Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guest Post - Our Visit To Haiti

by Chantelle and Michael Van Praag
(Jason’s sister and brother-in-law)

We arrived in Port au Prince on Saturday, January 10. As Jason drove us through the city streets we were awed by what we saw: the roads were dusty and dirty, and cars weaved haphazardly between pedestrians, narrowly missing each other.

Once at Jay and Will’s home we settled in.  Over the weekend we attended church and relaxed with family.

On Monday morning we drove to the airport with Jason and flew to Pignon, a village located in Haiti’s Central Plateau. After a short flight we landed on a grassy airstrip.  A truck was waiting for us there. We then took a twenty five minute drive east on one of Haiti’s main highways. This highway closely resembled a four-wheel-drive track with huge ruts and creek crossings!

We chose to ride in the back of the truck, which the Haitians thought was funny as there were more than enough seats inside the air-conditioned truck. Why would you want to be in the hot, dusty, sunny truck bed when you could be cool and comfortable inside the truck? They wondered. We on the other hand, felt like we could experience more of Haiti and the sights, sounds, and smells in the back!

Jean Jean and Kristie, the founders of United Christians International, were very hospitable hosts and we enjoyed Haitian cuisine for lunch, dinner and breakfast. While there, Kristie took us to a nutrition center, a small tin roof area with some benches to sit on, where we handed out meals of rice, beans and vegetable broth to seventy children. The amount that children ate was unbelievable, but I suppose that if food was scarce you or I would do the same as well.

After the feeding program we hiked to the voodoo caves. This is where witch doctors have come in the past to make sacrifices. Jean Jean and Kristie’s initial ministry in the area was to the witch doctors and many have come to Christ since then.

Tuesday afternoon we flew back to Port au Prince.

On Wednesday morning we visited a market in Port au Prince to purchase used clothing to distribute later that afternoon. In this way, we could help support the local economy and help those in need at the same time. The market was an amazing experience! There were massive crowds of people and vendors everywhere. To get inside we had to work our way through the throngs of people, go up and down slippery concrete stairs, and even walk through a dark, covered area where butchers were hacking at raw meat. There was, of course, no refrigeration, and the sight of all the blood, flies and guts, and the sounds of the animals, and the rancid smells will not be soon forgotten!

Later that morning we visited Canaan, a community that didn’t exist before the 2010 earthquake but where many refugees relocated. Here we handed out bags of food to families, consisting of rice and beans or pasta. We also handed out the clothes we had purchased and granola bars and treats to the kids.

Being able to spend time in Haiti has really opened our eyes to how thankful we should be for the good infrastructure, reliable city power, water and sewer systems we have in Canada!
It was also wonderful to be able to spend time with Jason and Will and their boys! Their boys were great fun to play with and having someone to drive us around in the country who knew the back roads and how to get to somewhere multiple ways when traffic came to a standstill was very helpful! 

We had a wonderful time and can’t thank Jason and Will enough for opening their home to us, and organizing everything! Without them we would never have been able to do what we did.


Some Pictures of Our Trip.

Jason driving in Port au Prince.


There were always interesting things to see.


In some areas the concrete houses looked like they were haphazardly stacked on top of each other.


View of the city from a mountain lookout area.


Hanging out with the boys.


The flying was great!


Port au Prince from above.





In Pignon.


The meal being prepared for the nutrition program.


Hanging out with the kids there.



Waiting for the food to be ready.



Time to eat!


Back in Port au Prince again.


Canaan.


Waiting for the food distribution to begin.



Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Years

I sat behind my computer for 15 minutes trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words  as we remember the horrific earthquake that shook Port au Prince 5 years ago today.  

I really am at a loss for words. The only thing that kept coming to mind were the words of Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 

Below is a replica of a blog I posted one year after the quake:



HE IS COMING AGAIN

There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. Luke 21:11


In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33


For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17


And call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Psalm 50:15


For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.1 Corinthians 13:12


Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35


and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:20
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelations 22:20

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Grandpa and Grandma's Visit

By Jayden Krul

Grandpa and Grandma arrived on December 26. We were all very happy to see them! After giving us hugs they couldn't help but notice how much we'd grown since last summer! 

Especially baby Alexander.


He of course loved all the attention and smiled real big.


Our friends Nicholas, Sabboule and Jocemine were also excited to see Grandpa and Grandma. They knew Grandpa and Grandma always bought treats and toys for them too and they loved practicing their English with them.


At our house they soon got to work cleaning, fixing and sewing. 




All the things on Mommy's 'Honey-Do-List' were soon completed; the drinking water spout was once again reattached, the grout between the kitchen counter tiles was scraped and bleached, Alexander got curtains in his bedroom and the gaping hole a rat chewed in our leather chair was finally mended!  

Grandpa and Grandma were always interested in seeing new and different parts of Haiti so one afternoon, after the work was done, we decided to check out a little place that we heard had a nice view of the city.


The view there was really great!


We stayed there as the sun set coloured the sky,


and the city lights came on.. 


The following day, Grandpa and Grandma visited Canaan with Pastor Dieucon who works for MAF.


Canaan is a very dry, poor area on the outskirts of Port au Prince where many refugees relocated after the January 2010 earthquake. 

There they met a young lady and her two children who lived in a little tarp shack. 


Pastor Dieucon had selected her to be a recipient of a wooden home that a group from our home town in Canada has raised money for. She told Grandpa and Grandma that she has been praying for a better place for her two children to live and she was so grateful that God had provided for her. 

This is an example of what her home will look like in a few weeks, God willing.


Grandpa and Grandma also had an opportunity to bless the community there with bags of food.



When Dad had a few days off around New Years, we took the plane to the south western tip of Haiti. 

I love flying and looking down at Haiti from above.




There we explored the surrounding areas and visited several different missions and missionaries.

One place I particularly enjoyed was a small island off the south coast of Haiti. We had never been there before and could only get to it by boat.


On the island we hiked the trails as there were no roads. Locals said they estimated the population on the island to be around 20,000 people.


The main industry on the island appeared to be fishing.


It was a very picturesque, laid-back kind of place.


On one of our hikes we even discovered a 'Reformed Church'; imagine that!


It was fun to run through the fields,


play in the sand,


and swim in the ocean;


but the best part was being able to do it with Grandpa and Grandma!