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HAITI CONSTRUCTION - Fall
Dates: October 17 – 25
This GO Team will continue our construction partnership in Haiti, where we have already built two church structures to allow our Haitian brothers and sisters to worship in adequate facilities. They will again work alongside Connect2 Ministries to address the facility needs of the Haitian churches and orphanages.
Updated Saturday, October 25
E-mail from Bev
This was our last day of construction. We just went out and finished detailing the trusses. One post had to be redone because it had been cut too short. I got the cushy job. I sorted nails, put all the tools together, picked up trash, moved bricks, just did very basic things that needed to be done.
I talked to John, one of our interpreters, for a little bit today. He asked me how old I was and when I said I was 61 he was amazed. He said a 61 year old Haitian woman would not be able to do what I did. They are too weak, and that's if they live to be 61. The median age for women is 48 and for men it is 52. Another reminder of another thing we need to be grateful for.
This afternoon we visited Pastor Timothy's house/orphange. I say it that way because it is his house that he turned into an orphanage. It is where he lives with 32 children! In one room we counted 5 triple bunk beds. This was the girl's room. The really small ones sleep two to a bed. This was the one moment I would relive over and over again. When we walked in the children were so excited to see us! They came running up to us with smiles and hugs. Several little girls put their arms around me and hung on. These were such precious children. They all seemed so happy and loving. They sang "This is the Day The Lord Has Made" several times, both in English and in Creole. Two little girls also got up and did the motions to two songs. They are fascinated with our hair and our sunglasses. I noticed they also liked to touch my ears. Again, we have to ask ourselves, how much are we willing to sacrifice to care for the poor and needy? It's pretty amazing what Pastor Timothy and his wife sacrifice to care for these orphans. Can you imagine putting 32 children to bed every night?
Here is a picture of the completed trusses. Can you spot the gussetts on the trusses?
I love you all so much! We head home tomorrow. There will be a full presentation and celebration at Grace Baptist Church on Sunday, November 23rd, at 12:15 in the F Mod. We would love for you to join us!
Updated Friday, October 24 - 2 Updates
Update #2 E-mail from Bev
Wow! What a day! We finished putting up all the trusses today. That's 19 trusses in one day!
I need to share with you what I was reminded of this evening during our devotional time. This Haiti Fall team was formed back in January. There were only four of us on the team! Then we learned Dan, who was signed up to go on the spring team, was told at his work that he could not be off in May so he changed to the fall team. Now we are up to 5. Then Rick who has been to Haiti 8 times now, had only signed up to be on the spring team but raised so much money he decided to also come in the fall. Now we are up to 6. Then Bob Amstutz decided to join us, knowing his son and grandson would also be here. Now, we are a team of 7. Then we got here and found out that Jack and April Reeves were here to help us. They originally had other plans but those fell through so they joined our team. And, Bob Jr. and Parker only had a small amount of work left to do with the rabbit cages so they were with us for 2 1/2 days. God, in his infinite wisdom, knew this was Grace's biggest job yet and provided the manpower to complete the work within 4 days! Unbelievable - we went from a team of 4 to a team of 11! God amply provided! We are absolutely thrilled!
Tomorrow we go back just to do some finishing touches and clean up. We will only be there half a day, come back to the compound for lunch, and then Greg is going to take us somewhere we have never been before. It's a surprise. I think it is a surprise to Greg too!
Now the story you've been waiting to hear. Bob Sr. had an opportunity today, with an interpreter, to talk to Fario and Pepo from City Soleil about Christ. It's not like they haven't already heard about Jesus but they told Bob if they accepted Jesus they wouldn't be able to fight to defend their families. Remember, they are members of a gang and live in a gang-infested city. Bob, as a former cop, was able to share with them that yes they could fight if they needed to defend their family from being harmed. Bob felt they are really close to making a decision for Christ. Let's pray they do.
Update #1 Email from Bev
Today we completed Day 3 of construction. We really accomplished a lot today! But before I get into that I want to share what I learned today about two of the guys who are working with us.
Pepo and Fario are from City Soleil. City Soleil is the poorest part of Haiti and is where many gangs live. Pepo and Fario have been working with the truss building crew so I only met them for the first time today and then only briefly. They have tatoos and dreadlocks and they only live in City Soleil because the gangs are the only ones who will accept them. They are outcasts in the Haitian culture. They are very intrigued by us 'Christians" because we have no trouble accepting them at all. Pastor Greg says they are very close to accepting Christ! That is very cool and very exciting.
Ok, back to construction. We finished making gussetts today! Yeah! Now it is "putting up trusses" time! We got 3 placed today. That is 1 more than Chuck had hoped for! I do have to tell you though, the second truss broke. That is the first time a truss has ever broken. The good news is we actually had one extra truss so we did not have to re-make it. The even better news is no one got hurt. It was a little scary but God answered our safety prayers.
It really has been wonderful working with April and Rick and I really can't complain because we have been under shade for almost 3 full days! Now the real toil begins as we will be out in the sun all day placing trusses. I will be longing to be back cutting and marking gussetts.
On a serious note, it truly is exciting to be part of this project. Pastor Poyis has a heart for the people, especially the tent city people who live so close by. We are just a part of God's plan for the future and I look forward to hearing how these buildings are used for His glory and for the transformation of lives. Thank you for being a part of this story.
Updated Wednesday, October 22
E-mail from Bev
We have completed Day 2 of construction. Today was a better weather day. Thank you for those prayers! There was a breeze for those working outside and it wasn't as hot although the humidity was still very high.
A total of 27 posts have been placed. Now the posts have to be cut to the proper height and the beams placed on them before we can place the trusses. There are a total of 23 trusses! The highest number of trusses in the past was 17. All 23 trusses have been built and the gussetts are being hammered into place. The gussetts are what I have been working on, along with Rick, April, and Joon. Joon is one of the interpreters. If things go the way Chuck wants them to go, and of course God willing, we hope to place at least 2 trusses tomorrow afternoon.
So today I asked Bob Sr. some of his thoughts about this trip. For a little bit of a background, for those who don't know, the rabbit farm at the House of Hope orphanage is Parker's idea so the last time Bob was here he spent all of his time at the orphanage building rabbit cages and playing with the kids. Now, this trip, he is part of our construction crew and what he has really enjoyed is interacting with the locals. They even asked if they could have their picture taken with him so they could send it to their wives. Apparently they are enthralled with Bob's white hair. Anyway, he is really enjoying them and hopes to be able to talk to them about Jesus within the next day or two. He needs an interpreter to be available in order to do that. I told him I want to hear that story!
Tomorrow morning we will not have the help of Bob Jr. and Parker. They are going back up to the orphanage to finish up some things and hope to be able to rejoin us tomorrow afternoon. They go back home on Thursday. We are truly going to miss them! So, because they will be leaving I had to get a picture of the three generations standing next to the posts.
I'm signing off and will report in again tomorrow night as long as the internet is up. We love you and are extremely grateful for each of you.
Updated Tuesday, October 21
E-mail from Bev
Well it was an early day today. We ate breakfast and we were out of here! We loaded up the van with supplies, and had another wild ride to the site! But, I must tell you the route to Pastor Poyis' church is much smoother than the route we took last year.
Today was our first day of construction. The heat was brutal but I was one of the lucky ones who got to work in the shade. Rick, April and I worked in what will be the food storage building. We are responsible for gussetts. It is intricate work but we plodded along. At the end of the day we thought we were almost half done but then found out 3 more trusses have been added and so we are only about 1/3 done! I don't even know if we have enough plywood. It's a really good thing we have extra help. This is a big project! Greg called it a Divine Appointment.
Because I was in my own little world, in a separate building, I really didn't get to observe what everyone else was doing. But I asked - Parker, Bob Jr., John Marshall, and Jack were laying out and setting posts. They had the really tough job because they were out in the sun all day. Did I mention the heat was brutal? Bob Sr. and Dan spent most of the day cutting the lumber for the trusses. Chuck and Keith and 2 of the locals built the trusses. A lot was accomplished today!
We stop working around 4:00 so that we can get back to the compound for dinner. Dinner is ready for us at 5:00. We probably left around 4:20 and what is normally a 35 minute trip took over an hour. Our route takes us through what I guess you would call rush hour traffic. L.A. has nothing on Port Au Prince. Oh my! At one point I asked Greg what is the population of Port Au Prince and he said 3 million. I think we saw 2 million of them today! It's incredible! And there can be several, I think I saw as many as 8, people hanging off the back of tap-taps. I mean they are piled on and it appeared as though some were on top of others. They either hold onto the vehicle or to ropes. There is no concern about safety. People just walk in and out of the cars no matter how busy the traffic is or what street it is. This has to be one of the things I find to be most fascinating about Haiti. But of course then I turn around and ask Parker, who's 18, what he finds to be most fascinating and he says the way the kids in the orphanage don't need technology or much at all to make them happy. They are happy with a soccer ball, scraps of wood, or just a song. So different from the kids in the USA. That too is fascinating.
Well, it is 9:00 and it has been a long day. And we are in for another long day tomorrow. Did I mention the heat was brutal? And let's not forget the humidity. But all is well and we are ready to see what God allows us to accomplish tomorrow.
Updated Monday, October 20
E-mail from Bev
Today we had breakfast at 7:00AM and then left at 8:30 and headed out to Pastor Poyis' to worship. This is the place where we will be working this week. I just love going to their worship services even though I can't understand a word that is being said. Sometimes you can recognize the music and that is really cool.
We got to check out the work we will be doing this week. God has provided us with 4 additional workers! Jack and April actually go to Grace now but have just been there for 3 weeks. They came from Heart of the Canyons. Bob Jr.and Parker, who I mentioned yesterday, are here to primarily work on the rabbit farm but we will benefit from their expertise for the next 2 days. Chuck has us all set up with our assignments. We have to eat a fast breakfast at 7 and we hope to be out of here by 7:30!
After we had lunch we had about 1 1/2 hours to nap. I think between the flight and the heat we needed that nice little nap to rejuvenate. Then we walked to the Handicapped orphanage. It is called the House of Special Children. It is about 2 blocks away. They have 26 kids. The government will just bring kids and drop them off at the front door. Marie does a wonderful job with the kids and running the orphanage. I noticed that there were a lot more mobile children this time and the ones who cannot walk were in infant seats. So much better than having them laying on the floor. I got to play with Naieka. She's probably 4 or 5 and she is blind. What a sweetheart. She would feel my hair and the combs I had in my hair and she played with my hands. (I had to take my glasses off) She likes singing and the clapping of hands. She seemed like a smart little girl. It was so much fun to make her giggle and smile.
We've now had dinner, our team meeting, and our devotional and it is POURING down rain with thunder and lightning. The nice thing about it, it cools it down in here! I just told Chuck, it looks like it might be a while before we go to our room. It's a fairly good walk from the main house and we cannot afford to get the plans wet, not to mention my Tablet and keyboard. We are having fun together as an extended team and I am anxious to see how God uses all of us to accomplish His work.
After worship today Greg drove us less than a mile away and showed us some family housing that was built with Canadian Relief Fund money. It is pretty nice housing painted in pastel colors and even had some landscaping. And it is free! The problem - there is no transportation! So, nobody lives there! Is that a case of us doing what we think they need versus asking first? So sad.
Then we drove past the tent city. It is estimated there are anywhere from 325-500 thousand people there. Pretty incredible! Father, we thank You for the many blessings You give to us. May we never take them for granted.
Updated Sunday, October 19
E-mail from Bev
We arrived safely this morning at about 10 am. After eating lunch at noon we went to the House of Hope orphanage which is about 25 miles away. However, it seemed like a lot further because it took us over 1 hour to get there, and I was reminded of the conditions of driving here! Although I handled it better than last year, there were still times I had to close my eyes. A lot goes on in the streets and the people walking around take their lives in their own hands. It's just amazing!
It poured down rain as we were going there so all of the children were called into a rather small room to greet us. And what a greeting! They sang for us! It was awesome. We also had the privilege of meeting Parker, an American, who is an 18 years old who has started a rabbit farm at the orphanage so that the kids can have some protein. He just happens to be the grandson of Bob Amstutz, who is a team member and part of our Friends In Faith Sunday School class. They had 50 rabbits but after slaughter today they now have 42. I'm so glad the slaughtering was all done by the time we got there.
So, there are about 77 kids in the orphanage and they got rabbit for the first time today. The goal is for them to be able to have rabbit twice per week. Protein is a rarity in Haiti. They currently get their protein only from beans so this is a real treat for the kids and helps to keep them from getting quashacor (I probably have not spelled that correctly). The other key thing here is, Parker, his dad, and his granddad are all doing this together and they are training one of the locals to be the manager of the operation so they can take the rabbit farm business to other locations. It's like discipleship, making and multiplying.
Anyway, Parker and his dad took a picture, one by one, of each child and asked them what they wanted to get for Christmas and what they wanted to give. April and I helped with this process because each child had to be called one by one, given a number, have their picture taken, asked what they wanted, and it had to be written down. A group of 27 people from Parker's church will be coming back right after Christmas bearing many gifts. It was great to be involved with this project.
I was so tired when we got there but it was well worth the trip! We are very tired and haven't had a shower yet so I'm signing off. Hope to share more tomorrow evening.
Updated Saturday, October 18
The team was prayed off the church parking lot yesterday, and after an uneventful trip, they arrived today in Haiti. They met up with our host Greg Barshaw and were planning to visit the House of Hope orphanage today. Thanks for praying for the start of their ministry!
Mexico Spring Break
Papua New Guinea
Haiti - Orphanage