Tag Archives: missions

responsible short term missions starts with humble leadership

any youth worker who has taken a group on a short-term missions trip has seen the way it has impacted the lives of teenagers. that’s why so many youth workers make these sorts of missions trips a key aspect of their programming. we want to be sensitive to cultural issues, and we don’t want to hurt the communities where we serve. but we tend to be pragmatists, and we get stoked about seeing our teenagers have their developmental narcissism poked, and seeing their worldview shaped.

i remember, with some embarrassment and regret, some of my earliest missions trips. i’m sure we did some good. and i’m sure there was some sort of impact on the lives of the junior highers i took. but, really, way too much of the trip was about us. i remember building tiny little homes (the sort that a group of junior highers was capable of building); and i remember being asked why we were building something so small. while i don’t think i could admit it at the time, i’m pretty sure our reasoning was more about what we could do (and how we could do it all on our own). there wasn’t any partnership, really, with the vision of a local church or even the family who would receive “our gift.” i remember mexico border town missions where we “led children to faith in jesus” who had certainly made the same “decision” every week during the summer, for each group of visiting gringos, who were obviously pleased (and deeply gratified) by the children’s learned responses.

but it doesn’t have to be that way.

i loved adam mclane’s post (adam is with me here in haiti) yesterday on this very subject. read his post When Helping Helps (it’s really good).

marko with youth workers

and i think i’ve learned this lesson. but it was great to see humble leadership in place today here in haiti. we’re with jim noreen, the haiti operations director for Praying Pelican Missions. they have 170 americans in haiti this week from a whole bunch of churches. they’re working on multiple sites, in multiple forms of ministry. today we’ll be joining a group who’s arriving from mississippi, and will be mostly with them for the next few days. but these first two days, we drove around with jim and visited all the other groups.

and here’s the math equation i saw working…

a visionary and humble local pastor + a missions organization committed to long term relationships of serving the local church’s agenda + a youth worker who’s committed to coming under the leadership of the local indigenous church leadership = great short term missions.

if any one of those first three components are missing or compromised, things go wrong very quickly. the teenagers themselves might not see the skew. they might still return home all charged up, full of great memories and stretched hearts. but the impact doesn’t really have a kingdom scent to it. and, the long term results will just be flat (in the lives of all involved).

the first two components are very much about choosing to work with the right missions organization. but the last one: well, that’s on us. today i had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with a handful of youth workers who “got it.” they set the tone for their groups in word and deed. it’s one thing to organize a trip. it’s another thing to constantly provide a model in word and deed of honoring and following (ooh, that’s a big one!) the local church leadership. our little american autonomous selves sometimes find it hard to put ourselves under someone else’s authority, particularly when we have a culture (including our church culture) that tells us that people with more stuff are of more value.

but that’s when things get really good, when we voluntarily set aside our preferences and assumptions and valuations, and place ourselves under the vision and leadership of local leadership. yeah: then this short term missions stuff can be a BIG WIN for the kingdom, and for everyone involved.

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Q&A on Discipleship, Missions, & the Evolution of Youth Ministry

the fine people at the adventures in missions youth worker blog asked if i would do a Q&A on discipleship, missions, and the evolution of youth ministry; and i happily complied. click here for the whole post.

here are the first two questions and the answers i gave:

Q: What has changed about the way youth workers (yourself and in general) disciple students over your career in youth ministry?

There’s been a healthy shift away from a one-size-fits-all mentality. We were really into creating “discipleship programs” that offered one path, one option, when I was a young youth worker. Of course, there’s many still pursuing this route. But, my thinking is (and the thinking of lots of youth workers these days) that a mono-optional “program”-driven approach isn’t honoring to either the disciple or to God. It’s not honoring to the disciple because it only allows for one kind of disciple, the kind that is naturally wired for the expectations and path of the program or approach. And it’s not honoring to God because it denies, at its core, the gorgeous diversity of God creation as seen in the body of Christ.

The move toward mentoring as a key theme in many youth ministry discussions is a reflection of this shift. the old approach was to programmatic; the new (and, really, super-old, in that it’s the way Jesus discipled!) is relational. The old was all about “do this”, while the new (super-old) is all about “follow me.”

Q: What’s the same?

Teenagers are living in a different world, to be sure. But they’re still teenagers, and they’re still dealing with all the developmental realities of a post-pubescent awakening. They’re still wrestling with core questions of Identity, Autonomy, and Affinity (or Belonging). All of these necessarily play into any discussions about teenage discipleship, since they were and are central to the everyday experience of all teenagers (whether they’re aware of these issues or not). Another way to say this: teenagers are still wrestling with who they are (identity), they’re still wrestling with how they’re unique and to what extent they can influence the world around themselves (autonomy), and they’re still wrestling with the question of to whom and where they belong (affinity). All of these are deeply discipleship questions, at the end of the day. Or, at least, they should be!

the remaining questions were:

Q: What’s the best “how-to” discipleship advice you’ve ever received?

Q: What’s one trend in youth ministry today that you disagree with (or want to change)?

Q: Why are (or why aren’t) mission trips good for building students’ character? How high of a priority should they be in youth ministry?

but you’ll have to click through to see my responses.

social media and missions

my friend lars rood just published a piece on youthworker.com (youthworker journal’s website) about how we leveraged social media on our recent trip to haiti. it offers a somewhat different perspective on our trip than our blog post about stories from haiti. and it certainly brings out some implications for how youth workers might think about using social media for their short-term trips.

here’s a snippet from the end of the article:

Utilizing social media to get more people to team up with the YMATH team has resulted in a huge outpouring of support and a desire within others to go to Haiti. The experiment of using social media to engage people with the stories of Haiti has proven to be an incredible new way of doing missions. No longer will parents drop off students at an airport and have to wonder what they are doing during their trip. Church congregations don’t have to be separated from their ambassadors as they serve in far-away lands. Using all the available technology will help families, churches and friends experience the trip and feel as though they are a part or the experience. This is a new reality for missions.

haiti: now what?

i’ve been home from haiti for more than a week. but i’ve had a hard time figuring out how to re-engage blogging. it’s almost like i used so many words that week, and so much of what little emotional bandwidth i have, that i haven’t had reserves left for whatever this — post trip life — is supposed to be. i made it through a speaking event, but restlessly. and i’ve been plunking away at the little details of life: driving the kids to school, answering emails, making phone calls. but i can’t seem to find my way into some of the more creative or time-focused projects i have to work on; and maybe that’s because i’m afraid of what i’ll find when i go there.

tonite (friday) and sunday morning, i’ve been asked to do a 15 – 20 minute interview about haiti as part of the sermon at my church. the sermon happens to be about living with both longing and desire while still holding onto hope. and — wow — what i saw and experienced and soaked in during that short time in haiti is such a strong example of that.

but i’m choking up just typing this, and those faces keep coming back to me.

where’s johnny sleeping tonite? how about pastor chevalier? have the march rains started to impact the marassa tent cities yet? will their little stick-and-sheet tents be swept away? will these people with nothing be left with even less than nothing?


do they still have that hope i saw? what about the joy?

and, really, HOW is it that suffering leads to hope and joy? and why do i ever think my life will be full of hope and joy if i run from, boundary and buffer myself from, and medicate away from suffering?

so… what now?

well, i’m working on setting up another trip. more on that later.

in the mean time, i want to suggest ways you can do something. a few of my friends from the trip have written about this also (including rhett smith, adam mclane, and lars rood). here are some thoughts:

1. pray. yeah, we say this, right? but, seriously, there’s something unique in our lifetime happening in haiti right now. pray for healing and restoration. pray for the leadership of the haitian church. pray that the hope people are experiencing in the midst of their pain and suffering will continue to be anchored in jesus christ. pray that help will come, long after the american media has stopped reporting on the earthquake.

2. give. it was amazing to see the outpouring of financial help during the first couple weeks after the quake. but the need is so great. give to organizations you trust.

3. go. to the naysayers who were saying, a few weeks ago, that people should stay away from haiti unless they have a skill that is specifically needed (medical help, etc), i say, “you are completely full of crap and have no freaking idea what you’re talking about.” hands are needed, and backs, and ears, and hearts. and they’re needed by the thousands. of course, i’m not encouraging anyone to go without a plan. but, find a group that is thinking responsibly about how to help, organize a small group of friends, your youth group or young adult group or men’s ministry or adult small group or neighborhood block party club and go. bring a big heart, listening ears, and ready hands.

as far as who to go with, i can’t recommend adventures in missions more strongly. i love their thoughtfulness and approach. i love that they’re developing a strategy that involves working alongside and in partnership with the haitian church (foreshadowing: they’re putting together an amazing church partnership program that is going to be off-the-charts cool and impactful). AIM — who also host low-cost domestic trips worth checking out if you just can’t do the haiti thing — is already up and running, ready to host groups in haiti, tailoring a trip for the maturity, readiness, and abilities of your group. seriously: check ’em out. make plans for this summer, when most people will have already forgotten about haiti, but the needs will be just as present as they are today.

ok. that’s what i have to say today. my wife just told me she has tamales inside, and i need to go eat one of those. then i’m off to church to talk about haiti and see if i can make it through without blubbering on stage.

a missional social media prayer, and being part of the answer (ymath – day 4)

yesterday, our team in haiti did some initial contact and assessment work in two tent villages that are side by side (late addition: when we crossed the border into haiti, one of the first stories we heard was from a mother who talked of her twin boys dying in her arms during the quake; tonite, we learned that the name of these two tent villages — marassa — means, or at least implies, “twins” in creole. and interesting bookend to trip). i blogged an aspect of that experience here.

last night, as our group was debriefing the day, we felt compelled to do something more tangible for these two villages. the village committee at one of them had asked we return this morning and lead a time of prayer for healing; so we knew we were headed back anyhow. we cooked up a little social media experiment that actually manifested as a missional prayer. adam mclane had twitpic’d a photo of the people we were filming from his iphone, and it had the gps coordinates on it. it got retweeted about 600 times within an hour or two. so, we got the “please help us” video edited and uploaded, and the twitterers among us simul-tweeted the photo and video link, along with a message to anderson cooper, asking him to show up at 9am and bring help. that tweet went viral like a prayer through social networks, being retweeted thousands of times. our hope was that anderson cooper’s people would see this (which, surely, they did), and do something.

but god had another designs on how to answer our prayers.

after starting the healing prayer service in the one community, a few of us pulled off to go find a way to get some immediate physical help. we were told that one of the only open grocery stores was near the airport — about 2 miles from where we were.

but when we got near the airport, we started praying that somehow god would give us access to the massive conglomeration of armys, ngo’s, and the u.n., operating out of the airport grounds. sure enough, we pulled up to the guard gate, explained what we were doing, and were waived in. a second barricade produced the same results. inside, we said ‘hello’ to an american dude walking past, who just may have been an angel. he walked us around to various tents, trying to champion our cause. as we met with u.s. military, canadian military, and several ngo’s, we began to get discouraged that nothing would come of this, with all the red-tape. but we’d also been told, over and over, that giovanni cavanni, at the i.o.n. tent, was the person we needed to see, as he was coordinating which idp’s (we were learning vernacular for these tent villages) would get help. by the time we approached the group of tents where the fabled giovanni was to be found, we were picturing him as some kind of godfather, and assumed we’d never even get an audience. but we were ushered past guards and workers, right into giovanni’s tent. he was a young, hip, northern italian guy who clearly had power, but deeply wanted to help. they had not yet identified the tent villages we were seeking help for, and we got them into the database, plus got email addresses and lots of other stuff to follow up on that will lead to getting long-term help for these people.

but we still knew we needed some immediate food supplies for today. so off we went to the grocery story (which was a nice one, heavily guarded, with only haitians with some money and military shopping in it). we bought almost all the rice and beans they had, some oil, and most of their baby formula. we had $2000 of donations that had come in over the last couple days; and when our final bill was tallied, it was $1983.

we drove back to the two communities, met with their “village council” (they call it the committee), and talked about the help we hoped would come from our time at the airport, as well as adventures in missions groups we hope will come in the months to come. we re-confirmed their desire to help their people, and particular commitment to the widows and orphans in their midst. then we formed long human chains, and unloaded the truck.

it was somewhere in the midst of unloading the truck that it struck me how our collective act of prayer last night, carried out by our team and thousands of others who joined with us from countries far away, were being answered in that very moment. in fact, god had been answering them all day long.

at the end of the day, i was about to get into the truck to leave, and i noticed a teenager staring at me. and i saw his feet. he might as well have been barefoot — he had rubber flip-flops that were falling apart and smaller than his feet. in that moment, a story i’d heard 20 years ago came back to me, of a kid on an urban missions trip who saw a homeless guy and jumped out of the church van to give the homeless man his shoes. i knew what god was prompting me to do. i walked over to him, smiled, put my hand on his shoulder (to steady my tired fat body!). i leaned over and slipped off my tennis shoes, picked them up and held them to his chest. there wasn’t a translator around, but i said: “these are god’s provision for you.” maybe i was just saying it to myself; and that would have been enough.

youth ministry advance team: haiti – day 3

if the theme i sensed yesterday was hope, then the theme today was joy. while suffering leads to perseverance, perseverance to character, and character to hope, i think there must be a sense where hope leads to joy.

in the midst of such devastating heartache and desperate need, i witnessed joy break out multiple times today:

1. first, as we were driving through the city, we saw a church service taking place on a street. there was a stage set up at one end, and the street was packed with thousands of dancing haitians, giving praise to god. it was the kind of shear unpolluted joy that i have very rarely seen in my life. seth barnes, the adventures in missions director, has been traveling the world for 25 years, and has never seen anything like what we saw in port-au-prince yesterday and today. i’ll post a video of this at some point,when i have better bandwidth.

2. minutes later, we spent time in a small community where one of the pastors we’re working with is trying to bring some help. adam mclane and i spent an hour with the pastor of a small church (well, the building was small — it looked like it should hold about 100 people; but he said there are about 1000 people coming every sunday). he was a wise and grace-filled older gentleman, who’s own house had been damaged, causing him and his elderly wife to sleep in a tiny cube made of sheets just outside their house. the moment of joy came when we gave him a few packets of toiletries and supplies, as well as a few large bags filled with little bags of drinking water. he started to hand them out, and it felt like pandemonium. adam and i were both concerned that things were going to turn ugly. but then i saw the pastor’s face: he was grinning from ear to ear, filled with absolute joy at the opportunity to bless people with provisions they so desperately needed.

3. the third outbreak of joy came in a tent community we visited, which i posted about here.

4. shortly after this, i was in another tent community where some of our other team members were meeting with the newly formed community leaders to consider how we (and other groups who follow) could help. and as i jumped out of the truck, a guy came running up yelling, “marko! marko! marko!” i was a bit disoriented as to how someone here could know my name. but it turned out to be johnny, the young man i’d connected with at an outdoor prayer service the day before, showing him my tattoos (at his request) and explaining the spiritual signicance of them. lars rood, one of our team members, said later that i’m a “walking evangecube“. :) what a joy to somehow reconnect with this guy in a city of millions.

5. finally, as we were driving back to the missions compound where we’re staying, we got stuck on a street as a massive group — a parade, really — of dancing, shouting, and praising believers moved past us with banners that said: “christ for haiti, haiti for christ”.

wow, what a day. i have a new reference point for joy.

the cry of haiti: “please help us”

today, a few of us were in one of the hundreds of tent communities that have sprung up in and around port-au-prince. we met with a group of about 40 people (though thousands live in the community and the one next to it), listened to their stories, hopes and needs. even in the midst of such great loss and devastation, they possessed joy. they mentioned that no relief had come their way — no water, no food, no tents (their “tents” were sheets hung on sticks and wires). when i asked how they were surviving without food and water, the pastor i was speaking with said, “we’re not.” they are starving and desperate, yet still hopeful.

at that point, i had a crazy idea. i asked the pastor if he thought it would be ok to have the group of 40 shout “please help us” in english for our video camera. he turned to them and asked them, and they all loved the idea. they started practicing how to say “please help us” in english, which was actually another great moment of joy amidst the hardship.

later, we were able to bring them some water and a small amount of bread. but we’re trying to connect with NGOs and american news agencies in haiti to see if we can do something to help the people in this one-of-many situation where no help has arrived.

please link to this, tweet this, facebook this, and help us get the word out that there is still SO MUCH need in haiti. we’re asking people to call out @andersoncooper on twitter, imploring him to show up at 9am tomorrow (monday, feb 15) when we reconvene at this community. join us, and let’s see what happens!

hope in haiti (youth ministry advance team: haiti – day 2)

Romans 5:3-5 – not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Today, my 2nd day in Haiti (and first full day), I was relentlessly pursued by hope.

On a human level, this seems completely illogical. I witnessed so much pain, so much loss, so much destruction. I saw miles and miles of downtown Port-au-Prince streets with every other building smashed to pieces, the streets piled high with rubble (many of the rubble piles doubling as temporary graves). I saw trash overflowing in every stream.

And the squatter villages. I’ve seen squatter villages in other countries; but they’ve always had a sense of semi-permanence to them, having developed over years, with shacks poorly cobbled together with solid materials. But the squatter villages here are different. They’ve sprung up all over the city – hundreds of them – each with hundreds, if not thousands of temporary homes. All built in the last few weeks, they’re built on wobbly scrap-wood frames and wires, with sheets and blankets for walls, and tarps (at best) for roofs.

I listened to story after story, and they started to blend together. Everyone knows someone who died in the quake – most know many. And even if their home didn’t collapse, it’s broken enough that it’s not safe to re-enter. Little kids accepted power bars and bottles of water from me as if I’d just handed them the keys to the kingdom.
But this suffering is producing perseverance, which is producing character, and hope is overflowing in a way I’ve rarely seen.

Today was Haiti’s first-ever National Day of Prayer. We originally had other plans for the day; but when we learned of this beautiful expression of hope. As we drove into the city center, we passed dozens of churches overflowing (literally, out onto the streets) with people singing and praying (and fasting, I understand). The main gathering at the city center is reported to have about 60,000 people at it.

We stopped at one of the large gatherings (not the one at the city center), and I sat in the scorching sun near a few young adults. One of them – Johnny – noticed the tattoo on my leg (the cross of St. Patrick), and asked me about it in broken English. He and his friends were fascinated by it, and by each of my three other tattoos. Since each of my tattoos represent Christian themes of life and re-birth, we struggled gloriously through a conversation about spiritual things. Johnny, and another guy named Junior (pictured with me here), both spoke some English, and translated everything I said to their friends, as well as translating questions from their friends for me.

Later, after driving through the heart-wrenching city center, we visited a large prayer gathering at the church of Pastor Christian, one of the pastors we’re hoping Adventures in Missions groups will be working with. I’d guess there were about 3500 people at this site. As we made our way into the crowd, I realized I was in observation mode. I realized my post yesterday had been more of a travelogue than a reflection of what was going on inside of me. And I knew I had to move into co-participant mode. So I broke from our group and wiggled my way deep into the crowd. When I got to a place where I couldn’t proceed further without being rude, I stood and prayed in the midst of the crowd. When they suddenly all sat down, I realized I was the only person standing. I looked down, and the woman next to my feet was making a place for me to squeeze onto the blanket she and several other women and children were occupying. I sat, looked around, and realized I had somehow ended up in a section that was all women and children – but the welcome was palpable. Throughout the next hour of singing, dancing, prayer, preaching, leg cramps and back spasms, I participated with these Haitian women and children, calling out to God on behalf of Haiti. It was a profound, tangible experience of hope being birthed out of suffering.

Later in the day, after many stories I don’t have space to share here (including a beautiful conversation with a group of young men constructing a tent-home for someone, all of whom had decided to follow Christ on the day of the earthquake, as they heard others crying out to Jesus), we met with Pastor Christian. A 70-something man of deep wisdom and grace, he pastors a group of 11 churches totally about 10,000 people. We talked with him about bringing groups to help, about his vision for Haiti, and about how he saw his country responding. At one point, Pastor Christian was sharing something about all the work to be done, and he let out a very deep sign. We could all see, in that moment, the immense burden he was carrying, and how tired he was (he hadn’t been showing this). We gathered around him and prayed for him, while he sunk into the grace of Jesus. About 10 minutes later, he asked if he could pray for us. As we bowed our heads, he began singing. He was singing a prayer over us, and it was truly one of the most beautiful things ever to enter my ears and soul, even though I couldn’t understand the words. I instantly started crying – but they were tears of hope: hope born out of seeing a man, and a hundred thousand others, place their hope-born-of-suffering in a Savior who brings redemption. I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite Bible verses: Zephaniah 3:17, which describes God “rejoicing over us with singing.”

I’m emotionally and physically spent, and a little bit sunburned. So I’ll leave you with this:

Zephaniah 3:17 – The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

youth ministry advance team: haiti – day 1

this morning, we left santo domingo at 5:30am, and began our trek to haiti, with a handful of stops along the way. our team is getting along great — such a cool mix of people.

our first ministry stop was on the dominican side of the haiti border, where a complete hospital had been set up in tents on the compound of a ministry organization. the hospital was being run by “u.s.aid”, a u.s. government funded agency. the nurses and docs were wonderful — all there as volunteers. a highlight was sitting with a haitian man who was healing from a broken femur, and listening to him sing bob marley’s “redemption song” (watch a video of this moment here). the man had taught himself english by listening to english-language music, and he had a beautiful voice. all of us, including the nurses, were in tears by the time he finished.

our first stop in haiti, just barely across the border, was at a church that is housing 30 refugee families, and also runs a hospital. with so little medical care in port-au-prince, thousands of haitians have made their way to these care facilities outside the city. yesterday, the place had 6000 people on their grounds fasting and praying! the place was just not that big — so that must have been an amazing thing. we toured the hospital, and prayed with a couple of the patients. one woman told us her story through an interpreter. she’d been trapped in rubble for 24 hours. when the ground started shaking, she grabbed her twin 17 month-old boys, holding them to her chest. but when she was pinned under the rubble, she could tell that one had instantly died, and the other only lived for the length of a few cries. the story got worse than that, but i don’t think i’ll share all the details here. but she talked about calling out to jesus, and how she was rescued. when we asked if we could pray for her, we discovered that the man sitting in a chair nearby her was her husband, and he came up and sat next to her on the hospital bed. as we laid hands on them and prayed, her husband began crying and shaking, speaking out, “why, jesus? why, jesus?” of course, it was a heartbreaking story, and i felt a small bit of the pain this couple must have been going through. i was thinking of my own two children.

after a flat tire on one of the cars, and then the donut spare going flat also, we had to rearrange things; but we made it (a little late) to a meeting with about 40 pastors. we were meeting with them to explore the possibility of setting up church partnerships between their churches and u.s. churches. there was lots of story sharing (including some painful ones of pastors who’d lost family members). we handed out lots of packages of supplies (everything from toiletries to medical stuff to diapers), as all of these pastors are housing or taking care of families who are now homeless and without resources. we filmed short videos of each of them, for the potential church partners, and took photos of them, and prayed with them. the whole time we were meeting in the church, there was a youth group meeting in a little shed-like space on the other side of their yard. it was awesome to hear the youth group singing “you’re all i need” to jesus, especially when they all clearly have so many needs.

we’re staying at a mennonite guest house in port-au-prince, where we just made our team dinner and had a good time of sharing. i only got about 2 hours of sleep last night, so am looking forward to a bit more tonite.

to see posts from the rest of the team, check out our facebook group (where posts will be linked in the next 24 hours or so).

“plans” for the youth ministry advance team: haiti

tonite i fly to miami, where i’ll overnight, then join the rest of the team for our trip to haiti tomorrow. i’m full of expectation, trepidation, anticipation, and disbelief. all of this came together so quickly (though not without a great deal of work and forethought) that it’s almost impossible to believe that it’s here and now. friday morning, i’ll be in port-au-prince.

to review: our team (the youth ministry advance team: haiti) is traveling to haiti for two reasons:
1. we want to serve
2. we want to report back to the tribe of youth workers on the feasibility and wisdom of bringing groups of teenagers on short-term trips to haiti in the coming year.

i put “plans” in quotations in the title of this post, because there is so much in flux in haiti right now that we fully expect re-directs, disappointments, and divine interventions. i’m super comforted by the reality that our adventures in missions leadership have a prayer-filled, discerning approach to trips like this. they want to serve where god wants us, and will be actively listening (and engaging our team in that process) to the spirit throughout the trip.

that said: our “plans” at this point are anchored off on working alongside and under the cover of a handful of haitian pastors. each day we’ll be working “for” a different pastor, doing a variety of relief tasks (and anything else we’re asked to do) as an extension of these church’s relief efforts to their communities. we’ll be staying right in port-au-prince, but will also spend time in some of the surrounding towns and villages, where so many who formerly lived in the haitian capital are fleeing. we’ll be assisting in medical relief work, helping with food and water distribution, and a host of other tasks that call for willing hands and hearts. we’ll also be praying with and for these haitian churches and their leaders, dreaming of the spread of the gospel during this national re-birthing.

we also “plan” on blogging every day while we’re there, sharing stories and impressions.

i do covet your prayers. to that end, it would be wonderful of you, my fantastic blog readers, would follow one or more of these means of communication, in order to be more fully informed:
1. this blog
2. the team facebook group (where posts from all the bloggers will be posted)
3. the team twitter page
4. the team prayer update email list

my next post will likely be from the dominican republic, after i’ve met the whole team, and the night before we drive into haiti.