May 27, 2017 – Miss Ann took the time today to write an e-mail to many of us here at WMPC to give us a small glimpse into the lives of our extended family in Haiti. It was humbling to read because it brought into focus just how much the Lord has given us here in the States and how desperately our abundance must be shared in any way possible, whether we give directly by serving on a trip such as this one, or indirectly by supporting those on the trip and “holding down the fort” here at home. Thank you to Miss Ann for writing to us; and, Thank You Lord for all You give!
"Today the plan is to go by lumber company, buy boards to make raised beds, and one or more clothes lines.
I'm very impressed with the orphanage and especially the children. They are alllllllll sweet, from 3 yr. To 21. They easily hug or kiss [your] cheek. They are gentle, never pushy, never loud. Smiling with inquisitive eyes! They had a meal at 4 yesterday. Over about 15 minutes, the kids gathered at their places without any adult supervision, and individual plates were set before them. They talked quietly with each other, no one touching the plate of food until every place was filled and the blessing said. No adult was overseeing any of it. An adult brought in the food but there was no dialogue, no need for reprimands or instructions. Only one adult ate with them and a young boy, probably 8 asked the blessing. There are 25 kids. AMAZING
Sleeping fine. Ready to get up when it's time. The food here is fine. We eat breakfast and dinner here [at the villa]. They have cold drinks we can have any time - at a cost. A pack of cigarettes is $1.90 American, a Corona $2.50, 1 lb sliced ham $ 12.00, a gallon of gas $9.
No stop lights. No lanes on streets, no pavement on many city streets. Walls around every property. So on Old Fairground Rd., [that] property with the walls in process is a version of life here. Everyone builds a wall around their property before building house.
Thank all of you for your continued prayers for this trip. The efforts you've given toward the trip are appreciated and are being used to glorify God.
The children know God. They have been saved from disastrous lives by Chetlain's efforts and devotion and all who have heard and answered Gods call to help. That's US at WMPC.
We distribute the gift boxes tomorrow. Can't wait for that.
Love to all, Ann"
May 29, 2017 – Another letter from Miss Ann:
"It's been a long day, started to write Tuesday in the subject line.
We got back to guest house at 5:30. Left this a.m. At 8:30. Had sandwich lunch with supplies we bought at a store.
We have plenty of ice and water.
The only way I can compare to you is barning tobacco. Most of you will get that!
The group built and installed a clothes line today. And worked on the raised beds. I do not do physical work. It feels strange to me to sit when the others are working but I know the heat and exertion would be intolerable. It's pretty bad sitting around in it. (we love Miss Ann's moral and logistical support of our Team and the children!)
I check on them, get lunch ready and after lunch the kids are back from school so I'm in demand.
Tomorrow will be the last full day at orphanage. Wed well work half a day and have a field trip to [the mountains]. Thurs we are taking kids to the beach in the a.m. Because rain is forecast in Afternoon.
For lunch today the kids had a flat bowl of soup that looked like bean soup. In it were 3 long pieces of pastry with meat inside, like, a hot dog rolled up on a canned biscuit. They'd have nothing to drink, but each gets a glass of juice at end of meal. Nothing sweet.
Here are our meals furnished by guest house. Breakfast: Coffee early, package of instant grits we can mix, Loaf bread, or something like French bread slices. They'll scramble egg if you ask. Had French Toast one day, pancakes two days; today, sausages chopped in little squares and a sauce. I ate none. They said like Red Hots. Always platter of fruit. Sunday had omelet to order.
Dinners have been rice every night. Chicken two nights. Sunday red snapper. There is usually roasted veggies. Sometimes platter fruit and most nights a salad. I'm not eating any salad because I'm scare to trust it, but others are. No one sick. Always have bread and peanut butter. Their peanut butter has heat in it. I'm eating a lot of that. We've had ice cream for dessert one night about 1/4 cup. Little cake square with choc sauce one night, and last nights, beignet(New Orleans type fried dough). We can get cold drinks for extra cost.
No AC in rooms except 6:30 pm--to 6:30 am we stay out of rooms until about 9:30. Dinner is late, then we have devotional wrap up of day. When we get into room we all pass out! Elisa[beth]'s cell alarm is Theme from Batman goes off at 6. We hop up and go again. These are our days.
I am thankful I am here. Thank you all for prayers and support. Love, Ann"
May 30, 2017 – Another letter from Miss Ann:
Long busy day. Was a bit cooler when we woke and windy all day. Lots of pictures on FB. I went to purchase beans and rice with Chedlin, educational. This afternoon, we bagged them, $1000 worth to give to the poor people outside the walls. We'll deliver to them tomorrow. Some of the little kids outside the gates came this afternoon and lay down looking under the gates, saying, "You! You! You!" So Kathy said let's give them treat. Now it's 5pm and we're all very tired but not energizer Kathy. Glad she wanted to do it.
[Kathy] got surprised with celebration of the 11 year relationship with the orphanage. Sweet sweet! SHE IS TIRELESS. AND POSITIVE AND UPBEAT. AMAZING!
Tomorrow we'll deliver the bags to families outside gates of orphanage.
We visited school this a.m. Last year the school was a drawing on the table. This year 5-classes were all posting pictures on FB. Check them out and start saving your money for your trip. It is worth it! More later. Love to all
May 31, 2017 –
"Today we're leaving guest house at 7:15 for our last morning at orphanage. Got a lot done. The pictures [Kathy] puts on FB show it all. She covers it all.
This is a great team! Every one pulls a load. It's very wonderful to me and I'm thankful to be here. No one complains....MAY MAKE A STATEMENT BUT NOT A WHINE, EVEN OUR BABY GIRL LIS. She's a trooper!
NOW I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO GET HOME BUT....I'm thinking about how this trip may---can---change my perspective and my habits. I'll let that be a surprise.
We'll be giving out the bags of rice beans, corn, and oil today, door to door in the community. Those pitiful little kids. One came to door of compound yesterday naked and the three little boys who hang with me laughed and laughed and laughed. Chedlin says a Voodoo led group.
This afternoon well do field trip to APPARENT PROJECT. place where local homemade souvenirs are sold. Don't worry my family. I won't go wild buying for y'all. Tomorrow take the kids to the beach! All so good to do. We can do these things because of the support of others. The team pays their way. YOU. HELP PAY FOR THE ORPHANS - A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, Love Ann
PS: Here's more. There's a doctor with a group here who spends his life in mission. I just asked him how he compared Haiti and Africa. He said [they are] exactly the same. Same kind of structures, etc. He said Kenya was different because it's been Westernized more. Time for breakfast. Saw watermelon and cheese, bread, oatmeal! Love, Ann"
June 3, 2017 – Miss Ann wrote another letter summing up her experience:
"What a blessing to wake up in this beautiful cool quiet setting! HOME! I'm on Haiti time. Woke at 5:30. Got up at 6:30. My animals are so happy. I'm so happy!
Really I'm a bit in awe......
Look what our team's life has been like for the past 9 days. Thousands miles traveled. Shock to the eyes and consciousness of how life could possibly be lived day to day the way we saw it in Haiti. Deprivation in terms of creature comforts we consider normal for ourselves.
Also a big REALIZATION that the previous 3 sentences do not define our concept of our mission trip.
Those beautiful people! Those precious smiling loving boys, girls, men and women we spent our time with have made a difference in our consciousness, in our souls!
I'm not being overly dramatic! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
God bless all of you for helping make the trip possible, in all the different ways you contributed. Those who sent boxes would have really enjoyed seeing the recipients wearing and using contents. The beach trip made possible by your purchase of Barbecue plates! PRICELESS.
Plan to go next year. Start saving.
Pray! Pray for them, for us all, for our church, For our hearts and understanding of life here and other places in the world. For our hearts to be touched with the same things that touched the heart of Jesus.
I thank you. I thank God for our safe return. AND Y'ALL, I THANK GOD FOR KATHY WOJO. I've never met another one just like her. Oh yes, let's thank God for Pastor Ed, whose easy strong kind and gentle presence grounded our entire trip.
Blessings to all in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen"
May 25, 2017 – We have gotten word from some of the team members that the mission team has made it safely to their lodgings and met the children of the orphanage. Thanks to God that travel was uneventful! They have settled into their rooms and look forward to an exciting and productive week of service.
May 26, 2017 – Our Team was hard at work today. After going to Double Harvest Nursery, where new morimga trees, almond trees, avocado trees, citrus trees and garden bed lumber were purchased, our team worked hard and played hard. They labored in the rocky soil to plant these new trees, dug deep into the earth to create new garden beds, then played and sang songs with the children. Miss Kathy even got to see the fruits of her labor years ago – a palm tree she planted when it was a mere 12 inches tall is now towering over the landscape, providing shade and shelter from the blistering sun. We are ever so grateful and in awe of the hard work put forth for these young ones.
May 27, 2017 – Today was a hard, hot, drippy workday for our Haiti Mission Team. It was reportedly 90° and 80% humidity – meaning that in this weather, hard labor like our team performed was brutal. The garden beds were put together, set in place, and filled; and, the clothesline was installed. To quote Miss Kathy, “Hot day, successful day, 6 garden beds made and getting filled, clothes line welded and holes dug. Nothing says mission better than 20 kids gathered around and wanting to help and holding hands and learning new skills like drilling and leveling and welding and digging holes.”
If that isn’t a village nurturing a village, what is?
The nurturing has gone both ways, too. Miss Lis shared this on her Facebook Page: “This trip has been such a blessing! The children are absolutely wonderful! I have completely fallen in love with each and everyone of them! To see a child take a single Pringles chip and split it between himself and two other children without hesitation warmed my heart and at the same time broke it. I’m hot, sweaty, and exhausted but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything! I’m definitely coming back next year!”
We were also given a distinct insight into the world our team has entered through an e-mail Miss Ann sent out to us: view it here.
May 28, 2017 – Sunday service with the Christian Assembly of Elim was an amazing experience for all of our team members. Three hours’ worth of praising God in song, worship, and sermon, followed by communion, showed just how deeply God is felt in their hearts. Afterward, Angel Boxes were distributed to the children while enjoying bead making and ice cream (a rarity for the children indeed): it was like Christmas in May for the children. Thanks to our own angels here at WMPC for preparing the Angel Boxes.
May 29, 2017 – We have had several team members comment on their activities today:
Miss Kathy has shared: “Clear beautiful day although a tad warm. Finished garden beds, goat fence tomorrow. Got clothes line painted and in the ground. I folded a ton of children’s washed clothing. Made reservations for wahoo bay beach party. Wahoo!!.”
Mr. Eric has shared: “The dictionaries were a fantastic hit! All the teenagers came over and said “you have no idea how much this means, and how much it will help”… Apparently knowing English is the key to a future…”
Miss Jenn has shared: “This was my Memorial Day I’m in Haiti working with a children’s home. We put in 6 raised vegetables beds, played with a Haitian baby, painted and set clothes line poles ( they wash clothes by hand for 25 kids and cook in the kitchen you see in the pics) and I taught swimming lessons to a young boy. I was a good day, bless from the smiles of the children.” She also shared a photo gallery, available here.
May 30, 2017 – Today was the last day of work for our team. The garden beds, clothesline, and even a goat fence with a gate are all finished. The team and children worked together to package beans, rice, and cornmeal for distribution tomorrow to the village. Then, as a special surprise, the children had organized a celebration in honor of Miss Kathy’s 11 years with the ministry. She writes:
"Today was our last full day of work, got the clothesline up and strung, got raised garden beds finished, got goat fence up with a gate. A visit to all the classrooms at yummy bilingual school. Got hundreds of pounds of rice And beans And cornmeal for packaging And distributing to the village. And then a wonderful surprise celebration for 11 wonderful years in this ministry. I am so blessed (and I still have an ugly cry face, but with joy): cake and champagne and a special letter to mamma Kathy and a dance. Folks, life is not much sweeter than this. My heart is full. Thank you Western Blvd Presbyterian Church, Pinetops Presbyterian Church, White Memorial Presbyterian Church and all the others who have joined us. All 94 special disciples." - Miss Kathy
May 31, 2017 – A few more details were taken care of at the orphanage today, then the team went out into the village with food for distribution. Afterward, a visit to the Apparent Project brought new insight into the struggles that Haitian mothers face in raising their children. Miss Kathy writes: “Projects at the YJCF orphanage finished today!! Planted the avocado, cherry, mango, lime trees and 12 morangas. Farmer Denar promises to water 5 gal of water per day. Delivered rice beans and oil to Despinos families. Got to see some beautiful children we have watched survive over the years always seeing us with huge smiles. It gets to me every time. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
Miss Jenn also shared: “We visited the Apparent Project today. This place makes beaded jewelry from native clay and recycled cereal boxes. Everything thing they use is recycled and they have mothers working there that can bring their children so they don’t have to choose between working and leaving their children. This place is helping Haitian mothers feed and give the children a better life. We also finished planting trees and fed the community outside the children home with $1000 worth of rice, beans, cornmeal and oil, which will fed about 15 or more families for 2 weeks.”
June 1, 2017 – Today was the final day of our team’s journey before returning home. Miss Lis writes: “Today was the hardest day in Haiti. Jen, Kathy, and I are sitting in the back of the bus crying like babies! Saying good bye to those children broke my heart! The days of digging in rocky “dirt” were nothing compared to leaving Yave Jire for the last time. Yes I miss my kids and my mom and the rest of you people that I love in one way or another, but I am not ready to leave. I have fallen in love with everything about Haiti. Even the noisy over crowded streets and the incomprehensible traffic patterns! The architecture, the sounds, the language, the smells, the heat, the sunshine, the plants, the people, the list goes on, but most importantly the children, so full of hope and love! This has been the best week of my life! I kinda laughed when everyone told me that this trip would change me but you were all right! I’m definitely coming back next year at the latest! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and followed our journey! I have to go cry some more now.”
Miss Kathy also shared: “Wow oh wow. The end of our time with the Yahve Jire kids. Had a blast at the beach. All the fundraising efforts was worth it to hear the squeals of delight when the kids saw the ocean. Such an incredible day. Swam in the ocean, ate a huge lunch, swam in the pool. This is life at its finest!! Then the goodbyes. They say if you toss a coin into Trevi Fountain you will return to Rome. I say if you hug a child goodbye in Haiti you will be back to hug another. My heart is again full!!”
Tomorrow, the team will travel home via New York, New York (of all places!) and reach Raleigh late night. We have enjoyed seeing the amazing, huge difference the team has made in the lives of these children and thank our team for everything they have done in God’s name. When we awake on Saturday morning, our team will be home with us and have some wonderful stories to share. God bless!
Miss Jenn added “Our last day in Haiti we took 42 children,nannies, friends, family and our team to the beach. Wow the day couldn’t have been any more grandeur. We saw lots, rode a bumpy school bus, sang Jesus Love’s Me, swam in the teal blue ocean water(not any pics of us in the teal blue because I’m in it) , listen to laugher from all around the teal blue, built a sand castle, had my 1st sugar cane treat, shared a meal together, swam in a pool and made the baby laugh. God made it a perfect day for us to said Goodbye and see you again, and with tears in our eyes knowing we are forever changed because of the time we spent with the amazing children of Haiti. That’s Gods Love!”
June 2, 2017 – Our team has made it home safely! The journey has been amazing, educational, emotional, and a true blessing. Our team has truly done God’s service. Miss Kathy said: “Home, glad to have served, glad to be home!! A.C. and my bed. GOD IS GOOD GOD IS GREAT!!! Thanks to our airport drivers – what a stress reliever!!”
We thank you all for your hard work, and we thank our church family for supporting your fantastic adventure.