Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Perspective

Wow! It has been 12 months since we first visited Haiti, and excitedly, we made the journey again. So blessed to see Rebecca and the boys again.  Her efforts impact so many.  I bet when we all get to Heaven, Rebecca is one of those who God saves a special spot for at the front of the line.  The Haitian spirit of joy and faith continues to endure for many, despite the challenges of daily life. Visiting Pascal's, Jimmy Bono's, and Mother Teresa's Nutrition Center quickly brought back fond memories of last time, but also new perspective as I watch our new team digest each challenge and blessing.  Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying, and the children at Lesly's are my favorite opportunities to make connections.  Even though clean up and rebuild efforts seem to be moving forward, there will never be a shortage of those who need love, hope, and faith.   Praying for Rebecca's continued safety, strength, wisdom, and vision.  God Bless!

Mark Tooker


Wednesday Night Blog Post :)

  One of the places that had the greatest impact on me during this trip to Haiti was Lesley's orphanage. The moment started for me the day before, on Tuesday. There was a little boy who spilled his bubbles on the ground and was crying. I picked him up and held him for the remainder of the day. On Wednesday as we arrived he immediately ran over to me and I held him almost the whole day. All he did was lay against me. He didn't move a muscle. He didn't even lift is head to look at the action that was going on around him. He could barely clap his hands. It was like all the life was drained out of him. The other children finally told me that he was sick. It then hit me like a ton of bricks that he had no mommy to hold him and hug him and kiss his face and tell him he would be okay. Something so comforting, that I took for granted all the time, was something that he may never know. I got to be that for him today. 
As we were on our way back to Rebecca's house after our visit to the orphanage, it dawned on me that this is what Jesus wants to do for us, for our pain and suffering. He wants to hold us and comfort us, tell us everything will be alright. He wants to heal our pain & suffering. He wants to love on us and for us to receive it.   
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past saying: "I have loved you with and everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
In the Grip of His Grace,


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Haiti Mission

Today we went to our church's sponsored orphanage. Our team brought in trucks of fill in order to divert pooling water which was bringing mosquitos. One of the kids gave me a baby boy and a bottle of juice to feed him with. The baby's name was Kelvans. He was plumb and cuddly the way a baby should be. Most of the babies we had seen a few days before at Mother Teresa's Nutrition Center were much too thin especially in their limbs.

I met a girl named Waseejka. She is twelve years old and spoke very good English. She told me that her mother is dead and that her mom from Kentucky sends money so she can learn English. She is going to be adopted and move to Kentucky.

The girl who stole my heart was CarolynD. She is a beautiful eight year old girl with a big bright smile. She was very attached to me and wanted to be near or sit with me at all times.

I met another girl whose name was Misha. Misha seemed very sad and she welled up in tears now and again. She took the bubbles that were given to all but she did not play with them. We had trouble communicating as I tried to determine what was wrong. She overheard me asking Waseejka about her Kentucky mom and Misha told me that her mother is dead and her father is dead. She seemed to want comforting and I kept her close and at times she laid her head in my lap and sometimes seemed to be asleep for a few minutes. I asked Waseejka why she cried and Waseejka asked Misha what was wrong. She told me that her head hurts and pointed out to me that Misha had a big lump on her forehead between the eyes. I asked one of our interpreter/guide to inquire about her to see if she might need some medical attention. He determined that about a year ago Misha had suffered an accident and that since then she gets very painful headaches from time to time. I was sad that she will likely continue to suffer and wished I'd had some children's tylenol to help ease her pain.

These girls were around the ages of my two nieces who are very near and dear to my heart. I thought about how much better lives they enjoy-simple comforts and love everyday.

Lesley's Orphanage

This morning our team went to Lesley's Orphanage to find mounds of dirt ready to be spread along the ground.  I raked with the team for about 40 minutes until I needed a break.  I went over to get my water and made my way over to the bench to sit down and have my haired braided by my new friend Chantel.  She spent a good long time on my hair and at one point bent forward and asked me, "Lidia, do you love me?'' I replied, "yes Chantel, I love you."  She got me thinking about the one thing all humans be loved and special to someone.  Our Pastor back home in New York has been preaching for months about the only thing that matters, "Love God, Love Others."  This young girl already knows what the most important thing in life is.  LOVE!  May we show the love of Jesus to every single child, woman, & man.  Jezi remen ou!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

She told me she loved me

We went to Lesly's orphanage today. A lot more children then I expected.  The one thing I did notice is the connection the children had with us.  They had so much life in them and were happy.  I connected with a little girl named Crystala.  She was around three years old.  Beautiful, big eyes and smile.  She laughed at the smallest things.  We had some bubbles with us and she thought it was fun to chase them.  She was talking a lot but I did not know what she was saying so I found someone to interpret, turns out she was saying "I Love You".  That just about broke my heart.  I told her I loved her and that God loves her.  It made it all seem clear to me why I was brought here.  I was not going to fix everything in Haiti or in that orphanage, but I was there to tell Crystala that someone loved her today.

June 26, 2011
Denise Zumbo
New York 

Used for his Glory

It's day three here and Haiti and I'm still trying to process everything. It has been so amazing to see the Joy on the faces of the Haitian orphans. My perspective on this trip has completely changed in such a short time. I believed I was the one going to come to Haiti and make a difference, be it small, but a difference. What I'm finding along this journey is that they are the ones making a difference in my life. One story that has really impacted me is the one of Jimmy Bono. I have struggled a lot with my past and the choices I have made during a period of my life. I believed for the longest time that part of my life was a waste. Through Jimmy's story I am learning that God can take everything and use it for his glory. Jimmy was a street kid. They are considered the poorest of poor, outcasts of society. One would believe that was the life he was destined to have forever. God had other plans. He took one man's life and is using it to change and transform the lives of hundreds of kids. Jimmy now owns a home for street kids. Kids that would otherwise grow up just the way he did. Kids that society has discarded and left for dead. The experiences in his life, the struggles that he has been through, God is using for his Glory to help transform the lives of these kids. I am sure during the time in Jimmy's life while he was a street kid he never imagined that God would use him in the way he has. I now realize that if I allow him, God can use that time in my life, that I consider wasted, to minister and help change lives of people who maybe are going through the same things that I struggle with. I now really can put a face to the verse what the Enemy Meant for destruction God can use for his glory. " For I know that plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you Haiti for forever changing my life! 
Love ,

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blessings Abound

Blessings abound!  I came to Haiti to give, serve, and be a blessing to others but the reverse has happened - and disproportionately so!!  Our day began with a visit to a small, remote orphanage.  As we entered through the gate we heard children singing.  We later learned that it was an impromptu church service led by a 13 year old girl. The children were dressed in their best clothes - boys in suits, girls in beautiful dresses.  They sang energetically as they praised the Lord within their small concrete classroom.  How precious to see them worshipping our God, not because an adult told them to do so, but because they are joyful and grateful for what they do have.   

God's timing was all over this visit.  We were supposed to go to a different orphanage first, but we showed up too early.  So we continued on to this one.  As we handed out specially prepared gifts to the children, I thought, how beautiful it is that we could be Jesus' hands - blessing the children with gifts as they sang and praised their Heavenly Father.  And, in turn, we were blessed as we admired their emphatic love of the Lord despite all of their daily challenges of survival.  God placed our group with those children at a very special moment in time.  Everyone in that room was blessed by unexpected circumstances.  Our God is a great God! 
Beth Tooker

Monday, June 20, 2011

First day of Library

Throughout the years I have learned that if I ever want to do anything or accomplish anything there is a time for planning and then a time to jump in. For the first FFCIN Mobile Learning Center or “MLC” that time came Tuesday of last week. Several teams had worked on cataloguing books, marking them, making pockets and cards etc. Although we don’t have the computers ready for the computer learning part of our program, I decided that we would just start with the very first FFCIN library!

So, we loaded up our makeshift stanchions, foldable tables, a few chairs, books and volunteers and headed out to a small orphanage in the Carfour Marin area. This orphanage although small sponsors a school for the area’s children. We had already registered the children and made their library cards. On the way there it started to rain. It was not looking good for our first library session. I told everyone that it didn’t really matter if many children came or not because it was a good time to figure out the logistics of setting up. Remember, conditions are always rough and one must make do with what is available. So, in the rain we unloaded all of our supplies and set up under a large tent that the kids have school class under. We arranged the stanchions such that the kids came in the front gate and immediately had to go into a line where their cards were handed out and they were allowed “entrance”. We then had benches and tables with the books on them, a check out desk and more benches to sit and read.

Our starting time was 2 p.m. At 2:15 only a few children from the orphanage itself were in the library. A few children then started to peek through the gate and decided to see what this was all about. They were confused. This “activity” looked different than anything we had ever done before. In the past, when the “blancs” visit it was with games, art projects or just playing. This, was different. Some of the kids even showed a little fear as they were made to stand in a line. At first, they were perplexed when faced with hundreds of books laid out on the tables. The kids were told that they could choose a book and look at it. The kids hurriedly chose and went to the checkout table where they were asked their name. The card inside the book was taken out and their name was written on it! Soon the looks of confusion turned into looks of pride. They sensed that they were able to do something special.

As the minutes went by, more and more children showed up! The rain had stopped and the kids poured in. All were orderly, all were looking at books and asking questions! The boys, Patrick, Bony and Jimmy were very busy teaching the children how to take care of books, reading with them and explaining things. It was the coolest thing ever.

 At one point, the orphanage had an obviously educated and well respected woman visitor whom asked some of the volunteers what we were doing. She ended up asking me how she could register with our organization to give” her kids” at “her schools” this same opportunity. She was so impressed and said to me “Our Haitian children are eager to learn”. Come to find out she is the Director of a large Haitian organization and a Senator’s wife. We will be meeting later this week.

After this first experience of introducing the Haitian children to the wonderful world of books, I was overcome with knowing that we are on track. What a joy to see the joy in their young faces!

Friday, June 17, 2011

How heavy is your load?

Remember; Your burdens just may not be as heavy as the next guys!

From Dominic Weiss

I like Haiti a lot because it gives you an opportunity to see everything that
third-world countries and corrupt countries go through. It opens your
eyes and relieves stress with American troubles that bother you, but you
realize it is worst in Haiti. The kids there really enjoy your visits
and they are blessed that you visit them. One kid about 6 years old
stopped dead in his tracks the other day when we were doing math, he
got the chills and had a breath of release and said God Bless, and
that stuck out to me because they uplift God even though they have


What I want to blog about is how this experience has changed me in different way. Lesly's was the greatest change for me. I realized that people go through worse times than me and I realized that the world does not revolve around me. What his me the most was the nights me and Jimmy stayed up on the roof and talked. I now know a lot about him; like his dreams and goals. That is what hit me the most.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

A dollar a day

It is sometimes hard to comprehend just how expensive it is here in Haiti. I am always shocked at how much I have to spend just to feed those of us at our home. Many times the food in the markets are even more!

Update on Flooding

It continues to be very wet and rainy. And, Lesly's is still flooded. Thanks to you, we will be able to provide 7 to 10 large dump trucks of gravel. And possibly a lot more when our groups come! Our first group of the season will be here tomorrow. I am anxious to welcome them here!!

The boys and I have been very busy arranging books. Thanks to Cara and Abby, we got most of the books catalogued, now we are figuring out logistics. We are almost there and I do believe that we will be ready to rock and roll this next week. The Imagine Learning Technician should be here between July 1 and July 11th. They will let me know soon. He/she will come and set up our 15 computers with their premier ESL childrens' computer program. They will then train us. It is all very exciting!

I will post pictures as soon as we get the gravel and supplies for Lesly and as soon as we start our library.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pictures of flooding at Lesly's

Water, mosquitoes and frustration

Water, Mosquitoes and frustration

I had a chance to visit Infants of Jesus Orphanage (Lesly's place) yesterday. It has been raining a lot but I was still surprised at how much water they have on the ground. On our way in, we followed a large dump truck filled with gravel. I wondered outloud to Patrick if the truck was going to Lesly's. Sure enough, we followed it right in. As soon as we went through the gate, I could see why they needed that gravel. The yard was a swamp. The only ones that are happy are the ducks! The kids and workers are consigned to a small area of ground. Two large tents have been destroyed and there is a makeshift covering over the kitchen area. I had an appointment with Lesly, but he was not there. So, we visited for awhile. Soon the mosquitoes started to attack. The kids surrounded me and took it as their personal mission to keep the mosquitoes off of me. Little hands were swatting me. As soon as they would squish a mosquito, they had to show me the blood. It was so uncomfortable that I decided to go and meet with Lesly another day. Besides, I had another appointment. It happened that we saw Lesly riding home on a tap-tap. He saw us too. We stopped, he jumped off the tap-tap and we had our meeting in the truck on the side of the road. Lesly was very tense and displayed a lot of frustration. I think that in his view, a lot of people come to "observe" the orphanage, take pictures, give vague promises and then leave. After a somewhat combative meeting we finally worked things out and both of us ended up friendly.

The orphanage desperately needs to build up the living areas with gravel so that they aren't living in the swamp throughout the season. If you would like to help, please go to the web page and donate any amount towards "gravel". It sure would be appreciated! Have a great day everyone and may God Bless you in all of your endeavors for good.