Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Challenges in the heart; recovery

The internet was down last night so I'm going to try and not make this blog too long even though I'll be reviewing the past two days. Also my heart is very heavy right now so this may be a rambling blog... don't say I didn't warn you.

So yesterday morning we went to the girls orphanage and played with them and talked with them. I got connected to one little girl who was 12 and her name was Katrina. She spoke really good english so it was nice being able to have a flowing conversation with one of the kids. We worked together building a doll house out of cardboard and rocks and old woods, which turned out to be awesome! It was such a great time. A lot during this trip i've been comparing Africa to Haiti. In Africa I think since it was my first real mission trip out by myself I was very reserved and stayed quiet around the kids. It was almost as if I was afraid to mess something up. So when I left Africa all my team members had a special connection with a kid and felt like they really accomplished their purpose of showing Gods love and I feel like I was almost defeated by that and so I really have been praying for the courage to bravely and boldly go out and build relationships with these children even if it means embarrassing myself for not knowing their language and accents or doing something that I shouldn't of done. So that's what I did and God has blessed me so much through that. Later we went to the boys home where they have a food program on mondays and wednesdays where they feed children from the street and orphanage. It was so much fun, I was being crazy with the kids skateboarding and playing basketball. The ministry was amazing. They had a little Bible lesson and worship and eating and then playing! It was just a great time to love on these kids who may not get much one on one attention.

Day 3 : My Birthday!

So today is fresh on my mind so I may go into some detail. Here is some background information for you. Mike who is leading the team today has already been to Haiti 2 times right after the earthquake happened and on one of the trips he found this tent camp and used money that was donated to him to buy 1500 pounds of rice and beans. He has kept such a heavy heart for this camp so he wanted to come back this time and spend a day helping this camp. We had talked to the missionaries here about it and they discouraged us sending food because of the long term effects giving has on places like these. They say that it results in a dependency on the gifts they receive and don't learn how to provide for themselves. I completely agree with them but I think we were frustrated as a team because we wanted to give a gift from the love of Jesus and we believe that short terms do good. So we decided to go to the camp to see what we could do to help.

Mike found us a translator and driver to take us to this camp. The driver pulls up in this old station wagon which we fit 7 people in. There is no air conditioning so i'm squished in the back bent over in a hot car with gas fumes from the other cars in front of us. At one point the car started smoking but we kept on going! After a lot of driving around we found the camp and the girls waited for Mike to give us the okay to go in there. We walked through there to this little shack and had a meeting with all of the camp leaders. Mike and the men talked and he asked what their vision was and how things have been improving since his last visit. The vision was to rebuild their homes where they had been... it was refreshing to know that they didn't want their living situation to be permanent. Because many of these tent camps are turning into permanent residences. We asked for more practical things they needed and what they said to us was a primary school and a wall built. Huge things. Things that is not possible for us to do short term. It's great to see that these are the kinds of things they need but it's frustrating not being able to do anything. After the meeting we were able to hand out candy and toys to the kids. At first there weren't many but after a few minutes there were a ton of kids surrounding me sticking there hands out asking for a balloon or candy. It just made me realize the greater need for this place because they were so intent for something so small. By the end of it I was pushed up against this dirt wall being pushed around for the things I had. It was still nice being able to give something. I just pray that God was seen through the whole meeting with the camp leaders and with giving out things to the kids.

I'm frustrated. My heart is heavy. I don't really understand why i'm feeling like this. I've decided Haiti is a harder place to be in. There is not a great big hope that you feel the instant you start a conversation with someone or even look at some one. It's a sad place, with a greater need. A great need of prayer. Please if you are reading this, stop and pray for the people of Haiti, the government, the missionaries. Only God can help restore...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beautiful Haiti.

So I missed my flight this morning... haha just kidding! I woke up early to catch the first shuttle out of the hotel, made it to the airport, got my tickets, checked my luggage and got on the plane to Haiti with no hassle! Thank you for your prayers!

I arrived at the airport expecting to see Mike waiting for me but I didn't see him, instead I saw a guy waving an old beat up child hope card saying his name was "Big" and he was there to help me. I was very nervous because Mike had specifically told me to stay there and he would come get me. After Big had repeated several times the name of the orphanage and the owners I remembered reading an e-mail about Big was the person that would be helping us as a team at the airport. So I went with him to the parking lot and we waited about 30 minutes and there was Mike! Such a sigh of relief ! Turns out Mike had texted me earlier telling me to go with Big, because he got delayed picking a lock on the gas tank.. hah.

We headed straight to an English Church, where I met up with Christi and Jill and our new team members Rio and April. It was just like meeting at a family reunion. The church was awesome to see so many different nationalities worshiping the same God in the same building. So beautiful.

After Church we went to the guest house (childhope) to eat lunch and this is where I met all of the missionaries that work with Childhope. They're stories were so inspirational, to give up everything you have for the obedience of God's calling. That is my prayer every day that if God were to call me to do something that would take me sacrificing something great, that i would do it joyfully. The lunch was amazing too!

We then had a brief orientation and tour of the childhope campus, which includes the, boys home, girls home, the guest houses, missionary homes, and a transition house. This included a lot of walking in the HOT HOT HOT humid air, but it was fun! The whole ministry and what they are doing here is beautiful.

I watched the most beautiful sunset over the ocean, from the roof of the guest house this evening, It was incredible. God is such and artist. Dinner was great, and more building relationships within the team and missionaries. I took my first bucket bath today! I have to admit I was kind of nervous doing this, because I love being clean, but it was actually really nice! It definitely made me appreciate the abundance of water I use in America. It took maybe a half of a large bucket to get clean here, I wonder how many large buckets I use in a shower back home. It kind of makes me sick to even think about it...

All in all today was a day of rest. And I am so thankful for that. Tomorrow we are going to be working with the kids and doing a food program that the orphanage runs. Please pray for my teams health and the missionaries on staff here as some of the staff is feeling under the weather. Also pray for our team to have discernment of what God's will is for this week and how he wants us to serve Him in Haiti this week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Airports and faith

This morning has been a huge test of my faith. I arrived at the airport to find out that my first flight was delayed therefore forcing me to miss my connecting flight to Miami, where I was supposed to meet Mike and Christi so I could travel with them to Haiti.

I was not able to sleep last night because I was worrying that I had made the wrong decision to travel to Haiti, mainly because I had so much school work to worry about. So the flight mess just added on to the worry. Another pound added to my worry was that my bag was 15 pounds overweight because of the donations I am bringing to the orphanage in Haiti. The airlines told me that it was going to cost $200 extra for just that, plus I was worried about having to find a hotel and cab in case I had to stay in Miami for the night. WOW!

If it hadn't been for Wes and his strong faith in Christ I would have lost it! He guided my attitude to try and find the positives in everything.. which is something I am just not good at. After switching 15 lbs of weight from my suitcase to my carryon backpack I only had to pay $25. Things were beginning to turn around! But... there is always a but! I finally made it to security and then I hear these words over the airport intercom..., "Last call for Cassidi Taylor to board the aircraft, LAST CALL". I ran in front of everyone, probably seemed rude, I was in a hurry though! I waited, what seemed forever for my bags to go through the x-ray, grabbed them and RAN! I made it to my gate and the ticket lady said I made it only by a few seconds, catching my breath I boarded the plane and sat down... then... 5 minutes later I hear those wonderful words, "prepare for take off!" ... hah!... I wish! I actually heard, "ladies and gentlemen we have some bad news..." this flight was now going to be delayed an hour because of mechanical problems! I went to the ticket counter, ready to change my flight again because I didn't think I would make my connection time, but the lady said I would if I ran. So I got on the plane an hour later and after a nice flight, I RAN ... AGAIN! This was a much larger airport though, I had to take a shuttle to a different terminal , running, running, running.... (with my 30lb backpack) and i make it to my gate and see my plane! I see my plane being taxied out to take off without me... Well that ruined any chance of making it to Haiti tonight so I am now writing this in my free hotel room, full off of my free dinner In Miami, Flordia! I am so thankful that God provided that for me. Adventure day huh?

Why, after I ask God so many times to strengthen my faith, do I run in fear from the oppurtunity? I know going to Haiti is God's plan for me. I have asked Him countless times to take me out of my comfort zone, to allow me to risk for Him, and to strengthen my faith. When the time comes for Him to answer my prayers I panic. All morning I was just thinking about the worst things that could happen, when all I needed to do was have faith in Jesus Christ, that He had planned this for me. This morning Tiffany sent me the greatest text ever saying, that this is all God's plan that Satan doesnt want me in Haiti because i'm going to allow God do so amazing things through me". This gave me so much peace, especially now because I now have a stronger faith in what it means to trust in Christ.

I even met three people on my journey today and got to share a little about our lives together.

Sorry for the long blog. It's my first one okay! Goodnight everyone.. next stop HAITI!