My wife and I thought we should try and take our focus from our normal life of kids, soccer practices, church and work and see where we could be used to help further His kingdom. As most people, we had heard of the sadness and devastation in Haiti and the constant need the people had. Our lives had been blessed in recent years, and, with our 10 year anniversary coming up, we thought there could not be a better way to give back than to sign up with a group from our church (Crossings Community Church-Oklahoma City) and go to Haiti for a week and pitch in. We got our shots, travelers insurance, had a little fund raiser and got lots of items to take to the kids in Haiti. We were feeling great about ourselves…feeling a little closer to God for BEING GREAT CHRISTIANS!!! We got all of the “I’m so proud of you guys,” and the “I wish I had your faith” statements. What happened transformed my thinking and help me shake my selfish and shallow existence in what I thought faith and serving the Lord meant.
When we got to Port-Au-Prince, the first thing that we were met with was the large group of people wanting to take our bags and rushing across the street to get into the personnel carrier to begin the ride up the mountain to Calebasse. Needless to say, what we saw was broken streets, devastation to the buildings, tent cities, and lots and lots of people. The streets were FULL of people. People going to market, people moving around the tent cities AND lots of people going to church. I was struck at all of the people in their whitest clothes, Bible in hand walking with their families and heading to church. I immediately thought of how I struggle every Sunday to get my children’s shoes on, my best outfit, and my best face before I went in the Church doors…what a struggle and what frustration. God humbled my heart immediately. These people lived in the midst of total devastation, friends and family lost and they were WALKING (uphill) with joy to their church, their hope. God forgive me for ever complaining.
When we arrived at House of Blessings, there were not sad faces or desperation. What was there was joy and hope. The Haitian people have obviously been through a lot and the earthquake was just the beginning. They are surviving…daily. Every day is a struggle. Everyday there are obvious reminders of how hard life is. BUT, there is joy and hope. Joy at being together. Hope in their Lord Jesus Christ. Hope in how God is working. These homes are a piece of that hope.
As we started working on the homes hand in hand with Haitians from Calebasse, I was overcome at the happiness and comradery we were having. There were Americans that were from different parts of the country, different churches AND there were a lot of Haitians who had absolutely no idea what we were saying and we had no understanding of Creole. However, when we worked in the Name of Jesus, there was lots of understanding and teamwork. Everyone jumped in and did whatever we could and there was lots of happiness in being together. No one knows better than God how to bring people together. We got four houses done and worked very hard. I was moved at the devotionals at night and the love and appreciation from the children and the workers. The sound of the children singing praise songs to God is one of the greatest sounds I have ever heard.
Towards the end of the week, a small team of us were around the village putting a few finishing touches on some homes. We were blessed to be painting the home of a gentleman named Johnte. He walked around and helped at every opportunity he could. He was thanking us over and over for what we were doing. I was running out of paint and it was late in the day. I had just finished cleaning up and rolling the last of the paint, when he asked me, “will you come back?” I explained I would be leaving the next day, but that someone would be back soon to finish the second coat. Then Johnte said, “If I do not see you again, I will see you in Heaven.” I was immediately blessed and humbled. It was clear that his hope is in God. It was clear that his perspective was eternal. I prayed that God would give me the same perspective and hope.
What started out as an opportunity to bless and give back was quickly transformed into an understanding of a greater faith and trust than I knew existed. My life was reset by the example of the people in Calebasse and the faithful that work with them. People like Phil Murphy and Richard Fields who have made the ultimate sacrifice in committing their lives in the Name for others in foreign lands along with their families. I had a one week experience that my wife and I will never forget. However, the missionaries and their families have put their entire lives and families in God’s hands and live a life of work in helping others and spreading hope.
Andy & Ainslee Crum
PRAY FOR THE PEOPLE OF HAITI
PRAY FOR HOUSE OF BLESSINGS
PRAY FOR HELPING HANDS IN MOTION
To all prayer partners, financial supporters, and friends in Christ;
I am back from another successful short term mission trip, this time to Haiti. Thank you all for your prayers and support during this trip to Haiti. I feel God’s calling stronger every day to continue to lead short term mission trip and I could not do it without you.
A group of five from the DFW area and Richard Fields (who has a ministry called “Helping hands in Motion” met in Fort Lauderdale) traveled Haiti to help the earthquake victims. We arrived in a rain storm that kept us at the airport for a couple hours under a canopy with approximately 200 other travelers. It was quit madding as people struggled to stay dry and look for their rides. Our truck that was to pick up was stuck somewhere and we had to resort to plan B. The owner of the factory that builds the homes we were to assemble was called, and he came to pick us up in a SUV the size of a Ford Explorer. So two hours after arriving in Haiti, we were crammed (7 adults plus luggage) into this vehicle and drove to the factory about 3 miles away. We were crammed in like sardines, and I was sitting by the left read door. At one point as we went around a corner, a large truck was bearing down upon my side. It stopped with at least a foot to spare and I knew the Lord was with us and the prayer partners were praying for me and the group.
The original truck that was to pick us up arrived at the factory and we began our trip to the mountains to the House of Blessing Orphanage. As we traveled, it was very rough roads, and we experience all the people walking along the road, the many acres of tents, and the devastation from the recent earthquake.
Our group met the children of the orphanage, and as always on these trips I fell in love with the kids in the orphanage. The kids were always very polite and courteous. This was my first time to live among the orphans. It was very nice to get to know them more than in the past trips as every day we interacted with them when we came in from working on the homes.
We got up early each morning as it was daylight before 5 AM (No daylight saving time) and rooster we crowing at least by 4:30. The days were long but very fulfilling as we worked to build some homes and build some relationships with the Haitian people. Phil was our leader in Haiti, and he made it very clear that we were in Haiti to help build some homes, but most of all to build some relationships and to show the love of Christ to these people that had lost so much. It was a great experience working side by side with these people that had lost so much, but still had a great attitude and love for each other as well as us. We worked together, prayed together, loved each other, and I believe that each one of our team members came back with a new prospective on life, and will never be the same again. Each one of our team members have told me that they wanted to go back again. Knowing how short term mission trips changes the lives of those who attends is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of what God has shown me how he wants me to serve Him. He continues to guide me and He continues to impress upon me to go, especially during this financially difficult time of my life.
I plan on another trip back to Peru or Haiti in August or September and look forward to God’s continued guidance and direction as I prepare for my next trip.
Thank you all again for your prayers and support, as I know I could not do it without you.
May the Lord bless you and your families in Christ;
Gary D. Krier
Gary Krier, my friend and brother in Christ has invited me to participate in several mission activities in the past, both local and foreign; however, I had never felt impressed to join him. But, when he mentioned Haiti, something or should I say, someone in me said, “Go” and so I agreed to attend. I quickly felt impressed to ask my third born son, Luke, who is now 20 years of age to go with me. Without hesitation he said, “Yes, let’s go”. Having a Boy Scout heart (always be prepared), I began to research Haiti and what I would need to survive there.
Of course I was aware of the recent earthquake and the thousands of lives that it took, but I really knew very little about where it was and what was going on there. The more I researched, the more I discovered how dangerous this place was said to be. My thoughts were, “If God has called me to go, He will be my safety”, but I also knew that I should “count the cost” and prepare accordingly – so I did. I mentioned the trip to my brother (earthly and spiritual) Steve, and he immediately said, “Yes, count me in”.
We left for the airport and the peace of God filled me. I had no expectation, no fears, and believed that Jesus would work both, through me and in me. Luke and I were excited.
Arriving in Port Au Prince, Haiti, I observed sights that I had never seen before except on the television. The Haitian people lined the streets with hopelessness in their eyes. They apparently had nowhere to go and nothing to do. My heart was touched with both sadness and compassion. Our two hour trip from the airport to the orphanage where we would be staying, was a most memorable one to say the least. I was never so glad to get my feet back on solid ground! Let’s just say that Haitian roads are a bit different than those in Texas.
We met the children living in the orphanage and immediately fell in love with them and them us. At times my suspicious mind wondered if they befriended us just so they could get us to give them things, but I decided to love them anyway. I might have done the same if I were in their shoes. Getting to know the children and workers at the orphanage was a highlight of the trip.
Early the next morning we were up with the roosters (l learned to hate roosters on this trip) – 4:45 a.m. I must say that roosters rival only God in their faithfulness. We were up with the sun; and by 5:00 a.m. the orphanage was alive with activity, both inside and out. It made for some long days, but they were all good. We helped some young Haitian men build a house the first day. It may have been the best day of the trip. The Haitians immediately took to us and us to them. We worked together as we prayed and played pouring concrete. The joy and peace they demonstrated to me was a testimony to Jesus. His joy and peace are not determined by our possessions, titles, or location. His love knows no boundaries! We were told on day one that we were there to build relationships first, houses second. I would say that we accomplished that goal!
At no time did I experience fear, although riding down the road in the big red truck was a little tense. The people I met were friendly, appreciative and open to receive us. I have very fond memories of the Haitian people. I hope to return to Haiti again.
Every day we were there another group from the U.S. arrived at the orphanage. It got crowed, but the Spirit of peace was always there in the House of Blessing (name of orphanage). We met some new friends who we ministered to and who in turn ministered to us.
As I returned home I was overcome by the peace of God. My life has slowed down considerably since, even in the midst of my busyness. I truly believe I will never be the same as a result of this trip. My son has similar thoughts as well. Thanks to Richard and all those who helped make this a special time, but thanks most of all to Jesus who is our life.
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NASB)
The rains are upon us here in Haiti! I returned to Haiti on May 16 with a team from Lake Wales, Florida and it has been raining almost every day since they left. We have been interviewing those in great need and one thing we hear almost every time is the fact that people are sleeping standing up. Heavy rains cause flash floods that run across the ground and into make shift homes where people are trying to live. The stories are unbelievable.
Since we began the home building process we have completed almost 20 homes. Completed means that the home is erected, doors and windows have been placed, the home painted and concrete poured inside. Then the most important thing we do from the Haitian perspective is have prayer over the home and the family which will live there. I was so blessed the other day to visit a neighbor for whom we built a home, and found her very meticulously arranging her shoes, clothes, etc. into her new home. She was making it her home for now. The reception to these homes has been amazing! The people love them — and we take down about 10 new names every day, adding them to a list of people we hope to provide homes for in the future. Unfortunately, we have to prioritize and every person knows they may not receive a home. We are trying to link with other partners to see what we can do to provide more housing.
Last week, the first Church of God congregation in Haiti began receiving the Maxima homes in the village of Prosperre. We built four homes and then a fifth one was erected for our teams to use as storage. It was a hot, long week but the work was very satisfying and the people in Prosperre were so thankful. We plan to return this week with a second team. One of the people I met in Prosperre was a father of 8 children. His wife was killed in the earthquake, their home destroyed, and the youngest child is 9 months old. We hired him to work with us and we hope to provide them with a home.
Another goal we have adopted is the idea of being ambassadors of hope. The Haitian people are amazing survivors and tend to get up every time they are knocked down, smile and walk on – but we feel we want them to know they are not forgotten. It has been exciting to see the hope being passed from one person to the other. Last week in Prosperre I saw a Warner University student organize a multitude of children into free throw shooting lines at a basketball court. When a shot was made the cheers went up and when one was missed a sea of laughter could be heard. Life and love were being shared with the language of play.
Please pray for the Haitian People, especially the children. As we prioritize our list we are looking to the young and the old for the top of our list. As you can imagine, the word of these homes is getting out and people are coming from all over. Our funds are limited so we need your help to provide for the needs. We need your prayers as well. The work is exhausting, and the long hours and never seem to stop. Thanks to every one who has given, prayed for us, sent help or purchased an item. May God richly bless you all.
Peace – Phil Murphy