Haiti Bookends

March 30th, 2010 § 1

These two videos represent one of our first experiences in Haiti and also one of our last.

I’ll start with our last day in Haiti.  In conversations with one of the two Marassa tent communities, we had asked them what needs they had, and one of the answers that came back was that they wanted and needed prayer.  So we offered to come back the next morning and spend time praying for the community and individuals from that tent city.

Now I’m going to take you all the way back to our very first day in Haiti.  Before we had even crossed the border from the Dominican Republic into Haiti, we visited a field hospital that was caring for people injured in the earthquake.  It was there that we met Roody.  Previously, I posted a video of him singing Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.  This is an extended clip featuring some of our conversation with him and showing a bit about our experience at the hospital:

Bringing Aid to a Community in Haiti

March 29th, 2010 § 1

I posted while in Haiti about how we worked to provide aid for a pair of tent communities we encountered.  (You can read the original post here.)  This video shows you a little bit of what we experienced during our last two days in Haiti:

Worship on the Streets of Haiti

March 28th, 2010 § 1

It seems fitting that I post this video on Palm Sunday, the day that celebrates and remembers Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey while people praised him and sang in the streets.

While in Haiti, we experienced a day of people dancing, singing, parading, and praising Jesus in the streets of Port-au-Prince.  Here’s a short video to give you a small glimpse into what that was like:

Seeing the Displacement in Haiti First-hand

March 25th, 2010 § 0

This is a community we spent some time in while in Haiti that had been displaced from their homes and were now living in tents in a field behind their former neighborhood.  One of their main needs is for better tents and tarps.  With the rainy season is starting in the next couple of weeks, their current “tents” (essentially sticks and sheets) won’t hold up for very long.  For more information on how you can be part of helping Haiti, click here.

Experiencing National Days of Prayer in Haiti

March 22nd, 2010 § 1

Our second day in Haiti also happened to be the second of three national days of prayer and fasting that were happening all across Haiti that weekend.  We had no idea that this would be going on when we scheduled and planned the trip.

It was incredible.  Everywhere we went in Port-au-Prince, there were people overflowing out of the churches.  We visited two gatherings but we must have seen dozens more.  The first we visited was being held in a walled-off field and there must have been somewhere around 2,000 people there.  The second probably had around 5,000 people.  It was being held at a church, but the church couldn’t hold everyone so they had set up in an open courtyard next to the church.  The church was actually being used as an overflow area!  On top of that, people were crammed into alleyways and side streets all around the gathering.

At both gatherings there was preaching and praying and singing to God for hours upon hours.

Meeting Michelle in Haiti

March 11th, 2010 § 0

On our first day in Haiti, we visited a church/medical clinic that had been caring for injured survivors of the January 12 earthquake. While there, we met a woman named Michelle and heard her heartbreaking story. Her and her husband were some of the very first people we met after we crossed the border from Dominican Republic into Haiti; and through listening to their story and praying with them, the weight of pain, grief, and loss of the earthquake, as well as the hope and resilience of those that survived it, became very real.

Partnering Haitian Churches and American Churches

March 3rd, 2010 § 0

On our first day in Haiti, we had the opportunity to meet with a group of pastors that had come together as a group for the first time.  This is the story of why:

Post-Haiti: From My Wife’s Point of View

March 3rd, 2010 § 0

My wife, Christina, posted some great thoughts on her experience with my Haiti re-entry as well as some really helpful tips on processing through life-changing trips when you’re not the one going.

Post-Haiti Re-Entry

February 25th, 2010 § 0

I’ve been back in the U.S. for a week now; and I’ve been working on this post in my head as I processed through my return from Haiti for nearly that same amount of time.

Coming home was both easy and hard.  Easy, because I missed my wife and it was wonderful to see and be with her.  Hard, because I hit culture shock head on, fairly early and fairly abruptly.  Within an hour of being home, I was looking around my downstairs room, realizing that this one room in my house was easily ten times the size of the tents that families were living in down in Haiti.  As I looked through our pantry and saw how we have more food than we are going to eat in a day or even a week, I felt blessed and disoriented and wrestled to make sense of my life in light of the incredible need we saw in Port-au-Prince.

Of course, the fact that Christina and I had a trip to go join my family up in a rented cabin in Big Bear planned for the day after my return didn’t help much either.  I struggled with being fully present to my family as we built a snowman, ate from a wide spread of guilty pleasure junk food, and played in the falling snow.  My thoughts kept returning to the people I’d been with 48 hours earlier.

Having done other short-term missions trips, I know that these feelings that accompany re-entry are normal; but this time, I feel like I’m wrestling a little harder because I’m not sure I want them to go away.  I know intuitively that I need to process through what I experienced, reach some conclusions, and then connect my experience there with my life here.  But I fear tying too nice a bow on it.  It’s hard enough answering the question, “How was Haiti?” in less than 10 paragraphs.  In fact, at one point this last weekend, my dad asked a simple question about whether we knew if aid was actually reaching people, and I took 15 minutes of non-stop talking and story-telling to answer.   I guess what I’m feeling and trying to say is that I don’t want my experience to become a sound bite or a quick story that I file away for future anecdotes.

At the same time I’m working on coming to grips with what I’ve been given (in terms of where I live, what I own, the food I eat, etc.) vs. the need I saw.  I’m not saying I’ve fully concluded the matter (because I know I’m still processing), but one of the early conclusions I came to is that I need to use what I have: video footage, the technology to edit and tell stories with that footage, and the opportunity to spread those stories online; to help others.  Everyone we met might not have the resources to tell their story to people outside their country, but I do; and I need to be faithful with that.  So, over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be seeing several videos coming from me featuring our time in Haiti.  I’m currently wading through 8 hours of footage to pull together some short vignettes of our experiences and put them online.

If you’re wondering what you can do, there are two very simple, not always easy, answers: Give and Go.  The group I went with, Adventures In Missions is offering ways to do both.  If you’re interested, click here.  I’d encourage you to at least check it out and pray about it.  And while you’re at it pray for the people in Haiti who need food, water, and shelter, pray for the Haitian pastors as they lead and shepherd their local communities, and pray for the relief workers on the ground working to bring aid to those in need.

What Not To Do When In Haiti: Fall In A Hole

February 19th, 2010 § 3

On our second day in Haiti, I managed to beat up my leg pretty bad. Here’s how it happened (with visual aids!):

I was walking along a sidewalk, filming…in fact, how about I just show you a clip from my footage:

Did you see that little dip at the end there? That was me stepping in a small unseen dip in the pavement; and in an attempt to regain my balance, stumbled forward into this:

I never saw it coming. All I remember is my foot not hitting the pavement I’d expected; and instead, my shin and leg banged and scraped against the far side of the hole, while my other leg and both arms hit and splay out across the sidewalk pavement. I scrambled out as quickly as I could, feeling nearby eyes watching me as people share what they just witnessed in Creole all around me.

When I fell in the hole, I was off filming on my own; the rest of my team was up ahead. I reconnected with Clint and he quickly produced a small bottle of hand sanitizer (you know, the 100% alcohol kind) for me to douse the open wounds in. As I prepared to hurt myself, he pulled out his phone and decided to film my pain for his own entertainment.

And now for your entetainment, I present that video:

That was last Saturday.  My leg is still hurt, but at least it’s not infected and it does seem to be healing.

And the lesson of this story?  I don’t know.  Maybe something like: when in Haiti, try to avoid falling in holes.

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