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... :)


  1. Ladies,
    I am tearing up as I read this and relive all of the same experiences I had while in Haiti. I cannot tell you how much my heart longs to be back. It's crazy for me to think that you're holding the hands of the very children that I made relationships with less than 2 weeks ago. It makes me sad that I'm not there, but I am encouraged that you all ARE there and are continuing to show them the love the we all have to share. I would encourage you to learn as much Haitian Creole as you can. It's really not that hard, and the kids love teaching you. Find Mackenson who is an older student at ODH school... He was my teacher. By the end of the week he called himself "professor" HAHA! I know I was sure surprised by how multilingual most of the children are. Many know at least 3 languages, and Samson knows more like 5! They have such a desire to learn... it is amazing! So I should probably stop rambling now, because I could go on forever. I am just so excited for the work God is about to do through you all! Please please keep us updated and know that you will be in my prayers every time you are on my mind! (Which will be very often!) I'm so glad you are blogging to keep us posted. I'll check back daily! Sorry this is kind of long, but I remember being thrilled when I saw that someone left a comment on my blog!!! HA Love to you all!!! ~Paige Woodruff

  2. Bryanna and Loree I echo what Paige said in her comments. We are so thankful that you are there to carry on God's work! Your description of the sights and sounds is so accurate........ especially the peace that is felt upon entering ODH's gates!!! You leave the din of the market and enter into that "special place" we call ODH! As you say the meals are wonderful and I'll be surprised if you need your immodium!
    Please give Julius a hug from me....he will be in the group of post 6th graders including Mackenson, Papito and Roshnell. Miss them all terribly! Can't wait to talk with you in person and hear your stories. Walk in God's peace! Denny

  3. Thank you for keeping us posted. I look forward to hearing from you guys. I am praying over you all, the armor of God, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, sword of truth. For the spirit of truth and love, and for unity. Satan IS defeated, through the authority we have in Christ Jesus he is nothing but beaten. I know that God is orchestrating a beautiful revival
    in the hearts of many.I sense that he is using all of his people together to sing to him a new song, a song of abundant joy, an expression of faith that is like none we have ever imagined. God is a great big God. He is here, he is there, he is everywhere! AMEN!
    I am so thankful and amazed that he allows us to experience him in a personal relationship with him, then together as a body of one. Bless you all for your hearts, and your willingness to serve God and the example that you are to so many.
    Rock it out Girls!~
    Love to all!

  4. We are praying for all of you and for God to work in ways beyond your comprehension. Glad you arrived safely. I am sure your cargo has arrived by now and everyone is excited for the first day of the conference. Give Amanda a huge hug from her mom and dad.