Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Heart for Haiti

Many people have been asking about my husbands recent trip to Haiti, so I wanted him to write a blog post about it.  I'm not sure if the hubs has ever written a blog post here, but I hope that you will grab a cup a coffee and read what he was able to do while there and his heart! I know you will be blessed!

I experienced a great blessing from God last week by joining Bellevue’s high school students on a mission trip to Guitton, Haiti, to serve alongside Sundouloi Ministries, Inc. (SMI).  You can learn more about SMI Haiti @  I encourage you to tour the website.  Please pray for Haiti.

Before I begin, let me say that nothing, absolutely nothing, can substitute for having one’s feet on the ground.  Look down.  Find your feet.  God has a purpose for you right now.  Believers should always pray for the nations (“ta ethne”) but should also prioritize and budget for short-term mission trips annually to “see” and be illuminated to the needs of the world and God’s provision to meet those needs through His church.  Make that a daily prayer that you would be obedient to where God sends you for His glory and the salvation of that place.  Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” and “Come and see.”  There is a world out there.  Believers claiming the Name and blood of Jesus Christ are commissioned to be His witnesses across the entire world.  As you are going, turn men/women into disciples who will be life-long, committed followers of Jesus Christ with a burning passion to reach all the world with the Gospel and literally multiply disciples (believers, Christians) who will make disciples who will  make disciples who will makes disciples across generations…. Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Timothy 2:2…. Meditate there. 

Secondly, this is about Haiti.  Yes, Haiti must be reached with the Gospel.  But, Haiti is one of many, many nations with many types of people (different people groups) that need Jesus, that need teachers, that need servants of Christ to live out the Gospel in front of them.  Romans 10:13-15.  Pray for your specific place in God’s plan to impact the entire world with His Son.  Everywhere.  Everyone. 

Let me please praise my beautiful bride, Ashley, for serving me this time by allowing me to love and serve others in Haiti.  Ashley selflessly stayed in the states with our kids during spring break so that I could go.  She is my best friend, the love of my life, my inspiration, my encouragement, my partner… she means the world and more to me.  I can’t tell her enough how much I love her, how much I adore her, how much I appreciate her.  She is the best thing on earth to me.  I would be lost without her.  I believe God placed her specifically in my life so that I would become the best I can be, through faith in Jesus and because of Jesus only, to bring God all the glory in all things.  Thank you, Ashley!  I love you, sweetheart! 

Psalm 67 is a beautiful passage that illuminates for me, a blessed American with tons of things I don’t need, that  I must be a blessing to those without all the same blessings (the least of these) so that they see the love of God the Father and the salvation of Jesus the Son of God and receive the free gift of eternal life to forever worship the Lord and to share the Truth with others that all nations would worship our Lord and Savior.  God blesses us that all nations may know that they are loved, that all nations would, by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, be saved from their sinful nature by the great Rescuer, Jesus!

The time the Lord blessed me with in Haiti confirmed all that I’ve studied in God’s Word over the past several years.  God loves everyone.  He sent His only and most-precious Son, Jesus – my Savior, to the world not to condemn the world but to save it – to offer Himself as an atoning sacrifice for every person – no exclusions.  During His 33 years on earth, Jesus lived the Truth, performed miracles, served everyone, loved others, healed the sick, raised the dead to life, made disciples of men who would take his teachings from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth, all while living perfectly and never sinning, glorifying the Father, God’s will be done.  In the end, Jesus completed the tasks God gave Him (He made disciples of common men) and in obedience to the Father’s will, offered Himself for me and every reader.  This is real.  This isn’t Sunday mornings.  This is 24/7/365 (and 366 for leap years).  Believers must represent unashamedly, as ambassadors for Christ, the Gospel, offer salvation to everyone and make disciples.  Jesus said that others would know His disciples by one’s: (1) Continuing in His Word; (2) Love for others; and (3) Bearing much fruit.  Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ?  I pray you are! 

To Haiti:

Cool experience: We were blessed to witness a baptism in the Caribbean Sea.  The young lady was saved on Pastor Larry’s (VP of SMI Haiti and pastor in Indiana) last visit to Haiti and wanted him to baptize her this time!  Awesome!  As a side note, there are amazing sea shells along the shore!  My kids got a ziplock bag full! 

Biggest blessing!  On Wednesday night, at the suggestion of one of the students, we washed the feet of 9 of our translators/guides/security and Pastor Larry and his sweet wife, Theresa.  John 13 – Jesus washes His disciples feet.  I sobbed.  Literally.  While pastor Larry and his bride had been served in this way before, it is my understanding that the 9 Haitian men who served us all week had never experienced such.  They sobbed.  All the glory to God who laid this on the heart of a sophomore who ran it by us.  Seeing His servants in tears, hands over their faces, faces down…. Praise God!  At the end, one of the guys whose feet were washed said, “You can come here and say you love us, but this act shows you love us.”  I sobbed almost uncontrollably.  God is good all the time.  The whole world is in His hands.  The whole world is on His heart.  I received the biggest blessing by serving alongside these men, the pastor and his wife (and the many others with whom we worked during the week).

Sad experience: We also experienced the funeral of a young boy who’d been hit by a car.  The weeping and mourning was intense.  I experienced it as a father and was deeply grieved that the family and community were so deeply sorrowed.  The mother and another lady fainted from mourning so much.  Do we suppress our emotions in America in fear that others will judge us?  They do not. 

What did we do while we were there?  Serving in 4 groups (3 groups of 5 and 1 of 4), we (1) began laying the foundation of a local church that currently meets under a tent.  We helped with the mixing of concrete and pouring of the concrete to build the foundation. 

 (2) Door-to-door evangelism/prayer while providing rice and beans.  Many, many people are hungry.  We prayed to meet both physical and spiritual needs.  (3) Play with children through activities, etc.  Show them the love of Jesus. 

We also climbed a mountain one day (roughly 2 miles from what I understood) to meet with a local church, share a few personal testimonies, lead a worship song or two and meet the people.  The church broke out into worship for us after we sang tothem!  It was awesome!  Side note: Most little children have not seen white people before (or very few), especially two miles up a mountain.  I scared them.  They wouldn’t let me hold them.  Instead they clung for dear life to whomever was closest! 

We visited two orphanages, played with the children, prayed with the people and were moved by God to serve the world for His glory in the name of His Son, Jesus!
We toured other parts of Haiti by bus, prayed at the grave site of 250,000 killed during the earthquake and buried there.  There were no grave markers, only bodies under the ground. 
We visited and toured a local hospital, run by Dr. Mark, who lives in the states but spends a good portion of his year in Haiti. 
We visited a local school that my church helped to build in conjunction with SMI and others.  We toured classrooms (disrupted classrooms!). 
We ate and slept and had group time/study time at the SMI Haiti mission house in Guitton.  The house is run by generators and receives well water. 

The culture: poverty-stricken; poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; people care for people/rely on each other; struggle to find the necessities of clean water, food, clothing and shelter I take for granted; the people love though.  Most live on a few US dollars-equivalent a day.  $75 will sustain a family for a week – I talked with a friend I made while there in hopes of learning more regarding ways I could help when my feet are in the U.S.  Main language is French Creole though some speak English.  Schools and churches need our help.  Schooling costs money that most don’t have.  Thus, the poverty cycle continues without proper education and opportunity.  Dirt roads; no electricity in most places; little medical care; malnutrition; large number of orphans; no export/nothing of worth to other nations/countries; but  they love.  They really love.  There is a high voodoo influence and the nation has actually been dedicated to Satan.  The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Will you pray for Haiti?  Pray also for all nations.

The children:  These are some of the sweetest children I’ve ever met (and yes, I have children I adore!).  While most cannot speak English, they can all do “the chicken dance,” “the limbo,” kick soccer balls, dance, smile, give huge hugs and hold their sweet arms up to you to be held.  I was constantly reminded that we need simply to ask our Father in Heaven to hold us and He will.  Josh Chung, born in Hong Kong, was “Jackie Chan!” all week.  If they didn’t know any other English, the kids have seen Jackie Chan movies!  Most of the time, I didn’t want to put the child down.  What would he/she eat? What would she drink? Where would she go from here? Where would she sleep? Does she understand God’s great love – His never-ending, never-giving-up, always and forever love? Have I shown this child that she is loved? Why am I blessed? Why is this sweet soul living like this? Many times, the youngest children at orphanages would quickly fall asleep in the arms of one of our students because they are rarely, if ever, held by an adult.  We met many orphans.  They loved seeing us, playing with us, climbing all over us, dancing with us, kicking soccer balls with us, laughing with us.  The students connected with all the kids.  They never wanted to leave them.  It was extremely difficult to leave children each time we said goodbye.  It’s harder now.  Much harder.  What will happen to them?  In one orphanage, a pastor and his wife along with their teenage son keep 50 orphans.  50!!  They all sleep in 4 small rooms lined with bunk beds.  The pastor told me, “I pray every day that you will come.”  I was floored.  What do you say?  What can I do?  I can pray.  I can raise awareness.  We took up an offering among the team that prayerfully will sustain the pastor, his wife and the children for a few more days.  But what happens in a week?  A month?  Our team is hoping to raise awareness to the many, many needs and offer a way for anyone who desires to contribute charitably to the needs of Haiti, this unsponsored orphanage being a major concern. 

The SMI workers/translators/security/guides:  Those guys and I might misspell a name or two (Richie, Samy, Charlie, Wilky, Charlamain, Markenzie, Makindie, Evan, Smitty) rocked.  I have love for each of them.  Without them, our works would have been mostly ineffective.  Those guys served us whole-heartedly and without complaint.  They served us as working for the Lord.  Praise God that I had the blessing of meeting them.  I’ll be back, God-willing.  Save a place for me.

Pastor Larry and Mrs. Theresa: 20 year-servants to Haiti, they are fabulous. Pastor Larry, still pastoring his local church in Indiana, and Mrs. Theresa come about 4 times a year.  Pastor Larry serves as VP of SMI Haiti.  Mrs. Theresa fed us well all week and loved on us like our own mothers would.  She literally cares for us and served us without complaint.  That is a lot of food!  Mrs. Theresa is leading a women’s conference in Guitton in April. 

The needs: EVERYTHING.  Spiritually, pastors need to be discipled and trained to train others (make disciples) to meet the massive needs there.  Pastors are loving and kind and understand the Gospel.  But, Biblical literacy appeared to be a large need based on conversations with others.  The Pastors do a wonderful job with the training they have to glorify God and worship Him alone.  God opened my eyes that I can absolutely be used in a mighty way to make disciples there so that they can do the same in the various communities.  The churches worship like nothing we exhibit in America.  The people, though, are in bondage from Satan in a country marked by voodoo.  They need our prayers.  They need our action.  Vision – Plan – Action.  How can we help a country that needs so much help?  Through Christ, I can be used as a change agent.  You can too.  Will you?  Will I?  Pray now.  Pray globally.  Act locally.  Be used.  As you are going….
Physically, the needs are for the basics I take for granted.  They drink from the same water supply in which they bathe themselves.  Clean drinking water.  Food.  Clothes.  Better shelter.  People need training to make things to sell at market to raise money for themselves and their families.  $5 is a big deal.  Everything we have each day (the basics, the things we take for granted) are needs there. 

The Bellevue high school students:  I couldn’t be prouder of this group!  They loved people and shared Jesus every day all day.  At night, we met as groups, recapped the day, were encouraged and studied Jesus’ mandate/method/model/motivation to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you…” I pray that these 15 students will be a core group within our local church and beyond to effect change in the Name of Jesus to set the world on fire spiritually in the Name of Jesus, not resting until we’ve done everything we are called to do in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit to reach all nations (“ta ethne” in Greek), beginning in our city, expanding into the local counties and our state, throughout the US and to all people groups in every country on every continent.  Anything less than our complete obedience and abandonment of self to the glory of God is complete rebellion.  I truly believe the passion and faith I witnessed while in Haiti will carry over to action through our local church, in local schools, in neighborhoods so that everyone in the 901 area code and those close to us will receive a clear presentation of the Gospel, be convicted, repent of sin, be compelled to follow Jesus, and to trust and believe in Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior by God’s grace through faith in Jesus.  I pray for this team.  Please pray for this generation, that they would be world changers in Christ, Spirit-led and unashamed of the Gospel for God’s glory, that His salvation may be known everywhere.

How can I pray?  Pray that God would speak clearly to you as to exactly where you are to take the Gospel.  Pray that you (and I) would be obedient to that answered prayer.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare us every second of every day for the many opportunities we have locally to be witnesses/ambassadors for Jesus Christ.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to illuminate us to the global needs.  Go where God leads.  Go the first time. 

There is so much more to say.  The trip was amazing.  God-willing, my family will be regulars on mission for Christ to Haiti and other countries in the years to come.  No matter how much $ you make, you are blessed more than the vast majority of the world simply by being an American.  What can you give to those without?  A week?  Two weeks?  Do you have a week each year to serve others outside the US?  How can you serve others within the US during the year?  Psalm 67. 

I pray that the local church doesn’t settle for Sunday mornings but lives 168 hours a week with a burning passion to see the lost saved by faith in Jesus and discipled to reproduce the same in others, multiplying to the very ends of the earth.  Be a “public profession of faith” every day. 

God bless you! 

In Jesus name, Amen!


  1. Loved reading every.single.word! Thank you, Ken, for being faithful to God's call and for the encouragement for all of us to do the same. Thank you, Ashley, for letting him share. Blessings to your sweet family!

  2. Great to read about Haiti and SMI! I loved our trip there. Ken, Shun wants to take the senior class from Collegiate to Haiti next year for graduation. You two should talk. If you get the chance to go again I will keep your kids so both of you can go! Love you guys and we should get together and talk about our trips sometime.

  3. Ken - wonderful post. I just got back from my fourth trip to Guitton on Sunday, and is tremendous to see what God has done over only the past two years in this area. I have never been on a trip with Bellevue but I have heard a lot of good things about you all!! And after reading this blog post I feel very fortunate to get to serve in tandem with your church, even though our paths have never crossed. God bless you for your heart for this precious country!


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