The missions ministry is designed to share the good news about Jesus Christ outside of our immediate surroundings. We do this by praying for missionaries and those all around the world who have never heard about Jesus. We also financially support both long term and short term missionaries on the mission field. One of the most exciting things our ministry does is to send church members on short term mission trips all over the world. Teams from our church have gone to South Africa, Mexico, Ukraine, Louisiana, and the Dominican Republic.
2016 HAITI MISSIONS TRIP WAS A SUCCESS!: Team Leader, Ken Swaner along with his team members from the Journey Church went to Haiti in October during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The Journey team was able to build a 2000 square foot roof over an outdoor kitchen and dining area which was destroyed by wear and tear and demolished by the hurricane. They hooked up 9 solar lights to the bunk house and kitchen area. They treated over 300 people with $6000 worth of meds and was able to stock up the pharmacy. Wow that’s God’s Hand extended… God’s Love is the same in every language… Small trip- Big results… because of them and God’s grace! Oh how we love God and His disciples.
News12 capture their story. Please check it out. https://www.facebook.com/jeny.marcioch/videos/880582895410420/
Read More Below…
Haiti Mission’s Trip
October 9, 2016
Team Leader: Ken
Team: Joe, Jimmy, Tracy, Pat, Dominique, April, Mike, Lionel, Ray, Marilyn, Missionary Rob
3:15 a.m.- We met at The Journey Church. Danielle and Margaret drove us in the church van to the airport. Rob used his pick-up truck to transport the 21 pieces of luggage. It was a rainy drive to JFK.
Sunday, October 9, 2016 Mission Trip Day 1
We arrived safely, Praise God, flight 2175 was smooth. Even though we left in rainy conditions, there was very little turbulence. The landing was incredibly smooth. Tracy said that she had a vision when we landed of angels guiding us in, protecting us. That is exactly what it felt like, landing on a cloud. Amazing grace!
Once off the plane, the madness began. It started off ok. We paid the entry fee of $10.00 and then headed to the next station where a gentleman checked the green form we filled out on the plane. It was chaotic trying to locate 22 checked-in bags with 10 carry-on bags and 10 backpacks. Once they were located, the next challenge was trying to get 5 luggage carts to help get everything over to customs. WE DID IT!! The next step was going through customs. We walked by one agent thoroughly checking another passenger’s bag. Knowing we had bags full of medicine, I was concerned that their thorough inspection would uncover them. The first bag they checked was a bag full of flip flops. They seem unimpressed and closed the bag right away. The second bag they opened had plenty of medicine and he took it out. A few of us started to pray in the background for mercy. Ken immediately sprang into action and started to explain the quantities of medicine. He called Dominique over to translate. They told them that they were eye drops for children in an orphanage. He eyed both Ken, Dominique and all of us surrounding them and closed the bag. He let us go, choosing not to look in another bag. Praise God!
Ken paid the inside airport men to help us with our bags up to the point of customs. After customs there were men who wanted to take our bags the rest of the way. Ken did not want to pay for the “outside” bag men. He specifically told them that if they help with the bags, he’s not tipping because he already tipped the “inside guys.” They took the bags anyway and they were aggressive at some point. Walking outside, we met with Rob and Lou Lou and they escorted us to the mini bus with the half dozen Haitian men carrying our bags. Once they got to the bus and packed the bus, there was more chaos, because they wanted a tip. We eventually freed ourselves from the airport area (they did get a tip after all) and started our drive to the hotel. The bus ride was tight because the luggage took up most of the space.
The drive to the hotel was eye opening. This was our first glimpse of Haiti and we were silent as we rode, not sure what to say. Most of the ride the streets were FULL of GARBAGE. There were busy towns of people selling their goods, Tap Tap busses taking people around, as well as motor bikes. The heat poured down upon these people, and if there was shade, someone was sitting under it. We saw the broken up buildings, the dirt and garbage in the streets, and people who looked so resigned to a life that appeared hopeless. Not one town we passed was clean, not one. I actually counted 3 people out of about a thousand who smiled.
The hotel was decent and clean. As Ken said, “It’s a ½ star hotel.” It literally was steps from one of the towns I just described. We all got our luggage once we arrived, brought the bags to our rooms and agreed to meet at 2 p.m. for lunch. After lunch we drove to the orphanage to come up with a plan and to meet the people we would be working with for the week.
We got to the orphanage and the team noticed that there was so much more that needed to be done. It was not what we expected. The Journey Church and prior teams did so much to make their lives better, but there was clearly more to do. We noticed the kitchen area needing help and the school area was in disrepair. The children were so excited to see us. We learned their names and met several boys that The Journey members sponsor. One boy asked about Shannon. It was a short visit, but we fell in love with the children quickly because they embraced us. The adults were passive. Life must be so hard for them. The men looked around and assessed what needed to be done during our short visit. The ladies took a tour and played with the kids. Leaving, the school bus got stuck in a ditch, but thankfully the bus driver was able to get us out.
Dinner was good. Everyone chose a variety of entrées i.e.: chicken, Lumbi, pizza, soup, etc. We sat and talked for a long time. Rob shared interesting facts about Haiti and their culture. We finally settled back to our rooms for rest, in expectation of a busy day 2 in the mission field.
The Lord was with us from start to finish on this day. He promised not to leave us or forsake us. We believe His promises.
Monday, October 10, 2016 -Mission Trip Day 2
Our hotel was not fancy but clean. There were a few palm trees and an azure blue pool. Right behind the hotel was a tin roof village with families living in cement structures. If we stretched our hands out of the bathroom window of our rooms, we could probably shake hands with the people behind us. There were cooking sounds, laughter, dogs barking, roosters, men and women talking, babies crying, children playing…. a real village.
We woke up to the rooster behind us and the rooster which wandered the hotel property. Often we felt that they were talking to each other in the morning. Some of us were able to capture them on our voice memos. We met Ken on the hotel rooftop for devotion at 7 am. Ken lead devotion this day. It was about individual giftings. I might not be able to do what Ray for example, does. But, I can do what I can do. It was simple but profound and extremely encouraging. We prayed and then had breakfast at 7:30 am. Breakfast was good. Lots of eggs and bacon ordered. Next we packed the school bus and headed to the orphanage. We were told to go to our assigned stations, which we did. Pat and Marilyn went to the room where they distributed clothes. Tracy and April went to the pharmacy. Dominique went to the exam room. The men started doing demolition of the kitchen area roof which was destroyed. That was basically the day. It was incredibly hot for the men working in the heat. They didn’t do any building as Lou Lou needed to go and get the supplies needed for building. By the end of the day, the men were able to get framing done. Tracy, April and Dominique counted medicine the entire time. We had Mona and Besty, Haitian nurses, work with us to count medicine. We were in the shade all day and they gave us a fan. We were able to talk and fellowship with each other.
The Lord was with us again today and we could feel His presence. The joy of the children was so evident. Their eyes lit up all day. Even though we didn’t see patients today, we got a lot accomplished.
Back at the hotel, some men jumped into the pool, while others showered and rested. Dinner was at 7 p.m. There was great conversation about our day in the mission field.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016- Mission Trip Day 3
Devotion was at 7 a.m. sharp. Joe led devotion. He talked about wearing our armor using a sheath and being shod footed so we wouldn’t fall. Beautiful devotion. Then we went around and talked about our highlights of day 2. There were many different highlights, but mainly everyone loved the children and had stories of relating to them.
We ate breakfast and headed to the orphanage. There was a line of people already waiting to see the doctor. We took about a ½ hour to set up. Once we were officially ready to start, Mona asked them to stand up and pray. All the people in line, stood up and in unison, said a prayer. Right after the prayer, they sang in Creole, “How Great Thou Art.” It was beautiful.
It took at least 15 patients for the clinic area to get a flow. France wrote the names. Mona and sometimes April took the blood pressure. We took the temperature and weight, which was written on the prescription paper. They got on line for the doctor and nurse Dominique. After, Dominique would walk them to the pharmacy area, where Betsy and Tracy would give them their medicine. After the clinic, the people would line up for the clothing items where Marilyn and Pat would provide an outfit or flip flops. This day we saw 81 patients, young and old, male and female with so many needs. Some of the patients were kind and smiling, accepting the love we were giving. However, there were some who wanted no part of it and just wanted to get what they needed. It was a busy day in the orphanage. The men worked non-stop all day. They were so grateful for the rain, which cooled them off. God knew. They framed out the kitchen area and hoped to get the material they needed to finish the roof.
The clinic closed and the clothes were all distributed. The bus driver took the ladies back to the hotel while the men continued to work. The men left the orphanage at 4 p.m.
During the time before dinner, some men and Marilyn took a dip in the pool. A great day.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 Mission Trip Day 4
Tracy led devotion this morning at 7 a.m. She played the song “How Great Thou Art” and pulled out some of the lyrics and expanded on them. One verse talked about being One Nation. That gave us hope.
Breakfast and then back to the mission field. Today we saw over 120 patients. It was extremely crowded and very hot. There was some arguing and near fights because some patients were cutting the line. Mona helped to calm the situation, but it was hard to keep track of who came first. There were so many pregnant women today and many were young girls. There were plenty of babies today too. Some preemies came through too. I got a picture of a twin preemie. They were so small, but one was even smaller. It was very sad. I weighed the smallest baby to be 4 pounds and she was several months old. There was an autistic boy who introduced himself by pulling my hair. He would not let go. That was funny to so many on line, which made me laugh too.
Music played while we saw patients all day. One little boy started singing a song, even though he admittedly didn’t know it. Our helper, France, loved singing Michele McGovern’s song, “I Will Trust You Lord.” It’s repetitive and he caught on quickly. I wish I got a video of him singing that. It would’ve warmed Michele’s heart.
Pat and Marilyn had little to give out today, but managed to stay busy all day, giving out lollipops and jewelry.
The men worked ALL DAY in the heat. It was definitely hard physical labor. It was also another hot day. Ray almost finished the blackboards. They looked great.
At the end of clinic, the ladies had time to talk to the children, take pictures and even play a little soccer. It was a good day. God is faithful.
Thursday, October 13, 2016 Mission Trip, Day 5
Devotion at 7 a.m. I led devotion and read from the CR devotional about being joyful during the trials and feeling blessed just to be in the game. We got to do this, chosen by God.
Breakfast and then out in the mission field, our last day in the orphanage.
We got there and went right to work. The clinic saw 90 patients today. No arguements today. The atmosphere was very serene. The men worked another hot day and completed the frame and the tin roof started to go up. All week they were training Haitian men and left the project in their hands to finish. Ken, Lionel and others left their tools specifically to the men who were working. The classroom chalkboards were completed. Ray and his helper did a great job. The last day and final patients were the kids in the orphanage. Unfortunately we ran out of some of the medicine. Tracy was not happy about this and Lou Lou promised to go to the pharmacy to get the kids the medicine that they needed. While the kids waited for the doctor, Pat was handing out red headphone cases with lollipops in them. I wish I could’ve captured the utter joy on their faces when she gave them out. It was so heartwarming to see. I thought about the kids in America who would balk at a gift like that. To these children, it was like gold.
We said our goodbyes, which was hard. The cook was so grateful and went to all of us individually to hug us. San Love followed us to the bus. Lionel left the back bus door open to get air whicle we waited for the entire team to come. Ken was trying to keep us on schedule. San Love climbed up the back of the bus and started hugging everyone. I captured it on video. It was a perfect video showing how much our visits mean to them and how sad it is for us to leave. Ken told San Love to get off the bus which ruined a good video. LOL.
We drove back to the hotel, where we changed quickly and boarded the bus for the market area. Before we left, some of us shopped a little market area at the entrance of the hotel. I bought a few things, as well as Joe O. and Lionel. Our ride to the market place was about 40-45 minutes. Before we got off the bus to shop, we were told not to wander off and to shop in twos. Ray and Mike stayed back at the hotel.
The market place was very interesting. Once we got off the bus, they must’ve smelled American money. We were swarmed by so many vendors, we could barely move or even breathe. Ken mentioned that they all sell the same things, which was correct. There were hundreds of paintings. They had wooden boxes for sale, sandals, jewelry, key chains, plaques and other little items. The people were extremely aggressive, which made some of us uncomfortable. My mission was to get a pot to bring home. Dominique helped communicate this, and someone was going to bring it to me. I would need to wait 2o minutes. 2o minutes later the pot came and Lou Lou threw a coin at it to see if it was legitimate. He gave the approval and told me that the pot was good and I could purchase it. During the market place time, Lou Lou was extremely protective, which made us feel safe.
We drove back to the hotel and a few of us decided to shop more at the entrance. Before the bus left for the day, Lou Lou chopped up Marilyn’s coconuts, FINALLY! She’d been asking for them to be opened most of the week. Marilyn was so excited and grateful. She happened to have straws in her bag and shared her coconuts with everyone. Marilyn’s first sip of her coconut, she exhaled and said something that I can’t repeat, but it was funny. Tracy wanted to take a picture of everyone with their coconuts. I used her phone to take the picture. Later she sent me the photo and asked who was missing. I didn’t see anyone missing. She pointed out that everyone was in the picture, except her. I completely cut her out and only captured her hand holding the coconut. Ugh! I felt so bad.
Back to the rooms to shower and change. The men jumped in the pool first.
Dinner was at 6:30 p.m. It was our last meal together in Haiti as a team. Marilyn was leaving early in the morning before breakfast. After dinner we played a quick game of Loaded Questions. It was fun. Clearly, Ken knows more about us than anyone. He blew us away in points. He got 14 answers correct. One question was “What would we name our yacht.” He said Lenore! Of course everyone guessed that he said that. Plus he scored some points as a thoughtful husband.
Travel Day- October 14, 2016
Breakfast at 7 a.m. Pastor Rob said his goodbyes early. He was heading back to the orphanage to finish up. I heard he got up early with Marilyn and had breakfast with her before she left for the airport.
We left the hotel at 8:40 a.m. and got to the airport at about 9:15 a.m.
Everything went smoothly. Our bags were checked, checked and rechecked. Due to all that checking, we didn’t have much time waiting and boarded the plane right away.
It was a nice flight home. Lionel and I were pulled over briefly by police to check our bags and found the pot. They x-rayed it and found it to be safe and let us go. Danielle and Margaret were at the airport to pick us up. Danny was there to pick up Dominique. Our drive to The Journey Church was a little wild. Danielle was on a mission herself to get us to the church for a News 12 interview. Linda A. knew someone from News 12 and thought our story was interesting. They met us at the church and we received applause from our church family. Ken was interviewed and he was brilliant. Unfortunately most of it was cut, but there were some points covered in the live piece. That was a blessing.
Haiti Sunday was this past Sunday, October 23, 2016. We were able to share our hearts about the mission trip. So many people listening were incredibly blessed. One church member went home and told her children and grandchildren they weren’t getting any Christmas gifts this year. She told them about Haiti Sunday and giving to those who need. Wow!
Looking forward to our next team meeting to discuss how we can continue to help them and raise funds for things they need.