Archive for April, 2012

Our last morning in Haiti we were anxious to get to the orphanage to spend as much time with the kids as possible before the dreaded good-bye.  With some monetary donations that were sent with our team we were able to go to the market and buy shoes, a TON of cooking oil, a TON of pasta, a TON of spaghetti sauce and huge bags of rice to take to the kids.  They eat beans and rice EVERY day…so the pasta would be a real treat.

Before we came to Haiti we asked our church members to donate their kid’s sports jerseys that they were no longer using.  We collected 120 jerseys!! Our team member Shannon was able to bring 10 soccer balls!  We were all excited to get to the orphanage to have everyone join in on a soccer game(aka football in Haiti).  We laid all of the jerseys out and let the kids come and pick out which ones they wanted.  They were so cute picking them out, trying them on, changing their mind, trying on another, and finally picking out the perfect one!


Coach Ben giving a high-five!

After the game we took a break and played with some playdoh and bubbles…


Our team brought over a lot of new clothes for the kids.  Here are some of the girls trying their’s on.

I think she is beautiful…

All of these sweet children LOVED to sit on our lap, to be held, and to be hugged on.  It didn’t matter the age of the kid…they all wanted the attention.  If we ever sat down, there would be 5-6 kids sitting around us within seconds.  If we were carrying around a child and set them down, another one would run up to us to be held immediately.  It was so precious…yet at the same time made you very aware of the human touch that they were missing on a daily basis.

 Just hanging out…


No one got “put down” for naps.  They would wonder around until they literally fell over…

This little doll fell asleep in our arms and we asked to put her down in a bed to take a nap…might’ve been a first:)

They were trying to teach us a singing/dancing game…it was pretty funny to watch.

The last game we played with the kids before we left was BASEBALL!  Ben and Carter brought a baseball bat and ball.  They had NEVER played baseball…and were excited to try.  Every time someone would swing and miss they would all laugh so hard.  They thought it was hilarious!  We all had a great time!

As the sun was going down, we knew we had to say good-bye.  This was a long drawn out process because no one wanted to get into the tap-tap to leave.  We all kept giving out hugs after hugs after hugs.  There were definitely tears amongst all of us.  Carter’s good little buddy Richardson was especially sad and cried hard ~ heart breaking!  So many emotions were running though my mind:  Will I ever see these kids again?  Is someone going to make sure they laugh a little bit every day?  Is someone going to hold and carry them around?

Saying goodbye to MAMA:  She kept saying “Thank you! Thank you! Thank You.  I have nothing to give you, but I can pray for you!”


And then we left and it was all over.  We had a very quiet ride back to the guest house with so much going through our minds.  For us we were heading back to all the food, family, friends, comforts, and excess that we call our normal lives.  For them it’s so very different.

One of our lasting memories will be Carter sitting in the back of the tap-tap one afternoon on the way home.  Our teammate Shannon asked him what he thought about being in Haiti and being at the orphanage all day, and he smiled really big and said in his Carter way, “Are you kidding me man I was BORN for this!”  Yes, you were born for this sweet Carter.  We all were.  Let us never forget it.

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Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30am to attend a sunrise Easter service with the local international church.  Our team piled in the van and drove about an hour up the mountains.  We arrived just before sunrise and met with about 40 other Christians for a great time of worship and prayer.  It was so surreal to be in Haiti…at the top of a mountain…with friends we met just days before…praying for a country we had just set foot in but already had a heart for.  I just kept thinking how awesome God is to orchestrate it all so perfectly. We were made to be right there…at that exact time!  We were a group of 40 people from all walks of life…different denominations…singing all the same worship songs that we all grew up on…praising a risen Savior on Easter.  I can hardly put all of the emotions into words.

Our team:)

 After the Easter morning service we headed back to the guest house to stuff 500 easter eggs to take to the kids.

Thanks to all of the donations from friends and family we were able to provide each kid with an easter basket filled with a pair of flip-flops, sunglasses, and candy.  They were thrilled with their gifts!  But the best part by far was the egg hunt.  They do not have egg hunts, have never seen plastic eggs, and couldn’t believe it when they found candy inside!  Ben said the word GO and they were off.  Pure joy, laughter, and excitement from ages 18 months old to 18 years old.  They had a BLAST!!

Below is little miss Fabiola…she reminded me so much of Caroline!

 Mama Lausanne loved her sunglasses…

 We taught the kids the Easter story using the Resurrection eggs.  They really enjoyed taking turns opening the eggs.

The rest of the afternoon we had fun playing games. We laughed and smiled all day.  Look closely at all of the kid’s precious smiles.  They were all having so much fun.  Their laughter was contagious.  I hope to never forget that sweet sound!  Below is the ol’ classic duck-duck-goose…

Red Light, Green Light…

One of Carter’s favorite things to do was to ride this bike with his friends.  They would somehow fit 4 boys on this bike…and ride around for HOURS!!

Here they are trying to pull Carter up the tree with a rope…the rope eventually broke but they sure had a good time trying!


Even the itty-bitty babies were attracted to Carter’s fun and adventurous spirit!

Sweet kids…


Below is a picture of Ben holding Moses, who has cerebral palsy.  This sweet natured little boy loved just sitting and watching all of the action.  He would clap when all of the other kids were having fun.  He would get so excited watching his friends run and play games.  He would crawl around on the dirt and rocks and never complain. Every single kid would watch out for him and help take care of him…they were all very nurturing.

By the end of Day Two, we were hot, sweaty, dirty, smelly, tired, perfectly happy and heart-broken all at the same time.  We sat around at dinner with our big plates of food and cold drinks and could only think about our precious new friends.  We were thankful to have one more day left…saying goodbye was going to be hard.

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While trying to figure out how in the world to write about our experience in Haiti, I  have to begin with our decision to travel to Haiti in the first place.  Our friend, Kelly Strzinek, had gone last year to work with orphanages and was headed back again to work with the Well-Being Orphanage.  After church one day, I saw Ben talking with Kelly in the hallway for awhile…we got in the car and I asked if he was thinking we should go to Haiti.  He said yes!  I started telling him all the reasons why we probably shouldn’t be going…it would be over Easter weekend, Carter would miss school, It was only 6 weeks away, we had to get immunizations, and  we couldn’t possibly raise all the money in that short of time.  All good reasons that my limited little mind could think of.  I was leaving NO room for God to work in any of this.  We decided to pray about it separately and come back together to talk about it.  It took all of one day praying/thinking about it for me to realize Who Am I to say NO? God says Go and you just Go.  You don’t need to work out all the details…He will work it all out for you!

We decided to take Carter with us and leave Caroline and Leighton with grandparents.  All of the excuses I had made in the beginning, God worked out perfectly. We raised the exact amount of money to cover our trip and immunizations…to the exact dollar! I was blown away by the generosity of our family and friends. THANK YOU!

We couldn’t wait to experience Haiti with Carter.  His love of adventure, heart for others, and high energy level makes him the perfect travelling partner.  My prayer was that God would open his eyes to the poverty in the world so that he will always live mindful of people in need.

So we arrived in Haiti and were picked up by our driver and taken to the Heartline Ministries guest house.  This was our home away from home for the week.  Our living conditions were great.  No hot water and no AC, but plenty of fans and filtered water to drink.  They provided us with breakfast and dinner which were excellent.  What we loved most about staying there was getting to meet Christians from all over the US that were in Haiti serving people in the name of the Lord.  There were construction workers rebuilding church buildings, electricians, church leaders, and all sorts of other volunteers.

Carter’s bunk bed with a mosquito net…

So onto why we went to Haiti in the first place~Visiting the Orphanage! We started our day riding in a tap-tap through Port-Au-Prince to the orphanage.

We had 2 translators with us…Jonas and Sylvestor.  They were amazing young Christian men, were GREAT at their job, and LOVED on the kids like they were family.  We all became good friends very quickly.

After the earthquake in 2010 tens of thousands of people lost their homes.  They started living in these “tent-cities”.  There are fewer and fewer of these as days go by…but here is one that still remains.

As soon as we drove up to the Well Being Orphanage we were met with the most precious little faces EVER!! Despite their harsh living conditions they were all so full of joy and laughter.  They met us with open-arms…and wanted to be held and loved on.


It took all of 5 minutes for Carter to find his group of buddies!  These precious boys LOVED Carter.  They did not speak each other’s language but their curiosity and fun personalities led to fast friendships.  I cannot put into words what having Carter there meant to these boys.  Carter was so excited to see them each and every day.  One of the boys told our team leader, “Carter is the best thing you ever packed from America!”  Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  We brought them all kinds of material goods, but their favorite was the friendship of a little 8 year old boy who brought them so much happiness!  So there is my plug for taking kids on mission trips.  A lot of people ask what can a child “give” on a mission trip?  Without speaking their language he gave them LOVE!  They felt IMPORTANT!  They LAUGHED and played for 3 days straight.  I cannot tell you how my heart would swell every time I would see this group of boys running by!  Every morning they would run up to our tap-tap and pull Carter off with big bear-hugs and arm-in-arm they would run off to play!

We brought a jump rope that led to hours of fun and laughter.

 Ben taught them the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Then he split them into two groups and had them make up a song about the story.

Lunch Time!  The kids get one meal a day at 3:00pm.  It was rice and beans.  They each got a large portion, but it still bothered me that they only ate one meal a day. They didn’t get anything to drink with their meal.  We hardly ever saw them drinking water.  They do have a well, but then they would have to put the water through a filtering system that they had.  I’m not sure if there was a shortage or what.

After lunch we played a balloon game.  We picked 5 kids to put on a 5XL t-shirt and within a certain time limit their team had to blow up balloons and stuff the shirt.  We were all laughing so hard…everyone was having a great time. The older teenagers and adult helpers had just as much fun as the little kids.  This was definitely the hit of the day!

 and the winner was Richardson…

It was a fun-filled day of showing God’s love to these precious children!


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Easter week!

Ben, Carter, and I were going to be in Haiti over Easter, so we decided to do a lot of special Easter activities with the girls before we left!  We had fun dying eggs.  This was Leighton’s first year to really enjoy all of the Easter fun.

Leighton’s hands were blue for days!

We attended the Keller Egg Hunt at Bear Creek Park

Leighton sliding down the bounce slide…

Carter sitting in the fire truck…

 My little cook, Caroline, was excited to make bunny cupcakes.

Caroline had fun at her pre-school egg hunt…

The day before we left for Haiti we had a large egg hunt in our backyard…

Carter found the money egg..


We bought the resurrection eggs this year, which the kids LOVED using to tell of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  As Caroline would put it, “It’s not about the bunny or the yummy candy, it’s about the cross and the empty tomb!”

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