Hello from the Haiti Team. We are here and experiencing amazing things. Haiti is such a beautiful place - filled with Joy and Love. God’s hand has been on our team since we began this journey. Our eyes have seen a different way of living - a way not relying on the things of today. As we landed at the airport in Haiti we went right through customs with no problems and arrived in a foreign land. We picked up all of the 32 checked bags and our individual carry on bag and back pack. We gathered everything up and went out to the parking lot to find the bus and we did not see one only some SUV’s. We had 3 Haiti missions guys to help us and would be making the journey to the mission along with us in the SUV’s. So are you getting a picture yet? 15 of our team and 3 of the mission team here - yes, that is 18 people. We did some quick math on the number of inches needed for each person to sit and then placed each person the make the doors close. Everyone was very patient and kind as we figured out how to get on the road. Our carry on bags were either in the back or tied up on the top with out a luggage rack and our backpacks were either on the floor or laps. 3 in the back 2 seats - 4 in the middle seats and 2 up front with lots of bags and we were off on our 8 hour drive. We left toward North West Haiti mission. Driving in Haiti is not like America - lanes are a suggestion and speed well we never did see a sign. Our eyes began to see a life we know nothing about. Praying for our eyes to not see what is different as much as the same. The first half of the drive we had pavement - but the last 4 hours were like an Indiana Jones Ride at Disney(dirt road with craters for potholes). We saw so many people along the way walking or riding scooters. Never did we see anything familiar. But God’s people are here. Our ride brought our team close and ready to serve together. After a nights rest we awoke to the sweetest sounds of children and it was time to love. We shared a very special Sunday church service with the children and the Mama’s with signing and reading of God’s word. Such a wonderful time of praise. We have been keeping busy helping where we can and will be heading to the beach with some of the kids and out reach families in the morning. It will be good to get in the ocean since we have no water at the mission. The well is dry and they are bringing in water by truck for the surgery team. Again, let me say how amazing this team of people is. I will be sharing more as the weeks goes on. I know for sure that we will all be better because we came here. Jesus is smiling on the Haiti Mission Team here and I know that they are giving all of way more than we could ever gain except a fuller heart. Please look for pictures at #hearts4haiti14 on Instagram. ~ In Christ, Tammy Kalstad
Thank you for your prayers not only for our team but for the people of Mathare Valley. It's been an incredible week filled with countless "God bumps" moments.
On Sunday we spent our last full day in Nairobi. In the morning we finished up the four day revival at the church in Bondeni. God is doing big things with His church in Bondeni through Pastor Stephen. We heard testimonies, witnessed as people accepted Christ, joined in on some pretty amazing worship, and got to hear our own, Derek Lynas, share God's word on evangelism.
We were excited to see several of the children and teachers from the Area 2 school and even more thrilled when they shared a couple of the things they'd learned over the past week......Matthew 5:14 and Super Big Love!
After church, we said our goodbyes to the Pastors, teachers, and students, taking lots of pictures. It's hard to put into words the feelings that you have when one of the students approaches you and calls you by name and says "Thank you, we will miss you!"
Sunday afternoon was a fun experience of shopping at a Maasai Market located next to the guest house we were staying in. It's quite an experience as you get to do some bargaining with the merchants for souvenirs.
Our evening was spent at the home of Mary and Wallace Kamau, where they treated us to a wonderfully prepared dinner of Mexican food:-) After dinner, we spent some quality time together sharing stories of the work God did through WRCC over the week. As we talked about the hard work that had been done, Pastor Martin, a good friend of the Kamau's, reminded us:
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9.
God is awesome because when we got back to the guest house and sat down for our team meeting, guess was the verse was in our devtion??? Galatians 6:9
Haiti team arrived on Saturday afternoon in Port-au-Prince. After going through Immigration, retrieving luggage (all of it arrived!) and clearing Customs, the team set out on their very long, tiring ride. They arrived at the mission about midnight. The ride was, crowded, exciting, and gave a few reminders of Indiana Jones. Sunday morning brought the opportunity to go to the Miriam Center, meet the children, and worship. Tammy reports that everyone is doing great. Hopefully the team will have internet access and be able to write 1st hand about their experiences. Please continue to pray for them.
Our day (Saturday, October 18th) began with taking tea (a tradition each morning) with the Missions of Hope team that we've spent so much of our amazing experience with. These leaders have literally sacrificed every moment and ounce of energy, teaching, giving, and empowering the children and community of Area 2. It's been awesome getting to know each of them, and our team feels so blessed to have worked alongside them this week.
After tea, we were escorted down the hill to the school, and into a classroom that had been cleaned and decorated just for us. Our names were written on the chalkboard in a colorful collage, much like an acrositc poem. Our names all intertwined and it was really special.
Anne, the center director greeted us, and asked if we had completed our challenge of meeting and getting to know 5 people this week. She asked a few of us to recite some names of people we met, and some Swahili words we had learned. It was funny until she said, "You know 5 of the same names...but what about our kitchen and cleaning staff...people who work behind the scenes?" Honestly, it was a great reminder to take notice of those who serve quietly. Those people tend to be unnoticed in our lives. It challenged me to pay attention more to those around me everyday.
Before we knew it, the class 4 and 5 students were in the room, dancing, singing songs, and reciting poems. They were so special and uniquely prepared for us. Michelle, Derek, Anne, and Laura all went up to cut the cake. They treat this as a very important and traditional task...and there is even a song the kids sing as they cut the cake! As the cake was being distributed, the words of the farewell song began with saying our individual names, and how much they love and will miss us. It truly made my heart want to burst.
The celebration ended with an amazing time of dancing as a team with the kids and teachers! They gave us beautiful gifts as we danced, laughed, and sang. I felt a part of the community, and everyone was so joyful in that moment.
The final revival was in the evening, and Derek brought the word of God, again with pouring down rain...which seemed to be a tradition during the revivals. Apparently God wanted us all to experience physical revival of the land, and revival of our spirits. :)
A special visitor showed up as we were heading out of the revival...Bishop James Sinkua! It was so wonderful to see him again! He was very excited to meet everyone and say hello again to those of us who have already been here.
Dinner was at an Ethiopian restaurant. It was a very unique experience, but Derek was great at explaining some of the foods and challenging us to be adventurous with our eating. It was an awesome atmosphere, and a great time for team bonding.
This whole trip and time in the Mathare Valley has been a truly unforgettable experience. Words don't begin to describe the heart changes that have taken place here. We are all very tired, but even more blessed. Thank you so much for all of the prayers...we can feel them!
Our Haiti Team is ready to board their plane in Atlanta to fly to Port-au-Prince. It will be a long day of travel with a very long and exciting bus ride to St. Louis du Nord. Pray for their health, safety, and the ministry they will be doing at the Special Needs Miriam Center.
Wow! It's been a busy couple of days here in Kenya! We've spent our days with 4 of our team members working in a medical clinic at the school seeing 100+ patients daily and the rest of our team doing a VBS at the Community 2 school and doing healthy homes and evangelizing out in the community.
Our medical team helps with assessing patients symptoms, diagnosing, and prescribing medicines. The most common ailments have been upper respiratory infections, strep throat, ulcers, and joint pain. Most importantly, they've prayed with patients during their visit. Initially our team was to be doing a mobile medical clinic, visiting patients in their homes. There's such a great need that after day 1, the clinic was moved to the school to able to see more people.
In the morning, the rest of our team holds a VBS for the students in the Community 2 school. We have 5 stations set up and groups of up to 90 students rotate through the stations. There's Bible lesson, crafts, music, games, and snacks! The students are totally engaged in every session and the teachers jump in to help.
At the same time, one of our team members has been working on a mural going up the stairwell wall to the 2nd floor. When the Center Manager saw the work so far, her comment was "Wow! That is hope. God is here in Mathare Valley with these children."
Today (Friday) was our last day working the VBS. At the end of the session, we were blessed to hand out gift filled Be The Light drawstring bags to every student in the school. God is so good and our entire team was humbled by their pure expressions of gratitude. Thank you White River Christian Church for "bringing the light" through your generous donations towards these gifts.
After lunch, we joyfully spent time meeting sponsored children, getting to know them, and even changing their shoe laces and painting fingernails!
In the afternoons, we split into three teams, medical, mural painting, and home visits. During the home visits, our team gets to walk from shanty to shanty educating families on malaria, HIV, and sharing the Gospel. Today, through divine appointment, our team happened upon a woman in a hallway. Lucy is probably in her mid 50's and when asked if she was saved, she said she's always wanted to accept Christ but hasn't because she "keeps falling back". After sharing with her that none of us are good enough for Jesus and that we have His grace, she said she was ready to take that step. In a dirty hallway in Mathare Valley, Lucy accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
In the late afternoon, our entire team is blessed to attend a Revival at a local church with our own Derek Lynas preaching the Word. Derek's message yesterday was about how all of us are called to Be the Light. Today, his message was on how none of us are good enough. WOW!!!!
God has put together an incredible group of people to serve here in Kenya!
Our Kenya Team had an amazing day on Friday. For many it was one of those top spiritual moments of their lives. They passed out back packs that say "Be the Light" and contained small gifts for all of the nearly 500 kids at the school in the slums. Our team was not able to blog due to internet difficulties but they will be sharing about this incredible experience as soon as internet is back up. But so many times when there is a great time of Spiritual victory and celebration the enemy is also quick to try to undermine. That also happened on Friday. There was an incident that only lasted about 10 minutes outside of the school but brought home to our team the extreme difficulty of those living in the slums. Our team was well taken care of by the staff of the mission and completed their day. They have been resting at the "Grace House" as usual and will begin their Saturday activities. Other than a couple of colds, everyone is doing fine and excited about what God is doing and grateful for the opportunity to "Be the Light" in the slums. Please continue to pray for our team and the people to whom they are ministering.