Sunday, December 12, 2010

Greg's Wedding Vows

Melynda and I renewed our wedding vows after 20 years of marriage. We will enclose an update shortly but I wanted to write out my personal wedding vows to remind and keep me accountable to them. I thank God for His guidance in our lives through the good times and storms of our marriage relationship. We both understand that we would not have made it without Him - God was and is the key. It also helps that Melynda is so lovable and I know how to do the laundry ;)

Onto my vows;

"My beloved Melynda, my Luv, L-U-V, you know what I mean. Almost 20 years ago, we committed to love one another forever and today we renew our love. But there is a huge difference in who we were then and who we are today."

I paused here and told her that "20 years ago, you were beautiful but today, wow, you are captivating." (and she was, is)

"To shed some light on how we have changed - I want to read a romantic quote from one of our favorite movies The Notebook - because it is how I feel about you.

"The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes
us reach for more, a love that plants a fire in our hearts, and a love
that brings peace to our minds and that is what you have given me."

You have awakened my soul, brought peace to my mind, and definitely placed a fire in my heart. But I believe this quote points to One who is greater than even our love - our Abba Father.

Let me read it again - 1st part; "The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more" - I tried to love you without Jesus but I was inadequate. With God in me, He awakened my soul and gives me the desire to love you better.

2nd part - "A love that plants a fire in our hearts" - that fire from God has helped us - helped you to persevere through our tough times and for that, I thank you.

3rd part - "A love that brings peace to our minds" - God has given me a peace to rest in the fact that with His help, we will continue together as husband and wife forever.

Have I told you yet how beautiful you are? When I spend my quiet time with the Lord, He always points me toward you. It seems my #1 priority in life is not to be a great preacher (although it may happen) or a great missionary (that has happened, just kidding), but my purpose is to love you so much, unconditionally, that you will know how much God adores you, He always has and always will.

So in front of God, family, and friends; I am here to help you achieve all your dreams. I, Greg Burge, promise to love you forever, protect you always, and cherish you for the rest of your days. In sickness and health, for richer or poorer, I give myself to you completely and look forward to growing older with you and even more gray.

Te amo mi amor,



Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 5 - God is good, all the time!

A major need right now in Haiti is clean water. It seems as if the top needs of the Haitian people are food, drinkable water, and sanitary bathrooms (they need an outside the box idea) for the people living in the tent cities. Our leader, Andy Patterson, ran into a situation inside one of the tent cities. He was checking on their medical needs and they took him down to the river that the people were using for this location. When he got there, he found out that they were using this river for their drinking water and all the people were using it also for their bathroom. Needless to say it broke his heart as he was feeling that there was no way to help them on this trip as w are a medical team. Andy and the Haitian translator stopped and prayed for this situation as he felt there was nothing else he could do (which was true and Andy said it was more like he was begging God to do something). On his way to pick up part of the team at the Miami clinic that night, Andy ran into some guys from Texas who were setting up water purification systems all over Haiti. He explained the situation at the tent city and these Southern Baptist men from Texas gave our team 75 free water purification systems proving to us once again (like we need more proof but it seems like we always do) that God still answers prayer in His perfect timing. At our evening debriefing with the entire team, Andy advised that we should write down these times when God answers our prayer so profoundly as it will help us to never doubt Him.

We all worked the same jobs on Friday. Those who worked at the Miami clinic yesterday, went there for another full day. Those who worked at Mision Rescate (such as Matt) did the same. The only change was with our mobile medical unit. We dropped off the team at the Miami clinic and then Andy needed two volunteers to help the Texas water purification team work in the Haitian heat all day, so Paul and I offered our services. Their tent was located right beside the airport and their storage area was immediately beside the U.S. Army. Paul and I basically moved 2000 water purification systems during our time there. Missionaries, Haitian Pastors, and neighborhood leaders all showed up and picked up numerous systems for the people they were helping. With this system, the Haitians could pour river water into the top and it would filter it down into pure drinking water. NBC news showed up for a demonstration that morning and the leader picked up dirt and trash right off the ground, filtered it through, and drank the water himself. It is an incredible system that only costs $40 dollars; what a blessing. It was an honor to stack those systems in the blazing sun while our U.S. helicopters landed nearby and being able to watch the military Humvee forklift in action. It does not get any better than helping to give out life saving water systems to families in need. It was my dirtiest, hottest, and physically draining day of the trip but so worth it.

The day closed with one of our Haitian translators, Frantzy, sharing his heart. He had lost family members in the earthquake so he was still in mourning. He went to Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, to look for work to send back to his mother as he is now the last living male in his family. He then heard from a friend about this trip back to his capital in Port-au-Prince and saw his opportunity to use his English/Creole translating skills to help his people out. He is a young man of about 20 years and grew up in a Christian environment thanks to some local missionaries in his town near Cape Haitian in the middle of the island. He wanted to tell our group thank you for giving of their time and medical skills to help his country. He said he had never sensed God's love so powerfully as he did this week. He compared the love that was currently overwhelming him to the "number of stars in the sky." To tell our group thank you, he then sang a song in his native language Creole to his Abba Father. With eyes closed and tears streaming down his face it was once again an honor to be in this country and see God continuing to touch people that were surrounded by devastation proving that even in the midst of terrible suffering, God will bring peace and healing.

Romans 10:15, "And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 4 - more relief work and a miracle

We are awakened today by the music of Michael Jackson at 5:55am on Wednesday. Laying in our tent, I was shocked to hear the song Thriller blaring through some unknown speakers nearby out on the street. This was followed up by "I'm Bad," and then "Don't Stop til you get enough" but I digress. I went back up on the roof to survey the area in front of the Presidential Palace and found out it was the U.S. Military cranking out the tunes while they passed out more giant bags of rice. It was very nice of them to entertain the Haitian ladies waiting in line although the songs were in English. By the way, those ladies could balance the large bags of rice on their heads as they walked back to their "homes." While we are on the roof , a Doctor from Chicago said there was a good chance that another "big" earthquake was coming to Haiti (how he knew this and when it was coming is another topic). Matt and I start discussing what people should do if they are on this 3rd floor roof and an earthquake hits (we are wisely sleeping on solid ground now in our tent while there are many still sleeping up here). We decide it would be wise to jump onto the top of our school bus which is parked right below us and then jump to the ground and get away from the building. It is crazy what you need to think through sometimes to keep your family safe.

I want to apologize again for having to show this trip through my eyes. I was only a small part of this team. The Doctors, Nurses, and Paramedics helped the Haitian people incredibly in their time of need. I was not able to be in the medical clinics to see first hand their skills and how they saved someone from a dire situation. The team was great to be around, even in these tough conditions and they worked hard and long hours.

The same crew of Doctors and nurses headed back to the Miami clinic near the main airport. This was made possible by an idea that Dr. Curran (one of the Doctors on the team) had to help Mision Rescate's relationship with the Miami clinic. Miami was getting too busy to take our emergencies that we did not have the technology or supplies available to handle in our makeshift emergency room. But Dr. Curran had the idea that if we sent an emergency to their clinic, we would send a Doctor along to handle the patient after they were taken care of for up to 24 hours. This idea worked and they also are now welcoming our help the remaining days we have available on this trip. This clinic was partially sponsored by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and was a very nice setup for the medical personnel considering the timing and the location.

I was going back on the school bus with a mobile medical unit team. Matthew and other medical people are staying at the Mision to help here. I am internally happy about the decision to have Matt work at the Mision as it is probably the safest place for him to be all day. Our mobile medical team stopped at a hospital and did some work there checking on the bandages of many patients who recently had amputations. This hospital run by 7th day Adventists was well staffed. We left there and decided to go directly into a poor neighborhood that our Haitian translator Frantzy (his english was great but as a person, he was even better) knew of. It was a little dicey at first when we pulled up as I believe the people thought we had food and rushed the bus. Luckily we had Dave and Mark Lynch as security/preachers and they along with our Haitian Pastor/translator were able to calm the people down and let them know we were there to help medically. Doctor Drew (deserves an award for his patience, kindness, and diligence) was our only doctor and was assisted by Paul and I (his manly nurses). We passed out medicine for children and adults along with vitamins. Dr. Drew was able to bandage up the head of a little girl that had been injured in the earthquake in a fashionable purple bandage. He treated kids with lesions on their body, children with diarea due to the conditions they now lived in, a baby who needed formula immediately as it was literally starving, and many others needing medical assistance. The team outside preached the gospel and kept the peace in what could have been a dangerous situation, instead cooler heads prevailed and people were able to get the treatment that they needed. It was a divine appointment.

That night we had a crisis with a baby boy who was having breathing problems. This baby was lucky that he had these skilled Doctors available to help him. It seemed the entire camp was outside the emergency room praying for this child. Despite their efforts which included reviving the child once when he quit breathing, the baby died on the way to the Miami clinic in the ambulance. They had done all that they could do except pray so as the boy lay there they bowed their heads to the King of Kings. Then after a few moments, God breathed life back into this child. Sometimes we get to be amazed by our good God. We can help and give our all but we need to remember to ask for His help as with Him all things are possible.

Day 4 - "The process is dirty but ...."

Matt and I have not taken a shower yet, sorry. There are over 125 people at "Mision Rescate" (Rescue Mission) and the women are all sharing one bathroom while all the men share another. There are too many people in relation to the shower. I am not complaining, (maybe those near us are complaining about our smell though ;) just trying to give you a feel of our accomodations. It is a blessing that the Haitian Police are even allowing us to share their facilities. The Police are being unbelievably welcoming to us as we are invading their space. They let us stay as we are helping them get food, water, tents, gas, medicine, much needed medical help and other supplies to their families and their countrymen.

Everyday, we who sleep in the tents on the ground (in the Police parking lot) have to break down our tents, pack up our suitcases, and stack them in a "corner," somewhat out of the way. Matthew breaks ours down quickly (we have the luxury of stuffing it in the back of the Trooper) and then helps out the other neighbors around us which adds to the love that is outpouring towards my son who is surprising me with his dedication to serve. Later in the day, after dark, the process repeats itself with everyone rebuilding their tents once the vehicles leave for the night. Remember, this is not just one team. It is a mix of separate teams, from different countries, all trying to cohabitate and then work together the following day.

Omey (the defacto leader here from YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and Abner (head Doctor here, our close friend) are doing a great job, delicately/firmly leading all these different cultures/personalities. We had a little meeting today about some miscellaneous items. People were leaving half full water bottles laying around which meant that half of a water bottle was being wasted (not good when it is so precious here and others need it desperately). Even worse, there were also some partially used Gatorades (I would have considered drinking those if I saw them). The women's bathroom was being used but was not being cleaned. People were not understanding that you had to carry water up in a bucket so you could fill the back tank so it would flush. This was causing an obvious major problem. The men picked up the slack and kept a giant plastic trash can filled with water which the women started using to keep their toilets in use and clean.

The men from Brazil (also with the organization YWAM) need a special thank you from everyone in camp. They were not medical workers but they volunteered for every difficult job. Every day they cleaned the men's bathroom and no one understands the humility in that unless you saw this situation with your own eyes. It was not pretty.

Omey closed out the meeting advising us that a new life came into the camp late last night. A lady came in from the street ready to have a baby and Abner, Doctor Drew and others got up in the middle of the night to help. This was the 3rd baby born here since Mision Rescate had set up. Omey does not like blood and the other stuff involved with the birth of a baby and normally does not watch the process but this time she felt the Lord wanted her to be involved. What God was able to show her through this process, she was able to relate to our life here at the camp and in Haiti. Despite being "dirty" and bloody, the birth of a baby brings life and is a beautiful thing. Currently Haiti is bloody and dirty and we Americans and other foreigners are not used to living/working in these tough conditions (we are all dirty and the Doctors and Nurses are sometimes literally bloody). Omey said, "The process is dirty but the result is beautiful." I thought this was an exquisite metaphor. A baby being born in Port-au-Prince bringing life to a country in despair.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 3 - Voodoo at the Presidential Palace

Day 3 started early as I awoke to drums and chanting in the middle of the night around 3 a.m. I listened to the chanting get louder and louder, closer and closer, and then I saw a Haitian Policeman run by toward the front gate (to lock it, i hoped - nope - he just ran outside). I woke Matt up and told him we were heading up to the roof to check out what was going on. (I figured if the mob came into our camp knowing we had food or whatever, they probably would not go to the roof as they were still scared of buildings collapsing). The crowd was chanting with the drums as they circled the Presidential Palace. We had about 8 Haitian cops outside of our compound and thankfully the chanting, clapping crowd stayed a safe distance away, directly in front of the Presidential Palace dancing and waving their arms. There was one UN vehicle, kind of like a truck with a machine gun turret in the top but they were backed up on the opposite street and Andy (the leader) and I joked that it looked as if the UN vehicle was prepared to take off in the other direction if the crowd came our way. We all felt somewhat safe with the Haitian police because the people are scared of them because they will shoot them. The US military is technically there to help the people and do not want to shoot anyone but the Haitian police have a reputation of restoring order the hard way so we felt we had good protection. Right in front of us was an old man wearing a purple "dress/flowing robe" with stars on it, waiving his arms praying/cursing at us; so we prayed (to the One True God) and he backed off to the other side of the street; he was definitely not a good guy, spooky. Everyone did not get up at this hour to watch this but some nurses from England said they have worked in Haiti in the past and rituallly at 3am followers of voodoo come out and play drums almost every single night. They finally leave and Matt and I go back down and get in the tent and go back to sleep.

About 4:30 am, I hear music again. At first, I think, uh - oh they may be coming back with a bigger mob. But there is no drums. Just singing, and then I recognize the song. It is "The Old Rugged Cross." As I lay there I start thinking about the Haitians who are up at that moment in their lives and are singing. Most have lost their homes, jobs, their money, clothes, and food. Would I still love God after that? Then I think, at least they have their wife and kids; but some have lost their entire family. Some individuals lost everything and yet they still are singing to God.

I am going to write exactly what I scribbled down in the middle of the night - some of it may not be coherent but here it is;

"Our God is so real - I know the same God these Haitians are singing to. I know Him, how good He is and these people are still praising Him. One of the poorest countries on the earth and all they have right now is Him and He is still and always will be worthy to be praised. I told Matt to lift up a song in his heart and join these Haitian Christians in honoring God above all - what an honor to be laying in a tent and hear this worship with my 16 year old and hear him drift off to sleep - what an incredible night."

After the voodoo people came out, it was like we had the Christian response. It was so beautiful to hear the Christians singing. They had to be people sleeping in the tent cities close by. A Haitian pastor told me that in the past when the voodoo people came out and chanted while playing the drums, that the Christians did not normally get out of bed and sing. But they are now. Just like they spray painted on the Presidential Palace, "Satan is finished." It was beautiful and I just laid there in peace. It was a totally different vibe from earlier when I was prompted to get Matt up to safety. The Prince of Peace was here and He is good.

Matt and I went out with a medical mobile unit team in the school bus. Some of the team is staying at the Police station working in the clinic or emergency room. Other Doctors, nurses, and paramedics (including Brad) are now going daily to the Miami Clinic which is located at the Port-au-Prince airport and putting in a full days work there where they are busy and are incredibly effective helping people all day long. Our mobile clinic team has found out that the Haitian people are getting pretty good treatment from the medical communities around the world. The places we went today, the people had seen a doctor within the last three days which is almost unbelievable. Their top priority needs are clean water, food, and a place to use the bathroom (possibly litrines could be built) as the people in these tent cities are using the restroom in the same river that they use for drinking water. They are living in horrific conditions. It is tough to see. It has not rained yet since the earthquake which has been a blessing because diseases have not spread due to the lack of rain.

After the bus returned, I was able to explore a little. I was needed to drive my Trooper all over the capital city with Andy and our Haitian translator. We had to get some specific medicines from a pharmacy. We also needed to check out the tent city that we potentially could help the next day to make sure they were needing medical help. Andy was fearless in the middle of Port-au-Prince. He would jump out of my vehicle, buy some medicine, cross a busy street, talk to some street vendors by himself with his limited Creole language (he knows Spanish excelente) looking for the other supplies our team needed.

When our family first arrived in Santo Domingo in June 2005, we stayed with our "bosses" Danny and Denise Stone for four days and then "house-sat" for Andy and Pam Patterson for 6 weeks while they went home to the States to visit. So our first weeks on the mission field were in Andy's old home here in Santo Domingo. I told him (now 5 years later) while we were working together that he was doing a great job leading this mission team as it was not an easy task. He is back in SC working but one day I would not be surprised to see him back on the mission field because it is obvious that he was born to be a missionary. When I house sat for him years ago, I never would have thought we would be working together, driving through Haiti after a horrible disaster together but God knows the future and works all things out for good.

We had dinner and Matt and I went straight to bed. Matt had worked hard all day again and was passed out when the worship service began. Our tent was right beside the service and I decided to get up from my sleeping bag and join in because the Haitian worship leader was singing in English and it was powerful. It was mostly Haitians and Dominicans, as most of our team was in bed except Dave and Maria Fleming (Maria won the prayer award for this team as she was always praying for people while holding their hands, great job) and I believe Dentist Ben was also up praising the Lord. I was impressed by this Haitian worship leaders' English as we sang, "Hallelujah, Grace like rain fall downs on me" - it was incredible. The Dominican team finished the night by publicly apologizing to the Haitian people for looking down on them as a people all these years. They promised to be better neighbors and asked the Haitians for forgiveness. This disaster is bringing restoration between these two countries and the Dominicans really are being a great friend to their neighbor in need.

Day 2 - People from all Nations and tongues

It is Monday, February 1st, 2010; I still cannot believe it is already the year 2010. Today some of the team will be working on the compound and staying here at the clinic while the others will be going on a mobile medical clinic to an orphanage. My son Matthew is going to the orphanage with my Brother-in-Law Brad and others while I will be staying back and working at the Emergency room among other duties.

The American military are passing out giant bags of rice and handling the situation extremely well. We need to give the Haitian people credit for being calm and respectful. From my vantage point, they have an unbelievably good attitude overall. I have not seen the craziness that is always shown on CNN.

Here at the compound at the Policia Nacional is a conglomeration of people from all around the world. The awesome thing is, that it is not just a one denominational deal here. There are Baptists, working with Pentecostals, Four Square churches working with Catholics, who are working with non-christians who are all here only to help the Haitian people - and they do need the help. Omey, a Dominican lady from YWAM, is the de facto leader here and is doing a great job facilitating all the Doctors and other type A personalities that have gathered here. My good friend Abner St. Gilles is a Doctor and a native Haitian (he speaks great English, comes to our house on Thanksgiving and watches American football) and here at the compound he is the right hand man of Omey - basically 2nd in command and doing a fantastic job as a Doctor and administrator. I am working alongside people from Brazil, England, the Honduras, Netherlands, Chicago, the DR, and Canada - it is incredible to see people from all over the globe reaching out to their neighbor in need.

A funny aside - (2 United Nation peacekeepers ask to exchange money with Paul, employee of Brookwood Church, and I. I give them some Dominican pesos and they give me a 10 rupee bill that I pass along to my son Isaiah. Well, Paul is trying to give them a dollar but they keep speaking slower and louder in their "English" saying they want his "South Carolina money" - we finally surmise they think S.C. is its own country. These guys from India come and work for the UN for 1 year and they have been here for 4 months so far and now are in the middle of some action.

The start of my day consists of carrying bags of water in bulk in the morning (that is how they distribute them here, cheaper, in small individual plastic bags) to different areas of the compound followed by being "promoted" to head of security at the entrance to the emergency room. Haitians were not listening to the Dominican YWAM workers and were barging into the emergency room waiting area even though they were not "emergencies" (basically trying to get out of standing in the long line at the next door clinic). I was the designated tall, white guy and had to do the one thing in the world I do not like to do - look serious and tell people "No" all day (unless they were an emergency). The emergency room started to regain efficiency a little after lunch but I was starting to panic. My Trooper was supposed to be returned first thing in the morning so after lunch I found my YWAM buddy who called his mechanic and .... the mechanic with my keys did not pick up his cell phone. He told me not to worry, that the mechanic was his friend. I decided to think how I would tell Melynda. Well honey, the car broke down, I pushed it into a yard, gave the keys to a guy I just met, never saw it again. That probably would not make sense to her, huh.

Around 1:40 in the afternoon, my '99 Trooper actually arrives and I thank my Lord in Heaven. The mechanic leaves it running, lets me check it out, and everything looks good. He was a good guy (I sensed it, though I admit to wavering). Later in the week we are standing beside each other at the nightly Worship service, singing and praising God together. I knew it would all work out, kind of.

The mobile team returns from the orphanage and it was good to see Matt back inside the safety of the compound so I understood how he felt the night before. Brad, his friends Matt and Dave, all had a great time helping the kids and the patients they were able to see. I was pulled aside by the Dentist Ben on the team who told me what a great son I had in Matt. Andy had brought some Haitians that lived in Santo Domingo who knew Creole and Spanish and were having some trouble communicating to the Americans in English. Matt was able to listen to the Haitians in Spanish and then translate that to English. Ben and a couple of the other ladies also wanted to let me know how hard working, respectful, and helpful Matt was and to let me know what a great teenager I had. He is a great guy and was turning into a man.

Our first night we slept on cots on top of the Police station. The second night it seemed everyone else decided to join us up there and in my opinion there were way too many people in tents up there walking around on the only building around that had not collapsed. Matt and I were able to commandeer a tent and moved down to the ground and set up camp in the parking lot. The view was not nearly as good but we felt safer and wiser than the others (although they were correct in that the building never collapsed).

Before we retired for the night, the team had a meeting to discuss the day. Dave, a retired Navy SEAL (I believe), said he noticed on the way back to the compound - a saying that was spray painted on the side of the Presidential Palace that was translated to us that said, "Satan is finished." (seems like not a very "Christian" thing to do but I liked it) Haiti has a lot of Christians but also has a lot of followers of voodoo, even high up in their government, and it was cool to see the Christians standing up for what they believe.

Day 1 - on the way to Port-au-Prince

We left Santo Domingo at 4:05 a.m. with three new additions to the team in my Isuzu (a nurse, a paramedic and a cousin all the way from the great State of Washington - we always say you have to be flexible on a mission trip as things are always changing) and the back fully loaded with supplies. The only thing I was concerned about with my vehicle was my old tires as the entire time I have owned the Trooper, I have only needed to change the oil - it has been an excelente "jeepeta" as they say here.

We made it smoothly into the border town of Jimani in the morning, right on schedule to meet our armed escort into Haiti. They never showed. We waited around a little while and then Andy divinely stopped a driver who happened to work for YWAM dropping off another team so we decided to use him as our GPS directional guide. It only took 45 minutes in the shockingly beautiful landscape of Haiti for my vehicle to break down with a broken serpentine belt. My truck was cooked so we rapidly moved all the supplies into the already overcrowded school bus (I was driving just in case the old bus broke down - how ironic) and pushed my dead vehicle across the highway through a broken down gate into the front yard of a willing Haitian young man to be the security guard of the Trooper until we returned. I will admit to being a little concerned.

As we moved closer to Port-au-Prince, more and more buildings were demolished. I personally had never witnessed such a catastrophe and in my opinion it was worse to see it live. The one thing that struck me throughout the week was the positive spirit of the Haitian people to get back to the daily task of living despite the chaos all around them. As we were driving in, I was surprised to see so many people coming back from Church dressed in their Sunday best. I had always thought Haiti would look different from the Dominican where I live but it looked very similiar with the concrete buildings and little "colmados" (very small convenience stores) everywhere. We stayed at the main Police station downtown directly across from the Presidential Palace that was demolished. All the surrounding government buildings were also devastated. YWAM had setup a medical clinic inside and were distributing food, tents, water, and medical help to the people and the families of the police who in turn provided protection. The team arrived and started and unloading and I left immediately with a driver to fix my vehicle.

Since it was a Sunday (and after the earthquake, we drove by the auto parts areas with lots of stores, all demolished) and no one was open we could not find the belt part I needed. I was working with a Haitian guy around 20 years old who was on his first day with YWAM. He contacted his mechanic and who located a belt we headed back to my Trooper. We arrived, (my car was still there, yeah) but the mechanic noticed that the main problem was a "tensioner" was not spinning and I needed more parts. So I got the pleasure to drive around Haiti throughout markets and back alleys looking for ball bearings only a few hours into my trip here. Melynda knew we had a police escort (nope) and that I would be safe in the Police station by now (nope). We actually found the parts but it was so dark when we returned to the car (it was still there) he could not see to install the parts although we tried diligently to light up the area with our cell phone backlights (did not work).

So we head back to the home base in the dark (power had not returned to the country yet - just generators) flying through the capital, horn beeping, people everywhere, but luckily I was with the best driver I had ever seen (the mechanic) - I actually tell the mechanic this through the Creole (language of the Haitians - a dialect of French) translator. When I returned about 9pm, it had been dark for a few hours and my son Matt was mad at me for not contacting him somehow and letting him know I was fine. (I received it as he was worried about me because he loved me so much). I had missed dinner but I knew I was not as hungry as the people outside.

Before I left my Trooper overnight with the young man and his mother and sister, the mechanic thought it would be better for me to leave my keys with the family just in case my alarm went off and started to bother all the neighbors. (I vetoed this idea). But on the way back, the YWAM kid said if I gave the keys to the mechanic, he would go first thing and then return the Trooper to me so I would not have to go back into that area alone. (I had left some more money with the family to guard the truck and they advised they slept outside under a blanket right beside the truck. Their house was fine but there were some cracks and most Haitians are still sleeping outside due to fear of the house collapsing). Well, with some fear and trepidation, I handed over my keys to the mechanic and prayed for its return (when you leave the DR, the insurance is no longer in force - if it was stolen, then bye bye). So I walk into base camp for my first night in Haiti with no Trooper, and no keys - everything was going according to the plan ;)

Matt and I slept on top of the 2-story Police station on cots under the stars with a great view of the city and the Presidential Palace. There was a late night worship service going on that I was too tired to attend but I went to sleep listening to the song , "How Great Thou Art."