Haiti VIM Trip

A Blog page about our trip to Haiti with a VIMUMC team

Ways to Support Haiti

Haiti Opportunities or Next Steps:

Ecole Gerny Filostin

  • Sponsor a Child ($25/month or $300/year)
  • Sponsor a Teacher ($120 per month)
  • School Director ($250 per month)
  • School Secretary ($150 per month)

Miracia Hospital

  • Contribute to the Doctor and Nurses Support Fund to support the medical staff salaries (currently pledges total $700/month with $6300 already contributed as of  July 2012):
    • Full time doctor $1000/month
    • Midwife $800/month
    • Head Nurse $700/month
    • Nurse $500/month
    • Sponsor the surgery ward or a room in the pediatric building

Financial contributions can be sent to IOG at 1221 Van Buren St., NW #202A, Washington, D.C. 20012 and should be clearly designated for the project they are intended.

Lead an UMVIM team to Miracia or participate with another team

Back Home Help for the Institute of Grace (all volunteer effort in the US)

  • Attend the fall Gala and bring guests – expected to be the 3rd week in November (Nov 17)
  • Help with the website or newsletters and publicity
  • Help administer the school children sponsorship program
  • Take on a special project, such as
    • Pack up the truck for shipment (plan cargo, acquire, pack, fund)
    • Pack up the box truck for shipment (plan cargo, acquire, pack, fund)
    • Host Fund Raising Event
    • Purchase supplies for shipments
    • Project planning for specific projects such as
      • Screen the windows
      • Outfit a medical room
      • Solar power for the refrigerator
      • Water purification (drill well, dig cistern, build house, purchase purification system, set up store)

July 20, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | Leave a comment


Another day dawns and we are still here in Haiti. We are home sick – but ready to serve Jesus in this place and on this day.

I asked team members what they missed the most. Most said a spouse or family. Some said some of the nice things of life – like communication – cell phones. I connected the two – saying I had never been so disconnected from my family. I had been away from them for a week or so at a time but never without contact (no cell phone coverage – I will need to have a conversation with Verizon when I return).

Today is hotter than yesterday – if that is possible – but I personally am dealing with it better. Maybe we will get use to the heat (not).

The food is good – but different (I don’t ask what the food is – I just eat what they put in front of me – enough to keep going). Most are eating what is presented to us without asking what it might be. A wise move I’m sure.

The doctor and nurses are doing a wonderful job – even as they are without many of the devices they would use to do their work back home. The nurses are doing work like a doctor in many cases – they seem to know more than some of the Haitian doctors (my opinion).

I’m sitting in the kitchen right now – it is very hot – but the only table I could find to put my iPad and keyboard. Smells of lunch abound. But I am not hungry! My prayer partner says we will both lose weight this week. The fires for the meals are in the room I am in and it is very hot! Swear pours down my arms as I type today. I’ve never sweat – typing before! I need some sport wrist bands while I type – lol.

God is so real here – no pretense. When you begin to pray for a daily need that you have no way of providing on you own – you begin to understand the Haitian people and their prayers. Lord – today I simply pray for a cool breeze for those working construction today in Haiti.

I thank you for the prayers for my knee – all who are praying. It was hurting bad enough before I left that I was afraid the trip would be too much – but I am walking without my brace today (because of the heat) and there is no pain. Thank you Jesus for the small things!

I am sorry these updates have not been while we were in Haiti on a daily basis – my service failed me with any kind of service at all. I haven’t been able to text or get anything out – not even tweets (again a discussion with Verizon when I return).

I must leave the kitchen – I am melting away – it is like a sauna. Maybe that is a good thing!

We are all praying for you – our loved ones – left behind. We appreciate your prayers for us for sure. We can’t wait to get home to you – but – we also love the work God is able to do in us, through us and in spite of us here in Haiti. Thank you for allowing us to serve.

July 1, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | , , | Leave a comment

The First Day

The first day at camp started at 5:30 am as we began getting ready for the pastors, children and patients. At morning devotions my prayer partner and I talked about what our first impression was and we both said different culture. As we drove in we saw so many in need and so few places to turn for help.

The doctor and staff were overwhelmed by the number of people they were seeing and the number of people waiting to be seen (and numbers were down from previous years). They were lined up outside waiting. The nurses were doing some of the work of a doctor because of how many people were here for help. Everyone was stretched. It was amazing to watch them work. They were God’s hands at work.

The VBS team probably had the most fun as children are always excited to color – paint – make things and learn about Jesus. This team is very special. They love children so much – even with the language barrier they are able to translate the love of Christ. (Prayer for the children’s behavior – just a few – but they are distractive to the others.)

The heat is hard to deal with for sure. We had 80 pastors in a room made for 30 – they were shoulder to shoulder. The room was no larger than a small classroom. We had to move from our first room to the second room and that was also too small but larger than the first room and with windows. Did I say the heat was HOT!

I am so thankful today for the facility and the support our church has to offer the ministries we offer. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve Jesus in our setting at home – but here as well. I pray God will work in us, through us, and in spite of us this week.

Missing my wife and children – never been so disconnected from them. It is hard. My phone carrier said I would have call and text capability – but nothing yet. So glad we didn’t spend money on more ability which wouldn’t have been available anyway.

So impressed with Rev, Graves, this is his sixth trip to Haiti. The rest of the team is amazing as well. I have no idea when this will post – but know that we love you back home and we think about you in the moments between hydrating and praying!

June 30, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | Leave a comment

Some Short Thoughts Given Me

On this post I will list some short thoughts given me by the team members today.  I will edit this post throughout the day so check back with it – thanks!

The first thought comes from Dr. Dan – It is difficult to find words adequate enough for an experience like this.  To encounter such overwhelming need, and to witness the joy with which people here are attempting to fulfill that need.  In a place where we sweat like pigs and have only enough water for a 2 minute shower, the only legitimate complaint I’ve heard is “I wish I could do more!”  It is remarkable to watch the people around me offer up services as naturally as a stream flows into a pool.  Nevermind how enormous that pool is, or how inadequate the flow of water.  It is awesome to focus, just for a moment, on the happiness of those who came here to give.  It almost outshines the gratefulness of those who are receiving.  Can people who find such joy in service have really come from a land that emphasizes luxury and excess?  This place just seems to do something to you. I hope it never wears off.  Dr. Dan Sherk

This note is from Kirk… Bonjor, Things here are impossible to describe yet being here the whole week has changed me in so many ways.  This was the hardest thing I have done in my life both mentally and physically, and yet I don’t want to leave the people of Haiti.  I miss my wife Tracy so much it hurts my heart, my children Joshua and Kaliegh (sorry if misspelled) are the blood that keeps me alive. Daddy misses you guys so much i can’t wait to see you all Wednesday night. To everyone else thank you for your support, I have a thousand stories to tell and picture to see.  Bonsua – Love Kirk Koneval XOXOXOXOXOXO Hugs and Kisses from Haiti

This is a note from Gail… Another amazing week! This year, as last year, I feel I got more and learned more than I could ever give.  Haiti is a very poor country that is VERY rich in spirit. I, for one, am not ready to leave!  Gail Gerlach

This is a note from Monica… Bon Jou, Mi Rele Monica. Wow! It’s almost too hard to put into words all of the thoughts and emotions I have been through this week.  I don’t think I have ever prayed so much, or drank so much water. This trip has been very challenging on so many levels, but extremely rewarding as well.  It is an experience that has changed me, and I will carry the memories and lessons with me always.  I am looking forward to coming home. My first stop will be ChickFila.  Thanks to all those that have supported me, and have been keeping me in their prayers. See you soon! Love Monica Campbell.

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | 2 Comments

Our Story

As the next few days unfold, we will all post some thoughts on this post about our trip to Haiti.  I have asked each team member to get on here in the next few days and tell their story.

I’m sorry the stories haven’t come out regularly – we just today – the last day in Haiti – have found a way to hookup our computer.  I will be posting articles over the next few days with details of some of our story as well as the team members posting.  There will be a great source of pictures here too in the days to come.

We miss everyone and are trying not to count the hours until we leave for home – because there is still significant work to be done today. Two members of our medical team left at 6 am this morning for another town to help.  Two members of our team have been away from the compound for a day already – coming back tonight.  We are 18 strong and we had eggs this morning for breakfast – a big treat.  I had mine while typing this post – thanks David!

Today I will be posting short thoughts from the team and they will give longer comments later.  We are off to a great day!

Story Item from Holly… I was blessed to be able to return to Merger, Haiti, this past week.  I went for the first time in April with a group from my church, GlenMar UMC. 

On this trip, I thought a lot about living a simpler life…which is a forced choice in the village of Merger, Haiti.  With no technology,  there is no texting, talking on the phone, being on the computer…so there is time to visit and be present with the people  around me, without distractions. 

With no electricity, I do not have to worry about how I look: no hair implements,  no light in the bathroom or bedroom after sunset,  no  iron, washing machine or dryer, no hot water to show with.  There is no refrigerator with multiple choices of what to eat. No car to drive, no stores to shop in, no electronic entertainment (games, TV, movies), no organized sports.  There is limited water for showering, drinking and cooking.  There is freedom in having such limited choices.  For me, when choices are few, choices become easier and I feel more open to God.

There are no real roads, no garbage pick up, minimal plumbing, no postal service, no reliable public transportation, limited medical and dental care, very limited employment and educational opportunities. There is unpredictable, dangerous weather and health concerns such as cholera.   It is a difficult, hot climate. The construction work at the hospital is hard and done by hand.  

So, prioritizing is clear:  drink enough water, wear sunscreen, look out for the people on site.  Eat when the food is ready, whatever is being served.  Shower when water is available.  Hike and see the beauty before the sun sets.  And I felt God all around me. In the people I met, and the joy they have for life and daily events.  In the rough beauty of the land.  In the way people figure out how to make things work in almost impossible circumstances.  God is with us.

I can’t wait to go back. Peace, Holly Gillum

June 26, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | 4 Comments

Some Pictures

Here are some more pictures… More when time allows.  This is very hard with the technology we are using!


June 23, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | Leave a comment

Our Fourth Day

It is Saturday morning and I have found another laptop so I can update the blog.  The team is excited that we can update the blog because communication has been very slim back home.  Thanks to Chris who has the only cell phone working we have been able to get a few things out.

I will try to upload a few pictures today off of my iPad through this laptop if it works.  Very slow computer and internet speed so we will see.

This is a picture of one of our team meetings.  I hope you can see your loved one.  It was at the end of a very hot day and we were in a very tight space.  We are loving every minute and the people seem very happy we are here to help.

Several of the team members have mentioned that they are being ministered to more than they are helping others.  This is a common theme on mission trips I have found.

Chris has been a great help to us as we have counted on him for many things.  Being young and strong and knowing a lot has helped.

The next picture if I can load it will be of some of the 80 pastors who came to our 2 day seminar which Pastors David, Jim and Ray held.  It was an amazing time in the Lord as we were blessed many times over.

There is no spell check and I am typing in a tight space so please excuse the spelling.

We had to have translators for everything we did and they were just amazing.  The best part for me of the two day seminar was when the Haitian pastors prayed for our team of pastors at the end – they were in the Spirit and lifted us before Almighty God.  Their singing was very uplifting as well – familiar tunes but the words were strange – so I sang along in English – it seemed to work.

I have loads of pictures as do others and when we get back we will be sure to upload all we can for sure.

We love you and we miss you – that is from everyone!

God bless you and us as we continue to live each day for Jesus!

June 23, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | Leave a comment

Hooked Up

For those who have been waiting for us to hook up – we finally found someone who allowed us to use their laptop.  I am letting you know that we are ALL well and doing God’s work here in Haiti.  We are excited for the days ahead of us.  I have written several items but with no hookup for my iPad I have not been able to post them.

Know that we love you and miss you greatly.  We are serving God and being blessed.

We will be excited to see you all when we return but we probably will not return the same people who left on Wednesday past.  May God be glorified.

Pray for each of us as we face the heat – it is severe – but we are drinking plenty of water.

God bless you all and I will post many pictures and stories here when I return – one a day so you will not be overloaded all at once.

God bless you!

June 22, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | 1 Comment

Team Member Holly Gillum

Hi! My name is Holly Gillum and I am so excited to go to Haiti next week. This is a picture of me with my youngest daughter, Dana.  She is 13 and my other 2 children are Abby, age 15 and Kyle, age 18.  Dana was confirmed at GlenMar United Methodist Church last week and the stole she is wearing has “Dana” on the part you can’t see in the photo.  Leah is her middle name.  We belong to GlenMar UMC in Ellicott City, MD.  GlenMar sent a team to Merger, Haiti, in April of this year and I was blessed to be able to be part of that trip.

Most of the  Haitian people have very little…. very little food, clean water, electricity (and all that comes with it:  TV, internet, lights, hot water, appliances etc), education, employment, recreation, adequate housing, medical and dental care, roads, transportation, financial stability and the ability to save for the future. And yet… I witnessed what life can be like if one does not worry (Matthew 6:25-34, a passage that challenges me!).   Because at the same time,   I witnessed that the  people of Merger  also have so much…. so much warmth, friendliness, the ability to “make do” and remain positive, a strong sense of community,  and an  openness and joy that came with steady faith and trust in God.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to go back.

Note: Here is a way to donate to help us help those in Haiti – we only have 9 days left. We’ve made it as easy as possible by creating a way to donate online – $10 or more – at http://www.razoo.com/story/Haiti-Trip.  We have a $100 donation already that doesn’t show up on the thermometer.

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | Leave a comment

Haiti Trip

The next two entries were posts I shared on my blog page – http://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/. I thought they might be good for this page as well!

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Well – in a few days – 15 days to be exact – I will be headed to Haiti for a week long mission trip – June 20-27.  I’m in need of your prayers for sure.  I have been on numerous mission trips inside the USA – but none outside.  As a matter of fact – I have only been outside the country twice – once to Canada and once on a cruise – which didn’t really count.  Speaking of not really counting – I was actually in Haiti a few years ago – but it was a beach on Haiti owned by the cruise-line.  Did I mention I know that it didn’t count?

I’ve been given three major tasks on this trip.  One is to blog about the trip – you can follow the Haiti blog at https://haitivimtrip.wordpress.com/ or keep up with my Facebook or Twitter accounts where they will be posted.  Another task the pastors on the trip will have is to teach a two day seminar with up to 100 pastors from Haiti (80 already signed up).  One portion of the seminar I will be leading is on personal and family time – please stop laughing!  The pastors in Haiti are workaholics and our leader must think another workaholic will be able to speak their language – so to speak.  Speaking of language – the third task I have been given is to join with one of the other pastors and travel on two day trips to help some Haitians with English.  That one might be as funny as the personal and family time seminar since I speak Hillbilly a lot better than English!  Did I tell you we will be walking almost everywhere?  Might come back 20 pounds lighter – now that would be a good thing!

I’m including a current picture so people can remember me if for some reason I don’t return from Haiti – lol.  It might also serve as a before picture – I’m hoping to be a changed man when I return.  My friend – Rev. David Graves – says the trip will impact me in a great way.  I pray he is right!  I want God to use me – and use me up if necessary.  I want God to work in me – through me – and in spite of me to reach everyone I can for Jesus!  My prayer is – Lord – do not let me be a stumbling block to anyone You may be trying to reach this week!

The trip – I pray – will open up a whole new world to me and to Mt. Oak as we reach out beyond our walls to help others come to the saving grace of God’s love.  You are going with me through your prayers, your donations and in my heart.  You can – if the Lord leads you – support me and the team financially by making a check out to Mt. Oak and putting Haiti in the memo and sending it to 14110 Mt. Oak Road, Mitchellville, MD 20721 or by donating online at http://www.razoo.com/story/Haiti-Trip. Razoo takes less than 3% for administrative costs and the rest will go to support our Haiti trip.

When I return – I will share some of my experiences in a sermon or in small chunks on Sunday mornings and on my blog.  Remember – I will be trying to blog while there – so keep up on the blog or on the Haiti Trip blog (see link above).  I am getting a global cell phone for the week and using it to get a data connection for my iPad because Wi-Fi or other connections are hard to come by in Haiti but Verizon assured me a data phone would work.

Keep us in your prayers – because we are striving to obey today’s passage – Jesus’ commandments to take the Gospel to all corners of the world – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

June 7, 2012 Posted by | Haiti, Institute of Grace, Miracia Hospital, Mission Trip to Haiti, VIM Team | | Leave a comment