Friday, March 31, 2017


“Let the Children come to me”

At daily Mass in Jeremie yesterday morning, our priest referenced Jesus’ words from the Bible, Matthew 19:14, “Let the Children come to me.”  Later in the day, one of our team members commented that was her favorite bible verse.

I reflected back over our day in connection with that verse—

Throughout our morning service yesterday, we listened to the sounds of crying babies in the nearby orphanage.

We waved to many beautiful children along the roads and in their tiny homes built into the mountainside staring wide-eyed at our vehicle as we made our made our way to visit St. Anne’s Church in Basse Voldrogue.

When we arrived at St Anne’s we were greeted by dozens of smiling and laughing young preschool children in their matching uniforms—eager to sing for us, learn our names, and play with us.  And as the day progressed, we went from classroom to classroom meeting the older and far more subdued students who were studying hard in their small unlit classrooms.  Some had walked many miles to school, even crossing a river to get there.  Some children were standing outside the school witnessing the action but unable to participate as their parents couldn’t afford to send them to school.
And we met the amazing young priest, a child himself, recently ordained and given the responsibility of running this large parish and school, and more recently since the hurricane, also inherited the responsibility of rebuilding the church and rectory which were destroyed during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Our day ended with an evening visit to a hospital in Jeremie where we met three incredibly young doctors not looking older than children themselves, that were working selflessly around the clock in conditions most American doctors could not even imagine.  Solar suitcases had just been installed in many areas of the hospital, so the doctors were thrilled to have light during the night to do surgery and tend to their patients.   And the children they were attending to….from tiny babies to tiny children…each with a story of their own that they were unable to share with us…

I climbed into bed with images of these “children” of all ages—the young ones filled with innocent dreams and hope that their country will serve them well and the older ones working to be sure those dreams come true.  With that, I was able to sleep.

“Let the Children Come to Me.”

Ann Brau

Thursday, March 30, 2017


What a difference 5 hours on a plane can make.  On Monday I woke up in my king-sized bed, got up and took a hot shower, pulled my clothes from my walk-in closet, and then headed to my fully stocked refrigerator for breakfast.  It was about 35 degrees and a gentle rain was falling and it was so peaceful.  A handful of hours later, and where do I find myself?  Port au Prince, Haiti.  A place where one may not have a home, much less a bed, hot water is scarce, and an empty stomach can be more frequent than a full refrigerator.  35 degrees became 90 degrees, rain turned to sunny skies, and peacefulness was replaced with a wealth of horn honking, dog barking and rooster crowing.  Our team of 7 loves it all!

When I returned to White Bear Lake, MN from my last trip to Haiti a year ago, I shared with people what I saw and what we did and invariably people responded with, “We are so blessed”.  And, of course, there’s some truth to that.  People from the U.S. are blessed in many ways.  And yet, so often it seems that we in the U.S. equate “blessings” with how big our house is, whether we have the newest and best technology, and, you know – the material things we showcase to prove we’re successful.  So, my question is, are we as blessed as we think we are?  The Haitians have a lesson to teach all of us who equate blessings with “things”.  For, instead of spending time on amassing material goods, they focus on relationships, their faith, and maintaining a “get back on your feet” mentality.

Today we took a 7-hour bus ride to Jeremie, Haiti – a region hard hit by Hurricane Matthew in October.  145 hour per mile winds blew down trees and homes, and relentless rain washed away roads, farms, and belongings.  But these Haitians are a resilient people.  There was a definite hustle and bustle – new and shining rooftops reflect the sun, farms show signs of life, and markets are open for business.  Yet, there’s plenty of work to be done.  Food is scarce and people are hungry so we’re preparing food packets, distributing vegetable seeds, and purchasing livestock.  We hope it helps.

Which brings me back to the topic of blessings.  I think the Haitian people have helped me more than I could ever help them by teaching me what the true meaning of being blessed is.  They have shown me that God’s blessings are all around us.  Blessings are not what make us content but are rather those things that help us to connect to Him.

Beth Simms

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Christ has no body now but yours

We finally made it! We were supposed to come to Haiti in January but our trip was canceled just before we were to leave. But now we are finally here. Our team is smaller now than when this trip was planned. To Joline, Bev, Rose, Ann, Mary and Kim and Charlie- we miss you greatly and wish that you were here with us. We know that you are with us in prayer and in spirit.

I was talking with someone last week who is very angry about countries like Haiti that are so poor and marginalized. He is angry that other countries are not doing anything to help the Haitian people. He is troubled with organizations that raise a lot of money but nothing seems to get to the Haitian people and improve their situation. His solution is for the “United States to come and just wipe out the evil governments”. I explained to him that that was not the solution and that the answer is for people to be on the ground in Haiti helping the people directly. This answer was confirmed later that day when I read this statement in a Lenten Retreat book that I am reading- “When there is a crisis in the world, God usually responds by raising up saints, the likes of you and me”.

Our church choir is practicing a song for Holy Week called Christ Has No Body. The lyrics go:
            Christ has no body now but yours,
            no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
            Yours are the eyes with which He sees,
            yours are the feet with which He walks,
            yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.
            Yours are the hands.
            Yours are the feet.
            Your are the eyes.

This is why we are here. God raised us up to be His hands and feet to the people of Haiti. This is why we were so eagerly waiting for our trip to be rescheduled. And now we are finally here!

God, thank you that you have gotten us here safely. Through Your Holy Spirit, give us strength for the week ahead and use us as Your hands and feet as we serve Your children in Haiti.

Lynn Arcand