Home Build – Haiti 2019
As you can imagine, there is so much to share with you all. First and foremost, thank you. We could never have built this home alone. We have tried to pull together a summary of our thoughts on this amazing trip to Haiti. We have put together a Haiti Home Build Newsletter that shares a daily summary of what we did and some pictures to accompany it. Speaking of pictures, we have a lot of them! We created a photo album on Facebook that has ~700 pictures (yes, I said 700).
While reading the reflections and daily journal updates, please keep in mind that this was all made possible by you.
“If I had to wrap up this entire experience in a phrase, I would have to say “We Did It!!”. We finally finished the year one goal of WWKD. To build a house for a needy family in Haiti, and to do it in Kelsey’s honor. Kelsey and Annabelle fell in love with the people of Haiti in August of 2012 and introduced them to Maddy and me in January of 2014. While reading through Kelsey’s journal, we found a small entry she wrote: “I know this is not my last time in Haiti and I just pray that I can be a good advocate for what is happening there”. It definitely wasn’t her last time as I felt her presence every step of the way. When we first met Danice in her not yet completed house, she was there. Sunday morning at church when we introduced ourselves to their church, she was there. When we laughed at Annabelle when she had trouble nailing the boards together straight, she was there laughing with us. When we were playing with and loving on the kids, so was Kelsey. When we dedicated the house and gave Danice the keys, and she walked inside her new house for the first time, Kelsey was right there beside her. As hard as this week was for all of us without Kelsey, it was because of Kelsey we were able to do it. The person she is, the unselfish love she had for everyone she met, even people that didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her this side of heaven can see her through us. On our last full day there, we went to a small private island to relax and unwind. We brought some of Kelsey’s ashes with us, some to place at the house dedication, and some to this island with us. When I let her ashes float away in the warm water, all I could say was, “We Did It, Babe!”, as tears rolled down my face. I’m so thankful the girls and I were able to share this experience with Lisa and Sarah, and I know they fell in love with the people of Haiti as well. Next time we’ll have to take more family and friends with us.”
“Wow, what an amazing trip I had. This is the 3rd time I’ve been here & every time I fall in love with this place more & more. I met some amazing people who bring all praise to God & give everything they have & then some. It was definitely bitter sweet without my mom by my side but I know she was here in spirit. One thing I love about the Welcome Home Haiti Organization & what they do is that it’s not only changing one family’s life but so many more. It helps the families of the workers who are paid to build the house, it helps the family the house is built for & many generations after that. Everyone here is so friendly & welcoming, I love it! I want to thank Shelley & Steve, their daughters & all the workers for being so nice & open with us! I also want to thank the pastor who taught bible study (Pastor Matt) at the end of our bible study on Monday they prayed for us, praying that God heals our broken hearts & thanking him for the impact that has come from my mom’s passing. Pastor Matt also mentioned that we don’t let evil affect us & cause us to turn away from God & that got me thinking. For the past 19 months I’ve been really mad at God, mad that he took my mom away from us & for no good reason too. I took all my anger out on him & we haven’t been on the same page since. But when Pastor Matt said those words it made me realize that the devil wanted me to think that way & wanted me to turn away from God. As much at it hurts & sucks without my mom’s passing we wouldn’t have been able to provide a new house for a family in need, we wouldn’t be able to be planning to build a well for a village that has no water next year. My mom’s memory will continue to change the lives of different families in Haiti & will also change our lives. Coming down here as an American who really has everything I need & more & seeing people who have absolutely nothing & are willing to give the last of what they have really makes you think about what is worth complaining over. The mother of the family we built the house for wanted to thank us & so she gave us a big basket of fruit she had picked & that really spoke to me. She is such an amazing woman who praises God with everything she’s got. She actually reminded me of my mom in some ways. This will definitely not be my last time here & I cannot wait to come back & give more. One thing my mom told me the first time we came was as much of an impact we are making on them they have a much bigger impact on us & by that I mean
these people really open your eyes to what most of the world lives in. One child from an orphanage or one family from a house made of sticks & sheets will change your life forever & cause you to want to provide for more & more families in Haiti, or wherever you end up. Yes, we build them a house or give them food or love on the children who may not have parents to love them but they create a change in us that simply can’t be done anywhere else in my opinion. Until next time”
“Going back to Haiti was amazing. Despite what people think and say about the people there, they are phenomenal people. They’re sweet, welcoming, and fun. Being back there just made me feel so calm. The heat was definitely a lot but it was mostly bearable. Being in Haiti is such an eye-opening experience. It really shows you that everyone has their own struggles. Yes, in Haiti it tends to be a very viable struggle, and it may not be in the States, but it still shows you that everyone struggles.”
“This was such a phenomenal trip! It was amazing to see such joy radiate out of not only the Dolce family, but all the children in the neighborhood who came by to see what was happening. It was humbling to me to see what little they have and how happy they are. It resonated that happiness and joy have nothing to do with the things you have, but the love you are surrounded with. Kelsey had always spoken of her trips to Haiti with the same joy! After she had shared their last trip with me, I told her I really wanted to do that with her and she said of course! Next time come with us! That is the bittersweet and difficult part of this trip, but I am so grateful I was able to go with Lisa, Jeremy, Annabelle, and Maddy and get to experience the house dedication first hand and get to meet the Dolce family. They were the perfect family for us to support. Helping to build and then dedicate the house was the most special part of the trip for me. I felt Kelsey’s pride and love through it all!
It was incredible to do this with Welcome Home Haiti. The group of Haitians they have working for them and are such great men and women and they take pride in their jobs and do them well! An equally favorite part of this trip for me that I loved, was being able to witness first-hand the empowerment they have put in their employees to help those in the community in need. “To love your neighbor as yourself.” It was powerful to witness supporting a young family, that is from the humblest of means, whose 18-month-old daughter that had slipped and fallen and broken her femur, being cared for because of the empowerment that WHH has given their employees to share with them when someone is in need and to help those in need. It made me want to do more and although it is heartbreaking to see some of these situations it is humbling and gratifying to be able to help! I have been looking forward to this trip for over a year. At one point, with security levels heightened, we were unsure if we would be able to actually go but I am so grateful to have been a part of this trip and to have met all the people we did. I clearly understand why Kelsey fell in love with the people of Haiti and why she wanted to return. I hope to be back again in the near future.”
“When I think back to when we first started talking about going to Haiti, I can’t believe we did it… we built a house for a family in Haiti to honor Kelsey’s memory. Just let that sink in… we built a house! Our partnership with Welcome Home Haiti was beyond anything I could have hoped for! Steve, Shelley, Jasmine, Jadyn, Janae, Judney, the ladies in the Guesthouse, the men who helped us measure, cut, build and complete the project, made us feel welcomed and cared for. I am eternally grateful for their kindness and what they taught us. Everyone we met wanted to know what brought us to Haiti. We told them about Kelsey, about her love for others, and her desire to do servant work in Haiti. We shared pictures and stories at every opportunity we had. From the second we met Danice, the homeowner, she radiated joy! She gave all grace to God and shared that through tragic experiences He brought us together. We talked about the fact that her actions and words reminded us of Kelsey (she would have loved meeting her and had a lot of fun)!
This trip helped me pause, and remember what life is all about. It’s not the hustle and bustle of what’s next on the calendar, but to be present in all that you do, always. Slow down and enjoy the blessings in life, you never know when they may change. Extend grace and patience to others. Be kind. And just love…
I will be back.”
Check out the Haiti Home Build photos
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