Bonjour! We can't believe it's already been almost a month since we returned to Haiti. We hit the ground running and have not looked back.
For Easter, we had two large feedings throughout the day, feeding well over 600 people. My parents then conducted the first ever Easter egg hunt at the orphanage....with over 80 children. It was so fun to see them searching for eggs all over the compound. Some didn't know what the heck was going on-with a concept so foreign and strange to them, but once they realized candy was inside the eggs-they moved a bit faster :)
My mom, a few friends and I decided to bake cupcakes for Easter as well. That was quite an interesting ordeal, as the oven where we live is not so big, there is no temperature gauge on it, and of course we don't have things here like oven mitts, electric mixers, etc. It took 2 days to bake over 300 cupcakes but we did it and the community enjoyed them very much :)
A few days later I took our teens girls from the orphanage on a special outing for pizza in Port-au-Prince. I don't know why I didn't realize it sooner, but several of the girls had never been in an enclosed vehicle before (we took a van), and so as a result, many of them got carsick. They threw up the entire hour and a half ride to the pizza place. No bags, no bowls, they just threw up all over the inside of the vehicle. Now I get very carsick as well, then add in the smell of vomit on top of that...it was not so pleasant.
But we finally arrived, and the girls were much better. They had never been to a restaurant before either so when we sat down at our large table, no one said a word. They all just sat there and looked nervous not knowing how to conduct themselves. I told them that they are allowed to talk in a restaurant and have a good time. They then started loosening up a bit and conversing. Before we left, I asked the manager for 16 bags for the car ride home, knowing there was a high likelihood that they would be throwing up the pizza they just ate. I took them for ice cream as well; we celebrated April birthdays and then got back in the car for the hour and a half ride home. (And yes, they threw up on the way back too).
Next time, we shall not venture out so far.
A week later, we then celebrated our own Lilah's birthday, as well as Miss Lynn's, the founder of Mission of Grace. I think it is special that they share a birthday, as many words have been spoken over our girls about their future leadership in this country-serving these people. There is something so deeply satisfying as a parent seeing your children's heart ache for the poor, forgotten and broken. We don't take it for granted that our children love doing this with us, and often go into full on depression when we are not in Haiti. I know this is only the beginning for them.
Last week, we had a team from Florida come and it was go go go the entire time they were here. Each team that comes usually always has their own ideas of what they want to contribute to the mission: do they want to do construction projects, work with our elderly, do physical therapy with our special needs children, teach English in our schools, do week long dental care, etc. We are so blessed to be able to receive such a variety of specialities nearly every week, and this past week was no exception. The team from Florida came to break down darkness-period.
As many of you might recall, our last time here we definitely sensed deeper levels of hostility, voodoo, and just plain evil among our village. This team held nightly services of prayer, worship, and preaching; but instead of holding these gatherings in our church we held them either outside or in our community center building. We didn't plan on it turning into revival type gatherings, but they definitely did. Men and women who never would have stepped foot in church heard the music, came, and listened. Our building was so packed it spilled out outside. Voodoo witch doctors came. People from high up the mountain came.
One of the pastors from the team encouraged the people and even gave prophetic words of knowledge: things he couldn't possibly know about people and situations, as this was his first time to Haiti. He even gave Tass and I a word: that our family is called to serve many nations, not just Haiti- confirming what we already know, as well as confirming several other words that have been spoken over us and even a prophetic word Tass received when he was 12 years old. I highly respect individuals who not only hear God's voice clearly, but don't make it about them, but sincerely just want to encourage and affirm others. Our village, our staff, our long term team here, and all of the children in our care were deeply touched and encouraged last week. We can't thank Pastor Joelle and Pastor Elizabeth enough for coming and pouring into so many lives. We know a partnership was started that God will build upon in the future months and years.
After all of the nightly gatherings, on Sunday afternoon we held a baptism in the ocean which was very powerful and moving. Tass and I are under the persuasion that whoever baptizes you should be the one who is mentoring, discipling and training you-which is why he will be the one baptizing our girls one day, when and if they choose to do that. That thought/opinion isn't quite popular in this culture or even ours back home; it is usually deemed the "pastor's" responsibility. But oftentimes, the pastor does not even know the person. There is no relationship there. It may even be the person's first time seeing that pastor once they step foot in the water. To each his own. But we believe baptizing someone is the honor and privilege of whoever is teaching and mentoring that person.
When Tass saw one of our young boys from the orphanage that he loves dearly get in the water, Tass emptied his pockets, took out his phone and watch and jumped in the water to help baptize this young man: Claudi. 13 years old and a sweet, sweet kid. Since we committed to Haiti, Tass has committed part of his days and time to mentoring this young man. I actually do love how, in that moment, my husband disregarded culture, or the proper way of doing things. He wasn't invited to go baptize him. Tass has not even technically been given the title of pastor (although he functions in that capacity daily without the title). But he recognized the responsibility he has towards Claudi and literally jumped at the chance to carry that responsibility. It brings me to tears once again just reflecting on that moment. That same day, a few hours later, Claudi stood up in front of all of the kids, nannies, staff and us and thanked Miss Lynn for rescuing him. He said, "I know if it weren't for you, I would be dead right now". He is a very special young man, and those of you who have met him know exactly what I am talking about :)
Please continue to pray for him and all the children under our care. Our orphanage is ever growing and currently we are in need of more child sponsorships. $50 a month will cover the cost of a child's meals, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and nannies. If you would like to sponsor a child monthly, you can click here which will take you to Mission of Grace's website:
Have you ever heard of pink eye infecting everyone in an entire country all at the same time? That is also what has been going on this past month. We have an epidemic of something resembling pink eye, although much worse, and it's affecting the entire nation. We initially thought it was just Carries, but then started getting reports from friends in other parts of the country. It is 5 hours north and 5 hours south, etc. It presents as pink eye, but lasts much longer, is more painful, and eyes typically swell 3-4 times their size and most often are completely swollen shut for several days. We all initially thought it was either viral or bacterial (obviously) but the more this thing continues and the way it's spreading, we are fully convinced it's actually airborne. Teams come, and within hours from landing, they have it. Something is blooming in the air throughout Haiti...some sort of allergen that is causing this pink eye epidemic.
Up until now, still, the typical drops for pink eye have not been effective for anyone. Haitian themselves, who don't have access to medicine, have been trying many old wives tales: some jumped in the ocean and opened their eyes, thinking the salt water would kill it. Some took lemons and squirted the juice all over their eyes. Some put alcohol in a bowl and then opened their eyes it in. I reached out to friends all over the country and they too were having no luck with any medications (and obviously not the old wives tales either).
I started to get it on day 4, while my parents were still here. You all know me and the hippie that I am: I started spraying my eyes with colloidal silver right away, and then taking Lavender and Melaleuca oil internally, as well as topically to kill the infection, and fractionated coconut oil to help with the pain. I kept using those four things every 4 hours, and it never developed into the full blown pink eye.
So then we started implementing those 4 things in our area and they helped tremendously, time and time again. The kids at the orphanage, our teen girls home, our workers here where we live-if we caught it right away, that protocol was very effective. The key is catching it right away though. If people wait until day 2, day 3, until it's full blown, we've noticed it can't really be stopped at that point-only managed. This epidemic really is a head scratcher. About 2 weeks later, our girls had the start of it too, but again with those 4 things, we knocked it out in a day.
Needless to say, I am out of colloidal silver now, but have a friend bringing some more next week. If you think about it, please pray for the people of Haiti. It is a nasty, painful thing, and we're just beside ourselves knowing that it's infecting the entire country. We hope and pray it ends soon. And for the friends and teams that are coming in the next few weeks, stop by Whole Foods and or some natural foods store and get some Silver. At least 30 parts per million. It's actually cheapest on vitacost.com (we use the brand Source Naturals).
Also thank you for those who gave towards our friend's nephew's hand injury. We were able to provide him with all of the medicine he initially needed, and in two more days he will be having another surgery. Once again, hospitals in Haiti charge for every little thing: every bandaid, every saline bag, every needle, cotton ball, syringe, etc. Thank you for helping us with that and we will continue to keep you updated on his progress.
After a crazy busy few weeks (doing homeschool on top of everything else!), my sweet husband sent me away for a night by myself (shhh...don't tell my grandpa...he'd be furious if he knew I was alone in Haiti somewhere lol). It was wonderful to rest and recharge. I stayed at a resort abut 20 minutes away. Because we technically live at a resort while we are in Haiti, I have come to feel way more comfortable and identify with the workers and Haitian staff than any elite guests coming for vacation. I found myself wanting to hang out with the groundskeepers, chat with the waiters and waitresses, knowing that even though they have a nice uniform on and have a clean looking appearance, they likely live in poverty across the street from the resort, and get about $4 a day for their hard work.
Everyone at the resort initially always approaches me in French, assuming that because I am white and am in Haiti, I speak French. French is one of the two national languages of Haiti, but only 10-15% actually speak it-the educated. It is the superior language, and so naturally Haitians would think that is the language I speak if I am there visiting. Since living in Haiti, I've come to understand a fair amount of French, but definitely not able to converse back to them. So when the waiters approached me in French, and I responded in Creole, I wish I could adequately describe the pure joy and surprise that comes over their faces. The fact that here I am, a white privileged person, who has chosen to learn the slave language and not the superior language...it is an instant bond with them. They are grateful. They are shocked, but very grateful. The studious person that I am would love to devote time learning and mastering another language, but I guess the missionary in me knows that not speaking French speaks far more loudly than anything I could communicate.
These coming months, Mission of Grace is booked solid back to back with visiting teams from all over the world. We have lots of projects and events underway. We are also so grateful for teams that come because without them, this mission would not be where it is today. We thank you for your continued partnership with us and look forward to updating you more later!