Dates: May 16 – 24
We 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.
This team will again work alongside Connect2 Ministries to address the
facility needs of the Haitian churches and orphanages.
Updated Sunday, May 25
The Haiti team arrived home late last night, tired from the week but celebrating what God allowed them to be part of. Thank you for praying them through this experience. They will be reporting on their trip as part of a 1-hour GO Team Celebration (along with the Greece Maintenance Team ) next Sunday, June 1, at 12:15 in the F Modular. Light refreshments will be served. Please join us to hear directly from the team about how God answered your prayers.
Updated Saturday, May 24 - Two updates
First Update, Day 7
: Today was the last work day. We installed some
additional support and bracing. The roofers came to start the roof—the
RED roof. It was a much calmer work morning. We worked until
noon. It seemed to me that there was an increased bond between the
Haitian helpers and the team.
As we were setting up they seemed more friendly and
outgoing. Less reluctant. Maybe because the trusses were up there
was a sense of shared accomplishment—“look what we did together”. Not
one of us could have done it without the other. I think that
experience binds people. And hopefully that bond moves some of these
people to Christ.
Which moves us to the afternoon. We spent it preparing
150 gift bags containing: 10 small bags of rice, 2 bags of beans, a packet of
soup, 3 bottles of vitamins, 2 small wrapped gifts (stuffed animals I
think—they are wrapped, how am I supposed to know? LOL) For a Haitian
family that is enough food for a week. I should say that is what they
Pastor Poyis delivered 150 invitations to Mothers to come to
the church and collect a Mother’s Day gift (they celebrate Mother’s Day this
Sunday). When we arrived at 3:30 there were many families there- I would
guess over 200 people. Imagine a daily life that is consumed with
trying to put A meal on the family
"table" each day and then someone is offering a week’s worth of food.
Pastor Poyis spoke for a bit and then distributed the food.
It was great to see the women walking out of the church with huge smiles on
their faces. I saw 3 women running to their homes. There were
several bags leftover, Pastor Poyis gave them to some of the men that helped
with the construction.
As always it is great to watch God’s love be displayed.
Second Update, Day 6:
If day 5 was a bit lacking, day 6 made up for
it. Even though the morning started a bit rough. Greg
informed us that he lost one of his disabled orphans through the night.
They are not really sure what happened. But The Lord has taken the little
boy, Gary, back to Him. We stopped by the orphanage on the way to the job
site for Greg to check in. We were able to visit, hold and play with the
kids there. Including a tiny little blind girl . She was full of joy and
laughter. She also navigated through the home like she built it—at
least during the brief times one of us would let her out of our arms.
From there we went to Pastor Poyis’ church—“the job
site”. Usually when we drive onto the property 8-10 people are standing
around waiting for us. This morning—NO ONE!! We noticed across the
“street” there were about 20 men “pouring” a concrete roof. There were
about 10 men on the roof another 3-4 positioned up a ladder and several more on
the ground. The system entailed 5-8 buckets, 1 man would scoop a gallon
of cement and start it up the line of men on the ladder. It would be
passed from man to man and poured onto the roof. The empty bucket would
be returned by sliding it down a rope back to the men on the ground. They
had the buckets in constant movement. They were going all day. I
don’t know how their arms didn’t fall off. Well back to our
day. We guessed that many of our helpers were helping one of the their
neighbors pour the roof. So we were a little short staffed for our day
off rolling and setting trusses. One of the trusses was rolled with only
3-4 guys on the ground—it had already been lifted upside down onto the
wall. Once again, God provided and all the trusses were
rolled and set. There were no injuries and friendships continue to be
We still have some minor details to finish up tomorrow—maybe
a ½ day. Pastor Poyis has handed out invitations for mothers to come by
the church at 3:00 on Friday to collect a gift bag of food. Sunday is
their Mother’s Day. We will get to be a part of handing out those gift
Updated Thursday, May 22nd
Day 4 was a grueling day. Lots and lots of cutting and
assembling, but it does not appear to have progressed. The stack of
trusses is a bit larger but that is about it. That is an illusion of
course, materials are being prepped and readied. But visually
unsatisfying. The positive part of the day was that the neighbors
continue to come to the site. Some to watch and some to work.
Relationships are starting to form. And for those who are standing
at the gate we are a little more familiar to them and them to us.
Hopefully that will lead to being more comfortable in talking with each
other. As I write that, it occurs to me- maybe someone should invite them
inside the gate. DUH!!! Well that is my project for day 6 (day 5
Day 5: Today was a very productive day. The
trusses have been completed, the walls prepped and 4 of the 16 have been raised
and set!!! It is very satisfying to see the roof line begin to take
We had a surprise visit from Pastor Modil and 2 of the men
from his church that helped with the construction project at his church.
It is wonderful to see old friends. They seemed to be doing very
well. They stayed for most of the afternoon and helped with the
work. Ok, they visited and laughed but they worked too. It is
wonderful what the common bond of Christ does. We know a couple words of
Creole. They know a few words of English. Very few words are spoken
between us, but the love we feel for each other is evident. The Unifying
Love of Christ.
Chuck expects that we may finish the project tomorrow.
Pastor Poyis intends on passing out 150 gift bags of food and invitations to
attend church. We may help with that on Friday. It is fantastic
that he will be able to bring The Gospel and worship services to the people of the
neighborhood of Onoville.
Updated Tuesday, May 20th
Today was the 1st day of actual
construction. It started at 8:00 when Not The Home Depot opened. As
you can imagine, construction materials in Haiti are not quite as available as
they are at the Newhall Ranch Rd. Home Depot. The Haitians do however
have a very helpful process. You walk around and indicate that you would
like 100 of the 16 foot 2X4s. 20 of the 16 foot 2X6s. 2 boxes of 3 ½ inch
nails. 4 boxes of the 2 ½ inch nails and so on. Then your
sales associate goes and gathers all of the materials. For orders our
size this usually takes half of the day. In the interest of time, this
morning, we picked up a small part of our order so we could get started.
We were able to assemble 4 of the
16 trusses. And also start a system for the construction of the rest of
them. Don’t get too excited—they are assembled but not yet rolled up onto
the building. But we are further along than many of the previous
trips after the 1st day of construction. God, once again, multiplied
HE also blessed us with a lovely
day—not overbearingly hot nor humid. A nice breeze. And no
mosquito bites. Then ended the day with a little
rain. Most importantly, God brought 10-15 neighbors to the site.
They were eager to pick up a paint brush or a hammer or move lumber. We
were able to start the beginnings of some friendships. In the past, we
have found that the number of helpers increases as the week goes on. We
continue to look forward to what God has for us tomorrow.
Updated Sunday, May 18
Church services start to warm up around 6:00 AM here!!
The music begins and the congregation begins to file in. The volume of
the singing quickly increases as the seats begin to fill up. Pastor Greg
Barshaw indicated about 1000 people typically attend service—the singing
amazing!!! We joined the service at 6:45. Worship music is an
integral part of the meeting. Apparently they have recently added a
saxophonist. He was quite enthusiastic. I love the joy and
passion with which they worship. They end service at about 9:30.
We then took a drive to look at the job site. Pastor
Poyis is a Haitian man who has become Pastor Barshaw’ s right hand man.
Pastor Poyis has used his own money to purchase a plot of land—about ¾ of an
acre. He has had a concrete block structure built so far… we will be
working on adding the roof. Chuck also took measurements of the lot so he
could work on a “site plan map”. For those of us without construction
knowledge- a site plan map is a layout of the building or in this case
buildings and how they are positioned on the property. Pastors Poyis and
Barshaw want to build guest quarters for teams such as ours. A school
facility. A basic medical facility. It is a beautiful piece
of land. The mosquitoes seem to be a bit territorial right
now. Pastor Poyis went back to the property to “fumigate”.
Apparently it is done by burning tires on the property. We
have all pulled out the deet, just in case. We are excited to start the
work. And as always looking forward to what God will do with us.
One of the exciting aspects of the new location is seeing who God is going to
put in our paths.
After lunch we went to the orphanage “on the hill” It
has grown from 54 kids to 68. Rick and Chuck checked on the rabbits that
Bob Amstutz and his grandson, Parker, arranged and installed. All the
rabbits are alive and growing. They are showing signs of doing what
nature intended. We threw and kicked balls with the kids. Took
photos—they seem to love seeing themselves on the phone/camera. And just
held them. It amazes me how quick they are to smile and hug. The
kids are so smart and loving. They asked—by name- about Judy Jamieson and
Monisha Lawler. 2 of the lady team members who did not make it this year
but have endeared themselves to the Haitian people on past trips.
Updated Sunday, May 18
The Haiti Spring Construction Team had an uneventful journey
to Port au Prince Haiti. Every leg of the trip was on time and
smooth. Thank you Bob Amstutz for driving us down to LAX. We
took the red-eye from LAX to MIA. A 2 ½ hour layover in Miami and then on
to Port au Prince. Pastor Greg Barshaw was at the airport to pick us up
and drove us to our accommodations for the week. We were greeted with a
“container”. Inside the container were 250 wheel chairs, plus several
walkers and crutches donated by Joni and Friends. We started to
unload the container to move the wheel chairs to the roof top storage. It
did not take long before about 20 Haitians commandeered the task. The concrete
stairs are covered with the slickest tile I have ever touched. Once again
God’s care has taken us from the parking lot of Grace in Santa Clarita to
climbing up and down some precarious stairs in Haiti without a single
incident. Thank God.
It has been wonderful to reunite with old friends. God
seems to have cared for them---as He does. We are so blessed to be bonded
together under Christ’s love—and not just our old friends from Haiti, but our
family, friends and supporters back home. Thank you. We are truly