youth ministry advance team: haiti

last week, i blogged about the (still hard for me to believe) reality that i’m going to haiti in a week and a half. as each day passes, and the actual departure feels like a car careening across the median toward me, i’m filled with a combo platter of emotions. i’m nervous — i think that’s the dominant one. yeah, there are a bunch of other emotions in the mix also (like excitement and disbelief and a sense of hopefullness). but as i’m writing this and thinking about it, nervousness is certainly the big one.

there’s plenty — really, plenty — to be stoked about:

– i got to be a part of organizing this awesome group of youth ministry bloggers to go on this trip. i actually conceived the trip; and, knowing my friends at adventures in missions, was keenly aware that they would do what they do best: mobilize quickly and responsibly to host groups in response to the worst disasters. within a day or two of the earthquake, i was thinking to myself, “youth groups, and other church groups, are going to want to go to haiti in the next 6 months. that’s great. but it could be done really horribly; or it could be a tangible blessing to haiti.” and it dawned on me that it might be a good idea to take a group of blogging youth workers as an “advance team”, to experience a trip to haiti right now, and report back to the broader youth ministry community with stories and input. and that’s what we’re doing!

– our team consists of a handful of youth ministry friends that i’m stoked to spend time with, as well as some people i’m really looking forward to getting to know.
here’s the team, in no particular order, with links to their blogs:
adam mclane (who will also be blogging on the ys blog)
tim schmoyer
anne jackson (not technically a youth worker, but we’re going to make her an honorary one for this trip!)
rhett smith
lars rood
jeremy zach
and myself
in addition, ian robertson will be joining us as our videographer; and seth barnes and clint bokelman, both from aim, will be leading the trip (other aim staff from the dominican republic and haiti will be with us also)

– i’m excited that we’re not going as “tourists”, but will be working directly alongside a bunch of hatian pastors who are asking for our help.

– and then there’s adventures in missions: i’ve been a fan of this organization for a long time now. i went with aim on the 2nd missions trip i ever took kids on, back in about 1990. i got to know their staff (particularly their founder and director, seth barnes), and i grew to deeply appreciate their approach. i even served on their board for 5 years, and brought my own dad onto the board also. aim has the combination of deep and biblical theology (when it comes to missions) as well as a practical expertise that’s so essential for trips like this.

– we’re partnering with a network of 100 pastors. one of the key guys in this network is the pastor of a church of 10,000 people in the town just outside of port au prince that was the epicenter of the earthquake. this church has ministries all over port au prince and other parts of haiti, and they desperately need help.

but, yeah, i’m still nervous. not afraid, really, but nervous.

i would love it if you would, in some way, take this journey with us. there are a handful of ways you can do this:
1. “become a fan” on facebook. we’ll be posting all kinds of stuff there, and it will be a central hub for following the team and finding stories and links to blog posts.
2. follow the team on twitter. not all of us will be posting there; but adam mclane, in particular, is likely to update regularly.
3. pray for us. please. we truly covet your prayers. we’ll be adding prayer udpates on the facebook site starting very soon.
4. give. giving on the haiti section of the aim site will go toward food, water, medicine, and other supplies that will be distributed in haiti. it does NOT go to the expense of our trip.
5. check out the aim haiti blog, to see posts about what they’re learning and doing. also, read aim’s haiti relief plan here.
6. pray about going yourself, with a team from your youth group or church.

more to come in the days before we leave, including an itinerary of our trip.

7 thoughts on “youth ministry advance team: haiti”

  1. Hey Mark.

    What you’re doing, from a youth ministry perspective, by helping churches in Haiti is similar to what this newly formed group does: A good intro to the founding and concept is here: I’m not a Mars Hillian, but I supplement my North Idaho church life with what they make available on the web. Solid stuff.

    Watching your process is giving me perspective on my own. I’m praying for you.


  2. Marko,

    We have a board member and one of our missionaries heading to Haiti on Friday to serve as well. The entire Life Teen family will be praying for all of you!

  3. hi marko, i really hope that the videographer will not be taking pictures of Haitian people. One of the recurring themes in conversations with trauma survivors is that they often feel an added layer of trauma by having their devastation documented publicly. We have recently experienced this with bushfires in australia, with many people expressing a sense of violation and deep pain at the public voyeurism. Let’s face it, how many of us would want to be filmed in our moment of deepest grief and greatest vulnerability. The public does not always need to know.

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