Members of the Celebrate Church team each share their unique takes on their first few days in Haiti, and the things that are challenging them.

Josie Burgett

They say that love is a universal language, and the love we experienced today, both individually and as a group, was a love strong enough to break the cultural barriers that exist between us Iowans and the beautiful people of Haiti. As we stepped foot in the yard of the block house that our group was painting, I could feel a sense of nervousness about how we would connect and communicate with the family because of the language barrier. However, I quickly realized that you don’t necessarily need words to communicate joy, compassion, and the love of Jesus. All you really need is arms to hold, fingernails to paint, and a huge heart.

The painting begins The family putting their hand prints on the house

A family with a beautiful house!

I experienced three distinct feelings today: the power of God, the love of Jesus Christ our Savior, and the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit. We started out the day with morning devotions as a group, then split up into two separate groups, one to paint and one to pour concrete for two different families, and ended the day at an orphanage full of beautiful children that have the biggest smiles regardless of their circumstances.

I think I speak for the group when I say that we were all humbled and empowered by our experiences today. I have never seen so many smiles in one place. God is so good.

Judd Nelson

I don’t know if I can say it any better than Josie did above. It is tricky by not knowing their language but a smile and hug and a “God bless you” is definitely a language that we all speak. The experience of pouring concrete in the family’s home is one I will never forget. Playing frisbee with their kids brought everyone pure joy.

Painting nails Working together to get the floor done Carrying water to the site Transforming the lives of families together

The orphanage was a humbling time. The situation those kids are in, yet they just glow. I had one little girl paint my finger nails and another paint my toe nails, they thought that was the funniest thing they had ever seen. They looked at each other like ” why is this crazy American letting us paint his nails”. I didn’t care about what I looked like, their smiles made it worth it. It was also neat to see how the kids interacted with Heidi Schulte. Celebrate Church sponsored her with our VBS offering for a couple years, so it was inspiring to watch her love those kids and have them love her back.

The food the staff here makes is AWESOME! Tonight has been filled with full contact game of spoons, lots of laughs, rich devotions and some amazing conversations about our faith. This trip has solidified for me the saying ” God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”! The work God is doing here is hard to express in words but inspiring to experience. Thank you all for your prayers and we miss you all. (Tug on the earlobe) Strength and courage

Soccer on the MH4H campus Playing spoons after a long day The spoon scramble!

Nolan Crossett and Nicholas Moats

Bonswa! Welcome to the Saturday night special, with Nolan Crossett and Nicholas Moats. Today we woke up bright and early at 6:30 am, to the smell of delicious pancakes make by the wonderful Gabhart’s. Shortly after we were led through the market by Richelin, Woodsen, and Kenedy, 3 young guys that work with MH as translators. While at the market Nolan had one job, that was to keep track of the youngest in the group, Jake. One thing that stuck out to Nick was how there is only one day a week where people can purchase basic supplies such as meat, bread, livestock, and many other goods necessary for that week.

After the market we headed back to campus to load six PET carts and our team and the guys that help with the PET carts to take to handicapped people. We left on our trek across the Haitian countryside to the town of San Raphaël, about an hour rugged terrain and through rivers. In a Saint Raphaël school yard we helped assemble the PET carts for six individuals who have a variety of different disabilities. These carts will give the recipients an independence to help overcome the difficulties of their disability. While in the school yard we had the opportunity to meet many of the children from the community and show them God’s love and help bring a smile to their face. We ate packed lunches before we traveled back toward campus.

Loaded with 6 PET carts to San Raphael Passing through the river to San Raphael The river Getting to know the recipients Reviewing the contract The recipients Praying a blessing over the PET cart recipients A new freedom in mobility

Along the way we stopped at the house we helped lay concrete in during day 2. This family welcomed us inside with open arms and asked if we would pray for them. After their first night sleeping on a concrete floor they were very grateful and thankful for God’s work though our hands. Back at campus we ate spaghetti prepared by the kitchen staff. These two ladies are truly a blessing and we cannot thank them enough for the hard work they put in.

Throughout the day we saw many examples of how God has equipped us to serve with skills we never knew we had. We would like to thank everyone for keeping us in your prayers throughout this experience. We can already see how God is changing all of our hearts to be more like his. Apparently we are singing for church tomorrow… So we better start memorizing lyrics and teaching Bobbert to use the cha chas.