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"Hi, My Name Is..."

Today, rather than going through a list of everything we did, I want you to meet the students that we are interacting with each day. We spent our entire day today at one of WWV’s schools interviewing kids who are in need of sponsorship and got to know them and some of their favorite things in order to put a profile together with a picture for potential sponsors.  We also spent an hour or two walking around the surrounding neighborhood to pray for, encourage, and share the Gospel with some amazing people. Today was filled with so many incredible people and stories that I could write a 20 page blog today, but rather than doing that, I’m going to tell you about the typical kid in Luly, Haiti.

The interview was a simple set of 5 questions. I’d always start by asking about their family, whether or not both of their parents were around, how many siblings they had, and what kind of work their parent(s) did. It has to be a little intimidating to get interviewed by a bunch of Americans you don’t know very well yet, so I always made it my goal to get at least 1 good smile out of them during the interview. Thankfully, I always won that game. Some kids more than others, but I just kept reminding myself of what a vulnerable position they were in answering these questions about their lives and families. Having to use a translator to communicate makes it a little harder to connect through language, but one thing I know is that you can always connect through laughter and a smile.  

 The first questions was a good Icebreaker: What is your favorite game?

The most popular answer was hide and seek, and in case you were wondering, every single one of them is the self-proclaimed best hider in the school! A lot of the boys like soccer and some of the girls talked about playing with their dolls. A lot of what they talked about included plying with each other, which I could see everywhere I looked as these kids were running around, laughing, and playing with each other (when they weren’t in class of course).

The second question was: What is your favorite song? Not knowing a lot about the Haitian music scene, I went with: What is your favorite kind of music? I only heard 3 answers: 1) Christian music, 2) Hip Hop, and 3) Pop. One common theme is that no matter what kind of music is playing, they love to dance, and try to get you to dance too. Unfortunately, we accidentally deleted all the pictures of us “dancing” so you’re just going to have to take our word on that one :)

The third question was fun: What do you want to be when you grow up? Man do these kids have dreams. So many kids, both boys and girls, have dreams of becoming doctors and nurses when they grow up. I told them that’s great because then they can take care of me when I get older! They didn’t all think that was very funny. Swing and a miss. Other kids want to be teachers, some fisherman, some dream of owning a business, and one boy wants to be a mechanic. Like I said in a previous blog, it is so encouraging and brings me so much joy to hear about the hopes and dreams of these kids and know that they have a chance to chase after and accomplish these dreams because of child sponsorship. It’s because of people like you who sponsor a child that these kids are getting an education and creating a better, hope-filled future for Haiti.

The fourth question asked about how a potential sponsor could be praying for them. Most of the kids were so sweet and asked for prayer for their families, for their parent’s jobs, and that they would continue to do well and learn a lot in school. You’d think that we were making up the answers for them as some kind of marketing strategy, but I was repeatedly blown away by the genuine and caring nature in each of these kid's prayer requests. They truly want the best for their families, their future, and for Haiti.

The last question was this: What is something that you would want to know about someone if they were to sponsor you? Every kid, after you’d ask, would kind of pause, look up, and think about it for a second. They had never really thought about it before. Some kids were curious about what their (potential) sponsor’s life is like and how they live. One girl asked if they would be tall (I think that had something to do with the guy that was interviewing her #JefftheGiant), but most of the kids had the same thought; they didn’t really have any questions about them, they just really want to meet them. When they’d think of that answer, they were sure of it. More so than knowing about the material blessings we’re often surrounded by in America, they, more than anything, just wanted to meet the people responsible for giving them an education, a meal every day, and hope for a better future that may not have happened otherwise.

We finished the interview by having them draw a picture of anything they wanted, and I’ll say, for a bunch of future doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, and mechanics, these kids are pretty good artists!

We loved getting to sit down with all of these students and hear their stories. They were each unique in their own way, but there was always a common theme of laughter, hope, their passions, and thankfulness. It was cool to see just how much having a sponsor means to these kids, which just makes me that much more excited about getting to see the kids I sponsor tomorrow. We’ll see you back here then!


Posted by Jeff Rynning with

Duck, Duck, TREE! (Also we caught a mouse...

The Duck, Duck, Goose/Grey Duck debate has been going on for ages between Minnesotans and the rest of the world. I can sense the frustration in some of you after only having read that sentence!

"It's Goose!"

"Grey Duck!"

"That doesn't even make SENSE!"

Well we learned a whole new version of that "game" today as our main mode of transportation was the back of the WWV pickup truck. Standing on the back of the truck, holding tight to the cross bars, it was important to pay attention so you didn’t get smacked in the face with a tree branch. Thankfully, one of our translators, Reggie, would yell “DUCK DUCK!” every time a branch was incoming. We were only moving 10 mph so it was never dangerous, but who loves getting branches and leaves to the face?

The truck took us all over the place today. We started at the garden and quickly found out there was no official plan for the irrigation system we were going to be working on. Not to worry! We’ve driven by dozens of farms in our homeland of Iowa and consider ourselves agricultural experts. And yes, I did have to look up the word agriculture by googling, “fancy word for farming.”

We leaned heavily on the knowledge of the Haitian construction crew and helped them for a few minutes to level off a small section of the garden to hold the water tank, and to be honest,

BREAKING NEWS!!! This just in: So here I was, writing away on the best blog you’ve read today, when I hear a scream (more of a yelp) coming from James’ room. He walks out and says, “there’s a mouse in my bed inside the mosquito net.” Being the good friend that I am, I laughed hysterically because it was funny, and not my bed. Jenny and Courtney were nearby so they went in to check it out. I heard some laughs and screams and, “oh there it is!” I decided to be brave, so I armed myself with a large metal bowl from the kitchen and headed into battle ready to catch me a mouse. Turns out mice are icky, so I wasn’t exactly diving in head first. The mouse was hiding in the sheets so we were trying to find it to catch it. I made Courtney take a video with my phone while we were trying to catch it in case something crazy happened and boy am I glad I did that! I channeled my inner Steve Erwin and started talking to the camera like I was on Animal Planet, but I only got a few words in before the mouse leaped across the bed, out from under the net, and on to the floor. It was making a mad dash for freedom. Jenny let out a scream that would have put any horror movie actress to shame, while James leaped into the top bunk in a single motion. Somehow I held it together. Everything was going in slow motion for me. I felt like Angelina Jolie in the movie ‘Wanted.’ With the reflexes of a cat, I slammed the bowl to the ground and caught the heck out of that mouse. My heart was racing, hands shaking, and we all just kind of looked at each other like, “did that really just happen?” It did. It was so gross. But now James can sleep tight in his new sheets (that don’t have mouse poop in them) knowing that this mouse won’t be bothering him anymore…. And hoping it doesn’t have any friends.  And for those of you who haven’t been to Haiti with us before, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a mouse in the guest house. They are not common. So don’t let this isolated incident influence your view of Haiti and you signing up for next year’s trip :) Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog…

As I was saying, we were helping the Haitian construction crew for a little bit, but it wasn’t too long before they had assigned us to a different and simpler task so they didn’t have to explain everything to us. So, we ended up putting up markers for where the trenches for the pipes will be dug while the crew earned their paycheck levelling off some land. It was a win-win!

After lunch we went to a few houses in the surrounding neighborhood to meet up with the families that some of our team members sponsor. It was so cool to meet and get to know the whole family rather than just the individual student. We also walked around the neighborhood on a prayer walk and met a few new families and were able to hear a little bit of their stories, hear about some of their specific needs, pray with them, and share the gospel with them. It wasn’t necessarily life-changing, but we’re hoping that a seed was planted and as more teams come and meet them that they will experience the love of Christ and are able to get plugged into a nearby church and take advantage of WWV’s many programs.

We started to make our way back to the house for dinner, but first headed up the hill behind the house for the sunset over the ocean. It was absolutely beautiful! The rest of the night was our normal routine: dinner, debrief, chatting on the porch, playing a game at the table, catching a bed mouse. You know, normal everyday stuff ;)

Tomorrow we’re spending some time at two other WWV schools. WWV has to meet with one of the principals about a few miscommunications so pray that the meeting goes well. Meanwhile, we’ll be balling it up with the kids at school on their new basketball hoop. Be praying that we’re able to connect with kids in a meaningful way, even after I most certainly dunk on them :) We’ll also do a longer prayer walk tomorrow and meet more families, so be praying that the Spirit is working in us and that we are able to share the Gospel clearly and effectively and that their hearts would be open to hearing and accepting this good news!

We’ll see you tomorrow!



Posted by Jeff Rynning with