Monday, March 12, 2012

Following Him by Faith- La Providencia Summit

Friday, March 9, 2012

La Providencia Summit

Well, I made it back from Honduras. For those of you following me on Facebook, you know it wasn't the smoothest of travel days. After spending about 5 hours in the San Pedro Sula airport I found out my flight was cancelled. They told us to go pick up our luggage and then get in line at the ticket counter to rebook for the following day. So I stayed an extra night in Honduras. Then after arriving in Miami I found out my 2nd flight was delayed due to mechanical difficulties as well. I was ready to get home but glad they were discovering the mechanical difficulties before we flew and not during our flight. :)
My time in Honduras was good. It was tiring and mentally challenging, but it was good. The premise of the Summit was to unite the people that are sending teams to La Providencia this summer. Their vision was for us to work together with the LP staff and community leaders to have our teams be as collaborative, productive and life-giving as possible. A lot of our discussion was based on the books, "When Helping Hurts" and "Toxic Charity". This discussion, at times, was so exhausting because it isn't easy. There isn't a simple solution. The easy thing is for us to swoop in with our American mind-sets and think that we know best. But that isn't helpful, it can be damaging. At Visiting Orphans, we spend a lot of time thinking and praying about these issues. It was encouraging to meet with other people from across the country that have similar goals and to exchange ideas.
A couple of the main ideas that we kept coming back to was:

  • Not doing for others what they have the potential to do themselves. We talked a lot about self-suffiency vs dependency. We also talked about the importance of encouraging and empowering, not just offering hand-outs
  • Teams need to realize that they're not just there to help, they are also there to learn. It's all about an EXCHANGE. 
I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this group. And am excited about our partnership with Providence World Ministries. If you haven't already, please take a minute to check out their website. They are taking an innovative approach to orphan and widow care. 

And last but not least, we have TWO opportunities this summer for you to join a team to visit La Providencia. Check out the information below and if you have any questions let me know!

~Casi Mattox
Central/South America Trip Coordinator

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Haiti earthquake did not affect our team

In case some of you heard about a small earthquake in Port au Prince yesterday, wanted to put your minds at ease that our team in Jacmel is safe and sound. I texted Emilee last night as soon as I heard and I think the team was already asleep. She wrote me on facebook this morning with a brief update:

Good morning Autumn! We are all safe and sound here in Haiti. We actually didn't know about the earthquake until this morning. One of the Hands and Feet staff members is in PAP this morning so he will see if there is any damage to the airport or roads we'll need to use to leave. We are not aware of any damage here in Jacmel or surrounding areas but will let you know if we hear of anything that could impede travel home.

We are having a great time and can't wait to share our stories and pics. Please update the VO blog as family members and friends are following that for team info. Thank you!!

From those I know in PAP, it doesn't sound like the earthquake did much damage so I don't forsee any issues with them getting home. But we will continue to pray and I will update y'all with any news I get.

I cannot wait to hear their stories. Sounds like they are having an amazing time with the kids and staff there.

- Autumn

Monday, March 5, 2012

Update from our Haiti team

Hello from Haiti!!
written by team leader Emilee Owens

Since we got in late last night we were able to use the computer today. Just wanted to let you know we are here at the orphanage and doing well. Caroline has a bad headache but other than that everyone is doing fine. It is really hot and humid and the sun is quite intense. Our showers are cold so that is one way for us to cool off.

So far the team has been able to sort out our donations, craft supplies and sports equipment this morning. We also got a tour of the campus and met the house mothers, nannies and children that are not at school today. The babies and toddlers have already taken to the team and don't want to be put down. Several of the staff and some of the older kids speak english so we are able to communicate. Right now we have split up into groups to work on different projects they need our help with. The team is busy painting walls, decorating childrens' lockers, cleaning a newly constructed bedroom and sewing curtains. We will work on these projects most of the week, take the toddlers to the beach on Thursday then take two field trips on Saturday: one to a historic fort and one to the beach. The Saturday field trips are reserved for kids who did well with grades this week.

More updates to come after they get home as they will likely not have any further internet access during their time there. Please be praying for them. I can't wait to hear all of their stories!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Haiti Hands & Feet Team

Just heard from our Haiti team leader, Emilee Owens, that the team made it safely to Haiti and is now en route to the orphanage. This team gets to spend the week with Hands & Feet Project loving on some very precious children. While they won't have much internet access to be able to update blogs, etc. - I have no doubt they will have an amazing, life-changing trip. I will post whenever I hear anything from them via text but they might not get to update me very much either. So if you don't hear from them this week, I am quite sure we'll have lots of stories and updates once they get back to a spot with internet. In the meantime, they get to unplug from life back home and GO BE LOVE to the sweet kiddos at Hands & Feet Project.

- written by Autumn Kerr