Saturday, April 5, 2014


Hey everyone! So just to give you a heads up I am writing about our team’s day from the perspective of a return goer on a Healing Haiti Missions trip. This is my third mission’s trip with Healing Haiti. My passion level will go through the roof in the second half of this. First I would like to give you what I think would be a first time goers view and then my perspective.
Today we brought  20 children from Grace Village which is Healing Haiti’s Orphanage in Titanyen .  We arrived at GV and loaded the kids up on the Top Top(20 person van with crazy colorful writing all over it) we rode about 25 minutes to a beautiful private beach that we had all to ourselves.  This was an award for good behavior.  The kids were so so so so excited to be there. They all wore life vests and jumped right in. They splashed, threw a soccer ball around, played Frisbee and monkey in the middle. Some built some sand castles and others just loved swimming underneath the oncoming waves. It was a blast and as always I feel we were the actually the ones who were more blessed by our time with them. They are so full of life and joy. You can just see the light of Christ even though they have suffered much pain.
We ate lunch together and then were treated to having a girl Luchida who had come with us not from Grace but was about 10 years old sing a song in English that she had just learned the day before. It was so beautiful and brought most of us Americans to tears. This girl literally could win America’s got Talent or something. But she gave all the Glory to God! After that we played some more in the water then had to head out. I was very bittersweet to be ending the day.
On the way back we stopped by the mass gravesite from the earthquake. We heard the stories of both of our translators. It was hard to hear them tell their stories and just realize they do this most weeks for teams but they do to help people understand how absolutely beyond comprehension how devastating the earthquake really was. I was truly thankful for their willing hearts to share.  We wrapped up the night with word of the day and some praise and worship since we have an amazing professional musician on our trip. We laughed and cried together as we talked about our day and watched the picture slideshow of the day which we do every night we are here and it is always awesome to see our day from almost an outside perspective.
Now if you would like I will give you the same story but from my perspective. My heart, my passion that has been revealed to me because I came to Haiti a year ago is for children who did not choose their situation but are stuck in it and struggle with feeling truly important and loved by someone.  My prayer was that I would get to bring some of the kids from Grace that I have a relationship with and who remember me. I prayed that numerous times before we left.  I was so excited to realize that 3 of the girls that know me were able to come. I did for a brief minute get to see them the other day when we did our tour of GV but this day allowed me to really reconnect to them.
Right as we were about to pull out of Grace Village someone said some of the children could ride in our top top so I ran to the door and yelled for the girls and knew and two were able to come. So for 25 minutes I got to sit with them on each side of me talking in Kreyol and English, sharing my snacks with them and cuddling in my arms to block the wind as we traveled along a beautiful coastal highway. It felt like I had not seen 2 of my own children for 10 months and now I was going to get 4 hours with them. How could I possibly do this well? On one side I was so excited to see them but on the other my heart was so broken for these girls.  Just the ride on the top top filled and overflowed my heart but spending hours with these girls playing and seeing them wanting to spend time with me was right to the brink over overwhelming for me. We had so much fun it was such a joyful day. Giving piggy back rides, throwing the Frisbee and playing monkey in the middle. Building a sandcastle and diving under waves with them riding on my back.  In those moments we were truly free. There was no pain, no suffering, sadness, no longing and no tears. Just joy pure joy but then reality hits….. Time to go…. Back to their reality of living in an orphanage and back to mine that I would be leaving Haiti soon. 
We took pictures, gave hugs and said our good byes because we were not going to be stopping at GV on the way back. This was hard as well because my heart just longed for more time with the kids there.  I don’t know what was going through their mind and hearts at that time but I struggle with that.  Was I to connected that it hurts them to see me leave like it does me seeing them leave? Does the thought of someone they maybe wish could be their parents leaving maybe bring them pain? Do they struggle not being able to communicate with me and know they have no idea if I will ever be back or when I will be back.  Just writing these words pains my heart to think that such an amazing joyful day may cause pain as well.
I sit on the top top. My fellow missionaries telling stories about their day, some rest and contemplate their day. Me I just sob. Tears flow from beneath my sun glasses in an attempt to hide the fact that I cannot hold back the tears. How can I have been in such a joyful bubble just minutes ago and now my heart feels broken into a million pieces.  I stand there as the top top runs down the highway praying to God that they felt important, that in that 4 hour bubble they felt special, they felt loved and that they went home knowing how much God really loves them.  That they now have more joy and more hope. That they know to someone I am important. I am remembered. I’m a somebody. I am loved……………
I now sit here, eyes welled up. It’s 2:10am and I don’t want to go to sleep because I know what tomorrow is. I will get to see them for church tomorrow one last time for this trip. How do I process I am leaving them again? My heart is so heavy.  I pray and Jesus reminds me that as much as I love them His love is so much even more then I could ever ask or think.
Not why but what…… What is God trying to teach me……My heart weeps…….My soul hurts…….
But I know God has a good plan and purpose for me and for those children and I am so blessed to be a part of it. I take comfort knowing I could not make every day of their life happy but I believe I was blessed to help them have joy that comes from the Lord, at least for today. And it may not seem like much but it means the world to us that were free in the bubble. It may seem like nothing but it was everything…….
Shawn Smith 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Day Two and Three: Making an impact for God's glory

DAY TWO: Tuesday was the first official day of our mission trip. Our team started the morning with the goal of making an impact on the people of Haiti for God's glory. It ended up being the other way around. One of the most memorable moments of the day was our team providing clean water and carrying buckets of water to the people of Tent City.
While walking alongside children who are accustomed to walking in dangerous ruble without shoes, one young girl (approximately 7 years old) stepped on a nail. Our co-leader Janelle sprung into action and attended to her foot with a first aid kit. Moments later, the young girl ran right back into the dirt filled with debris, dead animals, urine, feces, and glass. This is an everyday occurrence for these children. They have no access to a bathroom in their tents. It reminds me of how much we take for granted in the comfort of our homes. We rounded out the day playing soccer with the kids of Cite Soleil with the kids involved in the Haiti Initiative program. They outscored us 4 - 0 (hee hee). Despite the gruelsome heat, we had a ton of fun! The next part of the day brought emmence joy and a profound impact. Our team spent a few hours later handing out free soccer gear them. The smiles of the soccer players when receiving new soccer cleats, shin guards, and jerseys (donated by fellow Minnesotans) are unforgettable.
DAY THREE: Today started out with a tour of Grace Village. An amazing facility on the hill that provides education, medical, and dental care to the people of Titanyen. It was nice to see our team embrace the children, absorb the methods of self-sustanence that are being instilled (aquaponics center, greenhouse, so much more). The impact of God's provisions are a blessing. We also visited the elderly. This was the most touching part of the day. As we washed their feet and fed them food and water, the most amazing thing happened. One man gave a portion of his food to the goats who appear to visit him regularly. Another woman fed half of her food to her grandkids. Despite having NOTHING of value to really call their own, they make a divine decision to give to others. An impact that will stay in my heart forever.
Our last stop included an orphanage. My bonus daughter Miranda led a fun art activity with the children. They were very engaged as they prepared handmade greeting cards while learning the fruitage of the spirit and just how much Jezi (Jesus) loves them.
As we drove back to our guesthouse, we enjoyed the cool breeze and a view of an aqua blue ocean. My daughter Jayla describes her first time in Haiti as unique. She appreciates the beautiful and not so pleasant parts of this broken island. Our prayer is that all of Haiti's beauty is restored. We continue to rejoice in being the hands and feet of Jesus and making an impact on others for HIS glory. Thank you for sharing in this journey with us and reading our blog!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 1: Delivering water in Cite Soleil

Today we delivered water to Cité Soleil. It is my first time in Haiti and today was an overwhelming experience. The amount of poverty was unimaginable and I'm still trying to process it in my head and my heart. While getting off the bus at the first stop, children came running up to us wanting us to hold them. I picked up one little girl and she clung on to me so tight. I hugged her back as I knew she needed my love. After a few minutes, she pulled back to look at me and with a the biggest smile she said God is good, God is good! This was one of many truly amazing experiences I had today. I think it's safe to say the rest of the team experienced similar encouters today. It was amazing to see how much hope they had and how happy the children were with the simplest of things. They had nothing but were so happy with just the love we gave them. I came to Haiti asking God to work through me and I opened up my heart to whatever He may have in store for me. God has humbled me today and made me ever so grateful just to have been born into the life I did. I must use that gift to do great things. This is just the beginning of my journey. To be continued....

Monday, March 31, 2014

We arrived!

We have arrived in Haiti!  We had great travel today and arrived safely to a very hot and wonderful feeling Haiti!  For many of us on the team it is a return trip and we took a sigh of relief feeling as if we were home.  For others this is there first experience and many took in the new sights and sounds, and all are looking forward to a life giving day tomorrow of delivering water in cite soliel, the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere.  Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Getting Ready to leave for Haiti!

Here is a picture of our team (missing Kristina) at our packing party.  The suitcases of donations are all packed and we are set to go!  We leave this coming Monday March 31, 2014!  We are ready to go and be the hands and feet of Jesus, doing whatever he may ask of us. 

A song that always inspires me and was written by Matthew West is called Do something.  The lyrics are below.  We can not wait to get to Haiti and Do something!  This is a team on fire who is ready to go and serve in Haiti!  Thank you for your prayers as we travel and serve.

"Do Something"I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”