Friday, March 27, 2015

Alberta Team, Journal 1

Below is a blog post by Daniella M., from Alberta. She and her husband came to Haiti for the first time last February together with their two oldest children. They spent time in Port au Prince and Anse Rouge and shared their experiences on our blog.  This time they came  as chaperones for a Grade 12 class trip. Since the group totalled 16 we split them in half so that they travelled a day apart and we only had half of the group at a time staying at our house on either ends of the trip. The rest of their time they spent in Pignon.

February 11 & 12

The day has finally come! We are off to Haiti! After waiting and planning for months, our team was quite excited to begin our travels. For us chaperones, Dave and Daniella, it is our second time visiting Haiti, but it's the first time for six dedicated, adventurous CCS Grade 12 students. 

As we fly we admire the changing landscapes; everything from snow covered rocky mountains to the bright blue Caribbean ocean!




After 21 hours of traveling we were quite excited and relieved to finally arrive in Haiti!


We loaded our suitcases on top of the taxi and then began our drive through the busy capital to the Krul’s residence. 

The drive was a unique experience to say the least!  The crowded streets were filled with a chaotic jumble of tap-taps, motorbikes, school children, vendors and pedestrians. Colourful, hand painted buildings nestled between shacks and shanties. Vendors lined the streets waving their products, trying to sell their wares.

Many people seemed unhappy. We learned that countless people flock to the capital city looking for opportunities and employment, only to find none.



What also struck us were the many security walls topped with razor wire and the heavy metal gates surrounding most places.


After unloading our suitcases at the Krul’s we headed off to the Baptist Mission. Again there was lots of interesting sights to see out of the taxi windows.



It was hard to see the street kids knocking on our taxi windows, begging.


Up in the mountains, at the Baptist Mission we enjoyed the cooler temperatures and lush surroundings. 


F
We ate lunch there,  visited the museum and had our first experience with Haitian shopping! Some of us learned to barter quite well, others not so much!



Back at the Kruls we ended our first day in Haiti with a delicious spaghetti dinner. As day turned to night we  thanked God for bringing us to Haiti safely and protecting and helping us thus far.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thy Word is a Lamp Unto My Feet

A friend emailed us recently about danger in God’s mission field. Over the years we’ve faced danger and opposition here in Haiti, some of which we’ve shared on the blog and some of which we haven’t. In his email he asked us what our perspective on danger was.

As I was mulling over his question, God directed me to scripture to encourage him and his family. How does He do that? Well John 14:26 says:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

God directed me to His Word:

Psalm 119:105
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

He then reminded me that He knows everything about us:

Psalm 139: 1-6 
1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Psalm 139:16-18
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

He knows us better than we know ourselves and He has compassion on us:

Psalm 103:13-14
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

He promises to be always with us: 

Hebrews 13:5b-6
5 for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

He values us and tells us there is more than just this temporal life: 

Mathew 10:28-31
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

In Him only is peace in any situation:

John 16:33
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

The Holy Spirit comforts and teaches us: 

John 14:16
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Our times are in His hands; we can’t add a single moment to our lives: 

Psalm 31:14-15a
But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand:

Psalm 104:29b
Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

He is trustworthy:

Job 13:15a
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

Our citizenship is not of this earth: 

Phil 3:20
For our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Hebrews 11:13-16
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

God is preparing a place for us:

John 14:2
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

He will wipe every tear from our eye:

Revelations 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

In His presence is fullness of joy: 

Psalm 16:11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Replace worry with prayer and He will give you peace:

Phil 4:6-7 
Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Of Pictures and Stories, Thankfulness and Praise

I pick up my camera and turn it on. My smile quickly turns to a frown as I scroll through my memory card. Is this really it? Just a handful of pictures in 3 months? That’s odd. Usually, I easily take over a hundred pictures each month. I love photography and trying to capture the moment. That and writing are definitely two of my hobbies! So why so few pictures in 2015 so far? I turn to my calendar and soon discover the answer as I start to count how many people we’ve hosted since January 1 of this year. One, two, three, four; by the time I’m finished counting I’ve reached 55! Okay that would explain the lack of pictures! 

Now that the last team left this morning things will be much quieter around here and hopefully I will have more time to post pictures and stories again! And although we still plan to host guests in the coming month it will be on a much smaller scale! 

 I’m also thankful to share how everything is falling into place so well as we prepare for our move back to Canada. Together, Jason and I have already gone through everything in our whole house and were able to pack and send 8 suitcases of our personal belongings back with the team that left this morning. In my mind that is about half of what we plan to take back with us so the giant mountain of work that I was dreading a few weeks ago, now seems like a much more manageable hill. 

 And although I haven’t taken many pictures recently, I do have some good ones taken in the last year or so that I wanted to share!





Wednesday, March 4, 2015

He Never Changes

“All the changes ahead feel like this giant mountain I have to climb.” I whisper to Jason in the semi darkness. The night light casts a cozy glow over rose colored walls as the breeze rustles the trees outside our bedroom window. 

Turning towards me I can see the smile on his face. “ Not me," he replies. "I’m excited!” 

 I’ve learned over time that we deal with change differently. I like lots of time to prepare and organize and control as many variables as I can for a smooth, predictable change. Jason on the other hand is much more dynamic when it comes to change. Change doesn’t faze him or worry him and he needs very little time to prepare. 

 For example when we travel, I get the suitcase out a week before we go away. Then every day I put a few more things in, take a couple things out, reorganize and pack till I’m fully satisfied that I have exactly what I need. I don’t like being rushed or leaving things till the last minute. Jason on the other hand does not have those qualms. To be honest, I envy him sometimes. When he travels he can have his suitcase packed and ready to go minutes before he leaves and it’s not like he forgets things either. 

 If a picture is worth a thousand words than the way Jason handles change would look like this:


And me this:


If I feel rushed I may or may not respond like this:


The good news is that I have four and half months to prepare and I can leave all the last minute things in Jason's capable hands! 

What really makes all the difference though is that I have peace that God is directing us and that no matter how many changes we face God doesn’t change. Malachi 3:6a For I am the Lord, I change not; 

This also has been a good reminder for me:


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Justin And The Not So Happy Birthday

His present was ready and the decorations were up...


But when the birthday boy woke up it was soon plain to see it would not be a happy day..


Feverish and sick he tried to be brave..


But it was hard..


Especially when his mouth hurt so much when he tried to eat.. 



He tried to play outside,


But that didn't last long..


Next week, Lord willing, we will have a do over.



Poor baby!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

News

(Below is a copy of a letter that has been recently sent out via email and air mail to those on our mailing list. If we've missed you somehow or you would like to join our mailing list please email us at jwkrul@gmail.com)
Dear Family and Friends
We want to begin by thanking you for your prayers and support over the years that we have served with MAF in Haiti. We truly serve a God of abundant provision!
Through you God has enabled us to fill an important role in Haiti through MAF. This past year alone I flew over 48,650 Miles, 77,000 lbs of cargo and relief supplies, and 1,500 passengers including many national pastors, teachers, and work teams! Following the 2010 earthquake which struck Haiti, and the subsequent cholera outbreak, MAF has been a key player in providing relief supplies, medicine, food, and shelter. Additionally, through the support of MAF as well as numerous work teams, we have been able to build 77 homes for earthquake victims!
As some of you may know our second term with MAF is coming to an end this summer. We are thankful to share that there have been many positive changes in Haiti recently. We have witnessed both improvements in Haiti's infrastructure, as well as the addition of air ambulance helicopters.
Despite these improvements, Haiti still has many other serious needs that include lack of food and clean drinking water, lack of good medical and dental care and spiritual darkness due to the influence of voodoo and witchcraft.
As we have been re-evaluating our role here, we’ve been actively praying and seeking God's 
will on how to minister to the needs of others most effectively. Over and above flying, our true passion has been strengthening and enabling key mission partners in Haiti by connecting them with individuals/groups in North America thereby increasing their ministry effectiveness.
Proverbs 3:5-6 has been a great comfort and encouragement to us during this time. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
How could we further utilize the skills God has given us to serve others?

Well, in the last few months God has clearly opened doors for us to work with a mission organization called Hungry for Life. The role of this organization is to strengthen missions on the ground to enable them to fulfill their mission more efficiently and effectively.
They also facilitate relationships between groups and churches and missions to help alleviate suffering in poor areas and demonstrate God’s love through projects of compassion. 
My role will initially be as a Missions Consultant, as well as Project Manager for several of the field partners HFL works with in Haiti. This will allow us to continue to build closer relationships with the Mission partners we’ve been working with during our time with MAF.
For this role our family will transition to Chilliwack, BC, where the Hungry for Life office is based. We will still be required to raise support in this role, and we hope to meet with you and share more details about our new role at the end of the summer when we transition out of MAF and into HFL, God willing. We appreciate your continued financial support with MAF until we transition and hope that you will consider supporting our work with Hungry for Life when the time comes. At the same time we can also appreciate that you may want to continue supporting MAF in some capacity as well.
This position will require me to travel to Haiti and other developing countries throughout the year. I will also be able to continue to work with groups and teams wanting to serve in places of suffering and need.
As for flying, I plan to keep my licenses current and we are open to working with MAF elsewhere in the future if God wills.
We’ve very much appreciated your care and support over the years. Please keep us in your prayers as there will be much mixed emotions as we face a time of many changes and transitions.
Sincerely Jason, Will and boys

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February Update

So I’ve spent several days trying to get the team journals posted with no success, so I finally decided to just do an update instead. One of the reasons the journals may not be posting is because the camera they used is of better quality then mine and our internet here simply can’t handle uploading their high quality photos. The other reason may be that we’ve been dealing with a transportation strike which has shut down the city for several days meaning more people are home and using the internet. Anyway, I’ve decided it’s not worth getting frustrated about!

So what’s been happening around here? Well we’ve just had two teams come through which has kept Jason and I hopping. Beside my usual wife/mom role I’ve also temporarily adopted the roles of chauffeur, cook, maid, translator, nurse and general manager. It’s been good though. I always tell people we wouldn’t do it if we couldn’t handle the workload or we didn’t see the value in it!

Other than a few ‘bumps on the road’, (like trying to avoid road blocks due to a city wide transportation strike and one group missing their American Airlines flights out of Port au Prince as it departed two hours before schedule), everything went really well! In the third world you gotta be flexible!

My house looked like a bomb had gone off by the time everyone left, but with the help of Anoud and Denise it was soon put back together again.



The transportation strike due to the high prices of fuel, has caused the city to be shut down several days in a row. Jason, my can’t sit still I’ve got work to do kind of guy, hasn’t let this stop him and instead has been leaving the house very early before the barricades form and coming home late, after the protestors go home for the night.

A city wide shut down also meant truck drivers couldn’t deliver water for us. This had me a little worried as I had a lot of laundry to do before our next team arrives tomorrow, February 12. When one of the drivers did show up in the evening when the protestors had gone home, I was so happy and thankful I almost cried!

The three boys are all doing great!  Jayden is as sweet as ever and told me the other night he loves me sooooo much, but He still loves God more. On the picture below he is burning off some excess energy before school!


The terrific threes are in sight as Justin hopes to celebrate his third birthday at the end of this month! I won’t miss the terrible twos all that much!


Alexander at 8 months is spending most of his days on his feet. He can sit and crawl already, but has decided that standing is so much more thrilling. Just this morning I watched as he kept letting go of the sides of his pack and play to practice his balance. I am soo not ready for my baby to be walking yet though, but it doesn’t look like there will be any slowing him down. He’s determined to catch up to his two older brothers!


As for lessons learned. I’ve been convicted over the last months to be more generous. Whenever I go out I make sure I carry money with me for the car wipers, pedestrian traffic directors, guys who carry my groceries, porters, water truck drivers who come after hours, mechanics who check my oil or tire pressure, you name it; there are plenty of people out there who can benefit greatly from a tip for services rendered. 

You would think that the more I gave away the less I would have left, but it’s amazingly not true!  In God’s economy things work differently.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

The lesson I’ve learned is this: you can’t out give God. And really, how could you? Everything is His!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Team Journal 1

Friday, January 30
Photos courtesy of Carla N.

Beautiful sunrise on the flight from Seattle to Miami.


Sun reflecting on a jet stream.


Golden colours.


Miami.


Skyline.








First glimpses of Haiti.






On the ground.


"The drive there was silent. Eyes taking in every ragged building, dusty street and rocky road. In stark contrast were the clean clothes and shiny shoes." Courtney S.


"Got to Jason and Will's house and fairly quickly left for Baptist Mission area. Jason took half of us and Will took the rest of us. Extremely rough terrain for roads and extremely steep inclines. Will wasn't sure we would make it and did stall out once." Eric K.







Outside of the Baptist Mission there were many vendors trying to sell souvenirs.


"It was difficult trying to buy souvenirs because we felt bad for the vendors but did not want to pay the high prices they were asking. I ended up bartering for the price and then giving a little extra on top of it to help them out." Arianne J.


Some of the sights on the drive back to Jason and Will's house.



"Came back to Jay and Will's and played a bit with their three kids; Jayden, Justin and Alexander. We also played soccer with the little neighbour kids." Courtney S.

"Had supper - buns and meat stew. Was good! Debriefed, devotions, and discussed highs and lows of the day." Eric K.