On March 12, 2012, the Graves family landed in Haiti for the first time. Little did we know how this one trip would change our lives in so many ways.
We have learned so much, and we still have so much to learn. Perhaps the most important thing we've learned is summed up in this quote from the book, Overrated:
There are so many people in Haiti. So many. We'll never know them all.
But . . . we're incredibly thankful for the few we are privileged to call friends. Because their story has become part of our story.
And, si Dye vle, there are many chapters still to write.
Cesnel, you are loved.
Praying Psalm 20:4 over you today: "May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose."
January - March
The 2nd Haiti Awake team
Food for Haiti Yard Sale 2015
Steeve's 2nd visit to the United States
April - May
The children move into their new home
June - July
Three Amazing Teams
Strengthening relationships and growing together
August - September
Funding received for the children's schooling
A 4th summer team
Steeve began seminary
October - December
Haiti Awake's 6th team
The children's first day of school
A new wheelchair for a special boy
Believing Ephesians 3:20-21 as we enter 2016.
One of the things that I love about hosting American teams in Haiti is hearing them ask questions. No matter how many times you go to Haiti, you'll always leave with more questions than answers. And many times that question is a "Why?" question.
The roads that are now routine to me, the things that no longer surprise me, the questions I no longer ask, the things I no longer even see . . . These are all new and exciting to first-time visitors. Beyond that, those who are new to Haiti have so much optimism and enthusiasm. They ask questions and challenge the status-quo in a new way. They don't realize, "We can't do that." And when you don't realize you CAN'T do something, you do it.
That why question took the children from the house above to the house below.
That question took the children from no school to the first day of school photo below.
Because of that question, Wendy was in his new wheelchair just over a month later. And . . . it didn't even cost anything. Someone had a nearly new wheelchair they didn't need. And they gave it to Wendy. We just had to ask.
Isn't God amazing in how He provides?
I'm looking forward to more questions from team members in 2016, questions that help us all see more clearly the direction in which God is moving Haiti Awake.
Haiti Awake is now an approved charity on Amazon Smile! Some of you might not know this, but if you make your Amazon purchases throughhttp://smile.amazon.com/ .5% of your purchase is given to a charity that you can designate. It is easy. Simply go tohttp://smile.amazon.com and sign into your Amazon account. Search for and choose Haiti Awake (Wilmington NC) and you are all set. Just make sure in the future that you start with smile.Amazon.com when you shop on Amazon (and most of the time it will assume you do or it will remind you). This is a great way you can support Haiti Awake as you shop for Christmas and all year long.
Thankful to the friends who saw the need and helped us believe it was possible to do something. Thankful to the friends who financially gave to make this day possible. Thankful to those who continue to pray for Haiti Awake as we seek God's will regarding our future with these children.
And if we take the risk of personally touching and being touched by a suffering person, the miracle of sight can break into our own darkness.
When the clarity of compassion illuminates our vision, we can visualize healing that goes far deeper than physical cure. Through eyes of faith we recognize that this could be an opportunity for tragedy to be transformed into celebration so that the power of God may be seen at work in him and in her.
And even more amazing , when we stoop to personally touch one of these “undesirables” with hands-on care, we are touching the very heart of God :
---Thoughts from Bob Lupton.
One of our goals at Haiti Awake is "to equip these local Christians to reach their own communities and their own country through showing Christ’s love in action."
Today our Haiti Awake staff was able to live that out in a very practical way.
A local minister has been sick and unable to work. Today, because of money raised at the Food for Haiti Yard Sale 2015, Haiti Awake provided his family with some basic provisions. These provisions meet so much more than a physical need.
Thank you to those who helped make last year's yard sale a success. Please consider what part you might have in making the 2016 Sale even better.
The 2016 Food for Haiti Yard Sale will take place on January 30 in the fellowship hall at Grace Baptist Church.
Some days my heart is just so full of Haiti. Today is one of those days.
Prior to the August trip, I didn't know every single child at the orphanage by name. I knew their faces, and I had a list with all of their names and birthdays. But I couldn't match each individual child to his or her name.
But now I can.
And some days that's just so hard.
The other 4 children are Federick's own. And they're loved by us, too.
I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
July of 2013 found me in Haiti for the 5th time. But I was not in Port-au-Prince. Instead, I was north of the capitol, in unfamiliar territory, with unfamiliar people, and feeling quite lonely and out of place. In fact, I felt so "homesick" for PAP that the day after I arrived, I found a way to get back to PAP, and I asked Steeve to meet me at EpiDor to talk.
Once there I explained to him how miserable I was, how isolated I felt, how much I didn't think I was in the right place. I was having trouble integrating with my team, I felt marginalized, I felt I had no place or purpose where I was.
Steeve reminded me that God has a plan in every situation, and he told me that I needed to stay where I was and learn what I needed to learn.
Two days later, I was still struggling to find my place with the team I was with, but another team welcomed me with open arms. So I basically joined up with them, and I was invited to visit some orphanages back in the PAP area.
That day we visited three locations. I had no idea where we were, and I did not know the people I was in the vehicle with. I had never been involved with orphan care before, and this new experience tugged at my heart in a real way.
I remember seeing this sign in the first orphanage. It had a profound impact on my thinking the rest of the day.
That day we visited three orphanages, but one grabbed my heart in a special way. And at that one orphanage, one little boy stole my heart. His name is Handy.
When it was time to leave these children, I felt so helpless. I had nothing with me that I could share with them. Nothing but a pack of gum that didn't even have enough pieces for each child to have one. As we drove away, my heart ached for those precious children.
Fast forward seven months. Rick and I were taking a short trip to Haiti to visit Steeve and Manoucheka. And I thought, "Hey! We could see those kids again. We could take some things to them . . ." Except there was one problem. I didn't know where "those kids" lived, and I had no contact information for them.
But I had photos. So I sent the following photos to Steeve and asked him if he could possibly find these children. I knew it was a long shot, but I also felt God really wanted Rick and me to see these children.
And you know what? I was right because Steeve found the director and was able to make contact with him. He agreed to let us visit in February of 2014.
The summer of 2014 found us once visiting the precious children under Federick's care.
The fall brought unexpected changes regarding Haiti for the Graves family . . . and the first Haiti Awake team in October of 2014. It seemed like a natural choice to do a 4 day Bible school with these children who were quickly becoming a big part of each trip to Haiti.
And in January, the 2nd Haiti Awake team spent 4 days with these precious children. We all felt there was more we should be doing for them.
And God has made that possible. Through the generous monthly donations which have come in, we are now able to help these children in a real, tangible way each month. They are "our" children. There are still many needs (school, furniture, toiletries, more caregivers) and we need more monthly support, but we are doing SOMETHING now. We are so thankful for what God has done.
God is sovereign over all circumstances in our lives. We don't always understand why He has us in the place He puts us. We might feel alone, forgotten, unneeded. But the beauty of those moments comes later when we can look back and see WHY God had us where we were . . .
I am thankful for that very hard week in July of 2013. I'm now thankful that I didn't fit in with the team I *thought* I was supposed to be on. I am thankful God had another plan. And I'm thankful that He directs each step we take.