Monday, May 5, 2014

There is Power in the Name of Jesus to Break Every Chain and Move Every Mountain

Hi there, this is Chris Mason.
Our last night in Haiti was one that I will never forget. There was heartache and suffering but at the end of the day my heart felt rejuvenated with all of the joy and peace I felt. God’s spirit was present. He was working in each and every one of us. Giving us the opportunity to walk through the door He had opened. And we did. With this being my third trip to Haiti, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But just like every other trip I have been on, I made the decision to go in with no expectations except for the fact that God would be present and do way more than I could ever imagine.
We made our way back to General Hospital for a second time this week. At General Hospital, we experienced young children fighting for their lives. Some of them had parents some of them did not. One of the hardest parts for me, was not knowing what was going to happen to them. But to see my team love on these kids while a few of us played music over them and prayed for them, gave me the small ounce of hope that I needed.
As we left the children, we made are way to an area where adults were staying. The conditions were tragic. People using fabrics as thin as paper for mattresses and people crying out in desperation because they were in so much pain. People were struggling, but God opened up the door to serve and comfort these people. And so we did. As we played music, our team overcame all fears and discomfort and just massaged the people with lotion. To give you some perspective, these are people who are never visited. They lay on this concrete floor every day in pain and agony with no one to comfort or love them. People are encouraged to not even touch those who are in this room. But we walked through the door and we did it. The people loved it. They were overcome with joy that we would humble ourselves enough to touch them and serve them. Jesus did it, why shouldn’t we? When we love as radically as Jesus did, lives our changed. As we played music, those who were able, were clapping and yelling with joy. It was beautiful to worship them. And as we left, we left with discomfort and sadness not knowing what was going to happen to these people. But even with that, we knew they were in God’s hands and we were so thankful to walk through the door and serve them. Even if it was just for an hour, those people were loved. I left with a sense of hope.
As we came to our last night in Haiti, we had the opportunity to do a little worship service at Grace Church on Sunday night and we got to play with the Grace Church band. We worshipped, people from the community performed and we had the opportunity to hear an amazing message that led people to Christ and then we worshipped some more.  It was unreal!
During worship our drummer Mike got to play drums, our guitar player Zack played cajon and tambourine, I played acoustic and our vocalists sang along side some wonderful people that sing at Grace Church each week. The rest of the band was filled with musicians from Grace. The electric guitarists were shredding all night long! It was a party.
It was so great to just sit back and experience the way that they do things all of time. We were able to just step in and support them. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a mic. It didn’t matter that Zack didn’t get to play guitar, it didn’t matter that Mike didn’t know some of the songs. What mattered is that we were all there for one purpose, to worship Jesus. We allowed the Holy Spirit to work in us that evening and that changed everything.
 By playing with their band we were able to come together and play as a collective. Worshipping one God in both Creole and English.
To see hundreds of Haitians and Americans worshipping together just overwhelmed my soul. As I looked out, there were many different people in the crowd. U.S. missionaries, Healing Haiti workers, elderly who have no family left, orphans and young women who were once in slavery but now are free and alive. Even though every one of those people had difficult circumstances in their lives, they did not allow those circumstances to dictate the strength of their relationship with God.
We sang words like,” Savior, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to Save, He is Mighty to save” or “Take me as you find me ALL of my fears and failures. Fill my life again” What if we believed in every season of life that our God could move the mountains that are in front of us? Because I truly believe that even though the people of Haiti have been through so much, they believe that Jesus can move the mountains that are in front of them. They continue to worship God no matter what is going on around them because they know that there is a greater reward in heaven. And when we have a perspective like that, it changes everything.
Josue, who works for Healing Haiti, led the worship service and he asked everyone, “ What is that mountain that is in front of you today? Because there is hope in Jesus Christ and He can move that mountain that is front of you today. For there is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain and move every mountain.” I am pretty sure God longs for us to believe that He can move every mountain.
As we ended the night, the band ended with one last song. “Go Jesus, Go Jesus, Go!” (Think ninja turtles, go ninja, go ninja, go) Everyone in the place went crazy, jumping around and dancing. I left the stage and joined in on the fun with a group of young Haitian boys. As I jumped around, singing and dancing, I couldn’t help but smile. This was a small glimpse of what Heaven would be like, A big party where people from all nations come together, dance, jump and scream at the top of their lungs, “Go Jesus, Go Jesus, Go!”  Because at the end of the day that is what it’s all about. Jesus. It was a moment I will never forget as we just jumped and celebrated who God was.

So as we prepare to leave, I am leaving with a rejuvenated spirit. I am heading home with a fresh new perspective on what it means to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. I am leaving thankful to know the people I have met here in Haiti. I am leaving knowing that there is power in the name of Jesus that can break EVERY chain and move EVERY mountain. God opened the door, I walked through it and it changed everything.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Every evening, our group gathers together, each team member selecting a word to reflect our day.  Today, 3 words repeated:  Beautiful.  Restored.  Overcome.
The morning began back on the water truck, delivering free, safe water to Cite Soleil and to a tent city just beyond its borders.  The tent city is a newer stop, its conditions atrocious.  The nearest water station, where chlorinated water can be had for a fee, is a mile away.  Broken glass, crumbled rock and garbage cover the roads, where children walk barefoot.  A seemingly endless number of tents are crammed together, in shambles of tarps and tin.  The need is great.  Poverty beyond the mind’s ability to comprehend.  Yet here, also a sense of community, pride in their children, love.
The next two stops were different.  We were overcome with children and their need, not for water, but for human touch, for notice.  Here, several of us were knocked to the ground by children; children climbing up our backs, clawing at our sides, clamoring for position.  Once there, safely in the crook of an arm, they clung tightly and snuggled heads into our necks, refusing to let go.

At these stops, my eyes and heart were constantly fixed on the hollow ones.  Bellies distended by malnutrition, dressed in remnants of clothing at some point worn by children like my own.  These children, desperately pleading with their eyes as they were pushed over and displaced by their bolder counterparts.  Today, I was overcome by the needs of these children and my need to show them love in a place where they were all so very unloved.
The evening brought the other side to this story.  There are over 300,000 children living in Restavek, or child slavery, in Haiti.  Tonight, we visited the Restavek Freedom House, the home of 15 girls who suffered the worst end of this spectrum of abuse.  They now live in a beautiful home, with house mamas teaching them the most basic of things:  How to sleep in a bed, rather than all alone on an uneven dirt floor.  How to eat a meal from a table, rather than foraging any scraps of their owner’s own meager food.  Most importantly, they are learning they are loved.  They are loved by a God who created them, by a Christ who died and rose for them, by people on this earth who are advocating for them.  They are learning that they are equal and valued and they are being restored by Christ’s promise and hope.
We have been blessed this trip by a talented music team and the girls squealed with excitement as Chris, Zack and Mike began to play.  The band’s rendition of “Man in the Mirror” had one of the house mamas singing along with every word and Zack’s original “Playground” was an instant hit.  The girls, one by one and in groups, sang for us from the very core of their souls.  Shy to approach the stage, suddenly powerful voices sang out:  “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High,” “Who Am I,” “Break Every Chain.”  Many of us were overcome with emotion as we watched these girls, at varying stages of restoration and healing, belt out their strength, their victory.

Following the fellowship, Amanda donated her beloved, but unused guitar, to the Freedom House, where it will be used to create music to tell the stories of these beautiful girls.  In doing so, she reminded us to hold loosely to our possessions, for they are not our own to hold.
The evening ended with some play, dancing, hand games, hopscotch, deep hugs and requests by both sides to visit again.  Some of the goodbyes were painful, not knowing when treasured girls would be seen next, yet trusting God has them exactly where they need to be, in this very special place.
Beautiful.  Restored.  Overcome.

- Sandi Cariveau

Friday, May 2, 2014


Five days ago when I landed in Haiti I could not have imagined the pain and suffering I would see. I didn’t realize such desperation and hardship was happening in this world.  I had no idea what poverty and hunger actually looked like. 
In one single moment today I saw all of those things.  There I sat in the back of the tap tap (the vehicle that our team rides in) outside of the general hospital.  We were waiting for the team leaders to come back from a meeting.  I was standing at the front of the tap tap but facing directly out the back door.  As I watched people walking from building to building a man and his small son walked right up to the door.  I am certain the boy was around the age of my son (6).  His belly was distended as if he was 9 months pregnant and his breathing was very labored.  His voice was so weak it was barely audible as he was saying ”papa” and reaching for his father’s hand.  They had no food or money and were looking for us to give them some.  We were not in a situation where we were able to help that little boy today and that was heartbreaking.  I stared deep into his eyes and tried without words to let him know that I cared about him, that he mattered, that I feel compassion for him in his desperate situation, that I wished I could take away his pain and suffering. 
The truth is; no matter what I might have been able to do for that boy today I could not have rescued him.  I could not have taken away his pain or healed his sickness.  Anything I could have done would have been so very temporary.  I wanted to feed him, to love him, to make him feel better.  The truth is I can pray for that boy and today that is all I can do. So, today I pray healing and comfort and support and love over him.  And most of all I pray he knows Jesus. The truth is; that is the only way any of us will ever be rescued from this world.   
Five days ago when I landed in Haiti I could not have imagined the beauty, endurance, perseverance, gratitude, faithfulness, and strength I would see.  I am inspired to watch these beautiful people press on day after day fighting just to survive.  Smiles of appreciation for our simple acts of bringing food, water, a hug, or a song light up their faces!  I have never seen such pure worship when we bring music to them.  Praising freely with all that they have and all that they are.  BEAUTIFUL!
Five days ago I came to Haiti hoping to bless as many people here as I could.  Instead they have blessed me beyond measure.  It has been a beautifully difficult time in Haiti.  I am blessed.
Five days ago when I landed in Haiti I could not have imagined how different the world would look to me!!!!


Thursday, May 1, 2014


This is our third full day in Haiti. We toured Grace Village, visited five of the elderly sponsored by Healing Haiti, played some music at Isaiah's Orphanage and rehearsed for concert we are doing with Grace Church worship band. I can't wait for the concert on Sunday, it's going to be amazing. The thing that hit me the most today was our visits with the elderly.

Our second visit was an 80 year old man named Lindor and man was he a fire cracker! He captivated us all the moment we walked into his yard…if you can call it that. He absolutely LOVED the music we played and it was so inspiring to see a guy like him bringing so much joy to his community. There were a ton of kids who followed us in there to watch us play. At the end of our time we asked him to dance for us since he had said he loves to dance. He put on a show for us as well as his neighbors and he had us all engaged.

The next stop was a sweet woman named Felicie. I got roped into being the spokes person this time. Although I was apprehensive at first I quickly felt completely honored to be speaking with her and looking her in the eyes as she shared with us how she was feeling and that she had cramping in her toes. We quickly started the music and grabbed to lotion to take care of those toes! The thankfulness in her eyes as she said, "merci", will stay with me forever. It was a true blessing to serve her and show her the respect that she truly deserves.

Felicie's favorite verse is Psalm 91:2 "This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting him." What a perfect verse to encompass what we saw today. I am so thankful that they know and can trust in Jesus and pray that I might have a measure of the faith that they have.

Rachel Holvig

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Today was an Amazing, but very heavy day. We started the day by visiting Elders School. Elder, the man who started the school welcomed us with open arms. We immediately made our way to the front of the class and jumped right into singing. The children loved it and especially loved getting their hands on the instruments. However, once we left the school, we learned that the children didn't get served lunch because we were there. That made us feel terrible, but we were reassured from Elder that the singing and love we shared filled their bellies much more than food for that day since they never have that.

Our next stop was Gertrude's, which is a home for the special needs children that have been abandoned. That rocked a lot of us and for me my flood gates opened. We played with the children and Loved on them like crazy. A boy found me right away and took his shirt off handed it to me and I put it back on. He probably did that one hundred more times. It was great and he was sure a joy to be around. Another little boy in a wheel chair grabbed my attention and when we broke out the instruments and started singing, I couldn't help but get him out of that chair and hold him the rest of the time. Not to mention the girl Kristina who climbed all over everyone, especially Mike while he was drumming. She definitely lovedwhat was happening.  


The last stop of the day was a place I know only God could give us the strength to get through. There was no way to really prepare ourselves for the General Hospital. We visited three buildings with sick and dying children. The first one we walked into my eyes could not believe what I was seeing. It wasn't long before Jeff and I tried figuring out who this one little girl belonged to. She was sitting up, but was the size of a one month old baby. The Haitian lady standing nearby tried telling us to not hold her because she had a very soiled diaper and no momma and has been abandoned. Jeff then figured out it was ok to pick her up, her little hand clung right to Jeff right away and because she had no momma, I then knew I had to hold her when he was done. He handed her over to me and right then we started singing the song "10,000 Reasons", we got to the third verse where the lyrics say "and on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come, still my soul will sing your praise unending"..... and that's where I lost it. I held on to her even more as if she was my own. As she was cradled in my arms, I looked up and saw Nicole and Jeff sitting on a bed with Raphael and he too was abandoned. He is thirteen, he stopped eating and his strength was failing. No words can really  be said on the power of that moment. When it was time to go, I walked back to the crib to lay her down on a terrible crib mattress. I walked into the hall, looked at her one more time through the open window and saw her holding onto the crib railing. She had nothing to hold onto, not even a stuffed animal. A piece of my heart was left in that crib, but today I got to be her momma and I named her ANGEL. We are all God's children and that is HOPE that we can walk away with at the end of a hard day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Day in Cite Soleil

Today was our first full day in Haiti and it was water truck day. Delivering water to the people of Cite Soleil has become one of my favorite things in Haiti. To see His beauty and Love in one of the darkest places is an experience tough to describe, but our morning devotion from Matthew 25:31-46 was good preparation. "Truly, I say to you, as you did to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."
For me personally, this being my second trip has so far brought a different perspective, but one I don't yet know just how to express adequately. I had what felt miraculous happen today. On my first time in Cite Soleil 6 months ago I left our last water stop on day one in tears over one baby. Today my feet were not on the ground even 30 seconds at that same stop (our first stop today) and my tears were flowing again over this same one baby. Today they were happy tears!
Last October at this stop, a mama handed me her crying, 5 month old baby, pulled the baby's shirt down and showed me a golf-ball sized abscess on her chest. She said her baby didn't sleep and wanted me to help. All we had as a first aid kit in the tap tap at the time was a few small band-aides and a half tube of bacitracin. I put the ointment on four little band-aides to try to cover this red, hot, closed infection and then gave the rest of the tube of bacitracin to her mama. Knowing how differently and the lengths we would go to treat this back home I couldn't help but think there was a good chance this baby would die. I struggled with that thought so much driving away from the water stop that day knowing this was completely treatable if only they had the resources. I did get to see her and treat her infection again, giving the mama more ointment our second day back in Cite Soleil 6 months ago, and while it was better than day one, it was still there. Today, as we pulled up to that water stop I recognized the place and instantly thought of her and started looking. As I stepped out of the tap tap today, I had taken no more than 10-15 steps and there she was!!! Mandy was already holding her as her mama handed her over so she could go get water. I can't express the absolute Joy I felt in seeing that little one's smiling face, and in seeing her mama. When I said her name Jenvien (sp?) to her mama, she said wi and looked at me smiling over the recognition. I pointed to her chest where the abscess had been and she instantly remembered, smiling and showing me this sweet baby's chest - completely healed! God clearly has a purpose for this sweet baby girl, now age 1, waiving and saying "Hey you"!
Amongst all the horrible, heartbreaking, unspeakable sites we each saw today, there were also moments of beauty and sites of joy. Dancing and singing God is so Good with the children will always be a sweet time I pray and trust they know the depth of. Watching team members dig in, hot, sweaty & dirty, serving, laughing, playing and bonding with the precious Haitian people brings such light in a dark place. I know I more clearly saw the Light in Cite Soleil today because God showed Himself to me boldly, only a few steps in.

Another moment to note today is the blast we had playing soccer with the sweet, guesthouse neighbor boys who not only schooled us with their amazing soccer skills, but also shared their sweet voices in worship with us in the tap tap while driving to the soccer fields! Their spirit is so strong and beautiful!

And lastly, Happy Birthday to our amazing leader, Karen!

Goodnight from Haiti!
Ke Bondye Beni'ou

Monday, April 28, 2014

We Made It!

We've got a really great team here this week.  4 men and 8 women, 6 of whom are returning and 6 here for the first time.

Shortly after arrival we had the opportunity to deliver Feed My Starving Children manna packs to a Tent City.  This was our first exposure to the beautiful Haitian people, some full of joy, some desperation.  While passing out food in in a tent city there is never enough for everyone.  It is a brutal, unfair process trying to decide who gets food and who doesn't. We know some will have full bellies as they go to bed tonight.  Wish that was true for all.

As we arrived back to the guest house we were full of emotions:  gratitude and guilt, underscored by the big question "Why."

Broken and poured out, Jesus died for us.  In this, He gave us the incredible gift of eternal life.  He also showed us how to live.  Broken and poured out.  We will approach the week being willing to let our hearts break and to pour ourselves out so that He can be made known.

-karen moen