Sunday, February 28, 2010

re: Haiti Update - Sunday

This has been a good weekend. The nurses’ team from Louisiana went home on Saturday. In a few short days, we became very good friends with the three ladies. We were able to share words from Acts 20:24 & 2 Timothy 4:7 about fighting the good fight and finishing well. We had a sweet time of prayer before they left. They said we were sent to them at just the right time.

We also discovered that one of our interpreters lost his girlfriend in the earthquake. He has been so up and full of joy. In a quiet moment he disclosed to us his loss…so we spent some time praying for him. But he is filled with the hope of Christ and is trusting in God in the midst of the difficulty.

Saturday we characterized as being sad & good. The first site was challenging. The presence of opposition / spiritual warfare was strong. People were non-receptive to the gospel. Brian & Mike have been a huge support in trying to give me more time to talk with people. So after the frustrations of the first sight….we changed our strategy. We split the team…they would go assess buildings…and the pastors & security would go with me to talk with the people. I was sharing with groups of 15, 12, & 25 at once. This was an answer to our prayers. For me, rain is symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The other are doves. For one of the girls from my ISP team…hers are butterflies. I want Amber to know that when I was leading one young man to Jesus…a butterfly came to the tree that we were standing next to! After the other two became followers of Christ…I saw doves nearby. God is good!

One child I met and prayed for lost her younger sister in the earthquake. Another lost her aunt. She herself was stuck under the concrete blocks…but was rescued. She suffers still from headaches because of the injury. These were emotional moments…but praying with them brought a sense of hope. The smiles on their faces after prayer were the signs of hope that only Jesus can bring.

Our other team also said that every victim they contacted, including the pastor, had a family member or close relative killed in the earthquake. There are so many needs here and it can be overwhelming. But for both teams we spent praying, singing songs, holding and hugging kids and just loving on the people!

Today (Sunday) we were able to go to church services. We were invited to Pastor Pierre’s church which is the same pastor that has been working with us. Our team leader, Mike Bivins was asked to preach today. I was glad to go there because we knew many people there from the past 2 days. We had an great service! We were on fire! Really….literally we had a fire! Just before Mike was to preach, the generator blew up. They had moved it to an area underneath some hanging clothes. The generator blew up, clothes caught on fire...and within seconds there were flames 15-20 feet high! The generator was about 50 feet away from where we were sitting. It also was in a building that Mike & Brian had inspected a few days ago. They immediately went into Disaster Relief mode and rushed towards the fire. Guess we can be taken out of California...but you can't take California and fires out of us! The locals started to pour water on the generator which just made it worse because of the gasoline. Mike began to throw sand on the fire and everyone followed suit. Larry (from Louisiana) & Brian ran upstairs to make sure everyone was out. Brian knew the lay of the land upstairs because of his assessment. Karen & Larry from Louisiana are both firefighters...and Leon the IC was also with us. Our security did a great job. He immediately pulled me inside to keep me safe...and continued to stay close by while he watched the other team members. We were able to extinguish the fire...and continue on with the service. Praise the Lord!

At one moment when everyone was rushing out of buildings and yelling...everything was just so surreal. I began to experience 2nd hand what it must have been like for the Haitian when the earthquake hit. Granted...much smaller scale ... but still chaos, panic and fear. But quickly we sat back down ... began to thank God...and praised Him. The people here are so resilient...because of their trust in God.

Leon blamed Mike for the fire...he said the message was so on fire...that is what lit the generator! Ha! But God had it planned all along that Mike would preach after another disaster...immediately!

After services the men went and did a few assessments in the nearby homes. I was able to talk with the same young man from the first day that needed healing. We had a wonderful time sharing from God’s word and praying. After that some of the children called me over to spend time with them. They wanted me to pray with them. I also taught them “Jesus Loves Me” in sign language! They were precious! They sang “Rejoice in the Lord Always” for me as well!

It has been an afternoon of rest for us back here at the Florida Guest House. Another group has just arrived from Arkansas. It is amazing how many people are flowing in and out of this house.

Our second team went to a different worship service. John was told in the ride to the church that he would preach the message! Gail commented that the message he preached was amazing! He preached to about 70 people. They said that at a destroyed home they had 6 children sing “Jesus Loves the Children of the World”. All of the team was able to offer greetings to the congregation.

It rained last night! Very refreshing but it also causes problems for the people here since they are living outside in their tents. Today has gone back to hot and humid!

Thanking God!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

re: Haiti update #2

Haiti Update #2 – Friday, Feb. 26, 2010

The internet service has been very unreliable. They have wireless service here in the house, but the electricity has been an issue as well as the service.

Our accommodations here are great. We are in rooms with bunk beds. Our room is one of the ones that has air conditioning (when the generator is working!) It is a luxury and a blessing. The weather here has been in the 90’s and very humid. We are able to shower each day…quickly! It has been so hot … we are not minding the cold showers. We are served breakfast and dinner. I feel so at home here! The meals are very similar to my meals in Africa. I can smell the food cooking as we walk through the house…and it has the familiar aromas of home in Uganda!

Our first day of orientation, we were given the instructions of what to do in case of another aftershock. The day before we arrived they had had another good shake. We have a bag packed with essentials to take out with us as we leave the building. The challenge is…I am sleeping in the top bunk! By time I get down…the tremors may be over!

We leave the home around 7:30 – 8 am…depending on transport. The last two mornings have been amazing. We are given two interpreters…security … and a pastor. In the past 2 days our team has been able to assess almost 60 homes & churches! We split up into two teams to cover more ground. In my group, two of the men would go in and assess the homes…while I stayed outside with the interpreter to engage in conversation with the people. I have had amazing times of prayer with individuals. Our interpreters have been wonderful to work with. Yesterday I prayed with a young boy who wanted to receive Jesus as his Savior! Today I prayed with another young man who wanted to receive Christ! Most of the people that I am praying with all have a personal relationship with Christ. They are thankful that they are alive. At the end of this email you will see the prayer requests that they have. If you could join me in prayer for the Haitian people.

The people have been very good in trying to teach me either French or Creole! This is very new for me! I am doing good with just basic greetings. I said a simple “bonsoir” to a child…and he proceeded to think I spoke fluent French…and started carrying on a conversation with me. Finally he grabbed my hand and said, “je taime”…and the pastor said, “He said he loves you.” The children here have been precious. Huge smiles…great hearts!

We have made many new friends! We have come to love our roommates from Louisiana! They are nurses on a medical team…but they leave tomorrow! They have become very good friends.

Yes…the devastation is massive. But the joy of the Lord is in this place. This nation is in need of the hope of Christ to come shining through the rubble. The people here are amazing. We have come to love it here in the few days that we have been serving.

I am serving with a WONDERFUL team of individuals. We have been very unified as a body and work well together.

Listed below are prayer requests. We need your prayers. I will update when the internet allows. So much more has happened in the past 2 days…but I will continue to update in the days to come.

We are safe…well taken care of...loving the people of Haiti…loving the opportunity to serve!


Prayer Requests:
1) Huge satanic force here – heavily influenced by voodoo. Pray for protection & wisdom to guard against the evil forces.
2) As I have been praying with families they ask for:
Healing from sickness
Provisions (food, water, shelter)
Increased faith in God
Mind stayed on Jesus
Healing of the nation
Restoration to a better life
Comfort from fear
3) Pray for the team as we go from house to house. Pray we have spiritual discernment and wisdom to share Christ’s love with the people.
4) Pray for our interpreters who are working for us. They are amazing.
5) Pray for those that have just accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. The last two days we have had 8 pray to receive Christ.
6) Pray for the Louisiana Medical team as they leave tomorrow to go back home. Pray for their re-entry back home.
7) Pray for those that we have spoken to that have lost loved ones. Pray for God to comfort the broken hearted.
8) Pray that we continue to be a light in this place. We have seen the hope of Christ in the lives of the people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We Have Arrived in Haiti!

Our team has made it safely to Haiti! God is so good. I know that there are people praying...doors have been swinging wide open! One of our team members, Joe, is actually from Florida. He wasn't able to get the same flight as all of us out of Miami and was going to have to fly in at a different time. There is much chaos at the airport in Port-au-Prince since flights in have just opened up in the past few days. But God worked all that out! Joe's flight to Miami was cancelled in the middle of the night! He had to get to the airport by train...and ended up on our same flight! Hallelujah! To top it all off...Joe and I worked together in Houston for the Hurricane Ike disaster! Didn't realize it until I saw him in Miami. It was a great reunion!

We are staying at the Guest House of the Florida Baptist Convention. There are other teams here from all over. Some are just now coming in from ministering today. We are about to eat dinner so I will have to finish this later. Just wanted everyone to know that we arrived safely.

I am so excited...the food smells like the home cooking in Africa! I can't wait! You all know that I am not a huge food person...but I love my African food. One of the ladies here said we are going to love the Haitian food!

Continue to pray! I will post specific requests later!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Off to Haiti

I am leaving for Haiti today with a team from the California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team. I am serving on a team with 5 others. We will be assessing homes. Our main mission is as an assessment team to assess the damage to the homes. Many of the Haitians are living on the streets because of fear of returning home. I have been asked to serve as the lead chaplain. Pray for me as my responsibilities are for the chaplain and spiritual aspect of the trip.

I leave tonight at 10:45 pm from LAX to Miami on American Airlines flight 276. I arrive in Miami at 6:30 am. I meet up with the rest of the team for a 9:55 am flight to Port-au-Prince from Miami on AA flight 1291. We return on March 4 leaving Port au Prince at 1:15 pm. I will arrive home on the 4th at 9:40 pm

Please keep us in your prayers. I will be updating you from Haiti.

Continue to pray for our children at Living Hope Children's Home. I will update you on the home in the next blog.