India, day 3, again, again and again.

The amount of images I have from each day is overwhelming.  It would be too immense to just place in one post per day-that and the fact that I forgot to adjust my timestamp in my camera is proving to make it all the more difficult in determining what day I took each picture.  These following pictures are also from day 3.  Then we can get to day 4!

 

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India, Day 3, again, again

After lunch we took a walk into the village.  We passed multiple temples.  There are over 330 million Gods.  This idea is so complex and foreign to me.   A religion seemingly based on superstition, perpetuated by more superstition and self fulfillment.  I am sure there is much more to it than that, but that is my first impression and somewhat uneducated observation.

We walked to the river’s edge where the villagers bathe and a temple stands guard, accepting sacrifices.  Glancing towards the river we were greeted with a most unexpected sight.  I small group of water buffalo proceeding to the steps, where they exited the river, walked through town and into someone’s house.

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We headed back to CEM and along the way we purchased some fresh coconut water.  And then were promptly followed by some very curious kids!

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India, Day 3, again.

We spent time in the morning with the residents of the Agape Old Age Home.  The residents are being added to the NoChild sponsorship lists.  We are all privy to the fact that children all over the world are being thrown out, neglected, abused and just let to end for themselves, but rarely do we hear about what happens to the elderly around the world.  For the same reasons that the kids are left or brought to CEM, so are the elderly.  I did not expect that it would be so hard for me to hear about their stories.  The worn and wrinkled faces depicted a much harsher reality than most people can empathize with.  One cannot even begin to guess their ages.  Most are far younger than you would think.  And just like the children, they long to be seen, heard and loved.

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I am guessing its frowned upon to have favorites, but this one?  My favorite!!!!

 

India, Day 2

My morning began at 3:30 am..  They were not kidding about the adjustment to the time zone, or lack thereof.  I looked at is as an opportunity and stole way to the rooftop and stared at the stars.  All of them unfamiliar.  A quarter moon shining just bright enough to see the silhouettes of palm trees and buildings in the distance.  I sat there listening to the village come to life.  First the birds, the roosters then a muslim call to prayer, followed by the bells o the hindu shrine.  Each sound unique and distinct, some haunting and some comforting.  And then the sweet sound of the children rising for the day.

Our daily agenda began with calisthenics that harkened to old movies I have seen where the staunch Brits  do deep knee bends and plan their day around Tiger hunts a top elephants. Yet no Brits and no elephants, and thankfully, no tigers! Post exercise I was coerced into tasting the coffee-something I really dislike, however, this was not just any coffee.  It was chai coffee with water buffalo milk and sugar.  And it was delicious!!!  I was quickly addicted and greedy for every last drop I could gulp down.

Sunday is market day-their equivalent of the farmers market.  It was a plethora of scents and sights.  Sometimes it might be better to not know what it looks like before it’s cooked.We headed to Sunday services where shortly into the service the children started dropping like flies.  One by one they sunk down into their seats, slid down to the floor or flopped their bodies on top of my lap and fell asleep.  It was fantastic!  The Americans were then asked to come forward at the end of service to pray over anyone who might want it.  It was a wonderful opportunity to pray directly for people and their needs.

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Sleeping babes. (photo credit: Stephanie Crane)

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Sisters

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Besties!

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Daily onion chopping.

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On our way to market.

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Fish anyone?

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All you can eat shrimp?

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My first full day ater market was filled with the children and all wanting a “photo”.  I have what seems to be a mountain of images of the kids that I cannot fit into this post but will do so on my next entry.

 

 

 

Day 6, Haiti

I seemed to have gotten incredibly busy after I blogged day 5.  Working in ministry, the closer it gets to Christmas, the busier you get!  As I have been prayerfully considering and listening to how God wants to use me, I was reminded that I have left a work unfinished.

When I left off at the end of day 5 I forgot to mention a moment that seemed to sum up the dichotomy of which we live in.  While planting trees, we were at one home which had its own well and backed up to a field of corn.  The soil at this home was very moist and fertile.  As we began to dig, I discovered an earthworm.  I picked up the worm and held it in my hand and showed it to the village champions we were working with.  Their reaction, to me, was at first hilarious.  But then I realized their frightened faces held a true fear for them.  You see, they can die from parasites and worms that enter into I tried to explain to them that this earthworm would not harm them and that they were actually a good sign.  That earthworms denote healthy soil, but they were not truly convinced and not one of them was willing to touch it!  The things we take for granted.

In any case, our 6th and last day was spent checking out other campuses of Mission of Hope.  One right on the beach, used primarily for the school and during really busy times of the Mission.  They were in the process of building a conference center there as well.

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After leaving the campus we proceeded to the village of Leveque.  Leveque did not exist prior to the earthquake of 2010.  The Haitian government gave the land to Samaritans Purse to resettle people from Port-Au-Prince.  The village was planned for 500.  The Blue sided shelters so often seen provided by Samaritan’s Purse lined the hillside.  But those blue sided shelters have turned to homes.  Homes in groups of 4-5, sharing a well.  A school and a church have been built and there is a large community of deaf individuals that live here.  The community has already exceed 500 and, to me, it was a pretty little village.  All of the houses painted in bright colors with tropical plants and fruit trees interspersed .

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People still using donkeys for transport.

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The Haitian community is a vibrant and colorful one.  Although the people are lacking in basic essentials that we take for granted, they have a genuine love and joy of life that we rarely see in the United States.

People have asked if I would go again: yes!  What would I change:  the only thing I would like different, would to be connected with just one or two families for the entire length of the stay. I think relationships are what we are built for and designed for and what makes us thrive.  So yes, I would have liked to get better connected .

If you have considered a mission trip but are feeling intimidated, Mission of Hope is a great place to start.

 

 

 

Haiti, Day 5

Day 5 was a day of work.  We planted fruit trees, mostly cherry trees, at various homes among the village.  The provide fruit (obviously), shade and sometimes a commodity.  When we asked the homeowners how they would use the trees, they all said that they would feed themselves, but also their neighbors.  The Haitian community that I have been witness to are some of the most generous people I have ever met.  They have so little and yet live so largely and open handed compared to our country that has so much yet clenches their fists so tightly.

Our day was filled with a lot of digging in high temperatures.  I did not take a lot of pictures that day, as I was getting my hands dirty but here are a few:

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Haitian Sunrise

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It is still coming!

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Can you spot the horse?

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Stopping to pick up the trees.

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Derrinson (sp?), our gentle souled translator.

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Seriously, how do they do that?

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A bit blurry, but that is what happens when you try to take a picture of a crazy Tap-Tap!

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Tree lined road.

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We had to drive a hill to shovel good dirt into buckets and then take them back to the village to use to plant the trees.  Lots of digging.

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On our way back down the hill.

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People acting their age.

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Sweetness holding her own against the boys.

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Would Lyi, my heart.

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Day is done.

While many people can look at what we did was to simply plant trees, it was much more than that.  When we planted a tree we explained that the tree, while providing multiple things for them, it should also serve as a reminder that a tree cannot bear fruit unless it is firmly planted in the ground.  Just like ourselves and God.  If we are not firmly planted in God, we cannot bear the fruit of His love.  And like all trees and vines, we need to be pruned and watered and given much light.

Haiti, Day 4, Part 2

After lunch we headed back to the village for a kids camp.  It is basically like a one day VBS.  There is a lot of singing and dancing, a short skit and a quick talk about the skit and its meaning.  The kids then get a free meal and a craft.  We were in this small school room, with resembles more like a lean to, with 100 kids.  Here are some pictures of it all.

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Peter and his posse.

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Kelly.

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Rrrrrro Rrrrrrro one of our Village Champions!

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Katie getting her groove on.

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Dance off!

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Patty showing Ro Ro how it is done!

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“And that kids is how you take a selfie!”

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Because chicken.

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The grub!

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After the kids camp we went back to the compound and had some down time.  We ventured over to Madame Cheap Cheap’s market stall. Madame Cheap Cheap is actually a whole family that sells wares and souvenirs and they are all related. However, they each have their own section and they try to out sell each other.  It is quite comical.  There is the matriarch, the original Madame Cheap Cheap, seen here:

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Then there is her daughter, her son and all her grandchildren.

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Michael was given the name “Big Booty Cheap Cheap” . Here he is getting his braids that they promised would make him look like Justin Bieber…..

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The moon is creeping……

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Kelly, our worship leader and jam-master K, also known as the “preacher!”

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Stars.

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One of my favorite pictures, Port-Au-Prince at night.

Haiti, Day 4, Part 1

The morning of our 4th day in Haiti we were taken on a tour of the Mission of Hope complex.  Here are some photos of the complex, as well as a few of some more Strategic Village Time.

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The morning light.

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Souvenirs from nature.

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Basketball court that doubles as a movie theater on campus!

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All of these images are part of the orphanage.  Mission of Hope does not do international adoptions, as they want the children to be raised in Haiti to become leaders of the next generation.

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Toni!

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The next images are of some of the school buildings.

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Mike Two Two

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The interior of the church.

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Paula trying to wash clothes. I did say trying.  A for effort!

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After hearing about Michael’s broken washing machine, the locals gave him a lesson on doing it himself.  Not really, we all know Michael would just go buy new clothes.

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This family ran a small market out of their home and this little girl was taking care of the customers and taking their money.  I am thinking her math skills are superior to my own!

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Heading in for lunch!  The rest of our day was an adventure that will be continued in the next post!