Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Isaiah 58:10-11

10.  If you pour yourself out for the hungry
 and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, 
then shall your light rise in the darkness 
and your gloom be as the noonday.  
11.  And the LORD will guide you continually
 and satisfy your desire in scorched 
 and make your bones strong; 
and you shall be like a watered garden, 
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Above:  Look out at the lake at Jonathan Creek.

Pray for Crossings 2011.  May the staffers and leaders this summer be overwhelmed with a love for the students that can only come from Jesus Christ.  Although there will be difficulties may the joys far outnumber the hardships.  Pray that we will all learn what it is to pour out ourselves for others as Christ has done for us.  Pray for safety as the 2011 staffers will be traveling today and tomorrow to arrive at camp!  Our hearts are eager and excited as we anticipate all God has in store for Summer 2011.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday Happenings in Haiti

After a great nights rest we were up and having our first Haitian breakfast.  We stayed in a guest house on the mission and had our own kitchen and everything!  Pastor Bakers wife was generous and had brought over some Cheerios and fresh bread and jelly.  It was very surreal to be having breakfast just the two of us in a home in Haiti.

Right:  Here is the kitchen where we stayed.  It was crazy to have a kitchen table and a view that overlooked the mountain side!  On the mission dinner is provided Monday - Friday at the cafeteria for workers.

Below is a picture of our bedroom and of what a typical guest room would look like for any visitors who may want to venture over to Haiti :)

Left:  That window above the bed was only covered by a screen and some bars.  We heard everything from chickens, to crickets, to frogs, to some kind of night chirping bird when falling asleep each night.

The mission has 4 guards who are on duty throughout the night and 2 during the day.  There are a total of 70 Haitians who work on the mission throughout the day.

At 8:30 a.m. we drove about 15 minutes down the mountain for church.  There were several "special guests" that attended the service.  These were women's groups from surrounding churches who came and sang special music throughout the service.

Left:  This is one of the ladies groups singing in front of the church.  This is a large church in Haiti.  The Lieb family joined this church when there were only 15 children, there are now over 100.

God is truly at work in the heart of his people.   Please pray that the Haitians do not love the idea of church and having an activity to attend as more important that having a relationship with Jesus.  This is not simply a struggle in Haiti, it is a concern in the states as well.

Right:  Men and women listening to the service on Sunday morning.  The children were outside for "childrens church" singing songs and playing in the courtyard.  

We do not speak any Creole but had some translation provided by the Lieb family.  It was incredible to know that although we do not understand we serve a God who hears the prayers of his people and is never confused by the praise of his people.

The service lasted a little more than two hours due to all the special music.  We were definitely feeling the impact of the wooden benches after our previous day riding around in the back of the truck.  After the service ended we were treated to a pretty big adventure.  I piled in the back of an alteraine vehicle holding on tight with Hannah and Bri (10 & 16 I think) while Trey and Chris took us on a crazzzy dirt road ride up the mountain.  It proved to be a little difficult to hold on to a bar in the back of the vehicle because we were in skirts so I was getting to hold on with one hand and hold my skirt down with the other.  

Above:  I tried to do a little video while we were driving but I do not know if it is able to play on this screen.

We drove on this dirt road for about 30 minutes.  To say that by the time we stopped I was relieved would be an understatement.  It was a great ride but I was definitely "white knuckling" according to Trey.

Right:  The man in the hat and overalls is a pastor of a church we reached at the top of the mountain, he is 79 years old.  They were out moving rocks after their church service and placing them along the side of the building to prevent erosion.

It was amazing to see the dedication of this congregation.  He was truly leading his flock by example.

Left:  There were several kids hanging around while the work was being done.  A future youth group for this church?  I think so. :)  They were not so sure about the camera but I finally managed to get a good picture.  I'm not sure the girl in the pink knows what to think.  She was surprised and laughed a lot when I showed her the screen of the camera and she saw herself.

Right:  I could not get over these boys!  I pray they learn to love the Lord and truly impact the nation of Haiti.

We loved our time in the mountains.  As we looked out over the surroundings it was honestly breathtaking.  

  Above: All the way up at the top of the mountain and we still had private restrooms.  The kids really got a kick out of watching us pose for this picture.  I must say though, mine was recently used...nothing like the sweet smell of...well...you know.

After our tour up the mountain it was back down the mountain for lunch.  Pastor Baker and his wife prepared lasagna for lunch for us!  To say we were spoiled while we were there would be an understatement.  We had a great time getting to be with family all the way in Haiti.  It was truly a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Our Sunday concluded by singing Hymns and listening to a message from Pastor Baker with the missionaries and volunteers at the mission.  Kelly Lieb (Chris's wife) played the piano and we all searched through the hymnal to name our favorite hymns to sing together.  It was a wonderful time of praising God for his faithfulness.

Trey's favorite hymn is "Wherever He Leads I'll Go"  He suggested we sing this song and I almost cried like a baby.  We were overwhelmed at the opportunity to worship with that night.  It is our prayer and we pray the same for you, that wherever the Lord leads us, we would ALWAYS be willing to go.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Haitian Saturday

We landed in Haiti and were picked up by Chris Lieb and other members of his family.  The Liebs have lived in Haiti for the past 7 years and work with Baptist Haiti Mission.  Pastor Baker also came with Chris to the airport, he is Chris's father-in-law.  Pastor Baker has been in Haiti for 8 years.  He works to train Haitian pastors and plant churches.  

Travel in Haiti consists of piling as many people as possible into a truck bed and driving as quickly as possible.  Trey and the men sat inside the truck on our drive and I volunteered to climb in the bed of the truck with Grandpa and Abby.  Below is a picture of Grandpa doing an activity I named "Air Surfing."  There are no speed limits in Haiti.  When riding in the bed of a truck the goal is to hang on and avoid getting flying objects in your eyes.  Grandpa has officially mastered this.

Grandpa Lenny was quite the gentleman and volunteered several times to allow me to borrow his mask.  I politely declined.  He said the only bad thing about it is when you breathe it tends to get foggy.

After about an hour drive we arrived at a camp property by the ocean.  I was very glad to first of all be on the ground and safe and also to enjoy the BEAUTIFUL Haitian waters.

Posing in the beautiful CLEAR Haitian waters!
Trey and I have spent SEVERAL summers at camp.  We have grown to LOVE everything about camp ministry.  We have both grown leaps and bounds in our relationship with the Lord through our times at camp.  It is incredible to see this same experience being brought to the people of Haiti.  There is a lot of work to be done on the property.  We serve a GREAT God who is able to get his work done in his timing and not ours.

Background Information:
Crossings Ministries has been camp home for ourselves and others for many years.  A primary focus of Crossings is Missions.  They take the call to go to the nations seriously and seek to equip students to follow in this direction.  They have plans to come along side Baptist Haiti Mission and provide summer camp for students in Haiti.  This goal truly captured our hearts and now months later we visited Haiti to find out as much as possible.

Left:  Trey is taking in all of the scenery at camp.  There was so much to see and it is very exciting to think about all God has in store on these grounds!

Right:  The Lieb family move from the mission in the mountains down to the camp property during to summer to host camp for two weeks.  This is a picture of the inside of the "cabins."

Left:  This is a picture of one of the grounds keepers standing in front of the home that the Liebs and other volunteers stay in during their time at camp.

There are about 5 buildings on the property.  Future plans include building basketball and volleyball courts.  They also plan to improve the conditions of the buildings on the property. A concern of the camp is the ability to provide fresh drinking water for the students on property.  There are wells on the property for plumbing and showers but not for drinking.  In previous years the drinking water has been brought out to camp throughout the week, this will get quite pricey and difficult if it must be done for several weeks of camp throughout the summer.  Pray that this issue will get resolved as plans for camp this summer are well under way.

Right:  After our tour of the grounds we were off to lunch.  However, the keys to the truck here missing.  This picture includes Pastor Baker, Chris, David, Trey, and Grandpa Lenny trying to break into the truck to get the key.

Side Note:  The key was not locked in the truck.  It fell out of Chris's pocket at the entrance to camp.  After a long time searching we borrowed a truck to drive to lunch and found the key when we returned.  I'm just glad it was not Trey or myself who lost the key.

Left:  This is Abby and I waiting on the side while the men "worked" on the truck windows.  They definitely worked hard to save the day.  In the end the grounds keeper found the key on the hill while we were gone for lunch.

Here we are riding in the back of the borrowed truck to go to lunch.  The pictures cannot capture this experience.  Did I mention...THERE IS NO SPEED LIMIT IN HAITI!

The remainder of Saturday consisted of an ocean side lunch and then a drive up the mountain to Baptist Haiti Mission.  After several hours of riding in the bed of a truck in Haiti I was left looking quite pink and found that my rear end was rather soar the following day.  There was car trouble on the way up the mountain which put us a couple of hours behind schedule.  From the beginning we were reminded that the key to a Haitian lifestyle is flexibility.

We were greeted at the mission with homemade pizza provided by the Lieb family and warm (ish) showers.  The sun goes down at 7 p.m. in Haiti.  By 8:45 we truly had no energy left and it was time for bed.  We fell asleep to the sound of crickets and something that sounded like a bird chirping right outside our window.  The Lord was good to us and enabled us to fall asleep quickly.  There were big plans in store for our Sunday in Haiti.  Check back in the Haitian Sunday will be coming soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weekend of Change

Thursday May 12, 2011
-The day began with many errands and packing.  The Salter parents and Ballou family traveled to Louisville for a Thursday night dinner celebration for my Graduation.  We ate at Captains Quarters.  It was truly a blessing to get to have everyone around to celebrate this occasion.  It meant so much to me that in spite of busy schedules they all set aside the time to reflect with us over the crazy and life changing times the past four years have been.

Friday May 13, 2011
-Boyce Graduation began at 10 a.m.  It was incredibly surreal to be in a cap and gown and graduating from college!  I fought back tears as I sat overwhelmed at all God has done even just within the past four years.  I have grown so much and would not trade all the things I learned at Boyce for the world!

-12:30 after many hugs and lots and lots of pictures Trey and I were checking bags at the Louisville International Airport preparing to fly to Haiti...

No you didn't miss anything, let me fill you in:
Several months ago Trey and I were approached with the opportunity to move to Haiti. We have a heart for the nations and truly desire to see the name of God proclaimed to every tribe and every tongue.  We also love camp ministry and the opportunity in Haiti includes International Camp Ministry.  We are open to making a move to Haiti and were able to take the opportunity this weekend to visit and try to get a clearer picture of where we would serve.

-6:00 p.m. We were having dinner with David Melber in the Miami International Airport Hotel.  We enjoyed a great meal and good fellowship.  We then were off to our rooms to try to get some rest before meeting at 5:30 a.m. to fly to Haiti!

-6:00 a.m. We were sitting at our gate waiting to board our 2 hour flight and land in Port-au-Prince, Haiti!

-Yes we were sleepy but don't worry by the time we landed in Haiti we were too excited about all that was in store to allow an early morning and a busy few days ahead to hold us back!

The blog tomorrow will contain pictures and stories from our weekend to Haiti...see you then!