kids may not have anything.

And a shout out to our translator that has been traveling with us all week Jonas.  He is very patient with all our questions including, "how do you say..." and "what does this mean?"  He was great with the elderly people we visited yesterday and wonderful with all the children today.  So thank you to Jonas.  Very happy to have you be our guide while visiting Haiti.

While I type this blog (first-timer by the way), I am sitting on the patio enjoying a nice breeze and listening to people sing at a nearby church.  It's music to my ears and brings joy to my heart.

P.S.  Last night that was Lynn blogging under Sam's name.  Sam did not have a beer.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Here are friends we met today.  We spent time with 4 elders and several kids with disabilities.  We were able to bring joy to the elders with food, water, new hats or scarfs.  They also loved singing songs.  

The 6 children we brought to the pool laughed and screamed with delight.  

And Tuesday is market day. We bought a bunch of vegetables and Kristina cooked tasty eggplant, moringa, sorghum, carrots and bananas. 

We were plenty exhausted from a lot of dusty bumpy rides along with experiencing Haiti rush hour on our way home.  A Prestige (Haiti beer) and a cold shower were heavenly.  We will be in bed soon to prepare for another full day Wed.

Haiti..back home again!

It is a beautiful day here in Haiti.  The sunrise was magnificent coming up over the mountains this a.m.  Our morning greater us with roosters crowing and beautiful sounds of worship coming from our neighbors on all sides of the guest house.  Tomorrow I hope to capture the sunrise, as I was too awestruck to think about capturing.

Today the team will be taking several orphans from Gertrude's special needs orphanage to water theropy.  We will provide an opportunity to allow them a relief from the gravity that weighs their cripple bodies for just a few hours.  Time to learn to float or just to play!

In the afternoon we will head up to the mountains in Titanyen to the local market to buy food for the elderly.  We will visit 5 of the most vulnerable, praying singing and hearing their stories.

We are blessed to be here on this wonderful and snowless day in Haiti,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Haiti Bound!!

Heading off to Haiti this morning with an awesome team.  Follow our journey as we embark to serve as the hands and feet of our Lord!!