Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Literacy Program for the Elders!

I am so happy to announce that we will be starting an adult literacy program for 10 elders as well as 14 other adults from Titanyen!  We hope to start the program early in February.  It will be held 3 afternoons per week at Grace Academy.  What a gift it is to be able to provide this service and what a gift of dignity it is for each of them.
We need your help!
We are looking for a monthly sponsor to pay the teacher salary of $117 per month.
We don't know the exact cost for the curriculum materials yet, but we expect it to be about $12 per student.  So we are looking for 24 one-time sponsors, one for each adult student.  We will do our best to provide you with a name and photo of your sponsored student so that you can pray for their education as well!
Please email if you would like to be a sponsor!
The elders that will be attending this program are Filozia, Nicolas, Merolen, Pirre, Pierre, Marieterez, Lindor, Dieufort, Maricia and Felicie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dental Care for the Elderly

This week, there is a dental team at Grace Village providing dental care to the elders, children and staff.  Going to a dentist is a luxury in Haiti, so many of our elders suffer with teeth pain most of their life.  In evaluating who needed dental work prior to the team coming, we saw teeth rotted right down to their gums....I can't even imagine the pain.
This is Pirre, who has a beautiful smile, but had some pain.  How wonderful it must feel to have clean teeth and no pain!  The following elders were able to have dental work done:  Marie, Pirre, Felicie, Laurissain, Pierre, Ofane, Antchola and Antoinette.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday, January 14

This blog comes a little late, but I wanted to give all you eldercare followers a recap of our last day in Titanyen, because some very good things happened.

We had lots of elders we wanted to visit today and because we have 2 available openings for elders, we also had plans to visit 6 potential elders.  We were able to see 3 on our list who were home.  There is such a need....each one of them struggled with daily life.  Finding food, making repairs to their homes and visiting the doctor are all difficult tasks when you have no money.  After visiting those 3, Pastor Wesley, who was translating for us, said that he felt like the Holy Spirit was telling us that we need to visit one more man.  His name was Elie. 
He doesn't know his own age and lives with his daughter and her family, none of whom are able to find jobs.  The roof of their home is in tatters....I can only imagine how wet they must get with just a little rain.  Elie's bed was a sheet on the dirt floor.  He was emaciated and dehydrated.  When I looked into his eyes, I saw Jesus and knew that we needed to help him.  He was added to our meals on wheels program and a mission team visited him later in the week.  I hope to have a blog post soon about the visit!
In between visits of potential elders, we were also able to stop at current elders homes to see how they are doing.  Many of you know Meme and when we went into his home it looked empty, but I knew he was there.  A peek under his bed revealed that he was trying to stay cool on the concrete...what a funny man!

We also brought a drill, latches and new locks for many of them who are unable to lock up their homes and keep their few possessions safe from theft.  They were so grateful for this small thing!

At one of our elder's home, Camisane, we found out that she was married to a man named Eliason who was far from God.  Pastor Wesley witnessed to him and he is considering giving his life to Christ.  Please pray for him!

As many times as we've driven by the wells in Titanyen, I've never tried one, so today was my day.  I was surprised at how little water comes out with each pump.  Getting water everyday is not an easy task!

As the day slowly slipped away, we knew our ride to Port-au-Prince was coming soon.  There was still so much to do, so many elders to visit, so much time to spend with them.  We can only let go and trust that others will be willing to be used by God to serve these precious elders.  Please continue to pray for each of them and that little by little things will get better.  Haitians use a creole saying to describe this: "Petit, petit, l'ap vini".

On our way to Port au Prince, we were able to spend a few minutes at the mass grave.  A fitting ending to our week in Haiti.  Just two days after the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake, the memorial was filled with flowers.  At the top of the mountain, we prayed over Haiti, it's struggles and it's achievements over the last 3 years.  May God's hand bless this country, using people who are willing to be his hands and feet!

Monday, January 14, 2013

What a Day!

What a day today was!  It started with the most amazing church service I think I have ever been to.  The worship alone was spectacular.  The small church was jammed with people singing praise and giving thanks to God.  The message was eloquently and passionately given by the pastor.  He spoke of when Jesus told Peter that he was going to give him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven and whatever you have on earth, you will have in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be lost in Heaven (Matthew 16:19).  

Then we were off to visit elders.  We stopped to see Jude Jean Paul who is a young man being cared for by his mother.  Just walking in to his room brightened my day.  It was brightly painted and had mobiles hanging from the ceiling.  He was lying comfortably in bed.  She takes such wonderful care of him.  The kind of love only a mother can give. 

Next we went to Angeline’s house.  We gave her a new dress and she was so excited to get a bath and put the dress on.  It’s thought that she had a stroke and lost use of her right side.  To our surprise, she is gaining movement in her leg!  That’s God’s work. 

A visit to Marie’s house was a must.  This is a 103 year old woman who has more spunk than some 5 year olds.  What a joy she is.  She got so excited when we came that she started dancing and immediately asked for photos.  She loves having her photo taken.  We looked at her mattress and other needs she may have.  We gave her a pair of shoes yesterday and couldn’t find them.  When we asked her where they were, she got on her hands and knees and reached way under her bed.  She was keeping them in a tin with a lid so nobody would find them.  She said she is saving them for church.  It was so sweet but sad to think that she has to hide her shoes.   We were able to do a video interview of her and were able to get a small glimpse into her life.  I asked what her key to happiness is and she said praising God and dancing, all while smiling from ear to ear.   Such a gift she is. 

Marie with our Haitian ElderCare Nurse, Carrolle and her husband
Monfils.  Marie called them her mama and papa.
We gave Marie a lock for her door and a flashlight.  She rejoiced as if she won the lottery!
Last but certainly not least was Ofane’s house.  Ofane is remarkable.  Everyone and I mean EVERYONE loves him.  We visited his house and looked at any needs he may have, as well.  Then he took us on a walk to see his goats, Eve and Eve.  What a treat.  One of them gave birth to a still born yesterday so that was sad.  Hopefully the other will deliver a healthy baby.   He used to have Adam but he sold him to get the second Eve so he could have more babies.  Get it?!  Adam and Eve.  How cute is that?! 
Our day wasn’t over.  The Haitian that guided us took us to meet his adopted mother and show us the house he grew up in.  He was very proud to introduce us to her.  This young man works fulltime to help support his adopted family and his birth mother.  What a heart full of love and the love of God he has.  I told his adopted mother that she did an amazing job raising him. 

Joseu and his mother Madamn Laura.
We ended our day having dinner with the kids.  It simply doesn’t get any better than that.  It’s loud and squirrely.  We had a sweet potato bread pudding.  It was so good!  We had dessert for dinner!!
Written by Shannon

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Bless each of these Elders, Lord
These oaks of righteousness
This planting of You, Lord
This display of your splendor.

Today is the Anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti – and still the sun rises –a new day.  We awoke to a beautiful sunrise.  We hustled and bustled around getting prepared for the Elder Medical Clinic.  We set up our examination room/pharmacy in a small room at Grace Village – our doctor’s work space was a child’s desk and our pharmacy was set up on bunk beds.  Ten a.m. --  our Elders were starting to arrive.  Dr. Sem arrived with his pharmacist, Esther, who was a huge help to our team! 
Then the madness began.  Vital signs, exams, blood sugar testing, writing prescriptions, filling prescriptions, educating patients – and the next thing you know – it’s after 2 – lunchtime is finally here!  Our lunch was a delightful buffet prepared for us by the Haitian staff.  They went above a beyond – Haitian rice, chicken legs, coleslaw, salad, pasta and fried plantains!  Then Christmas presents and care packages were given – and presents for their grandkids and presents for their neighbors!
We tag-teamed our day with two other Healing Haiti groups and the KIDS OF GRACE VILLAGE  who showered, pampered, pedicured, manicured, massaged, primped and crafted with the Elders.  YAY – RAH-RAH TEAMWORK!!  With God’s help we will do mighty things . . . Psalm 108:13
In the midst of craziness during medical exams – I would have to stop because I would hear an Elder talking very passionately in Creole.  Dr. Sem would stop to interpret – Vertilia, “PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE God for His goodness”.  Her grandkids go to school at Grace Village and she is SOOO grateful to Grace Village and Healing Haiti and GOD!  She had so much love and joy to share with us in that exam room.  And then there is Antchola -- she gave up smoking and alcohol for JESUS!  And then there is Ofane who gets a wound dressing change several times a week.  His is Amazing and will not let anything – even a major wound – get in his way to enjoy life. 

Each Elder has a STORY – each STORY is told – in their EYES – in their SMILES – in their LOVE!!

Written by Cindy

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Day Like No Other

We were asked to take a photo of Antoine in his casket in the morning.  Even though it seemed to be an odd request for us, we headed down.  His body was prepared but was not yet in the coffin, so they asked us to come back later and told us that the funeral would be at 2pm.  The men in front of Antoine's home were playing dominoes, a common past time in Haiti.  Jessica joined in for a round and they thought it was so funny that she actually might win.  She didn't, but they said because they play nice, they wouldn't make her wear clothespins on her chin or a concrete block on her back like some games require the loser to do.

We then delivered eggs and milk to 2 of the elders to resell in the market place that day.  Because it was market day, we were unable to find the 3rd elder.  One of the elders worried about being able to get the eggs to the market and told us she would prefer to sell candy.  Somehow it feels wrong to promote sugar in a town that just needs nourishment.

Some of the workers had to go to the market to get food for Grace Village, so we tagged along and purchased a few things for ourselves.  The feeling in the market was completely different from Malpasse, it was so enjoyable.  We got 4 mangos, 6 sweet potatoes, 2 onions, 1 coconut and 5 chadek (grapefruit type of fruit) for $3.20. 

We stopped at Antoine’s house on the way back and took the photos of the body in the casket.  The casket we purchased was beautiful, not quite what I expected in Haiti.  But a lot of things aren’t!  Antoine looked so nice; he was clean and dressed in a white shirt and a suitcoat and was laying among the ruffles of the casket lining.

When we got back, we undertook the huge task of cleaning out the ElderCare supply closet which shares space with the childrens toys, shoes, hygiene items and much more.  It was crazy full and looked like an overwhelming task.  But once we dug in, we found that it went pretty quickly.  We found many items we didn’t know we had and got everything organized into bins and neatly on the shelf.

After 2 hours of organizing, we came back to the missionary house where Jessica and Kathy were having a special meal prepared for us!!!  They are such sweet hostesses and we were so touched by the amazing gesture….and the food was so good.  We had couscous, a chicken and vegetable stew to go over the rice and my favorite, fried plantains!  And to top it off, we had chadek juice!  Yum!

Although the funeral was supposed to be at 2, we didn’t get called to come until 4.  The Kubota had a flat tire, so we had to walk and ended up missing the actual service.  We were, however, just in time for the procession to the burial site, which is something I will never forget.  Two people at a time carry the casket the entire way…..on their heads!  And it is not just a quiet solemn walk….it is full of energy, dancing, drinking alcohol from a clear gallon jug and chanting to the beat of a tin pan.  They stopped every 50 feet or so to switch out who was carrying the casket….all the men wanted to do it multiple times out of respect for their friend.  One man even carried it on his bare feet over the rocky road.  The women followed behind, many of them dressed very nice in black and white and wearing heels (at least part of the way, then they switched out to flats). 
We probably walked about ¾ of a mile up the mountain on steep rocky terrain.  At the top of the mountain, with the ocean, low afternoon sun and Grace Village as a backdrop, they did a little dance moving the casket around in a circle before proceeding to the burial plot.  There, men were still working on digging the hole which was a tedious task, as most of it was rocks.  They set the casket on the ground and poured alcohol on the ground in a circle around it, which our translator said was to cast out the evil spirits, a voodoo ritual.  Once the hole was dug, they pushed the casket in head first while a man guided it in.  When the feet reached the edge of the hole, it landed with a thud in the hole.  They poured a bit more alcohol into the corner of the hole and then immediately started throwing dirt and rocks in.

 We left shortly after, saying a few words to the son as we left.  We took a different route home, weaving through little trails among the homes in the foothills that all of the local people use to go back and forth to Titanyen.  I could only imagine all the work it was for the children to get water in multiple trips.  I stopped one girl, I would guess she was 9 or 10 years old, who had a five gallon bucket of water on her head, to see if I could take her photo.  She was very happy to oblige as was her little sister.  I showed them the photo on my camera afterwards and that little girl squealed and jumped for joy.  As we walked along, Jessica saw one of the workers for Grace Village and we were able to go and see her house.  Like most of the homes in Haiti, it was a concrete block house with small windows.  There was a dirt floor, but the home was immaculate!  It had a table with 6 chairs and a metal bakers rack filled with all of their dishware.  The little girl had a Dora doll.  There was another room, too, that I didn’t see.

What a beautiful night in Haiti, we arrived at Grace Village as the sun was setting.  I was able to take some gorgeous photos of this amazing place in the warm light.  Then I sat on the wall, watched the boys play basketball and talked with the girls.  I can’t even put words to how this place warms my heart.  The setting on the mountain, the view of the ocean, the warm breeze, the kids laughing and playing, the beat of the makeshift drums coming from the playground and this overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  What amazing things He has been able to do….all because people like Alyn and Jeff listened.  All we have to do is listen.  Listen for the quiet stirring in our hearts and head the call.  God can do amazing things through you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

So much to tell....

This is my third trip to Haiti, but the experiences we've had are so different from every other trip.  Some were fun, some required complete trust in God, some were very sad, some were overwhelming.  It's hard to put it into words, but I will try.

Fun - On Tuesday night, we knew we would be coming to stay at Grace Village, so we wanted to do our laundry at the guesthouse.  Junior volunteered to teach us how and I tell you, that man knows how to do laundry.  There is a certain way that you need to rub the clothes in the soapy water and it is very systematic.  And if you can't get the right "squishy, squishy" sound, you are clearly not doing it right.  As Americans, we think..."looks good"....but they have the patience to systematically clean each part of each pant leg and then pay attention to the waistbands and pockets that can get particularly dirty.  Some of the other drivers came to laugh at us and tell us that we weren't doing it right....they even have a specific way to squeeze the water out.  We tried with all our muscle to get the water out and then the Haitian woman helping us would easily squeeze out another half a cup of water.  And they all laughed hysterically....what fun!

Trust - After a beautiful church service and visiting the home of the sick and dying babies in the morning (great blog about this on the team website), we were ready to go to pick up salt and head up to Titanyen.  Time easily slips away in Haiti with so much to be done, so we didn't get going until mid afternoon.  We did not have time to pick up the salt as we needed to visit a couple of the elders homes with Jean to look at possible repairs before it got dark.  We also had to give some shots to Ofane, a man with leprosy.  In preparing to do the shots, Ofane told us that he had a severe out-of-mind reaction to a shot in the past.  After talking to his doctor we decided to hold off on the shots.  As the sun got closer and closer to the skyline, I worried that we wouldn't make it to the homes.....knowing that I need to TRUST in God for his plans for us.  We ended up being able to see Antoine and Marie's homes before dark and came up with plans for both of them....great plans that I felt were a gift from God.  We ended the day with another beautiful church service, but this time with the Grace Village kids and some residents of Titanyen.  Pastor Wesley preached a wonderful message about the vine and the branches.

Sadness - Early this morning, the guard came to the door to tell us that Antoine had died in the night.  I was devastated....didn't God just give us this amazing gift of new housing for him....why did I worry about his house last night when I should have been holding him and praying with him?  Death sure puts life into perspective and gives us great pause to realize what is important.  I need to slow down and realize that being the hands and feet of Jesus is not about completing the items on my to-do list (even if they are well intentioned).....being the hands and feet is first and foremost showing love, seeing Jesus in every person we meet.  We were asked to come and visit the body and we did.  We met with a couple leaders from Titanyen and found out that Antoine had an exwife and son that lived in Titanyen and 2 daughters that lived elsewhere.  Eventually we were able to meet with the son, make funeral arrangements with him and got a chance to talk with and pray over him.  The funeral will be tomorrow morning.

Overwhelming - With plans made for the funeral by 10am, we were still able to move forward with our plans to go to Malpasse to learn if there were things there that our elders could purchase and sell in the Titanyen market to make a profit.  The drive there was beautiful, we saw this huge beautiful lake (I will post pictures tomorrow).  As we approached Malpasse, we realized that we were running low on gas and prayed for God to get us there safely.  He did.  Malpasse was a crazy, bustling road filled with semis, tap taps, buses, motorcycles and of course all the market people.  We had to park a ways away and walk, weaving our way through all kinds of people, vehicles, pot holes, puddles and general craziness.  It was overwhelming.  We discovered that they mostly sell packaged goods that you can find along every roadside.  We were hoping to find produce or items that are not easily found in Titanyen so our elders would be able to sell all of their goods.  We ended up with a case of eggs and boxed milk and a very good education.  And in Haitian style, Cindy carried that very heavy case of eggs almost all the way back to the truck on her head!

With that many experiences in just two days, I wonder what God has for us for the rest of the week.  I'm sure it will again be sad (funeral tomorrow), fun (party with the elders), hopefully not overwhelming, but surely with much TRUST in God.  Pray that we will see Jesus in each person we meet, letting our plans go if God calls us to.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013


WATER TRUCK day!  Who would have thought that not only would we deliver water to Cite Soleil but also serve as FLYPAPER!  What a gift to love and be loved on by such beautiful children of God.  The moment our truck pulled into the tent city a heap of kids swarmed around impatiently awaiting our descent from the tap tap.  From the time we emerged, we were consumed by the excitement - - one would have thought we were their HOPE.  Maybe we were their hope, just for today.  They certainly were ours. 

 An eye opening experience that certainly has made us see how sharing of ourselves through our presence, our touch, our hugs and our looking into the eyes of these amazing children can make the difference in ONE day of a child's life.

 They gave the best hugs. :)

Shannon & Cindy

Monday, January 7, 2013

READY. . .SET. . .GO!

We have arrived! And all of our supply-laden OVERWEIGHT bags made it to Haiti intact! Thanks to our Heavenly Father for safe and uneventful travels.  This Eldercare Team is in Haiti and Ready to serve.  As each day dawns, we will wake up with anticipation to see what God has planned for that day.  We left our American-selves on the jetway in Miami and have entered Haiti as God's servants READY for Him to lead us.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us --
yes, establish the work of our hands.
                    Psalm 90:17