Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What a Day!

Melissa -  This is a true story.  The events and information are true but names have been changed to protect the innocent.  I thought I was being attacked by a monster but it was really a piglet.
Nellie – Today was a cliff hanger!
Jackie – We started out at a Haitian beach, and ended up at a Haitian Police Station…
Kathy – Can you say “we need a third bus”?
Tracy – What do you do when a bus full of 60 women can’t get up a mountain?  You  make the pregnant lady get out…or you make two men push it…or you sing ay ay ay  ay, ah  ah ah ah ah
Lorna – God is good, Haitian drivers are crazy, scaffolding in Haiti doesn’t stand up to a bus
Terri – Our God is a God of surprises.  My right glute cheek is numb
Amanda W. – A crazy bus ride + 167 Haitian women + beach + God = An unforgettable day with a life long impact
Kim N. – What a beautiful ocean, why not back the bus into it? By the blood of Jesus, BAM!
Madeline – Today was full of adventure, fun, and EMOTION.  My kind of day!
Loree –  We are bringing Haitian style evangelism to LCC…4am wake-up, arrive at the church by 4:30 for prayer and singing, 5am marching and praising and dancing door to door evangelism, loudly sharing the Gospel to passers-by.
Bryanna – “I am  so glad we got this bus driver…whoops, maybe we spoke to soon.”  Lorna, “Wait, where did the bus driver go?”  Kim, “To the police station!” 
Tina – Go, go, go!  We have white women in the bus!
Kim E. -  I really do need a Kleenex, oh, never mind I have Jackie.
Amanda A. – Who invited Bo Derek on the trip?
Mary – It takes sand to be short.
Deb – Who needs LA Fitness when you have Haitian worship!
Kristin – L… O… R… N… A, L …O… R… N …A
Lynn – Happy to be alive!
Amy – AM – 1 pregnant lady, 2 Haitian ladies, 1 yellow school bus seat
            PM – 1 priceless good-bye, 2 kisses from each new friend…A multitude of blessings for our King

Today was by far, the most eventful day here at Open Door.  We began our day with an early morning at 4:15am for prayer, singing and then witnessing on the streets of Bois De Lance.  Picture 187 women quite literally marching the streets singing and telling people about Christ.  Haitian women and American women literally arm in arm untied in our Lord.  It is an experience none of us will soon forget.
What we didn’t know at 4am is that the entire day would be an experience we would not soon forget.  By 9am all 187 of us were packing onto buses and heading on an adventurous ride through the busy city of Cap Haitian and up a mountain to a beautiful beach on the other side of the mountain.  There was a great deal of singing by the Haitian women on the buses and a GREAT deal laughter by the American women as we all had to adjust to driving that was a little different than we are used to and roads that were less than perfect.
We had the amazing experience of playing with our Haitian sisters in the water and on the beach (a rarity for them).  It was such a treat to see their joy and fun.  Playing at the beach was a fantastic way to bond with these sisters in Christ one more time before we part company.
By early afternoon we were packing back onto buses and preparing for another adventurous journey over the mountain and through the city.  Once again, between the roads and the driving, laughter was a constant.   The trip home was a little more adventurous….but eventually we all arrived back at Open Door.
Once back, we quickly jumped into wrapping up the conference with some worship and the Word powerfully brought by Loree.  This closing time of the conference was a beautiful and sweet time of tears and sharing.  Many of the Haitian women shared about how grateful they were for missionaries coming and loving them and teaching them.  This conference was an experience they will never forget and it encouraged them greatly.  They told us they feel they can never repay us for all we have done.  The reality is though, we have learned and gained so much more from them.  They have taught us about true worship, that joy is not dependent on things, and about unapologetic faith. 
Our team was greatly moved at the very end of the conference as the church leadership surprised each one of us with beautiful gifts.  But the greatest gift they gave us, can’t travel home with us in our suitcases but in our hearts.
The very final act of the conference was to give each lady as she left the church, a bag with gifts in it for her.  They left hugging, kissing and thanking us.  And we left with tears and sweet memories that we will always carry with us.

Thank you for all your prayers!  We appreciate you all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Another day of the conference has been completed and it was another very moving day for the US team. We are constantly more and more aware of God's presence and provision as each day passes.

You may have guessed by now that we had to throw our planned schedule out the window in favor of the schedule that God had planned...and as usual, He had a better plan! His plan today was for us to enjoy an hour of singing and playing Haitian games with the ladies. They were filled with such joy as they showed us some of the games they had played as young girls. Many of those around the Open Door compound said they had never seen the women have fun and laugh like they did today. The smiles of the faces of the US women were equally as big. It was a blast!

We did spend some time sharing with the women about our theme for the week, which is “Living in the Light of Eternity”. The topics today covered living in community with each other, marriage, parenting and one member of our team was allowed to share her story during the evening church service (very unusual) that was on Living Hope. We were all astounded as we observed the women's reactions to the sessions. As with previous days they were full of questions and much appreciation at learning the truth of God's Word and how it applies to their lives. Their response has been very unexpected and overwhelming.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the conference. During church tonight Pastor Wiljean announced that we will meet in the church at 4:30...yes, A.M. to pray and then we are going out into the streets to sing and share the Gospel. We are all very excited at this opportunity and are “waiting in expectation” to see what God will do (Ps 5:3). Please pray for our team to have supernatural rest tonight as it will be a long day tomorrow.

P.S. Sorry about our lack of pictures....uploading them here is nearly impossible. Lots of photos to follow once we are home.

Monday, March 14, 2011

God is at work

Today started out bright and early at 5 am with the Haitian women singing and praising God at the top of their beautiful lungs. They were up before the roosters! I cannot tell you what a beautiful sound it was.

Day one of the conference was amazing. We worshiped together, sang a chant, and were encouraged by speakers that spoke right to the hearts of these women (including this one). Topics were: Health issues, Knowing God, Biblical Womanhood, and Living in the Light of eternity. During a break time we were available to pray with those who needed it and it was so cool to see women praying for each other and lifting each other up. It was very emotional and beautiful to experience.

It is good to see how eager they are to communicate and fellowship with us, as we are eager to know them better. With the help of interpreters we are communicating quite well, I think, and we will not soon forget our new friends here. There is one in particular who is overcome with emotion whenever she sees me and grabs her heart then points to heaven. They really are so grateful to have this opportunity and we are grateful to you who took part by praying and giving.

Please continue to pray for the conference, the speakers, these women as they connect with him, learn more about His vision for their lives, and connect with each other.God is definitely at work here. I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world right now. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

God and His Plans

God in His sovereignty had better plans.  Have you ever had a day where everything went completely wrong and not the way you had planned?  That kind of day is exactly what our team experienced today.  If something could have gone wrong, it did.  Among other things that happened, our entire schedule for the conference had to be completely redone and the original schedule represented weeks of planning.  However, we have taken a look at all that went “wrong” in our minds and adopted the theme – God in His Sovereignty had Better Plans.  Please pray for our team as extreme flexibility has been required here and much more will be needed to get this conference off the ground tomorrow and carry it to completion on Wednesday night.  Please pray as well that God will be glorified here and that He will do amazing things in the hearts of these Haitian women and in our hearts as well!
Despite all the craziness there have been some amazing and fun times here as well.  We had the joy of experiencing a Haitian worship service this morning which is a little different than most of our church services back home.  Their services are loud, active and long! It was a blast to listen to how they worship and to see their passion.  Oh, and don’t worry, if the volume isn’t enough to keep you awake on a tired day, there is a man who goes around poking those who fall asleep!  During the service we had the neat opportunity to go forward and pray with many Haitian believers, all of us committing ourselves to loving others by serving them.
 Our afternoon and evening were spent registering well over 100 beautiful Haitian women for the conference and practicing the little bit of Creole we have learned. J  It was so sweet to see their joy over our speaking their language…that is when we didn’t completely butcher it!  Throughout the afternoon there were also many children running around for us to talk to and play with.  We quickly learned that the children love cameras and any photos that we have with us!  Another favorite of theirs is to giggle at those of us new to Haiti as we try to speak to them in their language. 
So, two days are done here and tomorrow we begin what we came here to do, the conference.  It doesn’t look like we planned, we still don’t have our cargo, and everyone is a little tired but we know God has called us here for a reason and we are going to continue to be faithful.  May God be glorified tomorrow as these Haitian women get to experience a conference that is all for them for the very first time in their lives!  He is good and so are plans.
Thank you for praying, we appreciate everyone of you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 1

Greetings in the LORD from Bois de Lance, Haiti! WE ARE HERE!!! It seems a bit unreal still for those of us who have never been here before, but for the veterans, it's a sweet, sweet homecoming to return to Open Door.

We give thanks for a safe, calm flight! We even had a quick stop on a private island in the Bahamas to refuel! We give thanks for beautiful, sunny weather – it couldn't have been more perfect (especially for those of us who left winter behind!) We give thanks for the great friends who met us at the airport to get us safely here.

As we left the airport, we were hit with the colors, sounds and smells of Cap Haitien. We climbed into the back of a pick up, 12 of us sitting on benches and piles of luggage. These Haitians know how to maximize transportation (not uncommon to see 4 people on a small motorbike)! But we loved the bumpy outdoor ride as it allowed us to drink it all in with our eyes – the people everywhere along the road, the open markets, the chickensdogsgoatsdonkeyswaterbuffalo, the many bikes and motor bikes weaving in and out – and the simply beautiful landscape beyond.

The immense poverty was also easily seen from our view on the truck – the shacks, broken homes/buildings, the dumps and trash throughout, laundry hanging any and everywhere, broken down vehicles beside the road, people washing outside their homes – it was everywhere. But once we made it to Open Door and drove in the gates, we had the feeling that this was a place set apart. Not necessarily in better buildings, etc., but that this is a place where hope is found in the LORD.

What a sweet reunion for many when we got here and saw the many faces. What gracious, friendly people we've met already! We met many children and adults here at Open Door (singing Above All with in English while they beautifully belted it out in Creole!) and then went on a walk to see the orphanage being built further down the road. It was so encouraging to hear the vision for this orphanage and the care being put into the building of it. But I think we what we enjoyed the best was the many children who came up to us, took our hands, and followed along with us on the walk. They love to interact with us, try out their English and see the pictures we take on our cameras of them. They are very patient with us as we try our own version of EngFreCrelish. :) What we lack in accuracy, we make up for with passion!

Our team of 20 is a beautiful combination of representatives of many states, ages, talents and backgrounds, but we all fit together as the body of Christ, and we're enjoying this time of growing together (and sharing immodium together) as much as we're looking forward to meeting and growing with our Haitian sisters tomorrow. Note – we haven't really broken out the immodium :) and the food is AMAZING! There are some wonderful ladies who've been making delicious food for us.

We've had a few snags – our cargo for the conference didn't get delivered today as it should have, but God knows what He's doing and the women are making plan B right now as I type. Tomorrow we look forward to church and final preparations for the conference.

Thank you thank you thank you for your PRAYERS! Keep them up – the enemy doesn't like what we're doing here, but HE IS GREATER!! We love and miss you all! Until next time... :)