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It was 100 degrees warmer!

Man today was HOT! 85 degrees. The sun coming down. A cool ocean breeze……. Just kidding it was perfect. I’ll be honest, it was hard to feel bad about missing out on Des Moines’ -15 degree weather because it was just so darn pleasant here in Haiti. No, but seriously, I hope everyone in the Midwest stayed safe and warm.

Our first full day in Haiti was jam packed!

We spent the first half of the day at the WWV school in Williamson. Some of the students needed to get their student sponsorship photo updated so we helped them pose and put on their best smiles, which we learned in Creole is “souri” (pronounced: soo-wee, like a lady on a farm yelling for her pigs in a movie). I will say though, the smiles they made during those pictures were nothing compared to the smiles we saw while playing with them all during recess. There’s no playground or jungle gym, so instead they used us! As soon as recess started, each of us had at least four kids hanging on each of our arms. They love holding our hands, playing with our watches, and giggling when we butcher the Creole phrase, “Como ou rele,” which means “what is your name?” They also found out very quickly that Jeff is the most ticklish human on earth, and since his arms were in use lifting and arm wrestling kids on one side, and kids playing with his apple watch on the other, they seized the opportunity and gave him jumper cables every 20 seconds for about an hour. Turns out Jeff can scream really high. But the kids were having so much fun and we were having fun playing, laughing, and getting to know them. They’re so great! It’s so much fun to hear these kids talk about their dreams of becoming a nurse, or a teacher, or a business owner. These kids have big dreams and we love that they have the opportunity to work towards and achieve these goals because of individual and family sponsors in the U.S.

After a couple of hours at the school, we went to look at a few of the other projects WWV is currently working on. We went to the Sewing Center and new public well that we finished and painted last year. The best part about that was seeing the new art that was added to the outside. I knew it was missing something after we had finished painting last year :) (see picture below). Then we headed to a small business owner’s house that WWV helped get started who makes hand crafted sandals. He makes some pretty incredible sandals for both men and women of all ages. Grant actually met him last year and has been working with him and WWV to put together a website so the sandals can be sold in the U.S. So cool! Then we were able to see the medical center where they do blood pressure and cervical cancer screenings twice a week. There are also medical teams that come down a few times a year to do clinics there as well.

Our next stop was an exciting one! We went to visit Ciltamine who WWV built a house for last year that was funded by Byron Jones (Dallas Cowboys Cornerback/ Awesome guy). Last year when we left, we had just finished pouring the foundation and had the outer walls stacked about 4-5 bricks high so it was so great to see her and her family in their finished home!

Our last stop was to the goat pen to see the 100+ goats and prepare for the work in the garden just down the hill that we’ll be doing tomorrow putting in irrigation pipes.

By this time it was getting late in the afternoon so we headed back to the guest house for dinner. Goat meat was on the menu tonight (not from any of the ones we were just visiting with earlier). If I had to describe it, I’d say it tasted like beef/pork/chicken all at the same time with a jerky-like texture. A simpler way to say it would be, it tasted like goat. It was actually pretty good!

After dinner we did our daily debrief out on the third level porch. By this time it was dark and 78 degrees with the most incredible breeze coming in off the ocean. Just wanted to bring that up one last time in case you accidentally skimmed over it the first time.

Now, I know some of you might be mad at me right now for bringing up the weather again, but if you could pray for us that we would stay safe during our project tomorrow and that we would be able to continue to encourage, build relationships with, and point kids towards Christ tomorrow as we plan on visiting another one of the WWV school tomorrow afternoon.

We’ll see you back here tomorrow for another update. Stay warm!


Posted by Jeff Rynning with

It's Good to be Back!

Who doesn’t love a 3:00am wake up call? Pastor Mikey was on chauffer duty this morning and, believe it or not, we made it! ;) After checking in, the team settled in, grabbed a snack, and engaged in some lively conversation about our top 10 favorite types of nuts. As you might expect, it was exhilarating. Eventually though, the adrenaline started to die down and our eyes started to get a little droopy. Thankfully we only had a few more minutes left before we boarded the plane.   

 The flight from Des Moines to Atlanta was pleasantly uneventful and we all did our best to get some rest. The first order of business after touching down in Atlanta was finding food, and as we all know, social norms do not apply when eating in airports so we weren’t sure whether to sit down for a steak dinner, a burrito, or scrambled eggs. We decided it wouldn’t be the worst idea to treat ourselves to something a little special, different, and fun…. so McDonalds breakfast it was. As we were savoring every last bite of delicious hash browns we were keeping a close eye on the weather in Atlanta. Temperatures were dropping quickly and snow/ice was forecasted right as we were taking off. We had been praying for a couple days that the temp would stay enough above freezing that there wouldn’t be any delays or cancellations and boy did God show up! The weather stayed north, the temperature was just above forty, and we were off the ground as scheduled with only a few minutes of turbulence early on. (Our first big answer to prayer!!)

 The excitement continued to build as we neared Port au Prince. As we came in to land and dropped below the clouds, the mountains came into sight alongside the bright blue ocean water. The view was breathtaking! After a smooth landing, we took the stairs off the plane, waved like celebrities to the nobody that was around, and navigated our way down the tarmac, through customs, and out of the airport to begin our drive to the WWV guest house. If you’re not familiar with what it’s like to drive in Haiti, just imagine……. well…. I think you just have to experience it for yourself. It’s exhilarating, let’s put it that way!

 After arriving at the guest house, we took a quick tour and then hiked up the hill behind the house to catch the sunset over the ocean. Despite the clouds, the view of the ocean and mountains was absolutely incredible. We ate some delicious dinner and then met on the porch to do a devotion and discuss our plans for the week. The common theme: The team can’t wait to get to work, meet people, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

 The words from Sunday morning worship continue to ring in our heads and hearts:

I know a breakthrough is coming

By faith, I see a miracle

My God made me a promise and he won’t stop now

(Elevation Worship – “Won’t Stop Now”)

 We don’t know what all is in store for us this week, but we trust that our BIG God is going to show up in BIG ways! Be praying for us this week that we will be able to approach every situation we face with love, grace, mercy, and humility. We’re praising and thanking God for the gift that it is to serve, love and minister together.

 Okay, I think it’s time for bed. We’re all pretty tired, but also can’t wait for the week ahead. We’ll see you back here tomorrow for our next adventure!

Oh, and by the way, Jon, the tables you built last year are still standing. Great job, you nailed it. Pun intended. Been thinking about that joke for a few hours now.

 See you all tomorrow :)

Posted by Jeff Rynning with