His Tabernacle | Haiti

| December 22 to December 28, 2012

Local Host:
Staff: Bethany Richardson

Trip Journal Updates

A Team Divided
by Bethany R. | December 22, 2012
Hello friends!

Due to the snow storms in the North, unfortunately some of our flights were cancelled and our team is divided among the nations for tonight.

The Lee family, Kate and Kimberly all made it here to Carrefour, Haiti safe and sound. After a delicious Haitian dinner, we are going to call it a night here in the Carribean and get some rest.

The His Tabernacle team will be joining us tomorrow and Monday as flights will allow. Be praying for safe and timely travel for them all.

Even though today was chaotic and at times, stressful, we are thankful that the Lord made a way for us all to be united soon! We give all praise to Him for the week ahead.

Check back tomorrow for a group picture and more posts about our day!

Sunday Morning Service
by Bethany R. | December 23, 2012
This morning we woke up as the city came to life. Sounds of cars honking, food frying and people talking on their way to church in the street below filled our room with noise. It was like a built in alarm clock!

We ate breakfast and then went to church on the property here at Cote Plage. We had our first experience with the Haitian Christian culture and got to get our first good listen to Haitian Creole being spoken. We sang many songs, listened to a wonderful choir and heard a great message about giving your problems to God. Thankfully, we had translators to help us keep up!

We stood before the church and introduced our team and Pastor Samson prayed blessings over our trip and time here in Haiti.

It was wonderful!

Ash Ca
by Bethany R. | December 23, 2012
After church and a wonderful lunch of goat, rice and beans, salad and potatoes, we walked down the street to Good Shepherd Orphanage, our partnership location for the week.

We met Sister Mona, who is in charge of the orphanage. She told us about the history of Good Shepherd and many stories of the children who have come through the orphanage.

One of the children, Francios who is now in his 30s, grew up in the orphanage. He was born handicapped with no hands and only one leg. However, through the grace of God and the care of Good Shepherd Orphanage, he grew up understanding and learning to cope and adapt to his limitations. He is now the director of Ash Ca, a home for the handicapped. The Lord is using him in amazing ways! We loved getting to speak with him and listen to the wisdom he had to share with us.

At Ash Ca, we served over 100 handicapped children and threw a Christmas party, complete with food, drinks and new shoes for everyone! It was such a blessing to be a part of serving them and getting our first glimpse of what the week will hold.

by Bethany R. | December 23, 2012
After serving at Ash Ca, we walked back to Good Shepherd and got busy making decorations for the party. By this time, 4 of our team from His Tabernacle had arrived! Megan, Zack, Christina and Erica! Praise the Lord our team is growing day by day!

Making Signs
by Bethany R. | December 23, 2012
Our team was hard at work making signs for the different stations at the party.

Prayer Meeting
by Bethany R. | December 23, 2012
Praise the Lord, we will go to bed tonight increasing by 6 in numbers today! Obi and Tara arrived safely this afternoon.

We decided to wait until tomorrow for a group picture, since we will have more people coming at 2. So check back for a group picture tomorrow!

Please remember those traveling down tomorrow in your prayers. We are excited for the work the Lord has in store for us this week!

Everyone Has Arrived!
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
After two days of flight cancellations, prayers, and many trips to the airport we are happy to report that the entire team has arrived safely in Haiti!

We praise God for answered prayers and His provision. The group from His Tabernacle was able to join together with the rest of the team today, on Christmas Eve, just in time for the big Christmas party at Good Shepherd Orphanage tomorrow.

Praise God!

Decorating For The Party
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
We spent most of the day decorating the orphanage grounds for the big Christmas party happening tomorrow, on Christmas day. This included stringing tinsel on several stair railings and pillars, decorating a Christmas tree, creating signs for the different communities coming to the party, creating streamers, and tying the streamers from building to buidling all around the orphanage grounds.

It was wonderful to work alongside many of the children at the orphanage as we prepare and plan with them for the party. Excitement was certainly in the air once the decorations began coming together!

Gluing the Streamers
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
Much of the work this morning was getting the streamers ready to hang. We glued SO MANY pieces of tissue paper to yards and yards of string, but the end result was amazing!

Hanging the Streamers
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
It was a challenge to climb from building to building, hanging the streamers as we went. Once the streamers were hung, the breeze coming from the coast really brought them to life!

A Fresh Coat of Paint
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
The Christmas party is by far the biggest event of the year for Good Shepherd Orphanage. Since so many children will be coming, it is a great opportunity to put a fresh coat of paint on some of the buildings and gates. Amanda and Kim jumped right in, helping paint one of the dormitory buildings.

Shade From the Caribbean Sun
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
Since the party lasts from early morning into the afternoon, Sister Mona suggested we create some extra shade for the children. We took some extra-large tarps and strung them between some of the buildings, creating some much needed shade for the party!

by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
With so many children coming, we needed places for them to sit! Some of the guys in the group went on a short adventure, riding through Carrefour in the truck to pick up some benches from a nearby school. Once they returned, we all teamed up to unload the benches and put them in place.

Preparing the Meal
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
One of the biggest challenges of the party is feeding all the children who come. And we aren't just planning on giving them a snack.. we are going to fill them up with fresh juice, rice and beans, vegetables, fresh baked bread and beef!

Several of the girls in the group had the chance to help out in the kitchen. There were many jobs to go around, including cleaning the vegetables and beans, juicing the oranges by hand, and helping butcher the fresh beef (way to go Kate!).

When asked how long the meal would take to prepare, the Haitian ladies laughed and said "No bed tonight." We pray that God blesses the meal that He has provided, as well as the ladies who are working SO hard to prepare it!

Playing and Relaxing
by Eric R. | December 24, 2012
Once all the work was completed, we took time to play basketball and soccer with the kids and teenagers at the orphanage. It was agreed that, after keeping up with the Haitians, Bella was the MVP of the soccer match.

We then returned to the church, had a wonderful meal of callaloo (a beef and okra stew poured over white rice), and closed the night with some amazing worship as we reflected back on the day.

As we go to bed, we pray that God gives us great rest and allows us to wake up refreshed and ready for the big party tomorrow. The task ahead is great, but our God is greater!

Merry Christmas!
by Bethany R. | December 25, 2012
Today we awoke to the sweet (and loud) sound of our Haitian Staff going from room to room singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and although it was at 6:00 a.m., it was so wonderful!

We headed out to Good Shepherd and got going with the party! We worked all day long, giving food, toys and juice to each child. Know one knows an exact count, but we ran out of cups at 3:30 and we began the day with 2,500! We estimate over 2,000 children came!

It was such a wonderful day. A day that focused on love and the love of Christ.

Thank You Lord for sending Your Son to this earth for us, we will do our best to share Your love with all peoples and all nations.Thank You for today!

Toys Toys Toys!
by Bethany R. | December 25, 2012
Before each child got on the bus to go back home, they each received a toy! Girls were given dolls and bracelets and boys were given soccer balls.

The kids were so excited to receive the gifts! Their screams when they saw the boys carrying the bags of toys were deafening!

Thank you to everyone who helped support us financially to make this Christmas party a success. Your giving and prayers made today possible.

Praise the Lord!

Stepping Back
by Bethany R. | December 25, 2012
Just a quick glimpse of the last of the groups that came to the Orphanage. The children pictured here are waiting to go to their assigned stations to begin with the party!

Desiree, Amanda, Josiah and Bella worked hard all morning long to give each child the correct badge with their location and station number, so as to keep up with all children and what bus they belong with. Way to go guys!

Closing Praise
by Bethany R. | December 25, 2012
After we wrapped up the party, we gathered for a brief time of prayer and thanksgiving over the day!

Thank You Lord for keeping us safe and letting us be Your hands and feet today.

As we close out the day, we leave with our two favorite Creole phrases from today!

Jwaye Noel (Merry Christmas)
Bondje Beni Ou! (God Bless You)

R & R
by Bethany R. | December 26, 2012
Today we focused on relaxation and we all know what's the best for relaxing... the ocean!

So we spent the majority of today swimming, laying around and generally not doing much of anything.

We were amazed by the beauty of the ocean and loved getting to watch the fishing boats sail by. The ocean was so blue!

The best part was getting to relax and reflect on the day yesterday. So much happened during the past 24 hours, it was good to get to sit back and digest what all has happened.

Finger Painting
by Bethany R. | December 26, 2012
After some rest at the beach, we spent a quiet afternoon at Good Shepherd playing with the children who live there. They loved having so much attention and getting to finger paint with the girls!

Thankfully the finger paints are washable!

Donations and Slap
by Bethany R. | December 26, 2012
While the finger painting and soccer were well underway, we got to split up and do different things with the children.

Kate, Randall and many others played Slap with the children. They quickly learned just how good the boys are at it, since it is their favorite game.

Also, some of the group went back to Ash Ca to deliver donations. They gave toothbrushes, t-shirts, floss, soap and shoes to the children there. They were so excited to see us return!

A Christmas Miracle
by Bethany R. | December 26, 2012
One special thing that happened today was the meeting up of Joel, Susan and Bella with their Compassion Child that they sponsor.

They have been sponsoring her for almost 5 years and even kept up with her through the earthquake here in Haiti.

Today, they got to meet her. It was a wonderful experience and everyone was so excited to be there!

Praise the Lord! What a blessing!

What a wonderful day we had today, resting and relaxing and preparing for our big day tomorrow. Please keep us in your prayers!

Final Day of Ministry!
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
We woke up this morning excited and ready to throw another Christmas party at the farm owned by Good Shepherd Orphanage. Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we were forced to change plans and spent the morning at another orphanage, Life is Hope.

Although we were a bit disappointed that we weren't able to serve in our planned ministry, the time spent at the orphanage was absolutely amazing. When the bus pulled up, all of the children were waiting outside to greet us with singing. Once they finished their songs, the children rushed to hug us and off we went to play soccer, finger paint, throw frisbees, and play other fun games.

Playing with Frisbees
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
The children all loved throwing the frisbees, even if they couldn't always get them to fly straight!

Serious Soccer Match
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
We had a chance to play soccer with the children. Although we typically would only play for fun and not keep score, Stevens, one of our Haitian staff, volunteered to be the official and kept the time and score. You can probably guess who won... not us!

Finger Painting
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
Finger painting on paper was fun, but it didn't take long for the children to ditch the paper and begin decorating the wall!

Peace and Rest
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
Amidst the chaos of games, several of us took time to just sit with the children and give them some much needed love.

Music and Dancing
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
To end our time at Life is Hope, we got in a big circle to sing songs and dance like fools. We couldn't believe how loud the children could sing!

Finishing the Day
by Eric R. | December 27, 2012
After visiting Life is Hope, we returned to Good Shepherd Orphanage one last time to say goodbye to the children there. It is always sad to have to say goodbye, but we hope to see the children again soon!

This evening, we had a chance to attend another Haitian church service. Sarah, along with several of our Haitian staff members, had the opportunity to sing in front of the church. It was really a blessing for everyone!

After church, we were able to present Pastor Sampson with the check for the money raised to buy motorcycles for some pastors in Haiti. These men sometimes walk up to 8 hours a day to preach the Gospel in the churches they serve in. It was truly a blessing to raise the money to purchase motorcycles for 10 pastors!

Final Moments
by Bethany R. | December 28, 2012
Today we woke up with the knowledge that we would soon be flying out of this beautiful country. A little conflicted in our emotions, we boarded the bus to Life is Hope one more time.

The children were peaceful today. When we arrived they had just finished breakfast and were calm. We made string bracelets, took pictures and many children fell asleep in our arms since it was nap time.

It was a beautiful way to close out the week. Parting with the children will be etched in our memory as one of the more difficult moments of the trip.

Bon Vwayaj!
by Bethany R. | December 28, 2012
After finishing up at Life is Hope we headed to the airport. As we began saying our goodbyes, we began reflecting back on the week.

What a beautiful and successful week of ministry. We are so blessed and amazed at how the Lord has used us this week. We are equally amazed as to how the Lord has used other people, experiences and situations to teach us valuable lessons that will last a lifetime.

We will never forget this country, the people or most of all, the love the Haitian people have shown us. Thank you all back home for supporting us through this process. We love you all and see you soon!

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Linda Stevens

The pictures are great. It sounds like you all have had a wonderful experience. We look forward to you getting home. Mother is good. As always, she is reliving things and hunting the children. We have a good day at Hailey's and Mike's. Well two days. Love you all and pray for safe travel home.

Linda Stevens

Merry Christmas! Can't wait to hear all about your trip. All is well in Mississippi.

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