Haiti 2012


Dates: Sept 28 - Aug 7
Ministry Partner: Greg Barshaw of Connect2 Ministries
Ministry - church construction

Updated Monday, October 8

Our Haiti construction team returned safely yesterday after a productive week on the island.  Thank you for your prayers for them as they served.

Updated Saturday, October 6
E-mail from Monisha

Hello Grace Family!:) Thank you all for keeping us in prayer though out our trip here to Haiti. We feel your love and your encouragement! We covet more of the same:)

Just wanted to give you a quick, though by no means a completely thorough, update on what has been going on here in Delmas (that's the city in which we are staying). Day 5 was spent at Pastor Modil's church where we finished building outer supports, lifting and nailing siding, cutting & nailing together pieces of wood in the rafters of the church-to add extra support to the walls we built. The two walls we built on this day will separate the church from the rooms that will be used for classrooms. The siding will provide much needed shelter from the intense heat, the rain, the wind, etc.

Pastor Greg had asked if we could build pews for the church in Siloe (this is the city in which Pastor Modil's church is located). We began the pew-project while the last of the siding, etc. was being completed under the watchful eye of Chuck Miller & Rick Jamieson. We completed three pews by the end of the day!

During "down time" we took the opportunity again to visit the handicapped children at the church. It was heartwarming to see able-bodied children come along side their less able-bodied brethren. There was no difference in how they treated the handicapped children-- they played with them, cleaned their faces, made silly faces to make them laugh, helped change diapers, etc.

Day six welcomed us with a few more aches and pains-- but nothing a couple of Motrin couldn't handle. Some members of our team as well as a few locals finished little things structurally that needed to be completed, for example, braces for joists, supporting beams, etc. The rest of the team and quite a few Haitians began churning out the parts for the remainder of the 20 pews. Dan Riordan cut the wood to exact measurements (a job he did on our last trip here and one that he carried on this time as well), Stu Steele helped by measuring wood, climbing up ladders, standing on walls -- a great initiation for the new guy on the team. Ron Lawler & Keith Jones walked walls, hung off the sides of the building while nailing large pieces of plywood to walls, etc. They helped Chuck & Rick immensely! The ladies were also hard at work-- we were even able to build a couple of walls (under Rick's wing) which became known as the "chick's wall"! Judy Jamieson organized workers so well that one observer said it looked like Santa's workshop. Yours truly hammered nails into plywood and climbed into the rafters given any chance. Toward the end of the day, we were all on the ground building pews. Our eight members plus a host of Haitians sawed, pounded and nailed twenty pews! We filled our quota! We were able to complete five days worth of work in four.

So this was our final day working at Pastor Modil's. At the end of the day, he thanked us and prayed over us. We, in turn, thanked all hands and hearts involved and we were on our way.

Today is our 7th day in Haiti. We are all a little worse for the wear. A few of us have succumbed to the heat. A couple of us have had to deal with tummy troubles and general aches and pains. But, I am glad to report that we are all on the mend.

Our day began by visiting two orphanages. The first one we went to is the one that houses the handicapped kids. When we arrived, we all noticed how much brighter and cleaner the place was. Pastor Greg stated that a couple of teams who have come here over the last few months, have helped to repaint and give the place a "facelift". It is remarkable what he and his staff have a heart for and with God's help, have accomplished! We were able to spend about an hour loving on kids, playing with them, etc. The second orphanage we visited today was one that some of us were able to visit on Sunday. This is the one that houses about 27 kids full time with approximately 22 attending during the day- to interact with the other children but also to partake of the only meal they will probably eat in a day. Again, we were with the children, playing games, thumping on drums, watching the kids dance, playing the harmonica, or just sitting with them as they hold on to you. They just want to be loved- bottom line.

We returned to Pastor Eddie's home (where we are all staying) for lunch. After our meal, we went up to the roof and work began on a final construction project. Pastor Greg had asked us to build a storage room for approximately 200 wheel chairs from Joni & Friends which will arrive shortly. With many hands to help, the work is almost done. We will complete the project tomorrow.

Though some of us have suffered through stomach ailments, aches and pains, fatigue, heat exhaustion, etc. we are reminded that those living here have it more difficult on a day-to-day basis. "But by the Grace of God, go I" continues to ring true every single day!! But, as I always say, there is hope to be found here even in the darkness.

For the next three days, hope is one of those things that is being celebrated as Pastor Eddie's church commemorates their 22nd year of service to God. The sound of music, the smells of food, the excited chatter of the attendees, the laughter of the little ones only echo the hope and all that it will bring in God's time-- according to His Will.

With that, dear Grace Supporters, we bid you good night!
Team Haiti

Updated Wednesday October 3
2 e-mails from Monisha

Hello from Haiti! Just wanted to say hi to you and all there:)

We arrived safely in Haiti yesterday, less one suitcase. A sad miscount:( After lunch, we visited a third orphanage. This one houses twenty plus children. Twenty-plus more come everyday to attend school and get fed (this maybe their only meal for the day). These children, like the others, are small for their age, underfed, etc. But, by the Grace of God, they are able to attend and live in this orphanage.

Today was church--and, boy, do they take us to church!! Services start at 6 am and go through until 9 am. Every minute was filled with song and prayer. Pastor Greg Barshaw gave us his sermon which was being translated into Creole by another pastor. As always, a poignant message-- being able to have faith in our God because He is always faithful!

This Afternoon we Went to an orphanage we visited during our last visit. So many children remembered us. It was bittersweet and so humbling. Who were we that they committed us to memory? Committed us to their hearts? We delivered Barbie dolls, warm clothes, soap and plenty of kisses, hugs And love. of course there is so much more left to accomplish.

Tomorrow will be our first day on the construction site (Pastor Modil's church). We will begin to resurrect walls, siding and eventually, build pews. Greg Barshaw shared with us that 41 (out of 50) churches, pastors were asked to and were embracing disabled children as part of their congregations. They are reminding their congregants that even those who they believe are cursed because of their disability, are actually a blessing, made in His image. That is a tidal wave of change that is surely being led by the Lord!

More to come as the days go by and as Internet continues to cooperate:) Grace to You from wayyyyyyy over here!:)

Hi All:) Yesterday and today were spent at Pastor Modil's church. We tore down and built up a lot over the past two days. A few scrapes and bumps but nothing life-threatening, by the grace of God!

A few of the team members, along with Haitian workers, put up siding, built and put up interior walls, tore down some of the old construction, and set up for more of what was to be built today. Pastor Modil is happy and amazed at what we have accomplished. Yet, we are the ones who are thankful to have the opportunity to be part of such a huge transformation.

Others were able to visit with the handicapped kids at that church. One little four-year old boy, Angelo, is among those children. Sadly, he has been severely underfed over his short life. He may even have hydrocephalus among a host of other undiagnosed problems. However, with the compassion and love of Pastor Modil, Pastor Greg and the lady looking after those sweet kids, he may still have a fighting chance. It's sad to see his little body so emaciated and sense how much suffering he has undergone in his short life-span. It may very well make some question why God would let this happen. But, during our evening devotion/team-debrief, Pastor Greg reminded us that we are in a place that God chose for us. He places us where we find ourselves because it is the best opportunity for us to find Him! Though difficult to think of this as you look into Angelo's eyes, it is more than true. It is His Sovereign Will.

Haiti is a difficult place in that it tests you on every level- physically, emotionally, spiritually, emotionally. It's easy to lose hope. But through the efforts of so many we have met and continue to meet, it is evident that hope is alive and growing!

Hope all is well at Grace and SCV!!!:)

July 27 - Aug 5
Ministry Partner - Greg Barshaw of Connect2 Ministries
Ministry - Children's ministry at House of Hope Orphanage

Updated Sunday, August 5
Text from Deb

We heard this afternoon that weather-related flight delays at the connection point in Newark are causing a delay in the team's departure from Haiti.  It is not clear at this point when the team will arrive at LAX, but there could well be a delay until tomorrow.  Family members are encouraged to contact Cyndi Sutton by e-mail - you should have received an e-mail from her, but if you haven't, write her at cyndi.sutton@gracebaptist.org and she will keep you up to date.

Updated Saturday, July 28
Text from Deb Bahr

The team arrived safely on Port-au-Prince this afternoon, and is eager to begin its ministry with the children at the House of Hope.  Internet connections are sporadic in Haiti, but we will update this page all week as we have news.

Updated Saturday, July 28

The Haiti Student Ministries Team was prayed off the church parking lot last night to head off to the island and start to love the House of Hope kids for Jesus.  Thanks for praying for them as they serve.

Dates: April 27 - May 6
Ministry Partner: Greg Barshaw of Connect 2 Ministries
Ministry Focus: Rebuilding church destroyed in earthquake; leadership development

Since the earthquake in Haiti two years ago, the evangelical churches there have grown in size. However, most of the church buildings are still in ruins, with the local pastor having now way of rebuilding it. This team will be involved in the rebuilding of Mission Baptist Church in Delmas, Haiti. Basic construction skills are required for this part of the ministry. The leadership development component of this team will focus on training for church leaders.

Updated Sunday, May 6
We received word that the Haiti team arrived home safe and sound. Thank you for praying them through their experience!

Updated Monday, April 30
Email from Monisha

Day One - Team Haiti arrives. We were picked up at the airport in a large van, which over the last few days has been proved to be a huge luxury. As we drive, we pass sidewalks filled with people selling dry pasta shells, sugar care stalks, live chickens and rabbits, shoes, Levis, etc. You become instantly aware of unpaved streets, pollution, car and trucks spewing fumes. We came to Pastor Eddie's home where his lovely wife, Mirlande, met us and began to shuffle us to our rooms.  We will call their home, our home for the next week. We proceed with lunch cooked by their lovely cook, Jinette. We then walked over to one of Greg's orphanages which holds disabled children. We were able to spend about an hour just loving one these little lambs. They, in turn, have crawled into each of our hearts forever.

Day Two - Our first full day. Today, we had the option of attending Pastor Eddie's church at 6 a.m. or wait and attend Pastor Modil's church which started at 9 a.m. The latter is the church that we are here to help rebuild. During the earthquake, this was the church that collapsed and took the life of his wife and his home. But he continues to shepherd his congregation in spite of such great devastation. He does it all with a smile and outspread arms. Though the sermon was given in Creole, one of the languages spoken in Haiti, we all understood it and were visibly touched by the words. Amazing to have a visual and auditory reminder of how the message of Jesus Christ and His great sacrifice can transcend language barriers! After church, some went to visit the "western" market, some went back to the orphanage, and others stayed back "home" to rest. We ended the day with a devotion [and debrief] time with our team.

Day Three - First day of construction. We met for breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and it seemed that everyone was starting to get their minds geared for the day ahead. We got to the site about thirty minutes later. Armed with tools, safety goggles, gloves, and a great attitude, the team set out to take measurements, saw wood, climb heights, etc. By the end of the day, we built three walls and put together a truss. Four more are ready and waiting in the wings for our return tomorrow! It was a day that allowed us to build not only the physical building but wonderful, and God willing, long-lasting relationships. We climbed back into a tap tap (a mode of transportation here. Not sure if they call it a tap tap because it taps on your spine as it bounces you side to side or because you tap on the roof of the carrier when you are ready for it to drive off. I think it's the latter.) and sat down to delicious meal and much-needed fortification at home. After dinner we rested and had devotions again as a team. Rick Jamieson led our hearts in a powerful message about how God can use common folk to do uncommon things.

Much more to report as the days go by, if we are able to get internet access. We are looking forward to Pastor Mike and Ed's arrival tomorrow. Should be more fun and can't wait to hear what they will accomplish during their time here. Take care and see you all soon. Please continue to keep this beautiful place bathed in prayer.

Monisha & Our Entire Team

Updated Saturday, April 28

We received word that the team arrived in Haiti safe and sound this morning. Check back for more updates about the construction project and the upcoming conference, and pray for God's work through both!