This is written by James Verhoef, JoAnn Blom, and Dave Gritters of the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella, IA. They are serving in Pignon, Haiti.
It has truly been a privilege to be able to visit God’s most cherished people.  A video we watched described the poorest among us as royalty.  I always saw them as equal, and often envious of there life, but not as royalty.  We also are taught in the Bible to love your neighbor as yourself, with this trip my neighborhood has expanded well beyond Pella, beyond Iowa, and beyond America. It has for everyone of us.  A song we have sung here together has a line that goes; “no power of hell no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand”.  I used those words as comfort leaving family after family.  But today I was reminded and I will like to remind all of you that I am, we are those hands of God.  I thank Dave Gritters for leading this trip in a manner that showed us the sights sounds and smells of a poverty famished land, while presenting material that challenged us to think of our part in helping people we meet on the streets, in the hospital and in the country side.  I thank God for assembling this team, it is truly inspiring to see how he constructs a team with so many different talents but all unified in one purpose.  It is going to be an interesting journey back to American lifestyle, and to Iowa and the snow.  The snow will probably be the biggest shock first, but we know it will soon melt.  Our challenge as a team is not to let the memories, faces and sights melt from our hearts.  But to hold onto them firm, sharing our experiences and hopefully challenge others to be the hands and feet of God to the royalty among us.James Verhoef

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The end of our mission work trip is coming to an end.  Another lovely hot day in Haiti.  The old rooster was still crowing at 10:30 last night and started at least by 3:30 this morning.  We all talk about how his loud crow but do nothing about him.  I even take my hearing aids out at night and still hear him.  So you know it has to be bad.  That’s enough about the rooster.  This morning five of our team got up at 5 and climbed the mountain and seen a beautiful sunrise.  They were a bit tired but hung in there and arrived back safely.  We went to the feeding clinic at the orphanage.  We bagged up rice and beans to give to the moms who come with their babies.  They are weighed, examined, and given vitamins if needed.  Monday morning they picked up a 3 year old boy, whose mom was a servant slave and couldn’t provide food or take care of him.   He will now live at the orphanage.  They have to give him small amounts of food because his stomach isn’t used to it.  He doesn’t know how to play with toys because he has never seen them.  They named him Billy, his mother hadn’t even named him.  Thank God for the orphanage!  It was a quite day for us gals.  They guys made three more desks, cleaned paint brushes, organized tools, and fixed up a PET, which needed some TLC.  it is now ready for a child.  They also assembled a new PET and delivered it.  The child was at school so he’ll have a surprise when he gets home.  This is the end of our journey to Haiti, it was a real eye opener and interesting.  Thank you Dave for all your hard work in planning it.  We won’t forget the beautiful people in Haiti and we wish them God’s blessing.  We hope we have given some of them a better life through our small efforts to help them.

JoAnn Blom

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A view from half-way up the mountain.

A view from half-way up the mountain.

Today was a special day for me.  I tend to see God in creation so starting out at 5 am to climb Mt. Pignon is priceless to me.  To get to the top of the mountain and be able to see for miles, flat land one way and range after range of mountains peeking through the fog to the other direction.  After that Marge and I zipped right over to the orphanage to check out the feeding program.  I will say that I have only ever seen pictures of completely malnourished children until today.  Heart breaking and good for me to see.

Dave and one of his purchased goats, John.

Yesterday’s trip into the country with John Robert (Robere) taught me more about relative poverty.  Compared to USA, Port au Prince has little, compared to Port Au Prince – Pignon has little, compared to Pignon – the country side has little.  I just couldn’t get over what I was experiencing and how it just is not right.  What a terrible power sin has on our world and what good rewards Christians in poverty will experience when Jesus comes again.  Today was also special for me because at Christmas our whole Gritters family decided to pool money to buy goats.  We were able to purchase 10.  Today, I was able to present the goats to these families – that was so neat.  What a blessing it is to be able to meet the families that we have helped in such a tangible way.  For those in my family who read this, you will be happy to know that one goat is named John and I have the pictures to prove it.  Please pray for our group as we head home Thursday and Friday.  Please pray for our team also as we keep wrestling with what God has taught us in Haiti and that we never forget.

Dave Gritters

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