Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/load.php on line 926 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 haiti | Will Adams Blog Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798

Tag Archives: haiti

Haiti Trip days 5&6

There’s a story in Haiti – we’re not sure it’s true, but it seems likely – that in 1804 the Voodoo leaders of the Haitian people sold Haiti to the Devil for 200 years. They were at war with France for their independence and it seemed like they had no way of winning since they were a tiny country in the Caribbean and France was a large military force, so the only way that their leaders knew to help was to make a deal with the Devil – to sell their nation to him to 200 years in exchange for victory against the French. Well, it worked. The French agreed to make a settlement and sell their financial interest in the land to the nation of Haiti.

If you’re not familiar with what happened in Haiti from 1804-2004 it is a bloody and horrific history. Scanning the wikipedia article on Haiti’s history will tell you there were multiple coups – resulting in the death of thousands of Haitians in pointless political power grabs. It ended in 2004 as the US assisted the Haitian president Aristide escape the country. By that time the Haitian people had been in a cycle characterized by a Miami School of Law Study as ‘a disturbing pattern.’ At that time the UN, with all it’s faults, came in and began to keep the peace in Haiti. A rumor began at this time that the Voodoo leaders were meeting again. They they were thinking about renewing their lease with the Devil – to save their nation from it’s unrest. Christian missionaries gathered and prayed – praying that they would not do this again and somehow they never did. Weather it was the obvious fact that they had been no better off with the Devil’s help or it was truly just the influence of the Holy Spirit, they did not hand Haiti back over to the Evil One. So for the first time in 200 years Haiti had the option of freeing itself from the tyranny of Satan.

However, men love darkness because their deeds are evil. The violence continued essentially until the infamous earthquake in 2010. The death toll is impossible to ascertain; numbers range from 50,000 – 300,000. In Haiti’s checkered history never has one event effected the nation to it’s core like this event did. As terrible as it was, it served as a wakeup call to the remaining Haitian people. Since then, they have elected a new president and over the past year he seems to have been working toward improving the living conditions of his people. It seems the healing of the Haitian people can finally begin. I see the earthquake as a natural evil that Satan would have used for ill, but God is using it for good. It is awesome, encouraging and humbling to think that we’re on the leading edge of an effort to take back the nation of Haiti for the glory of God.

Now, to return you to this trip to Haiti.

Friday morning we headed out to the Leveque deaf community one last time. The whole day was bittersweet since we knew we all had to leave the following morning. After meeting up with Mackenson, Kyle had some phone calls to make and we still had a few small details to finish on the house we were painting. DC and Woody worked on the house while Keri and Elizabeth met and talked with Bertheed, one of the deaf leaders, the only woman on the leadership council in the community.

I took the opportunity to walk around the new community taking pictures and video and relating to the members of the deaf community. Everyone I met recognized me from past trips and smiled and hugged me, asking if I was well. In turn I greeted them warmly and asked them if they knew that Jesus loved them. Many of them said “Thank you.” or a simple “Yes.”

After a few moments I realized I had no idea where the girls had gotten to, but it didn’t take long to find them. I just had to listen for the only house where there was talking – it was easy to find. When I got there, Keri and Elizabeth were talking to Bertheed about the Earthquake. She was expressing how much she didn’t understand the earthquake. She asked if God was angry with Haiti. Elizabeth and Keri assured her that God wasn’t angry at them, but that he was able to use the tragedy of the earthquake to bring them closer. She seemed relieved that we didn’t think God was angry with Haiti.

After the girls spent some time discussing life with Bertheed we walked over to where DC and woody were putting the final touches on the house we had been painting that week. Once they were finished we came back and spent the rest of the day fellowshipping in Mackenson’s house.

As we sat and talked, one of the deaf leaders commented that Kyle looked like he was sitting on throne. We looked over and Kyle laughed. He was sitting in a plastic deck chair. He instantly sat up and made a funny face. I signed “King Kyle” He signed “I am King Kyle! I am now in change Mackenson is out!” The deaf leaders were laughing really hard as he went on this comedic rant for a few moments. Kyle continued “I will make new rules!” Mackenson laughed and said “Just make those rules fair!” It wasn’t until Kyle said that he was going to take Mackenson’s dog, Luke, that Mackenson said “Woah – hold on there. You don’t get my dog.” apparently taking the Dog was just too far.

It’s funny to note that Mackenson’s Dog, Luke was not responsive to us whenever we tried to call him. He just sat there. Once when we were leaving the community and Mackenson was in the back of the truck with us luke came running after the truck. Mackenson simply held out his hand and after a moment Luke stopped and sat. The dog didn’t understand us because his master signs to him. I couldn’t help but have an ‘awww’ moment when I realized that the dog did recognize his master’s voice, it was just his hands through which that voice spoke.

We stopped at the same restaurant where we’d eaten all week. As we were trying to figure out who would pray (always a bit of a discussion before a meal on a mission trip) I just started signing a prayer. “God, thanks for this food. Amen.” Everybody signed ‘Amen.’ And kyle congratulated me on my first sign language prayer.

In the afternoon we walked up the hill to where the new church is going to be built soon. On the way there we got stopped by Kyle’s Haitian ‘mom.’ If you ever visit our Haitian deaf community – she is one that you’ll have to be sure to meet, she has such a sweet spirit and she vocalizes everything she says so loudly. She’s older, especially for a Haitian woman and spends much of her time giggling gleefully. Kyle told us that she was recently reunited with her sister who lives in the house next door. Her sister can hear and doesn’t know ASL, but they manage to communicate using home signs and lip reading. They’re both older and it was very sweet to hear that they are getting to spend their golden years together in such a beautiful community.

As we climbed the hill overlooking Leveque the team was filled with mixed emotion. None of us wanted the day to end, but when we reached the top it was time for one last prayer with the deaf leaders.

We had one more awesome time of prayer. Where we all prayed silently – those who knew sign language prayed ‘aloud.’ It’s so moving to see the expressive nature with which these deaf leaders pray. Seeing their fervor is stirring.

After the prayer there was a long period where we took photos. Photos of everyone with everyone else. Each deaf leader with each member of the team and then the deaf leaders and then the team and then the team with a few of the deaf leaders. Then the girls with Mackenson and William. Then the girls with just William. And a partridge in a pear tree. But it became evident we couldn’t put it off any longer; it was time to leave.

We headed back into Port Au Prince and arrived at New Life just before dark. Dinner was waiting for us – a delicious sort of meatballs and pasta. A few other teams were arriving to begin their trips even as we were preparing to leave. It was fun exchanging pleasantries and finding out what kind of work they were doing.

I had a conversation with a man named David who’s been working with an organization in Haiti for several decades. He was really impressed with the work we were doing. He affirmed the importance of moving the Haitian people toward sustainability. Moving them toward self-sufficience. He was impressed with how we were adamant that our ministry be to the leaders who in tern would minister to the rest of the community. It was encouraging to hear how impressed he was. David mentioned that there were many organizations who didn’t understand this principle. These NGOs do more harm than good as they just give handouts rather than woking to equip the people with the knowledge to elevate themselves for a lifetime. The affirmation was very encouraging.

Our team time in the evening was brief as we were all very tired, but we all were up and ready to go by 6:30 the next morning. As we waited for the truck to come and pick us up one last time Kyle went around the table and affirmed every member of the team – encouraging each one of us and talking about the areas in which he had seen us all grow during the week. We hopped on the truck and took our final ride to the airport. The ride was full of laughter. We were remembering all the good times we’d had that week.

When we got to the airport I had to separate from the group for most of the day as I was flying back by American Airlines while they flew back via Spirit Airlines. I’m told that they had some pretty fun times traversing the Caribbean, connecting in Ft. Lauderdale and finally landing in Atlanta. I had a few adventures of my own. My Miami layover was only an hour and a half long – which meant I had to go through passport control, baggage claim, customs, rechecking, security, and find my gate in a very short time. Remarkably I made it with time to spare. Ironically, despite my efforts to get to my connecting flight, the plane had a mechanical issue that took over an hour to resolve, so we didn’t end up flying out until almost 3:00.

On my flight from Miami I sat next to a Spanish woman. Not a Hispanic woman, but a woman who was actually from Spain. She only spoke spanish so naturally after being in Haiti all week I was delighted to finally have someone to talk to who I could really understand. I made conversation with her as best I could. She was very friendly and I even help the flight attendants understand what she wanted. When I got to Atlanta I originally had planned on picking up dinner, gassing up the car and picking up the others, but by the time I got out to the car I got a text from DC that they had just landed. So I locked the car and just walked back inside where I met the others as they entered the terminal.

Keri honored us with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem as we stepped outside. I’ve never been a part of a team that didn’t immediately all fall asleep as soon as they hit the car on the way back from the airport. No one fell asleep. We stopped for dinner and were undoubtedly the most obnoxiously loud group there. The last leg of the trip was spent singing, joking and laughing all the way back home to Montgomery. When we pulled up to the back parking lot of Frazer there was a group waiting for us and we were still laughing and singing and enjoying the camaraderie. DC closed us out with one last prayer and we called it a night. The trip was done.I’ve never been a part of a mission team that got as close as this one. It was nothing short of awesome.

I want to close with this: If you are a part of the Frazer family and if you are at all capable, you need to visit Haiti. I ran into someone this morning who I told needed to visit Haiti. He told me he wasn’t called there. I told him he needed to go regardless. I didn’t feel ‘called’ the first time I went. But that trip was enough to give the Holy Spirit a vocabulary in my life such that I was back three more times in less than a year. If I hadn’t gone that first time the help-portrait trip would never have happened in November and neither would the december trip where we brought them the photos.

If you have the desire and it feels impossible, God will make it possible. If you know you can do it and you’re not sure if you’re called. This is the call. You didn’t read this on accident. We have trips almost every month this year. In the meantime be praying. Pray for the deaf leaders. Pray for Kyle, our Missionary on the ground there. Pray for God’s will to be done in the nation of Haiti. Pray that what we’re doing today will have a ripple effect that will effect the whole world.

Mackenson in his house in the new Deaf Community.

 

Tagged , , ,

Haiti Trip Days 3&4

On wonderful wednesday morning after our devotional and breakfast at new life. Breakfast was an especially awesome rendition of french toast. I guess it was actually Creole toast. Creole toast is like french toast except you don’t conjugate the eggs. There was also an oatmeal that was easily the best tasting oatmeal I’ve ever had. I’d try to describe it, but it’s indescribable.

 

After breakfast we headed out to Leveque. The whole day was spent finishing painting the house that we started on our second day. We had to paint the first coat on one room and put the 2nd coat on the others. DC Cole, the trip’s leader was especially eager to finish the job we started. We not only put the first coat on the room we hadn’t started but at the end of the day we managed to put a second coat. As with the previous day we got to interact a great deal with the community.

One of the things that we’re seeing is that living among Haitians who can hear will be an adjustment for the deaf community. DC spoke with one of the Leveque residents who was baffled that we were talking with Mackenson and Alexis. This unfortunately is a common attitude, we’re hoping that we can help the members of the deaf community at Leveque elevate themselves in their society such that the others realize that they are equally capable. If they can do it there, we’re hopeful that they can do it across the entire nation of Haiti.

 

For lunch we headed to the same creole restaurant we went to in Cabaret the day before. This time as we walked in I noticed a chicken was walking around under our table. Later I would comment that I supposed he must be for lunch tomorrow. At least we know its fresh. I made the mistake of trying the hot sauce this time. It was as if my sinuses were a crowded theater and someone shouted ‘fire!’  But I accomplished what I wanted and that was to make my meal more of a challenge than it was the day before.

 

Wednesday I also tried put together a few sign phrases that I hadn’t before. After lunch when we were riding back to Leveque, Mackinson was asking some of us if we new deaf people before we got involved with the community in Haiti. We admitted that none of us had grown up around people who are deaf. I managed to sign to him, “But now, we have a big deaf family in Haiti.” And he smiled and signed ‘cool.’ When we got back later on William, the guy who sang-signed for us yesterday, showed up I told him that I want him to come to Frazer one day and sign for everyone there. He told me that I should learn to sing.

We painted until we ran out of paint. We had to stop for the day when they told us that they wouldn’t have more paint for us until friday. We had to leave one room half finished and stop for the day. We headed back to New Life for the evening.

 

After dinner, we engaged in a lengthy discussion on some future developments in the community. One of the recent changes was that the design of the church at Leveque has been adjusted by a leading architect who specializes in optimizing spaces for the people who are deaf. This means that the sight lines will be improved such that the members of the deaf community should be able to see their interpreter from almost anywhere in their new church home. The discussion was a great opportunity for the members of the team to get clarification on Frazer’s role and the hope that one day we’ll no longer be involved with the deaf community in Leveque, but rather we’ll be able to expand our scope here in Haiti and move onto other projects. After many great conversations we all headed to bed.

I should mention that Woody apparently talks in his sleep at that night DC caught him shouting angrily, “But I’m trying to serve God!” to someone in his dreams. Woody doesn’t remember what he was dreaming so we have no clue with whom he was arguing. But it was a funny event.

Thursday was a really cool day. We started off by visiting our friends at Rebuild Globally – an organization that is working to employ Haitians through creative means. They pay Haitians fair wages to make sandals out of trash – old tires and clothes. The sandals are actually excellent and we were able to see their efforts regarding planting a garden and starting a tilapia farm. It’s always cool and encouraging to see other groups and organizations succeeding at helping people move toward sustainability. It also is great because it gives us ideas as to ways we can help move our community (and future communities) toward sustainability as well.

Panoramic view from atop the MOH guest house

After that we headed to Mission of Hope’s compound for a bit to drop some things off at Kyle’s new apartment. It gave us a chance to see their campus – not all of the team has yet and it’s a pretty cool place. Frazer hopes to learn as much as we can from MOH and organizations like them so that one day we might be able to do something similar. Kyle got to have a chat with a few MOH leaders while the rest of us looked around. In the afternoon we stopped by Wahoo bay partially to take a little break partially to celebrate Kyle’s birthday. Wahoo is a resort which has a restaurant and beach access. We all took a few moments to hop in the water which was as clear as if it had come out of the tap. The scene was absolutely stunning. Clear water, mountains and a beautiful afternoon sun setting just above us.

We headed back to town before the sun set and came back to New Life. The truck ride back was the longest contiguous ride yet. I took some footage of us riding back as we came into town.

We gave kyle a few more gifts and had some cupcakes (which I had managed to bring in my suitcase all the way from Montgomery’s Publix.) We made our plans for the next day – which were mainly to try and make an effort to just relate to the community members and really speak the gospel into their lives.

So as we go out today, I ask for prayers – prayers that we will be bold, clear and have the Holy Spirit’s words. I pray that the language barriers would not be a problem even as we speak to the hearing people in the community. Please pray that our last day with them would be mightily effective.

Tagged , ,

Haiti Help Portrait Trip Day 2


I have to start this entry by saying thanks to everyone who has been writing us on Facebook, twitter and otherwise. We really appreciate your prayers and your kind words.

Today was another incredible day here in Haiti. Before breakfast was served we got talking about a particular youtube video then we had to pause and let everyone watch it. You may have seen the “Teasing the Dog” video – it got us all laughing. I mention this because it turned into a major joke throughout at the day and if you want to get a feel for the jovial attitude that this team has you’ll want to watch it. After breakfast we met and had a devotional where we talked about the day. We had a great prayer time. Kyle said that Josh made his journal today when he prayed for a Hope that is ignorant of the odds against us here in our endeavors with the deaf culture. Between a full night’s rest, a good breakfast, some fervent prayer and a hearty laugh we all felt really energized for the day.

 

We started off the day with a long ride to Leveque just outside of Cabaret, which is close to Chicago, oddly enough – that’s a musical theater joke – Okay, it wasn’t close to Chicago, but it did take us about as long to drive there. It was interesting to see rural Haiti after spending a day in Port Au Prince. The n

 

eighborhoods are generally safer and this area has lots fertile land and several good schools that the children in the community could attend. Mission of Hope has already built a considerable number of homes in this area already. The people living in this area all have space for gardens and we met a few of the residents as we came to tour around.

photo by Lori Mercer

Photo by Lori Mercer

We hiked around the property and saw where the deaf community will move – with the ocean just to the west and mountains to the east and plenty of room for gardening it’s a prime place for this relocation. We also saw the place for the new church that Frazer will be helping develop. I took the opportunity to take several video segments with Kyle explaining about where everything would be located. There will be basketball courts and a soccer field in addition to a new guest house for our future mission teams. I hope to have the video edited quickly and on the missions blog and transformation blog soon.

Photo by Billy Pope

Billy Pope, a photographer with 15 years experience said that this has been the most fun that he’s had shooting photos. The spirit ofratitude is palpable as its mutual between the deaf community and our team as we all feel so blessed to be here, participating in such a fun act of service. The single most common sign we see everyday is ‘thank you.’ Every time we show them their photo they say thank you and we thank them for letting us take it. The proud mothers with their children all lined up, the young couples as well as the elderly all lined up – each eager to get their picture taken and so loving and thankful while we’re just as thankful for the opportunity.

There were a number of children who were very fascinated with my beard. They all would run up to me andclimb up on me and start tugging at my chin. At one point I was carrying four children around. They’re all so loving and eager for attention. Many of the teenagers were also around at this point and I started talking with them teaching them different english words. Kyle was working hard to get all the kids young and old to start calling me “Grizzly Beard” this was too difficult for the Haitian children, to say fortunately so he settled for calling me “Papa Bear.” At one point they were all surrounding me chanting “Papa Bear! Papa Bear!”

One of the coolest people that we’ve gotten know over the past few days is thewoman that Kyle calls his ‘Haitian Mom’ I wish all of you could hear her voice – in spite of being deaf, she’s quite vocal and she has the most infectious laugh. She treats the kids like she’s all of their grandmother -shooing them away when they’re misbehaving and giggling when they’re being silly.

Perhaps the coolest indicator of how close we’ve become is that some of us have scored name-signs with the community. Yesterday the several leaders argued over what mine should be – they finally settled on a ‘W’ over the stomach (a loving comment on my weight.) Diane also got one – a ‘D’ on the cheek. I spent some time trying to pick up new signs today while the photographers shot. Again, the eagerness and thankfulness of the people in the community is just astounding.

Here are a few photos from today from Billy

And here are a few from Lori

And a few from Nick

My personal favorite moment of the day was probably toward the end of the day when a little boy came into the doorway of the leader’s hut. I had been sitting with the sign language dictionary trying to learn new signs. I signed to him “Christ Loves You” and he smiled and said back in sign language “Thank you.”

And so I end saying to all of you – Christ loves you and thank you for your continued prayers. Tomorrow is our last full day so please pray that it will be all that it can be. So far the trip has been amazing.

Tagged ,

Haiti Help Portrait Trip Day 1

butch said we had to be up at 4:00 in the morning, my response was “No, silly 4:00 is in the afternoon!” Photo by Lori Mercer

Mr. T escorting us by motorcycle to the New Life Children’s home Photo by Lori Mercer

I write to you at the end of a very long day. We started today at 3:00am (for us) and flew out of Ft. Lauderdale. We got to the airport really early but took some time to review our sign language and Creole. The flight was good. We arrived around 10am and made our way to the New Life Children’s home where most of Frazer’s teams stay on our trips here. The compound includes a guest house, church, garden and orphanage. It’s walled and there’s an armed guard at the gate. There is no better place for mission teams to stay at Port Au Prince.

Kyle met us in the airport and we were escorted from there by our Haitian police friend who is lovingly referred to as “Mr.T.” Once we got to New Life we sat down and Kyle told us a little about how things were going to go. He told us that the leadership of the deaf community volunteered to organize the people in the community to be ready to have the photos taken.

When we arrived at the community we were quickly mobbed by all of the children who absolutely love Kyle. As soon as the car from 410 drove up children came running out of the huts to meet him. Many people are surprised to find out that even though the adults in the community are deaf, most of the children are hearing. It’s very common for this to happen, but especially in Haiti where much of the deafness comes as the result of illness rather than condition from birth. The children in the community love to sing. Kyle plays guitar for them and goes through the few praise songs that he knows – often translating them into Creole. One of the coolest moments of the day was hearing all these Haitian children singing at the top of their lungs ‘Wi Jezi, wi Jezi, wi Jezi…’ – the chorus from ‘Trading my Sorrows.”

We got to hear from several members of the leadership council most of whom are very young and all seem like very smart, determined people. Mackenson St.Louise is one of the leaders and he is determined that the community learn English as well as French, Creole and Proper American Sign Language. In an effort to help in their endeavors we delivered to them several books that help teach proper sign language. They wasted no time as soon as we were done they they all took one of the books and set down to read them. It was awesome to watch them as they devoured the books – each of them was trying out the signs depicted in the books and then showing the others.

Josh Brewer, our wonderful translator was there to translate several amazing stories as the leadership council each shared where they were during the earth quake and how they came to the deaf community. You can hear more about Mackinson’s awesome story on kyle’s blog.

Photo by Lori Mercer

The team and the members of the deaf community were fast friends as they were all telling us stories and asking us questions. Many of them sat with us as we all hand-spelled our names and made what conversation we could. It was an enormous blessing. We took a tour of the community were we saw that a number of the people there have already started their own micro enterprise – artisans hocking their wares, other people selling other kinds of goods – there’s even a local pub.

Let the Photos Begin

Photo by Lori Mercer

Finally we started taking photos. God really provided for us in a cool way when it came time for us to decide where we were going to shoot. Since the first meeting we had been wondering were we were going to stage the photos, originally thinking that we’d try taking them totally outside in front of the T-houses you see in the above picture. But when we got there we found out that just in the past few weeks a new tent had been donated by UMCOR (woot! woot! UMC represent!). The tent was the perfect size and opacity; It provided a great back drop with a neutral white and wonderful diffused light that allowed the photographers to set up a single flash and take pictures that look exactly as if they’d been taken in in a studio.

It didn’t take long for word to get around the camp and soon Billy, Lori and Nick had their hands full with families wanting their photos taken together. Diane was busy taking names so that we were sure to match up the photos with the correct households when we return with the framed photos in December. I acted as a light stand for much of the afternoon. Butch was doing crowd control and Josh was in the middle the whole time, making sure that everyone was understood. I wish I could tell you how amazing it was to take photos of these people and show it to them. Though none of them speak english – and many of them don’t speak at all – we could all see the joy in their faces as they each saw a photo of themselves. All of them were very thankful. It was funny to see the number of things that are universal – the awe of an elderly couple looking into each others’ eyes in one photo, teenagers refusing to smile in a family picture and the fact the everyone feels joy knowing that they’re worth photographing.

Here are a few of the photos from today – all three photographers contributed a great deal today. These three photos were taken by Billy Pope. You can see the larger image by clicking on them. Keep in mind these were all taken in the same tent in the deaf community.

for more photos by Nick, you can visit his blog 

End of the day

Tonight we had the blessing of joining the children at the New Life Center for their evening devotional. Though the whole thing was in creole, I was still struck by the sincerity of their faith and the universality of our God. As the team leader I was asked to stand up and tell the kids who we were so I explained through a translator what we were doing and introduced the team. After the devotional each one of the children approached each one of us to wish us ‘good night’ or ‘god bless’ in english. It was a really cool experience.

over all it was a really good day – we’re all excited to get back out there tomorrow, but the whole team is really tired. Even as I finish writing this a little after 9, I’m the last one awake. Thanks for your continued prayers – we’ve been feeling them! God is doing a great work here!

Tagged ,

My Help Portrait Trip to Haiti Day 0

The Team: Billy Pope – photographer, Josh Brewer – interpreter, Lori Mercer – photographer, Diane Klaaren – Assistant, Myself, Butch McPherson – director of missions, Nick Drollette – Photographer

As some of you know Frazer, my church and place of employment is currently partnered with 410 Bridge to help house, educate and disciple the deaf community of Haiti. We’re also now working with Mission of Hope which miraculously helped us find land free of charge for the deaf community in exchange for our partnership with them to provide spiritual development for an entire community of Haitians, both Deaf and hearing. You might be interested in reading the posts from my first trip to Haiti to hear were we were back in april, and then check out this video to hear the most recent update from Kyle Reschke, our missionary on the ground.

This is my second trip to Haiti and my first Help Portrait event – What is Help portrait you ask? Well you can visit their website for more detailed information or you can simply check out this graphic:

And this is what we’re going to do for the Haitian Deaf community. Frazer’s November mission team to Haiti will arrive in Port Au Prince tomorrow morning. We’ve got three pro photographers and myself (an enthusiastic hobbyist) as well as a couple of people to assist and an interpreter for the deaf. We’re going to take high quality portraits of each family in the community and return in december to give them their photos, matted and framed as a christmas gift from Frazer. It’ll be the first picture they’ll have to hang in their new homes. Many of these people have had photographs taken of them, but they’ve never had a portrait of their family that they could keep. For some of them it may be the first photo of themselves they ever owned. But more than the photos we just want to love of the deaf community. Relationship building is always the number one goal of these trips and we’re hoping that through those relationships we’ll see more and more people in Haiti – deaf and hearing – come to know Christ.

Today we traveled to florida and took a few moments to get to know each other and talk about how we’re going to be working as a team over the next few days. It’s a tall order to get high-quality portraits for over 150 families over the next three days, but I believe this group is up to the challenge. So far our team has really enjoyed hanging out – just check out their Facebook pages for some of the fun pictures from today’s day of travel.

We’re all very excited about tomorrow and the team is very appreciative of the support we’ve been shown on Facebook today – lots of people are praying for us and that is a huge encouragement. We’re hoping that more than giving them great portraits that we’ll get a good opportunity to relate to the community. You can be praying for us in several ways: That the language barrier isn’t a barrier, that we’re able to use our time there wisely and that the weather holds out so that we can get portraits of the whole community.

Further reading:

-You might be interested in reading the posts from my first trip to Haiti

-You can always visit Frazer’s Mission Blog and Transformation Blog to read about the progress of this and other projects.

-To get closest to the action visit kyleinhaiti.com to hear from Kyle Reschke, a good friend of mine, and Frazer’s missionary in the field in the deaf community.

Thanks for your prayers and if the internet connection cooperates I hope to be writing you tomorrow evening as well.

Tagged ,

Haiti Trip: Day 2

Bonswa everyone! It has been a busy day here. It started with breakfast at the guest house. There was delicious mango that was (as with most of the food) grown right here on the compound. After thinking the kitchen staff, we drove to the deaf camp to take a census of the residents.

In order to take the census more quickly we split into two teams, each had one person who could interpret for the deaf and one person who could interpret for Creole. The Deaf camp has made considerable improvement over the last time we sent a team. They now have what are called “T-houses” – T for temporary. The houses are made of plywood and have tin roofs but have no bathrooms or water of any kind. They do have porches which is where they spend most of their free time.

 

The Census was mainly to find out if the community was interested in relocating and overwhelmingly they responded in the positive. During this time I walked around with my HVX200 video camera and a D90 still camera. I was surprised that everyone who saw me smiled – many beckoned me over to take their picture. I was shocked by how interested they were in being photographed. This reminded me of of some interesting charities I heard about at Catalyst last year that take photos of people in marginalized communities so that those people can have a photo of themselves and their family. So I’m contemplating a photography mission trip in the near future.

While the situation was much better than it was last time (largely thanks to the IFRC who built the T-houses) it is far from what most americans would consider livable. They have to walk to another part of the camp to take a shower, they have to walk even further to use the toilet. Parts of the camp have very tall grass still, which means misquotes and malaria.

 

Robin Pass, who was worried at first that she would have trouble communicating with the deaf, served as one of our interpreters. She was surprised to find out that the deaf here in Haiti are very similar to those in Alabama. Possibly the biggest difference is that when they sign they are mouthing Creole. Robin and Tara speak english while they sign. Both Tara and Robin say that the Haitians do sign with a Creole “accent” while Robin signs with a southern “accent” and Tara signs with a New York “accent.” It made me wonder if there are any deaf people who do impersonations of each other.

In the afternoon we took a drive around down town Port Au Prince.

If you have heard that Haiti has not progressed since the earth quake and didn’t believe it, here is photo proof. What you see here was actually a government building that housed several government agencies. It still lies in total ruin. As we drove past the first time I couldn’t process what I was seeing fast enough to take a picture – this was from the second time we passed it. We also visited St. V
incent’s, a school for the handicapped that had to be relocated after the earthquake. They teach deaf, blind and otherwise handicapped children. Robin signed with some teenagers there and remarked on how much they were like American teens; they were coy with their signing at first, blocking her view – (whispering, if you will) but they eventually warmed up to us. When we asked about school they all said they were done with school for the day and they didn’t want to talk about school

things. We took a picture of our entire team including Tara, Ronald and Margaret from 410 Bridge and several of the kids at St. Vincent’s.

The young man in the wheel chair told Robin that his parents abandoned him because he was deaf and lame and therefore ‘useless.’ Robin wouldn’t let him go until he finally said “I now understand that I am important.” He and all the kids at the school really enjoyed having their pictures taken.

We continued through Port Au Prince where we continued to see more devastation.


These piles of rubble are everywhere throughout the city – combined with trash and (sorry if this is too graphic) even human waste. Perhaps the greatest indicator of the condition of the country was what they call the palace. This is their White House and in the wake of the disaster it looks like a strong wind could blow it over.

Could you imagine our white house looking like this? The dome is cracked and fallen forward. It looks like a scene from the movie Independence Day after the aliens have attacked. Could you imagine living in a country that couldn’t organize enough to repair it’s president’s house?

When we finally got back and had dinner we met with a woman named Georgia who is part German part Haitian. She works with the deaf community. This was very helpful in learning about all the players in the situation.

  1. “Friends of Deaf Haiti” – an organization that got the community to the location its in today and with the help of a french diplomat and an American. These people advise the community and are trusted as the leaders. 410 bridge is working on building their and our relationship with them
  2. 410 Bridge – the mission organization with which we’ve partnered. Most well known for their work in Africa, they specialize in building self-suffecient communities based off of micro-enterprising.
  3. Frazer – Us, the church that wants to preach the gospel, educate and build church for the people in the deaf community as well as answer any medical needs they have and assist in their becoming independent.
  4. The IFRC – International Federation of the Red Cross (not the same as the American Red Cross) this group oversees the land that the camp is on – they want to move in blind and paraplegic Haitians.
  5. Other smaller players – We’ve run into a few other smaller groups that also want to get involved in way way or another – not all of them are looking to collaborate in their efforts.

So the short version is – we need prayer to be sure that all entities can come together to help this community as best we can.

Tagged , ,

Haiti Trip: Day 1

As some of you know, I have the honor of accompanying a few folks from Frazer on a Mission cultivation trip in Port Au Prince, Haiti. While our church has taken many trips to Haiti for different purposes, this is the second in a series toward a long-term goal of growing and developing relationships with a deaf community here (here because I’m in La Plaine as I type this.) We’re hoping to help them over the next several years, build housing, develop education and most of all show and tell them about the love of Jesus Christ.

Already the trip has been quite amazing – after a long journey that started at 3 am we arrived in Haiti this afternoon and made contact with Tara, a young woman here who is working with the deaf community. Tara introduced us to Ronald and Tompi who are both Haitian men that are also employed by 410 bridge. The team that came late last year for the vision trip had met Ronald at that time. He speaks english well and all three of the 410 staff here are obviously passionate about their work here.

We were escorted by a policeman to a children’s home that has a very impressive walled compound here. We’re staying in the guest house – we had a great meal here – most of the food was grown right here on the compound, its the only way to be sure its clean enough to eat fresh.

 

John Paul’s Story

After dinner here we were introduced to Pastor John Paul. Now, I’m going to try to tell his story in brief because its amazing, I might not have all the details exactly right. John Paul was born in Haiti. When he was young he went to a revival where a missionary called him down and said he wanted to pay for him to go to the US and be educated, go to seminary and return to Haiti to preach. He agreed because he wanted to go to the US.

The man was true to his word and got John Paul to live with a family in the states where he finished high school and went to seminary. The missionary showed up at his graduation and John Paul didn’t even know who he was, the man gave him $1000 and told him to go back to Haiti and preach the word. John Paul thanked him and stayed in the states. He got an electrical engineering degree. He got married He got a job. He had kids. He lost a job and got a better one. All the while he had a dream in which he said he saw ‘a man’ who said to him “When are you going to go back to Haiti?” All the while he was getting wealthier and more comfortable. One day when he was taking his kids on a vacation in a brand new car when the car lost control – perfectly good weather, first time driving the brand new car and he lost control of it – he nearly drove it off of a bridge when it suddenly stopped.

That night he had the dream again and this time the man said “I could’ve killed you today. Go to Haiti or I will kill you and send someone else.” He was awakened by his wife who said she had a dream in which a man told her that He would’ve killed them because her husband hadn’t come back to Haiti. This was particularly miraculous because in all their time together he’d refused to tell her how he got to the US or anything about his life in Haiti. She asked him “What kind of deal have you made?” and he told her. They agreed he needed to go to Haiti. He came back here eight years ago.

This is all the short version, believe it or not, but today he has a children’s home with 60+ kids and a church with 2,000 members. He told several miraculous stories, but possibly the most amazing was about the day of the earthquake here. He had a meeting with his staff that day because he was tired of the Kids getting dinner late because it wasn’t ready. He told them if they didn’t eat earlier that day that he would fire them all. He even stopped through halfway through the day and reminded them. In the afternoon he felt unusually tired and so he went home early – so he wasn’t there to be sure that they got food on time.

When he got home the earthquake hit and by the time he got back to the shelter he saw that everything was flattened, including the place where they ate their meals. He began to cry and shout, looking for everyone when someone came and found him. “Pastor!” he said “They are all alright… The food was’t ready!” As it turns out the staff had worked hard to get the kids there on time and they weren’t ready. All of the children and his staff survived.

The earthquake’s effects are unimaginable; tent cities as far as the eye can see in some parts of the city. John Paul’s congregation lost over 200 people to the Earthquake, so much prayer is still needed – Imagine one pastor having to comfort 200 grieving families.

There is much more

It is clear there is much to be done here and I could write for hours just on today, but I hope that I’ll be able to get some good footage tomorrow and perhaps tell you more about it tomorrow night. Prayers are appreciated. To God be the glory!

Tagged , ,
Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798