STACEY GAGNE – Today was day one of the building project on Joy in Hope’s land. Joy in Hope has 17 acres of land on the ocean in Jacmel, Haiti. Our team has the privilege of helping to build the first building on the land! Today we worked with a team of 15 – 20 men from Projet Connect . After the earthquake, Joy in Hope helped provide several families from one of the tent camps with rental homes. As part of a work for housing project, Joy in Hope has paid for their rent for the year with the agreement that the Haitians will help with various Joy in Hope projects to be eligible for another year of paid rent.
The men had the project underway having leveled and dug out the foundation. When we arrived we were put to work bending, cutting and tying metal and assembling posts that will serve as structure for the house. Mike and Georgette, the Directors of Development for Joy in Hope and some hired crew leaders gave us instruction and patiently re-directed people like me who are not so used to construction work. We had fun joking around while sweating and trying to stay hydrated!
It is really exciting to know that what we are doing is getting the ball rolling for the development of this land! Later this week we will get the full tour of the land. Thinking that in the future the kids will be playing here in this beautiful land on the ocean and all of the possibilities this will offer for community impact is so exciting!
Oh, and on the way home … we saw the brightest double rainbow I’ve ever seen. I think you can only see one in the pictures… so you’ll have to take my word for it.
There are opportunities to get involved with future projects or to join with the vision. Please visit Joy in Hope online or on Facebook and connect!
STACEY GAGNE - We’re wrapping up our first full day here in Jacmel. Since today was Sunday, we had a great day including church with Joy in Hope and the afternoon at Raymond Beach!
I saw some examples of how life in Haiti may not always go as planned. Like running water in the shower. As we got ready to go to church this morning we got a rain storm. Since our team and all of the children from Joy in Hope would need to pile in the back of tap taps for a long wet ride to get to church we decided to move to a plan B and had house church at the Haitian Children’s Home. It was great. The children taught us some songs in Creole and English and Nick shared a devotional focusing on the parables of the coin, the pearl and the lost sheep and talked about the truths hidden within the parables about how much God loves us and seeks us out because we are precious to Him. I loved hearing the children processing what they were learning about Gods’ love for us! This is what Joy in Hope is all about. Loving these kids. Being family. Demonstrating how Jesus loves them to the children.
After a delicious lunch made by the staff at the Isaiah house, we headed to Raymond beach. The weather in Haiti changes quickly and our rainy day turned gorgeous! We piled in the tap taps … I chose to ride in the back and it was really fun (and windy). On our way, one of the vehicles had a flat tire that was quickly changed by Nick and Hughes while the children enjoyed some sugar cane. With the conditions of the roads around here I would guess this is not an unusual thing for them.
The beach was beautiful… the view, spectacular blue water. At the same time there were also piles of trash everywhere … and livestock. This was definitely something to get used to. There were also the vendors who were determined to sell us their various souvenirs, art and food. We had a blast playing in the ocean with the kids, making sand creations, flying kites and just hanging out.
I’m thankful for a true day of rest and fun before we head into our work week. The building project work bright and early!
STACEY GAGNE - We’re here! The OBX Haiti team is settling in at our home for the week at The Isaiah House here in Jacmel. Our team of 8 from the Outer Banks, Raleigh, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Pennsylvania made all of our connections and came together with about 1000 lbs of luggage. Our team ranges from one who has never been out of the country to several well seasoned travelers. Over the last several months we have connected through Facebook and it was really exciting to meet each other face to face and begin our journey. I plan to introduce you to some of the team during some of my call in reports. Members of our team will also be sharing their thoughts at OBX Haiti.
Today we flew into Port au Prince and made the (about) 3 1/2 hour journey along the coast and over the mountains to Jacmel. We loaded all of our luggage into the back of the Joy in Hope Truck/Tap Tap and were on our way. We passed by some of the tent cities in Port au Prince, many roadside markets, and then drove an incredibly windy road through the mountains. Our driver honked his horn continuously to let drivers around the upcoming curves know we were coming through (or to push our way through traffic).
We’re excited to get started on our project this week, but first tomorrow we will go to church and then spend some time at the beach with the Joy in Hope family. The rest of the week we’ll be working on building a home on their land (the foundation has already been laid for us), spending time with the kids, sorting through and distributing the supplies we’ve pulled together and learning more about the people here in Jacmel.
Here are some pictures that I took along the way (many out the window of a moving van).
It is a very exciting time right now. I’m currently packing my office for our move to Junction Road while also packing the items that I need for Haiti. As I’ve been sitting here loading files into file boxes I was thinking about the trip and what I’m most looking forward to.
On the practical side, I have to admit I’m really looking forward to that moment when we get our luggage loaded onto the truck! I’ll also be glad when I pack my luggage into the car on Friday knowing that I have fit everything I could think of into my carry on. Woo hoo. Sweet relief!
The thing I’m most looking forward to, though, is those moments of just being there, in the moment, loving people! When I traveled to Ethiopia with Compassion last year, I quickly found that the things I will bring and the “help” that I can give are certainly important … but the time spent playing with the children and hearing their stories and telling mine … making live, human connections … these are what I took away from the experience. These are the moments I’ll be sharing with you back here at home. It’s my desire to connect you with the organization: Joy in Hope, while also showing how JOY and HOPE through JESUS are being displayed in another part of the world. What an opportunity!
This morning I had the opportunity to be on the Get Up and Go Show during the 7:00 hour to share about my trip to Haiti next week. We also got to interview Nick Mangine live from Jacmel, Haiti on Skype. It was great to hear him briefly share his heart and give our listeners some framework for what our time will be doing while we are there. You can hear the interview at the WJTL Casts page.
This Friday, my friend Chris Boone and I will be flying to Miami to join the rest of the team as well as Gwenn Mangine who is returning to Haiti after a visit with her family. I am really anxious to meet the rest of the team and to see Gwenn. I’ve known Gwenn and Nick for years through the Creation Festival family.
When the team is all together, it’s going to be quite a sight to see all of our bags full of supplies all in one place! Saturday morning we fly out of Miami to Port Au Prince and then will make the journey from there to Jacmel. Apparently depending on weather it could be a 2 to 4 hour ride. That will be quite a journey, I’m sure!
Please check out the Joy in Hope Facebook. If you scroll down through you can see lots of pictures including some of the homes that other mission teams have built and of course there are lots of pictures of the kids. Our team will be building a small house on the Joy in Hope land while we are there while also hanging out with the kids in the Mangine house, the children and families in the community and doing whatever else we can to help and be an encouragement.
Below is a picture of 9 of the 12 kids in the Mangine home. I can’t wait to see them!!
Last night I had the opportunity to sit in at a very important movie premier. I attended a screening of 58: The Film at Manor theater in Lancaster. Hope International hosted this screening and helped to prepare, share scripture and even pray with the audience in attendance before and after the film. Hope International is one of the lead agencies partnering together in this initiative to fight poverty. Other lead agencies you may recognize include Compassion , Food for the Hungry, International Justice Mission, and many others (complete listing is available at the Partnering Page of the 58 website). The coming together of so many organizations really excites me! But I am getting ahead of myself.
58:, named for Isaiah 58, is a reminder that God desires us to carry out the True Fast, one that cares for the poor and oppressed. It’s also a reminder that the end of extreme poverty is possible and in fact is already starting to happen. While the film took us on a journey across the world, we witnessed some really hard stories in areas like Ethiopia, Kenya, and India. We also saw the impact that is being and has been made by those who have chosen to do something! Though there is still so much poverty in the world, huge leaps have been made and there is hope if we continue to prayerfully act!
On a personal note, this was incredibly timely for me as I head to Haiti next week. I am invigorated and inspired. It also brought me back a year to my own time in Ethiopia. (I think I even recognized a Compassion staff member!)
I would encourage you to check out 58:. Find it and “like it” on Facebook and then get a screening set up for your church, small group, business or organization. Also, consider “What’s in your hand” that may save a life!!
Desiring for “our light to break forth like the dawn”
STACEY GAGNE - Two weeks from today the journey begins in our trip to Jacmel. How did we get here so fast?
Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to correspond with the teammates that I’ll be traveling with. Some of the 9 of us are seasoned travelers to Haiti and some of us are first timers. It’s going to be beautiful to see how God uses our different strengths, giftings and experience as we serve there. I’m sure you will get to hear from some of them as we share our stories with the WJTL audience.
Each of us are packing bags with essentials like towels, formula, diapers, clothes, toys… you name it… to bring and bless people with. I have one giant duffle bag ready to go and need to do some shopping for filling a second bag. I am so excited to get there, meet some beautiful people and share my experiences with you!
I’ll be flying out of the area on Friday October 21st and traveling from Miami to Port Au Prince on Saturday the 22nd and will be there until the 29th.
I would appreciate your pray for these final 2 weeks of preparation!
Yesterday I was sitting in the Passport Health Office realizing it had been almost exactly a year (off by one day) that I was there! Some of you may remember my trip to Ethiopia with Compassion International last October. It was my very first missions trip on my very first passport and really was life changing. Yesterday it was time to update some immunizations for another adventure!
I’m excited to tell you that I am preparing to travel this October to Jacmel, Haiti! I will be traveling with a team going to work with Joy in Hope, a ministry whose vision is to:
“support, encourage and build Haitian families in order to provide them with the spiritual, educational cultural and physical foundation needed to impact their community, their nation and the world for Christ. Joy In Hope accomplishes its mission through three branches of ministry: children’s homes, churches and schools and numerous outreach efforts such as educational programs, evangelism, feeding and nutritional programs and medical clinics. Each of these avenues allows Joy In Hope to provide a Christ-centered model for serving in the local community.”
Our team of 9 from several different states will be joining together to bless this community that is still recovering from the earthquake. It’s also a special trip for me because I’ll be traveling with some friends I have made through volunteering at Creation Festival as well as making some new ones. Also, my friends Gwenn and Nick and their family are on staff with Joy in Hope and live in Jacmel. The leader of our trip is Denise, Gwenn’s mom. I expect that it will be a special trip in many ways and I’m thrilled to introduce the WJTL audience to my friends at Joy in Hope.
Some things we’ll be doing there as a team may include home construction, distribution of diapers, formula and other supplies, working on the land where the Children’s Home is to be built and just generally being an encouragement to the community there in whatever ways we can as we share the Love of Jesus.
I am excited to have the opportunity to serve on this team and share my experiences with the WJTL listening audience. Tune in during the week of October 24th as I report to you live from Jacmel, Haiti! . Thanks for keeping our team in your prayers.
LISA LANDIS- In 2007 Hurricane Felix unleashed its power on the village of Boom Sirpi. The village is located along the Mosquito Coast (or Miskito Coast), Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Friends in Action Executive Director Tim Johnston and I visited with one of the village judges who was living in the village at the time of the storm. He talks about the storms impact and the hope that FIA is bringing to the people, who are still rebuilding after the 2007 storm.