DC Vacation

We are on vacation in Washington, DC.   We took both of our mothers, so seven of us piled in a rented suburban and drove.  Our first stop was eastern Kentucky to pick up Beth’s Mom.  From there, we took the northern route through West Virginia and Maryland.  I must say, the drive exceeded my high expectations with fall foliage, and beautiful mountain views.  I expected West Virginia to be beautiful, but I was shocked and delighted by western Maryland.   What a gorgeous state Maryland is!

Our first day in Washington, DC, included a visit to The National Museum of American History, The National Museum of Natural History, The National Archives, The Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial and The WWII Memorial.  If these visits don’t evoke patriotism, nothing will!  We truly live in a special country!

Sunday Review and Fall Break

–  When I saw deer hanging out in our parking lot early this morning, I thanked God for our church’s beautiful property and atmosphere.

–  Great to meet new folks visiting CIL for the first, second and third times.

–  After a great two months of high attendance, Fall Break for Sumner County Schools had our attendance down about 1/3 of what it’s been in previous weeks.  Still, the enthusiasm for worship, the Word and communion was up!   We prayed for all our members traveling over the weekend, and we look forward to everyone getting back over the next couple of weeks.

– I was honored to attend the wedding for Kolby Miller and Emily Phelan Sunday evening.  It’s great to see two young people put God first in their relationship.  The wedding was beautiful in every way!

– With the Titans on a bye, and a busy afternoon, I didn’t pay attention to the NFL today.  Still not sure who Sunday’s winners and losers were, and it really makes no difference.

– I’m on vacation with my family this week.   We planned our vacation for October during Fall Break because summer gets too complex with all the ministry events I’m involved in.  Coming off the mission trip, this makes for a busy October of travel, but it should be my last big trip of the year.  I am thrilled for the time I’ll have with my family this week.

Haiti – Poverty of Opportunity

The poverty of Haiti is obvious in the face of hunger, unemployment and the primitive infra-structure.   To me, the greatest poverty is the poverty of opportunity.  When I questioned young people about their future goals, they didn’t even understand the concept of the question.  How could they?

“Haiti’s economy has been shrinking since the early 1980s while the population has continued to grow.  Haiti is among the world’s poorest nations.  It is estimated unemployment combined with underemployment affect about 85 percent of the labor force.

50% of the people cannot read and write.  Life expectancy at birth is only 52 years, and the incidence of diseases ranging from intestinal parasites to (AIDS) is extremely high.   A limited elite of about 10 percent, mostly professionals, enjoys a sophisticated, affluent lifestyle. This elite class has traditionally resisted all attempts to restructure the Haitian social system. The majority of Haitians live in poverty with little education, few opportunities for employment, and limited political influence (summary provided by Healing Hands International).”

Dr. Matt Tincher summed it up best when he told me, “We don’t bring Jesus to Haiti, Haiti is Jesus.”

Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” –  Jesus (Matthew 24:40)

 

Rubble after the Earthquake

In 45 seconds, 350,000 Haitians lost their lives on Tuesday, January 10, 2010. I remember our mid-week service the next day, and the heaviness we all felt. We prayed, gave and wondered what the future held for the immediate recovery.

Thankfully, the world responded. From my observations, the earthquake debris has been largely cleared, but its still a country of rubble. Broken government, education and values still victimize these precious people. The humanitarian and spiritual needs are so immense, that the earthquake of 2010 is just one story in a sad history of slow progress.

On a two hour plane ride from Miami, there is a different world called Haiti.

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Tent City

On Sunday we had Sunday service as a team, then went to a “tent city” to offer medical treatment. At its height, 1.5 million refugees lived in a “tent city,” but there are approximately 500,000 live this way today.

There happened to be a tent city directly behind our hotel. In the tent city, many of the people had never visited a doctor before. The day was intense, and I enjoyed my role in assisting the dental professionals. At the height of our service, the director asked us to quietly start packing because there was a security threat.

There was a bit of anxiety getting the ladies and the supplies secure. However, the proximity of our gated hotel made it a fast and safe departure.

It’s sad that we weren’t able to treat more people. It’s a reminder that helping people isn’t always easy. A few unruly people can ruin opportunities for the innocent. This is true in America, too.

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Learning About Long-term Strategies in Haiti

Saturday in Haiti was a very informative and thought-provoking day. Our team went to another orphanage. While they administered health care, I spent the day with Harry Hames, who leads the ministry in Haiti. A successful business man, Harry has used his retirement to serve the Haitians since the earthquake. He is using micro-businesses to provide jobs and long-term sustainability (this is a picture of him with some of his workers at a concrete block plant). We had great conversations of ways to most effectively help the third world.

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First Day in Haiti

Our first day of ministry in Haiti was very difficult because of the lack of sleep the team had in the previous 48 hours. The flight change in Miami really messed up the schedule. Regardless, we trusted God in the delay, and pressed forward.

The day’s ministry took place at an orphanage that was an open air structure with a tin roof. Deborah Jackson did an amazing job ministering to the children through teaching and games.

The poverty was worse than I imagined, and this was supposed to be an “easy” day. Lots of love to and from these orphans. God was glorified through health care and friendship.

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