Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gramma's Wedding

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Dean Boss!

I was so excited to be able to be a part of my Gramma's special day.
The wedding was beautiful and I wish them all the happiness in the world.

Gramma and Dean with the Ecker gang.
Rachel, Emily, David, Ellen
Hendershot Kids
Ellen, Emily, Grandma Cook, Rachel

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heading Home

Heading home for my Gramma's wedding.  Check out this beautiful view from my airplane window!  Breathtaking.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Day

Free day!

Ok, so not exactly a free day, but I did get to spend it doing the thing I love most in Haiti...working at Village de Nouvelle Vie!

The Paraguayans came to pick me up around 11am.  They were supposed to come first thing, but made some adjustments so we had more freedom.  We went to the border to extend the paper for Floyd (the van) to remain in Haiti.  It wasn't as busy as market day, but there were still a lot of people and vehicles.  Carlitos and I walked from the line since we weren't actually crossing the border.  The road was flooded and disgusting.  Mixed with the lake water it smelt bad and my new sandals became water shoes.  After the transaction, we did get to stop and take a few photos.  I couldn't believe it was my first time after all those border trips!

Headed to the village for business and meetings.  I love using the gifts God gave me to do things for people I have come to know and love.  I'm so blessed.

Emily and Carlos - my Paraguayan Dad
Emily and Carlitos - my brother

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rebecca

While the cats away, the mice will play.  That's usually true...unless you are in Haiti.  Chris has been away all week and we've been busy with Kidz Clubs and doing a "Spring Cleaning" of sorts around the base.  We've cleaned and reorganized everything because this summer we have back-to-back and even overlapping teams.  This means no days off in between.  Yikes!

After a long week, we spent our Sunday with church at CAD.  Everyone on our team participated while I did "crowd control" for the adult "helpers". Basically, that means I am the buffer between the kids and workers during church so that the kids are free and do not have to be fearful of disciplinary stuff.  They can relax and be kids!

After church Cassandra and I made lunch, then Cassi and I made brownies for our friend Rebecca's birthday.

Rebecca is married to our Haitian friend, Rismith.  Her sister Edna and cousin Susan have been here for almost 8 weeks and are leaving this Tuesday.

They have built this home.  The first floor will be a vocational school and the second is their private residence.
The view overlooking the lake is breathtaking.  We joined them and some of their other friends on the porch for iced tea and popcorn.
(Check out the view from the porch!)
Edna, Rebecca, Susan
Group shot!
Emily and Susan Lee
The girls are so sweet and I am sad they are leaving so soon.  I'm excited that we will be able to support Rebecca while her family is away.

The other day the three girls came over and brought us notes and a handcrafted quote.  It reads:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure...
We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, talented, gorgeous and fabulous?"  
Actually, who are you not to be?
As we let our lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Women of the World

It is fun to meet other people who are working here.  Each group has different focuses, goals and methods for helping Haiti.  I thrive on the networking aspect of it all.

On occasion, we have been able to connect with these girls who volunteer with the International Faith Mission down the road.  Thursday afternoon they stopped by after we had been cleaning the base all day to say hello.  We all listened to music on the porch and did each others' nails.  An awesome time of fellowship.  Rebecca is living here, but her sister Edna and cousin Susan will be leaving next week.  We are so sad, but also grateful for the precious time we have had to get to know them.
Edna, Rebecca, Emily, Cassi, Susan, Cassandra
"If ever there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known."
-Matthew Arnold, Nineteenth-Century British Poet and Philosopher

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


For my first trips, my friend Johnbern and I worked very closely together.  He was our translator and is still a dear friend.  God has blessed him with a true gift in his drumming abilities.  I'm so happy that he is flourishing in life.

Yesterday we had a cleaning day around the base to get everything back in order since the team left.  In the afternoon Marty and Cheryl stopped by with him to pick up a few things.  I was so happy to see them and especially to see Johnbern (JB).  He came out to the village one day last week, but we were all so busy that we barely had time to catch up.

Johnbern, thank you for being my voice to communicate to the people, for your insights on the Haitian culture and for your friendship.  I appreciate you more than you know.

End of my first Haiti trip.  February 2011.

Monday, April 9, 2012


I have ringworm...on my face.  It is not cute.

Went to the clinic on Love A Child's base to get meds.  I hope it is gone ASAP!


Cassi (amazing intern here for 2 months) wrote PTL the other day on the calendar on the fridge.  She wrote it on the day I return to Haiti after a few days home for my Gramma's wedding.  PTL is Praise the Lord!

I have a SUPER big praise to share.

After much work with ACTED (French organization) on plywood homes, they closed their shelter program even though they promised our village housing.  It was extremely frustrating as we had been working with them since June of last year filling out all the paperwork and making a site plan.

My friend Alain from IOM recommended that I call a contact of his at UNOPS.  After calling a few times last week and twice today with no answer or option for a voicemail, I was discouraged.

A few minutes after my second call, Irfan returned it and while we only talked for a few minutes, he agreed to build for our families!

He has to find places for 100 homes in Croix-des-Bouquets by the end of this month.  Yes, please build 25 for us!

This is huge!  A project like this would cost a lot of money for us, so this is an amazing answer to prayer!

Praise the Lord for shelter for those in need!  And in His timing.


I love emails from home!

My Dad sent me a quick email today that I received over lunch.  It was just a quick update, but I loved it!  I felt more connected just knowing what has been happening at home.

I miss my family terribly.  I am so blessed to have the relationship I do with them.  I am so happy I get to see them in a little over a week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

This morning I woke up with a song from my childhood stuck in my head.  An old hymn from church that goes..."Christ the Lord is risen today, Hal-le-lu-jah.".  (It's sung really low.)

We had an amazing church service at CAD and then went back to the base for steaks for lunch.

Check out the picture below from the illustrated sermon at Victory Christian Center last year.  This is when Jesus came out of the tomb and the photo has not been edited.  Incredible.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Team Leaves, Free Day

The team left today.  In hindsight, I feel like I was overemotional while this team was here.  I've had a lot on my mind and sometimes I couldn't control the tears.  I'm grateful for their support and prayers.

I got up at 5:26am and they were leaving at 5:30am.  Said a few quick goodbyes to the team and went straight back to bed until 7am.  I just can't sleep in like I used to.

Read, wrote, listened to music and laid around.  At noon I fell back asleep until 3:30pm.  I was tired and happy to have this free day.

Breakfast sandwich at 4pm.

Staff had dinner together - Cassandra made eggplant parmesan.  
Afterwards Cassandra, Cassi, and I watched the Barbie Island Princess movie on my computer.

Can you believe this is how I spent a full day off in Haiti?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Last night I learned that Good Friday is the most dangerous day of the year in Haiti because of voodoo.  Yikes!

In Ganthier, the next village over, there is a place called Mount Calvary.  Here people who are Catholic and those who practice voodoo meet.  I still don't totally understand how it works, but thousands of people drive taptaps (truck taxis) from all over to walk up this hill.

When we left the compound, traffic started to get very thick.  Way more than I've ever seen in the countryside.  There were police stops and the girls counted over 75 taptaps, or buses full of people, through one of the two police checks we passed.  And it was only just after 8am!

When we got to the village I walked the perimeter twice while praying.  I felt really uneasy about the ride over because of all the traffic and knowing the implications of having a team of Americans drive through Ganthier on Good Friday.  Holy Week is known for it's parties and riots.

Love A Child already wanted us back early, but we realized we should leave before that just incase.

We did a few things around the village and then the Pastor held his service.  He came out of his shelter in his Sunday best.  A few songs were sung, scriptures read, and there was a short message.  I spent my time outside the tent, but it was beautiful to see him do what he could in appreciation of the team's work.

Before the service ended my friend Alain from IOM came by.  He is from Cameroon in Africa and is just the coolest!  Today is his day off and he decided to spend time driving to see how we were doing.  Tomorrow he flies to the States to see his wife and 4 year old daughter.  So sweet.

I enjoyed having time with him to catch up and show him our progress.  Sometimes I feel like every step forward is a few steps back, but his words of encouragement are inspiring.  I appreciate his insight!

Chris, Cassandra, Miss Inez, and James (translator) met us at the site to drive back with us to Victory Compassion.  We had a little caravan going - so I drove the middle vehicle with Franck in shotgun.  I prayed most of the way home.  Thank you Lord for this, thank you Lord for that, thank you Lord that the taptap didn't hit me, thank you Lord that the crowds were mostly up the hill and only empty buses lined the street.  All that anxiety ended when our caravan was safely through (and way past!) Ganthier.  Whew.

The pressure of driving here is intense enough with people riding on the back of the truck, no seat belts, anticipating a riot - yikes.  Not to mention the whole thing about if you accidentally kill someone they intentionally kill you.

Everyone made it home safely and the team packed up.

I've enjoyed talking to the members of this team.  They've been great encouragers.  Even though I didn't know them when they arrived, I felt a connection through playing the name game.  We know many of the same people.  Their feedback on leadership was also of great value to me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Arbor Team Update

The Spring Arbor team has been a blessing for Village de Nouvelle Vie and for me personally as well.  They spent a few days in Port-au-Prince and the rest of the week staying at Victory Compassion while working in Village de Nouvelle Vie.

For me, it was a breath of fresh air.  I loved being back at the village, spending time with the people, and allowing the team to work alongside the Haitians.

Julie, Max, Scott, Dale, Haley, Abby
Faith and Baby Mai
I also really enjoyed having my current team members at Victory share in the project I have put so much of my heart into.  Cassi and Mary came out a few of the days and Frank and Max took turns translating.  Everyone was amazing!

Another highlight was that I got to see my Paraguayan friends!  Praise Jesus!  I really appreciate their friendship and kindness towards me.  These people are constantly looking out for me and are willing to help.  Throughout the week 12 of them begun the wellhouse construction.  By the end of the week, the overall Paraguayan Commander and Colonel came for a picnic lunch.

My friend Hermanito (Carlos Martinez) came out the same day.  He pulled an apple out of his pocket for me.  I was so excited... and then he kept pulling out more fruit from the other pockets in his uniform.  4 apples, 2 bananas.  In Spanish he said, "A father knows his daughter."  I am so grateful to have friends who are looking out for me in every detail here.

Abby, Carlos, Haley
His son, Carlos Martinez was also there.  He is 28 and very handsome.  Two of the high school girls (Haley and Abby - they are so sweet!) on the team and Cassi kept talking about how cute he is.  They know some Spanish so they spent time getting to know him.  Later in the week he came out and started helping with a small project, when I looked over after awhile the girls had totally taken over his work and were hovering near him.  So funny!

The Commander of Parengcoy came over for lunch and
to feed a snack to the small children of the village.
It was a big deal!
Emily, Commander Britos, Cheryl
I got a flat tire when driving the team back to the base.  So glad there were lots of men on the team to help out.  Thanks, guys!

The team did an amazing job putting together the chicken house, cementing various projects, organizing our storage house, and just loving on the kids.  Because of Easter the kids were out of school and able to be around all day, every day this week.

Mary, Cheryl, Faith
My friend, Franck helping out.
Max and Mary organizing the drip irrigation system.
The Pastor was so happy about the group's help, he wants to have a special service on Friday!  Todd, the team leader, had brought an accordion from where they were staying earlier only to learn that the Pastor knows how to play!  The next day they brought it for him to enjoy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Doug came down when the Canadian team was here to spend time with us, build cabinets for the new house, and put in the doors.  He is such a cool guy and has been fun to hang out with.  I really enjoyed hearing stories about his family and first trips in Haiti as he has been here numerous times.

He left Wednesday morning, but in honor of his last night we "whip our hair back and forth" in creole with Cassandra and I.

Emily, Doug, Cassandra

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Arbor Team

Welcome Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church team!

Chris, Cassandra, and I rode into town with James today to pick up the team from the Friends of Haiti Organization (FOHO) near the Free Methodist Church in Delmas.

The group consists of a variety of father/son and son/daughter pairs because the students decided to come to Haiti for their senior year Spring Break trip.  It's a pretty cool idea and really made me want my Dad here too!  I helped Marty and Cheryl facilitate the team through the week.  More updates to come on all they accomplished.