Mission Trip 2011

Mission Trip 2011

What is a Missionary? An ordinary person who God has called to be His hands and feet in the midst of hopelessness, discouragement, famine, poverty and misery in this world. I would like to share the experience of the past mission trip…the before (preparation stage), during (Can’t believe I’m here!) and after (I can’t wait to go back!). I am an ordinary person but I believe in and worship an extraordinary God that changes lives in the most unexpected yet incredible way. To be with people on this trip, who make a conscious choice to make a difference in the lives of children who would otherwise be casualties of poverty, is a very humbling experience. If you ever thought about joining a mission trip, please pray about it and God will pave a way to make it happen. I hope that the words on these pages will encourage you to know that God uses each and every one of us for a special purpose to carry His message. He just needs our willingness and availability and He will do the rest.

Below is an excerpt from a song titled ”
I Refuse” by Josh Wilson: ‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care I don’t want to say another empty prayer Oh,
I refuse To sit around and wait for someone else To do what God has called me to do myself Oh,
I could choose Not to move but I refuse To stand and watch the weary and lost Cry out for help I refuse to turn my back And try and act like all is well I refuse to stay unchanged To wait another day, to die to myself I refuse to make one more excuse

Recalling everything that has happened on the trip this last March would take weeks or months. There are so many great memories to remember. We saw many miracles happen before our eyes. God is real and alive!!! He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

A few days before flying to Port au Prince (PAP), Jean surprised us with the great news that United Nation (UN) was providing OIH the transportation from PAP to Bombardopolis. The UN? A truck? No, it was a helicopter! Until this day, I’m not sure how that became possible. But with God, anything is POSSIBLE!

I pictured a small helicopter that takes people on tours, similar to the ones in Hawaii. I assumed that with all of the things we were bringing on the mission trip, a few trips from PAP to the OIH center would be required by the UN helicopter. Fortunately, it was one of those that carried cargo.

The helicopter was as big as my parents’ living room. It accommodated 11 OIH missionaries, 3 other missionaries from Bombardopolis, 4 UN workers (including the 2 pilots) and a tower of bags we brought (Picture above).

Prior to boarding the helicopter, we had the opportunity to have lunch at the UN cafeteria. The helicopter was still being used on its already scheduled services so we were offered to have lunch on the UN property while waiting for our ride. The place was nothing fancy. But it was memorable for the reason that we sat as an OIH family surrounded by other people from different parts of the world who made the decision to help those who are oppressed and/or less fortunate.

My sister Alma and I were very excited to hear that Deborah and Wanda were joining the trip. We last saw each other from the trip to Haiti in August 2008 and we couldn’t wait to see them again. In addition, new volunteers Todd and Natalie were up for an adventure in Haiti. (Picture on right: Brian, Wanda, Deborah and Natalie)It was their first time to the caribbean country. My nephew DeShawn (Picture on left) joined us on the mission trip as well. Alma wanted for him to see the children face to face, who we have talked so much about and whose pictures can be found all over the house. DeShawn has donated many of his toys, reluctantly at first when he was younger, in the past. It was to be a life- lesson for him to realize how blessed he is and to continue sharing God’s blessings with the less fortunate.

The helicopter ride to the OIH center was only two and a half hours long. In contrast, a vehicle ride to the center normally takes 10-12 hours. The dirt and rocky roads that are covered with the biggest potholes I have ever seen are very unforgiving. The ride is similar to a roller coaster ride but requires inches of padding for comfort. It is impossible to go to sleep. But with the excitement of seeing the children and the exotic terrain of Haiti, the long and difficult ride becomes a walk to the park.

There was still evidence of the damages from the devastating 2010 earthquake. White and blue tents (Picture on right) could still be seen from the air in PAP and outside of the city.

Approximately 3 million Haitians were affected by the earthquake and thousands are still homeless. Prior to the earthquake, most of us from the 2011 mission trip witnessed the pre-existing poverty in PAP on a mission trip in 2008. Pictures of PAP from 2008 are available on the Photo Gallery page.

On the other hand, the less populated northern Haiti has beautiful shores that are comparable to the island resorts displayed on glossy pages of vacation magazines. Northern Haiti’s mountains are breathtaking. God has been generous to OIH in providing a beautiful and spacious center for the children in northern Haiti. Although it is very rural and difficult to reach, it is safer for the children and missio

The helicopter was as big as my parents’ living room. It accommodated 11 OIH missionaries, 3 other missionaries from Bombardopolis, 4 UN workers (including the 2 pilots) and a tower of bags we brought (Picture above).

“Am I really here?” is what I often ask myself. It’s a question of disbelief to feel so honored to be serving God once again. Extensive planning was involved in making this all happen. Jean and Leslie worked so diligently from the OIH office and even from home, calling and emailing missionaries, donors, OIH representatives in Haiti and others. And each of us sitting in that helicopter has made his/her own sacrifice to be there.

The helicopter circled the OIH property looking for a landing space. In the quiet and simple province of Bombardopolis, the sight and sound of a helicopter touching down is a rare thing. It became the talk of the whole place for days.

So the first stop on the property was the warehouse. Feed My Starving Children donated boxes of pre-packaged bags of rice with soy protein. (Picture on right) As a small non-profit organization, we completely depend on sponsors and individual donors for financial support in running the feeding program. So these boxes are another miracle for OIH, to be able to feed the increasing number of children, sponsored or not, that find their way to the OIH property. The food that Feed My Starving Children provided OIH has lifted a huge burden off from OIH.

We completely understand the sacrifice(s) that sponsors make monthly and we are very thankful to those who enable OIH’s work to continue. As a sponsor myself and seeing how lives are changed with the $25 monthly donation, it’s worth every cent.

The second stop for the morning was the multi-purpose building, completed by 2010. The building was converted into a medical clinic for a week during our stay. It was completely empty when we walked inside. The ingenuity of creating tables out of leftover plywood and home-made cinder blocks was very humbling. We made the best of what ever materials we had. We were especially grateful for all the donated medical supplies. As we organized and laid them out, we realized how much these medicines meant a lot to the OIH children and people in the community.

Jhon-Love attended school but stopped because his family couldn’t afford it. He became one of DeShawn’s friends in Haiti. He and a few of the boys were enthralled with the rubics cube that DeShawn brought. I remember DeShawn begging Alma to buy him the rubics cube. It was the “cool” toy among his peers and he “had” to have it. To our surprise, DeShawn gave his rubics cube to Jhon-Love. He also gave away his sneakers and most of the clothes he brought with him.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6, NKJV

By the time we left Bombardopolis, we were down to our flip flops and a few clothes. But I’m jumping ahead of the story. The third and last stop was the old OIH center where the school is located. The walk is approximately a quarter of a mile from the multi-purpose building. Walking around the neighborhood is another one of my favorite things to do in Bombardopolis. I enjoy meeting the locals and greeting them, “Bonjou.”My dust-covered flip flops and feet are evidence of an awesome day spent getting to know the people and the surroundings, being followed by the children that know my name and sometimes even an escaped bourik, a donkey. On my walks, even just between OIH buildings, I take with me a backpack of goodies, goldfish, starbursts, raisins, fresh almonds and a few clothes to give away. As all kids do, Haitian children prefer the sweet treats more, like starbursts, than raisins or nuts, but I still try to sneak in the healthy treat. “Ou vle?” is the phrase that I came up with to offer treats. “Èske ou ta renmen gen kèk?” is probably the correct phrase. On our way to the school, Alma and Natalie were behind the group, busy taking pictures of the poul, a chicken, that crossed the road. Kabrit, or goats, can be heard from the nearby fields. Some of theproperties are fenced with thorny bushes to keep people or stray animals from getting in their yard. A few of the goats have a stick that hang down from their necks, tied with a rope or string. This prevents them from getting through small spaces in fences and eating people’s legim, or vegetable, garden.

Half-way to our destination, we ran into people we knew. I recognized a couple of them, including Michael. At the corner, prior to turning into the steep street where the school is located, is the house of one of the OIH board members. His wife always greeted us with a smile when we walked pass by their house. The OIH sign is nailed to a leaning post on the same street corner. (Picture on right: Jean, Alma, DeShawn and Pastor Paul)

As we continued our descend to the school (Picture below), we saw Wilgis’ grandmother selling vegetables by her house on the side of the street. Wilgis, also known as Tigis by his friends, is OIH sponsored. He is actually being sponsored by my friend Denise. Tigis lives with his grandmother and father. He is full of life, loves making everyone laugh and can out run most of the kids. Meet Tigis.

It was fairly quiet when we finally arrived at the school ground. The children were in the classrooms and apparently had been looking forward to our arrival. We first saw the youngest group, the pre-kindergarten/ kindergarten class. Sitting so properly and quietly in their uniforms, we couldn’t help ooh and ahh at such a lovely sight. I recognized immediately Loveka, Kerenh’s sponsor girl, the twins Wildina and Wigina, Likenson’s beautiful brown eyes, and the little boy who greeted Jean and me with “Good morning brother and sister” in Creole in Feb 2010.