Thursday, June 23

Last Day... Let Us Praise!

So, our time here is coming to a close.  What a bittersweet moment!  While we are all anxious to see our loved ones back home, leaving Haiti is hard.  The women took a final trip to Missionary for the Poor, and spent the day loving on the wonderful residents there.  Gina helped David (a resident with CP) write letters, Sara and Francy performed massage and myofascial release on almost all the residents, and Meghan and Trish took the residents for walks.  The men did phenomenal work at the Village of Hope School.  They finished the ceiling, and started and completed the vestibule.  It is honestly astounding the amount of work they managed to complete!  As this is our last night, following this summary, we are all going to take a moment to reflect on our week.


I have said it over and over this trip, but I am going to say it again… this trip was such a blessing.  Thank you to everyone who supported us spending our time here.  Arriving at the orphanage was overwhelmingly emotional, but once I got my wits about me, it was hard to leave.  Honestly, leaving it today was almost as overwhelming as arriving.  It was so hard to say good bye.  But, hopefully we will all be seeing each other again soon!


This has been my second trip to Haiti, and I continue to be amazed by the spirit of the Haitian people. Although they have been subjected to poverty and lack of necessities due to their corrupt government, they live joyous and productive Christian lives. Their positive attitudes and smiling faces are an inspiration to me. I will always remember this trip and will strive to keep the plight of the Haitian People in my heart and soul.


This was my first trip to Haiti, and I was immediately struck by the natural beauty of the country-the hills and beautiful trees and plants.  I have met so many wonderful people-our missionary hosts, members of the team from Purdue, and the orphans at Missionaries of the Poor who stole my heart. We worked hard and accomplished a lot, but there is still so much left to be done and so many people in need. I am definitely hooked, and I’ll be looking for my next opportunity to return!  

Jim Cantrell (Jimmy)

We took our project to the point where we could not continue (building out the computer lab.). We framed and installed the ceiling as well as installing the lights. We also installed the new door, framed in and walls installed. A very good week.

Jim Culp

I have been so blessed on this trip; from seeing another culture and comparing it to how I live, is just so unbelievable.  I have been reminded time and time again how blessed I am.  At graduation, the kids reaching out and wanting to grab and hold on, and how well behaved they were, was so touching.  I feel blessed by my parents that they gave me the traits that helped me serve God.  I thank God for giving me the opportunity to come here and pay forward a small portion of what I have been given.  I pray that what I have done here will benefit the people of Haiti.  As in my other mission trips, I will be leaving part of my heart here.


Wow, where do I start, to say my heart is moved every time I’m here is an understatement!!!  What strikes me and leaves me in amazement every time, is the progress I see.  Yes, I said progress!  From a group of 40 kids meeting under a tree, to a student body of 651, receiving a formal education, and a Christian education no less. This is only possible by God’s grace and the support of many, many, many people.  To think that Joyful Spirit is just one team in this network of teams.  Wow, that is the body of Christ working together! I hope and pray that a many people as possible that read this blog, or hear of Village of Hope will join us, in serving Our God, in such a meaningful and amazing way.


On my second trip to Haiti and the Village of Hope I felt the spirit of Christ Jesus with me constantly, from the time we arrived, to the work we were privileged to do in the orphanage, the school and exceptional graduation event with wonderful music and dances performed by the children ages 3 to 5 to the hosts and staff here at Hope House. I have been blessed working with a great team and thank all who prayed for us back home.


This is my first trip to Haiti, the Village of Hope, the School, Medical Center, and the Orphanage.
What a blessing it has been to get to serve here with the Joyful Spirit team. What an impact these beautiful Haitians have made on me; it has been a life changing experience. Rob and Trish Low are the best hosts! They have taken care of the team and they are both such a Godsend to us and to Haiti. Thanks for your prayers.


My third trip to the sunny dusty island of Haiti. Another great week of construction / building maintenance, to improve the high school and the new computer room. Hopefully, by the grace of God, my blessings to a group of wonderful folks, or my extended family, has helped.


On the way down I was seated with two young ladies that were on their first trip to Haiti and were dumfounded when they asked if I have been here before and I said yes, this was my 14th year. They asked what was my best advice and I said do not be surprised by anything you see, hear or experience. I have been thinking about that answer all week and realize the better answer would have been to embrace every experience, that is how you grow in life and in faith. The folks we interact with remind us that it is not what you have but what you do with what you have is how your life will be defined.   


The Magnificent Purdue Team!

This trip we were greatly blessed by the addition of three wonderful individuals from Purdue, Bill Larson (also a member of the Board of Directors), Dr. Bob (an engineering professor ) and Claire (a graduate student of engineering).  They were here to survey and soil sample the dozens of acres that Village of Hope owns out at the Village of Hope School.  The long term goal is to move Hope House out to this land, and also to plant large gardens and orchards, as well as raise chickens.  This would make the overall operations for Village of Home much more streamlined and efficient.  It would cut out a lot of travel time, and allow for some revenue to be generated by renting out the current Hope House.  The gardens, orchards, and chickens would also allow for real world application learning with the students.  Bill, Dr. Bob, and Claire accomplished an astonishing amount of ground work while they were here to make this dream a reality, and we were so lucky to have them!

Big Man on Campus... TORO

Introducing the big man on campus here at Village of Hope... TORO!

Toro's many talents include fitting his 40 lb. body onto anybody's lap, cleaning out peanut butter jars, tearing apart soccer balls until they are unrecognizable, and gracing us with an abundance of St. Bernardish drool.  He greets us every morning, and every evening when we get home.  Life here wouldn't be the same without him!



Wednesday, June 22

Day Five... Feeling Alive!

Today was an incredible day!  The kindergarten students at Village of Hope School had their graduation ceremony.  It was a two hour program, and consisted of about twenty songs, dances, and skits.  The 3 year olds through 1st grade students performed every part by memory.  They sang and danced their sweet hearts out!  The theme of the program was the environment, and all of our hearts just melted when two little kids walked out dressed as trees.  All of the decorations were made out of recycled plastic bottles and really showcased the students creativity.  After the program, one of the family members borrowed Danny's guitar and taught us the Creole version of "Awesome God."  Then, the men continued working on the ceiling, and the women cleaned one of the offices and started painting it.  The men will complete the painting project tomorrow because the women are headed back over to the orphanage.  Once our work was completed for the day, we were treated to a trip to the metal working village.  The artistry displayed was truly one of a kind!  Overall, it was a great mixture of work and Haitian culture today.






Tuesday, June 21

Day Four... Give us more!

Today was a wonderful day.  It was the last full day at Village of Hope School, so we all piled into the van and headed out to serve the students lunch.  Upon arriving, we had some time before the first round of lunch, so we got a tour of the school and the medical clinic.  Going through the classrooms, particularly the rooms with the younger kids, was so much fun!  The teachers have complete order in their rooms, and the students are learning quite advanced curriculum, and yet there are forty kids in a classroom, and no technology.  It is amazing what they accomplish.  The students were just as sweet as can be, and greeted us with the biggest smiles and boisterous high fives.   We then headed over to the medical clinic and got a tour there, as well.  It is a beautiful building with a triage, pharmacy, dental clinic (that runs once a week), nutrition program, and the start of an optomology clinic.  They also run a malnutrition program every Tuesday, so we got to see some sweet babies today as well.  There have been low crops the last few years, so the nutrition program is vital for the young children and pregnant and/or nursing mommas to thrive.  After the tours, it was time to start serving the meal.  The first round of classes atge at 9:30 and we served the meal through about 1:30. It was great seeing all of the students come through the cafeteria.  As it was the last day of school, they got a special treat of chicken with their rice and beans.  Once we were done serving the meal, we split up, with some continuing to work on the ceiling for the computer lab from the day before, and others sorting medications at the medical clinic.  On our way home from Village of Hope, we stopped by the Missionary of the Poor to say high to our friends from yesterday, and to give a tour to some of us on the trip that will not have an opportunity to serve there on Thursday.  All in all, it was a fantastic day, and we are looking forward to the Kindergarten Graduation tomorrow!


Monday, June 20

Day Three... Yippee!

Today we woke up anxious to jump into our work assignments.  The women, Trish, Gina, Meghan, Sara and Francy, went to the Missionary for the Poor, and the men, Jim, Jim, Gene, Steve, Danny, George, and Rob we to the Village of Hope School to complete a ceiling in their new computer lab. 

Last night during our project meetings, the women specifically were asked to pray for an opportunity to work hands on with the residents at Missionary for the Poor.  There had been a change in leadership there, and with that change came a shift in philosophy regarding how much hands on support the residents should receive.  As we all felt strongly called to love on these residents, we prayed fiercely for an opportunity to work directly with them.  Upon arriving at the Mission, there was new leadership (unbeknownst to us) and he was incredibly open to how we wanted to serve, and allowed us to move freely among the mission.  It was an incredible experience, and one we are all so blessed to have experienced.

At the school, the men were drilling holes in concrete holes that had stone masonry behind the concrete.  This presented a significant challenge, but they managed to pull together, and framed the headers into the masonry and stone walls.  This prepares them to put up the ceiling joists and paneling.  They are on schedule, and excited to jump back into their project tomorrow.

Please continue praying for our team and the people of Haiti.

Sunday, June 19

Day Two, Yahoo!

We had a relaxing morning eating breakfast and visiting with one another.  Around 9:30 we piled into the van and embarked on the one hour drive to the American Haitian Church - Port Au Prince Fellowship.  The church was incredibly welcoming, and had a wonderfully talented band and pastor.  The pastor spoke on being open to the divine timing in our lives, and taught us a three part prayer centered on being open to his calling – Be open to his calling, open your mouth, and open the ears others.  After an almost two hour church service, we headed to lunch at the Observetoire.  It was a beautiful restaurant up in the hills and was also attached to a small marketplace.  Haitian culture treats meals a bit differently that American culture, and we ended up spending about 3-3.5 hours at lunch.  Upon our return to the Village of Hope, some of the men fixed one of the broken picnic tables, and we unpacked some of the school supplies we brought.  Tomorrow will be an early morning as we head to our projects.  Some of us will be spending the day at the Missionary of the Poor orphanage (previously Little Children of Jesus) and others will be going to the Village of Hope School to help build a computer lab for the students.  We are all so excited to start our work!


 On the patio at Observatoire

 Looking down on Port Au Prince

 Working on the picnic table

Saturday, June 18

We have arrived!

We have arrived!  After meeting at Gene’s at 4:30 AM, we arrived at O’Hare without a hitch.  After a quick breakfast in the airport food court, we had a lovely flight into Ft. Lauderdale.  Thanks to a short delay with our first flight, we did an almost complete turnaround back onto our plane and headed into Port Au Prince, Haiti.  Upon landing, we were greeted by our friends Populer, Lucine, and Rob (who is stationed here from the States with his wife Trish).  Our ride into the mission’s compound was a great sight-seeing opportunity as we were driving through down town during their market day.  After settling into our rooms, we were treated to a delicious dinner made by Trish and finished up with a Bible Study led by Francy. 

We are all so looking forward to the work we will be doing this week, and are anxious to see how our gifts will be used and what gifts we will discover. 

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:1

Monday, June 13

Almost Ready!

The 2016 Haiti Team would like to thank you for your prayers, donations and support as we prepare to depart on Saturday (6/18)! Your generosity has allowed us to pack a large quantity of needed items for the people of Haiti. It has also allowed us to obtain supplies for our projects that we will complete while there. Please follow the blog to join us in this journey!