Monday, December 30, 2013

So...A Lawyer, Two Counselors, and a College Student Board a Plane for Haiti....

It's no joke, people.  It's the entourage who will be making a life-changing trip to Haiti in a few days.  The four of us, (all from Grace Community Church) are getting on a jet plane at 6:00 a.m. on January 9th (for those of you who know me well, you know this is NOT an ideal flight time for me - lol).  My girl, Madi (the college student) is going with me (the lawyer), as is my bestie (the counselor) and another friend (the second counselor).  This intrepid group of women, will be sporting our work boots and dungarees in an effort to bring clean water and The Living Water to the dear people of Haiti. 

We will be traveling and working with Strategic Water Teams and  Shoeman Water Projects.  Our main job will be the installation of water purification systems, but we will also be working a day or so in an orphanage and another day or two at a school.  We covet your prayers for us all as we prepare for the trip, go and work our tails off, and return home after 10 days.

Those prayers of yours? TRULY PRICELESS.  However, the trip itself has a price tag. Although we have raised the bulk of the needed funds to get us to Tabarre, Haiti, we still require a few hundred dollars for our time in-country.  Will you please consider helping us?  

 (Don't those sweet faces just MELT your heart?!)

Did you know the average Haitian does not have access to clean water?  Isn’t that crazy for an island? Sure, Haiti is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, but there’s almost nothing in the way of clean, drinkable water.  Even so, a trip to the ocean is way beyond the means of the typical Haitian.  The World Bank describes the Haitian crisis as follows:

"Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the developing world. Its per capita income — $250 — is considerably less than one-tenth the Latin American average. About 80 percent of the rural Haitian population lives in poverty. Moreover, far from improving, the poverty situation in Haiti has been deteriorating over the past decade, concomitant with a rate of decline in per capita GNP of 5.2 percent a year over the 1985-95 period.
The staggering level of poverty in Haiti is associated with a profile of social indicators that is also shocking. Life expectancy is only 57 years compared with the Latin American average of 69. Less than half of the population is literate. Only about one child in five of secondary-school age actually attends secondary school. Health conditions are similarly poor; vaccination coverage for children, for example, is only about 25 percent. Only about one-fourth of the population has access to safe water. (Emphasis added by yours truly).  In short, the overwhelming majority of the Haitian population is living in deplorable conditions of extreme poverty. In the face of this daunting reality, Haiti's population continues to grow at a high rate estimated at almost 200,000 people per year.”  (See
Moreover, the infant mortality rate is 57 infant deaths before age 1 per 1,000 live births in 2012, compared to 6 in 1,000 here in the United States.  (See" 
The purification system - so simple!

Another less-obvious-to-the-outside-world result of the extreme poverty in Haiti is the trafficking of Haitian children, a topic near and dear to my heart.  According to an article in The Guardian, on September 22, 2005, the sale of Haitian children into the Dominican Republic is a thriving trade, with the going rate for a Haitian child being 54.22 Pounds (the equivalent of $89.40 in today’s U.S. dollars)(See  Most are used for gang income (boys age 12 and under), domestic service (girls age 12 and under), agricultural or construction work (older boys), or in prostitution (girls over age 12). (See      

Am I the only one fired up about this exploitation of precious babies?  During a trip-preparation meeting, seasoned missionaries to Haiti with whom we are traveling relayed to us their firsthand experience of such child trafficking.  They told us of having discovered, while installing a water purification system in the “hill country”, a young girl of eight years who was the household servant to non-relatives, doing all the cooking, cleaning, and providing personal care for the elderly.  The girl’s parents are both dead.  Her closest living relative, an aunt who lived in the city, had sent her to live with these people, to earn her keep, so to speak.  The missionaries quickly learned the girl was highly intelligent, despite her not having any schooling.  They enlisted the help of a respected pastor who negotiated the girl’s release which now allows her to reside at an orphanage and attend school.  Her “captors” told the pastor they wouldn’t have any trouble replacing the girl, as there are many children out there in similar circumstances whom they can “buy”.  This account makes me cry!  And, unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon at all. 

(Conducting school in a tent . . . can you even imagine??)

So . . . here I am asking you to pray, first and foremost.  Secondly, for those who are so inclined, I'm asking you to write a check for clean water . . . and so much more.  Please?  

Checks should be made out to Grace Community Church with “Haiti Mission Trip” written on the memo line, and mailed to Grace Community Church, 14769 N. Hwy Rt. 37, Mt. Vernon, IL 62893. 

Thank you!


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