2015 Short-term Missions Team member from – Fort Worth, Texas:

Pros-

When we got to the FGIM Guest house, I thought it was beautiful.  Lorphine did a beautiful job preparing it for us as the first ones to be living in it.

I loved our devotions on the patio. What a beautiful time it was to gather with the women morning and night and spent time with Jesus.  We needed that to find strength from God when we were weary. I know it was good for Lorphine because Wednesday night she was stressed out about the generator not being able to get into the yard of the guest house.

Our time with the girls was always a joy. It made me sad that 7 days was all we had, but that’s a start. I was so encouraged and every time it brought tears to my eyes when the little girls

Our VBS was great.  We had really long days especially when we did double lessons on Wednesday and Thursday.   I know we had a schedule and a time for everything but I spent more time dealing with behavior issues with the girls and Sophonie. Nevertheless, I found joy in doing it. I loved doing the Vbs music with the girls! They enjoyed it. They picked up on a lot of English.  And they helped me with creole.

I am so encouraged by Madame Ronnick. What a beautiful and sweet spirit woman Of God she is! She has taught those girls scripture after scripture verses and spiritual songs. That woman is training those girls in the fear of the Lord. Mr Ronnick wasnt there everyday, but when he was, he was present. He sat with the kids during the lessons beatrice and I did, and he did craft with the older girls.

I LOVED OUR SPA DAY FOR THE GIRLS! the reason I wanted to do this so badly was because after hearing their stories, I wanted them to know that  they were beautiful and we came to serve them and love on them, and let them know that Jesus loves them and so do we. I know Jesus was present on that Beautiful Friday morning.

Lorphine’s hospitality is impeccable.  Dinner was always great. The cook can COOK!. That was a good job on yalls part picking her. Such a sweet woman. Including the woman who cooks our breakfast and Cleans during the day.

I was blessed beyond measure. I’m humbled that God would use me to serve these girls and his people.  I was no longer looking at these girls in a picture anymore , but I was in their physical presence. I could touch them,  I was hugging them,  laughing with them, smiling with them.  This week for me was about God answering my prayers, our prayers and Him using those girls to teaching me how to love people MORE. How to love God through serving and loving people MORE. He taught me to worship Him in SURRENDER. My heart and cup are full to the point of overflowing with love. I prayed for these girls by name.  But NOW I can REALLY pray for these girls by name because I feel like I’ve gotten to know them. I know it’s crazy to think that you could fall in love with  19 girls, den moms,  a missionary mom and her kids in a week, but I did.

I am grateful I was there and I wouldn’t trade the memories or experience for the world.

Grows-

I know that we were the first to be housed in the guest house, so we were trial and error. I don’t have complaints about anything there. Water and electricity is something to get use to and get out of your comfort zone.

Water in the showers became an issue only once for me because it stopped running in the middle of a shower. But after that, I knew what to expect and prepare for no water, and electricity going out.

Short-term Missions Team member from – Madison, Indiana:

Pros –

Once we arrived at the guest house, I was immediately impressed with the facilities. The home was clean and comfortable. I did not feel unsafe at any point while staying at the home. I was glad to have electricity, Wi-Fi internet, running water, working sewage, clean water, and functional showers. The beds were quite comfortable as well.

Lorphine and her cooks were awesome. The food was delicious, and there was plenty to go around.

I was also impressed with the orphanage and your overall ministry to the orphans. The girls seemed to be so happy and well cared for.

I was very impressed with how you guys worked to assign people their ministry jobs based on their specific giftedness. You didn’t ask people to do things that they weren’t capable of doing according to their gifts.

Thanks again for the opportunity to teach and preach! These men were an incredible encouragement to me; they appeared to be approaching Christ, His Word, and His Kingdom as a “treasure hidden in a field” or a “pearl of great value,” being willing to sell all and by them (Matthew 13:44-46). They really seemed to value the things of God more than most in my American context. This was both encouraging and discouraging–encouraging to observe men who care for Jesus and discouraging to know that I must return to a church filled people people who, for the most part, couldn’t care less about the gospel. It was through my speaking/teaching/preaching that I felt God’s presence the most throughout the week…God reconfirmed in me my desire to train pastors.

I was thankful as well to see the gospel-centeredness of the VBS and children’s/Youth ministry. It was very comforting to know that we were working with an organization (FGIM) that genuinely cares about doing gospel ministry. I have already explained to people in our church that we shouldn’t be hesitant about continuing to do ministry with you guys, primarily because of your obvious commitment to doing genuine gospel ministry without any ulterior motives. It seems obvious to me that you and Lorphine are well-suited for this calling–spiritually, methodologically, and theologically–and so it’s exciting to work with you to do ministry.

I was grateful for the evening team-led devotions. These devotion times served to bond our team together. They helped us to learn more about each other. And they served as great times of teaching and encouragement for everyone. They also provided a context to discuss difficult topics like the things that took place at Church on the Beach. Please do continue doing this.

I was very thankful that my wife was able to come on this trip and experience what she did. I was thankful that you guys relied on her so heavily to do ministry at VBS. This trip served to confirm in her a love for the nations and a longing to see healthy churches. She already had a theology for the nations and healthy churches, but this experience served to show her firsthand that every country in the world isn’t as spiritually dead as America and that there are churches that sincerely seem to love Jesus. In the end, it was a reminder to both of us that the Kingdom of God does not rise and fall with the United States

Overall, this was a fantastic mission trip, and I’m so grateful to you at FGIM for making it such a great trip. You guys played an integral role in making the trip a success. I honestly had no doubts in you guys when I introduced you to our church, and this trip only served to confirm my confidence in you.

Grows –

At times the shower had better water pressure than my own shower in America (at times, however, the water barely trickled… though I’m not complaining).

The email service had difficulty working with my AOL email, so there were several messages that I did not receive.

We didn’t receive our plane tickets/itinerary until just a few days before the trip, so it might be advisable to make sure that mission trip team members have their tickets well in advance.

We were unaware of the $10 fee at Immigration.

In some of my previous mission trips to Haiti, we have had “body guards” that have helped to transport our bags from the airport to our vehicles…It is a bit frightening for the women walking from the airport when people are trying to take your bags from you in order to make some money. It might be helpful to at least gather the team together to give some instruction to “stay close” or to avoid any gesture that might encourage the native Haitians to think that you want them to carry your bags.

Some have said that they wished that we could have flown in the small airplane from Port Au Prince to Jacmel…I actually enjoy the van ride across the country. I think it’s a good experience, especially for those who are new, to get to see, smell, feel, and experience, the city and the countryside first hand. Having that experience in the city is one of the most moving aspects of a trip to Haiti for me as we get to see people walking alongside the road, people selling their goods at the market, the overwhelming poverty, the crazy traffic, and the pollution.

As you are well aware, one of the most physically trying aspects of the trip was the heat. Let me say, first off, that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for us Americans to come to Haiti and sweat continuously…I think your decision to install the mini-split air conditioning units will make trips more manageable for everyone.

In the future, it might be helpful to communicate the need for people to bring their own food for lunch.

 

Short-term Missions Team member from – Madison, Indiana:

Pros –

I was feeling even more inadequate. But by God’s grace, he equipped me for the week. It was a wonderful experience. I got to share the Gospel with a room full of children for five days at VBS. What an opportunity! I did feel the presence of the Lord at VBS because there is no way I could have stood up in front of those children, daily, and them actually picking up what I was teaching them without the Lord right beside me. It was incredible.

Overall, my experience in Haiti was wonderful. I wouldn’t have changed at thing. Our living conditions at the guest house for the week were beyond what I expected. It was comfortable and it totally felt like home to me. Yes, the heat was uncomfortable but it was not unbearable. I felt completely safe, while we were at the house, while at the orphanage, or while we were at any of the other locations in Jacmel. I definitely would say that a couple of the pros from the trip were the guest house and the awesome sense of security.

I was also incredibly impressed with the state of the Faith House. It is perfect for those girls. The girls were all so well behaved and so wonderful to be around. I fell in love with them all. I would go back in a heartbeat and I plan to the next opportunity to do so.

Another pro is that I was incredibly impressed with the VBS teaching material. It was totally Gospel-filled and well received by the children.

I am completely thankful for this opportunity to work with FGIM and the rest of the team last week. I know that those friendships will last a lifetime. It was a special experience for me and to have shared it with all of them was perfect. I do believe, after this trip, that the Lord is calling me to international missions, along with local missions in my hometown. I love Haiti and would go back if the Lord opened that door again.

Grows –

I definitely felt like I understood the word “flexibility” better after this trip. I understand that nobody can help that. Patience is something each person will have to work on individually and I felt the Lord working on that in my life last week.

Something that I wish FGIM would consider is to have longer termed mission trips in Haiti. As much as I enjoyed the week that I was there, it did not feel long enough. I saw relationships form between our team and the people in Haiti but I felt like they were cut short. I do believe that the Lord worked through the entire team through that week but I would be interested in a longer term down there if they offered it.