Gato… Not Goat?

You mean to tell me I ate cat?! Like meow, purring by the fire place kitten? Garfield, Felix, Baby Jaguar?! That’s right, I ate cat. In my defense, I didn’t know it was cat, I’m sure that doesn’t make any difference. And as you can tell, the mountains of Haiti were Fantastic!

Wednesday morning we scooped up our lovely Amber, visiting from Mazatlan for pastoral care, and headed into the mountains outside of Port-au-Prince. We didn’t get out of the city before we had a wild adventure…. Someone (no names here) had a bathroom emergency and we had to stop at a top name hotel to handle the situation. That was only a taste of what was to come. After getting us way into the mountains we came to a road that was no longer acceptable for driving on. My heart said get ready to hike. But the leader said, “We’re taking motorcycles!!!!!” YAY! That was wild. Dirt roads the whole way. Sometimes completely washed out, you just close your eyes, hold your breath, and pray. My motor cycle driver made me get off and walk up the big hill. but we made it. Six miles down the death road, there amongst the Haitian jungle there was a small community. I thought, welcome to Little House on the Prairie meets Haiti. No electricity, no beds, no indoor plumbing, and NO INTERNET (no facebook! OMG)!

The next three days included some of the best hiking I’ve ever experienced, along with tons of rain, and awesome so needed God time. Without electricity we were forced to go to bed at 7:30pm, I got so much beauty rest, it almost canceled out the lack of showering for 6 days smell. We adventured what I can honestly say must be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. What a gift my time away was. I highly recommend everyone to power down once in a while. It’s good for your brain to not think, “I wonder what’s going down on FB, or, I wonder how many unread emails I have.” Those thoughts make you very boring. Unless you get online to read my blog, if that’s the case, power on friends! (That was a shout out to you mom… LOVE YOU!) Also while in the mountains I found time to ride a horse, ok, it was a glorified donkey, or goat… I was two feet taller than it, and I’m pretty sure when I got on it thought it was being punished. But now I can say I road a horse on the Haitian countryside, and that’s the memory I choose.

Yesterday, I almost died. TWICE. Once, we went to visit a house of a friend, they were kind enough to cook us chicken and rice. But, without electricity you don’t have a fridge, so the chicken sat out for what I’m guessing was a very long time. It tasted like a bathroom, and as you know in missions, you eat everything. With tears running down my cheeks I choked (literally) every last bite down. Then just when we were about to escape, back up the hill to the church it started raining, near death experience number two. We prayed and felt that a couple people should keep hands raised like Moses to keep the rain up while we took the long trail back. The rain created a sweet muddy dangerous adventure feel to our hike. I felt like I was on Amazing Race, I could not walk. My tennis are moldy (another story) so I’m stuck in flip flops for the next week for so. But with the lack of traction on my flips I went bare foot. My feet hate me! OUCH! But I am alive, yes, amen, I AM ALIVE. Today we adventured back, on the motorcycles, and it was time….. I took my first shower in six days. It was like Pantene commercial. Best Shower EVER!

Hey, thanks for checkin the bloggy blog. It’s my last week in Haiti so please pray for me however you feel led to pray. God will tell you what I need. I’m getting itchy to get home and see all your beautiful faces!

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Kisses For Kids

That’s right, I still kiss the kids! I kiss the tent city kids, the orphans, the babies, I kiss them all. I feel great too. I must have the most bomb immune system! It’s so sweet. When we go to tent cities I think I get just as excited to see the kids as they are to see me. As soon as I bend down and hug and kiss one, there’s a love line. I’m like sweet, who needs kisses? I don’t speak Creol, so we communicate by the language of love, and it’s really special.

This past week has been pretty roller coaster-like. For all the moments when I feel excited and blessed and overwhelmed by the experience, it seemed like there were as many moments of sadness and questions. So, you know all the things you see on the news? All the piles of rubble where someone once had a house, that’s what it’s like all the time, but then add the smells and sounds of chaos and pain. And then picture as you drive up the streets people locking eyes with you. You see, and feel their pain. “Help.” What do I do? How do I communicate with them that it’s okay, when I don’t know if it is? Just this crazy battle for me when I wonder if I’m making a difference, how I can make more of a difference, and what role of hope I can play in a country facing such deep pain.

Well, that was last week. And this week, it’s different. We began this week with some promises. One, we received a huge pallet containing hundreds of five-gallon buckets of food. This changes things, because now we can offer people something to meet a physical need as well as a spiritual need. And, we are prayerfully hoping to continue receiving these pallets. So Monday morning we set out to out tent city to give out 100 buckets of food. We didn’t have any strategy, we were just like, okay, let’s bless!! Bad game plan. We basically started riots. We couldn’t get off the bus. Our tent city leader started handing out tickets and we could only give buckets to people with a ticket. So, we have to say no to the single mom holding her two babies crying because she didn’t get a ticket? Hardest thing ever. God has continued to provide for the Haitian people, His faithfulness will meet all their needs, and that’s a promise. God provides. Today was a little better. We brought the 100 buckets and walked around praying for people. They can handle their own distribution, because that gets crazy.

Tomorrow, I prepare for my great adventure. They are taking our team up to the mountains of Port-Au-Prince, rumor has it, they drop us off on a dirt road and we hike an hour to the pueblo we’ll be staying at for the week. The details are foggy, but I know I’ll be drinking goat milk, and sleeping on cement floor. I’m ready to stretch and grow, I’m pretty excited for the change of pace and environment. Pray for me, especially the goat milk thing. Please pray for my spiritual wellness, and the safety of my team as we are away. I’ll be back in a week and maybe I’ll have a sweet story about how I tied that goat up and milked him myself. But don’t count on it….
*This blog is a little depressing. Here, this is funny, we currently have 25 girls sharing one bathroom. DISGUSTING! BAJAJAJA ❤

Tales of Haiti

You asked for stories… Well not you specifically. But that seemed to be the request as I’ve received some feedback. Stories, stories? Well, where do I start and which stories do I tell. I can tell you about the challenges I’ve faced here. Personal and as a team. Let’s start with a few of those then I will share the blessings, that way we end on a good note.

So, a few memorable moments. About a week ago we were at a tent city and I saw this woman lingering between tents watching us. I brought a translator over and asked her what was up. She spilled right over. Her husband had died. She had two boys (9 and 11) and she fought back tears as she explained that she couldn’t take care of them anymore and she was planning on dropping them off at an orphanage soon. I prayed for her then just hugged her and cried. I can’t imagine having that kind of pressure and decision weighing on my heart. The other thing that has been hard for me is the kids. I love playing with the kids and holding them, and I thought it was so cute that all their cute little belly buttons poke out. I would always be just rubbing their tummies, and pushing the button back in, they look pregnant. Then someone explained that they are malnourished and their stomachs are inflamed. The belly button poking out is not cute, and it’s hard to look at now. Another sign of malnourished kids is when their hair is light colored or a reddish tint. This whole time I wondered if the parents in my tent city bleached their kids hair, or if it’s from being in the sun all day. They aren’t getting enough nutrients. I don’t understand that.

Some of the blessings of my time in Haiti has been the awesome openness in our tent city. I love praying for them. And sometimes I doubt that my little prayers mean anything. But then when I see someone I prayed for last week and they light up to see me, and ask me to come over and pray for them again. I’m like, “YES LORD!” I’ve also met a few moms, with brand new babies all less than two weeks old. I’ll talk to the mom’s about the baby and ask if we can pray to dedicate the baby to God and pray for the parents. It’s so awesome. One mom was completely stunned with the idea that dedicating the little life to God could mean so much. It’s cool when you see people really taking in what you say, and thinking it through. We had huge break through with our tent city. Sadly I’m not sure we’ll be working with them after this week. But our time there so far has been rich and super blessed.

So remember a couple weeks ago when I mentioned the super old woman we prayed for who could hardly breath? Well yesterday we checked up on her and realized she had been having a super hard time swallowing and breathing and needed to be taken to a hospital to get fluids in her and hydrate her again. We carried her cot onto the bus and drove her to the nearest clinic. We were fighting against time literally because we had to leave our tent city before the riot started. Yesterday it was in our area of town and it’s super unsafe to be hanging around. So we take her to the clinic and they say that they are over booked and can’t care for her anyways, because she needs to stay over night. So we prayed and decided to take her back to her tent and return first thing in the morning to take her to the hospital. She died a couple hours before we arrived this morning. In the moment I wanted to be sad, and I totally hurt for her daughter, who has been with her 24/7 for months and months. But there was this amazing peace with knowing she wasn’t fighting to breath anymore. She’s in the presence of God, enjoying eternity. That’s a blessing.

Haiti needs to step it up. I’m so annoyed with the health care and how people are being treated, if they get treated. I know we are in a third world country, but I keep asking myself how many people will die of negligence. Pray for this nation. And please pray for my heart. Thank you for keeping up on my life. It’s amazing, it’s difficult like I thought it’d be and I really do love it. And it’s been cool to share it with everyone. Happy Flag Day Haiti! (I know, kind of a lame excuse for a holiday…. FYI, US Flag Day is June 14th I’ll be 22, we should just celebrate me.)

How Is My Hygiene?

Thank you for asking. It’s lovely, I’m infecting Haiti with my yummy Shayla pharemones and I don’t think they mind a bit. But I’ll fill you in on some of the happs of my week.

Our main goal has been to spend a lot of time in our tent city and get to know and pray for the people. We also do programs and open air services to speak the gospel. That’s been super successful, because a lot of people come and they show a great interest in who we are and what we are doing. And even after we tell them that we don’t have any food or money for them, they stay, so that means something. Tuesday, we had a day of intercession on the base because the Haitian people here are mad at the president because he’s not stepping down, and it’s basically causing a ton of riots. So for safety they kept us here…. And we prayed. Then they gave us a little course on what to do if anyone ever tries to kidnap us or if we get separated from the group. I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to pray that never happens.

Yesterday I was chosen to stay back and intercede for my team while they went to the tent city. Two people from each team stay back every day. So I was praying for five hours straight, and that was awesome. Then this tall lanky German guy walks by with one of the orphans, taking him to the clinic. I decide to invite myself along for some prayer backup. We get to the clinic and he explains that he and a solider noticed his arm was super swollen, and there was a little hole in it which was leaking out puss. Praise GOD for nurses, because I was gagging when she pinched his arm and started putting pressure on it. She used so much gauze. The puss just kept coming out. (I gagged typing it, so nasty). Then Eli started crying, I was sitting with him on the table, I started crying too. I just held him and kissed him and tried to comfort him. The kid was probably freaking out at all gunk coming out of his arm, right? Then, the tall lanky German who isn’t even a Dr. says this, “So, have they talked to you about hygiene?” I’m like, “Excuse me?!” I was a little angry, I’m in Haiti bro, and I wear deodorant! Then he says, “Are you sure kissing the children is safe?” I wanted to punch him in the face. I was so shocked, all I said was, “Well, I’m called here to love the kids. I’m sure Jesus would kiss the kids. So I pray, and I’m covered by the Holy Spirit.” And BTW my hygiene is fantastic! GRRRRR…. I’m not sure what I think of that entire interaction. I’m not going to stop kissing the kids. But I was really surprised someone would say that. It must be a culture difference.

So there’s my little update/rant about how Haiti is so far. Thank you for the prayers. Keep them coming. I’m not sure what next week will look like, I don’t really care either, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, because tomorrow is my day off! OH YEAH! Have a blessed weekend peeps! XOXOX

Petionville Meet Shayla

That’s the tent city we’ve been assigned. To clear the air, yes, Sean Penn manages a tent city in Petionville, no it’s not this one, no I haven’t met him or Anderson yet. Yes, I need prayer about that. 🙂 Let’s get down to business. So Friday we got a grand tour of our very own tent city, just for us. We get to evangelize, pray, and love on the little city for the next five weeks. I hope they are ready, it’s about to get CRAZY!

From what I gather we are at a tent city on the wealthier side of town. The people haven’t ever been homeless. Have you seen the pictures of the nice big $300 tents? You know all the money donated bought thousands of those. our tent city doesn’t have any. It’s actually a parking lot/town square which now house 1,157 families. It’s looking like those tarps will be home for the next year plus. The people of Petionville bring a mix of emotions. I should explain that Haitian culture is VERY different. Two guys could be talking about how much they like baseball and for me it sounds like there is about to be a war. People here are LOUD, yes, louder than me. And they speak aggressively. It’s hard to explain, but they are intimidating, and intense. So when we toured our city I first met a group of women. Definitely some mixed feelings. One woman wanted us to sit down right there and start a bible study. She was a feminist for sure! But the woman behind her asked us if we had food and told us to leave her alone if we didn’t. So from this point we had about an hour with our group of five to tour the city. The leader was so excited to have us there. He knew we wanted to pray for people so he had people for us to pray for.

First he brought us to a tent with an older woman who hadn’t been able to walk even before the quake. She also had no close friends of family to take care of her. We prayed for her and before we could say “amen” he was rallying us to our next group of elderly women. That group was divided as well. One said, “The white people are good.” the other asked if we had food and told us to leave. The whole time we were walking around you see the aftermath of devastation. People missing fingers, some arms or legs. You can’t miss the massive wounds especially on children. They’ll have brutal scars the rest of their life marking them and reminding them of the quake. As we walked to the next tent a pregnant woman shouted an obscenity at us. She then apologized and looked ashamed. Our translator exchanged some words with her and it was obvious to us that she had something bad in her. She asked us to pray for her and begged us to come back and to not forget to check on her when we did. We had to leave soon and the leader knew, he wanted us to visit one more woman. The next tent was a 79 year old women. Her tent was so hot that she just lay their naked, feeble, hopeless, every breath was clearly a struggle. We prayed for her and one person felt that God wanted her to receive salvation and peace. We cried and prayed over her. Her eyes were so weary, she was so hungry for love. That was hard. I sighed as we left the tent because I knew we had to get back and I was dripping sweat. But oh wait, the tent city leader had brought the people to us! He knew we had to leave so he brought us two children with severe disabilities to pray for before we left. Of course we prayed! There is so much need. I just cried. I knew it would be hard, and I knew I’d cry, I’m a baby about this stuff. But as sad as it is I have this supernatural peace. God has prepared me to be here, even if I don’t feel like it. he has called me here, and he will use me.

I love our tent city. I’m blessed to be called to minister and disciple the Haitians there. We’ll be going there five days a week for the next five weeks, so they better not waste any time falling in love with me. I’m going bring them God’s love, and I think they have a lesson for me as well.

So, the blog. I’m going to try to be direct and real and account for the wonderful things God does. I’m not going to sugar coat it…. This is as much for me as it is for my loved ones. I hope to read back on these in the future and remember the journey. So I really apologize if you think it’s over doing it, to many details, or not being sensitive…. But it’s kind of a blog, I’m writing it, so I don’t care. Just felt I needed to throw that out there. Thank you for reading!! This week, obvious prayer Petionville! That my team and I would be received well, for healing, miracles, and the hearts of the Haitian people to be soft. I love you America and Mexico! I miss you and your clean bathrooms!!!!! ❤

I LOVE HAITI!!

I’m HERE!! All the months of praying, and waiting, and worrying, and thinking, and praying. This is real life! I made it!! I’ll start with the trip, I don’t want to leave anything out! 😉

We left Mexico City at 4:00am on Tuesday morning. I had gone to bed around 1:30am (thank you Bristol Connor, chatting with you was so worth the lack of sleep!) We flew from there to Guatemala, yeah I’ve been to Guatemala, how cool. From there we had a four hour layover where I completely crashed on the floor, until the security man asked me to wake up and put my shoes on. So around 3:00pm we took off to Costa Rica. And with a 20 minute layover we barely made our plane to Dominican Republic. We landed in the DR around 1:00am. It had been a looooong day, but I was still jazzy. round 2.

As we stood waiting for luggage I felt that it was important to pray for our luggage to arrive. You see, one lost bag, and we’d be in a pickle, there would be no way to get it to us for six weeks. So I prayed over baggage claim. And I called it. I looked at a girl and I said, “You know, while I was praying I felt like my sleeping bag won’t make it… OH WELL, one less thing for me to carry.” Who hit the nail on the head? Me that’s who. So I wasn’t stressing out when it surely didn’t show, I miss my nice pillow though. We took the big van to the base and got there at about 2:00am, that’s when they dropped the bomb. Our ride was coming to get us at 4:00am!! Ok, all nighter!! So we had another early adventure. But I crashed about 6 minutes after we left and didn’t wake up until the sun was out, that was some very needed rest. It took us 2 hours of waiting at the boarder to cross into Haiti, sounded like an ordeal, but I had my eyes close so I couldn’t really tell ya about it. Then GLORY TO GOD we arrived.

I knew I arrived when I saw pile after pile of rubble. Then it really began to sink it that a disaster was still a fresh wound for the Haitians. We got to our home away from home around 2:30pm Wednesday (I think, I think it’s Thursday, hold on… Yeah, it is. I checked.)

The casa, as you know is an orphanage. It’s beautiful. It currently houses between 130 and 160 orphans. The best part, it’s a special needs orphanage. I think the need is love, definitely love. We are sleeping in tents, I love it! I hope I can still say that in 4 weeks. But last night we had like a serious flash flood or something, it rained super hard for like 2 hours straight, it was like 9:00pm so I jumped in my tent, and I needed a swim suit, it was WET! We were not sealed up. I moved things around and made it work, it was a damp night sleep…. Welcome to missions.

Today, was fantastic! I used a MACHETE!!!! Yeah, so yesterday the city officials of Port Au Prince signed 12 acres over to YWAM for the new base and to build new houses! To celebrate we went out and prayed and worshiped on the land. OH MY GOSH, awesome side note/tangent. There’s this Columbian televangelist guy here. And he brought this like extreme camera crew and worship group right. So they came along and he shows up with anointing oil, I’m all for it right… Oh wait, it was a two gallon jug! I was like, “Uh hey pastor, we anointing the land or fryin chicken!?” Then he anointed me, and I still have oil in my hair. So hilarious. I have more stories about him too. So we worship, do our thing, then they drop this box at our feet. MACHETES!!! Like 30 of them. So I grab one like lets do the dang thing right? If you have a machete in your hand, you are expected to use it. Yeah it’s sooooo hard. Blisters. So I watched some Haitians and copied their technique. You have to flip your wrist when you make contact with the tree, and pull through, makes solid cuts. In case you ever find yourself using a MACHETE (I make an mean face every time I type that word. I think it’s so cool. Say it out loud a few times, you will too!).

So tonight was also awesome. After dinner they loaded us up, by the way, there is two other teams here, they arrived this week. One is from LA and one is from Jamaica. We went to the palace. It’s like crumbled in the front, kind of represents the whole city. As we drove through I rode in the back of the pickup and you really get to take in the devastation. I didn’t realize, but they still don’t have electricity. at night this city is a very very dark place. the only business that could afford to run a generator was a bar, and it was over flowing, not really surprising. There are crushed houses and piles of rubble everywhere. Some people sleep in tents in front of their houses because they think there will be another earth quake. The smells, sounds, and spirit of hopelessness, I can’t really take it all in. We got to the palace just as the water truck rolled up. So we made two assembly lines and unloaded a dump truck filled with bottled water. Then we worshiped at the palace, then another truck came and we unloaded it too. God knew we were working hard and needed cooled off so He brought another flash flood. It was great!

I really love Haiti. It’s surreal to be here. Please be praying for me. They warned us about the “spiritual climate” here, it’s hard to explain, but it’s depressed, and lonely, and there’s this hopelessness that hangs over Haiti right now. And just being here, I feel it. And pray that I could rest up from all the chaos. But now, I’m spent. Good Night, and God Bless.

Outreach is great

Not A Big City Girl….

Sad. Love big cities. I love the energy. But I’m worn out. I need to move slow sometimes. I need naps. I need to breath when I’m forced to take public transportation. Don’t get me wrong, De Effe is SICK!!! And this 1st phase of outreach has blown my mind. It’s already way beyond any expectation I had. I guess I just have a taste and I’m ready to jump into Haiti.

So roughly, this is how the last two weeks have looked. We start the day either evangelizing or interceding, then we plan who will go to what small group or church service where. Then we pray and decide who will share. And that’s it. Simple, but super busy. I have not said the word “bored” in a long time. I have fallen in love with Mexican culture. Their values really bless me sometimes. There’s a strong sense of pride, and ownership. People here are born with the gift of hospitality. I love the hug with a kiss on the cheek to greet people. I’m taking that home. I’m kissing everyone. It’s rich, it makes me feel so loved! There are things that I hate here as well. And I keep reminding myself that if I look for the bad I will find it, but I’m going to look for the good. I’m a glass is half full type girl. So, I love you Mexico City. But I think it’s time we part. I’m going to Haiti. But I hope to see you again someday.
This week…. Like Tuesday, pray for our travels!! Not only safety, but also people’s attitudes, and rest, and energy. It all comes into play. Please pray for me personally that I can feel valued as a team member even with the lack of spanish skills. I think that’s all. Thanks blog readers. I love you! I will update seriously ASAP. I’ll try to post a VLOG on FB as well! <—- A lot of acronyms! LOL