By Nicole Rothfleisch
A team of 18 arrived in Haiti this morning for a week-long mission trip.
After an overnight flight, all of us, along with our 37 checked bags of luggage AND 25 or so carry-ons, got through the Port-au-Prince airport easier than I think ever before.
We only had one casualty â€“ Kimâ€™s precious guitar had its neck broken and she was pretty devastated.
We were a little nervous going through Haitianâ€™s customs because we had massive amounts of eyeglasses, medical supplies (for clinics) and meat (in coolers for our team to eat). Upon inspection of our first suitcase, the man kept asking if he could take and keep a box of plastic gloves and after I repeatedly told him no, he amazingly waved us all through without opening another suitcase!
Celissa and Kenol, staff from our mission, met us at the airport with â€œBig Mama,â€ our canter, (much like a paddy wagon) that we will loaded our crazy amount of luggage on, along with the now 20 of us. I was impressed that we fit â€“ it was cozy.
We went from the airport straight to a nice hotel called the Visa Lodge where we had lunch and Jim and Chad promptly jumped in the pool before we were even seated out our tables inside. Iâ€™m pretty sure Jim is part fish â€“ if there is water around, you will find him in it.
After lunch we took the team to the Haitian History museum, on a little driving tour of Port-au-Prince, to the mass grave (where about 250,000 people were buried in a shallow grave after the January 2010 airport), and then finally to our mission in the village of Barbancourt.
Celissa has our property looking so beautiful with the landscaping, paint, new porches on the hospitality house and orphanage, and everything cleaned up.
We got settled in, I took the team on a walking tour of our mission property and Lifelineâ€™s mission property next door, and we made a game plan for the eyeglass and medical clinics and revival that we will be doing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Celissa had a wonderful surprise for me â€“ she got wifi for the mission and so far, it works really well!
Donald Curtis, the President of Lifeline Mission that we work closely with, happened to be in town as well so he came over to meet with part of our board so that we could discuss some issues we need to address. Tomorrow I will be joining him for some other meetings regarding orphanage stuff, since they are opening one in the neighboring village as well.
Tomorrow morning the three pastors on the team: Walter Colace, Jim Tucker, and Norm Chandler, will travel by flyboat (large speedboat) to La Gonave Island, where our good friend and ministry partner Pastor Benis is having his annual, week-long crusade.
Walter and Jim will be preaching and Norm will be checking it all out for the first time.
Celissaâ€™s brother Robenson will be joining them to assist with translating and a phone in case of any emergency. They will come back the next morning.
The fact that Jim Tucker is on this trip is a miracle in and of itself, considering that a little over three years ago, not long after coming home very sick from Haiti, he found out that he had leukemia. He had a dream sometime back then about he and Pastor Walt preaching at a big crusade in Haiti together (if I remember correctly, I think Pastor Walt had the same dream), and he always believed that the Lord would bring him back here, even through the darkest, most difficult times of his struggle with leukemia.
Now, here he is, three years later, doing that very thing not only on La Gonave, but in our village of Barbancourt as well. God is SO good! This is such a miracle!
Below is a list of each person on our team. While everyone will be doing a wide variety of activities serving, I added a brief description of what I think will be their main focus.
We would greatly appreciate you lifting this team up in prayer. We are doing some things on this trip that we havenâ€™t done before in our village: an eyeglass clinic, a basic medical clinic, and a 3-night revival.
We will be doing lots of other things as well, but those are the main things, and they are a first for us. So please pray that the Lord would go before us and work out the details, prepare the hearts of the team members to minister in grace, humility, love, and boldness, and for the hearts of the villagers to be prepared and many be freed from the bondage of Voodoo and anything else that is holding them back from the Lordâ€™s will in their lives â€“ especially the several Voodoo priests who are within walking distance.
Please pray for the spiritual warfare we will encounter as we bring the Light into the darkness and invade the enemyâ€™s territory.
Additionally, please pray for the health and safety of the team.
The revival will be the first night time event we will have ever done and the mosquitoes come out most at night and around lights. There has always been the threat of Malaria and Dengue Fever (although rare), but now there is a new epidemic spreading like wildfire throughout Haiti called Chikungunya.
This is a mosquito-born virus that gives you a high fever and extreme pain (it makes you feel like your bones are broken), but thankfully you get over it in a few days and then you are immune to it.
We know quite a few personally who have had it, including Donald Curtis who told us tonight that he had it last well. In fact, for those of you who knew about Celissa being so unexplainably sick at my house when she was there last month, we just figured out tonight, based on her symptoms, that that is what she must have had!
We believe this team has been hand-picked by God, assembled specifically for the job He has for us to do at this time, in this place. So the team is very excited â€“ we arenâ€™t afraid, we just know the power and absolute necessity of prayer, and we appreciate you interceding on our behalf. Please pray for our spouses, children, families, businesses, and ministries that we are leaving behind during this week as well.
1. Nicole Rothfleisch â€“ team leader
2. Walter Colace â€“ pastor, leading village revival
3. Jim Tucker â€“ pastor, overseeing clinics, preaching at revivals
4. Norm Chandler â€“ pastor, 1st time mission trip, evangelism
5. Chad Hunt â€“ Normâ€™s son-in-law, 1st time mission trip, helping with a little everything
6. Lonnie Ricks â€“ from Christ Community, been to Thailand, helping with everything
7. John Moiola â€“ 1st time mission trip, our team handyman!
8. Tina Cox â€“ 3rd trip to Haiti, new board director
9. Lindsay Cox â€“ Tinaâ€™s daughter-in-law, 1st time to Haiti, medical clinic
10. Jillian Hampton â€“ 1st time to Haiti, helping with medical clinic
11. Sonia Castaneda â€“ 1st mission trip, medical clinic
12. Amanda Van Leeuwan â€“ college student, childrenâ€™s ministry
13. Christina Dammerall â€“ college student, childrenâ€™s ministry
14. Kim Snyder â€“ 1st mission trip, helping with worship, eyeglass clinic
15. Connie Campos â€“ from Mexico, cooking, eyeglass clinice
16. Kathy Rinkenberger â€“ 6th Trip to Haiti, from Atascadero, overseeing childrenâ€™s ministry
17. Alani Rinkenberger â€“ Kathyâ€™s high school granddaughter, assisting at clinics
18. Madison Murphy â€“ Alaniâ€™s high school friend from Merced, assisting with childrenâ€™s ministry