Saturday, February 19, 2011

As the sun retreats behind a smoky horizon, the generator roars in the background as a constant reminder that we are not in Kansas/Kona anymore. Like a thick morning fog, tension hangs in the air brought on by the news that we will be spending yet another restless night stuck in the tent city with out showers. The worn out 14 sit outside swatting mosquitoes, struggling to maintain their pasted on smiles as the pastor and his crew put the finishing touches on the fence that will eventually protect the new church we have been setting up for the past two days. Some of us are crowded around one of the last remaining clean sheets of paper trying to plan sleeping arrangements for 14 people in an 8-man tent when a new commotion stirs everyone to attention.

Our contact, Pastor George, has been diligently meeting our every need while also faithfully taking care of his beautiful wife, Shelly, who is now frantically pacing back and forth with a strange look in her eye. Her hands press firmly into the small of her own back while she stifles the panic that slowly approaches with each deep breath. One foot stumbles in front of the next as the pain is almost too much to bare. Realizing what is going on, the girls spring into action, taking Shelly by the arms and helping her to a make shift bed that just happened to be ready. As the women scramble to make sure everything is clean , the guys are taping bare wires together to the rest of the scene does not have t continue in the shadows.

Trembling hands scrub and lay out what few supplies we have available. The clean metal of a Swiss Army Knife catches the light, joined with the smell of minty fresh dental floss and a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer. These are the tools that will be used to welcome new life into the world at the Tent City in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Some would later say this scene could have involved a king, just over Two Thousand years ago!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ok... So, I know today is January 29 and this is dated Dec 27. Internet out here is very rare and time to sit and type out what I wrote a month earlier is even harder to come by. Hope this post still gives a little bit of insight into this part of my journey. Love you all and hope someone is actually reading this! :)

Dec 27, 2010

Haiti...Day 12... I thought the first 10 were bringing me to breaking point, but these last 2 are solid evidence that we are capable of so much more than we think.

During the 1st week, we woke up each morning, walked half an hour to an orphanage and spent time loving on 40+ kids. The men hauled dirt and bricks up a hill so the local workers could finish building a new toilet and shower. We worked our butts off each day in the blazing sun. It wasn’t easy, but it was definately evident that we were helping. On day 4 of orphanage detail, a few of us began work on the pre-existing well. Because of the Cholera epidimic, they are scared to drink the water from it. Our plan is to install a pump and cover the well to block out the light. In theory, this should make the water drinkable because the bacteria cannot survive without light. We didn’t quite finish that part of the project, but I’m pretty sure we have plans to return.

Friday was Christmas Eve... This is my very first time away from home for Christmas. Let me first say. . . It was bittersweet. You don’t how much the climate effects you until you are jumping headfirst into a place where the winter months involve shorts, beaches and very little change in temperature. It was so strange to hear Christmas music in the 90 degree weather! It just wasn’t the same, but we still did our best. That night, the team made hot chocolate and watched “It’s a Wonderful Life.” After the movie, I stayed up, into the wee hours of the morning, decorating the common room for Christmas morning with threaded popcorn and duct tape streamers. When everyone woke up, we listened to Christmas music and were suprized with bacon, eggs and pancakes for breakfast! MERRY CHRISTMAS HAITI!

So, all that brings me to the last 2 days. On Sunday morning we load up on top of a truck and ride an hour and a half into the heart of destruction. Port Au Prince looks like a scene from a war movie! Most of the buildings are completely destroyed and millions of people have been left homeless even a year after the quake. They have been forced to set up make shift tent cities in the parks and any available land. The smell as we drove into town was overwhelming to say the least! There is trash everywhere and people use the streetcorners and gutters to relieve themselves as mother nature makes her frequent calls. We finally get to our destination, a tent city in the middle of Port Au Prince. We’re told that this is the largest and most chaotic tent city in existence. 5 – 7 thousand people crammed into makeshift houses with only feet or inches separating each tattered tent. Human beings living like cattle...victims of circumstance.

The team climbs down from the top of our chariot into a crowd of curious locals. Everyone wants to hold your hand and ask your name. The fragmented english they know comes from programmed responses to the few white faces that pass through from time to time offering pocket change and donated t-shirts. We spend the afternoon building a stage and painting a sign for the crusade that has been scheduled to start that night. As the sun goes down, people gather in the square in hopes of finding a better tomorrow. Preachers from around the world share their hearts as the words are translated from the multitude. From atop the bootleg stage, the Holy Spirit gently moves accross a willing crowd and each heart present is given a message of hope in the midst of despair. Something became very clear to me that night. There is a difference between someone who is wrecked by poverty, struggling to make it from one meal to the next and someone who is broken to the core and struggling to live. A lot of people I have met in my travels were just living so that one day they could die. These people, however, are dying to live!

After the crusade, all 14 of us piled into our one designated tent to sleep like sardenes. The hours passed slowly through the night until the sun came up way too early the next morning. A new day has come but the same hopless people are still waiting to fight for our attention, and the same question lingers in the thick morning air... “Will this ever end?”

Monday, January 17, 2011

I said, "Here I am, send me!" And God said, "OK...Go to Haiti!"

So here we are. . . Haiti!

September 28th, I landed in Kona Hawaii to begin planning for this day! People from all over the world converged on one campus in the middle of the pacific ocean fervently searching for God’s call on their lives. When I arrived, I knew nothing of Haiti. All I knew was that there was a team going to Africa. Little did I know, God had something different for 14 of us.

For the first 3 months we learned about the father heart of God. He loves you and I so much! We also learned that the spirit world is real and active. It is important to be able to discern between spirits and/or negative strong holds on our lives. God is continually speaking to us each day.

On Dec 15th, 14 of us started our journey toward Haiti. Four planes and 30 hours later, here we are. Everyone is tired and no one has luggage because it got misplaced somewhere along the way. If ever there was a time for us to understand that God is in control, that time is now. We’ve been here for 3 days now and still have no luggage. The first night we stayed at YWAM Port Au Prince. That was such a blessing because there was power and internet. I was able to call home and assure my family that I landed safely. The next day we get on the Tap Tap (Haitian Taxi) and drive about an hour to our home from the next 30 days. At this point we realize there will most likely be no power because it has been out for 8 days already. That’s ok though! The food has been great! We only have one bathroom between 14 of us, but that’s ok too... nobody packed soap so we all smell the same! We have been passing the deoderant between pits and have shared what snacks we have as we spend each night reading books, playing music and sharing life be candle light.

Saturday, we went to the market. It was like nothing I have ever seen. Vendors lined the streets selling anything and everything they could find. As we walked through the city of St. Mark, eyes followed our every move. Empty hands and hopeless eyes met ours as we passed by the beggars and orphans. “Grangou...Grangou” They were saying, “I’m Hungry!” Most of the kids we see had been trained to say, “Give me one dollar” in english. My heart ached for the people because I had nothing to give. When we got home that night there was a hot meal waiting on us. As I ate the delicious feast, I thought of the people I had seen that day. Most of them have nothing, but I fell asleep w/ a full stomach and an aching heart for the people of Haiti.

Sunday morning, a new smell drifed though the house. Pumpkin soup is a fairly new delacacy for the Haitians. Apparantly there was a revolution in Janaury. Before that, only the high class had access to pumpkins. After the revolution, every Hatian was allowed to cook and eat this delicious meal. Our cook this morning was from one of the largest hotels in Haiti and she wanted us to be a part of the new revolution. After we had this soup for breakfast, I get news that I’m preaching the Sunday morning sermon in about 30 minutes. I wasn’t super excited to be put on the spot, but I began to prepare. As I began to stifle my own apprehensions and fear, I asked God what he wanted me to tell the people this morning. Immediately he said, “Give them Hope... Tell thime I love them.” In my heart I thought “Lord I’m sure they hear that all the time!”

He said, “Tell them again!”

“But God...”

“Jon... I want YOU to tell them...again!”

30 minutes passed... One Hour... Two Hours... About 20 minutes after I finished preparing to speak,we get news that we are going somewhere else for church. I thought I was off the hook but we plan on going to night church, so I’ll have the chance to preach in Haiti after all!