Sunday, March 28, 2010

Haiti update #4 - I am home!

I have been home from Haiti for a few weeks, but realized that I did not send a final update out. First…just wanted to clarify that I only sent 3 updates out…this makes number 4! I numbered the updates wrong. So if you thought you missed one…you did not!

The last day was very significant…worth still sending this to you. The last day we saw the worst devastation of the whole week. We walked up on a hill inbetween buildings and arrived to a very disheartening site. Just about every home was damaged or destroyed. We stood next to a “grave” where 6 people are still buried. There was another family still digging for 7 of their family members. At the church, the pastor lost 2 of his daughters. I spent time ministering to the sister who came back to help the family. Our other team also had opportunity to pray in 3 different houses where church members had died and were still in the rubble. They ministered to a very elderly man dying in the back of a van. Yet in the midst of such loss there was such a sense of hope in Christ. They grieve but with hope.

Our last day was also very encouraging as we finished out our week of service. We had a lot of time to just be with friends we had made that week. Just before dinner, I was walking past the kitchen and one of the young girls, Esther, stopped me. She said, “Can you teach me some sign language?” It was such a precious half an hour that we spent together. She had been standing by when I was teaching one of our interpreters…quietly observing. She was just beaming while we shared together!

We also had a special treat. The ladies in the kitchen came and sang a song to us in Haitian! It was beautiful! One of the DR workers from New York, Dan has had a ministry here in Haiti for the past 10 years. He is fluent in Creole. He has been ministering to the kitchen workers…and has earned their respect. He encouraged them to sing for us tonight. They also spent about 15 minutes praising God in the kitchen after singing to us in the dining room. It was a moving, powerful moment.

The past few weeks since I have returned home have been days of reflection. I have been processing through all that God has shown me through this opportunity. I have had the opportunity to speak in 5 churches since returning home about this experience. The message was simple but powerful…God sent us to Haiti to tell the people He loves them. We had 30 people accept Jesus as their Lord & Savior in the 9 days while were there. May we be as bold & simple for Jesus now that we have returned home.

One of the churches I spoke in last week was Dove Christian Ministries in Oxnard. After services that day we ended up in a Starbucks. After talking about being bold for Christ, I shouldn’t have been too surprised at how God confirmed that message! There it was, a sign that said, “Try something BOLD”… now for Starbucks, it was advertising their BOLD coffees. Last week it was for their African coffee! Yet we all smiled as we are being challenged with the Word He has given us! So I put that question out to you… “Will you try something BOLD…for Jesus?!”

Prayer Requests:
1. Pray for the continued follow-up on those who received Christ since the earthquake.
2. For the people of Haiti that need continued prayer. Many are experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress. Many are asking for prayers that they do not “loose their minds.” They are having many physical symptoms such as headaches and racing hearts.
3. The current and future Disaster Relief teams that continue to serve in Haiti.
4. Pray for a sense of peace.
5. Pray for Brian, one of my team members that will be leaving for Chile on April 4th. Pray for his friend, Andrew who will be joining him as they will help in the building of shelters.

Thank you for your prayers. I am sending out a separate email regarding Raining Hope and our Uganda ministry

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Haiti Update - Tuesday

We had a great start to a new week yesterday (Monday). I had an extreme amount of fun teaching some of our interpreters sign language! One in particular has taken a huge interest in it. He asks everyday for more signs. He is putting the vocabulary words together and signing his own sentences!
We jumped in the “tap tap” (our transportation trucks) & started off on the day…not knowing what was in store. We were surprised to arrive at a church … and all our other assessment teams were there! It was actually great to be in the same place with our other team. It was a meeting with associational leaders and individual pastors regarding the distribution of the Buckets of Hope! There were approximately 120 pastors in attendance. We began with a great time of worship. Then a 4.8 aftershock had about 1/3 of the people running out of the building! (Yesterday fire…today earthquake…the California team seems to be making a name for itself!) There was a lot of confusion & yelling in the moments afterwards. Some refused to come back in the building. The SBC Disaster Relief workers all stayed inside the building. Then Mike, John, Gail and myself began to go to different walls in the building (I on the floor) and began praying. The pastor began to sing praise songs…slowly the people began to return to the building. Discussion went on and people were able to sign up for Buckets of Hope. The confusion and fear were to the point of jeopardizing the continuing of the meeting. We are convinced the prayers that we offered up brought peace to the very chaotic situation. There was a huge emphasis from the pastors & leadership at the meeting that NOW is the time for Haiti to know Christ. From March 7-14, the pastors are going to focus on evangelism and church planting with rebuilding. They hope to add 300 churches to the association of 900 in the area over the few months to be followed up with Buckets of Hope arriving. We are seeing a glimpse of the magnitude of what Christ is doing in Haiti with the earthquake. We are seeing the opposition and spiritual warfare against what is being done in the area. There was an incredible amount of UN and foreign military presence on the street today. Our security detail has been excellent…never leaving our side.

Our teams then split back up. We assessed churches and homes of church members. I prayed with 4 children and led them to the Lord . Praise the Lord!

When we got back to the house…Brian discovered that the AC unit had broken and water had flooded the part of the room where his clothes were. Hmmmm….earthquakes, fires…flood??? Everyday seems to be an adventure with our California team!!

Today was another great day of ministry! Our interpreter who is learning sign language also is a singer. He brought one of his cd’s that he is working on and had me listen to it It was in French…and was beautiful Christian music. It brought tears to my eyes!!

As we went out today we had many moments that were precious. There were a couple of people that really stood out. The first place that we stopped at …had a group of children come to me. While the men assessed the building…I began talking to the children. They were all from that church. One of the little girls, Valentina…continued to grab my hand and follow me around. Another woman I prayed with was a Christian. Her son was rescued from the rubble when the church’s 2nd story collapsed. He made it out alive with a broken leg. I prayed for her…and when we were done we just had a quiet moment together. Her eyes were filled with tears…just also filled with hope. Another man lost one of his borders from his house. That person had been helping support the family financially. His little daughter was ill. He bought some bread for her as we were standing there ready to pray. It was a touching moment for me…as God led me to pray for her and the bread. Pray that God will multiply their provisions like he did of old with the fish and the bread.

One more older woman I prayed for at another church also had tears as we prayed. Yet the tears they have are not from devastation. It is more the comfort that God is bringing to them…as they really are filled with hope in Christ.

As we were driving through the streets…Mike & I were towards the front praying for the city. As we talked about God’s covering over the city…we saw a building that said, “Grace of God Barber shop!” God’s grace is overwhelming. He is the one that will restore. We are thankful to be a part of the efforts here.

Thank you for your prayers. Our team appreciates your partnership in our journey!


Prayer Requests:
1.. For all those that are receiving Jesus as Savior. Pray for the pastors as they follow up with those individuals.
2. For the people of Haiti that need continued prayer. Many are experiencing symptoms of post traumatic stress. Many are asking for prayers that they do not “loose their minds.” They are having many physical symptoms such as headaches and racing hearts.
3. Our team as we have one more day of ministry tomorrow. Pray that our last day will be fruitful. For me it is always an emotional time of leaving. In this very short time we have come to love the Haitian people.
4. Those coordinating efforts here in Haiti and back home with various Disaster Relief teams. There are so many teams from all over the United States that are flowing in and out.
5. Pray for a sense of peace.
6. Pray for the people of Chile with the earthquake they have experienced as well.
7. Pray for my team leader, Mike, our Lead Assessor, John and myself as Lead Chaplain. Our other team members…Brian, Joe & Gail as well. We have had an absolutely AMAZING team! I have been blessed beyond measure.