ICYouth: Notes from Haiti {Trever}

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 Trever Carter

Day 1

After a 2 a.m. start to the morning and some restless hours of anxious, suspended consciousness—you could hardly call it sleep—I awoke with the most excitement and eagerness I have had about anything … ever. My heart has always been drawn to missions, and after we climbed onto a beat up, stick-shift bus, with the cushions falling off and the metal rusting, all while sweating in the 100-degree heat with humidity unlike I’ve ever felt before, my mission was now real. Haiti to me had seemed like something you would only see in a movie, and I couldn’t even necessarily believe it was real. It’s just not something you can comprehend—and if you have never been to a third-world country, you would have a hard time believing it if I explained it to you. It’s almost like you have taken a time machine and traveled hundreds of years into the past. We were driving for quite some time, stopping so our Haitian guides could do something to the bus to keep it running … until they couldn’t anymore. Eventually, we were found on the side of the mountain for fifteen minutes, then an hour, then eventually 3 and a half or four (I truly don’t even know how long exactly). The only thing that kept our bus from rolling down the mountain was a rock that one of the Haitians placed under the wheel. And it began to get dark. And the clouds rolled in and it started to lightning and eventually rain. Haitians were coming out of the forest to see what was going on. It was pitch black. Our leaders were waving flashlights behind us so cars wouldn’t hit us if they whipped around the curve. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park, really. And I was scared. Scared because I was uncertain, never had been outside the country, it was the first day of our trip and it was not starting well. But some members of our team decided to bust out their guitars, and we just started to worship. And I began to notice Haitians listening to us sing praises to our God. Then, as we were singing God You Reign, it hit me that He truly does. His plan is greater than mine, and He is using everything in my life now to pave the way for my future. So after 23 hours of travel and hanging mosquito nets to avoid malaria and chickamonga, we fell asleep, quite easily for the circumstances I might add, ready to attack our first full Haitian day.

Day 2

Each night during the week we would go to a park in the center of Pignon, which to my knowledge was not opened often at all in fear of the people ruining one of the jewels of Pignon. It was beautiful. A basketball court with a volleyball net in the middle, concrete bleachers on either side, two bridges on opposite ends, grass and trees … but the most beautiful part was the people there. We played soccer and basketball, hand games, and just laughed with these kids all afternoon. And the amazing part was we couldn’t talk to them. Despite not knowing creole, I felt like I could communicate with them on another level because love is transcendent of those things. In two minutes, someone would be your best friend. And this is where I met my two best friends for the week (beside the kids on the compound, we all had the biggest and most special bonds with them). Abidal and Bebatu, ages 9 and 13. Every day they would come back to the park to see me, and Bebatu even began to attend church with me. I continually pray for them because I left my heart with them.

TreverinHaitiDay 3

My favorite part about this day was certainly the VBS. There were just so many moving components of it. The first day, the worship team attempted to sing songs in English, but by day two they were translated into Creole. Imagine the happiness of more than 150 Haitian kids singing Your Everlasting Love in their native language, dancing and loving the three right to left hops. I also saw a kid who I was told was the witch doctor’s son but has come to VBS for a few years now. When he was in crafts with me, he was reading all the Bible verses without even looking at the paper. He was singing. It was so moving for me to see a child whose parents are of totally different faith living out what he thought was the right way to live his life. We also fed them each a plate full of beans and rice, for some of them their only meal for the day, or a few days. Small children were putting down entire plates of beans and rice, and it was just really intense and powerful for me to see. In America, we glorify eating food. We post pictures of it, eat more than we have to or probably should, anticipate our next meal or pair it with our emotions. Kids here literally eat to survive, no more than that. I can never get the image of these kids eating out of my head. For the rest of the week at the compound when we would eat meals, I learned to eat slow, be thankful for it and eat just enough so that I would be alright and the people behind me could eat as well.

Day 4

TreverinHaiti2After VBS, we partnered with the team of Haitian youth that had been helping us all week at VBS. We grew so close to them too, it was awesome to see youth of the same faith live it out in a totally different circumstance. We were preparing for a youth rally (a Haitian impact if you will) that we were doing the next day. We started by worshipping under the big tree on the compound, and it was the first time I got emotional and cried over the trip. We sang Shout to the Lord and Here I am to Worship, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. We were singing the same songs, to the same God, but in a completely different language. Erik would say “Just the Haitians now!” and they would sing loud, proud, unashamedly to our God in Creole, and then we would take over, then sing together. God is so much bigger than me, than Gurnee, than the Midwest. He has world-sized view for all of us, and it hit me so hard that God’s plans are so big and for His Glory.

Day 5

The Youth Rally went off without a hitch. My favorite part was the ice breaker games that we played before more powerful worship and an awesome message. We played a circle game to learn a everyone’s names, and then improvised and played one of their games … hot potato, also known as tock tock tock boom. I’ve never seen more laughter and cheering and yelling and just sheer happiness, another testament of the transcendent power of love.

Day 6

treverinhaiti3There are two favorite stories from today. The first is that I got to lead a team to a couple micro-loan families and interview them to see if the micro-loans they are receiving are benefitting their families and moving them toward self-sustainability. One of the women we met was named Isman. After talking for a while, we found out that she sells rice and charcoal, and only can still feed her family once a day. After that, while talking to her, we found out she sells a lot more than just rice and charcoal, and had a very good, multi-faceted business. And the micro-loan was benefitting her. She not only sends her 7 kids to school, but pays for 10 other kids to go to school and also pays for immediate need medication for sick kids in their village. She saw that her family’s needs were being met and didn’t need anymore, so she naturally wanted to give back and help others. She thought it was something she needed to. That was incredible—she was incredible. The second story was when I got to share my testimony in front of a bunch of Haitians and my team as well. It was awesome for me just to be able to rearticulate my faith in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. After, someone I had gotten close with throughout the week (his name was Waldy) came up to me and told me he was praying for me and my family. Someone in Haiti who has literally nothing was praying for me. Tell me that’s not incredible.

Day 7

Day seven was the most rough for me. The whole week, as well as the whole next year hit me at once. Just with youth group changing a little over the next year, I think we all got a little emotional. I won’t really elaborate on this, but just know that God left me charged to come home and make where I am my mission field. I realize that I can’t be in Haiti all the time like I would like to be. But God charged me up so that I can come home and make this place my mission field, because in reality the people here need me just as much.

God moved in my heart and in my life throughout the trip. He encouraged me, empowered me, charged me up. I can’t wait to go back, but I am also happy to be here. I know for sure that I am supposed to be going to other places that need my help to help them.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a junior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

ICYouth: Running toward Haiti {Trever}

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 Trever Carter

Please note: for those of you who are unaware, a team of 30 of us—high school students and leaders—are traveling to Haiti July 15-22… please be praying for us! 

So tonight, after mowing the lawn, I decided to go for a run. I was pent up on energy and just needed to do something. “Oh, it’s just a run,” some may think. But mind you, I am an asthmatic — a nebulizer using, air sucking, inhale- taking asthmatic. Running and I don’t get along the best.

But that’s beside the point.

I decided to take a run and ended up thinking about this blog post and spending some alone time with God. I wish I could’ve written while I ran … a stream of consciousness blog would have either been really beneficial and hilarious or super annoying. Well, it’s me, God—oh, squirrel—anyway, God …

My run went a little something like this: I drove to MacDonald’s Woods, parked my car, lathered on my bug spray and went off. I’ve run there before, but it’s not like I do it all the time. After running a bit, I reached a fork in the road, and I went right — my first mistake of the evening.

Instead of cutting straight to the inner, shorter loop that went around the lake and back to my starting point, I cut to the outside loop that went to every entrance to the forest preserve, which tacked on what felt like an extra two miles to the three I was planning on. Every time the path curved right instead of left, further lengthening the loop and distancing myself from closing it off, I got frustrated. Because I was tired, weary, sore, gasping for air. The path steered away from what I had planned out, the hills went up and down, and sometimes I just wanted to stop and walk. But I didn’t—I kept going, and the sun was setting above the lake, and I saw deer and rabbits and squirrels and breathed fresh summer air. As I finally made it back to the wood chip path that would lead me up to my car, a rabbit was there, not running away from me, but just keeping a few paces in front of me leading me up the path. And at the end of it, there were three more deer literally playing grab tail. I stopped and watched and sighed a deep breath of relief and finished jogging to my car.

And, strangely, it paralleled my feelings about Haiti. I was thinking about what God had to do with me, an ant in His eyes, in a country like Haiti. Me, Trever Carter, an upper-middle class white kid that lives a privileged life comparatively. My struggles are not the same as the Haitians, so what did I have to relate to them with? As the trip nears, my path keeps taking a bunch of rights. The medicine I need is more than I had budgeted for. Travel anxiety is getting to me. The logistics and magnitude of our projects seems much bigger than my scope. My paths aren’t necessarily going the way I thought. Though I’m eager and excited, pent up on energy (I still am, don’t misunderstand me here) much as I was for this run, I’m still getting anxious, skeptical, wondering, tired.

I can’t possibly make a difference in Haiti.

But I’m confident that I will. And if I can’t make a difference in Haiti, Haiti will surely make a difference in me. There are rabbits in this journey, urging me on and on, and deer, and beauty, and all the things that are making this trip so far wonderful—and we haven’t even left yet. There is surely to be a lot of things that will make the shots, the money, the pills, the anxiety all worth it. There has to be. Even though I wanted to walk, I’m just going to keep running with endurance.  My heart is soft, my ears open, my eyes clear.  Do with me what you please, God.

I was supposed to tell you all about our training camp this past weekend. Sure, I could’ve told you how they took our bags and didn’t give them back, how they made us walk from the middle of down town Lake Geneva to camp, how they woke us up with rooster crows at 5:00 a.m. … But instead, God had me go for a run. And this was a much better story.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a junior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

World Outreach: God At Work Through Immanuel

Over the summer months, the Immanuel Church family has been a vital partner with those individuals who shared the Good News of Jesus in San Diego, California as well as China and Haiti. We celebrate the individuals who stepped out of their comfort zones in obedience, to be experience different cultures & climates to be Jesus and how God uses each of His children to bring others into fellowship.

Xi'an city wall, China

China

Tyler Brooks joined a team of young adults bound to China. These young adults sought out university students looking to share their own relationship with Christ. Here’s a glimpse:  “It has been amazing to see how even halfway across the world He is working in and through people’s lives. While on the outside we may look and act different we are all part of His big picture. Students are very open and receptive about the things we share with them regarding our culture and core beliefs. And while we enjoy sharing with them, it has been a privilege to learn just as much if not more from the students here. Their desire to share about their culture and beliefs has made our friendships much stronger. The Father is truly moving through the lives of many students here.

San Diego

The IMPACT team (high school students and leaders) had the opportunity to partner with YouthWorks to serve children, elderly, and others in the San Diego communities. Our students served at a food bank by putting together & handing out food parcels as spending time with individuals at an adult daycare site to be Jesus to those they encountered.

haitian-children

Haiti

The Immanuel team once again partnered with Bright Hope in Pignon, Haiti this summer. Spending time with individuals was the way this team ministered to the Haitians: hearing the stories of those blessed through the microloan program, playing games with the children attending VBS, serving a meal to the Haut Savanette students.

THANK YOU, Immanuel Church, for your faithful support to reach the world with the Good News of Christ! It is only possible through your generous giving to Accelerate, our one fund, and prayerful support that individuals, families, students and adults may go to help others know Christ and to grow to be like Him.

Hello from Haiti

haitian-children

It was a great day.  The team did VBS for the last day today. The church in Colladere had over 200 children and our team has a special affection for this group of kids. We have found that the majority of families go without food several times a week.  A highlight each day has been serving lunch at both churches. Plates of rice and beans – we see children helping each other and sharing spoons.

A highlight of VBS at the church in Haut Savanette was at the end when the pastor called his leaders together, they gathered around our team and prayed for us and sang. This is the church that Immanuel has been supporting for two years through Bright Hope. We see huge changes in this church since last summer. They are thriving and praise God for the partnership!

The team has been amazing! Each person has risen above themselves and SHINED for Christ by loving the people God puts in front of them. Our men worked 3 days on a shipping container, being turned into a school. The heat inside the container was 120 degrees at times!  They trained 6 Haitian men to do dry walling and bonded as they sang hymns while they worked!

Thank you for praying! Every prayer is being answered!

Team Haiti Update

haiti_girlsEveryone is healthy and no one has gotten sick – Praise God!

It has been a busy few days.  Over the weekend the team spent time to talk and pray with some micro-loan families who sell everything from used clothing to gasoline.

VBS has been a huge success seeing about 100 kids at the site in Koledar in the morning and about 200 kids in Haute Savanette in the afternoon.  Were able to feed to group yesterday of 199.

Last night the team went to Pastor Jephthe’s church and saw choirs from local youth groups sing.  The power kept going out throughout the event, but the kids never stopped singing praises to God – it was beautiful.

Days are spent with devotions as a team in the morning and then serving throughout the day.  Music and fellowship in the evening.

Prayers are needed for tomorrow as they finish up the vacation bible school programming, safe travels home and rest for the team as they debrief and see what God has in store for them.