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haiti

A Hodgepodge

This week I’m in Les Cayes, Haiti working alongside Praying Pelican Missions, a local church, and three North American churches– one from South Carolina, one from Connecticut, and the other from Windsor, Ontario.

I was walking with Caroline, the trip leader, earlier this morning and we described this as a “hodgepodge group.”

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There’s not a consistent theme among them. About half have never been to Haiti while the other half have not only been to Haiti, but to this specific ministry. Some are teenagers while most are adults. They come from different types of churches, different ethnic backgrounds, on and on.

Outside of this week this group of people would never be put together… except maybe on a reality show.

As you’d expect with 3 different groups they all kind of kept to themselves in the first day or so of this trip. But, as the days progress… the group is kind of gelling into a unit. They know one another’s names, they know a little of one another’s stories, and as they sweat together today you start to get glimpses into what’s to come.

The first time I went to Ireland I remember being told, “If someone teases you it means they like you.” Well, give it another 24 hours and we’ll be an Irish Hodgepodge Soup! Even as the first full ministry day of this trip is still underway I’m starting to hear the good natured teasing that comes with every (mostly) healthy group.

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Here’s my point… it’s easy to point to big groups from big churches on international mission trips and say, “That’s the example. Do that.” But the reality is that there are far more smaller churches and ministries who don’t have enough positive missions experience to get a group of 10-15-25 people to go on a big trip. In those cases… it’s pretty fun to see that you can take a hodgepodge of Jesus followers who would otherwise never meet, toss them together, and they’d become a unit working together to minister among a community.

Don’t be afraid of the hodgepodge. Even if you have a small group, you can join with others for a common purpose and it’ll be awesome.

And who knows? By the end of the week you might have teenagers who have a Canadian, Northeast, southern accent… y’all, eh… 

Note: I’m having a hard time getting images to upload to my blog. If you want to see photos of what I’m up to, head over to Instagram.

Learn More

This week I’m in Les Cayes, Haiti sharing stories from a mission trip. Want to learn more about Praying Pelican Missions’ work in Haiti or explore bringing a group? Fill out the form below.

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Little Old Me

Do you ever have any concept of how small you are? We aren’t even dots on a map. In the course of human history your 72 years are nothing. Not even a waypoint in the 21st century.

I barely know my own culture, what kind of arrogance do I have to have to think I can do anything of value in another culture? I’m not special or talented or gifted or any of those things.

I’m just a dude.

Ordinary.

Maybe a little below average, too. Except in weight, above average there…

I’m just a dude. A dad with a minivan and a job and a blog. Why exactly am I 2500 miles from my family sleeping in a hammock next to a river.

A blog? You’re going with that? Your contribution is a blog?

Thomas Paine didn’t have a blog. Neither did Samuel Adams or any of those other people. No one important had a blog. A private journal, sure. But not something other people would read.

So what am I doing here? Who am I? What difference can I make?

These are the thoughts I had as I was going about my day today.

They were loud!

I’m not God. I’m not some crazy zealot. “I’m just a dude. A dad with a minivan and a job and a blog.”

So let’s step back to reality.

These are lies. Doubts. Unhelpful voices giving unhelpful advice routed in an old system.

Jesus Came for This

I am not great, but the One I represent is. He came precisely so ordinary people from ordinary walks of life could do the work previously reserved for highly qualified people. He came to set us free of these doubts so we could walk in faith and full knowledge that we do [indeed] lack the power to do anything in Haiti of value– but His power works through us.

I don’t know what your doubts are today. But we all face them. Today, for me, it was a doubt of purpose on this trip… “Why am I here and what good can I do?”

But for you? It’s probably something different. My point is the same though… With Jesus you are qualified. With Jesus you have power and purpose and whatever you do today in His name is good.

Learn More

This week I’m in Les Cayes, Haiti sharing stories from a mission trip. Want to learn more about Praying Pelican Missions’ work in Haiti or explore bringing a group? Fill out the form below.

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Off to Haiti

Tonight, I’m catching a flight that’ll have me back on the ground in Port-au-Prince, Haiti by Saturday morning.

For the next week I’ll be tagging along with three teams to a more remote area of Haiti than I’ve ever been, Les Cayes.

After arriving in Port-au-Prince in the morning I’ll spend a few hours at Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour while the rest of the team arrives, then together we’ll take a bus about 5 hours across southern Haiti where we’ll be staying in tents on the grounds of EdenHaiti, a botanical garden run by Pastor Jean Delcy. (For those who went on the 2015 vision trip, you’ll remember that Jean Delcy spoke at our pastor dinner.)

Les Cayes and EdenHaiti are apparently gorgeous places. Les Cayes is one of the places where it’s hoped Western tourism will finally take root, bringing jobs and money to an otherwise agricultural and impoverished area.

Why I’m Going

  • I am fascinated by, in love with, and want to be near what God is doing in the Haitian church. I first saw this action in February 2010 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. I described it as stepping into God’s river of grace as He drew tens of thousands to Himself without the need of human planning. There wasn’t a scheduled revival that “worked.” As the local church served those in need, people experienced the Good News of Jesus as their physical needs were met, they gave their lives to Him.
  • I’m excited to continue working with and supporting Praying Pelican Missions work in Haiti. Marko and I have each been on a number of trips with PPM and we love their simple yet deeply needed approach to international short-term missions in youth ministry. I’ll be on this trip as a kind of independent observer, a 3rd party storyteller. I’ll be taking pictures and writing about our team’s trip here on my blog.
  • I’m going to learn from our Haitian brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s well documented that the American church is on the decline. Whereas, the Haitian church is rapidly growing. Why is this? What are the positives and negatives of this rapid growth? What are transferable principles? And what is God showing us when the poorest nation in our hemisphere is now itself sending mission teams out to places like Cuba and the United States? Those are questions I’m seeking an answer to.

Follow Along

I’ve heard that there is decent cell service in Les Cayes. But honestly, I’m not so sure.

I’ll be doing my very best to post updates here on the blog. But also feel free to follow my short-form storytelling on Twitter and Instagram.

Learn More

Want to learn more about Praying Pelican Missions’ work in Haiti or explore bringing a group? Fill out the form below.

 

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What Haiti Taught Me About Nepal

Tony Jones wrote this:

A standard issue in theodicy has been an attempt to protect the sovereignty of God. Consider that theological shorthand for the omni’s: omnipotence, omniscence, and omnipresence. Combine that with God’s benevolence and immutability, and you’ve got a divine being who’s a lot closer to Plato’s Nous than to Moses’ Yahweh.

What if, instead, God is traveling through time with us?

What if God abdicated all the sovereignty so as to give creation room to flourish?

What if God is in a dynamic love-relationship with us, and both we and God are being changed as a result?

If this is the case — and there’s ample biblical evidence that it is — then the earthquake in Nepal caught God by surprise. God is neither planning earthquakes nor sitting back and allowing them to happen. God is a victim of the earthquake because thousands of God’s beloved children perished.

– Source

For some folks, Tony is a troublemaker, some would even say he’s dangerous.

But I think that’s because they don’t know him. I don’t claim to be close to Tony, but we’re acquaintances enough where I frame Tony more as an instigator than a troublemaker. (If you’ve met him you know he isn’t dangerous. Professorial? Yes. Dangerous? Nah.)

He asks and says things that need to be said in a way that demands to be heard. He forces folks to think about what they’ve been taught and challenge assumptions, and in an age where everyone is circling the wagons around what they believe that’s a very good thing.

I like the way Tony thinks and stirs me even if I don’t always agree. (Let me be blunt: I don’t want to be friends with only people I agree with. That’d be boring.)

So, given what I know about Tony, his work, and even his most recent book– his post today didn’t take me by surprise.

But I disagreed with him to the point where my Facebook comment stretched into 600 words… which is more of a blog post than a Facebook comment.

Here’s my response for Tony, one that I don’t think he’ll be uncomfortable with and am positive he’ll dismiss as just a typical evangelical’s response: I think God’s ways are bigger than our ways. He acts at a level our processors can’t handle… And yes, He can even author an earthquake for His glory because He’s all those omni’s without the constraints of our philosophical limitations.

He’s big enough for us to describe His actions as evil.

And He’s “omni-enough” to be patient for us to get it.

God is no more afraid of being blamed for what we perceive as evil than He’s excited about being constrained to the rigors of 20th century systematic theology’s attempt to define Him.

My respectful disagreement isn’t born merely in my far-less-educated study of every theological vantage point.

It’s informed by having walked down the same path already and allowing my experience to correct my incorrect thinking. (Something I believe would be good for Tony, as well.)

The Surprise of Haiti

I must confess that I wrestled with Tony’s concept in the aftermath of what happened in Port-au-Prince in 2010. Hearing about what happened and the wall-to-wall post-Earthquake television coverage shook my walk with God more than I was willing to admit in the moment. As news continued to roll in that the death count was thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands I started to doubt that God was truly good. In the aftermath I was left with big, gaping holes in a matter-of-fact, indoctrinated evangelical theology, kind of way.

For lack of a better term– God disappointed me with what happened in Haiti.

I was left blaming God because that’s where my theology lead me– then I quickly forced myself to walk back because I know God is ultimately good and benevolent and cannot, by His very nature, also be the author of something so tragic as mass loss of life. It was all so senseless.

So I get what Tony is writing about. I really do… I don’t want to “blame God” for an earthquake because it just feels so un-God-like of Him. Morally speaking, blaming God for a natural disaster just feels wrong.

But that changed when I went to Haiti.

Walking among the rubble, seeing destruction no TV camera could convey, smelling the death still hanging in the air, I remember looking out the window of our beat-up white minivan and wondering to myself… “No… really… How could a loving God allow this to happen?” and even bigger “Where was God in that moment? Because He surely wasn’t here.

As a witness I was left wondering if God was even there. But when we got out of the van and started talking to people, I realized that my judgement was grounded in assumptions about what was going on, not what was going on when you really talked to people and listened.

The answers to those minivan questions took my breath away. Over and over again as we heard stories… our minds were blown to learn that He was right there with people, some of whom were believers but most of whom were not.

God wasn’t surprised by the Haitian earthquake in 2010. Yes, many died. But even more were saved. Over and over again we heard people’s testimony that in the moment… literally with everything falling around them… they heard the voice of God. We heard testimony from people who can’t explain how they escaped, that they were picked up and carried out of a collapsing building.

We met common people who had uncommon encounters with God that day. God wasn’t surprised. God wasn’t absent. He was fully present because that’s is, by His definition, who He is.

More than five years after the earthquake in Haiti– the rubble is long gone. But what has endured is the revival that was sparked by the earthquake. To outside eyes it looked like an unloving God was responsible for the senseless loss of more than 200,000 people. But to people on the ground? I’ve heard five year’s of testimonies from people in Haiti that the earthquake was the closing of one chapter of a nations relationship with God and the beginning of a new one.

As hard as it is to understand with humanity– usually the death of one thing leads to the birth of something new– new life was born out of death in 2010. We see it all the time in life’s great hardships. (Loss of a child, loss of a relationship, loss of a loved one, loss of an identity, on and on.) Death brings forth new life. It’s this universal expression of the Gospel which points us to an ultimately loving, knowing God who operates in dimensions we simply can’t comprehend.

In Haiti… this is what you’ll hear from Christians and non-Christians alike:

Where did people run to and find food and shelter in 2010? The church.

Who was there to help? Christians.

In the aftermath, who came down to help after the NGOs left? North American Christians.

Who has continued to help re-build and now plant new churches? North American and Haitian Christians.

Who is now sending missionaries to remote areas of their own country, neighboring islands, and even the United States? Haitian Christians.

To quote a friend of mine, Sister Mona at Good Shepherd Orphanage in Carrefour, “The earthquake was a wake up call.

In the aftermath of Haiti no one would have blamed Haitians for seeing only darkness and despair. But what actually emerged? Hope and new life.

In closing, I don’t claim to know what’s going on in Nepal. But my experience in Haiti over the past five years has confirmed for me, beyond my own comfort level, that God was not surprised by the earthquake in Nepal.

He was right there, loving His children like He always does.

My hope and prayer for Nepal is the same today as my hope and prayer was for Haiti in 2010: That the Author and Finisher of all things, life itself, is revealed through the earthquake and it’s aftermath.


 

Get Involved

Tony ended his post by linking to some resources to get involved with Nepalese relief efforts. Here’s the link.

If you want to get your church or youth group involved in World Vision’s relief efforts, here’s the link.

And if you would like to learn more about taking a team to Haiti, to be a part of the work I described in this post, fill out the form below.

 

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Trip Friends

In my experience we tease people we like. By that measure the Haiti Vision Team really likes one another.

Wrapping up my third vision trip with PPM is bittersweet. It’s bitter because I love the people. It was so awesome to see a lot of pastors I’ve visited before, to catch up with them about their ministry and family… It’s great to hang with the PPM Haiti staff who are some of the most gracious people on the planet… But most of all it was such an honor to be with a group of youth workers this weekend who caught the vision for what partnering their ministry with a Haitian ministry could look like.

And oh! We teased one another endlessly. From the simple “cool kids sit in the back of the bus” to the endless jokes that I must be a blue state liberal from California, [I prefer granola, for the record] the teasing was playful and a sign that everyone enjoyed the trip.

Today we took a long bus ride to visit to a remote church north of Port-au-Prince about 2 hours out of town.

After we huffed and puffed up a steep and slippery hill to the church [because the bus couldn’t make it], our my complaining ended when we learned that the Haitian staff of PPM had saved their own money and invested their own time to start this building project, Haitians serving Haitians to build the Kingdom of God. We learned that before this building was constructed the church met under tarps on the top of the hill, usually in the mud. And the Pastor humbly told us how he’d ruined his back with years of setting up and carrying the poles and tent to the top of the hill for worship.

From there we took a little pit stop and visited a large park with a waterfall. I love rivers and creeks. So it did my heart some good to have some time in a river. I didn’t make it all the way up the rapids to the waterfall, but I loved cooling off in the water below.

After driving back to Carrefour, we capped off our trip with a special dinner with some pastors we hadn’t yet gotten to meet. For me it was another opportunity to reconnect with several pastors I’d met in the past. And Pastor Samson, the first pastor PPM connected with in Haiti, delivered a powerful message about the strengths of his partnership with PPM and how God is using their relationship to re-invigorate his churches calling to missions. Including plans for his church in Carrefour to send the first PPM team to Cuba as well as a team to their partner church in Mississippi. (Re-read that sentence. Mind blown a little???)

Lastly, we came back to Good Shepherd to do a final debrief. And by debrief I really a mean one last time to tease one another.

Here’s the thing I loved about the people who came on the vision trip: they had no pretension, they had no firmly held opinions about what to expect, and they came with open hearts to hear from God about potentially bringing their church back to Haiti. You simply can’t ask for more faithfulness than that.

I think it’s easy to forget about a place like Haiti. It’s a statistic factory. But one thing you might miss if you’ve never been here is that while they may be known for some things, they are not known for spiritual poverty.

It’s easy to look at Haiti with pity. But if you paint Haiti as a place to pity you’d likely miss what God’s up to here. God is pouring out his grace on the poorest country in our hemisphere. There has been a tremendous spiritual awakening going on here for more than five years.

And so when I think about “Why I come here?” I just look at it rather simply: I want to be where God’s on the move.

And that movement? It’s an invitation. Come here. Just trust me on this. Come.


 

Want to learn more about serving in Haiti with Praying Pelican Missions? Fill out the form below and let’s chat.

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The hammock, the wind, the silence

Relaxing in my hammock after a long day of travel and getting to know our group, including meeting with a Pastor over on the opposite end of Port-at-Prince, cool breezes wash over me… Relaxing me as my mind wanders in every direction at once.

I’d never take a cold shower at home but I love them here. There’s something incredible about the cold water splashing you in the face, washing off the grim of a day’s travels,  and cooling your body down.

The splashes of water cement the memories of the day in my mind.

Today was one of those days so long it felt like two. Thinking back, my espresso powered layover in Miami couldn’t have been today. Fighting through baggage claim couldn’t have been today. A mid-morning Coke couldn’t have been today. Seeing the progress at Pastor Jacky’s couldn’t have been today. Seeing Sister Mona, having dinner with the team, worshipping on the roof with distance lighting wasn’t today. But it was. Some days are like that… So long and so eventful that as you finally stop to think about it it couldn’t have been just a day

As I swing here I just can’t stop thinking to myself, “I love seeing lightning in the distance, thunder gently rolling by.”

The wind brings the smell of charcoal fires, the echoes of too many loud radios, the shouts of Creole, the honking horns.

I’m left to ask as I drift off… Where is silence? Amidst the chaos is it found in the crickets chirp? Is it found in the droning boat engine noise of a nearby cargo ship loading through the night? Is there silence found in the noise of the chaos? Or maybe silence will come from somewhere else tonight? And why does the swaying door in the wind calm me when it’d annoy me at home?

As I drift off I’m seriously debating sleeping outside in this hammock– reflecting on this long day until sleep comes.

The noise, the smell, the breeze, everything odd, yet familiar. The energy Haiti brings my soul. How is it that a place is so foreign that it feels like home?

Do you have a place like that so other in your life? Yesterday, before the trip began, was so ordinary and wonderful. A day with the kids, my daily work, dinner with the family. And then… 24 hours later… I find silence in the wind, swinging in a hammock, 50 noisy feet from the Caribbean.

Where do you find silence? Where do you rest in the wind? Where do the crickets call you to sleep?

For me, it’s this hammock, this place, this country. Where is it for you?

 


 

Want to learn more about serving in Haiti with Praying Pelican Missions? Fill out the form below and let’s chat.

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More than a “missions experience”

Late tomorrow night I board an overnight flight for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Once there I’ll spend the next four days with a dozen pastors and youth pastors from across the United States who are coming to explore bringing a team to Haiti with Praying Pelican Missions.

I have a confession to make: Going to Haiti doesn’t make me nervous anymore.

My first trip in 2010 I was really, really nervous. Just a few weeks after the devastating earthquakes that brought Port-au-Prince to it’s knees I nudged against Ian Robertson at the San Diego airport and said, “What in the world are we doing going there right now?” In preparation, I’d stared at the endless devastation on CNN for hours, read and watched everything I could take in, and been warned by a travel doctor of every possible ailment I could contract.

Going to Haiti in 2010 felt death-defying and harrowing and a little ridiculous. Something you survived.

But… I’ve made six trips since then. And a lot has happened in 64 months there.

I’m not nervous about my trip at all. I’m just excited.

The Value of a Missions Experience

I do, indeed, think that one important aspect of youth ministry– one indelible opportunity for every student involved in a youth group— is a missions experience. Living in the United States is incredibly ethnocentric. And adolescence is a crucial time to shape a worldview that is bigger than the United States.

Part of our job as a youth worker is to help teenagers understand that the Kingdom of God is bigger, stronger, more connected, and better than the place that we live. Jesus followers are citizens of the Kingdom… to discover that you have to get out of your culture. You have to be in other places, worshipping with different people, eat different foods, explore different cultures, and fall in love with something outside of what you know.

Whether it’s across town, across the country, or across an ocean I believe a healthy youth ministry includes a healthy dose of missions experiences. It’s good praxis. It’s good theology. It’s good sociology and anthropology.

More than a “Missions Experience”

Jim Noreen & Sister Mona at Good Shepherd Orphanage
Jim Noreen & Sister Mona at Good Shepherd Orphanage

But I’m 38, not 15.

Frankly, I don’t need another missions experience. I love exploring and visiting new places and meeting new people as much as the next person. But I am at the point in life where I want more than a one-off experience.

I want real relationships. I want to know what I’m doing is sustainable. I want to build partnerships. I want to lift up the local church and strengthen ministries in the things that I do. And I want to make sure that what I’m do is helping and not hurting.

That’s why I’m excited and not nervous about my trip this weekend. I’m going on a vision trip with a dozen folks from around the United States and we’ll spend 4 days with people in Haiti that I know– Eric and Bethany, (get to know Bethany a bit in this post) Cassie and Almando, Rudy, Sister Mona, Pastor Valcourt are people I’ve built relationships with, and have seen how these long-term partnerships lead to sustainable ministry through the local church in Haiti.

To get the opportunity to introduce people to that kind of health? There’s no room for nerves, only excitement.


 

Want to learn more about PPM’s work in Haiti? Fill out the form below and we’ll talk your ear off.

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Come build partners in Haiti with me

Today’s Throwback Thursday reaches all the way back to April 2014. And it comes with an invitation to join me on a trip in April 2015. 

Backstory of this picture

The gentleman in this photo is the pastor of the church located in the mountains above the city of Jacmel in southern Haiti.

He and his family live in a small house about 20 yards to the left of this photo.

Here’s what isn’t in the photo…

Earlier in the morning we took this picture we drove up to a school about two miles up the steep mountain road above this church. There we met with the head teacher of the local school, a young man in his mid-20s, who despite not getting a salary has dedicated his life to investing in the education of the communities children. When we arrived, it was a school holiday, so no one was there. But within 15 minutes dozens and dozens of kids came from all over the mountain to see us. This is one of those rural communities that doesn’t get a lot of Haitian visitors, much less Americans. We played games and blew bubbles with them for about an hour. Then we gathered together, sang some songs, and told a Bible story.

We left but the kids didn’t leave us. They followed… chased… us down the hill to the church. What a scene!

So what isn’t in the picture is the kids– probably 20 of them– hiding behind the door and window in the picture. If you look closely you can see a few of them peaking. See them?

Also not in the picture is this pastor’s vision for his church. Sure, people in his community have spiritual needs. But this area has physical needs that he is intent on helping end the devastating effects of the cycle of poverty, being Good News in the Neighborhood for him means developing a way for local farmers to bring their product to market. See, people have the ability and skills to grow more than their family needs. But getting their product to market has some barriers… physical ones but also practical ones. One vision this pastor has is to provide a low-cost mill for local farmers to prepare their product for market because the one that’s available to them in town is so expensive that it eats up all of their profits.

Lastly, what isn’t in this picture is the generosity of this pastor. See, in the rush to get this photo, I forgot my camera bag in the church with all the kids. I took this photo, shook his hand, and then jumped into the truck to drive off to our next stop. In doing so I left a bag with about $6000 in lenses and gear sitting on a pew. When I realized this a couple hours later we were able to call him, he found the bag, and he generously brought my bag to town… about 45 minutes on the back of a motorbike each way.

Your Invitation

I’m headed back to Haiti in April. And, if you’re a church leader willing to explore a partnership with a church like the one in this picture, I’d like for you to join me for a few days together. You can learn more here.

And if you’d like to chat about the trip, fill out the form below.

Vision Trip 2015

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Haiti Vision Trip 2015

I made my first trip to Haiti in February 2010, shortly after the earthquake that devastated much of Port-au-prince and it’s sister city Carrefour. In that first trip, amidst all of the devastation and loss of life, my life was forever changed by the undeniable sense that God was at work in Haiti’s darkest hour.

Over and over again the people I met with had a simple message: Do not forget about us. 

On the long journey back to Santo Domingo and flight home to San Diego I made a very simple promise to God: I won’t forget.

Over the past 5 years I’ve been back to Haiti several times. As I wrote about last spring, the work in Haiti has shifted from the immediate relief efforts and rebuilding to forming long-term, healthy partnerships to support the movement of God that was unleashed with the earthquake. (see all of my posts on Haiti)

Over the past 3 years we (The Youth Cartel) have been proud to partner with Praying Pelican Missions as we’ve sought to activate churches, young adults, families, and youth groups to come and partner with the local church on the mission field.  There’s a lot of chatter about the problems of short-term missions. And, quite frankly, there are a lot of unhealthy short-term mission trip opportunities out there.

That’s why Marko and I have taken so much time and gone so slowly, examining and re-examining PPM’s philosophy and on-the-ground actions. We’re sensitive to the reality that many mission trips do indeed “pimp the poor” or turn mission trips into “poverty tourism.” And, while it’s impossible to always be perfect, we’ve found PPM’s way of doing short-term missions to be great for North American participants while actually helping further the ministry of the local church in places they serve. (see When Helping Helps)

For me, the health that I’ve seen in PPMs work in Haiti is marked by their development and investment in local leaders. As you’d expect, when they first started working in Haiti they partnered with some people but trips were largely run and overseen by Americans. But as time has gone on it’s been awesome to see that leadership transfer over to Haitians. Local church leaders are hosting and leading teams, they are developing new partnerships with more and more churches, and they are behind the scenes doing everything from accounting to overseeing the various teams operationally. I think this symbolizes the health and vision of PPMs work there. They don’t just want to bring down North Americans for the sake of the North American experience. They also want to see their work more holistically, so it’s not just Good News for your team… but Good News for everything PPM touches. (From the bus drivers to the cooks to the part-time summer staff to the full-time staff to the pastors that they partner with.)

Your Invitation

I’m headed back to Haiti this April 11-14th and I’d like you to consider going with me. Together we’ll have the opportunity to visit with a whole bunch of PPMs church partners all around the Port-au-Prince area. (And as last years vision trip team learned… maybe even to a church partner on the other side of the island!)

Specifically, I am inviting you to come on the vision trip if…

  • You are considering a short-term trip to Haiti with PPM
  • You have a heart for Haiti and are interested in what it might look like to bring a team
  • You’ve heard about Praying Pelican and you’d like to check them out for yourself
  • You’re a ministry leader and you’ve had a bad international short-term missions experience and you need to cleanse your palette
  • You’ve felt called to minister in Haiti but are not sure where to start

Here’s how it works

We’ll arrive in Port-au-Prince on April 11th. You’ll book and pay for your own flight, but we’ll pick you up. (The new airport in Port-au-Prince is really nice!) We’ll get you oriented to Haiti, we’ll meet our hosts, and we’ll probably meet with 1-2 pastors. Sunday we’ll experience church in Haiti and then spend some time meeting other partners. All day Monday we’ll continue meeting with ministry partners and seeing the work PPM is doing. And Tuesday we’ll fly home.

What’s the cost? Basically, you pay for getting to Port-au-Prince and we’ll take care of everything else. (Housing, food, transportation) When you register you’ll pay a small deposit ($100-$150) that will be refunded when you arrive. We do this just to make sure you show up!

Where will we sleep, eat, etc? Most likely, we’ll stay at a church and eat most of our meals there. The “worst case” scenario is that we’ll stay at a hotel. In all seriousness, staying at a local church is really a highlight for me and I prefer it over a hotel. It’ll be pretty basic. But you’ll have a comfortable place to sleep, showers, and great food. (That’s one thing about PPM… you are guaranteed to eat very well!)

Safety, etc? Yup, all of that is taken care of. We’ll go over those details with the team before we leave. Needless to say, we’ll keep you safe and the PPM team knows what to do if something goes wrong.

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haiti

The Christmas Cows Have Arrived

Over the past couple of years I’ve visited Good Shepherd Orphanage several times. And at each visit, usually as I helped show teams of youth workers around her compound, Sister Mona has told groups about her annual Christmas party. The party is simple… they invite every kid in the neighborhood who wants to come, to come. They get a gift and a beef dinner.

It’s no small thing. Each year the orphanage serves something like 1,000 kids in the community as well as at the orphanages other location out in the country.

And visit after visit I heard Mona mention the cows. Earlier this summer I asked my buddy Jim at Praying Pelican Missions to track down the cow situation and find out if she had them. She didn’t, so it was time to act.

I asked friends who have gone to Haiti with me to think about donating some money to buy Sister Mona cows for her annual Christmas party. They did. In fact, while the goal was to buy just one cow, we were able to raise enough money to buy both cows.

All that to say that yesterday I got confirmation, by way of these photos of these handsome cattle, that the cows had been delivered.

And thanks, Almando for all the hard work in making it happen. Apparently he’s the kind of guy you can ask “How do I get a cow delivered?” and he knows what to do.

Seriously, way to go friends! We did it!