iCYouth: Notes from Haiti {Gracie}

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! 

A team of 30 high school students and leaders traveled to Haiti July 15-22; this week our student bloggers are sharing their experiences with us.  

by Gracie Adamek

Day One

Today was hectic to say the least. After two planes, one bus (that broke down) and a van ride, we finally made it to Pastor Jephthe’s compound. We have been awake and traveling for about 24 hours. We’re all exhausted and sweaty, but I am so proud of this team! We were flexible and didn’t freak out when we were stuck on the side of the mountain in a school bus. We worshipped in a broken-down bus and kept our spirits high! We got to the compound around midnight, ate dinner and we are about to go to bed. Welcome to Haiti!

Day Two

GracieHait1Today was our first full day in Pignon, and I have loved every second. I mean, we have certainly had our fair share of hiccups already, but at the end of the day, everything that happens seems so worth it. While we’re hot, sweaty, thirsty and exhausted, there’s a Haitian child right next to us hearing about Jesus — possibly for the first time ever. Every complaint seems so silly when we look around and see these children smiling ear to ear, dancing and singing at the top of their lungs.

 

Day Three

Today we did our usual thing: breakfast, VBS, lunch, the park, and tonight we added going to Pastor Jephthe’s church. Seeing how they worship and just run a church service in general was super cool. It was such a blessing to be able to experience singing the same song as the Haitians but in different languages. It showed me that God is present no matter where you are.

Day Four

Gracie Hait2When we were getting ready to leave for this missions trip, we were told that everyone hits a wall at some point in the trip. You’re tired and you don’t think you can go on. Well, for me, that day was today. I woke up groggy and I just really missed air conditioning and pizza. But later in the morning, we met with our squads (squads are a group of three or four people who you stick with when traveling and they were also there for support and prayer) and we all prayed that God would renew our energy and that I could hurdle my wall. By the end of VBS, God had given me strength, and my wall was behind me! Ya know, God is really great that way. When we rely on Him, He gives us what we need.

Day Five

Today, we went to the market and we had the youth rally at night. The youth rally was basically iMPACT but we invited our new friends and the kids we made relationships with! Also, it was all created and run by the students (with just a little help from the adults). Two of my friends and I wrote and gave a sermon, which was an awesome experience and there was worship and games and other fun things. Also, there was an activity where we had glow sticks and everyone connected them to create one big circle of glow sticks to show that no matter where you’re from, you’re connected to The Worldwide Church.

Day Six

Gracie Haiti 3Well, here we are. Our very last day in Pignon. Tomorrow, we leave for Wahoo Bay. My hearts i heavy to say the least. But today was also a really good day because we visited families who have received micro loans! Micro loans are small sums of money given to members of the church so that they can start selling things from their home or the market and then they pay it back. Eventually they make enough money to really support themselves and their families. It was hard to see their living situations, though, because the houses held anywhere between 10 and 15 people and were about the size of my living room. Even though the living conditions were far from ideal, you could see that God has blessed these families and they are prospering.

Day Seven

Today we left Pignon and went to Wahoo Bay, a resort about an hour past Port Au Prince. It was a very sad and tearful goodbye as we drove away from the compound and all the relationships we just made. We all left a part of our hearts in Pignon and leaving that city was very painful, but we left with the reminder that God isn’t done. We have a mission field at home. Our schools, work, and families need us to do God’s work in America.

Day Eight

Right now, we’re on a plane back to America. I don’t have much to say today. It’s hard to find adequate words for my feelings this morning. Wahoo Bay was really nice. It was nice to be able to sit back and relax and sort out feelings as a group while we prepare to enter back into American life. I have loved my time in Haiti. I can’t wait to go back.

Snapshot_20121212Gracie Adamek is a senior at Lakes Community High School. She enjoys singing, acting and spending time with friends! Gracie is so grateful for this opportunity and hopes to glorify God 100 percent through this!

iCYouth: When Life Begins {Gracie}

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your geneorsity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

by Gracie Adamek

This week, 30 students and 5 leaders from iMPACT braved the cold and took the train down to Chicago to hand out blankets and other warm things to the homeless.

I loved this trip so much is because it’s always so humbling to step out of my comfort zone to pray with a stranger, ask their name, ask their story and to give them something that I think we all take for granted too often. I’ll admit that I really wanted something to happen to me that would break me down or change my life or something like that.

So as the day is almost half over, I started to think that maybe that wasn’t gonna happen this year. Maybe God just wanted me to be humbled by seeing that I really am blessed with so much. But then again, God does big things when we least expect them.

A few of my friends and I had just finished eating lunch and we just wanted to stop by the Starbucks next door before returning to our mission. As we were crossing the street, my eye was caught by a man who looked worn, tired and, well, cold! So we decided to stop and talk and see if we had something he needed.

We found out that his name was David, and he had a 47-year-old daughter named Michelle who was living with him on the streets. We gave them the blankets, hats and socks that we had and they were so grateful. But what they were even more grateful for was the fact that we stopped and talked. We learned that they had been evicted from many apartments in the projects and that Michelle really missed her daughter who died from a seizure when she was twelve.

Michelle told us that we had just missed her daughter’s birthday and that she would have been twenty-one. As our hearts broke, we asked if we could pray with her and we gathered around. David yelled, “Wait!! I wanna pray too! I need Jesus too!” We all agreed, so right there, in front of a busy Starbucks, we grasped hands and prayed to our beautiful Savior. Michelle cried her eyes out the whole time because she just couldn’t believe we would do something so simple for her.

When it was all over, none of us could even speak. Humbled is an understatement. There were so many other memories made on that trip, ones I will cherish forever! But the thing that really sticks out to me is the reminder that real life begins at the end of our comfort zones. God can only do so much with a sedentary heart. So let’s step out, and let God take us to places we’ve never even dreamed of!

Snapshot_20121212Gracie Adamek is a senior at Lakes Community High School. She enjoys singing, acting and spending time with friends! Gracie is so grateful for this opportunity and hopes to glorify God 100 percent through this!