harnessing the power of photography for good

Haiti

Do Not Forget Haiti

I have been on numerous mission trips where I have seen terrible conditions, so I did not think I was going to be shock by Haiti. But even before the earthquake Haiti was one on the poorest nations in the world with more than 70% of people living on less than $US2 per day. In Port-au-Prince less than 1/3 of the people had access to tap water. The January 12 (2010) earthquake affected 2 million people, damaging 180,000 homes and leaving one and a half million people living in camps. Seeing these tent cities is what affected me the most, here it is 15 months later and the people are still living in one room tarp houses packed together like refugees.

While I was in Haiti, Michel Martelly was announced as the new president. There is now renewed hope for real change in Haiti. Pray that he will be able to do all he has promised, especially breaking the decades of corruption and misrule. Our team was to take part in FFCC’s food distribution but the government would not allow the free food out of the Port. It had been sitting in a container for a few months and is still there.

Haiti greatest necessities are clean water, sanitation, and good leadership.  There is about one toilet for every 200 people in the tent cities. FFCC is helping bring clean water to Haiti, in January a team provided filter systems to the Aviation area tent city. There had been 10-15 deaths a week at that time, by March with the use of the water filters the cholera cases were down to 2-3 a week. Part of what we did during our week in Haiti was distributing water filters to schools, orphanages and families in the towns of Leogane and Carrefour.


We also enjoyed playing with the children at the schools & orphanages. I was inspired by their sense of hope and joy even in desperate circumstances.

The work project for the week was helping with the construction of the office building for a new orphanage. When completed the orphanage will care for 200 children on a permanent bases.

The people of Haiti are beautiful and resilient, especilly the orphan children. With a stable government there can be hope for recovery.


Fight Against Hunger

Did you know that 40,000 children around the world die of starvation every day?I had the privilege of shooting photos at the Friends & Family Community Connection (FFCC) 23rd Food Packaging event on Saturday. I was amazed as I stood in the middle of it all and watched as they packaged over 500,000 meals in one well organized weekend event.

These meals are a rich formula of protein and nutrients that reverses the starvation process. Each meal contains soy, rice, dehydrated vegetables & 21 essential vitamins & minerals. The great part is that they only cost 25 cents per meal.

FFCC teams up with Kids Care to provide these meals to impoverished children in Tanzania and Haiti. Local San Diego families in need also benefit by receiving 1/3 of the meals packaged at each event.This event embodies the FFCC name, bringing friends & family together for a time of fun & fellowship as they work shoulder to shoulder to fight against hunger.

The atmosphere was exciting as the DJ plays the music and people sang and some even danced while they diligently work.

Well over 3000 energetic volunteers of all ages participated in this significant event.  Each hour the volunteers rotate in and out of the workstations, some group come for one hour others stay longer. The containers full of packaged meals are trucked to Long Beach and put on a ship to their final destination, where they are distributed to children who would otherwise be going to bed hungry.  On Sunday I will arrive in Haiti for a week to work with FFCC building an orphanage and distributing water filtration systems. I also hope to take photos of the packaged meals being distributed to the Haitian kids and blog more about my experience there in Haiti.


{Heal Haiti}

{Heal Haiti}

It’s the morning before I leave for Haiti and I finally feel like my to do list is complete, I’m packed and able to prepare for this adventure for the next 2 weeks.  I’m not sure it’s hit me that I am embarking on my first mission trip and to Haiti at that!  I think once we get settled on the plane it will become reality.  Here are specific prayer requests for the group:

June 5-8
Pray for traveling mercies and for students to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
{2 Chronicles 7:14}

June 9-11
Pray that God would meet practical needs of the Haitians through IMPACT students; pray for divine appointments.
{Mark 9:14-29}

June 12-14
Pray God would bring comfort to the Haitians through the class and use them to inspire the multitude.
{Deuteronomy 6:4-9}

June 15-18
Pray that God would add hundred of lives to the Kingdom of God in Haiti; pray for a safe journey home.
{Acts 2:36-39}

If you would like to follow the Haiti trip, here are a couple ways that you can:

  • To track with us and get up to date prayer requests on twitter:  text:  follow IMPACT195_Haiti to 40404
  • To see daily video/photo/story uploads go to: www.therockuniversity.org, click on Haiti button.

God has continued to bless me with so much support, love and encouragement, I’m blown away by His grace and love He has poured out on me through the Body.  Even though I feel like I didn’t prepare enough for this trip, there are SO many people praying for me, I’ve never appreciated the power of prayer more than now.  Going into the unknown, uncomfortable and unnatural will do that to you.

I am so appreciative, beyond words of the people who have supported me financially, prayerfully and lovingly!  I have received tangible gifts of love, cards, drawings, care packages and more than ever I have felt what it means to bear eachother’s burdens and be knit together in heart.  It brings Acts to mind…

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.  Every day they continued to meet in the temple courts.  They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” {Acts 2:42-27}


{Reaping & Sowing}

{Reaping & Sowing}

It’s been a crazy, at times, never ending two weeks.  I leave for Haiti in a week and while I’m excited I know I haven’t spent as much time on my knees and in the Word as I should be.  It’s amazing how the good things in life can become the detriment of a love, intimate relationship with Jesus.  I realize in a very tangible way who was sustaining me over the past two months and it definitely wasn’t the calendar on my iPhone, it was my quiet time with the Lord.  In many of my IMPACT classes they talk about reaping what you sow, while this is a familiar concept to most of us, it hadn’t hit me until recently what a powerful truth that really is.  Some of the teachers have brought to my attention that what I am reaping today is often what I was sowing weeks and even months ago.

“A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, for that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
{Galatians 6:7b-8}


The time I was so close and intimate with the Lord was what I was sowing a couple months ago and now the word to describe my world is: overstimulating.  Between working 12-15 hour days and not taking intentional sabbath days away, it’s quickly catching up to me.  I can’t tell you how happy I am that I am finally getting away for some silence and solitude tomorrow!  All this to say, don’t become so busy and caught up in the doing that you miss out what counts.  As I sometimes say to myself and people around when it comes to material, temporary things, “You can’t take that with you to Heaven!”  Remember Jesus isn’t going to ask at the Bema Seat (judgment seat of Christ for Christians), “Where’s your Coach purse or your Maserati or your La Jolla Shores beachfront property?”  He’s going to ask if you did any of this in His name…

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” {Isaiah 61:1-3}

As I reflect on leaving for Haiti, this is my heart and I’m sharing it with you, not to judge or bring guilt, but to stir my heart and yours for a life and calling that is bigger than you!  Allow the Holy Spirit to bring healing to your heart and overflow to a hurting world around you.  Just because I am going somewhere tangible to exercise this, souls are no more lost in Haiti than in San Diego, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and many other places I know this blog is being followed.
The Lord has been breaking my heart with His love and I hope you will allow Him to do the same for you.  Please stay tuned for one more post before I leave for Haiti with prayer requests for the team.
I love you and more importantly Jesus loves you so much He died for you so that you could enter into His peace, rest and joy forever!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” {John 3:16-17}


{Heart Surgery then… Haiti!}

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” {Psalm 73:26}

The distractions after wilderness didn’t get much better these past couple of weeks, but what I have learned through this time is invaluable.  More and more I am realizing how comfortable and predictable my actions have been the last 25 years.  The struggles I have continued to go through were only because I wasn’t willing to completely surrender them to the Lord.  We are going through the Experiencing God study in IMPACT and at the back of the workbook there are two pages of names and characteristics for the Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.  While doing the study early one morning I came across a Psalm I had never heard, Psalm 73:26 {see above}.

I was reminded how the longings of my flesh and the emotions of my heart will always fail me, but God will be my strength in those times.  It was such an awesome realization to know that this was truly the first time I was going to heed wise counsel, seek the Lord and listen to what and where He wants me to be, not the other way around.  My prayer was that the Lord would take away this obstacle from me, but just like in Daniel when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were about to be thrown into the furnace they responded,”…the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand O king.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods…” {Daniel 3:17-18}.  Even if the Lord doesn’t take this away from me, He is still God and I will surrender and obey Him through this trial.

I spent the afternoon at Balboa taking some pictures and reflecting on what the Lord has been doing over the last 24 hours, but before I get to that, I want to take you back to about a year ago.

“I pray that you will continue to reveal awesome truths in Your name and time.  Lord, help me to live my life for You and use me to bring others to you without them even knowing what happened.  Lord, I want to be used by You in a mighty way to impact my world around me.” {June 7, 2009 @ 12:33am}

I share this with you to show you how specific God has been in answering my prayers totally unbeknown to me until the past couple months.  Not only am I in a 9-month discipleship program called IMPACT, but the Lord has in the last day called me to Haiti.  Just like IMPACT I was set on not going and already had my mind made up about the upcoming missions trip.

Money is always my “excuse” but even I can’t deny how unbelievably amazing God has provided for me in the past day.  Once I actually came around to the idea that God wanted me to go to Haiti within 2 hours I already had $950 plus what I have been saving and support checks coming in, so I have a total of $1337 out of $1500.  I write this not because of the amount, but to testify to what GOD has done totally apart from anything I have done, which is NOTHING but respond when He called.   I still need the $163 by Tuesday and eventually money to cover my time away from work and 2nd & 3rd quarter of IMPACT {support night details to come}, but little by little the Lord is growing my faith and it’s exciting to proclaim His goodness and power through it all!

If you feel called to support me, please email at n.adres@hotmail.com, but more importantly please pray for the following things:

  • Provision for the trip overall, for those students that are being called to go, but cannot afford to or do not have passports, etc.  Also, for the supplies and materials we are bringing over.
  • Spiritual warfare, Haiti is a country that practices voodoo.  Not only are we going in after the devastation from a few months ago, but there is going to be a battle for souls going on and we will be on the front lines.
  • Leadership of our group as we have less than a month before we leave for 2 weeks.
  • Preparation for those that we will be ministering to and the city of Jérémie where we will be.

This is my first opportunity to serve on a missions trip and I am getting more and more excited to be used in this way!  While talking to my mom earlier today even she is surprised that I am doing this, but the Lord is changing my life literally by the day.  I knew He was going to be rocking my world this year and not even being halfway through 2010 I am believing it more and more each day.  Prayers are my #1 need and I know it’s only because of prayer that I am who I am and where I am today, you are my beloved friends and family, THANK YOU!

“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” {Psalm 37:23-24}


God is good, all the time

photo: ruth fremson

these are just a few pics from the web of folks in haiti choosing to worship God, despite their present circumstances.

photo: michael appleton

photo: damon winter

photo: abigail pfeiffer

God is good, all the time.

if you want to help those in haiti, the rock has partnered with world vision and samaritans purse.  you can donate now by going HERE.


Do Something! Help Haiti

The Rock has partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and World Vision, two Christian relief organizations that already work in Haiti. Note: 100% of your donation will go toward Haiti relief work.

To donate, you can visit the Rock website or click HERE


Help Haiti

photo:  american red cross/echo/ap

haiti needs help.  the question is as a person of faith, a follower of Christ, who wants to help, but wants to make sure anything you give is gonna go to those who need help, and not to a corrupt government… what do you do.   if you want to give, check out the list below.

hugh hewitt has offered a list of 4 christian relief organizations that are already working on the ground in haiti right now

ChildHope.org

BeyondBorders.net

The Haitian-American Friendship Foundation

WorldConcern.org