Friday, December 31, 2010

Why we go...

It sounds like the group had a very full day on Thursday. There was more work in the clinic, cleaning of the orphanage and school and many new relationships were founded...

The following story came from Melissa Grosskreutz... "The most impactful thing that happened to me today was when a small group of people showed up from an orphanage. There were 6 children that were fairly new that came to get a check up by the doctor. These kids were so precious. They didn’t know what a slide was. We climbed up to the landing with them. It took awhile but one of the boys slid down the slide. He looked frightened on the way down, but once he reached the bottom the best laugh came out of this little person. You know the kind that comes from your belly, yeah that one. That helped all of the boys get excited over this slide. They came running. One little girl, Kimberly, looked frightened standing on the landing. I carried her down and held her. I asked one of the workers what her story was. Apparently, Kimberly and her two brothers were dropped off at this orphanage because they were living on the street and their mom couldn’t take care of them. This broke my heart. Soon after that, Kimberly laid her head on my shoulder and started to cry. It didn’t take me long to join her. Here in my arms I am holding this little one who has a mother who couldn’t take care of her and her brothers. But, the Lord kept telling me “She is mine. I have not forgotten.” James 1:27 says this, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” This is why we are here. The children of Haiti are not forgotten. These are precious in His sight. These are His.

This is the sweet boy who received stitches on his forehead wound yesterday. It seems to be healing well!
Please pray that he will continue to heal and grow healthier!
To those of you who have worked so hard on pillowcase dresses and blankets... Thank you from the children! Thank you for serving and for the prayers you gave over these sweet blessings!
As you can see from the girl pictured above, and below, you are very much a part of this team!!!
HIS PROMISE is this:
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14.18
Please be in prayer for the group on Friday as they travel to a large tent city. They will be handing out treat bags, medical supplies and lots of love.
Please pray for safety. Pray that there will be impacts made to improve the conditions and help the residents in some way.
Pray for open hearts and minds for both the team and those they will meet.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday... Hitting the ground running

Today began with a group prayer at the cross...
"Today we got up at 5a.m. and went to the prayer rock to pray at the BIG cross on the hill. WOW you could see everything! What a beautiful place Lifeline is at. Mountains everywhere, the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. Later, we went to see kids in the village and what a different experience that was. Words could not decribe it. The kids love to hold onto you and we had 4 to 5 kids to every team mate! I love kids so its a natural love for me, but to see kids who have NOTHING, man, let me tell you... they love to be loved. This was a crying moment..." - Jordan Moneymaker

"I'm not sure how to explain today. It was the most amazing experience of my life!! Things have been great and I met a pastor that drove 4 hours to get supplies from Lifeline. He is taking care of 85 orphans and they all live in tents. Donald and Lifeline are going to try and help him and we gave him a little money. Josh opened the clinic today for at least 6 kids one with a very bad cut. But mostly the things we saw in the village no words can describe . Very overwhelming and my heart is in pieces tonight." - Russ Kegel
Please continue to pray for the Starfish team as they do more work in this poverty stricken country. Pray for the adults and children they will encounter today. Pray that they will hear of Jesus' love for them and know they are not alone in this battle!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Arrival in a new world...

The team arrived safely in Haiti today! While they are so excited to see what God has in store for them, they seem to be shocked at how truly horrible the conditions are in many places. As you'll ready below, the drive from the airport to the Lifeline House was quite an emotional one. I encourage you to look over the photos and comments from the team, and then take another close look at the photos. Every time I've reviewed them, I've noticed more horrifying sights in the back grounds. The beautiful majesty of God's creation of the mountains, but look closely and you realize their are tent cities full of displaced families, covering the mountainside... Ashley

Here is Codie McKellips take on arriving in a new world...

"We got onto our truck which was basically a cage with tin over it to keep the dust out. We all sat in the back and drove an hour and a half to the compound. We went through the worst part of Port-au-Prince and saw all the rubble and tent cities. cows and horses just walking around... Then we passed a tent city on the side of the mountain. The mountains were GORGEOUS and right next to the ocean... It's really amazing what God has created. We went through another poverty stricken area and then a farmer's market. Some people waved and others got mad at us for waving or smiling...

When we were in the midst of the worst of port-au-prince there was a brick wall that ran along one of the tent cities that had graffitti on it that had a picture of praying hands and said:


Once we turned onto Lifeline road where the compound is, we saw all these children that started to yell and run towards the truck and wave at us. They were so excited and precious! The kids would yell "wan wan" which means white; they knew we were here to help them."

"So Glad to be safe at Life Line Ministry Compond Haiti! Very Overwhelming as we arrived to a country like nothing I have ever experienced... We are now in for the night in the mission house. In the distance you can hear the people of the village singing to the most beautiful music. So Thankful for safe travel and for the team I am so honored to be a part of... God is Good :) This little boy was outside the gate as we drove in ..What a smile :) the children got so excited to see us coming with hope and joy of what tomorrow might bring.. Please pray for the people of Haiti and guidance for the Starfish Team. I am blessed and Thankful..." Leigh Ann Kephart

Please pray for the team as they jump in with both feet on Wednesday. They ask that you specifically pray for the children they will meet; open arms and open hearts. Pray for safety and courage as well as strength and endurance. God is doing amazing things!

Thank you for being a part of this trip!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Haiti Bound!

Tonight was a great time of prayer and encouragement for our team leaving for Haiti. A special thanks to all of the friends, family and supporters who came to cover them in prayer before the trip. We know God has great plans for the coming week and we ask fo continued prayers!
The group will be flying out of Nashville early Tuesday morning, and will arrive in Haiti later in the day. Please continue to follow along daily on this incredible journey and join us in supporting the team and the children they will be working with throughout the week.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

On their final day in El Salvador the team visited some familiar faces. They began the day at CISNA's orphanage for boys. The young men range in ages from 7-17 years old and live in a former prison. I use the word "former" loosely because things haven't changed much at all. The boys are sleeping in cells on thin mats with discusting conditions. The turn over rate for workers is high and there is only about one employee per 40 or or so boys. Many of them escape to join gangs in the city, and are later caught by police and brought back. It is an amazing thing to see the hardened hearts of these young men, broken by God's love for them. The government allows Starfish to come into the orphanage and share with the boys that God has a better plan for their lives.

Diego, shown here, is a boy we met several years ago on our fisrst visit to CISNA. At the time, he was one of the youngest boys there, and quickly attached to Jay Michael, one of our team members. After spending some time with Jay talking and playing, Diego asked if Jay could be his Papa. Since then, their relationship has continued to grow. The following trip when Jay wen't back to visit Diego, he prayed and accepted Christ! Jay was unable to go on this trip, but wrote a letter to Diego and continues to be a positive influence to this young man of Christ.

The group spent the day talking with and encouraging the boys, plaing games, teaching them of God and His love, painting faces and building relationships.

Below you will find Stanley, another friend we met several years ago. He is a self educated young man who has traveled the world and speaks several languages. Somehow, he has ended up in this orphanage in El Salvador. Over the past few months we have spoken to Stanley and he expressed his desire to learn to play the violin.

Kathy Gardner was able to get a violin donated for Stanley that Starfish sent to him with lesson books last month. Olivia Harp was on this weeks team and helped Stanley improve his technique!

Brian Carter wrote, "Today I watched Olivia giving a violin lesson to a young man who would soon have to leave the orphanage called CISNA. I had positioned myself there to take a picture of the two, so I could share it with her parents. The young man had played the insturment before and he had some ability, but he was struggling to put his fingers on the right strings. with a warm smile and a tender touch, our Olivia took his hand and placed it in the correct place. The result was wonderful to watch... The music filled the air of the courtyard and the young man's face broke into a smile. When he finished, they shared a moment together as she praised him and they laughed together. I realized that this week God has taken our hands and placed them on the lives of these people, and our shared moments together have brought a smile to all. Our great God has blessed our week with moments like this daily!"

Before ending the day, the team stopped by La Casa de mi Padre where they were able to visit many great friends that we love and miss dearly! These are some the first relationships God built with us and the children of El Salvador, and they will always remain close to our hearts!

As the week came to an end, we hope we completed God's mission to El Salvador to the fullest. He loves these children and so do we! Our prayer is to continue His work with these precious children we have come to love so much and bring awarness of their circumstances to the world!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Defend Widows and Orphans and Help Those in Need Isaiah 1:17

Today's activities took place in Soyapongo. This is a community currently receiving aid from the Fuller Center for El Salvador. Homes are being built to aid victims of recent flooding a mud slides resulting from earthquakes and hurricane rains. Starfish has been building a relationship with the Fuller Center for a while now, and was honored to help out for the day.

Our group first spent time painting a playground for the children in the area. Then, they went into the school and were able to put on Bible School activities. You can see from the pictures there were crafts, Bible stories, games, singing and more!

These children are from families that are some of the poorest in El Salvador. Thanks to the Fuller Center the kids are now able to attend school, have a safe place to play and most importantly hear about Jesus Christ!

Please continue to be in prayer for the team on Friday. The week has been full of happiness and saddness. tears and smiles and as it comes to an end, emotions are running high. The group will be visiting a couple more orphanages tomorrow and don't want the week to end! They appreciate and thank you for your continued support and prayers!