Port Au Prince, Haiti

Port Au Prince, Haiti

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Tomorrow we will fly back to America.  As the time to leave approaches, I miss you more.  Maybe it's because I know I
will hug you tomorrow.  I can't wait to hold you and to share with you even more than these letters describe.

But tonight as I close out my time in Haiti, I am also thinking of this country, and more importantly, its people who I am leaving behind.

I came to bring something to the people of Haiti, to bring them Jesus' love and some financial resources to help meet their needs.  What I didn't expected is all that they have given me.

God has used them to reveal himself in a whole new way.  I have seen displays of unselfish like the little boy who ran into the church crying after we finished serving lunch to the children in Bigarade.  He begged for a plate a food so we fixed him one.  We told him to sit and eat, but he refused.  He said he must take the food home because his sick brother needed it more than him.  What Christ-like love!

Or like the young girl at the Children's Home who asked me if Paw was my father.  I was almost embarrassed to answer that yes, he was my family, because I knew she had no family of her own.  But she just smiled and said, "I have a father too, a Heavenly Father."  She has no Daddy's arms on earth, but she feels her Abba Father in a way that I never understood before coming here.

Last night we spent about two hours answering questions our interpreters had about the Bible.  I told you that one of our interpreters lost his baby girl three months ago.  Right as we were about to wrap up our time with them, he leaned forward and said, "I have one last question...Is it OK to ask God, why?  Why me?  Why my daughter?"

Tonight I find myself asking the same question. Why?  Why the hunger God?  Why the sickness Lord?  Why the suffering?

I don't know the answer, but I know the One who does.  And I know that He has not forsaken this country.  He is here in so many ways, in the unselfish gestures of sacrificial love, in the fullness of knowing that God is enough, in the joy that comes only from salvation.

I am coming back to America tomorrow, but I am bringing a little bit of Haiti with me.  God has used this country to change my heart, and I pray that I will never be the same again.

Anxious to hold you and share my heart with you,

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Marathon

Today was the last day of our game time with the children of Bigarade.  We had a lot of fun playing with them and loving all of them this week.   The girls here like to dance sassy like you.  I couldn't help showing them some of my moves :)

We also taught them some of our games, and they taught us many of theirs.  I can't wait to teach them to you when I get home.

After we played today, we went back to the church to feed the children lunch.  Eating lunch is a very special treat.  The children in Haiti never eat lunch.  There is only enough food for one meal a day.

We had over 200 children to feed.  Victoria and the pastor's wife prepared four large pots of rice and beans.  We prayed it would be enough for every little hungry mouth.

We had all the children sit down and we made an assembly line.  Some of us spooned the rice and beans onto the plate and we passed it down until the last team member placed it in the hands of a hungry child.  I touched every plate we gave today.  And each time, I prayed "Lord, multiply it."  

I was very happy to be able to feed them, but it was also difficult because it makes you think about the many other times that they will go hungry.  The words "Nourish this food to our bodies as well as to our souls" have never been more real to me.

After everyone was served, we sat among them while they ate.  There were 200 children packed into this church balancing a plate of beans and rice on their lap, yet no one spilled their plate.  Not a single child.  And when they were done, there were no half eaten plates to throw away or piles of rice to wipe from the tables.  Every grain was eaten.

Mrs. Billie and I watched as one young boy about six years old fed his small brother being sure that his brother, who was too little to maneuver the spoon, was able to get every last bite.  We sobbed as we watched these hungry children be fed, and we prayed that God would continue to meet their many needs.  A couple of Haitian girls about your age saw Nanna crying and they asked Bob why.  He told them it was because she loved Haiti.

Bob has invited our interpreters to the Children's Home to visit with us this evening.  All of the interpreters he has hired to work with us are followers of Jesus, but many of them have questions about the Bible.  Tonight we are going to spend time discipling them.

I would also like to hear some of their testimonies.  Most Haitians have experienced great loss and suffering.  One of our interpreters lost his 2 year old baby girl to a fever this May.  Bob said he is taking it hard.  But they don't talk about their loss because everyone here has lost someone.  May God bring comfort to this country.

Thomas was very glad when I told him you were able to raise more money for the school last night at your speaking event. He understands how important an education is to these children, and he truly desires every child in Bigarade to have that chance.

Mackenzie, when I come home I won't be the same.  I don't know if I will ever be able to sit in my cool, comfortable home and eat my three meals a day and not think about the children I am leaving behind.  Bob reminded me today that our work here is a marathon, not a sprint.  God has not forsaken them, and if we are willing, He can use us to bring hope to these people.

Thinking of you as we run this race together,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Across the World, but Close in Heart

Today is day five in Haiti.  We are all pretty tired, but still glad we are here.  Mrs. Billie isn't feeling well so please pray for her.  She is a trooper though.  Yesterday while we were visiting families in Bigarade she met a young man who was very proud of his bike.  He asked her if she wanted to ride it.  So she did!  She is really showing Jesus' love to these people.

When we arrived in Bigarade this morning for game time with the children, they were waiting for us again.  There is a little boy that waits for me everyday.  His name is Jalel Ne.  He won't go sit down in the church until I get out of the tap tap and we go in hand in hand.  I am growing fond of him, and I pray that his parents will send him to the school so he has a chance to get an education.

 The children love us so much.  After we play outside for a couple of hours, we are all hot and ready for some water.  When anything like food, drink or treats are handed out, it is pretty much mass chaos.  Our team stands back while our Haitian interpreters fight the mob to distribute whatever we have.  We often run out of water before every child is served.  There are always several kids that are so hungry for our affection that they stand in the back with us just to hold our hand while everyone is getting in line to receive their treat.  We try to encourage them to get in line because we know there is a chance they will run out, but they don't.  They hold our hands until they are shooed out of the church.  They don't care if they get water or food.  They want our love more.

Nanna shared with me today about how touched she is when a young Haitian child walks up to one of us and wipes the sweat off our brows.  We sweat a lot here!  They don't seem to sweat as much as we do.  I guess they are used to the heat.  But everyday many children take the palms of their hands and they tenderly wipe the sweat off our faces.  We are so dirty, but they don't seem to mind.  It reminds us of how Jesus loves us even though we are dirty and sinful.  In fact he died a dirty, painful death on the cross to wipe away our sin.

While we were at Bigarade this morning, Paw stayed at New Life to help a group rebuild part of the wall that protects the home from the outside.  He worked very hard.
 After lunch we got the special blessing of accompanying Victoria and Thomas to the school supply store to spend the money that Learning Hands, Ms. Jesslyn's Sunday School class and our church donated for school supplies.  Victoria is a teacher at the school and Thomas is her husband and the school administrator.  They were so humble and so excited to receive some much needed supplies.

That is Thomas on the left and Victoria on the right.  Phillip our interpreter is in the middle.

They were able to get five big boxes of supplies, filled with folders, crayons, spirals, paper and other supplies for the children.

Victoria also picked out a couple of curriculum books.  She was very excited about her science curriculum book, and she was reading it before we ever left the store.

We told her Nanna was a teacher too.  She showed Nanna some folders she had made for her classroom that she is very proud of.  Even though we have only know Victoria for a few days, we feel very connected to her.

After we shopped the tap tap dropped us off at the Children's Home before bringing Victoria, Thomas and Phillip back to Bigarade.  Before they left, they gave me the receipts for everything they bought.  I told Bob to tell them that they could keep them, but he said Thomas wanted me to have them so we would know he was thankful.  Their smiles and hugs were more than enough thanks.  I thanked him for the special memorabilia and told him we would use them as part of your display when you speak.

Bob shared with me that they were able to get more supplies than the school has ever had before.  The only need left is school books for each student.  There are 48 students in the school, and it costs $50 for a child's books for one year.  It is normally the parent's responsibility to pay for the child's books, but families in Bigarade are poor, and coming up with that money is hard.  We are praying God will provide for their needs, just as He has been so faithful to do.

Even tonight you are speaking about Haiti.  I wish I was there to see you. I miss you, but at the same time I feel close to you.  Even though we are on opposite sides of the world, tonight God is using both of us to show His love to this beautiful country.

Praying you feel God's love and mine,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Not Forgotten

Before I tell you about today, I wanted to tell you about something that happened last night after I posted.  Remember we are staying at New Life Children's Home so in addition to our guest rooms there are dorms with about 100 orphan children.  We have been spending time with them in the evening after we get back from Bigarade and have supper.

Last night I went to the girls dorm to play cards with some of the girls.  One precious girl named Marilyn was singing softly as she played.  She has a beautiful voice, and she sang, "I am not forgotten, No I am not forgotten, God knows my name."  When the words from her song hit my ears, I had to swallow hard to keep from crying.

In many ways these children have been forgotten.  Most of them were rescued from the mountain villages where conditions are so bad that many children die.  Now they will grow up in an orphanage without a Daddy's lap or a Momma's hug.  Even still they know that God knows them and He loves them.  They are known by God, and that is enough.

It really made me ask myself, is that enough for me?  If everything I hold dear was lost in this world, would my heart still sing for joy because I am known by God.

(These pictures are from New Life Children's Home.  The work the home is doing is amazing.  God is using them to bring hope to many children.)

Today was a busy day.  We went back to Bigarade this morning to play with the kids.  There were dozens waiting on us when we arrived.

Game time went very smooth.  The girls here love to jump rope so we brought several with us today.  After they jumped a while, we taught them "Jump the Brook" and Limbo.  They liked those games too.

We ate pate for lunch again.

It's really good, but it's really hard to eat when you know there are hungry children all around.

After lunch we went visiting Haitian families again.  Bob wants us to work on building relationships with the families in Bigarade.  They are all so eager to please us and so glad we are in the village that if we just go door to door and tell them about Jesus, they might make insincere professions of faith just because that is how they think we want them to respond.  Instead we are demonstrating Jesus' love by showing them we sincerely care.

Today we went to one house of a married couple.  They pulled out all of the chairs they had onto their porch for Nanna, our friend from Illinois, our interpreter and me.  They stood.  After we visited for a while, the husband asked us if we like coconut.  We replied "yes" so he went inside his home and brought out a machete.  He walked over to his coconut tree and cut down four coconut, then he cut the tops off and handed one to each of us.  After serving us, there were only three coconuts left on his tree.  These people have little food.  This family could have eaten these or they could have sold them to make a little money.  But instead, we were served.

His unselfish display of love for us moved us very deeply.  Before we left we asked the couple if there was anything we could pray for them about.  He asked us to pray that his wife would have a baby so we laid hands on her and prayed God would give her a child.  I pray God will show His kindness to that couple, just as they showed kindness to us.

It's been cool this evening because it's raining lightly.  That has been a nice break from the heat.  You would be so proud of Paw, Nanna, Mrs. Billie and Mrs. Linda.  They tease about being old, but they have shown great strength and endurance this week.  I keep thinking that Gammy would be so proud of Paw if she could see him now.  And Brianna's momma is great with the kids.  She always has several hanging on her and she never seems to mind.

Tomorrow we will go to Bigarade in the morning, and then we are supposed to go with Thomas tomorrow afternoon to shop for the school.  We will be helping him to spend the money that Learning Hands and Hillcrest donated.  That will be a blessing for sure!

I heard you are planning to attend a book signing tomorrow with Uncle Danny.  I know that you have a passion for helping these people, and now that I am here in the flesh, I can tell you that your efforts are not in vain.  Speak with boldness tomorrow as God uses you because Haiti is not forgotten, No Haiti is not forgotten.  God knows her name.

Serving God alongside you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Today was our first day to hold a playtime for the children.  Bob and his group taught the older kids to play kickball, and we were in charge of playing games with the younger children.  We bounced around a beach ball for a while and we blew bubbles.  The kids were glad we were there, but they didn't get really excited until our interpreter started playing some Haitian games with them.

We tried very hard to learn their songs and games so that tomorrow we can help lead them in those.  We had about 40 kids in our group, and there were over 50 playing kickball so I think around 100 children played with us this morning.

They love our hair.  And they love to hold our hands.  I got my hair fixed by little girls several times today.  They reminded me of you.

I also met two little girls who taught me a card game.  It's a very fun game, and I will teach it to you when I get home.

I taught them "Bo Bo Skinny Wat In Tot In" and they loved it.

For lunch we ate pate.  It's a Haitian fried hot pocket with chicken and vegetables inside.  It was very good.  It was hard though because kids in Haiti don't eat lunch.  They usually only have enough food for one meal a day.  We sent the children home before we ate, but a few of them were still hanging around the church when our lunch was served.  A lot of us took half our lunch to share with children.

After lunch Nanna, Paw and I went with our translator Valme and Bob because Bob wanted to introduce us to some of his Haitian friends in the village.  We were invited to sit and visit on the porches of two families, and we got to ask them all kinds of questions.

I learned that they like to dance a lot, even the grown ups.  Their favorite meal is rice and beans.  And the celebrate their Independence Day (our July 4th) on January 1st.  That day they make a hot soup made from bananas to share with their family.

I have gotten to be friends with Valme, our Haitian translator.  He is a Christian, and he hopes to go to Bible College someday.  He had a lot of questions for me about Americans and about the Bible.  He leads a church in his yard.  He is very smart, and he is hungry to learn more about God's Word.  He told me his favorite Bible story was Naaman.  He said that when Elijah told him to wash in the Jordan River seven times that he didn't have faith, but then Naaman decided he had nothing else so he should have faith and he was healed.   He said his country would be healed if they found faith like Naaman too. I hope to disciple him as much as I can this week.

Today one of the school teachers told one of our translators that she wanted to talk to me.  She knew about you and she asked me to send you her greetings :)  She also asked you to continue your work for the school.  She was very grateful and I felt very honored.

Today in Haiti I felt hot, and I felt dirty, but most of all I felt blessed to be here.

Love you and miss you,

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Saw It With My Own Eyes

Today was amazing...

We started this morning with a group meeting at New Life Children's Home.  There are six of us from Texas and sixteen from Illinois.  We also have seven translators working with us.

We will be going to the village of Bigarade Tuesday through Friday to play with the children in the morning and then we will visit families in their homes in the afternoon.  Bob wants us to teach the children some American games, like kickball and whiffle ball.  So the first thing we had to do was teach the translators the games so they could help us explain them to the children.

Paw was the catcher during our game of whiffle ball.  He also helped to teach our translator, Dani, how to swing the bat. :)

Then this afternoon we got into the back of a truck and went to the village of Bigarade. I know that you have seen a lot of pictures of the school there.  Today I got to see it with my own eyes!

When we drove up, Bob said, "Alison, Well here it is!"  And emotion just overtook me.  Your Nanna, Mrs. Billie and I cried. 

Then we went inside and I touched the chalkboard, I sat in the desks, I shook the Pastor Esaphat's hand, and I received hugs from some smiling Haitian children.  It was such a blessing!

At first my thoughts were, "Mackenzie did this!"  But quickly I remembered that "God did this!"  Through His providence He touched your heart, He blessed your efforts, and He moved lots of people to join you.  And today I saw His Work with my own eyes.

To God be the Glory!

The Best is Yet To Come

Yesterday I told you when we came that the children greeted us with open arms.  Even though they were not sad, it is hard to not be sad for them.  Their lives seem so hard, and their needs seem so great.

This morning God woke me up with a verse.  John 10:10 says, "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness."

At first my thoughts went to, "God I know your Word is true.  But the lives of the children here don't seem very full."  His answer was their lives are full because they understand hope at a much deeper level than I think you or I will ever understand.

2 Corinthians 1:7 says, "Our hope is unshaken, because we know as you share in our sufferings, you also share in our comfort."

The abundant life God promises these children may not be on this earth.  He promises all His children eternal life in a perfect Heaven with no sadness, no sickness and no loss.

In America we have sickness and sadness and loss, but at least for you and I, Mackenzie, our days are filled with comfort and abundance - safe homes, full bellies, lots of family.

I don't think we have the hope I see in these children.  It's an understanding that the best is yet to come.  And that just as Jesus loves them in their suffering, He promises an abundant life to come, one that is eternal.

I want to be more like those children, to place my hope in things eternal because for all of us who trust in Jesus all across the world, the best is yet to come!