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Saturday
Jul042015

Packing

Innisfail Alliance Church is getting ready to go! Tomorrow is our day of travel. Looking forward to seeing what God is doing in Haiti and joining in with our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Chris Girvan

Wednesday
May062015

Pictures are coming... Surrey Alliance, May 6(b)

Hey all!

I know you've all been craving pictures, and I'm SO sorry that we haven't posted many pics from our team.  The first 4 pictures took 2 hours to load, and I'm sure you'll understand how other priorities were on our minds.  Rest assured, we'll gather and post pictures on our Facebook Page & on our Surrey Alliance Church website next week, and be sure to come to our May 17th worship service (10:30am) so you can see them all!

We're packing now, and after our last trip to the beach, we'll be eating our last dinner here at Haiti Arise, debriefing with Mark & Lisa, and going to bed!

Much love to all of you,

Laura

 

Wednesday
May062015

Whispers... Surrey Alliance, May 6

Often when you go on a mission’s trip there is great pressure to have this massive earth shattering encounter with God.  This pressure can come from other people, but often we place this on ourselves.  I mean, “Why would you spend all this money and go so far other than to encounter God?”  Of course, God can reveal himself in BIG ways, he CAN shout and get our attention.  Actually, he is God and he can reveal himself as he chooses. However, in my experience, it is often through the whispers, the quiet and the small things that we hear God.  I love what happens to Elijah in 1 Kings 19…he encounters God, but it’s not how we would expect.

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

I find it significant that God was not in the wind, or the earthquake or the fire, but it was in the gentle whisper that Elijah heard and encountered God. Here’s why I tell you this. Did most of us have this massive life changing encounter with God while we were in Haiti? No. Did we hear from God through the stillness, the small things and the whispers? Yes!

One of the ways that impacted me was by pumping water at a well for a young lady and then carrying her buckets to her home.  Just a small act of kindness and service, and yet, it was through this that I sensed God’s presence…his whisper.

As a team we look forward to sharing much more with you on May 17 at Surrey Alliance.  Plan on joining us.

Tomorrow we leave at 5:00 A.M. Please pray for safety and that our flights are on time.

God bless each one of you.

Pastor Byron

Wednesday
May062015

We're staying in Haiti... Surrey Alliance, May 5

Bonswa Family and Friends,

Alo from Robin. I am finding it hard to wrap my brain around the fact that we are just days away from returning home. Wasn’t it only yesterday we were at the airport anticipating the adventure, and what an adventure it has been. I have been so grateful to be so welcomed here again. So much warmth, love and affection from the ladies in the kitchen. Louisina has been a delight!! She was so pleased when I hugged and kissed her for you Gord. She loves you back!

I find it remarkable the memories so many have - for so many things that have been part of past trip experiences, not just for myself but also with our friends from Martensville. I’ve been blessed with reconnecting to children who remember our teaching time from my first trip here with Gord and the Cranbrook friends. God is good. His words are powerful and never come back void.

Kevin, yes I’ve said hello, Wendy a warm smile with your greetings from Canada. Sorry John, no water yet. Christine you’ve been asked about a few times and remarkably there are a few who remembered me even without introduction - madam Gord. PS - hi from our Haitian son.

Enough of the greetings and into the trip…we are so blessed to have had such an amazing team. We have become fast friends in such remarkable ways. You would be so proud of your family and friends. Their honest hearts and openness to new experiences. 

If you were to ask me if there were any amazing moments on the trip just a few days ago, I would have said not just one or two but at least twelve so far. But now I cannot count them, as there are so many I have not been able to get them down in my journal as they keep happening. 

Each new activity we have moved into has brought us a new understanding of how God moves in Haitian hearts and in our hearts. He has taken us into the street to pray…literally to be asked to pray as we walked by some people selling their wares on the street while we were on our way to pray at another home.

God has motivated prayer warriors to dig in deep, budding evangelists to speak, reserved children of God to touch shoulders and hold hands to smile with our whole hearts and not just with our mouths, to read Scripture on the spot. To step out. This time has been so completely amazing. 

We had a blast with the gals at Bible Study from the teen ladies right tall the way up. As we waiting patiently for our friends to arrive we smiled and said hello, maybe added our names…and we waited. So when most of us were there it was time to introduce the fifty of us. Eight from Canada and all the others local. Well my Haitian counterpart at the study had us do a intro game so we would break the ice and know each other. We were to say our name and walk into the centre of the group and do an action. Laugh and laugh we did. Some of the ladies have a fabulous sense of humour and strut their stuff. Mine was enough to cause a smile as I did kinda of a funky chicken - since I am a bird.

I have sensed, no it is more than that, I have had a renewal and a return to life. Thank you all for your prayers and support sending me out, praying me through and reminding me our God is so much bigger than our struggles and that He does supply all our needs. 

God has granted many remarkable events that will shape me well into the future. This has been a gift and a pleasure to dig in and hear from God in immediate and prepping for the future ways. 

I am grateful for the gifts He has blessed this team with from easy going team members to spontaneity between leadership, we have had a fabulous, challenging, joyful, heart breaking, awe inspiring, belly laughter, God surrendering time. 

Much love to all of you…ps.we’re all staying in Haiti.

No seriously, if you haven’t come down here yet. Come hear our hearts on the 17th to hear about the trip and ask us about how we have been changed by God. He has used the people here in Grand Goave to bless us and teach us.  God is good - All the time.

 Robin

Tuesday
May052015

It is enough... Surrey Alliance, May 4

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”

The Doxology seems appropriate today somehow.  We have so much to praise God for during our time in Haiti.  Beautiful sunshine, the sense of accomplishment in our tasks, opportunities to stretch ourselves in reaching out to others & teaching God’s word, and in our relationships - forging deep bonds amongst our team, and opening up our hearts to new opportunities for friendship and growth.

I have seen so many beautiful moments happen when our ladies have reached out to touch the hand of a child, or hold them in their arms.  I have heard them struggle with a mix of Creole, French & English in order to exchange names, express affection, and get to know a special child from the Haiti Arise school.  I have witnessed Robin, one of our team leaders, and our women’s leader, fearlessly strive to communicate with every woman she encounters.  And I have watched as our men have talked with our Hatian translators and technical students, desiring to get beneath the surface of chit-chat, to what matters most - family, God, and dreams for the future.  Being a part of a team who puts self aside, braving potential embarrassment and awkward silences in order to fully engage with the people they are working along side or here to serve, is a beautiful, marvellous God-thing.  It humbles me.  The Spirit of God is so present within them… I’m not sure that they are even aware at how much Jesus is in their eyes, and in their touch.

Only God could take such city folk, uproot them from their busy life, unplug them from their devices & their home-worries, and plant them in this place that is surrounded by so much poverty, so much need… and make beautiful things happen.  And beautiful things have been happening, not without feelings of sadness or pain, but without moving us to despair.

Instead of a loss of faith, our faith has increased.  Instead of feeling hopeless after visiting a home surrounded by mud, where children go unclothed and illnesses untreated, there is a deep knowledge that God is with them, even as he is with us. Loving, comforting & instilling hope for the future.  The immense need, while moving us to tears and making us question many things about our own lives, has not overpowered us.  Instead, it has moved us to join more fully with the mission of Haiti Arise, who has already made such a dramatic difference in this small town, and whose plans for the future are bigger and more beautiful than we ever could have imagined. 

I feel that in many ways I have been an observer on this trip.  Watching, listening, drinking in the people of Haiti, the incredible Haiti Arise missionary team, and our own, beautiful, precious team of Spirit-filled Canucks. 

I suppose that it is natural to feel like one takes in much more than one gives out on a trip like this, and my own personality is one that watches and waits long before she is ready to act.  But I have been grateful, so grateful to watch, and to listen, to share moments of intimacy with my team members, and to be a mother-confessor, listening to tears of sadness and expressions of joy.  And I have myself, have confessed - weeping on the rooftop over losses beyond imagining, and grudges against myself that in time, God will help me lift.

I came here in a place of weakness, unrecovered from health issues, and much limited in what I could do.  And I have also come with some sadness and fear in my heart, unsure of the future, and unsure if I was up to the challenges it holds.  I’m not sure how much has changed in those things, but I have been well loved, and I have loved well.  I have taught out of my heart and my experience to the leaders of the Haiti Arise church, and I have shared my life with those in poverty in the villages that surround us.  I have held a little boy, and an aged, frail woman.  And I have held another as she cried, as I myself have been held as my tears flowed. 

And it is enough.

Laura