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!

Haiti, Day 2, Part 2

After lunch we ventured back to the village to continue our SVT.  Again, we encountered all different kinds of people, but ultimately there was a common denominator of struggles.  One women who had the most vacant looking eyes, has been married for 30 years and has only ever wanted a child.  She asked that we pray over her for God to grant her a child.  I’ve heard this story from many American women as well.  The irony of so many orphans wanting to be loved and a person who so desperately wants to love but cannot get beyond the giving life to a human being when they can give A life to a human being is not lost on me.  I have looked at that right here in the states.  I will not pretend to understand, because I cannot, the deep longing both have.  I just wish one could see how much they could give each other.  And on that somber note, find the goat.

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One of our team members sponsors a Mission of Hope student and had some gifts to bring to him and his brothers, so after we had visited some of the homes in the afternoon, we stopped at his home to deliver the gifts.  Of course the kids being done with school for the day, came out of the woodwork.  And if a camera was seen, photos were demanded.  Here are some of the kids and maybe a chicken.

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There is more from this day, but you will just have to wait until tomorrow!

Victoria and Dana

Sometimes God creates opportunities, well always, but sometimes we actually act on those opportunities.  I met an incredible pair of people.  Incredible because of their life stories and the story they are now writing together.  Their paths in life were not the same, but they held one thing in common, hurt.  Whether it neglectfulness, physical and emotional abuse, or self inflicted, they had it.  When you hit the bottom of the barrel, there is no way but up. They both found themselves, and God, at Grace Center’s of Hope.  A place to rehabilitate your mind, body and soul.  A place where you are given a new lease on life and supported all they way through it and thereafter.  After they both had graduated from the program, they found each other.  Fell in love. Got married.  Through all the chaos of planning the wedding,they ditched it, eloped, but never had photographs to celebrate their love and their new lives.  So three years later, I was honored to spend time documenting all of that and more.  They adore each other and it is so obvious.Light shines brightly, life breathes life and love expands the soul.  Thank you Victoria and Dana!

Peeling Away the Bark.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to experience an outreach in Pontiac, MI.  Pontiac is a blue collar area in a predominantly white collar Oakland County, the wealthiest county in Michigan.  At the heart, Pontiac has always been about factory jobs.  Those are now gone and poverty and hard living have taken over the area, sucking a lot of hope with it.  Sometimes people just need a break.

This is where Dave Shuman and Kensington Community Church come in.  Although its not a new idea, its not one that was happening in Pontiac.  Dave, the leader of the Middle School group at the Lake Orion church campus, organizes a free cookout at a local park for anyone who shows up.  He does this every 3rd Saturday of the month.  And people come.

All that join him in his efforts bring food, sweets, fruits, veggies, meat…the works.  Food always encourages conversations.  And conversations always encourage relationships.  And relationships bridge gaps and gives hope.

Food can create friendships.

 

It can bring out the crazy in people.

It always brings out smiles!

 

They eat, they smile and they leave with a little more light than when they showed up.

 

There is this giant majestic tree that stands off center of the park.

Its bark peels off to reveal new bark underneath.  It makes for beautiful patterns on its branches and seems to invite us to peel back more bark to reveal the fresh newness of whats underneath.  To let the light on the fresh bark so it can absorb its goodness and grow.  Much like what Dave has started doing here.

I loved seeing the kids load up their pockets with fruit and going back for just one more cookie.  The idea of complete strangers tossing a football around or just talking about the tastiness of the little brownie cupcakes-which were all gone before I got one-gave it a common place.  And that’s where everything begins, at a common place.  Dave tells me that this happens every Saturday in Detroit.  People bring more than food, they bring clothes to give away.  What so many of us take for granted and toss away is so treasured and needed by our own neighbors.  It is humbling to think of so many so close in such need, but so uplifting knowing there are people so willing to take action to help those same people.  Thanks, Dave, for allowing me to document a little of what you think you do and a lot of what you are doing for others!