Monday, October 17, 2016


Our day began with an English speaking church service, led by Pastor Dan. This took place at Port au Prince Fellowship church. Most of us felt it was somewhat similar to our services back home – especially when we knew several of the songs. There was lots of energy in the room. Haitians put God first and last in everything they do. There was also quite a large number of Americans present at the service too. We all enjoyed the service and felt honored and humbled to be called out by the pastor to be prayed for because of our mission in Haiti.

After a quick return to the guest house, our next visit was to the Croatian Children's Home, run by Sister Ana, Sister Liberija’s, and Sister Miriam and a special visit from Mother Superior who was from Croatia. These women were the same sisters that joined us earlier in the week on Water Truck Day, so we were excited to see them again and they greeted us like we were dear friends. After the children sang a welcome song to us, we proceeded to unload the suitcase containing items we thought the children would enjoy playing with. Quickly the group began jumping rope, kicking soccer balls, playing basketball, making beaded and cross necklaces, hair accessories for the girls and small wooden cars for the younger boys. You could tell how happy these children are. They are very loved. The women that come in and take care of them remind them how lucky they are and how appreciative they should be of their good fortune. This seems to contribute to the all-around good behavior of these children. It was a wonderful visit and we were touched by Sister Liberija’s farewell message to us.

We ended our afternoon with a walk up the hill from the guest house to the Elite Hotel to relax and swim in the pool. Once again, shortly after we arrived the rain began but that did not keep the younger ones in the group from getting into the pool and entertaining us with their synchronized swimming performance.

We feel richly blessed that God has called us to serve in Haiti this week.  We have much to think about as we return home and process our experience here in Haiti and we TRUST that God will walk with us through this process and we trust that God will continue to watch over our new friends (Zanmi) in Haiti.

Kim S. and Karen D.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


Today, Saturday, October 15, we traveled into the city of Titanyen which means, less than nothing.  What we observed was that they actually have lots.

Our first observation was at Mission of Hope where Rebecca and her daughter were reunited for the first time since September 3rd.  Samantha was happy to give us a tour of Mission of Hope which we discovered has an abundance of opportunities to assist the Haitians to get on their feet.

Our second observation was at Grace Village where we toured the beautiful campus and heard wonderful stories of how God is using Grace Village to uplift the Titanyen Community.  One story we heard was about a ten-year-old boy who was raised in Port-au-Prince and was transferred to Grace Village.  He was scared and the kids at Grace Village told him, he did not need to be afraid and that they were all his family. 

Our third observation was the new bakery that has been built at Grace Village.  The prayer is that this will assist the Haitian economy through various partnerships with the Hospitality organizations, mission organizations, and feed the hungry.  In addition to a new bakery they plan to open a nice little restaurant. 

Our fourth observation was when we visited four elderly, two men, and two women.  They require different levels of care based on their needs.  Two of our elders are blind and receive extra care.  They are surrounded by their community who assist watching out for these elderly along with the visits that they receive from the mission teams.  While visiting the elders we sang, washed feet, applied lotion to their feet and prayed over them.  They received extra special snacks of Tampico and three cookies from the bakery.

Of course, these were all observations of people, organizations but let’s not forget the scenery of this beautiful country.  The mountains, the ocean, and the country side filled with homes.  So much to see, observe and reflect on today.

Sarah Janssen

Friday, October 14, 2016

What a blessed day!

Heartwarming, Blessed, Happy, Grateful, Content, Strength, Privilege ……

These were just some of the “words of the day” for today.  What a blessed day!  Some of the team started the day by attending Tent Church.  It was a nice walk through the streets of Port-au-Prince greeting the children as they head to school and wishing them a good day!  As we arrive at church we are greeted by the others who are worshiping with us.  Hands are raised, dancing, and alleluias being lifted up through the whole service.  What a privilege to have the opportunity to worship with the Haitians! 

Our first stop of the day was at Sacred Heart, a shelter home for abandoned women.  We spent two hours with the women who call Sacred Heart their home and we felt so blessed to be there.  We painted their nails, shared snacks and juice with them, and made necklaces and bracelets for them.  We also brought a keyboard and guitar and sang songs for them.  One of our interpreters (Emanuel) did an amazing job playing the keyboard and leading us in singing.   When we sang “How Great Thou Art”, the women knew the song and sang it back to us in French Creole.  It was so heartwarming, some of us were in tears.
We also visited the Haitian Historical Museum.  The tour guide walked us through the museum and gave us a great history lesson on Haiti.  Did you know that Christopher Columbus actually first discovered the island of Haiti?  It was later taken over by the French, and later still they declared their independence.  We learned a lot and got to cool off a bit in the air conditioning!

Our final stop was at an orphanage for special needs children.  All the kids were so happy to have visitors.  We arrived just before their meal so got to help with feeding many of the kids that needed assistance.  After that we got to spend time just playing with them.  We brought the parachute again and it was a big hit.  We brought soccer balls, footballs, and sidewalk chalk.  We made bead necklaces with them and did the little girl’s hair. 

It was a great day!  What a joy to see the smiles we were able to put on the women and children today.  We are all truly grateful!

Kim Olson


Today, our team again worked with the Reiser Relief water truck in Cite Soleil.  It was the most fulfilling day of our trip so far. The women and children of the section greeted us with eager anticipation for the much needed water.  Whether it was filling water buckets or playing with the children, we immersed ourselves in the moment. 

After today’s experience, I can’t help but think of Jesus’ call to feed the hungry, comfort the afflicted and serve the neediest among us.  Yet, throughout today’s water truck experience, I did not see the poor or suffering.  I saw adults who appreciated kindness and young children that enjoyed the simple games we all remember. Despite the language barrier, we shared a common experience that brought everyone joy.

While fresh water is a blessing for the people of Cite Soleil, I realize that the people we served today are one of the many blessing that God has provided to me. This experience has been both life changing and faith affirming. I hope and pray that someday places like Cite Soleil no longer have to exist.

Ed Usalis

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Bittersweet. This is the best word to describe how our day felt. Many of us woke up early to go to mass nearby, but got a bit lost on our way there. We ended up going to a different service at tent church instead. This was a new experience for many of us because we were able to see the way that Haitians worship. It was different from what we are used to in the sense that people were walking all over with their hands raised, dancing, and singing. 

After we returned, we enjoyed another delicious breakfast prepared for us by our wonderful Haitian house staff. Finally, we packed up our donations and got on the tap tap to go to a hospital for sick and dying babies. Upon arrival, no one hesitated to jump right in and get involved with the kids. This was the first moment that the word bittersweet really stuck out to us. It was hard to know that they were sick and we couldn’t really help, but at the same time it was rewarding to make them smile for the little time we were there. It was also very comforting to see how trusting the kids and parents were with us. We received good news before we left: one of the babies was healthy enough to go home today and she brought with her a new outfit that we had donated. 

After finishing up at the hospital we headed over to Missionaries of the Poor. This is a home for kids and young adults with physical and mental disabilities. It was hard to see how they were held back from certain experiences that we take for granted, but also heartwarming to see how cheerful and welcoming they were when we arrived. We did many fun activities with them such as playing with playdoh, dancing, and playing games with the parachute. When we turned on the music to start dancing, multiple people jumped right in and started dancing with huge smiles on their faces. Some were unable to walk, but we still found a way to interact with them and get them moving. Unfortunately, there were many people who were bedridden which was a traumatic experience for some to see all the pain they were going through. It is hard to know that there is nothing we can do to make things any better for them. Making them happy brought us an incredible amount of happiness as well, but it is difficult to come to terms with the pain they are in and will be for the days to come. 

We ended the day by stopping at the Apparent Project where we got smoothies and shopped for souvenirs. Overall, it was a day full of hardships and gratitude, truly a bittersweet day.

Erin Olson, Alyssa Akenson, & Marisa Merritt

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eye Opening

Greetings from Port au Prince Haiti.  We arrived safely yesterday afternoon and now have completed our first full day.  It’s hard to find the words to describe what we have experienced.  The tap tap vehicle we ride in is an experience of its own.  We’re incredibly blessed and thankful for our driver Brunet who also serves as one of our awesome translators.  

We started our day visiting a school directed by Elder Morland and supported by Reiser Relief, educating students through high school grades.  The students were super happy to visit with us and play slap hand games.  

We were fortunate to have Sister Miriam, Sister Ana, Sister Liberija from Croatia and Mother Superior from Bosnia along with us today.  They run a children's home nearby that we will visit later this week.  They offered a surreal presence everywhere we went and the folks in Haiti flocked to talk with them and just ‘be’ with them.  

Hope Church and school was incredible.  It opened in February this year after a 2yr building process.  It is such an example of God’s presence in Cite Soleil, one of the most impoverished areas of the western hemisphere.  The people who live there had been asking for a church of their own for 10yrs.  The government donated the land and Healing Haiti provided the resources for the Haitian people to build “their” church.  The supports for the building needed to be drilled 80’ through garbage, sewage, etc. to hit solid ground.  Yesterday was the first day of school for kindergarten and a couple weeks ago many mommas and papas participated in literacy training, an 80yr old woman voiced she now doesn’t feel like a child as she can write her own name, God is good! Built around Hope Church to keep it safe is a tin wall.  The wall came down during last week’s hurricane and not only was the church untouched and safe but the tin, a valuable commodity for building shacks in the city, was left alone, another example of God’s goodness in this city.  

Outside Hope Church, we experienced “water truck day”.  Reiser Relief and Healing Haiti provide water 6 days/wk 52wks/yr.  It is water free delivered to people in Cite Soleil.  Older women, younger women, men, teenagers, little kiddos clothed and unclothed flock to the water truck with their buckets to be filled with enough water to use for cooking, bathing, drinking, anything they need water for.  The little kiddos especially jumped in our arms to be held, snuggled and just loved.  

Our team’s words of the day are joyful, serene, smiles, language barrier, cheerful, amazing, survivor, and eye opening.  Please continue to pray for our team and for the people in Haiti struggling to survive with so little and for the awesome initiatives of  many to bring the hope and love of Jesus Christ to a land and people who desperately need and want to know God.  Bondye Benio’u (God Bless You)

Kathy Janssen

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Our Hearts to be Changed

I’m heading to Haiti tomorrow, October 10, for my 5th trip. This trip will be much different than my other previous trips. As Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti the questions in my mind were, will we still be able to go? If so, what will we be experiencing and/or seeing? Over the past several weeks, I’ve been listening to this song to lift me up and provide comfort from the daily storms here in the states. However, perhaps God was really preparing me for this trip to Haiti, as the storms we struggle with in the states are so minimal compared to what the Haitians experience every day and within the last week.

We have an amazing team who are ready to serve wherever they need us in Haiti. We will be allowing our hearts to be broken for what breaks God’s heart. We will be filled with love and joy from the Haitians and experience things we never thought we would in our lives. Our itinerary was carefully planned but as carefully as we plan and pray about the trip, God’s plan will always be the one we follow.

Please pray for our team this week. May God use our arms for holding and carrying, our smiles for sharing God’s love, our Hearts to be changed, our eyes to see the Haitians as beautiful children of God, and the strength for each day.

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I've been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm
Mmm, when my hopes and dreams are far from me, and I'm runnin' out of faith
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face
I find my peace in Jesus' name
In the eye of the storm (yeah, yeah), You remain in control (yes you do, Lord)
In the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me (Your love surrounds me) in the eye of the storm (in the eye of the storm)

Blessings Friends,
Rebecca Christiansen