Friday, December 31, 2010

nou isit--- we are here :)

In the words of Rob, "Your journey started as a survival." And gracious he was right. None of our bags made it to Port de Paix yesterday...we did not realize what a blessing it was. Our tap tap ride was not over packed and we made it across the big river. PTL! However, our truck broke down about 30minutes into our drive. A MESS....between the language barrier and no cell phone service...we were not sure what to do. Half the team was helping the Haitian's push the truck to jump start the engine...after about 1.5 hrs...we gave up. The Tap Tap driver said he had contacted rob and we should wait for him. We knew though that we had to start walking as the sun started to go down. I can't explain the emotions we encountered. But I can say that our team exhibited great strength. We didn't realize quite how far we were from Passe Catabois. Just as we were reaching our breaking point, Rob showed up in the tractor and wagon. He was a blessing from God. He helped us climb into the wagon and drove us to the house. Madame Jal had made us Haitian speghatti...suprisingly delicious!!! We were so exhausted and ready to get to bed. We all enjoyed a nice frigid, freezing, cold shower!!! oh well...the beds were soft and welcoming. We all slept until ten this morning. We are enjoying the people and the beautiful children here. Ann-Marie, the doctor here, is still in Port de Paix. She was supposed to ride back with us yesterday, but there was a misunderstanding. It is working out though. She is gathering supplies and gas for the hospital/mission house. Hopefully our bags will make it to Port de Paix today. We are anxious for her arrival. Our team is going to take shifts at the hospital to help Ann-Marie and let her get some sleep. Many prayers are needed here. We are so needed here...

I want our parents to know that we are safe. And we can feel God's presence with every step we take. We have sweet people caring for us and teaching us.

love and many blessing...

Jessica, Mary Kate, Christin, Dustin, Rachel, and Jacob

Saturday, August 7, 2010

mache tabarre

we spent our last day here in PAP cleaning out medical/maternity supplies from the women's center and organizing them so that they can be put in the appropriate facility.... heartline is taking some steps to open up their own full time clinic and hospital from their field hospital that sprung up after the earthquake. God has opened up doors thus far and it has seemed as though the hospital has never been able to close... :) it is a beautiful thing! not that people are still sick but that the Lord has made it clear to them the direction they should go with their resources and passion in ministering to the haitian people.

after we finished cleaning we went down to mache tabarre to see what cool haitian artwork we could get our hands on... tashi and jenny came with us. we even rode a tap tap :) this tap tap was much better of an experience than our other tap tap ride on our way to passe catabois... for 2 reasons... #1 it wasn't 2 hours long... #2 we were not overcrowded. it made for a good day :)

jenny told me today that she was going to miss me very much... and that she would be sad when i left. she also said that she would always remember me and that kenny would too. blows my mind to think about where she will be the next time i am able to make my way down to haiti. praying that the Lord would keep her in His hands and that He would protect her little one. also praying for an opportunity to help out financially. still waiting on word from beth on how all of that will go..

we start our journey home tomorrow at 8 55 am. and we should be home by 9 10 pm at the monroe airport. lots of mixed emotions by all... as usual. we have been blessed to be here at the guesthouse as we transition....but we still need your love and your prayers to know how God has called us to respond after seeing what we have seen.

see you soon :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

family clinic

family clinic day at heartline.... pure awesomeness.

mary kate and i were sat up as "triage", marrah and kasey gave out water and protein shakes to everyone and helped out in the pharmacy, megan helped out wherever a baby needed to be held, sarah the MD was doing her thing, and beth was everywhere. the Lord blessed me with a new friend today as my translator... her name is Tashi :) beautiful woman with a beautiful heart! i loved getting to know her and all the kreyol she has taught me!

we saw over 50 patients today... we were supposed to see 25 but that information was lost in translation i guess :) instead of giving tickets to 25 patients the guy at the gate gave a ticket to each family... and well you can guess how that went. either way it was great... just serving in love :)

after we finished our triage part... which 50 patients in 2.5 hours of triaging must be a record. along with full blown assessments... way to go frantic... you have taught me well :) hehe. but anyways.. we finished way before the doctor even put a dent in the patient numbers so we just got to hang out with the the girls that were working inside. jenny, the girl whose story i shared with you yesterday, and i had a moment today. just in case you didn't read... she is a 16 yr old motwho's responsibilities are quite overwhelming for her age and situation. at one point she just had a sink full of dishes that beth was reminding her that she needed to do, her baby had pooped everywhere and she had to clean him off, she popped the baby (Something she does frequently as a learned behavior) and was corrected by several well meaning people sitting in the room... so all of that at once just made her break down. tears were streaming down her face as she was just overwhelmed with life at that point. i followed her into the bathroom and just hugged her and asked if i could help her. she told me no... i didn't listen and tried to help anyways. she let me... which she wasn't supposed to let me but i think she really needed some encouragement at that point and just needed to know someone was there to back her up. after that we had some conversations throughout the day and developed a friendship. i thank the Lord so much for it. at one point she opened up to me and told me that life was too hard and that she wanted to take kenny to an orphanage when he stopped breastfeeding so that he could have food everyday and go to school and "have a good life". this broke my heart.. considering the place that she is in. her mom wants her back but not the baby and her late boyfriends mom wants the baby but not her.... she is panicking and does not know where to go. i am so thankful that beth is so vested in her situation and loves her so much. i spoke with her today about sponsoring jenny and kenny so that they could stay together and not have so much pressure to split up. more details on how we can help to come... this is something that i am seriously investigating and will be participating in whether alone or with help. if you want to help.. let me know :)

tomorrow is looking like we will be getting the remnants of the hospital supplies out of the women's center and then enjoying the rest of the day in PAP. hoping to spend some more time with tashi and jenny. last day in haiti... going to do my best to breathe it in.

love you guys... need your prayers more now than ever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the infamous update :)

here it is... what you have all been waiting for... our infamous update. duh duh dun :)

i left you at our last day in passe catabois... it was a doozy. marrah and kasey went to the clinic with anne marie and even sat in on some surgeries. from what a i heard it was a pretty typical day despite the hernia repair. as always it is good to see medical minds experience the clinical life of the developing world. mary kate and i spent the morning cleaning things up and spending some quiet time which was good for the soul. we headed down to the hospital to find some of the patients and children eager to interact... so we brought out the colors and coloring pages. ah the simplicity of coloring. adults and children alike were gathered on the roof. kate got peed on :) hehe. i told her she was now able to join the club "i got peed on in haiti". she didn't think it was very funny :)

the clinic wiped marrah and kasey out so i soon found them passed out on the ceramic floor in the bedroom. so while they slept i had to have a little heart to heart with louvnet. as beautiful of a kid as he is... and as haitian as he is... he still struggles with the difference between wants and needs. no one is immune. it was a hard conversation but i truly believe that he understood. and i feel as though he and i both look a little more like jesus after our conversation.

annaleise was called down to the clinic for an emergency and invited mary kate to go with her... which was a huge BONUS :) there was a tap tap roll-over accident and patients needed to be seen. as far as we could see there were no serious injuries, praise the Lord. it's in those moments that you thank the Lord that there were no serious traumas like we see at home in the ER... the patients would just die. many more realizations have been verbalized... like wondering how in the world they get by using 800 mg of ibuprofen for a high dosage of pain a wound with drinking alcohol that the neighbor made.. no electricity and headlamps for lighting.. nurses suturing and using whatever hands they can get to treat the people that find themselves standing in the clinics doorway. sometimes there are just no words.....

during all of the taptap hubub i was frolicking about passe catabois with some of my favorite children: rosmanette, jan kelly, weedlin, michellda, mickende, fedna.... visiting michellda's family and going to see gena and her 12 brothers and sisters. it was sweet time with the kids... and i think we all enjoyed some quality time before we headed out. the river looked too enticing so we couldn't keep from diving in and enjoying a swim! they were singing and dancing and just embracing the day. it's on my hard days that i will do my best to remember those moments... pure joy despite overwhelming circumstances surrounding me.

our last night was filled with reminders of why we had come... and very sad faces of children. we ran into anne marie who told us that she had just spent the whole evening pleading with the hospital in port de paix to take a patient who was severely anemic and needed to be transfused or would die. a medical emergency... she literally had to get on her hands and knees to beg the people to admit him and treat him. sweet Jesus... i have no ability to wrap my mind around that. #1 the stupidity of the hospital to not treat a medical emergency (which is a common occurance) #2 the fact that God has given anne marie a heart to be an advocate for these people, that is completely mind blowing. and beautiful. ------------ it broke my heart to see kate say goodbye to some of the children. mariejinette and yolta in particular. the relationships are what change you. haiti is not just a country... it is a beautiful place made of beautiful people with amazing stories and that is what you cannot shake.

wednesday morning started early with more goodbyes and a seemingly short ride into port de paix to find the Lashbrook's children's home where Sandra has been staying. the drive into port de paix was gut wrenching.. it is a broken city for sure. trash ridden, broken down buildings, over populated... and pulling into the orphanage was an uneasy task at first. thankful that the Lord was holding us during those moments... especially me. we were welcomed into a home by haitian people and they pointed me right to the reason i came.. to a little girl lying in a pack and play along with 7 other children in the same room. i don't remember much about the first few moments of reconnecting with her... but i do know that she is beautiful, and growing, and healthy, and loved. the interns that run the homes filled with over 100 children keep the babies along with the help of over 80 haitian staff members. the boys home was at the edge of the carribean which was completely breath taking... almost too good to be true. i got to hold the most beautiful little girl in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. we helped to make dinner for the boys..home made pizza... and just enjoyed spending time with the kids and getting to know the interns who are living out the Gospel daily. so encouraging to see God using them to make fathers from the fatherless. the night time is where our time in port de paix got challenging. but funny.... at least if you look at it from one perspective :)

showering consisted of a 5 gallon bucket and a measuring cup. best shower ever. no joke. the inside of the house was like an oven. i wish i could say i was exaggerating but even being from louisiana did us no good at this point. even with the generator going and fans blowing on us we were still all miserable and dripping sweat. as if i haven't learned to think things couldn't get much worse... they did. the generator cut off and there were no more fans. everyone and everything in the house including rats and roaches came out to visit. before we knew it... 17 people were crowded into the living room wondering what we were going to do about the situation. there was a lot of laughing... and whining... and screaming. the next thing we knew we were walking down the streets of port de paix at 1 am with all of our luggage, air mattresses, children, and in our PJ's :) we went to the boys home to sleep in the guest house that ended up being about 20 degrees cooler, praise the Lord. we got about 3 hours of sleep with 4 of us sharing 2 twin sized air mattresses with our new friends doing the same. mary kate got so carried away that she thought it was cool enough to snuggle.... i shot that idea down :)

this morning, thursday, our flight was scheduled to leave PDP @ 6 am... but this being haiti we didn't take off until 645 am. we pulled up at the guest house here in PAP @ 8 to find some very sweet people who will be our family for the next few days. what a blessing... and did i mention this place is like the hilton in haiti?!?!? :) praise the Lord (PTL) for cokes and fans. most of our day was spent at the birthing center doing pre natals for the women in heartlines program. the knowledge and resources that they are providing these women are empowering and life changing. this is how change is going to happen in haiti. i see God's hand in everything they do. we got to see the heartline field hospital with it's few remaining patients... such a sweet little community of people. at one point there were over 100 people and now they are down to 15 who are still remaining waiting on a medical visa or placement in a home due to most of their homes being destroyed.

one particular young woman caught most of our eyes today.. her name is jenny. she is 16 years old and has a 6 month old son named kenny. kenny was born at 7 months and weighed 3 lbs. it is a miracle that he is alive after his unassisted birth in the slum and hard beginning to life. she is still at heartline's hospital even after Kenny is a happy, thriving baby boy due to circumstances at home. she told me that the baby's father died and she has no one to help her. beth shared later today that her family in cite soleil no longer wants her and is not willing to help with the baby at all... she is at the hospital until the Lord provides a way for Jenny and Kenny. these encounters are daily... the needs are overwhelming. beth and john handle the challenges with grace and mercy and with a lot of love and a whole lot of faith. i have a whole lot to learn.

we will be staffing a medical clinic tomorrow.... WITH our friend Megan who made it in this evening! we are so excited that she joined us :)

looking forward to embracing another day in haiti... we still need your prayers and your love.

until tomorrow...

last day in PC...port de paix... and NOW port au prince

we have SOOOO MUCH to update you on... so tonight we will all be sitting down to update you on our last day in passe catabois, our amazing time in port de paix, and how our first day in port au prince is going.... so be checking in around 8 pm or 9 pm tonight!

we made it to port au prince and are at the guest house... which is pretty much like the hilton in haiti. i have some mixed emotions but we are enjoying being a little more comfortable as we finish up our time here in haiti. beth mchoul should be here to get us in just a bit to work in the birthing center for today. we are really just looking forward to getting to invest in the incredible ministry they have for the people of haiti. love it.

so.. until tonight... :)

Monday, August 2, 2010


i stole the title from some awesome haiti lovers.... "TIH" means "this is Haiti". you can actually use it for any location when you are put in a situation that is akward and would only happen in the place that you are.... the past day has been full of "TIH"appropriate stories :)

after i updated the blog last night Anne Marie invited us to a soccer match... i had no idea what we were in store for. but it seriously could not have been better! we walked to this little bitty soccer field in the dark with AM, hospital patients, and some of Fre Jal's kids. the generator was used to light up the tiny area with very loud creole music playing... of course... they had too many things plugged into teh generator so it went out frequently (TIH). we arrived around 7 30 and the match was supposed to start @ 7 pm. it did not start until 8 45 (TIH). we sat around the outside of the soccer field as the 3 on 3 teams competed with tons of fans cheering them on... there was a DJ that did the commentary the entire time who thought much of himself and made it very clear to the entire audience... which was pretty funny. at half time they had different people rap and dance.... oh words will do it no justice. a video will show itself sooner than later! seriously... TIH moment worthy. probably the most TIH thing i have seen yet. btw.... marrah has a boy named "DoDo"that likes her... but no worries... the children made it very clear to us that it was not a good idea :) --- we left the match around 10 pm with it still going on .... we could hear them going on and on throughout the night until around 12 am. TIH.

this morning Mary Kate went to the clinic to spend the day with AM. we brought the supplies that we carried over (nerve block kits, comfort care kits, masks, IV's, condoms, OTC meds)... we were a sight for sore eyes im sure lugging it all the way through the village :) anyways... she said she had a great time and was really glad that she decided to go.... AM even handed out some condoms :) mission accomplished! as always it would be better to hear from her directly but she wanted me to share some of the things that she learned today.... one of the main things she kept saying was that she realized how wasteful we are at home with the medical supplies and how much we take for granted. her mind was constantly wondering how this could be recreated somewhere else and how it all works.... i love it! what a blessing the clinic and hospital are to the people of Passe Catabois and the surrounding areas.

Kasey and Marrah did not end up doing Camp Hope stuff today... they didn't really feel like that was where they wanted to spend their time... so we went to the hospital and did puzzles and blew bubbles with some children and patients. puzzles were a GREAT idea for them... at first kasey said they had no interest in sitting down but after a while they were really intrigued and say down and did them all! so fun to engage with them! we walked through the market and got a good taste of what haiti has to offer... a wild experience i tell you. rosmanette was by our side the whole time... she has been this whole trip. she is my faithful friend here. i love her so much.

this afternoon has been pretty chill... ptl. i have spent time with kids and held a TB infected & malnourished baby girl for over an hour. Her name is Shellmeez. she is 12 months old but looks like she is 2 months old. the TB and malnourishment has robbed her of joy, the ability to thrive, and just of life in general. she has the weakest cry ive ever heard. sickness and hunger again became a harsh reality. mary kate told me that the way she sees God's grace in the situation is that He sent Annaleise and Dustin to care for her during this time. she is so right. praying for this little girl's healing... and leaving how the Lord heals her in His hands. on a more serious TIH note... SHE IS HAITI.

Mary Kate is doing english with Mariejinette again tonight... but this time at the guest house. they had a good night last night but she said she wanted to spend some more one on one time with her with not as many people around. many of you know what Fre Jal's house and family are like... they just want to be involved too :) hehe, gotta love them! mariejinette LOVES LOVES LOVES mary kate! she told me today she is her sister :)
Marrah and Kasey will spend the day at the clinic and Mary Kate and I will frolic about town. looking forward to it... but not looking forward to goodbyes. Fedna's dad wants to chat with me... Not sure what that is all about. Say a prayer for that conversation. Christnet had to leave unexpectedly today... he sent a note via Louvnet. Such a sweet boy... he told me to not be sad and that he would see me in December :)

Wednesday we will be heading to see my sweet Sandra. praying for her and for how my heart will react. He has opened too many doors for this to not be part of the plan. just praying to embrace the day with her and leave it at that. needing a touch from His spirit in this area.
I really tried to put some pictures up... this is the only one i could get. :( but i promise there will be more pictures of your sweet friends and family! they are all smiles and doing great. just please continue to pray for them.
hopefully we will get to update you again tomorrow before we head to Port de Paix.
Jessica, Mary Kate, Kasey, & Marrah

Sunday, August 1, 2010 do haitians spend their weekends??....

pretty good question, EH?? :) Well this is how we spend our Haitian weekend.... hope you enjoy!

Saturday was a day for the river... we didn't go to the usual spot because the river was large and probably would have drowned us had we gone there. So we went to another swimming hole... it turned out to be GREAT! To see all of the kids make a mad dash for the water giggling and screaming was priceless. We washed them from head to toe with Johnson's body wash and scrubbed them down GOOD! BUT.. the next thing I knew they were rolling in the mud making scary monster faces at the small children... haha... gotta love it. Who needs a bath, anyways?? Mary Kate let Michellda wash her down and braid her hair in the water... There was also a moment that Mary Kate had with Loushka before the river.. but I will let her tell you that story :) Marrah just romps with the best of them and I can't decide if Kasey likes to romp and watch :) Maybe she likes to do both :) :) Everyone agreed that this was a really fun event!

There were some sad realizations by all yesterday... Hunger is very much so a reality here. If I had more time I would write more. But I will just leave it at that.

Marrah and Kasey have become very attached to "small small" ... also known as Jan Maxon :) Such a sweet boy... they have gotten him laughing and talking when before he would hardly do either. So precious! Today he was blowing me kisses... SO SWEET!

Last night Mary Kate made friends with Mariejinette through teaching her some English! Now everytime Mariejinette sees me she asks where Mary Kate is and when she is coming back! hehe... such a sweet connection. That is where she is right now as I type this.. helping her with English!

Today started off with Church... it is definitely an experience. But I do have to say that church here is very westernized. They learned from the best :) :) hehe.. I hope you hear my sarcasm. But it was sweet to see some familiar faces and just to worship.. because where 2 or more are gathered together.. He is there. So thankful for that truth.

This evening I went to take a walk and find Anne Marie... and I walked up on a woman in labor. I was so excited! First time that has happened in my 4 visits here! I was able to help with the delivery and basically watch a miracle. The baby wasn't breathing and had a rough run at first but after a little mouth to mouth by Anne Marie the baby seems to be doing great. There is a guy at the hospital that seems to have a crush on me though... He is hilarious. Not even sure of his name but it cracked me up when Anne Marie handed him the newborn with his dress and hate on... no joke. I have a picture that I will share later :) TOO FUNNY!

the marbles and jewelry making came out tonight... it was fun to see the smiles on their faces. of course when you hand out fun things someone always ends up crying. oh well.. i guess it is worth it if most everyone ends up happy?!?!

Tomorrow Marrah and Kasey will be helping out at Camp Hope and Mary Kate is spending the day with Anne Marie. So they should all have very interesting days. As for me, Im not sure what I will do, maybe I will float around and enjoy :)

We are asking the Lord to be glorified in us... and to make His name great. Asking Him to fill us with His love so that we can pour out.

We love you!

Jess, Mary Kate, Kasey, & Marrah

Saturday, July 31, 2010

We are here :)

I knew I would eat my words as far as telling you guys all about this blog and then it not working out to where I could update you as much as I would have liked to.... but yes.. we are HERE. and doing great. just now having a little bit of time to sit down and write.

our flight into Haiti was uneventful... praise the Lord. no issues with our flight or our bags getting here. the airport was tore up though... they took us in a shuttle to an area where it looked like they stocked things and customs and immagration was in there. Nader was there to pick us up as soon as we walked out the door... a first! It was a comfort to see his face. He was also picking up a group of 29 (outrageous) to go to a different part in Haiti. Some of the women in the group were soo sweet and we were able to have some sweet conversation with them while we waited at Tortug'Air. Mary Kate and I also met this Haitian film maker headed to Port de Paix to show his film.. His name was Raymond. Just a blessing to have people to talk with and share life. Our flight was not scheduled to go out until 3 pm... but Nader couldn't handle it... so along with the help of the Most High God... Nader was able to get our tickets bumped up to 11 am! This was such a blessing... easpeciall now that we didn't have to sit for hours in the rural airport with nothing to do. So we boarded the flight made our way to Port de Paix. Anne-Marie told me she was in surgery earlier in the day but she was there to greet us about 20 min after we got off the plane... another blessing for God. We road moto taxis to the "tap tap"stop... those rides are ALWAYS an adventure. However, the tap tap seemed to be more of an adventure than I could have ever imagined. We must have sat in it for an hour before it even left the parking lot... and then the ride was bascially like hell on earth for my bottom. Anne-Marie and I didn't even know where our legs were... and I'm shocked that when I got off that I even had a pulse in my right leg. Mary Kate, Kasey, and Marrah held on like troopers. :)

By the time we made it to Passe Catabois it was around 3 30 pm. Did I mention that our day started at 3 30 am?!?!?!?!?! And we were all so exhausted. But as I would have imagined it would be, the excitement from the familiar faces of friends and people I now call my family would keep me awake until long after the sun went down. So many great hugs and smiles :) I am excited for the other girls to get to know them as I do. Caitlin and Leah were a sight for my sore eyes as well! So good to see them and hug them :)

On Friday... we woke up and began our day by treking to the homes of some of the kiddos. They love to share their lives, their families, and their love! So fun to go see some of the children who do not get to come down as much. I think it was good for the girls to get to see how the people live and just how giving they are with whatever they have. Mary Kate told me last night, "it was just amazing to me that even though they seem to have nothing, the shade from the sun and the chair was exactly what I needed at the time. they didn't have to give it to me but they did"
We visited Fedna's house and then we made our way to Jan KellĂ˝ and Rosmanette's house... and then we went to Christnet and Louvnet's home as well. All of their families were so welcoming and willing to spend some time with us. Jan Kelly rustled up some oranges for us that we were able to snack on during our little adventure... I just love that kid. After our 4 hour trek around Passe Catabois :) :) ... we went to the hospital to say hello and to tell them that we would be back. I cannot wait to sit and do puzzles with them and to just share life. Most of them are in with TB, HIV, and mal nurtrition. Soccer at 3... the usual. I was too worn out though. Kasey and Marrah ran around with them for a while and then Miss Leah came for a while longer. Callou made his appearence as usual. He is always so angry. My heart breaks for him. I finally was able to see Michellda... she was too sweet. And then she braided my hair :) Mary Kate was the wise one and stayed at home for some QT.... part of me wished I had done the same.

Today we have "plans" to swim in the river with the kids.... something we are VERY EXCITED about :) To bring some joy to the world... as if they don't have enough to bring to mine already :) Just to see their faces light up when we talked about it was priceless! Leah, Anne-Marie, and a few others are headed to PDP today to see if they can get the rest of our bags and to find Leah's boxes. Say a prayer for them... alot of Camp Hope's supplies are in those boxes... we just have no idea where in Haiti they are. That's Haiti for you.

Will update you again as soon as we can. Looking forward to today and all that it will hold. Living, loving, and believing that love is the only way to true life.

We love you!
Jess, Mary Kate, Kasey, & Marrah

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fort Lauderdale adventures :)

my heart has been so blessed already... even just by being here in ft lauderdale with my teammates... the adventure has begun!

this mornings flight was fairly uneventful and we landed in memphis on time. while we were in the memphis airport i got a call from keith lashbrook who runs Lashbrook Family Ministries in Haiti... they are caring for Sandra now in port de paix.... he called to tell me that things are working out to where we will be able to go to PDP on the 4th and spend the day at their ministry and i am going to get to spend some time with my sweet angel :) he was so encouraging, welcoming, and precious as he opened the door for us to be a part of her world! i could not be more thankful :) we are all pretty excited to see what the Lord is doing with their ministry in PDP. he told me that their ministry has almost 100 children in it... ranging from 7 months to 21 years old... all i can say is WOW. this will be a heck of an experience.

after our flight into ft lauderdale we claimed our bags (all of them... PTL) and spilled condoms all over the baggage claim area in the process... haha... it was too funny! we almost offered some of our condoms to a couple making out in front of us at the baggage claim. YES, it was that bad! but we decided to save them for our haitian friends :)

next up was heading to our hotel... which turned out to have AMAZING BEDS. hunger was kind of an issue at 2 pm so we decided to get some food at the mcdonalds down the road instead of crashing as soon as we got there. BTW.. ft lauderdale prides itself on being walker friendly... mary kate, kasey, marrah and i would have to disagree. jay walking was not even optional in this case... it was a must. after our mcdonalds run we came and napped for a good while in our AMAZING BEDS... kasey decided that 2 hours was long enough so she woke us all up and we headed to the beach!

-- this would be in the middle of a very large intersection with NO CROSSWALK.

our taxi driver that picked us up at the hotel was haitian... such a sweet man! we talked the whole way about life and about haiti... and even offered to take us to the airport in the morning at 4 30 am! what a trooper :) thank you, Lord, for sending Jean to us!

the atlantic has no trace of oil (in case you were wondering)... the water is clear and beautiful. it felt good to just sit and enjoy the water, the sand, my friends, and the sunshine. we chatted a little bit about haiti and what to expect tomorrow as we make our way in... and we sat in silence some of the time.

---marrah performing cart-wheels on the beach.. and yes.. you guessed it... sand was EVERYWHERE.

italian food was on the menu tonight at this cute little authentic italian bistro.... beach side and all. we experienced our second disgusting make out session of the day... what is it with ft lauderdale and extreme PDA???

our second cab driver was also from haiti... his name is mark. he just kept saying OVER AND OVER AGAIN "i wish i could come with you guys.. it is so neat that you are going to my country". he was so sweet and even offered to pick us up in the morning as well. the way the Lord provides is seemingly overwhelming sometimes.

thankful for a great day with my friends.. and for God's faithfulness in our lives. we are excited about heading into haiti tomorrow. asking the Lord to use us for His glory... and asking Him to continue to make Himself known to us through the people that we meet, the things that our eyes see, and the experiences we walk through.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Welp... here we go... AGAIN... :) or as my haitian friends would say... ANKO :)

Myself and 3 of my friends will start our journey to Haiti in 4 hours... with us we will be bringing...
6 very large black bags that look suspiciously like body bags filled with all sorts of goods: all the way from things like food, little girls dresses, colors, & balloons to pregnancy tests, medications and 2,069 codoms (to be exact).

Mary Kate and Kasey are here at the house with me tonight. We cannot wait for Marrah to join us... so excited to be going to Haiti with these three!

My heart cannot wait to hug the necks of some of my favorite people in this world... Anne Marie, Fre Jal, Wilfet, Louvnet, Krishna, Kuku, Yolta, Michellda, Fedna, Weatness, Rosmanette, Jan Kelly, Beth.... and I am so excited to welcome new friends into my heart!

Haiti has this way about it... and I cannot wait to love on beautiful people and to come to know Jesus more through them. His Word promises that He is with the least of these... and when are with them, we are with Him. Please pray that we will seek to know the Lord and to glorify His name. His fame and His renown is why we are going.. to live and to love.

Just a snapshot of the days ahead:
Wednesday, July 28 --> fly to Ft. Lauderdale & stay the night
Thursday, July 29 --> fly into Port au Prince Haiti and make our way to Passe Catabois
Friday, July 30-August 4--> our days will be spent in Passe Catabois doing whatever the Lord has for us to do... it could be working in the hospital and the clinic, swimming in the river with children, feeding malnourished children, working with Camp Hope, or shelling peas in the homes of the people. whatever we do... We do it all for the glory of God. And all in the name of LOVE.. God is love.
Wednesday, Aug 4--> later in the day we are going to try to head to Port de Paix to visit the orphanage where a very special little girl is :)
Thursday, Aug 5--> we will be heading back to Port au Prince to work with Heartline Ministries.. also.. my new friend Megan Boudreaux will be joining us for a few days! we are all really excited about this!
Friday& Saturday --> we are going to be doing whatever Beth comes up with us to do! jump in head first with what heartline may have for us to help with... praying for sweet time with the haitian people and just to serve them. you can check on HEARTLINE to read more about who they are and the awesome things they are doing in Haiti!

Please follow us on our journey! We will be updating as much as we can... Excited to share what the Lord is doing through us, in us, and around us.

"we love because He first loved us" 1 John 4:19

Thursday, January 14, 2010

because HE first loved us...

because Jesus Christ loved you and me.. we are called to share that love with our neighbor. i truly believe that HAITI (even though seems like a long ways away) is our neighbor.

you can donate money that goes straight to the earthquake relief through Heartline Ministries

to give and to pray... that's our duty right now. i will let you all know when more can be done as soon as i know!

Lord, we believe that YOU ARE ABLE. amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

7.0 Earthquake Rips through Haiti

I do not have the mind nor the focus to sit down and write what I wish I could... Nathan Ledford reported it very well. Here is the gist of what is going on and how YOU can HELP HAITI and BE A VOICE for them in this time of need:

Reported by: Nathan Ledford
Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010 @08:11pm CST

Here in the Ark-La-Miss, a Twin Cities group is now on a mission to get people in the U.S. involved in helping out those who have been devastated by the earthquake.

Just five days ago a group from the Twin Cities returned home after a mission trip to Haiti.

Little did they know a massive earthquake would rip through the country just days after their departure.

Now the group is trying to build awareness to help Haitian residents that are now in desperate need of assistance.

Haiti is a pile of rubble…buildings flattened like pancakes.

"Can you imagine a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hitting the most chaotic country that you've ever been to,” said Monroe Resident Jessica Williamson.

Jessica Williamson and seven others from the twin cities just returned from a mission trip in Haiti Friday.

Just four days before one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the Caribbean ripped through the country.

A country that was ranked the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International in 2006.

"In poverty and it's consistently that way number one or number two in poverty,” said Williamson.

The mission group from the twin cities spent 11 days in Haiti assisting a group called Heartline Ministries.

Heartline helps educate and bring hope to Haitian families who may not otherwise get it.

"To see them educating moms that can't read or write but they can learn how to take care of their babies,” said Williamson.

The members of the Twin Cities group say they are glad to be back, but are now on a mission to get people here involved to help out groups like Heartline.

Brandon Broussard saw first hand the devastation in Haiti before the earthquake.

Now he says this disaster is a huge setback.

"The hospital's gone and you say the hospital for two million people and we've got several in this one town for 80 thousand or whatever,” said Broussard.

Since the earthquake, Broussard says he's communicated with Heartline missionaries in Haiti who are actually building makeshift hospitals in the street.

"These guys need to rebuild their walls fast so they can continue what they were doing and help the people that are hurting even more,” said Broussard.

The group says, while they may be happy to be safe at home, they hope to return to help their Haitian friends.

"If your family and friends had one of the worst days in the history of their lives you would want to be with them,” said Williamson.

How to help Heartline help people in Haiti.:

Go to

You can make monetary donations through PayPal directly on Heartline’s website.

Also North Monroe Baptist Church is collecting money that will be sent to help Heartline.

Send Checks with “Heartline for Haiti” in the memo box to:

North Monroe Baptist Church

210 Hideaway Rd.-Monroe, LA, 71203

Friday, January 8, 2010

5,000 mosquito bites later...

it does NOT matter how much mosquito repellent i put on or even if all of my body parts are under the covers... MOSQUITOES STILL BITE ME!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :) you gotta laugh about it!

none-the-less... we are starting our journey home today. annie, ainsley, and i are hoping that the airways are wide open for us to be home at 9:21 pm just as projected :) hehe.. it's a stretch but i can hope, right?? :)

yesterday was a great day here in PAP at the women's center. i got to see first hand what their program does for women and it is truly life changing for them! ainsley and i got to help do vitals as the women came in and then helped beth with her teaching session :) we were pregnant women... gotta love it! then i was able to help joanna do the prenatal exams on the ones scheduled for this week while ains loved on a newborn! i wouldnt be surprised if she brought her home in a backpack :) sweet annie stayed at home all day and just slept... she is doing good though. sleeping whatever she has off..hopefully! i am very thankful that she was not scheduled to fly home yesterday... that could have been disasterous.

ains and i got to go with beth & john, tara, troy & their kids, and some other missionaries to eat some creole food at this sweet ladies house.. her name is Rosmaline. Rice and beans, fried plantains, akra... everything is fried! YIKES!! but it was really good! first time i have ever had "creole food" in Haiti. CHECK :)

PLEASE pray for us as we start heading back towards Louisiana! praying for clear skies and safe landing conditions... and also for the other half of our team that is flying out this morning around 8 am to Atlanta and then to Monroe.

gonna leave you with a haitian proverb:
"a rock in the water does not know the pain of a rock in the sun"

thoughts relating to Haiti??

love you,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

sleepless nights..

yes.. i am awake at 5 45 am.. have been up since 4 40 am.

i have been in and out of sleep all night due to the numerous mosquito bites on my face.. probably because it was the only part of my body out from under the covers. then i woke up because annie was moaning in her sleep... i woke her up and asked what was going on. she is having waves of nausea and chills. turned the fan off, gave her some topical phenergan, and now im up and praying for a full recovery. strange how sleep suddenly seems meaningless...

the supper that we had with the Heartline Runners was AH-MAZING last night! beth made fettuccine alfredo and other pastas :) i bet there were about 30 people here last night, including kids! the best part of the evening was not the food... even though it was DELICIOUS! the fellowship and the time of worship that we shared was life changing. i feel as though what we had last night was what the early church was like... meeting in homes.. sharing a meal.. there was enough for everyone.. and then serving one another. the meal and time together was to encourage the runners that are running in the Disney Marathon on sunday. they are running so that they could raise money to buy an ambulance for the women in the women's program. they have raised over $42,000! just to see their hearts was incredible... these are people that are not running for themselves or for their glory.. but instead to run for those who cannot and for God's glory. john set aside a special time for us to serve them last night by washing their feet and to pray over them. what an honor to pray for them and to speak words of life and encouragement! i felt led to pray specifically for beth mchoul and tara livesay... God has His hand on their lives and His anointing is very evident.

TODAY... becca, brandon, norman, and parker will begin the journey back home. please pray for them as traveling out of haiti and being at the mercy of airlines is usually a very frustrating ordeal. i know they are excited to see you and share what God is doing in and through them :)

as for myself, ainsley, and annie... we will be here for another day! yay! we are all excited :) as far as i know we will be helping out at the women's clinic for a full day of classes and then going to eat at a haitian woman's home for supper. supposedly we can only speak creole at her house?? haha, this could be interesting!

stay tuned for another update tonight! the internet is easily accessible here at the mchoul home :)

praying for God to continue to use our hands and our feet for his glory, whether we be traveling through the air or serving expecting moms. God may your kingdom come through us, on earth as it is in heaven.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

bonswa zanmis :)


hello from port-au-prince, HAITI!!! ---> we have had a FULL day! started at 4 30 am when we left passe catabois via Rob's personal 'taptap'. we thought we were going to have to push our way out... we slid through the whole 1.5 hour ride, almost hit a tree, and drove through a river that covered the exhaust pipe along with the tires. yep... pretty hard core :) our next mode of transportation was tortug' air... puddle jumper. ainsley's brains felt like they were being squeezed out.. sounded pretty painful.. she destroyed my hand in the process. SOMEONE FIND HER A GOOD SINUS DOCTOR!! HA. nader finally made it to pick us up :) he showed us what NASCAR is like in haiti... no lie. SO FUN! then we made it to beth and jon mchoul's... and have had the opportunity to share in their ministry at Heartline here in port-au-prince.

ainsley and i went to do the prenatal clinic in simone pele... it was awesome to be given the opportunity to work with beth, tara, paige, britt, chris, and joanna! they are awesome women! jean and agat were great translators! so many sad stories but even in those few women of haiti.. about 30... i felt like us being there and teaching and assessing could improve the quality of life of those women. that's what we are here for, right?? and not to mention sharing the love of Christ through that care.. each woman and child were prayed over before they left. going to and from simone pele was an adventure.. beth is a great driver!! got to see a lot of PAP and we were about a block from cite soleil (the biggest slum in the western hemisphere). my eyes have been opened so much. dont worry mom, dad, cindy, and scott... we hung on like champs on our ride :)

the rest of the crew: annie, becca, brandon, norman, and parker stayed and helped out at the boys and girls home here at heartline. some of them put baby cribs together, played with the children, hung up rods for curtains... anything really that needed doing. what an honor to serve these beautiful people!

we were all given the opportunity to meet Naomi... jason hyatt's daughter! i loved on her for a while and just kissed on her! she is so beautiful and such a wonderful little spirit :) she made my heart happy!

tonight a bunch of people that are running the marathon for heartline's women's team are coming over for supper.. should be a fun evening! beth and john have been so hospitable... could not ask for better hosts. God is really blessing their ministry.. and i think i know why... when you give your life to serve the poorest of the poor and are as hospitable as the early church... your numbers and spiritual life GROW. we are seeing that here... :)

i know it's a day late.. but i really want to share some of our last day in passe catabois. it was a hard day for most of us as goodbye's came and went. i met with wilfet for the last time and just enjoyed his company. i may have left that out but i have been meeting with wilfet (a 20 year old boy from haiti who wants to learn english and know more about jesus.. not to mention he is teaching me creole). such great times with my sweet brothers in haiit... wilfet, louvnet, and krishna :) i will have to post a video of the 3 of them when we get home! they WILL steal your heart! tears poured as they walked off towards their homes and i knew that i would not see them again for a while... i think they become more and more real each time i visit. God is going to use them to further His kingdom in Haiti.. i know it.

i was also given some sweet time with sandra last night :) jaques and isabel let me hold her and be with her... i did not think i would feel as much love for her as i did. so much that it brought tears as well. i seriously want to adopt her... God only knows how that could ever happen. she needs a mom and a family.

the WHOLE gang has so much to share... and we cannot wait to return to share our hearts for Haiti with YOU ALL!

love you so much!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We are heading out TOMORROW: Tuesday, January 5, 2010

hey everyone!

i knew it would happen... but the updates stopped :) haha... it was harder to get here each night and then the rain came yesterday! we had about 5 inches of rain! wow! crazy!

we are all doing really well... it's a weird day because we are trying to get things together before we head out in the morning at 3 am! wow!!! our flight out of port de paix leaves at 6 30 am and by 9 am we will be in port au prince helping beth and their crew at heartline with their innercity prenatal clinic! how exciting!

we brought in the new year with some singing.. dancing.. playing... soccer... lots of kids!!!! so many needs... it's almost crippling. but it has just been sweet to be here with the people that are so much of a part of my heart. we went swimming in the river and bathed half of passe catabois with johnson's baby head to toe wash! SO MUCH FUN!!!!! what a way to bring in the new year!!!!! i wouldnt have been anywhere else :)

annie is falling more and more in love everyday... it is awesome to watch her heart grow for haiti. i am so glad that she is here with me. not sure what i would have done without her.

i think the boys are pretty consumed.. they want to fix it. you know??? i guess that's the man's mindset?? but it has been cool t hear about what God is laying on their hearts. they have no problem with holding the kids and just doing life. brandon told me the other day that he just shelled some peas with kuku and another dude :) parker spent lots of time this morning building the little wooden toys with the kids... they love him so much! and norman just runs around with them like wild things! so cool to watch!

ainsley walked up one day with corn rows.. haha.. it made me laugh! she has been very good about just growing and being here. learning the kids names.. letting them sign her shirt. she is fabulous.

becca just has a heart full of love to give.. you can tell that she is going to to be a great teacher! such a sensative spirit and i have enjoyed being here with her!

we went to the beach on sunday :) and WOW!!!! AH-MAZING! the carribean is so beautiful here. we swam in the blue water... you could see 10 feet down! crazy!!

then we hiked along the ridge to the cliff where the water was breaking... i have never really seen anything like it. it was so much fun to go and i think Rob, the girls, and the rest of the crew really needed it :) praise the Lord for His goodness, His beauty in creation and His day! not sure any other Sunday will ever compare to the worship that i experienced in Haiti on this past sunday.

a quick story and i will let you go...

there is a young man at the hospital.. he is 17. brandon and i went to visit him yesterday during the rainstorm... we walk in soaking wet.. haha.. and he gladly welcomes us. we brought a little boat to make with him and he dida great job putting it together and painting. the reason he is in the hospital is because he broke his leg over a month ago and the cast was too tight. this caused major ulcerations on his foot. he may lose it... it looks really bad. but we went to visit him and just to see if we could bring some joy! the amazing thing is.. this guy isnt mad or upset...he is joyful! man i have so much to learn! brandon and i had a great visit with him yesterday and knew we would come back today. so norman and i went this morning and brought some marbles and balloons to share. his eyes lit up :) we talked with him and his mom for a while. found out some details.. his name is Joncet Petitfar. 17 years old.. he lives in Moskit which is not far from Passe Catabois. Norman prayed over him in english.. such a sweet time. as he was finishing, the rest of the crew walked up and got to meet him! parker prayed for him as well. i shared with him that i was praying that God would do great things with him.. he said that he knows "Jezi" :) please pray for Joncet.. that GOd would use him for His glory.. and that He would be healed. prayer moves mountains..

so as our time in passe catabois comes to a close.. please pray for us and for the people here. for rob as he is here by himself with his girls. it is hard for them without anne marie. we are going to do some prayer walking around the village... it has been very evident that the devil has a foothold here... prayer breaks those strongholds... and our God is powerful. please pray with us!

becca, parker, brandon, and norman will be in monroe at 9 21 on thursday evening if all goes according to plan. please welcome them home and love on them. myself, annie, and ainsley will follow on friday. we are excited about what we are going to get to see in port au prince.. so our journey is not quite done yet :)

we love you and miss you all!


First Full Day: Thursday, December 31, 2009

hey everyone!

just wanted to write you after our first full day.... gotta love these updates :)

i think the day went very well for everyone! parker started his day off at 6 am by meeting Rob, the missionary, to go to a village to pick up medicine for the clinic via tractor and a trailor :) i would love for parker to update you personally.. but this will have to do! he was able to see the haitian markets in Booshon... there are about 150 witch doctors there... and just got to see all of that. then the village of their final destination was on the ocean. he said it was beautiful and im sure it was! the trailor was used to transport haitians the whole time.. parker said that he made lots of new friends in haiti :)

the rest of us stayed in passe catabois. as we walked about town norman, brandon, becca, ainsley, annie and i met up with some of the faces of the village! annie and i had a lot of fun seeing familiar faces :) they run and hug and get so excited! they been asking about sydney.. rebecca... garrison.. jordy :) they miss those guys. but it was so FUN to see my friends interact with the people that have become my family over the past year. the new faces become familiar after about a day as they invite you to do life with them. it is so sweet and special.

today has been pretty come what may because we dont have any of our bags yet! well.. 2 of them made it. but unfortunately no food and the majority of our fun things to do with the kids. it turned out to be good that we packed a soccer ball and some finger nail polish :) there are lots of girls and maybe a boy or so running around with purple nails in passe catabois, hehe! i love it! soccer game around 3 today.. and for the rest of the week. such funny memories.. brandon and norman were so awesome with the boys during the game. i just love seeing annie with these people.. ainsley letting little haitians braid her hair and crawl all over her...becca putting herself way out there and being willing to be here... parker going on the hardest ride of his life... i have loved it ALL! i even loved it when the little kid peed on me.. gotta love no diapers :)

we had rice and beans tonight and i promise they have never tasted so great. still no sign of the food bags but there is hope! no worries though... we have enough rice and beans to last a month so we will not go hungry.

please continue to pray for us! norman has formed a special friendship with louvnet's brother, Krishna. so cool to watch! i hope that we are able to spend more time with the hospital patients tomorrow... most are plagued with AIDS and TB. we are going to dance when we get the boom box.. they are so excited! i also have the haitian creole bible with pictures in it that we are reading together... they love it. forming relationships with the children and the people... praying that Christ's love will shine brightly through us.

we love you and are begging you to pray! asking God to use us for His glory and His purposes.


Off to Haiti: Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Haiti Team: L to R: Ainsley Beeman, Norman Elrod, Jessica Williamson, Parker Lee, Annie Rainwater, Becca Sloane, & Brandon Broussard

It's always a party at the airport! :)