Sunday, July 31, 2011


It's hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago I was packing my suitcase & preparing myself for my 1st missions trip. I heard the stories from others and had a preconceived idea of what a 3rd world country would be like but never in my wildest dream I thought I would have a hard time returning back to my home.

They call it Re-Entry. Friends who have gone before to Haiti mentioned to  us first timers that some people are very emotional while in Haiti, some will be a few days after returning home and for some people it might take a year. My special friends who were guiding us said to each of us that whatever process it might take for anyone ~ it's okay!

What great advice for me because I was wondering out loud; Why is it that I didn't shed as many tears as some others. What is wrong with me? Am I not compassionate enough?
But God was working on me in a different way. He had a plan for me. We are not designed to compare ourselves to others; we are only supposed to be hearing His voice & listening to what HE is showing me in my own journey.
So, for me 24 hours after coming home to America the flood gates opened up. I am not much of a cryer so it was so liberating to cry it out. I sat on my deck and marveled at my backyard. It was a quiet morning, the birds were singing softly, the green trees swaying lightly in the breeze, even capturing a butterfly was inspiring to me. I couldn't help but keep thinking of the word "blessed".

We are so graciously blessed - Words can't even explain it.

What do I do now? Should I be feeling guilty for living in America? Absolutely Not!
A friend said to me recently and it really stuck in my 50 year old brain, that we are NOT to block any of God's blessings but we are to acknowledge them, To Give HIM Thanks and to Pay it Forward.

So as I reflect after my 1st week of being back home and all of the milestones from my journey...I hope & pray for God to help me stay humbled and thankful for all of my blessings, to stay true to not only myself but to my family and friends and to serve others as Jesus has served all of us.

To all of my "12" disciples who embarked on this incredible journey with me I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to return back to Haiti once again.


Barb Curtis
Healing Haiti Team Member

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


About 2am on Tuesday the 26th of July we landed back at home here in Minnesota. I was excited to see my mom and aunt... They have always been beautiful to me, but for some reason, they simply glowed, and they looked so... TALL. When I hugged them, I couldn't believe how good they smelled. Little things that I may have once taken for granted, or simply not noticed at all have become little treasures from above. How soft my sheets were that first night in my own bed, or how incredible a hot bath feels. I am definitely changed, I have a vast appreciation for things that once were simply ordinary. I have yet to shave my legs, or put on make-up, as it seems a bit trivial, and I know the day I go back to work will come soon enough, and with it the full arsenal of color cosmetics.

I seem to be more comfortable in my own skin than I was prior to Haiti, perhaps when there is a greater simplicity to life certain things are unimportant. For example, water is needed to live, the process of obtaining and rationing water takes hours where for us here in the U.S. it is a matter of seconds, we have a lot more time to think about one thing... ourselves. I think there is more self addiction here in the U.S. which results in some pretty major spiritual poverty. When you live in a place that requires more time to go towards survival, the appreciation one has for that survival i.e. life seems so much greater, and God is glorified in that living.

What can I do in my own day to day life that will continually glorify God in my actions? How can I greater show my values and beliefs without speaking a word? How do I plan to keep the appreciation I've acquired fresh? What can I sacrifice in my daily life to better usher me into the changes I wish to make?

A good man once shared this phrase with me, "Preach the gospel as often as possible; if necessary, use words."
I believe something God let me see while in Haiti was how powerful actions are, language isn't a barrier unless we let it be. I want my actions to reflect Christ-like love, I want my life to be an example of grace to others. When I went to Haiti I thought of all the awesome things I was going to do for people, deliver water, love on orphans..... but in reality, Haiti did so much more for me than I could have ever done for Haiti. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Whole Lot of Emotions Going On...

July 20th was an emotional day for a lot of people including myself.
So many emotions running through my head & heart I totally felt numb. I kept thinking what an awesome experience I saw with my eyes, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To actually be present with the kids at The Home for the Sick & Dying Children of Haiti. My heart was overwhelmed with sadness. Is this real? Am I really seeing this in this day & age?

The babies are lined up in their cribs waiting for someone to hold them while toddlers are running around wanting you to pick them up too.
The first baby whose name is Rolonza was precious. Her tiny limp body clung on to me and it made me cry. I hate sickness! This shouldn't be happening to God's children. I held her close to my body singing in her ear as I did with my own children & grandchildren. So many emotions to take in.
As I headed downstairs where the babies with more serious diseases were, I noticed a little boy who was just put back in his crib after seeing his mother who is allowed one hour a day to visit her sick child. As she walked away, the little one knew his mama was leaving him and he cried & cried.
He kept looking intensely for her to come back to him. I felt compelled to go over & relieve his pain of lonliness; so I did. I held, hugged & kissed this little guy. He was a year or two but looked like 6 months. He calmed himself down after I picked him up only to last for a moment. The nurse motioned for me to come over to a table outside to let me know it was his time for his shot. Oh My! To see this tiny baby flinch when he saw the needle coming his way. It amazed me that he knew from a distance that this needle was coming for him. He cried & cried and I just held him closer & closer to my chest. He eventually fell asleep in my arms. I tried setting him down in his crib so he could sleep but he wasn't going to allow me to do that. He sensed what I was about to do and cried to be held again. As most of my family knows, I am a softie when it comes to kids crying at bedtime. I just can't walk away and let a baby cry. I held him a little longer, fed him rice & beans and had to put him down and walk away when it was time to go. My heart was so sad!

Our next stop was Gertrudes Orphanage for Special Needs Children...

How would I be able to change my sad heart to a playful heart in 5 minutes?? Only by the Grace of God! He helped all of us get through these emotions one moment at a time.

Gertrude is an inspiring woman who has a heart of gold for all of her kids.
I am awstruck in what she does. She houses approximately 20-30 kids and they all seem to be happy.
As I looked around the compound I came upon a little girl who looked to be around 7 years old. She was laying on her bed singing away. I instantly fell in love with her. I jumped on her bed and played with her the entire time. It's frustrating for me with the communication barrier between the children and myself. I just wanted to tell her she is so beautiful and that I loved her eyes. But its funny how much we can communicate without any language at all. I was surprised she understood a little bit of English when I started singing the abc song. She loved to sing. But perhaps the most rewarding gift I received was a game I call "Hiding the String in the Belly Button". I can still see her reaction in my mind when she first layed eyes on my innie belly button. She couldn't stop playing with it. I just laughed and let her play with it. She tried to see how far down she could put her finger inside. It puts a smile on my face as I am writing this because she had such a giggle. She tore off a piece of string from my skirt and decided to play this game by sticking the string down in my belly button. She never got tired of this game. I kept that one piece of string to remind myself of how simple & joyous life can be just with something as plain as a piece of string.

Philemon 7: "Your love has given me great joy & encouragement because you, sister have refreshed the hearts of the saints."

Thank you Lord for this humbling experience!

Barb Curtis
Healing Haiti Team Member

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I don't know where to begin but to say that what I have experienced in Haiti is amazing. There is so much joy and among the rubble. I never thought I could fall in love with a place like this. It's dirty, full of garbage, pigs, goats, cows, dogs and chickens on the street, and alot of crazy drivers, but, it is beautiful. So beautiful I'm having a hard time thinking of coming back home. I miss my son and friends/family, but, life is so simple and purposeful here. It's the most peaceful I have felt in a long time. It has been a true blessing to serve the least of these. I have seen babies near death, laughter, dogs with rib cages visible through their fur, happiness, faithfulness and hope. And it all comes to together so beautifully.
Yesterday we had the privelage to visit a 19 year old boy who is a quadrapalegic. He lives with his mom and uncle and family. Most Haitians drop their kids off on the side of the road to die when they are handicapped. But, not this mom. She has been taking care of him faithfully. Her son was a normal 5 year old boy when he started having epileptic seizures. Because they did not have access to Dr's or the medicine, he became severely brain damaged and now sits in a wheel chair. This was a preventable disease that can be treated easily in the US, but, not here. We delivered a brand new wheel chair to him so he is more comfortable. It was a relief to see him sitting with a cushion and with head support. We all prayed over him before we left and there were many tears. His family was so appreciative of the wheelchair.
Next we visited someof the elderly. The first house we went to was a a 73 year old man . He had 8 children who all are passed away. The first thing he said when we came to his door was, "Thank God I got visitors today". I looked around his little room/house and saw a baseball cap hanging on a nail, MN Twins with Morneau on it. How great! What a sweet man. Next we stopped at a 91 year old ladie's house. She was laying on the dirt ground with a few blankets for a bed. She is immobile. Her brother and neighbors help her out. She was a spit fire though. She was so happy to see us. One of our team members told her she was beautiful and she said, "I know...I have my mirror right here" and reached over and grabbed her mirror. We had a good laugh. She posed for pictures we took too. She was a hoot. Next was an orphanage where we were greeted with a song. Parts were English and parts were French. It was so cute to hear their little voices. We played frisbee, soccer, jump rope, and bean bag toss. One very smart boy, about 17, spoke very good English and we talked for awhile. He and his friends were teaching us French. Of course I don't remember much of it, but, it was fun. He said to one of my team mates, I don't understand the color of her eyes and pointed to me. So cute. She did her best to explain genetics, but, I am not too sure much of it stuck. He told me he had been at the orphanage for two years. I found out his parents were killed in the earthquake. Ugh, just heartbreaking. But, still there was so much joy. He spoke of wanting to do something similar to Healing Haiti in the future. What a big heart.
Today we visited another orphanage near Grace Village in Titanyen after I went back to the orphanage for sick and dying babies and loved them up again for awhile. We played the same games as the day before, but, then added the limbo. I don't think I have ever seen so many kids have so much fun with a piece of rope. After FanFan (our interpreter) forced me into the jump roap circle and I wiped out at the end (of course), I got my hair done by some of the orphan girls. Let me tell you.....ouch! They really pull on that stuff. She attempted to braid it at first after she parted it down the middle and that didn't work, so she braided some all around my hair and she must have given up because then my hair was whipped back into a painful ponytail and I turned around to say Merci and there was a different girl sitting there! hahaha! At the end I got to hold a little seven month old baby that looked like the size of a 3 month best. He was a little peanut. He slept the whole time on my chest. I could have held him all day. I later found out that he and 3 siblings were at the orphanage because both their parents had recently passed away from Cholera. Let me tell you, these orphans are the cutest things that pull at your heartstrings. They all just want to be held and to be loved, regardless of age. Even the 16 year old boy that was trying to be tough and cool jumped into the limbo line and was laughing a bunch.
This has been the best experience of my life. To be a part of what Healing Haiti is doing has been a big joy. We got to visit the future site of Grace Village yesterday that will house approximately 80 orphans. It is beautiful. They will have a view of the ocean when they walk out their door, bright, beautiful paint to look at and most of all love. It is a site to behold. I cannot wait to see photos of the faces of these kids when they go there and find out that it is their home. I just smile thinking about it.
We have had so many laughs as a team and I have made some great friendships with these ladies. We have a bond that cannot be broken. We have all cried, prayed and laughed together this week and I wouldn't change it for the world.
My heart is softer than it was before and I didn't think that was possible. But, I know I have found my sweet spot and cannot wait to go serve again. Afterall, it's not about us.
Big love from Haiti!

~Kirstin Kugler
Healing Haiti Team Member

When the guesthouse is quiet...

I stayed behind today after we returned home from our a.m. jaunt on the water truck. Still felt bit squimish and going up the mountain tomorrow is not something I want to miss. Although it has been nearly a week since we arrived in Port au Prince, I am still in awe each time i see the earthquake ravaged streets and the garbage that has never been given an order, so it remains where it lies. When we left this morning, our devotion was a quickie before we split ways, some to the wound clinic, some to an orphanage, some the water truck. Jen asked us to keep something in mind throughout the day. She wanted us to focus on what our definition of poverty was.
Because I have known spiritual, as well as finincial poverty, I dont think that I would have thought twice about an answer, but seeing this place, impoverished and hungry but richer in faith that any I have known, I would have to say that I am truly the one who is poor. How interesting that if you were to ask a Haitian that same question, they would most likely give an answer much diferent. As would any peoson from any different background. I think this question is so loaded with perception that there will never be a right or wrong answer.
Tomorrow is our last day here, this entire journey has changed me in so many ways. I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to have come here and to really see how blessed I am as an American. Love is richly buried here in the Haitian soil, as much as is the will to survive. So many see Haiti and want to change it all, to Americanize it, but I cannot see that happening. If we were to change Haiti, to eliminate third world countries, where would God bring us to break our hearts? Some may say that it would be unfair that the people in those contries would have to live in poverty just so that people like us could go and be humbled. But again looking at the word poverty, I think they might choose to remain. Who is poorer than whom? We are commanded to not store up our treasure here on earth, but to store up our treasure with HIM. So ultimatley, I ask YOU... Who is poorer? Haiti or YOU? What has broken your heart lately?
So I will sit here on the lanai watching a gecko leap up the stone facade to the guest house until my teammates return home to fellowship and share our stories and photos, to eat and rest for the next day.
I must say, I am so very grateful for all God has given me because it really does come from Him, everything. And so to HIM should be given all things.
Love, Christy
Healing Haiti Team Member

Friday, July 22, 2011

caribbean blue to a paler shade of green

The carribean is so blue. The salty water made me almost weightless. As this was my first experience in the ocean, experiencing it with a handful of Haitian children made me feel even more childlike in my glee. The vast sum of the depths of the ocean is sobering, seeing my first glimpse at the turquoise water, yet still driving over an hour until I could actualy touch it. I could have stayed all day, all night and then some. A steel drum band played just down the public beach where we paid $1 per person to swim and delight in the childrens delight. Fanfan is Healing Haiti's translator and an incredible source of Haitian knowledge and spiritual passion. When he found out it would be my first time in the ocean he wanted to show me another side of the Haitian coast.
After lunch I was accompanied by Fanfan, Junior, our driver, and Maxim, who works on the water truck. We walked down the beach that was many smooth round rocks until there was more and more garbage, climbed up and over some rocks, and there it was, a 5 star vacation resort with white sand beaches. Fan fan had wanted me to see the white sand and esthetics this resort provided. I saw a lovely beach. This is the Haiti we were not here to see. There was no trash, no chipped paint, and it most certainly did not cost $1 a day. $30 per person per day is what Fan fan said.
When asked which i prefered i had to admit i prefered the public beach. the music, the laughter, and the life that it held were actually Haitian to me. The resort down the beach was a facade. An intentionality to hide away the truth of what actually comprises Haiti. Seeing the children enjoy a part of the geography of Haiti they don't know was such a gift, the smiles and laughter will stay with me always, as will the sight of Maxim, who stands 6'3" and well over 230lbs wearing a lifejacket and a pink blow up tube around his middle.
I had no fear of becoming ill when i set out for this trip. I knew I was acting in obediance to God, and that if it happened it happened. Well, it happened. The nausea began shortly after bedtime, when i was nursed by Rachel Rae and Kirsten pepto tabs and some anti-nausea pills. The night ended up difficult, i was up sick most of it, and I am sure i woke the house up. What would have been a very embarassing situation back home was not here is Haiti. My house sisters banded together, peeking in, keeping fluids pushed with electrolytes, and even Jean, who handles the house managing peeked in during the day to see if i was ok, or if he could fix me some food. I had company all day today as another was ill with me, but i will let he share that with you.
Daily at 9am or so the generators in the house go off, so no fans, and the air conditioned bedrooms are no longer airconditioned. we layed on the tile floor with wet bandanas on our foreheads and talked about how grateful we were. Grateful for airconditioning, electricity, for the garbage truck that hauls away our trash not just around the corner. We were grateful for life, for our leaders who withut question assumed the role of house moms when they found we were ill. I am grateful for Fan fan, Jen, and Liz for coming in to pray over me, for Kirsten fr putting that cold water by my bed. I am grateful for Rachel Rae for getting up at night to be sure I was ok before going to bed herself, for Jean for turning the generators on so we could have some relief. I am grateful for green grass and clean water., For a closet full of clothes, and more shoes than anyone could wear in a year. I am grateful for my family who loves and nurtures and for this experience with all of these women.
"that you would do for the least of these, you also would do for me"

Christy Scott
Healing Haiti Team Member

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Refreshingly Divine

DAY FOUR IN HAITI - July 21, 2011

My day started out at 5:45 am with morning worship. It was astounding to see hundreds of people (young and seasoned) gathering to praise God despite their present circumstances. FanFan (Haitian native, interpretor, and spiritual leader of the guest house) came along to translate for Amy, Liz, and I. The pastor continued to reiterate that we are powerless without God. Everyone engaged in singing for the first hour of the service. It was a truly moving experience.

The remainder of the day was refreshingly divine. It melts my heart when children laugh. Our team took 14 kids who had never seen an ocean before to the beach. There was tons of splashing, laughing, and pure joy. It was also touching to hear the kids sing Happy Birthday in creole to our co-team leader Rachel while in the water with their life jackets on. The part of the ocean we were in was absolutely breathtaking. It was crystal clear and aqua blue with tons of rocks at the bottom for the toddlers to fill their beach buckets up. On the way back home the kids slept peacefully and I enjoyed the scenary while sitting at the end of the tap tap (sounds like top top...our mode of transportation)with Amy. The mountains were gorgeous and for a moment, it felt like I was in California or Jamaica.

45 minutes later, we arrived back in Cite Soley and the familiarity kicked in again: tent houses, pigs being territorial about the trash they were eating from the dump on the side of the road; and a woman chopping wood with a dull sword to make coal that will later be sold in exchange for a meal. :( Just when I began to feel heartbroken all over again, I remembered that God has a larger purpose for the people of Haiti.

We finished the day celebrating Rachel's birthday at a nearby restaurant. FanFan prayed for the table in creole and that moment was the beginning of a powerful evening. While eating, God worked yet another miracle. Some builders from Florida walked over to our table and shared their occupation. I'll leave the pleasure of two other team members to tell you the details about the conversation, but know that I was truly moved. Their presence was no mere coincidence.

The entire day was magnificent and one in which I feel was refreshingly divine in so many ways. God is an amazing healer, protector, and shield.....and he loves you. Jezi Renmen Ou (Jesus Loves You)

Until, Rolanda


Day 3 ~Humbled~

On day 3 we visited the home for sick and dying babies and adults. In the morning Liz, Jen, Fanfan and I woke up early to walk to 6:00 a.m. worship. It was amazing to see how the Haitians worship God. I was honored to be able to go and see Haitians praise God in such away. I most definitly enjoyed watching my dear friend Fanfan in prayer and him helping me with the translation... When went to the Home for the Sick and Dying babies it was heartbreaking to see these babies, but it was a joy to hold and love them up. There was this one baby boy that I held the whole time he showed facial expressions and smiled all the time. He truly lighted my life. We were there from 9:30-12:00. After we went to a home for the Special Needs Children. It was wonderful to see this children running around, wanting to be played with and loved. They loved to laugh and smile, with the biggest smiles on ther
e faces. The love those children had for us was beautiful. When we arrived home we had dinner, and gathered to tell eachother our word of the day. My word was "langauge." The means of that word to me was when the children tryed to talk to me and I didn't know what they were saying but all I did was laugh and they would laugh back. My favorite part of the day was when Jess, Katie, Jean, Jen, and I went to the market after dinner. It was amazing to see the night life in Haiti and see the lights from the hills, and Haitians cooking and selling food on the streets over candle light. It was truly a beautiful sight to see. It was a wonderful feeling to not care what people thought of eachother and yourself.

Day 4 The Beach~

Today was a prefect day. First it was our leader Rachel's birthday. I was so blessed and honored to be able to be at this place she calls Paradise with her. We packed our sandwiches, snacks and picked up 13 children and the water truck men and headed to the beach. As we were on our way to the beach the children had smiles on there faces, they were so excited to see the beach.

Some of them have been to the beach and some of them have never even seen the ocean. It was a joy to see them swim and play in the beautiful blue ocean. During our time at the beach we went on a boat ride with the children.... At the end of the day when we dropped off the children we went our to dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. Rachel's dream was to drive in Haiti so Jean let her drive us home from the restaurant. She was so proud, she was glowing!!!! Tpday was a great day I will never forget! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY DEAR FRIEND RACHEL!!!!

Rachael Wittnebel
Healing Haiti Team Member


What a great day to be back in Haiti! It seems the week is going by so fast, I just want to slow it down and savor every minute. I love being back in this place; the people, the smells, the mountains, everything is just so beautiful to me.

Today we went to the hospital for sick and dying children. I spent the morning holding lots of children. They seemed to be more content today and cried less when I put them back in their cribs. I don't know why this was maybe less of them are sick or maybe they have had more volunteers lately and the kids are less lonely. Whatever it is it made me happy they are more content. It was so fun to see the dads visiting with the kids and loving them this morning. One dad was having such a hard time leaving his little girl because when he went to leave she just kept crying, so I offered to take her. He seemed relieved because she stopped crying. After he left one of the helpers said he was there every day and always has a tough time leaving. It was cute to see him so caring and loving towards his little girl.

Over Lunch we went to Gertrude's an orphanage for special needs Children. It was fun to go back and see the same kids we saw just a few months back. What a blessing Gertrude is to take in all these orphans with special needs and care for them.

This afternoon when we went back to the hospital for the sick and dying, I picked up a little girl who I couldn't quite put down. She wanted me all to herself, so I spent the afternoon cuddling with her. I couldn't quite get her to smile she just wanted to sit with me and be loved, UNTIL we found the swing. Seeing her little face light up when I pushed her in the swing brought me so much joy! It was so fun to watch all the children come alive after we had been there for a while and spent time loving them. The little boys and girls who just couldn't quite follow the rules and just kept getting in trouble was so much fun to see....reminding me they are just kids just like every other kid.

On the walk home it was so great to just be... in Haiti and experience life with the Haitian people; Soccer games being played in the street, people getting water, hanging out with friends and family cooking dinner. Walking on the familiar path back to the guest house it just felt like home a place where I am totally at peace with the world around me. I know when I am here I am called to love and that is all I have to do. Loving the Haitian people is so much a part of who I am now that I can't imagine life without this place.

-Katie McComb
Healing Haiti Team Member


How does one begin to describe Haiti? We have had the opportunity to walk the streets of Haiti whether it be back and forth to church or back from The Home for Sick and Dying Children and Adults. It is so amazing to see the realness of Haiti and the beauty of the Haitian people. Seeing people in community-everyone saying 'hi!' and smiling at you as you walk by. Seeing the sun shine on the mountains reflecting God's creation. Being able to take our time and not rush because that is not the pace in Haiti...the slower pace brings peace.

The last 2 days I have had the blessing to experience church in Haiti. What an amazing experience! To see people praising our great Creator as He should be praised is awesome! People walking up and down the aisles with their hands in the air..praying out loud..singing and clapping. Some humbling themselves before our Majestic Glory by getting on their knees on the cement floor to pray. They are praying to a God that has chosen to place them in the poorest country in the western hemisphere-could you praise Him like that if that were you? This is the God they continue to praise no matter what their circumstances. What a lesson! James 2:5 says, "Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?" These are the richest people I have ever seen! God continues to use them to grow my faith! In ALL circumstances praise Him! He will make your life whole.

Lastly, but certainly not least, God has given me a front-row seat to see His work in those that are on this trip. Seeing God work and hearing about it continues to fuel the fire He has started in me! To see hearts broken wide open...cleansing tears being shed...lives forever changed and faith being strengthened is completely indescribable (Makenzie's word-of-the-day)! All glory to God for He is perfect!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweetly Broken

Today is a day I will never forget for the rest of my life.  God broke me wide open. 

Our team went to visit an orphanage.  We walked into large rooms filled with toddlers and babies.  Some were crying, some were sleeping and some were laying there looking around.  This is their life. The thought of a baby being in an orphanage is a strange thought to me because it feels so natural to be a mom and want to nurture and love.  Some babies have parents who come to visit.  There were several moms there braiding hair and holding their kids.  One mom went around and nursed kids who weren’t even her own.  We had the opportunity to walk around and pick up babies and take them outside and just hold them.  Some cried when we walked by and put their little arms up in the air wanting to be held.  Today is a day that I wish I had 50 arms.  I would have held them all if I could have.  The downstairs is where the sick and dying babies are.  I was terrified to go down, but, because of that, I knew I had to.  God had a plan.  I held a few babies.  Many would just lay there and look around not doing the typical things a healthy baby would be doing like squeezing your fingers or rolling over.  One baby was lying on her side in her crib and I walked by to lay my hand on her back to give her some affection. She barely turned her head and looked up at me and then quickly back down as if she didn’t have hope.  That was the feeling I got.  I immediately started to cry feeling so awful for not being able to do more for her.  It’s a helpless feeling.  The next baby I held had my attention right away.  She had the sweetest eyes and cherub face.  I just wanted to love her up the second I saw her.  She was getting a shot and started crying.  But she couldn’t even cry that hard.  It seemed like too much work.  She continued to cry and I picked her up.  She flopped like a rag doll onto me wrapped her arm around my neck and head on my shoulder. I brought her outside and held her, rocked her and prayed for her.  I kept wondering what was wrong with her.  Where was she living before she came here? What was life like for her before the orphanage?  She was a sweet little 14 month old baby who ripped my heart open.  She soon fell asleep after I picked her up.  She didn’t move a muscle after.  I held her, patted her back and fanned her to keep her cool.  She was so sweet.  One of the sweetest little faces I have ever seen.  Soon all the kids were being fed lunch but she still stayed sleeping.  One of the helpers came out and I motioned to her that she was sleeping.  She left and came back with a standard metal bowl with rice and black bean juice.  I layed her little head back and took a spoonful of food and held it to her lips.  She instantly woke up.  I fed her on my lap and she started babbling.  She then soon started to lift her arms up toward a large wooden pole and saying mama…mama….mama.  She finished eating and it was close to the time to leave.  I walked with her some more and every woman that walked by she held out her arms….mama….mama…mama.  I was told it was time to go and had to put her back in her crib.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.  Let her go.  Walk away from her.  She started crying and tried to help herself up onto her knees to pull herself but she was too lethargic to do it.  I was completely heartbroken.  I cried the whole walk back to meet up with our team.  I sat down, and cried some more.  I couldn’t stop.  I cried tears for her for being there.  I cried tears for feeling bad for leaving her.  I cried tears knowing that I followed God’s lead when he asked me to step outside my comfort zone to help out a baby who needed me.  The tears just would not stop.  No one had to say anything.  We all felt the same way.  We soon held hands and started to pray.  We all cried and asked for strength. 
We all deserve to be loved, to be held, to be touched, to be comforted.  We were made to love and be loved.  I pray that for one hour I did just that for this little girl.  To be the hands and feet of Christ who loves us all was a true honor and blessing today. 
Our next stop was an orphanage for special needs and handicap kids.  Kids of all ages.  Kids in wheelchairs, kids with deformities, kids who couldn’t speak.  Many kids in Haiti who are handicapped get dropped off on the side of the road by their parents.  Thank GOD for people like this lovely lady who runs the orphanage to help their precious little souls. It too was lunch time here and we had the opportunity to feed the kids.  Some of the older and higher functioning kids could feed themselves.  I got to feed a little boy who was approximately 8 years old in wheelchair.  What a treat! God put the right kid with me to come full circle for my day.  Every single bite I fed him he would laugh.  Not just a smile.  A laugh!  I had an entire bowl of rice and black bean juice and every single one was the same.  He couldn’t talk, but he could laugh.  One time he bent over and gut laughed so hard he wasn’t making any noise and his shoulders were shaking because he was laughing so hard.  The best part of the whole thing was that he snorted at the end.  What a great pair we were.  We were both cracking up.  He made my day complete.  Such joy.  Such happiness.   I often refer to the quote, when we put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last, you find joy.  J.O.Y.  God truly showed me that today. I will forever be changed by these experiences today.  I knew I was going to broke.  I just didn’t know how.  Sweetly broken.  I surrender.
Ke Bondye Beni’ou
(May God Bless You)
~Kirstin Kugler
Healing Haiti Team Member

Words cannot describe.....

Day Two - July 19, 2011

The scripture that came to mind as we delivered clean water to people in need was Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know that plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." One of the most humbling experiences was watching an astronomical amount of people stand in a uniformed line with buckets waiting for clean water just to bathe, cook, brush their teeth, and so much more. I held back tears watching elderly people, pregnant women, crippled men, and naked children enduring the scorching heat while waiting for their buckets to be filled.

Shortly after we'd finished our third round of delivering water, we took some of the children on a walk. Words cannot describe the devestation I witnessed. Close your eyes and envision a moment when you've stepped in dog poop while walking on a trail and how quick you wipe it off to clear the shoe of filth. Well, many of these children do not have that luxury. They walk barefoot through a field of pig and goat poop; glass; garbage; and dead animals every single day. They live in make-shift homes made of rusted tin, torn tent material, and rotted wood. The space is no bigger than a closet of a standard one bedroom apartment. Despite the conditions around them, they each had a smile on their face. They are immune to it. Life is just normal in their world. It's tough to fathom that there are men, women, and children subjected to a daily routine as such, but it Haiti.

When I got back to our living quarters, all I could do was sit and cry and reflect on how much I've taken for granted. I pondered over all the times that I simply "sweated over the small stuff". Now I'm asking myself the same thing my father would ask me: Will your worries matter in 5 years? If not, let it go. The majority of people in Haiti adopt the attitude of relying on God and not worrying. A true lesson to place at the forefront of our lives indeed. God has given me so much and it will remain a priority to use every tool and gift he has provided to the fullest. I genuinely appreciate my kids and having people in my life whom I love very much including the ladies on this trip. I will never miss opportunities to show and tell them that. It brings me comfort knowing that I'm here representing the Lord through an organization that genuinely believes in the words of Jeremiah 29:11 and are demonstrating it through ACTIONS not just broken promises.

Day Three - July 20, 2011

Our co-leader Jennifer began the day at breakfast with a very moving devotion. She was preparing us to be spiritually replinished as we faced the day. I did not realize how much it would come in handy. Thanks rock!

I'm so choked up by my experience at the home for sick children. The first sound I heard when I walked in was man man (creole)...sounds like ma ma. It was a little boy just under 2 pointing to me and calling me his mom. He simply wanted to be held and loved. The hardest part in doing that is knowing that many of these kids are not only orphans but terminally ill. Praise God for those who have been nursed back to health.

I observed lots of things that no human should ever have to see. All of your prayers were amazing because after crying twice, it was easier to embrace the moment and serve others in HIS name.

We made it back to our quarters safe and sound but there also appeared to be an elephant in the room. It was evident that many of us needed time to process the happenings of the day. Today was indeed emotionally draining but also a reminder that true healing can take place in any capacity if we rely on God; appreciate the family and genuine friends you've been given and show it by spending quality time together; and lastly that no matter what we are suffering from..God can and will provide hope and relief if we simply trust and rely on HIM. Until tomororw....Mwen Renmen Ou ( I love you)

Haiti leaves a mark

Monday was surreal. I am still unsure if I have fully processed the days events. Our airport, (MSP) was the usual drill, check-in, security, get to gate and hit the bou. We were off, settled into our seats on an immaculately maintained plane. Some of us slept, while some chatted. Others played scrabble and talked about expectations.
I had broken sleep for the better part of 2 weeks, and i am still surprised i didn't crash the minute i sat in my seat. I hadn't traveled outside the U.S. since 2002 shortly after 9-11, and that was to Paris and London. Not quite third world countries.
I wasn't even in Haiti before the scenery changed. The airplane that took us from Mimi to Port Au Prince was a far cry from the pristine one we had just left. Out dated video screens encased in yellowed plastic replaced the drop-down L.E.D. monitors aboard the last flight. The seat just to my right had a defective tray that did not stay in the up-right position as is required during take-off.
I had to ask myself if the airfare from Miami to Haiti is that much less than it is Minneapolis to Miami, that the lesser maintained planes are used for such flights?
I had been "bracing" myself, preparing my heart for the worst imaginable sights and conditions i had known. I knew I would be in a 3rd world country for a week, had been prepared to "act as the hands and feet of Christ", and all that I thought that would encompass. I don't think it is actually possible to even grasp what it was like when we walked into baggage claim, if it could be called that. The Haitian airport still wears the scars from the earthquake in 2010, shattered glass is still in window frames facing the jet way, and the large pole barn that serves as both customs and baggage claim has no working baggage carousels.
Maybe once they had actually turned like ours do, the conveyor belts moving luggage from a window dispersing bags in an orderly way, but not anymore. I am sure everyone else has gone into detail, so I won't. Needless to say, we had to fight tooth and nail for our bags, our carts, and walk through hundreds of men who grabbed at, laughed at and blocked our path in order that we get to our waiting truck.

That was Monday, today is Wednesday. The day was filled with hundreds of little faces, faces that have experienced and know pain no child ever should. We are given a single directive... to love them. pick them up, feed them, change them, hold them, comfort them, play with them. It does not matter, the gift of human touch is gift enough to these little ones.
Leaving our first stop today broke me. I do not like to cry openly, it's hard for me to do. There have been times that I have needed the release, but I can usually stifle it until i am alone, but not today.
The sobs came without shame. I wept as one of my sisters here held me as if I were a child. My tears were not the only ones, They were joined by my dear friends as our hearts broke together, the pieces shattering in unison.
I am emotionally spent today. I feel like between the heat and the tears I am being purified in a big way. My inability to stay present at our second stop showed itself forcefully. My instinct was to run, but with nowhere to go... i was forced me to look at myself today. I wanted to come here because i knew that God would use this experience to rid me of some character flaws I can not see.
He is.

There is no amount or kind of mental preparation i could have done to convey to myself that Haiti would actually leave a mark. That I wasn't going to experience Haiti from a safe little bubble, observing the sights of the slums without knowing the smell or feeling the heat. Nor would there be any way to describe what it feels like when a child who has never seen you before is lit up at your presence. There are few times I have walked down a street and have been greeted by each person I encounter.
well, i am off for now, tomorrow we see the Haiti few know and I get to swim i the ocean I have never seen.
much love, until tomorrow.

Christy Scott
Healing Haiti Team Member

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taking It All In

All I can say is how thankful I am for everything that America has, and I only wish everyone could expeirence Haiti like the team and I are experiencing right now.

First Experience~

God has lightened a path for me and my fellow team members in this amazing journey that has just started. The first day was traveling day, which was an expierence. To see how Americans are in the airport, and then going to the Haiti and see how they work, and do different things then America, such as baggage claim. Haitian baggage claim is very different in Haiti, they have lights that are not working in the airport, they push your bags in through a window and people are pushing each other to try and find there bags. Just right there it showed how grateful we are to live in Ameria. Ending up after 2 hours Fanfan and Junior picked us up in the Taptap. We when arrived at the "Guest House" which was amazing, it was like paradise. As we got things set up in the house we when walked down the road to the Tent Homes. The first thing I still remember is this one little girl grabbing onto my hand and walking through these tiny paths to this open space were we held children, played soccor, and took it all in. It felt great to be here, and really experience what God is trying to teach me.

Second Day, THE WATER TRUCK!!!~

As I woke up this morning Liz and I were on kitchen duty. We made eggs, and pancakes for the team, and then headed out to the field to work on the Water Truck. As we were driving into Cite Soliel, the poorest city in the world. People were running after the truck with their buckets in there hands. We ended up going on 3 stops. By the end of each stop we would go back to the watering station and fill up the truck to head back out to the next row to deliever water. At our last stop at the end we grabbed the children and went to see the "beach front," which was where they had to pay to go to the bathroom, full of garbage. It was heartbreaking to see the children walking with us with no shoes on. As we jumped into the Taptap at the end of the day all I could do was look into the distance and see smoke from the trash, shacks, poorest of the poor walking around to find food and water for their families and just think of what we have at home, and feel so speechless it brings tears to my eyes to see that, it is all they have, and we have so much. I am sooo thinkful for this opportunity as it is changing my life, each and every day I am here.

~Rachael Wittnebel
Healing Haiti Team Member


July 19th

Fifty years ago today I was privileged by the Grace of God to be born. To say that I got to celebrate this milestone birthday in a 3rd world country helping others who probably won't even reach this young age is such an understatement.

Our first full day in Haiti started with our group breakfast and our team leader Rachel asking all of us during the day, to pick out one word for the day describing what we would experience delivering water to the Haitian people in Cite Soleil. The poorest city in Haiti. It was so hard to pick out just one word. As we were driving in the TapTap following the water truck I thought of my word of the day, it was the word "smell" The overpowering odor of burning garbage & sewage is not something I have ever smelled before. But then seeing the people along the road walking and smiling I didn't seem to notice the smell anymore. So I decided not to use that word.

As we approached our 1st stop I saw the people in the streets with their buckets and I got excited. But then things start to spiral out of control with near rioting which has never happened in the past. Why something happened like this...we don't really know , but it could be because it hasn't rained for a long time so people are desperate for water. We were told to pack it up and move out!! The Haitian people know what the rules are for getting water and by disrespecting the rules they don't get the water. I felt so bad when we pulled away from the chaos because the people still needed the water.

It is so true about what people told me about the children of Haiti. They love you unconditionally. They are joyful. They have big wide smiles. They touch you and talk to you. How rewarding it is to experience unconditional love as God planned for all of us to have.
1st John 3:16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers & sisters."

Maybe my word of the day should be rewarding???? Hmmm

Through out the day I kept hearing this Haitian word "Pot-em Pot-em" which means Hold me...Hold me. They all want to be held & touched. What a joy :) Unfortunately for every Haitian word I learned my 50 year old mind quickly forgot it. Hmmmm. Imagine that :)

Its the excitement of the moment that brings you to your knees.

A couple of boys who were about 10 came with us on the water truck and helped us. Hard working young boys. One of them was Pa-Trek. He was such a nice kid, very friendly and caring. I loved it when he kept calling me "mama". He sang Happy Birthday to me in Haitian which was an honor. But what really got me was at the end of the day when the other boy didn't feel good, Pa-Trek took care of him. It was so cool to watch two young boys holding hands taking care of each other. Pa-Trek took him home so he could continue to take care of him. Wow! Just watching this happen in front of my eyes shows what is really the true meaning of friendship, This is what it is all about!!

So, as I sit here writing this blog & listening to FanFan (Fa-Fa) singing & playing guitar on the patio what will I use for my word of the day??

I think its going to be the word "appreciation". I have appreciation for all of God's gifts & promises. Appreciation for my family & friendships & appreciation for what the Haitian people have given me on this special day.

PS - I had a fantastic "Haitian" birthday dinner with cake, ice cream & champagne.

Oh, by the way...we did go back to the 1st stop and delivered the water. Did they respect the line this time? Did they behave? For the most part..the answer is Yes!

Until next time

Glwa Pou Bondye!

Barb Curtis
Healing Haiti Team Member

Monday, July 18, 2011


The day has arrived to take the trip to Haiti. It was so hard to block out the monotony of the morning …specifically wondering if there was anything I forgot to cross off the to-do-list before boarding the plane; if the kids would be okay while I’m gone; if I brought enough snacks, etc.

In route to the airport, a dear friend reminded me to make the primary focus doing God’s will and transforming lives. It was eloquently reiterated that One heart saved is a new life in Christ” and the following scriptures were shared:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler"
Psalm 91:1-4 (NKJV)

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT)

These scriptures brought immediate comfort upon landing in Haiti this afternoon. Our team experienced a very abnormal length of time getting our luggage. However, it bonded us closer together and taught us a lesson in humility and patience. The highlight of the first day on this trip was visiting people who live in what is known as tent city. It was a very humbling experience meeting men, women, and children who had bright smiles on their face despite living in extremely poor living conditions. Yes, living in tents. These are not the type of tents one would buy from Target. Some were made out of sheets, brick, and are the size of a clothes closet. My heart ached for a young child that was playing on a bed of rocks and only had one shoe on her feet. It was very evident from her frail frame that she is malnourished. When asked her age, she stated she did not know. I would venture to guess 6 years old. Our team simply hung out with the kids for a couple of hours. A simple game of slapjack, soccer, and thumb wars made them content. It was so hard to leave them and head back to our living quarters but I know we are scheduled to visit again this week.

As the night winds down and I head to bed, the two lessons of the day that stick out vividly to me are: No matter who you are, what you do for a living, or how much money you make: Be content with what you have and find refuge in God. Secondly, good results come from being a patient and humble individual.

I ask for your prayers to help me remain focused on HIS will, to trust HIM with all of my heart, and to have the ability to disconnect from having my mind run 80 miles a minute centered on my own woes. Instead to focus on saving lives, feeding the people in need, bringing multitudes to Christ, and being PRESENT on this missions trip mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. May God continue protecting our team and the people of Haiti and allow HIS will to be done as we walk this spiritual journey. Until next time….Konfyans nan Bondye. (Trust in God)

Ro DelaMartinez
Healing Haiti Team Member

Come away with me

Come away with Me for a while. The world with its nonstop demands, can be put on hold. Most people put Me on hold, rationalizing that someday they will find time to focus on Me. But the longer people push Me into the background of their lives, the harder it is for them to find Me.
You live among people who glorify busyness they have made time a tyrant that controls their lives. Even those who know Me as Savior tend to march to the tempo of the world. They have bought into the illusion that more is always better; more meetings, more programs, more activity. 
I have called you to follow Me on a solitary path, making time along with Me your highest priority and deepest Joy.  It is a pathway largely unappreciated and often despised. However, you have chosen the better thing, which will never be taken away from you.  Moreover, as you walk close to Me, I can bless others through you.

This is a devotion out of the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I was given this book from a beautiful woman for my birthday prior to my departure.  I couldn't help but think about the perfect timing of this book and how perfect this devotion was for the day before this teams departure to serve the Lord in Haiti.

I think about the many MORES we feel are always better and after the new lens from my experiences from Haiti..More is not always better.  It blurs our vision, it clogs our ears, it takes away from God.  I think back of training the teams for Healing Haiti.  I remember the analogy of having a glass full of "our self" or emptying every last drop so that God is able to fill us up.  We encourage everyone to empty their glass completely so we are able to solely depend, trust, and lean upon God.  When I am in Haiti I am able to completely empty my glass so that God will fill me up and use me in any way that He chooses. When I return back to the states...the busyness so quickly fills me up which then pushes God out of my glass.  I always  leave a little bit of Him in the glass but definitely not enough. I start to yearn to get centered again, I start to miss Haiti, miss GOD!  I start to take the wheel of life rather then letting Jesus take the wheel.  It is a time that I need so I can reflect on life and where exactly He is leading me. Where is God wanting me to go or what is He wanting from me.  What is God trying to teach me?  What perfect timing to go do serve Him.  Somewhere I feel the closest to Him, a place where no matter where I turn or who I see, or whatever I hear...God is always at the center. He is always there.
Father God, I am so thankful for this trip, so thankful for the perfectly imperfect beautiful people that are honest and helpful in my life that you sent with me.  Lord, there are many revelations ahead I do know this.  I pray that my eyes, ears, hands, feet, and heart will be yours. May my eyes see what you want me to see, may my ears hears the desperate cries you want me to hear (including my own), may my hands be your heavenly and gentle touch, may my feet be yours so that I will follow you where you need me to go, may my heart be your letting it feel the pain, suffering, peace, joy, love and happiness that you feel everyday, that you want me to feel.  May I surrender all of me to you and I pray this for our team members too, Lord.  Let us LOSE OURSELVES!!!  Fill us up completely with you!
Jesus, take the wheel, guide us and follow us, protect and cover us in all that we do in your name.  May our actions and words glorify You always.

Let us Come away with you
Surrendering our heart body and soul to you!


Rachel Rae
Healing Haiti Team Leader

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Prayer Request

Dear family and friends,

I’m excited to tell you that once again I am blessed with the opportunity to go back to my paradise; Haiti. As many of you may know God has blessed me with the opportunity to be able to go to this beautiful country and serve those less fortunate twice before. Haiti is a country that I feel in love with and it has been such a blessing to be able to go back and serve the Haitian people and continue to build relationships with them. I can’t express the joy that is felt when seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and their big brown eyes staring up at you or to just listen to all the sounds and take in all the smells of the country. Each time I have been to Haiti it has been such a humbling experience and I am always reminded of how good God is and how blessed I am with all the “stuff” that I have here in America.

I am writing to ask you for prayer, not only for myself but also for my team, the people of Haiti and their country. Prayer is so powerful and I would love it if as we journey on this trip, when it comes to mind, if you could lift us up in prayer. Through your prayers you are apart of this exciting journey and helping to spread the love of God even though you many not be able to be there physically.

Here are a few prayer requests or thoughts: (Maybe pick one or two each day J )
  • Safe travels to and from Haiti (we will be leaving on Monday and coming back the following Monday)
  • That God would use each one of us to spread His love and show His love to those we encounter
  • That the Haitian’s that cross our path would see us differently and see God in us by what we do, how we act and what we say.
  • Prepare the hearts of those that don’t know God to be open and place these individuals in our paths so that we may minister to them.
  • For safety and good health for all of us throughout the week.
  • That each of us would lose focus of ourselves and be completely open to what God is try to teach us and what He is using us for.
  • For the organization Healing Haiti and that God would continue to bless and provide for all their needs.
  • For the government of Haiti and that they would be for the people and not so self-absorbed and focused on their own wealth and safety.
  • For the country of Haiti, that God would restore peace and justice and that there would be no more poverty or violence.
  • For the children of Haiti that they may grow to love the Lord and also learn trades in which to one day help their country.
  • That God would break our hearts for what breaks His
  • Continued strength and growth among the believers in Haiti.
  • God would fill us up and give us the compassion, grace, love, patience, joy, faith, and gentleness to reach out to those around us throughout the week.
  • For community among our team.
  • For walls to be broken down around our hearts and that we can be honest with what we are struggling with in our own lives among our team and with God.
  • That God would meet each one of us where we are at in our faith journey and strengthen our love and desire for Him.
  • That God would use us for His will on this mission trip.
  • That upon our arrival home God would give us the strength to adjust back into our daily routines but not lose sight of Him and all He showed us throughout the week.
  • That we would come back changed individuals and learn how to love those around us like Jesus.

Here is a link to the blog we will be keeping on our trip.  

Thank you so much for your continual support and prayers as I answer God’s calling to serve the Haitian people. It is such a blessing to be able to share this journey with you. I am truly blessed to have such supportive family and friends.
May God bless you for your loving hearts. In HIM.
  Jessica Burmester