We made it to the Badlands!
Month: June 2010
Little hiccup in South Dakoti
Had a couple of tires go out this morning… notice that Jake, Stuart, and Nick are “supervising.” 🙂 Thankfully, we found a place to get the tires fixed and we are back on the road heading to the Badlands!
On our way! Senior Trip: Day One
I’m updating this through my phone, so disregard any spelling and/or grammar errors. It’s been a great day so far. Right now, we’re traveling through Iowa and everyone is going through their Senior Trip book. It’s going to be a long and memorable night all crammed together and driving until morning. For now, there’s Euchre to be played and conversation to be had. Love you all!
Here’s a pic of Stuart and Julia, just for fun.
Home is where your heart is…
We’ve arrived back in Indy after only having been gone for 8 days, but things are not the same as they were a little over a week ago. A lot of simple things cause me to pause and think a lot more than I did before, and a lot more than I thought they would.
I went on a bike ride with my daughter Nora early Tuesday morning, the morning after we got back, and I thought about how a simple thing like a decently level sidewalk in my neighborhood, absent of rubble, was something to be thankful for. It was weird to not see people out and about, or tents in front of houses. A week ago I didn’t think of my neighborhood a super spacious, but it seems so spacious now. There are yards, not tents. Even the houses that aren’t super well-kept seem like mansions. No one here that I pass by on my bike, including myself, understands what it’s like to be afraid to sleep or even be inside their home. Later, I sat in my living room and thought about how incredibly humongous a 1400 sq. ft. house really is for 4 people. I could go on and on… Everything I see, everything I eat, everything I read, everything I enjoy, and do throughout the day is something that I’m seeing through a different lens. Today it rained. It was one of those storms that come all at once, a downpour that drenched everything before you know its upon you. How crazy is it to have a dry, cool place to take shelter from a hot summer thunderstorm? I know many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti don’t have the same luxury. Their stuff is drenched as they wait out a sleepless night in a hot tent.
I’ve been thinking about how great it is that I have the baby formula to be ale to feed Macy multiple times a day, while many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti do not. I’ve been thinking about the jar of peanut butter that I spread on crackers for a between meal snack for my daughter Nora, while for some in the tent cities in Grand Goave, a jar of peanut butter is the only source of protein that a whole family may have for a few days. I’ve been thinking about how strange and weird it is for my family to own two cars, while the thought owning any vehicle is a far reality for many of my brothers and sisters in Haiti. How crazy is that?
The experience that many of us shared for the time we spent in Haiti has caused me to really think differently about my stuff. I keep asking myself the question “How much really is enough?” But beyond just my stuff, there have been other things that I’ve been processing and thinking through that is hard to put into words…. spiritually, emotionally, intellectually…
It’s pretty crazy how much you can learn from the familiar, everyday things that you go through, even those things that seem “normal” or “routine” or “unspectacular.” Sometimes it takes a worldview-shaking experience to get you to be able to see the simple things God is shouting at you all along. I’m thankful for those times in my life. On Sunday morning at the Lifeline Church that we were a part of, one of the scripture readings was from Psalm 103. In reading something familiar, in hearing it read in Creole from the lips of those who had seen so much, suffered so much, endured so much and yet still praised our God I heard it again for the very first time…
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children-
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
I know the processing that we’ll all do and that needs to be done from this experience has just begun, and my prayer is that I will able to continually say, Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. If home is where your heart is, I’m not quite sure what that means for how I’m seeing my earthly home these days. I find my heart-broken and burdened for a place far from my physical home here in Indy. I’m thankful that for those of us here, and for my brothers and sisters in Haiti, and for the ways that I’ve been wrecked for the Kingdom this past week. May our true home be found as we rest in God and His leading. I’m praying that I hold what I’ve been given with an open hand, that it’s used for the sake of the Kingdom for the short time I’ve been given. After all…
“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him…” Psalm 103:15-17
Haiti: Day Six
Hello everyone at Chapel Rock!
Well today, we met with the children from the children’s home and that was very fun. The children sang for us and danced for us which we very much enjoyed. After that, we sang some songs for them with motions and I think they all liked that, then we played some games outside, after the games we served lunch and gave them gifts and then it was time for them to leave. Then it was our shopping time, interesting and fun at the same time. I think everyone got something that they wanted and maybe a little more! And of course we had lunch somewhere in there as well. We had a little free time today which was very nice because we haven’t had much of that! We got to meet some of the sponsor kids again today and we got to meet our other child that our sunday school class sponsors that we did not meet the other two days. His mother invited us to go to their house, so we walked to their home and when we got there we were quite surprised by what we saw. It was very sad, and Nick took some good pictures to share when we get back and we are hoping to do more for the family in the near future because their situation is so bad. I think when I got here I was pretty shell-shocked at everything I saw everywhere around me and I was just trying to wrap my brain around it all and I still am. I know God is working here and I am so grateful for that, but at the same time there is just so much that breaks my heart everywhere I look. One thing that hit me the hardest was when we walked in to the tent cities and Emma had me feel the tents and it must have been at least 20 degrees hotter or more than it is outside and it is HOT outside. I had tears come down my face and my knees buckled at that moment because it just hit me so hard. All I could think was where do they go for relief and I don’t have a good answer for that. I have to figure out how to deal with that, I do understand that God knows the big picture and I don’t and that’s how I deal with it, but it’s heart breaking at the same time.Okay, leaving on a good note it is a beautiful country and there are many beautiful people here and I am so, so glad that I was fortunate enough to have this experience and I hope that in saying what I said I did not bring anyone down because there are still many good things happening as well.
Love you all,
Haiti: Day Five
Well, today is Friday, and what a day it was. God is all over this place and yes HE IS VERY GOOD.We started off by going back to a little church in a surrounding (Jeanty) area. We were at this church the other night and what a blessing it was. Today we went back and graded the ground around the church and laid gravel for the walk path around the church building.
Next, we came back to Lifeline to do toddler nutrition. The children were precious, as always! The parents seemed to be very appreciative of the things that were offered to them.
Scott and I recruited to do some mechanical work here on the compound while others sorted shoes and clothes and then handed them out to some of the children. Then we prepared some songs for the Lifeline Christian Church and went to a musical concert at the church. There were a lot of local young people who were very talented in music both vocally and instrumentally. We ended up dancing the evening away, and what a joyful event it was!
My stay here so far has been so incredible I can’t really put it into words. The people and culture are more than we can wrap our minds around. God has challenged me in so many ways and stretched my heart for these people in lots of ways. Anyone that has seen the beauty in these people and has not been moved does not have an open heart, God is in this place and He is working through us to do great things. Yes, we are all tired by the end of the day but our hearts are richly filled with God’s love.
In Christ, Paul Wallace
Haiti: Day Four
Greetings to everyone from the beautiful, hot, glorious country of Haiti!
Day 4 started with our nearly 7:00 pancake breakfast (meals here are wonderful!). We then divided into 2 groups to participate in a couple of special ministries that Lifeline provides for Grand Goave. One group visited the tent cities and distributed peanut butter to the very needy & hungry people who are found there. The other group set out with hands full of “layettes,” which are bags full of supplies for new-born babies, such as clothes and diapers, which were distributed to mothers who had babies in the past 6 months. A few people then helped distribute food to and pray with the pregnant ladies in the area. After lunch, we participated in the infant nutrition program, where we provided food for growing hungry babies and prayed with the families.
We also did a lot of work on the Lifeline compound. Many students pulled weeds and did various types of yard work. Paul Wallace provided his plumbing skills to fix the washer & dryer, Scott Crawford did some electrical work on one of the light poles, and Nick, Scott & Jake Boodt did an awesome job of fixing a copier!
Next came the basketball game. Wow, what to say about that? The girls here at Lifeline just formed a team and started learning about basketball two weeks ago. And our girls, well, they are gifted in many areas… not sure if basketball is one of those gifts. 🙂 But it was definitely a fun, scrappy game to watch! The guys were involved in the most intense street basketball game I’ve seen in a long time. One of the Haitians is nicknamed Kobe–just to give you a visual. Our guys did a great job keeping up with them, and Fred can rest assured that his coaching skills stuck with Danny after all these years! They had a great time, and definitely “let” the Haitians win. You know, it’s their country and all…
Devotions tonight involved a wonderful discussion about learning to allow our hearts to break for the things that break the Lord’s heart. What burdens us for His Kingdom? The students are definitely being stretched, and the Lord is working in mighty ways on their hearts to show them a larger picture of His Kingdom, other than the one they see in suburban Indianapolis. As their hearts are breaking, we can see the Lord stepping in to repair those hearts for His glory. I’m excited to see where He takes each of them in their lives!
That’s a summary of the day. But I would also like to give some reflection (stay with me). We all saw the news after the earthquake & have heard about the tent cities set up all over Haiti, but today was a day to actually live, breathe, and experience that hardship. As we walked through one tent city (I say one because there are hundreds of them around), a few of us stopped to stick our heads inside a tent. As I sit here on this computer, feeling the sweat on my back even after the sun has gone down, I know that I will sleep tonight in an uncomfortable 80 degrees, and I feel a grumble coming on. But I can’t even begin to describe the intense heat that emanated from that tent. The only comparison is the feeling I get when I open the door to my oven and feel the rush of heat so strong & intense that it makes me eyes water. As I grumble about the heat, I also know that I have a fan by my bed, ice-cold clean water at my disposal, and a cool shower. These people have nowhere to go for relief. That is their life. Every day. Talk about having your heart-break for God’s people! When Christ spoke about caring for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the hungry, He wasn’t speaking metaphorically. This has to be what He meant. These people are all of those things, and we were faced with the reality of our place in life as wealthy Christians in relation to the poorest of the poor. There is no way to have that experience and come away unmoved. It is one thing to see the news of a huge devastating event, and feel sadness for the victims. It is an entirely different feeling to look the victim in the eye and know that he or she is a child of God that is in desperate need of help. But where do we begin? I pray that God will work in each of the 26 lives here and show us ways to live out His commandments to love our neighbors, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.
I am so appreciative of the way that Lifeline has organized our trip for us so that the students have an opportunity to participate in so many of the different ministries provided here in Haiti. They are getting the chance to see what it’s like to plant a mission in a community, then reach out in so many ways that transform the community in the name of Jesus. The apostle Paul spread the Gospel in the early church by planting churches within cities, then allowing those cities to minister to their own people. It’s been awesome to see Lifeline use the Haitian people and the Haitian culture to win Haitians to Christ. And our students have the privilege of being a small part of that.
I can’t say enough about how incredible this group of students is. They have showing leadership skills, hard work, teamwork, and love in so many wonderful ways! I haven’t heard any whining, complaining, and have not seen any disputes between students. I have marveled at their willingness to jump in there and do whatever is asked of them! They are all using the spiritual gifts God has given them to work as a team for His glory. To all the parents reading this… thank you for trusting us with your precious child and allowing us to be blessed by having them here this week. I have truly enjoyed the time spent with all of them.
Sorry for such a long post! As most of you probably know by now, I tend to be slightly verbose! 😉 We thank you for your continued prayers as we head into the last half of our time here! Please continue to pray for continued strength as we tire, continued good health as we push our bodies harder than we are used to, and continued joy in our hearts.
Love to you all,
Haiti: Day Three
First, let me say thank you so much for your continued prayers-know they are being felt! Today we went back to the build to continue working on the house. We worked alongside Haitians to lay block. Almost all the block was finished by the time we left today and the glory is that we will be able to see it to completion before we leave. Our devotion today was about how Nehemiah 3-4 speaks about how it takes everyone (or as I like to say, “village”). We had a great discussion about how we are such a diverse group and how that has worked so well. Just as in the case of Nehemiah, we needed everyone and we most definitely needed this exact group of people here to do the job God has sent us to do. All of the students and leaders alike are so ready to just go and do whatever it is that God has for us at that time. Everyone is healthy and happy. Haiti and the people here are just beautiful!
Tomorrow we will be able to go out witnessing in the tent cities and I know that will be such a gift to all of us. Then, we will be playing basketball with the girls’ basketball team here at the school (“we” meaning the kids–not me!). It has already been more than I could have ever dreamed of. I know God will continue to bless both the Haitians and us even more as the week goes on.
All our love,
Haiti: Day Two
Building day! This was our first day to go out to the site where we will be building the house for our sponsor child. We started the day with an early breakfast. Everyone came in with lots of energy and excitement for what was to come for the rest of the day. Before we head to the building site, we spent some time in devotions and prayer as a group. We continued our focus on the life of Nehemiah and how he faced great fear, but through it continued to trust in what God was doing. From there we hopped in the trucks and head to the site.
Driving to the site was a continued reminder of how the earthquake was affecting the people of Haiti. When we arrived, a crew of men met us that we would be working with and we were instructed watch what they did. From there we started to assist them moving gravel, sand and blocks. It was tiring work, but we continued to take breaks and encourage each other through it all. Just before we left for lunch we started laying the concrete foundation. We took an hour for lunch and got right back at it. We spend the rest of the afternoon finishing the foundation. It was amazing to see what can do if we allow Him to use us. We have a very special God and you can see why God chose us to be here.
We went straight from building to visiting with the sponsor children of the church. This was very special time because we were able to give them the gifts of their sponsors. They were all very excited and we loved having the opportunity to spend time with them. Following our visits, we had dinner then went to visit a local church. Jeanty church just recently built a new church, which was sponsored by Chapel Rock. The experience of being there was so amazing. The passion that the members had for God was incredible. You could just feel the spirit of God working through this church. They were very thankful for all our church was able to provide and to be able to thank us in person. Many of the members came to us in person to express their thanks and to get to know us. We finished the day with our time of devotion. We took this time to reflect on how God has changed our worlds, just like he changed Nehemiah’s. We had a few give their testimony and were encouraged with some words from Philippians 2:1-11. God gave us the greatest picture of humility through Christ and we were encouraged to do the same with how we live our lives. Day two was such a success and a day that challenged us in how we think about our live/how we live. Thank you all for your prayers and God bless!
Haiti: Day One
It’s already amazing to see God at work through this experience and part of the team hasn’t even been here for 3 hours yet. By the end of the day on Monday we all arrived safely here in Haiti, finally. There were two groups out of Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon and both had some travel challenges. One group slept in the Miami airport, the other in the Chicago Hilton. One group arrived at Lifeline today a little before noon as planned, the other rolled in around 7:45 pm. Through it all, everyone is still smiling. Excitement is still winning the battle against exhaustion, and we’re eager to get started with the house construction first thing in the morning.
The sights, smells and sounds have flooded our senses from the minute we all arrived on the ground here. It’s unfathomable to think about what the people here have endured as we made the drive through the city, passing site after site of flattened buildings, piles of rubble and tent cities. One can’t help but be deeply moved by all that we’ve taken in today. The group that arrived late this morning had some time to get our supplies organized, go through orientation and get a tour of some of the local highlights near the mission in Grand Goave. We had the privilege of meeting some of the sponsored kids and presenting gifts on behalf of ourselves and others. When the final part of our team arrived, there was much rejoicing. We wound out the evening together through prayer and worship on the rooftop under a moonless, yet starry sky with brief flashes of heat lightning far off in the distance.
Throughout the week, you’ll have the opportunity to hear a few times from a different trip participant, hopefully writing at the end of each day. We didn’t know if we’d have the opportunity, but as long as there is electricity and the stories to share, we’ll try to write and hope that through our communication network (CRYM blog, facebook, etc…) you’ll get to share a small part of the experience with us. Please continue to keep our team in your prayers. It’s apparent that there have been some serious attempts to try and frustrate the plans that have been laid for the work of the Lord this week. Our battle is not against flesh and blood… Please pray for the spiritual strength to keep our eyes on the Lord and walk in his strength in whatever may come our way. We eagerly anticipate joining God in his great and mighty work through Lifeline in Haiti.