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Sinner saved by grace. Wife to a cute preacher. Momma to 2 precious baby boys. Blessed beyond measure. And I deserve none of it.

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Monday, August 22, 2011


Since it seems I get lost in the abyss that is summer I should fill you in on some of our summer adventures. My leading summer adventure for the 2011 summer would most definitely be our trip to Haiti. I knew this would be life changing, but I had no idea how it would bring me to a new level of compassion, love, and motivation to help another precious group of people.

We (most of our group) met at the church so early I can't even remember... I'm thinking it was around 3:00a.m. on Sunday, July 17th. We drove from there to Nashville where the rest of our group had opted to just drive up and spend the night on their own. Well, we had an awesome dad drive us while most of us slept. Shockingly, I wasn't one of them. Trust me I tried, but sleep wouldn't come.

We met up with our group and flew from Nashville to Miami. Then from Miami we flew to Porto Prince, Haiti. Flying into Haiti was humbling. We came from a big fancy, air conditioned airport to people asking for money/food as we left the Haitian air port. Praise Jesus all our luggage arrived! Even the 12 bags that had all our food in them. (We brought food and there was a lady there that fixed it all.)

After about a 30 minute drive, we pulled up here. This is where the thousands of bodies were buried after the earthquake.

The drive from the air port to our compound was tear jerking. To see the poverty, kids with partial or no clothing, mom's washing their dishes and children in the same stream of water... I wasn't sure I was going to make it through this trip dry eyed.

Then after another 30 minutes of driving we arrived at our compound. Our compound consists of a large concrete fence built around a large home that sleeps 40, a church, basketball court, and soccer field.

I knew from the front end there would be no hot water, air conditioning and not many places to plug up anything so I knew it would be a week of roughing it. However, I loved every minute. It wasn't bad at all. Now don't get me wrong it was hot! But we were a 100 yards from the caribbean sea so there was a nice breeze so it was def. do-able. We worked with a team called SMI Haiti. We worked with one of the head guys, Frank Williams, and then his partner met us down there at the end of our week. They take turns being down there with the teams that come to work. Both of these men obviously love the Lord and have a heart and genuine love for the Haitian people. One of the guys that Frank calls his body guard made sure we knew how much he loved Frank and that he'd lay down his life for him. These men have such sweet relationships with the people down there because they have invested their lives working with them and helping them... SMI was there even before the earthquake.

Here is a picture of Frank and Sammy. Sammy was at his home watching a movie with his family on a portable dvd player when he received phone call on his cell . He stepped outside to take the call. The earthquake happened. His whole family was killed. Frank has taken him under his wing and now Sammy calls him dad and works for SMI Haiti.

Our time down there we did everything from street witnessing, painting, leveling ground, built a wall, cleared a field, took food/clothing to a tent city... you name it we did it. Our main focus was trying to help them get their school completed for the kids to start this September. This is a Christian school built by SMI Haiti for the children in this area.

Fixing bags of rice to take to one of the tent cities.

Delivering food and clothes at the tent city

Working at the school

He was nice enough to share his sweat after a hard morning of work.

Here was what our week looked like:

6:40 group devotion time on patio
8-12 work
12:00-2:00 lunch/rest
2-5 work
6:00 dinner
8:00 group recap on day out on patio, worship
Bed soon after :)

Ms. Phyllis is a lady who loves the Lord. I believe it was 30 years ago she felt Him calling her to leave everything she owned and move to Haiti. She has just about single handedly started over 200 churches in Haiti now. Talk about obedience! She helped Frank start SMI. One of the things she insists on is the last afternoon every group gets a visit to Wahoo Bay. This is a very nice tourist spot. She explained this special afternoon is important because if we had visitiors come to our cities we wouldn't just take them to the slums, we would want them to see the very best our city had to offer. This is Wahoo Bay. We snorkeled, played in the water, played beach volleyball, bought souvenirs.... we had a great time enjoying this beautiful place for sure!

Then the fun part began... please sense my sarcasm... we began our trek home. It is Friday morning, July, 22. We left Porto Prince and flew to Miami... no problem. Then we land in the U.S. and the craziness begins. There was bad weather on the east coast so our pilot who was to fly us from Miami to Chicago was late boarding our plane... we were there and ready he was not. By the time he got there and got us to Chicago, we had missed our flight home. There wasn't another flight leaving that night that could get us all on so we opted to spend the night with American Airlines paying for our hotel rooms and dinner. :) That night Chicago got record breaking rain and as we were almost to the airport they finally updated the flight plans saying that our flight had been cancelled. We get to the airport along with the thousands of others trying to fly out. D is upstairs working out all the details while I take the rest of the crew down to a quiet place to chill. Most slept.

Just a side not... my husband was amazing during this time. He was wheelin' and dealin' calmly and with determination to get us home. Not that I needed any more proof, but my level of respect for him grew 100 times more.

After realizing there would be no other way to fly home that day which is now Saturday... we looked at several different options, took a vote and decided to stay another night on American Airlines dollar. We spent the afternoon and evening living up Chicago. We rode the train and had an awesome time at Navy Pier. We forgot for a little while about the craziness of not having a flight and enjoyed a fun night in Chicago with one another.

Sunday morning we get to the airport with vouchers from american airlines for breakfast. We all ate until we couldn't eat anymore. Still there's no way we could use all that money and it was only good at that airport so we stood at Duncan Donuts and began buying everyone who came through's breakfast. It was fun to see the look on the faces when we said, " it's taken care of. Have a great day."

So we now have 2 flights out of Chicago into Dallas. The first flight makes it out of Chicago. Then we are boarding the 2nd flight and there is bad weather approaching. After and hour and a half delay... we finally take off. Both groups arrive in Dallas safely. Then minutes from boarding our flight from Dallas to Memphis they tell us our flight has been cancelled. We seriously busted out laughing... so much so the lady at the desk tells us to quiet down. D was able to get us home later that day on 2 different flights... first flight 2:30... 2nd flight 8:00. We tried working it so our students and older adults could get home first. However they wouldn't let us b/c the plane was overbooked by 14 people!!! D somehow manged to get at least him switched so he could stay with the later group.

Stuck once again

I know there really is no other explanation, but God because the lady D was working with literally had him come stand behind the counter and push a button at the same time she did something else to make sure he could get switched. On top of that our youngest student who we really wanted to hurry and get home (she was ok, but we know here momma wanted her home!) was suppose to be on the later flight. I'm standing at the plane door checking to see who all was on my flight and here the flight attendant comes with our student to board her even without a boarding pass! What in the world?!

The first flight landed at 5:35p.m. we had an entourage of people waiting. It was a sweet welcome home. Then I (along with my trooper of a sister) went back and picked up the 2nd group whose flight was delayed a couple of times... finally they returned at 12:09a.m. Monday morning.

I mean I can't make this stuff up... its so crazy. It felt as crazy as it sounds, but we had a ball. Such unforgettable memories. Seeing our students work their butts off, love on the Haitian people... I just can not adequately put into words how incredible this trip was. On top of that, we had an open spot and my dad was able to go with us. His first plane ride, trip out of the country... and he got all of this! And still wants to go back! So glad he got to come and experience all this with us.

God showed me so many things during this week. I don't even think I could write all of them down. The biggest being... this life is not about me. I was put here for a purpose... to be a vessel... to be used however He sees fit. Its not about my comfort or happiness, but about pointing people to Jesus.

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