Haiti Construction-Spring


Spring 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 survive on.    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 formed.  



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 bags.

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 has passed).  


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 shape. 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 our efforts. 

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 blessed!!!