Hi DW's! As many of you already know, last week I was in Haiti on a missions trip with friends. I was part of a small group of four people who independently traveled there to help out friends at The Apparent Project. The trip proved to be overwhelming on so many levels considering the large amount of poverty and the mass rubble still present from last year's earthquake in Port au Prince. Anyway, my bunk-mate and fellow DW friend, Jennifer, wrote a daily synopsis of the experience (from her viewpoint) in order to update family and friends while we were there. I was so impressed with her writings, I asked for her permission to post them here on Fresh Flowers for the coming week. We hope and pray that these daily entries paint a real-life picture for you and bless your hearts to further help the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned as mandated in James 1:27.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
Ladies, each one of us is able to make a difference in the lives of others! We must only be willing to follow God's call! May you be richly blessed by His love as you enjoy Jennifer's writings this upcoming week. Blessings! ~Victoria
(Pictured above: A typical tent house in Haiti)
My Heart in Haiti (Day 2)
By Jennifer Theodorou
It's 5 a.m. The roosters are crowing, the light of day is breaking the horizon. After being awake for 36 hrs with early morning travel I am grateful to have gotten a few hours rest.
Last night I drifted off to sleep to the sound of a gently rumbling thunder storm. A sound I have always enjoyed and found somewhat soothing. As I lie here this morning I am thinking about the 800,000 people still in tents here. As I was soothed to sleep last night, their floors were turning to mud. They probably spent half the night adjusting and readjusting the tarps and sheets that comprise some of these tents, in an effort to stay even remotely dry. Some sheltering 3, 4, 5 children in the elements.
Hurricane season in coming. June 1st marks the beginning of a season of fear here. It is guaranteed that MANY storms will form over the Caribbean waters in the months ahead. And many prayers will be lifted up here, that this country would be spared another major disaster. With so many people outside of secure shelter, a direct hit from a hurricane would guarantee death of thousands more Haitians.
Yesterday I asked Shelley, our host, where all these people were before the quake. There were no tent cities before last years disaster. I learned that some were in apartments that collapsed, some rented houses that collapsed, and some rented houses that stood strong. The houses that survived were often owned by people who's primary residence did not. Landlords kicking out tenants so that they could have shelter for themselves and their families. None the less, 800,000 people still needing so much. Where will this help come from?
Yesterday I was blessed with the opportunity to meet 2 of the three families that we built homes for at the start of the new year. I got to stand within the walls that now protect their families. I was overcome with emotion. It was hard to explain. I was filled with joy in knowing that God used me and those that joined me in giving, to change these peoples lives. They, for the most part, were dry last night.
I don't share this to bring any glory to myself. It was all obedience to the calling of the Holy Spirit I felt clearly in my heart last October. It was all God moving those who gave into action. To GOD be the glory! I share this because I want people to see how it IS possible to make a difference. Hopefully in the next few days I will meet Nadege, who works here at Apparent. She received our third house. We have not changed the world here in Haiti, but in the lives of these three families, we have made a difference.
If you read my post yesterday, you'll recall my cry to the Lord, asking how I could possibly help in a nation that needed so much. He showed me, and I obeyed. Maybe you find yourself asking the same question. How can I possibly help? You can. You don't need to be rich, you don't have to pack up your life and move to Haiti. Through Apparent you can host a jewelry party. It costs you nothing. The jewelry is sent to you at no charge. You just track the sales and return the funds you receive. Each artist is paid 80% of the sales price when their pieces sell. 20% goes back into materials and aids in the cost of feeding the artists and their children each day that they come to work. How many of you have hosted or been to one of those ridiculously priced jewelry parties? How bout hosting one that is changing the lives of people in need?
Jewelry not your thing? Organize a cereal box drive at your kids school or in your work place. These materials are used to make the amazing paper beads that adorn the Apparent jewelry.
Are you in a circle of people that ARE financially in a position to give? That have hearts for those in need? Challenge people to help you raise funds to build a home here. It only takes $1600-3200.
If nothing else, please pray for Haiti and her people. Pray that God's protection would be with them during this hurricane season. Pray that the new president, recently inaugurated, would be able to establish change here, so that funds promised to Haiti would be received. Pray for Apparent and the Clays. For endurance, protection, wisdom and opportunity. There are big things on the horizon for Apparent. I'll share more about that later.
Today we will begin some work here at the Apparent guest house and artisan work shop in preparation for what's ahead. We will be painting, reorganizing, moving some furniture; anything and everything we can in the time we have been given. Please pray for our safety.
Give thanks for this day! For all that the Lord has blessed you with! For there are many here who have nothing. And in that nothingness they STILL praise the Lord!