Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Blog Added - Real Hope for Haiti

My friend at World Wide Village shared this blog with me today and it's haunted me since I read through it. It's why Haiti needs your aid and your prayers. Pray for the children of Haiti and pray that more eyes are opened to the fact that just 700 miles off the coast of our country, children are dying due to lack of food. How wealthy are we? I read today that only 4% of the entire world makes more than $37,000 per year. As a nation, we are incredibly wealthy.

Here's a link to the blog - It's also on the right hand side of the page for future use. http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/

I promise one day soon that I will start blogging on the Haiti Trip from September!

Also, be sure to visit the World Wide Village website - Link on the right. They are having a fundraising dinner on November 1st. If you can get to Minneapolis it would be great to see you there! I'll be there and they would sure love to have additional support. Check it out!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Serpent and the Rainbow

I know, I know......I'll be getting to the mission trip story shortly. I just keep coming up with little items I want to post.

Wade Davis wrote the Serpent and the Rainbow back in 1985 and it tells quite a story. Unfortunately, Hollywood got a hold of it a few years later and ruined it. Nonetheless, the book is excellent. I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes regarding Haiti. Having just returned, it sums up (and confirms) some of the emotion I feel.

"The nation baffled me. Stunned by her multitudes
awed by her mysteries, dumb founded by
her contradictions..........I paced."
- Wade Davis, The Serpent and the Rainbow
I love and miss Haiti already. Please pray for Haiti. - Dave

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Haiti and Her People

In pleasure's dream, or sorrow's hour,
In crowded hall, or lonely bower,
The business of my soul shall be
Forever to remember thee!
Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Little Background Information



It'll be helpful if I provide a little bit of background information before I start detailing the journey. Most importantly the who's who. First of all - there are eight of us on the team. Four have been to Haiti before and four will be coming along for their first trip. That said - here's our team:

  • Me, Steve, Barbara, Susan, Sarah, Christy, Nicole and Ralph

We also met up with six others in Miami who we did not know (yet). That completed our team and made it a nice 14 altogether. They are:

  • Richard, Iva, Joseph, Eddie, Christy and Molly

There were many veteran Haiti Missionaries on this team. Richard, Iva and Joseph had all been coming for as many as eight years and Eddie was on his fourth trip this year! I knew as soon as we met up with these folks in the Miami airport that we were in for a great week. I was very excited.

As God does He put many different skill sets together on this team and the combination was perfect for the mission. Take a look at these skills:

Richard and Iva - Married couple who run an organization called Hope for Caribbean Kids Inc.

Molly - An ER nurse

Christy - A singer with a beautiful voice

Eddie - All around great guy who exudes joy; handyman and Mr. Fix It

Joseph - Photographer

Steve - Auto Repair, Small Engine Repair, everything repair, musician and a true servant

Nicole, Christy, Sarah, Ralph and Myself - Lovers of kids, uniform fabric cutters and distributors, picture takers, horse puncher (it's a long story - I'll share in another post) and lizard catchers.

Barbara and Susan - Worker bees, organizers, worshippers, bubble blowers, game players, lovers of kids, picture takers, gigglers and maternal figures for the rest of us.

These are not the complete list of skills within the team by any means but as you can tell we had quite the make up and were ready for action.

Disclaimer: Along the way I may skip a detail or not tell a story exactly right. Therefore I encourage comments from team members. If you're one of the 14 above and your reading along - please add comments and details. Get involved and make this blog come alive so we can share our experiences with more than just our loved ones. Sharing will help Haiti as others can be made aware of the great needs in this country we've all come to love so much.

Also, if you're not one of the 14 above and would like to comment - please do. It's how I know your out there and it makes it all the more exciting to know that someone is following along with our story. I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Departure

Good Morning! It's 4:39 Eastern Time and we're getting ready to leave for PAP in just a few hours. I wanted to get on one more time and say thanks to everyone for their support and prayers. The team is excited, our travel day was relatively uneventful (the airline lost four bags but we got em' all back the very same day) and we're ready to go!

I'll be back next Saturday and will attempt to blog the trip journal. While we're gone, please pray we're able to impact people, we're safe and that we grow closer to God as we serve. Your prayers matter. Also, pray Ike goes away and that nothing else forms in the coming week. Haiti doesn't need any more water. We hear it's soggy enough. As Pastor Tim at New Missions says "The storms are a challenge to an already difficult situation for the poorest of the poor".

With love, thanks and tremendous excitement (in doing God's work) - Dave

Sunday, August 31, 2008

An Attitude of Gratitude or 5 Days to Go!


And we're done! It's been quite a run. In the last sixty days we've had a restaurant fundraiser (Thanks Rubio's) a Car Wash (Thanks Mountain Ridge Baptist Church and Chick Fil A) and a fantastic fundraising dinner called "A Taste of Haiti" (Thanks Mountain Ridge, Chick Fil A, Mountain Ridge Youth and many more).

We are now 5 days out. All that stands between us are a Tropical Storm named Hannah, a Hurricane named Gustav and what the weather service calls a "potential disturbance" of high intensity which could be Ike. It's in God's hands though. Nothing is greater than God and His plans will prevail and we will accept whatever it is He lays before us.

I title this post "An Attitude of Gratitude" because that's exactly what I have right now. I wish I could share the excitement of Friday night's event with you. Like many other awesome events in our lives it went all too fast and appears as a blur in my memory. Nonetheless, I do know this. We were able to raise a good portion of money for Haiti. We were able to share the needs of the Haitian people with at least 140 people and best of all we saw people coming together as the hands and feet of Christ right there at the dinner. No - we weren't directly serving the poor and no we didn't run out and clothe the needy that evening but what we saw were people using their finances and giving up their evening to support the team, to fight against poverty and to learn more about what's happening in other parts of the world where there is need. I saw the Mountain Ridge Youth coming together to serve and many adults too. I saw people sacrificing items for the silent auction and I say people bidding and buying to raise funds. I heard from people who were touched by the videos we presented and I heard from others who said "Send Me! - I want to go!" How great is that!?

More to come - Pray for those in the path of Gustav and pray for our team as we make final preparations for the big trip! Be back soon. Thanks for all your patience with my intermittent blogging.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Quick Update

Come see some of the team this Sunday from 12pm to 4pm at the Cabelas at Westgate in Glendale. We're going to work with the "Fire Up Freedom" Fire Engine to attract some folks, create some awareness and possibly raise some funds. Here's the addresses and websites - We'd love to see you there!



Fire Up Freedom - Click Here to Check out their Site



Cabela's at Westgate - We'll be in the lot near the Fire Up Freedom Truck

Stop by and Say "Hello" - We appreciate the support! Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Next Step - More Details


We are now one month and four days from the trip! We had an awesome team meeting on Wednesday and this little group is excited and ready to work. I know it's only a week in Haiti, but just think, if more teams went down and just put in a week all year long.....more would happen.


Your now part of our journey as a reader and I hope you stay along for the ride. I'll blog up to the trip and then throughout it. You're going to live this one with us through this blog!


We've got exciting fundraisers coming up and I can't wait to share the needs and story of Haiti with my community. This is a message that we all need to hear. Here's what's coming up:


Saturday, August 16 - Blood Drive (benefit Red Cross locally) and Car Wash (for Haiti)


  • This should be a fun day and we're hoping to have some additional things going on to attract passer-bys.

Friday, August 29 - Bondye Li Bon Tout Tan - God is Good All the Time - A Night for Haiti



  • In the simplest form, this will be a nice evening with music and dinner

  • Working on musical entertainment (ColdSoup) our local favorite

  • Hoping to have additional things such as short clips of previous trips, speakers, Haitian food testing and more

We're meeting weekly now and the excitement of the team is growing. If you've got additional ideas for fundraising, we need it. Feel free to share in the comments section below. Anything we raise outside of airfare and mission expense will go to rice which has risen sharply in price in the past year. If you'd like to send a donation you can mail it to:


Mountain Ridge Church


Haiti Mission Team - Attention Barbara


23104 N. 67th Ave


Glendale, AZ 85310


More importantly prayer is appreciated. Money does alot, but our God is bigger and He can do alot more than money ever could. Thanks for reading - More to come!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Geophagy - Sustaining Life?

I've noticed there was increased traffic yesterday on the news and blogs about Haiti and the infamous mud cakes or cookies. The practice of eating dirt is called geophagy and in some places of the world its culturally accepted. Especially among pregnant women. Unfortunately in Haiti it's done for one main reason and that reason is hunger. You'll see it proliferate the Internet for a week or two at a time as new readers find out and spread the word sharing their own shock and displeasure. Here's an MSNBC article from a while back. The reality is this practice is not new or recent. It's been happening for a long, long time. It happens everyday around the world. Should it? Absolutely not. We as a society need to step out and do more. More long term actions that sustain, teach and empower locals to produce and care for their own people. Caring for the least of these is just one way we can be the hands and feet of Jesus while here on earth and when we do that, it's as if we care for Jesus himself. (Matthew 25:37-40). What a privilege to care for others. Thank God that we're physically well enough and in most cases financially well enough that we can do that. Both here at home and in places like Haiti. Don't wait for someone else to do it. If not you, then who?

I have an exciting day ahead. This afternoon I have an opportunity to share Haiti with the owners of my local Chick Fil A. We're hoping we can come up with some fundraising ideas. I'm sure we can. Please be in prayer.


This evening the team is meeting to plan the fundraising events for the month and finish flight plans as well. This will hopefully be the first get together for the entire group. I'm really looking forward to that as well. It should be a good time of fellowship and making new friends.


Continue to pray about our funding. We're working hard on it, but the timing is tight. Fortunately we serve a God who works on a perfect timeline. Talk to you all soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm Still Here!!


I know, I know. I said I'd probably be writing more with school starting and here I am after a two week absence. I'm terribly sorry. It was exactly the opposite of what I expected. Not that I expected school to be easy - by all means no. But I did expect to be on-line more frequently and although true. I have not been on-line blogging. I've been researching and writing and contributing to discussion boards and so on and so on. All in all it's been a blast and I'm still carrying an "A" in both classes as we enter into week three of five. Thank God!

Haiti is now just 5 weeks away and the excitement is building. The team sits at about 7. We have some folks who have expressed recent interest, so who knows, it could grow a little more. I'm thrilled to be part of this group and their excitement is contagious. We are still in need of plenty of prayer on the finance side. I started fund raising a bit late and now we're in the predicament of having great fund raisers planned but all of them occur after the airline ticket purchase deadline as well as the final payment to New Missions deadline. Anyone interested in a short term loan for a team of six or seven to Haiti? We should be able to pay it off by the end of August and the dividends will be tremendous!! Just send me an email...... : )

On that same subject, today's sermon was part of a series titled "What to do When Life Happens" and although I've enjoyed all the messages, today's was especially personalized. Here's the pre-story: As I mentioned above, we're about two weeks out of our flight booking deadline and payment deadline for New Missions. In total, that's about $6500 dollars for the team. We're all actively collecting and we're all actively praying, but the reality is we're getting close. Today's sermon was about Abraham and the offering of his son Isaac. Pastor told us that as Abraham came up one side of the mountain, God had a ram coming up the other side. God had a plan in that ram. A plan to provide an offering for Abraham in place of Isaac. Abraham did not know that though. Abraham fully intended to follow through with God's command of offering his son. Abraham's faith and trust in God was all that was needed and when he heard "Do not lay a hand on the boy", Abraham looked into the thicket and saw a ram caught by the horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Awesome!


I still don't get it you say........Here's my thought and my encouragement. As we trudge up one side of this mountain worried about funds and paying for the trip, I truly believe God's got a ram (a financial ram) coming up the other side to meet us in our faith and trust. I don't know how, but I believe God wants this team in Haiti come September 6th. Trust and pray with us! If it's in your heart, give a little too! Most importantly, trust and pray. That's what this team is going to do. God Bless and Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Good Read


One month and 23 days are what stands between now and our trip to Haiti. We're also continuing to raise funds so to be more clear - one month, 23 days and a fairly large sum of support are what stands between us and the trip. Not to be deterred, we'll push on and I know that whatever God has planned, He will finish.


I'm enthusiastic as our first team get together is this coming Wednesday and it will be a great opportunity to discuss the current fund raising plans as well as any ideas the team may have. I've been sending weekly update emails, but it will be nice to get everyone together in person and share some fellowship and prayer.


The whole family went to the library on Saturday. This is a frequent occurence for my wife and the boys, however I usually don't have the option of going with them because I'm at work. This time I wanted to go because I have two classes starting tomorrow (Monday) and I thought that I might be able to locate some of the textbooks as opposed to purchasing them. I was mistaken and couldn't find a single one. I know the library does not usually carry textbooks, however the books for these classes are more regular literature and not your standard college texts. Nonetheless, I found a couple of other good reads. I've actually finished one and I thought I would share a little bit about it. I had been considering reading it for quite a while so when I came across it in the biography section I figured I'd give it a shot. The other books I picked up are on my bookshelf to the right. Be sure to hit "next" to scroll through the entire shelf if your curious. Back to the book......


The author is Edwidge Danticat. You can click on her name for a link to her info page on Wikipedia. The name of the book is "Brother, I'm Dying" and in short it's the story of her life up through 2004/2005 with a focus on her father and uncle. It's the first book in my life that I've ever finished in two days. I found it to be very eye opening. Ms. Danticat, as you can read on the Wikipedia site, is a highly regarded author and this story, being her own is told with an element of transparancy that I could only wish to reflect in my own writing. It flows and feels very real. Her emotions are apparent and I feel as if I had a glimpse into Haitian history as well as this individual's personal experience. I would highly recommend the book to anyone. It's also a great eye opener for those of us who need a reminder of all that we have in America. Growing up in Haiti or just growing up loving someone in Haiti is not easy.


In closing, I apologize that my posts have been far apart. I'm going to be more active this week as I have many things on the horizon. For example - Monday (2nd Summer Session at school starts) , Tuesday (Missions Team Meeting), Wednesday (Haiti Team Meeting) and much more. I see myself having more to say this week and hopefully some good updates. Keep Haiti and it's beautiful people in your prayers. Merci.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freedom

I would guess that Galatians 5:1 was probably a frequently quoted verse in churches across the country this weekend. It says that "It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery." In Galatians, Paul is writing to the churches in Southern Galatia. In this particular passage he is referring to the freedom we receive from Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Through that sacrifice we are free to live unselfishly and free of the bonds of sin. Check it out.

When I reread that verse, the second sentence reminds of something I've read numerous times by many authors. That is that poverty is a form of slavery. Had I not seen it first hand, I may not have understood the comment. When your level of poverty effects your every day survival then you are enslaved to it. It rules you and keeps you from even the basics. The basics such as shelter, food, clean drinking water and sanitation. I know we've all seen it on Feed the Children infomercials and other TV specials, but it's not as real when your sitting on your living room couch with a cold drink and a bag of chips. It is real when you smell it and see it first hand. It's real when walk into a village and the children swarm around you. It's real when you peek into the simple thatched homes to find only a mat and some basic utensils. Most of all it's real when you look into their eyes and see the need. Poverty steals so much from the children of Haiti. It limits their opportunities and in many cases limits their lives.

Poverty has changed the way Haitian people act and react. For example, they are amazingly creative and talented. While there, you'll see normal everyday items ingeniously re-made into helpful tools, utensils or other necessities. They generally don't discard things (at least not in the country) because they are constantly thinking of another way to use and re-use. Not because they are "green" but because they are poor.

When it comes to poverty controlling how they react, I think of a recent blog I've been reading called the Pye's in Haiti. It appears that the worst has happened for this family recently and they've lost a child. It sounds like Jabez was three years old. The reason I mention this blog and family is because of a recent post on their site. They write about mourning the Haitian way. Their point in the writing is that the Haitian people know suffering and through this they mourn differently. The blog says that oftentimes a Haitian woman will have five or more children and rarely sees them all make it to their third birthday. A woman that I had the privilege to meet on our trip last year had 12 children. Can you imagine? That's with no hospitals, vaccines, prenatal or postnatal care for that matter.

The Haitian people are incredibly strong. They are proud and they are very, very hard working. All this and poverty still enslaves them. It's also important to note that Haiti is the first free black nation. Free in 1804 after a slave rebellion that Hollywood is currently trying to recreate on film. Go get em' Danny Glover. If it draws some focus to the modern day needs in Haiti, I'm all for it. We'll have to wait till next year for that one though.

Poverty is out there and it's ugly. It smells bad, it looks bad and saddens me to think of the children who as the least of these face the most suffering as result. I encourage you to think outside of your comfort zone. It may be uncomfortable and it may be bit of a downer, but you know what, starvation is a downer and it's happening as you read. It's happening in Haiti and many other places in our world. If you take away one thing from today's ramble consider giving. Give to the wonderful folks at New Missions. You can sponsor a child for about $30 a month or you can opt to pay for rice which is so desperately needed. Not to mention it's skyrocketed in cost this year.

Only a two months till our trip! Please be in prayer for our finances as we attempt to pay for the different things that are needed (travel, hotel, vaccines and time at the mission). I'm guessing we're going to need about $1200-1500 per person. It's a small team, but we'll join up with others and I know that we can make a difference. We won't change the world, but we'll be able to make a child who may not have smiled or experienced hope that day do exactly that. In some ways they can expereince a short respite from poverty or at least forget about it for a few moments. That's freedom and that's an accomplishment that pays great dividends.

As always, thanks for reading and check back soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Share the Well

Today I have a song on my mind. Thanks again to the Livesay's who are my blogging resource. I've learned more from reading their blog and playing with the cool widgets on their site than anywhere else. Recently, Tara posted a David Crowder song and I thought, you know, there's a couple of songs that mean something to me that I'd like to post.

Today, I thought I'd start with a great tune from Caedmon's Call. If you've not heard them or heard of them, check out their website by clicking here. They have a heart for missions, Mainly in India and this is what the song reflects. I thought, hmmm...with a couple of simple city name changes we can make this a Haiti song for acoustic worship under the mango tree. At the New Missions mission they have morning and evening devotions and worship under this really big mango tree. I'm not so sure what to do with the Je Ra Ji Ra portion though as I'm not 100% sure what it means in Hindi. Anyone out there know? Let me know - I'd sure appreciate it. If it's Jesus, we can work something in with Jezi which is Jesus in Haitian Creole.

Anyway, the lyrics to this song are really great and appeal to ways we can serve or support. It's got a great sound with a cool rhythm. Hope you like it as much I do.

Share the Well - Caedmon's Call

Je Ra Ji Ra, Ji Ra, De Ji Ra, De Ji Ji Ji
Chorus
Share the well, share with your brother
Share the well my friend
It takes a deeper well to love one another
Share the well my friend
Je Ra Ji Ra, Ji Ra, De Ji Ra, De Ji Ji Ji
Verse 1
Do you think the water knows
Flowing down the mountain thaw
Finally to find repose
For any soul who cares to draw
Some kindred keepers of this Earth
On their way to join the flow
Are cast aside and left to thirst
Tell me now it is not so
Chorus
Verse
All God's creatures share the water hole
The blessed day the monsoon comes
And in His image we are woven
Every likeness every one
From Kashmir (Jacmel) to Karala (Leogane)
Under every banyan (mango) tree
Mothers for their children cry
With empty jar and bended knee
Chorus
Je Ra Ji Ra, Ji Ra, De Ji Ra, De Ji Ji Ji
Bridge
You know I've heard good people say
There's nothing I can do
That's half a world away
Well maybe you've got money
Maybe you've got time
Maybe you've got the Living Well
That ain't ever running dry
Chorus x2
Je Ra Ji Ra, Ji Ra, De Ji Ra, De Ji Ji Ji

from the album Share the Well


boomp3.com

Monday, June 30, 2008

That's It - We're Going!

I'm in the process of organizing a team of folks to head to Haiti in September and I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to finally be in the planning stages. We'll be traveling to the New Missions Campus on the Leogane Plain just like last year. It's a very beautiful place in so many ways. It's clear when your there that God has blessed it. From the breathtaking views to the icy cold well flowing with clean water - you can tell that God is in the mission. This is the same mission that Pastor George (mentioned below) founded back in 1983. It's now expanded to 20 schools and churches and its my prayer that great Haitian leaders will come from there and make a difference for their country. That would be an awesome day!


Back to the trip. Call it "Voluntourism" or a short term mission, but either way, I guarantee we all get more than we give. That's the beauty of working for God and serving Him. I think of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. It's Matthew 25:31-46. You probably know the take away. For me, its......"whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me". In simple terms - if I serve the poor and needy than I am in effect serving Jesus? Correct!?Absolutely! Amen! The goal for all of us is to do it everyday. Not only in Haiti but in our backyards as well. We can't turn it on when we're abroad and then turn it off when we return home....or can we? Therein lies the challenge for many of us - including me.

Back to the trip. I need your help. Is he talking to me? Sure I am. We'd like to raise some support in a humble, professional and courteous manner. Those of you who may have done this before might have ideas to offer up. If so, please submit a comment and let me know. I know that whatever is in God's Will will occur, but I know that we can't sit idly by but instead must be actively pursing the prize or in this case the support. Please share your ideas. The team has some, but we can use all we can get.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to check out the Livesay blog. This family is really incredible and needs your support and prayers as they make a change in their life. They're changing the organization with which they're affiliated and this requires a move and other changes. Troy, the husband, has just released a photo book called Rocks in the Sun and it looks phenomenal. Tara, the wife, says that $28 from the sale of each book helps support the Livesay Family's new ministry. If you can afford it, consider picking up a copy and supporting these wonderful folks who work so hard to help the Haitian people. I'm definitely going to try and budget for a copy. To get to their blog just click here. Although I've not met or communicated with this family directly, Tara is a fantastic writer and the blog speaks volumes about their passion for serving. After reading just a few posts you feel like you know them.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Haiti - Hope in God


To have hope in Haiti means to have hope in it's future. To have hope in God is integral. Romans 12:12 says - Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. There's so many wonderful people out there making a difference and that is reason for joy. Families like the Livesay's and so many more. Working hard everyday to share the love of Christ through their witness and their actions. I'm encouraged when I see the many sites and blogs out there dedicated to Haiti and serving it's people. It encourages me to do more. One thing I will do is reach out to others who are in the mission field. Pray for them, support them when I can and encourage them always.

That said and the reason I mentioned hope - The country of Haiti lost one of it's great warriors last week. Pastor George DeTellis went home last Thursday morning and the world lost a great man. His impact to the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic will be felt for generations to come. He was an incredibly passionate man and speaker and I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet him here on this earth. Fortunately, his wondeful family carries on this vital ministry. Instead of rambling on about Pastor George, I encourage you to visit newmissions.org and learn about him first hand. I couldn't do him justice with my words, but the site offers a glimpse into all the many things he's done. God Tube also has some very informative videos. You can search using the words - New Missions. Pastor George's passion is evident and contagious as you watch him speak. Man, I would have loved to hear him preach God's Word!
Well, I hope your week is off to a great start. Don't be afraid to leave a comment or two. Let me know you're out there and thanks for reading.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Video shot in June 2007
Inspired by the Haitian Proverb - Mountains Beyond Mountains
Just some simple panorama of the Haitian countryside in case you've never seen it. I have no clue what I'm talking about in the beginning.....btw the background noise is coming from a generator. A Haiti necessity if you plan on running anything electric.

video

The Beginnings - A Little History


Bonjour! or Bonswa!, (Depending on the time of day)

This is the first of many entries. I intend to use this blog as a site to journal, plan, think aloud, share and just babble. After having visited Haiti in 2007 on a short term mission, I am infatuated with it. It is a land of contradiction. So much beauty amidst so much poverty and suffering. My naive American nature cannot grasp that this country is a mere 600 miles off the coast of Florida yet it's like stepping back in time. I'll share some statistics in future posts, however I would imagine that most who take the time to read this blog are similar to me in that they've already immersed themselves in all things Haiti. More to come shortly. Thanks for reading.