Monday, April 30, 2012

Yolencia, Baptism, and my departure!

WOW!  What a crazy last two days!  I do not even know where to begin!  I am sitting at the guest house this morning knowing that I am actually leaving Haiti without a return date and my stomach is just upset. I cannot put into words how much the children have impacted me and what a life changing experience this has been for me!  I wish I could tell you when I am coming back or what my role will be, but sadly this is not the case.  I know that I will never have this same position or do what I did ever again!

Saturday the American worship team came up to Grace Village for a worship and baptism day! I am proud to say that 39 children got baptized and announced in front of everyone that they accept Jesus as their savior and will live each day for him!  AMAZING and emotional!  I also was baptized which I have been wanting to do for sometime.  I was sad my family and husband could not be there for it, but I also was extremely happy to have proclaimed my faith in Haiti.  In 2008 I came to Haiti for the first time, and I cannot tell you how much God has reveled himself to me through Haiti and this is why being baptized here was so important to me.  

We had a time of worship and praise for the kids after and it was such a blast!  It was the perfect way to spend one of my last days in Haiti!

Also on Saturday we welcomed a new little girl Yolencia into our home.  She has no mother or father and has been living in City Solie with her aunt and uncle.  We were thrilled to have her come.  She is such and incredibly beautiful 12 year old girl.  Laikia has done a fantastic job taking her in and loving her.  She has been nervous about things and is just trying to figure things out so I ask that you really pray for her in these next couple of weeks that she will adjust and have peace.

Sunday just flew by!  I was packing like crazy, talking to Mickey and Jewel about everything and trying to say goodbye my Haitian family that I have become so close to.

As I write this post tears are welling up inside of my eyes.  I remember arriving to Haiti in Febuary thinking I have so much time here and now today I am leaving!  Please pray my transition back to the states will go well and pray that God will reveal where he wants to use me next!

Thanks to all of you who have followed me and supported me in My time in Haiti!

Love you so much, Gretchen

Baptism girls! they look like angels!

Waiting to get baptized....

Being baptized

So happy!

Worshiping after

Guyvenson and I

Yolencia and I.  She is so beautiful!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Two days Left! : (

I only have two days left at GV.  What an amazing time I have had here!  It seems like I should be leaving and everything should be in place and have order, but that is not the case.  The children continue need to be reminded about rules, thing continue to break and uncontrollable situations still arise.  Surprising huh?    

I am leaving feeling so confident in the two wonderful ladies that will remain here for a year.  Jewel and Mickey have a heart to serve these children and people at Grace Village.  They have been a huge support for me these last couple of weeks and we have worked extremely well together.  I know they will continue to work on the things I have put into place as well as build a strong foundation for these children to grow on.  I am so excited to see what they do here and the impact they will have on everyone who meets them.

The worship team is here this week and I am so excited for them to come!  They have a few pastors with them and are going to be baptizing the children tomorrow!  I am also going to be baptized tomorrow.  I am super excited and having been waiting to be baptized in Haiti.  I am very sad that my husband and family will not be here with me, but hoping I can share with them and show them all the pictures.

Sunday will be my last day here since I am going to stay overnight in Port-au-Prine on Sunday night.  I am trying so hard to wrap my head around the idea of not seeing these children all the time!  I am so sad to leave Haiti, but am so excited to see my husband and family!  Please pray for my transition back to the United States and really pray for these children!  They are truly wonderful kids and I just want to see them  flourish and become amazing children of God.

Thanks again for all the support!  I will try to post some pics of the baptism tomorrow since it should be AWESOME!  

Much love, Gretchen

Mickey and Jewel have started blogging!  So please continue to follow this journey at GV through them at.......

Joseph with cute!!!

Look at her amazing smile!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekends are Great!

We are all doing well at GV!  Have been doing my best to enjoy every last minute of my time here.  

This weekend was very good.  The American team came and did a community health fair down in Titayen.  I was so excited to have them impact our surrounding community in such a positive way.  They also saw some elderly and made sure they were getting everything that they needed.  They did such a good job and I was so happy to have them here!

We had a great service on Sunday.  I finally remembered that the tables in the cafeteria can be changed into pew like seats!  It looked so good today in church.  We are really getting full and having a ton of children come.  

We also took some scenic routes to see some family's in need and it was so much fun to see such beautiful parts of Haiti.  We also learned more about Mission of Hope today which is just down the road from us.  It is nice to see what God is doing all over in Haiti and nice to have people working together to help Haiti develop!  

Looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me this week!  

Blessings to all of you and see you soon in the States! 

Front row in church, a lot of children from the community!

Our shy beautiful girls.

Meme and I in the kitchen before church.

Taking in the service

Hard to tell but doesn't the tables look good changed to pews?  We loved it.  Fanfn to right starting to sing and Guyvenson and Ally at the door greeting all the kids that are still coming in!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Back in Haiti!

We are back home again in Grace Village!!!

These last 2 ½ months of preparation with packing up our apartment, giving notice to our jobs, raising monthly support, and the hardest saying good-bye to family and friends came to an end on Wednesday!

We are so excited for this new journey and chapter in our lives here in Haiti!!

When we arrived in Haiti on Thursday we drove right out to Grace Village!!! What an exciting and joyous time it

was to have all the children run out screaming and then hugging us!!! We sure missed them!!! We settled in unpacking, and just resting a little as we were really tired!!

We met Gretchen, who has been here these last 2 ½ months! What a sweet and hard working woman she has been!!! She has done a great job in enforcing rules, and discipline!! ( and a lot more) To hear her speak Creole is amazing in such a short amount of time!!!

We will all work together these next 10 days to keep

things flowing smoothly. She will then fly home and Jewel and I will be here to continue to oversee Grace


Please pray for us that Creole will come easy like it seemed to have for Gretchen!!

Today we brought a new little boy to Grace Village! His name is Joseph and he is 5 years old. ( He looks about 3) Both of his parents have died, and he was living with his Grandparents. It was so apparent he was not eating daily meals. So when we fed him, he ate more food than I have ever seen a little 5 year old eat!!! They will eat lots of food at first until he realizes he will always be eating 3 meals a day!!! Is that not so sad!! It is so easy to take for granted our daily food, our electricity, our water, our instant internet, our transportation, our schools, restaurants, the list goes on and on!! God has blessed us and for that we should be to grateful and thankful!!! But the majority of the world and Haiti does not live the way we do in the states!!! We are so close in

distance to the states but yet so very far apart in our daily conveniences.

Love to all of you at home! Mickey and Jewel

Time Flying By!

I only have 10 days left here in Haiti!  I am not sure what happened to the time!  Yesterday during worship with the kids I just broke down crying.  I am going to miss this place so much and especially the children.  This has been my home for the last three months and I have poured everything I have into this place.  I am so excited to see my husband, family, and friends, but I am not sure how I am going to handle being away from this place.  I am not sure what God has in store for me next, but I just pray that He knows the plans he has for my husband and I.

Wednesday we delivered food to 27 elderly.  Going to the elderly’s homes still is one of my favorite things here at GV.  They are so incredibly grateful for what you give them and they are always smiling, kissing, and hugging.  They have true joy in them and you can tell the have such genuine hearts.  This took up most of the afternoon since we had to get it ready and then drive all over to see them. 

Today we worked on getting everything situated for Joseph’s school and then cleaned and organized things at GV.  We are working hard to get things more in order/clean and we are still continuing to work on having the children follow the rules here!

I found out yesterday that Joseph’s real first name is Sadrac and his last name is Joseph.  Woops!! : ) I still find myself calling him Joseph and that is what everyone continues to call him here.  When you ask him his name he will tell you Joseph, and occasionally Sadrac.  He is such a funny kid, and everyone absolutely adores him here.

As I reflect on Joseph’s current situation I am amazed.  He is doing so well and just excelling here!  He does not gorge in his food like he use to, and I think he is beginning to see that food will keep coming and he no longer has to worry about his next meal or when it will be.   I have not seen him cry since he has been here, and he is constantly wearing a smile.  We looked for the grandmother today to see if she was home.  When we did not get an answer the principal told us she was at the market.  We asked if this was common and he said yes because she tries to sell some things.  He said she goes almost everyday and when Joseph lived with her, she would leave him home alone all day by himself!  No wonder why he is so independent!  A five year old taking care of him self and fending for him self just boggles my mind.  I am so thankful he is here with us and pray for him to continue to see God working in his life.

Just want to again thank everyone who is working so hard for Healing Haiti!  I also want to thank all the people that keep giving to these children.  We are going to continue to hear stories like Joseph’s, as this orphanage fills up all the open beds we have here.   Thank you for donating and giving!  Without you we could not keep taking in these children who so desperately need our support and love. 

Julie, Jeff, Missy, Susan, Linda, and Heather (and so many others) have been so incredibly wonderful to work with and have blessed me beyond belief while I have been here in Haiti.  Please know how grateful I am to you and how powerful your ministry is here in Haiti.  I love you all so very much and wish I could say or do more to thank you for your efforts here!

I am off to school with the children.  I am excited to see Jovany’s big smile this morning, hear Meme sing to himself, watch the older boys take such great care of the little ones, smell the spaghetti being cooked, and feel the love of God’s presence through these children! 

Having fun with Sabrina and Rose!

Jovany and I getting ready for church.

Not a empty seat at Church!

Joseph enjoying pretzels after his doctors appointment.
Boys before Church. They look so good!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Some more pictures!

Early morning on Thursday the 19th!  I wanted to add a couple more pics of Joseph.  We have electricity and maybe a little better internet so praise God for that!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome Joseph!

Crazy last couple of days.  No internet for awhile, switched companies!!! And then no power for two nights!  But overall we have been doing well. : )

My days in Haiti are coming to an end and I am getting very sad to leave.  I have been having such a great time with the children and all those who work at GV.

We welcomed a new boy to Grace Village Joseph and are so happy to have him here.  

His grandmother lives in Titayen and the boy has no mother or father.  He has a respiratory infection and has some issues with his legs.  We are hoping that he just needs some braces and they will be fixed.

He is five years old and is just the cutest thing ever!  He has blended in with our children just great.  He has been running all over the playground and eating more food then you can imagine for a 5 year old and was laughing in the shower like crazy.  he is sleeping over on the boy side tonight and has a busy Andy That is looking after him.

He had his first day of school today and loved every minute of it!  He says he loves it here and am so happy to see his sweet smile and hear his cute voice!

Pictures below...hopefully more later!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

God Given Gifts!

A look into the week filled with new adventurous and God given gifts!

Monday the children were still off from school.  It was a day of recovery from all the fun we had with the American team and gave us time to worship and clean!  Tuesday was the first day back at school.  The children had troubles waking up so early, but somehow we made it to school on time with only few tears along the way.  As we approached the school the grandmother of the little boy that we saw earlier was there to greet us.  She was wondering if we ever made a decision about taking her little grandson to Grace Village.  I went with her to their home and gathered information about him.  We are praying carefully if he is someone that needs to be at GV and will make sure to update all of you on this!

One really cool thing that happened this week was that I ran into a group of boys/men that were training for soccer.  They were using rocks to weave in and out of and stretching on the ground.  It was so neat to see their passion for working out and getting better at soccer.  I headed back up to Grace Village and got them a couple of soccer balls to play with.  I then drove back and gave them the soccer balls.  It was so wonderful to experience this!  They could not have been more grateful or happy about it.  They acted like the balls were made of gold!  Such a fun experience

This week has been full of tests for the children’s health.  I took three girls to see the doctor on Thursday and had four others that needed lab tests on Friday.  We continue to have two girls with on going problems with infections on their heads and some of the boys continue to have ringworm.  I ask that you pray for these children and really ask God to heal them.

Jewel and Mickey arrived on Friday!  It was so nice to finally meet them and catch up on everything.  I am so lucky to have them and will be so sad to leave them.  I think the three of us have made a great team so far and wish it could continue!  Jewel is amazing with the children and just loves them up.  Mickey’s faith in God has just blown me away and I am so happy to have such a Godly women up at GV. 

Saturday an American team came and it was a great day with them!  They had a great faith lesson, had kites for them and made a little market!  I was blessed to have Shirley one of my best friends come and visit with me.  It was so nice to spend some time with her and let her see all that is going on at GV.

Each day I meet people on the streets, visit with Haitians, get to give away the abundance of supplies we have here, or get to laugh, smile, and cry with the Haitians here I know it is a God given gift He has personally blessed me with.

Much love, Gretchen

If you ever wonder if the food you pack for Feed my Starving Children gets to Haiti, the answer is YES!! This was given away to all the children at their school the other day.  

Eating lunch with my new friend and great worker here Leno.

The boys eating.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some Easter Photos!

Thank you so much to all who donated to the children at GV!!!  We were so happy, grateful, and excited to get all these new church clothes.  They all looked so good and we had a fabulous service and day praising God!  I might have missed some children, but please know if you sent a dress or something for the boys it was used and used well!  Nothing here is possible without all the support and donations you give these children.  They are defiantly loved!
Blessings to you all!  Gretchen, FanFan, Guilliume, and all the children of GV

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What a week!

Almost one week since my last post!  Finally tonight I have internet and some time to write!

We have been having a good week with the children off from school.  Busy as ever with making sure things are getting done and things here are running well.  I spent the beginning of the week with the children and getting the rooms ready for the advocates that were going to stay here.

On Tuesday I spent the night at the guest house.  It was fun getting to know the advocates and what they are doing for Healing Haiti.  I cannot tell you what a huge blessing it was to see Julie and Missy!!!  I have been sending them so many emails and so many questions and to finally see them was amazing.

I was so lucky to spend time with Missy and really get to know her and see her work in action.  She works tirelessly for these children and elderly so that they have their medical needs meet.  She worked with Dr. Sem on Friday and Saturday and saw all the children and all the elderly.  She wrote everything down medically about them, filled all the prescriptions, and assisted Dr. Sem in everything else he needed.  She also did fluoride treatments on all the kids! It was amazing to see how much love and time she has given to this area and you can tell she is such a Godly person   These children have been through so much and have  such histories and it was so wonderful to get the support and guidance from her this week and I am going to truly miss her.

Julie is the glue that has held me together while I have been here and it was a blessing to have her come and visit. She is such a good person to have in the lives of these children.  She has the best personality for this job and just makes everything work.  While I worry about things way too much, she has the presence that makes everything seem just fine!  She knows how to talk and approach people and has the greatest smile.  I never once heard her complain and she was always there when needed.  For anyone who knows Julie, you are very lucky, because she is a wonderful person who does great things for God.

All of the team members were so great here and did a wonderful job with the children.  They had easter egg hunt planned.  We dyed easter eggs and made a cross mosaic out of the egg shells.  We watched a movie with the kids and ate popcorn.  It was just a fun time for the children and they were truly blessed.

Two of the team members are still with me tonight, Amy and Shelly.  It has been such a fun day with them.  I forget how much I miss chatting with women and having some fun with them!  We got clothes ready to give out to the children that come to church and had the kids get easter eggs ready for them.

Micky and Jewel will be coming soon and I am excited for that to happen!  They will arrive on April 12th and I will be working on getting things ready for them soon!

My emotions this week have been some what of a roller coaster.  I am realizing how material things are getting way less important to me and how much I love everyone at Grace Village.  I have gone through times of anger and frustration and times were I just needed to cry.  At times I can be so mad at these children, but they have endured more pain, disappointment, and been so mistreated in the past that sometimes I can hardly stand it.  It is a hard life in Haiti and I know their is so many children experiencing the same things that the children at GV have gone through.  I just ask that you continue to pray for all the children here and the workers as well.

On a better note I came out of my room the other day to drumming and the twins Mayck and Maycko were drumming and making the most magical sound from old pieces of tin laying around.  When the internet is fast I will post if for you.  It put me in the best mood and it was so much fun!

Tomorrow is easter sunday and we will be having the children wear their new easter outfits that so many of you donated!!  Thank you so very much!  They LOVED the clothes and I will post pictures of them after Easter.

Below I posted pictures of the play clothes some of you donated.  Thanks again to all who donate.  We love everything that we get and use it ALL! : )

Much Love, Gretchen