Monday, June 19, 2017

Nokken Team # 3 - WEEK SUMMARY

                Looking back on this week, there is so much to think about. We learned a lot, grew closer to each other, and grew closer to our God. For many of us this week was a bit of a surprise. We knew that we were going to be bringing water to people in City Solei, we knew we would be caring for children and for the orphaned elderly. We did not, however know what that was going to look like.

                Our first day was water truck day. On water truck day, we drive into different parts of City Solei and fill up buckets of water and help bring them to the people’s homes. While some of us did do the physical labor of helping the people, many of us spent our time holding children. This was unexpected to many of us. We were in one of the poorest slums in the western hemisphere, and the most helpful thing we could do was to hold the children.

                As the week went on this theme continued. We went to a house for sick and dying children, orphanages, special needs orphanages, a home for deaf children, and at all of these locations our job was to interact with the children. Remember, none of these kids speak English, so it’s not like we were having deep conversations with them or sharing the gospel. We are there for the purpose of showing Gods love in a way that is often taken for granted in the environment we come from.

                As the week went on we really saw their mission statement, “The world is a better place when families are strengthened,” shine in what we did during our time in Haiti. The orphanages that Healing Haiti supports are family styled, where there are houses, and each house has “Mommies” and “Poppies” who are the primary care takers for the children in their house. Healing Haiti also partners with organizations like Papillion whose goal is to prevent kids from being orphaned by providing jobs to parents in order to keep families together, as well as running small businesses near Grace Village that do the same thing.

                As we did our job of loving on children throughout the week and I thought about Healing Haiti’s mission statement, it dawned on me, that we are a part of the families of all these people. It is our job to be the loving supportive “big cousins” for all of these children who are starved for love, because of their unfortunate circumstances.

                At the beginning of the week I know that some people felt that we were not being as helpful as we could be, and felt that we really were not doing much. We were hanging out with kids for a week. That’s it. As I struggled with feelings of uselessness I realized that Healing Haiti is so much bigger than myself that it is hard to see the impact I am having. I am only here for a week being the “big cousin” to these kids. But healing Haiti has teams here every week, and these kids have “big cousins” loving on them every week. Healing Haiti the organization is a crucial part of all of these families for their entire lives, and when I was a part of healing Haiti, I became a part of all of these families who see people every week from Healing Haiti.

I am so glad that Healing Haiti is there for them, showing them God’s unconditional Love every single day of the year, and I am honored to be an honorary “big cousin” as a part of Healing Haiti for this week. Thank you to all that made it possible for this team to be here. We learned a lot, and had the wonderful opportunity to show God’s fatherly love to those around us.



Nokken Team # 3 Day 5 Saturday

Saturday was our second water truck day. We set out for the day, filled up the water truck and went to our first stop. Just as the first water truck day the kids were shouting “Hey you” while they anticipated us to pick them up. Water truck days are a way for us have a glimpse of what life is like in Cite Soleil. We often forget there is not an unlimited source of water. These days are not only filled with delivering water, but showing an abundant amount of love to the kids. It is also a day where the children praise our all-powerful God. As many of them would sing “God is so good, God is so good”. We may be the ones delivering the water but it is God who is the true provider.

                After two water truck stops, we ended the afternoon with a trip to an orphanage. There was something very special about this orphanage, it was a depiction of family. It took a little longer for these children to warm up to us but after they did, we enjoyed an afternoon of singing, playing, drawing, and cuddling with these amazing and beautiful children.   

                Finally, we ended the day playing soccer with the neighborhood boys and team time. Sadly, there is only one day left but tomorrow we get to go to church and rejoice in the Lord for the amazing week he has provided us with.

Katie & Ellie

Friday, June 16, 2017

Nokken Team # 3 Day 4 -Friday

Today we woke extra early – 5:45 – to attend a Haitian prayer service.  The church was huge, and the speaker was fantastic.  He preached and praised, alternating between Creole and English.  The whole time, Haitians prayed and praised along, pacing the aisles and raising their hands and voices in answer. One older woman had hugs for all of us, making us feel so welcome.  Afterwards, we were able to walk back to the guesthouse.  It was so cool to walk the streets as Haitians were heading to work and school.

We scored the white tap-tap today, which meant we could sit on benches along the wall rather than in comfortable coach seats.  That was actually awesome, because we got to face each other and talk (and practice our “surfing” in the middle.)  Armed with bubbles, dry-erase boards, and a bible story craft, we headed to a home for special needs children. They greeted us with excited smiles and LOVED the bubbles. The dry-erase boards and markers were a hit as well. Some of us got marker manicures, and the CUTEST little girl brushed Walter’s hair with her toothbrush J.  Walter read a bible story while Valorie gave an animated Creole translation, and then the kids created a colorful craft. Some boys happily played soccer – really inspiring to see so much joy at this special home. 

Afterward, we were off to the school for the deaf.  It’s a boarding school with a good-sized enrollment.  We brought the markers & boards as well as traditional paper & markers, which were a big help in communicating.  A new basketball also drew a crowd – but the Haitian sun got the best of our crew pretty quickly.  The kids loved writing their names and our names, showing off stunts and finally arm wrestling against our young men. And our youngest team member had a good-sized fan club – he handled that like a champ.

Tonight’s dinner was at Fleri Bakery & Restaurant in Grace Village (which we visited yesterday), where we enjoyed Haitian-inspired appetizers and the world’s greatest pizza and a mean game of Jumbo Jenga & bags.

After team time and word-of-the-day, Jean, the Healing Haiti Director, gave salsa lessons.  Our team won.  And we know salsa isn’t supposed to be a competition – but still.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nokken Team # 3 Day 4 -Thursday

(Wednesday and Thursday)

                Kalvin and Jake here. We figured we would write to you guys about kids tonight. Why? Because kids have really been the centerpiece of our past 48 hours in Haiti (Wednesday and Thursday). We really weren’t too sure what we were getting ourselves into when we signed up for this trip, but we didn’t expect kids to play such a huge role. Yesterday (Wednesday), we were at the home for Sick and Dying Children. There, we got to hold, feed, and change diapers for nearly all the kids in this home. There were dozens and dozens of children in this place, and very honestly not nearly enough workers to hold, feed, and care for each of these kids on their own- we were able to offer helping hands. (Who even knew this would be a “need” while we were down here).
Today (Thursday), we spent much of our time at a place called Grace Village. This is run by Healing Haiti up in Titanyen – about a 45-minute (considerably rocky) drive from Port Au Prince. We got to love on even more kids here and spend time playing games and sports and giving TONS of piggy back rides. Afterward, we went to different homes in Titanyen to distribute elder care packets to elders in the community. In doing so, we were able to wash these elder’s feet, pray over them, and sing a couple songs of worship with the elders.
Overall – these past few days have been ultra-unique. These kids really do need someone to love on them. They crave affection and they crave receiving love. We saw that with kids in Cite Solei when we were distributing clean water and we’re seeing it big time in these orphanages & homes for children. It has been a blessing to be a blessing to these kids and of course the elders as well. Please pray for continued strength and joy to serve where our hands and feet are needed during the rest of our time in country.

Kalvin & Jake

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nokken Team #3 Day 3 Wednesday

Greetings all,

Sorry for the late and short post. It has been a busy day.  Our team would love to share a blog post and update, but it will have to wait for another day. 

As the team lead I wanted to share with you all a short message.  Our team is doing well. They are a fantastic group of men and women who have arrived here with palms up and ready to serve.

I will let our team post about Day 3 tomorrow. But wanted to let you know everyone is well. Please c pray for our team for continued health and protection as we head into the second half of our week.

As everyone heads to bed after a busy day we will wake to another full day tomorrow. Haiti is such an amazing place. Beauty and despair together. Joy and sorrow side by side. I am honored to lead this team and blessed for their hearts to serve.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nokken Team # 3 Day 2 Tuesday

“Hey you, chocolat! Hey you, chocolat!”

This was the greeting we received from the children today as we entered Cite Soleil for our water delivery.  😊 The excitement clearly evident in this little song became a regular greeting at each stop and “Hey you, chocolat!” became our anthem for the day. 

Today was a day full of emotions, some welcome and some challenging.  Ranging from the joy of the children who ate up all of our affection to the heartbreak experienced as we watched the challenges that the residents of Cite Soleil experience on a daily basis (both in terms of their need for fresh water and their living conditions).  It was certainly a day we will not soon forget. 

This morning, we left the Healing Haiti guest house in our “tap tap”

and set out for the filling station, where we met up with one of the water trucks to deliver water.  As we got of the tap tap at our first stop, we were immediately met by the arms of children and found ourselves holding two, three, and sometimes up to five at a time.  It was quite an experience!  While some of us were holding children so parents could fill up their water buckets, others were holding the hose to fill buckets, and still others were helping residents carry their buckets back to their homes. 

A major lesson for our team today:  Though many Haitians live in material poverty, we found that some of their smiles were among the brightest we’ve ever seen.  Many of the children we encountered emanated joy in the midst of (what may seem to us to be) very difficult circumstances.  We are very fortunate that our basic needs aren’t even an afterthought in our day to day lives, but we have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in Haiti about how to be content in all circumstances.
   by- Walter and Justin

Monday, June 12, 2017

Nokken Team # 3 Day 1 - Monday

Hello family, friends, and supporters! 

We have arrived in Haiti!!!  Yay!  Our team is comprised of people living in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio, so we arrived on various flights at different times today, but we made it and so did all our luggage.  Hallelujah!  There were a few hiccups along the journey, but nothing too major, and we made it to Haiti to start our week of time in service to the Lord here.

Today was primarily a day of getting to know our team members and getting oriented at Healing Haiti.  We are so excited to be serving together and are grateful for the opportunity to get acquainted and enjoy some time together today at the Healing Haiti guest house.  We sorted out all the donations that came along with us (from many of you---THANK YOU!!).  We had a great meal together (see the picture) provided by the Healing Haiti staff.  Then, many in our group went and played soccer with some of the young men from the neighborhood.  It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed being with them and seeing them play some impressive soccer.  While others were playing, some in our group got to interact with some young kids and talk with others from the neighborhood.  What a blessing to interact with Haitians on our first day in Haiti!

Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to a day with the water truck, delivering water to the Cite Soleil. We’ll interact with Haitians and deliver fresh water at a number of different stops.  Come back tomorrow to hear how things go!

Sending much love to you all and gratitude for your support from Port au Prince, Haiti---

Team 3 – Healing Haiti

Written by Walter.