This was my first time in Haiti, but my 3rd
international mission trip and my 5th time abroad. I have previously gone on
two mission trips to Ukraine with Mission to Ukraine to work at a camp and
orphanage for individuals with disabilities. I have also studied abroad in
Ghana twice. Both times I worked some with individuals with special needs, but
this summer when I lived in Ghana I had an internship working at a school for
individuals with special needs. I love working with individuals and
orphans with special needs, and after finishing occupational therapy
school I plan to live and work abroad. I was planning on coming on this trip
for one last adventure before I start graduate school this summer, but as with
all our human plans, God had other ideas.
It’s cold outside…dark and quiet still…I’m back in Denver. Feels weird actually….sitting at my breakfast bar, stringed music playing softly in the background, a hot cup of coffee, warm croissants, wrapped in a bundle of clothes, clean from a long hot shower…the sweet smell of an apples and cinnamon lingers in the air and I’m at peace. Compare this to just a week ago and it’s worlds apart. Hard to believe.
I sit here this morning trying to process through everything that has happened this past week. How do I begin to assemble all of the pieces of Haiti that make it so magical? The smells of Haiti from burning trash, to urine and feces, to bug spray, to the clean ocean breezes, to the scent of chicken cooking over the fire…the sights of Haiti from the intensely pink and orange sunrises over the ocean, to the lush green fruit trees, to the royal blue waters of the Caribbean, to the blood red signs for Digicel, to the muddied brown rivers and puddles speckling the landscape, to the rainbow of trash littered everywhere…the feel of Haiti from the hot scorching sun, to the perpetual drops of sweat coating your body thanks to the humidity, to the cooling breezes from the coast, to the refreshing rains that clean away the filth and grime from the day, to the rocks that poke at your feet and the mud that questions your balance as you walk the unpaved roads, to the bruised bottoms from all the bumpy tap tap rides with never a soft cushion to absorb the shock, to the cold showers if there was enough water for the day…the tastes of Haiti from the strong, thick, coffee, to the spicy slaw, to the salty sweat that pours down your face, to the unforgettable, all to common beans and rice, to the rejuvenating, bubbly, coca-cola classic, to the perfectly spiced chicken, to the sweet taste of raw sugar cane…the sounds of Haiti from the roosters crowing in the early morning, to the “hey you” from the village boys, to the honks and beeps of the mopeds and trucks passing by, to the voices of a Continue reading →
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Psalm 145:8
Prices of airline tickets were outrageous this year. In order to have a decent priced fare, the team had to sacrifice sleep. Each team has multiple legs to get into Haiti, sleeping at airports instead of finding a nearby hotel. Both teams are safe in Port-au Prince. They are waiting at the smaller airport down the road for a chartered flight, 45 minutes flying low over Haiti and up to Port-au-Paix. An hour long tap-tap ride after that they should be on campus for time to set up tents, get settled in and rest a bit.
When a mission team takes off they are bringing in more than anticipation! We typically have each traveler loaded down with 100 pounds or more of supplies, therapy equipment and care packages for the missionaries and staff.
Collecting the supplies is always a blessings. We are blessed by so many of you who come across wheelchairs, standers, walkers, AFO’s, clothes, diapers, formula etc… and bring them to our office. The process of packing each bag to weigh exactly 50 pounds and disassembling equipment, taking to airport, weighting, checking, praying the airlines will allow us to walk in some of the bulkier chairs and walkers is a very time consuming endeavor
Yesterday at the airport the Colorado team was extremely blessed. Two of the bags were very over weight and one of the team members was given a complimentary upgrade to first class in order for those two bags to get in without extra charges. Hey, -No-one is ever going to complain about a roomier seat and yummy food while in flight! There was also a BIG DEAL made over one of the donated walkers , and some technical fixes were quickly made so that it was allowed on!
Milestones are fun to record. Today we are noting two of them!
The first is for GROWTH and duplication for Kimmy’s House mission trips. We have two teams departing for Haiti today. A team from Colorado and a team from Indiana. Brooke Taflinger, following a whisper from God, found herself on a KH mission trip to Haiti a year ago this month. Upon her return God kept pursing her to do more. After seeking Him, and sharing many phone conversations with the KH staff, she found herself writing a volunteer-position job description as a KH special needs advocate and missions trip leader.
(Attention future mission trippers…you have been warned. On our first team mission trip to Haiti in 2010, God called Stephanie Mosier to return to Haiti FULLTIME!)
Brooke is bringing her team of eight from Indiana and meeting up with the Colorado team co-lead by Laura and Erin. With all these amazing leaders, Shannon is staying home sick and at peace about the decision because of her full confidence in God calling all three of these terrific women for this purpose.
Please keep the teams in your prayers for the next week.
Thank you to all who prayed the KH team back home. We left Sierra Leone a week ago, and after 32+ hours of travel arrived home late on Tuesday evening. It has meant a lot that my team and I were carried by many of your prayers and entering into the throne room of grace on our behalf.
Organizationally the trip was successful and we were able to see many people, organizations and places in Freetown that are a part of disability care and special needs care. There are not many options available to people with special needs.
Please pray for God to give specific direction and clarity as to if/when and how HE wants KH to have a presence in Freetown.
If He gives us a Purpose, pray for qualified therapist, teachers and medical teams to volunteer to travel..
Speaking the TRUTH of God’s image to others, and the spiritual warfare over cultural and spiritual beliefs pertaining to (what SL calls) “demon” children will be a covered in LIGHT and that God’s presence will be with those that advocate and love ALL people, created in His image. That those that travel will be LIFE givers and TRUTH seekers so that false beliefs will diminish and be covered by the blood of Jesus.
The biggest heartbreak for me was the lack of options available to people in poverty. One day our team went to see the Children’s Hospital. This was a hard day for me in many ways. The Ola During Hospital for Children and TRS (The Raining Season, whom we traveled with and stayed in their guest houses) have a partnership Continue reading →
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among All nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the people’s praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule over the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.” Psalm 67
This was my prayer for our week in Sierra Leone, and the Lord more than heard my cry.
I don’t know why I am still surprised when I leave a trip feeling more blessed by those I met than feeling like I ever-blessed others. This is the Lord being so gracious. It is a humbling opportunity to get to go on a trip and share gifts the Lord has given us, but far more humbling to be surrounded by African women and ‘Aunties’ who are abundantly rich Continue reading →
Hallelujah! A word we hear a lot her in Sierra Leone. Today we have heard it more than ever. We have some great success that will hopefully benefit and bless The Raining Season and the children with disabilities.
First, our team brought tons of material, stuffing, Velcro, a sewing machine, and all the necessary supplies to make boppies for the children. After getting here we realized that there was a need to make adult size bibs, chucks (mats for the Auntie’s to put on their lap in case of accidents), weighted vest and ankle supports, sewing and modifying a wheelchair, and ankle pads to prevent sores. It’s been so awesome to meet some of these needs and make the lives of these kids better and more comfortable. Thanks to Stones (Stephanie), Cootie Catcher (Erin-who learned how to sew), and Shark Bait(Bri) for their sewing skills!!!!!
Second, all of our team was able to sit down with all the Aunties to discuss all the questions, comments, suggestions, and dreams we have for each child here at the center. It was so amazing to see their passion for these kids and eagerness to learn all they can!
Next, I was able to show the Auntie’s some exercises and stretches to do with some Continue reading →
White Teeth aka Laura, says she doesn’t ever know what to blog, but she is here and well.
Stones aka Stephanie is back at the guest house sewing boppy’s for the children! She was too busy to hop in the cab with us to the internet café.
Shark Bait aka Bri says hello
Garcia aka here: We found out about a center called the Jesus House of Disabled thru Jenny as she had read some SL articles about them. We made arrangements to visit their community today. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted with a sign they painted welcoming our group. Once inside we realized it was a full community of people with disabilities, they have come together as one to support, encourage, live life and worship together.
They were so excited to have us, they created a meeting agenda. Their governing board includes a leader, treasurer, secretary along with others bring in their own unique skills. They are looking for support in many types of areas. We are Continue reading →
(WIfi is NOT available unless we are lucky enough to get a place with a free service!) We would post more.)
By: Garcia (A.K.A. Brooke Taflinger)
As I am sitting here tonight I am flooded with a multitude of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Why am I here and what is God trying to show or tell me, what’s His purpose? Here is what I can tell you, there’s a lot of work to be done and the workers are few.
Today we went to visit three different places. The first was a hospital, the only children’s hospital in Sierra Leone, where we visited with mothers, a couple of fathers, and their children who are deathly sick. Most claimed that their children were “alright and just had a cold” where in reality their child may only have a few more days on this earth. As I was walking around I felt an uneasy feeling stirring inside me… why am I here? I am white, healthy, have my backpack on, camera in hand, trying to touch these little children and pray over the mothers, but what are they thinking? How would I feel in their situation or on their hospital bed? It was a topic of discussion tonight with our team, as most were wondering is the helping hurting? (Reevaluation of taking teams Continue reading →