Monday, May 31, 2010

Impact Minnesota Day 1 (5/30/10)

Day 1 of our journey to the Special Touch Getaway in Minnesota. The majority of our day was traveling and waiting. We hustled to the airport (STL), waited, hopped on our flight, and then waited some more. This was Lexi's first flight! After we landed in Minneapolis, MN we waited in the airport for a few hours for our ride and enjoyed sipping on some iced coffee!

We got picked up from the airport from a couple named Larry & Carolyn Campbell who gave us a ride to the campgrounds. They have been involved with Special Touch Ministry from day one and are also serving as one of the morning speakers this week at camp. Our ride presented an amazing opportunity for us to fellowship with them, learn more about what inspired them, and to hear some of their stories.

When we arrived and settled in, we took a walking tour of the grounds at Lake Geneva Christian Center (pictured)where the getaway is being held this week. Our first though was that it was big and BEAUTIFUL!! We met a big group from Teen Challenge Ministry Institute (TCMI) in Minneapolis. We got to fellowship with them and then joined in prayer as a group over our week here at Special Touch Getaway.

We are all excited for what God has planned for us this week and for the lives that will be changed!

(Katie VonAllmen)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hope for Haiti day 5

Day 5 (final day) on the ground in Haiti. I didn’t believe that it was possible for our team to fit anymore into a day than we already had earlier in the week, HOWEVER today our team was ROCKIN and trying to fit as much as they possible could in our last full day in Haiti. We started off this morning with a Kids Crusade where we had over 250 children packed into a hot church with no electricity…it was a BLAST!! We sang songs, did magic tricks, played games, had a lesson on the armor of god (notice team member Caleb Smith and his make-shift armor), played with bubbles, silly string, gave a ways tons of balloon animals, candy, and every type of sports ball you can imagine! Everyone had an incredible time, and every child left with a huge smile. Just to try and put into perspective how much it means to these children to receive the smallest toy, whether it be a match box car, jump rope, or sport ball, notice the picture of the make shift toy that you see this young boy playing with. You see this all over Haiti, so can you imagine the joy that comes across their face when you give them something like a soccer ball?
After lunch our team took the work to a whole new level, completing the tin roof on the school house, painting the school house and retaining wall, and building a fence a little over 400 ft long! It was more intense than the afternoon heat was the intensity that our team tackled these final projects.

Right before dinner we experienced the most incredible thing ever, it was what our trip was all about. A young man named Difference (seriously that’s his name) had a slight confrontation in the morning service over wanting to receive a basketball that he did not get. After talking with him we told him that if he would return in the afternoon and help out with building the fence we would talk about it. I don’t think anyone expected him to show up, but he did and worked hard the entire time helping complete the entire fence. So as we took him down to give him his basketball our team leader Joe Skiles wanted to talk with him first. Using a translator Joe began to witness and talk to this young man about Jesus Christ and the power of God that is able to change his life. Difference (pictured here) told us that he believed in Christ and that he new he needed him in his life, however he just didn’t feel like he could follow him. After sharing for a few minutes, Difference decided that he wanted to give his life to Christ. So some of our team gathered around and with his own mouth Difference prayed to God and dedicated his life to Jesus Christ!

After our afternoon projects our team had dinner and honored 4 special guest who have served our team all week. Bossmichelle (groundskeeper), Zet (cook),Maneecia (cook), and Pastor Walter Stecker (PCG field rep for Haiti). It was an honor this week meeting this incredible servants.

What an incredible week of bringing Hope to Haiti. We want to invite you to join us in our efforts to rebuild Haiti and to bring them Hope. Impact Missions Adventures will take at-least two more trips this year August 14-21, and October 16-23, and at-least 3 more trips in 2011 and we invite you to GO!! Find out more info today at or call our offices at 417.624.7050 ext 352. If you can’t GO than consider giving to HOPE-THRU-HOOPS (all funds used to provide the sports balls that we distributed this week), or just a general offering to help in the rebuilding of Haiti.

Haiti needs us right now and it is going to take everyone doing something!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 4 on the ground in Haiti: Our team started out the day by taking a tour of the city, the devastation was unbelievable. In the picture you will see a very familiar scene in the background that has been seen on all major news networks, and that is the Palace (equivalent to our White House). Across from the palace there are over 60,000 people living in tents, LITERALLY in the front lawn of the Palace (stop and try to wrap your mind around that for just a second). Every where you look there are a few common things you will always see: PEOPLE, TENTS/SHELTERS, and DESTRUCTION. Driving around is very difficult in the city, because there are still massive piles of rubble everywhere you go (most of them filling the streets).

Towards the end of the tour, the rain finally came. It was amazing to see how fast the streets began filling up with water…and this is A MAJOR concern with Haiti entering the rainy season. Keep in mind the people are living everywhere you can imagine, in tents, boxes, under tarps...and the ENTIRE DOWNTOWN AREA of Port-Au-Prince is a flood zone (so please keep this in your prayers as Haiti enters the rainy season & hurricane season). The rain continued the most of the afternoon which kept our team from continuing on any of our outside service projects, but our team made the best of the situation by making bracelets to be distributed in the evening youth service. Our team (guys included) braided, braided, and braided working hard on our bracelets. Our team caught a slight break in the rain long enough to go out and cut some fence poles (small trees) to try and finish building a fence tomorrow (weather permitting).

At 6pm our team headed down to the church on the campus for a youth prayer meeting. We had an incredible time worshiping & praying together with the young people. At the end of the evening we presented everyone with a bracelet and prayed for them individually.

Our team has been incredible, it is SO HARD to believe that tomorrow is our last day on the ground in Haiti. We have a huge day ahead of us tomorrow!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 3 on the ground in Haiti….WOW how much can you fit into one day? Our team started out the morning by finishing the painting to the Mission House (notice the before & after pictures), cutting rafters to finish roofing the schoolhouse, and working on creating 2 Soccer goals to be used. Even the most SIMPLEST of projects can become a major undertaking in a 3rd world country. To put it plainly I will NEVER, EVER take for granted my SKIL SAW, or even a STRAIGHT nail for that much! A major part of the roofing & soccer goal project was salvaging rusty nails, trying to straighten them out, and then the fun chore of trying to drive the crooked nails into some extremely hard wood (which we had to salvage as well).

After lunch our team headed out to go TENT-TO-TENT on the PCG CAMPUS, delivering care packages (hygiene items, food, etc.), t-shirts, wooden spoons, kites, cars, frisbees, baby dolls, anything that you could imagine, and also taking time to pray & minister to the families. This was an incredible time for our team!!! Words cannot describe the looks on the children’s face!! The campus quickly turned into a MASSIVE collaboration of flying Frisbees, kites, matchbox cars, & tons of laughter and smiles!! One of the highlights was coming across a tent where we found twin boys who were only 7 days old!!

After going TENT-TO-TENT some of our team returned to finishing our soccer goal project, and others went to assist in an ENGLISH class being taught at the church. Finally the soccer goals were completed and the place quickly turned into a MAJOR SPORTING EVENT!! All week we have been watching children & teens playing soccer using plastic bottles as a ball & 2 rocks for a goal…and now they had the real deal (or at least the ABSOLUTE CLOSEST thing we could come up with for the time being!).

English class went well with approximately 25-30 Haitian people there studying to learn English (very inspirational). Our team assisted in various ways including singing English songs along with the group, & speaking one on one trying to allow the individuals to practice their new language!

After dinner our group experienced a special unexpected treat by being visited by Noah Maignan (pictured here) who is the cousin of Pastor Walter Stecker (PCG Haiti Field Rep) and cousin of France Jacques (here this week serving on Mission from his home church in Connecticut). Noah has been here on assignment serving with the US Coast Guard as a part of JTFH (Joint Task Force for Haiti) since the 20th of January. Noah is of Haitian descent and has been EXTREMELY INSTRUMENTAL in the recovery efforts in Haiti. Noah’s leadership & servant-hood is literally helping save an entire country. Our visit with Noah was incredible and he gave us great perspective on the massive need here in the Haiti. Please keep Noah in your prayers, for both Him & his wife and family. His wife is expecting and due in September and Noah just found out yesterday that his tour of service will be extended for probably the remainder of the year (not allowing him to be home for the birth of his daughter)…what an honor to meet such an incredible man who is changing a nation with his heart of service.

It is now 9:30 pm in Haiti and our team is passing out hundreds of glow in the dark necklaces and I have about 20 little children gathering in awe around my laptop….what a RUSH bringing HOPE to HAITI bringing the HOPE of our wonderful Savior!

Finally we want to give a special SHOUT OUT to our IMPACT TEAM member Breanne Monson from Raymone, WA who spent her 18th birthday today with us serving in Haiti!! WE celebrated with a yummy GREEN (team color…green is for GO) TWINKIE cake!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hope for Haiti day 2...

The IMPACT team started the day full force ahead picking up right where they left off the night before! One group finished clearing out one of the school buildings and preparing it to (hopefully) be roofed tomorrow and then put back into action as a school! Right now the children are currently gathering under tarps to have school, so this will be a tremendous blessing!!

While one group was working on the school house the rest of the team tackled the huge project of painting the mission house!!! It is so vital that this home be preserved...and we wanted to do our part in making sure of this! Tomorrow we will share with you the before & after pictures, they are amazing! Everyone that walked by (with 1100 on the campus there is a CONTINUOUS stream of traffic) commented on how beautiful it was!

After painting our entire teamed moved down beside the temporary school house and worked hard on clearing out and additional playing area. This area was a massive pile of trash/debris/glass/anything you can imagine, and Team IMPACT turned it into a nice flat/safe surface where the children can play!

After lunch we set up a Medical station and for 2 solid hours served a continuous flow of over 100 people from infants to an 84 year old lady. Our team treated cuts, bruises, rashes, colds, and a variety of medical issues, and ofcourse prayed for each person and their family.

Our team finished the day by joining the evening bible study with Pastor Raynold (pictured here with Joe Skiles). It was an amazing time of prayer, worship, & sharing of the word. It was quite overwhelming to here the group singing "How Great Thou Art" together in unison in both English & Creole together.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hope for Haiti day 1 on the ground...

7:35 PM on the ground in Haiti right now, and we are having our evening team meeting from our first full day on the ground in Haiti. The only thing LOUDER than the sound of the generator humming along right now is the RESOUNDING sound of laughter that is still ringing through our minds from our afternoon spent with the children & families on the campus here in Port-au-prince!!

Our team of 21 landed on the ground here in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti yesterday afternoon around 5 PM. The devastation we saw on the way to the PCG campus was nothing like our team had seen was really, really overwhelming. Right now on the 4 1/2 acre campus of the PCG in Port-Au-Prince we have over 1100 people living on the grounds. So there are people EVERYWHERE!

Today on TUESDAY our team started out the morning full speed ahead, building a retaining wall, cleaning off cement block, and cleaning out one of the damaged school buildings.

Our afternoon was spent bringing HOPE, LAUGHTER, & JOY to the families living here on the campus. With simple things like COLORING, JUMP ROPE, SOCCER, VOLLEYBALL...words cannot even express the joy that we saw on the faces this afternoon! You could NOT believe the joy that was brought to even ADULTS who came forward and asked if they too could have a coloring sheet!

Even now as I am typing hundreds of children are returning to their tents for the evening full of joy & excitement with what they have experienced this afternoon: the LOVE of Christ.

We are here to bring HOPE. We are here to bring CHRIST.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Impact Haiti TEAM DEPARTS...

Our first IMPACT HAITI team departs today to Port-au-prince, HAITI!! Please keep them in your prayers as they go to make a difference and bring HOPE! WE will update daily from the PCG compound in Haiti.