Second Mile Haiti

Welcome to our blog! This is a place for us to keep friends and supporters up-to-date with the latest 'Second Mile' happenings! Check in often. Things are moving fast!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

credit where credit is due.

Hey, I made it to Seattle! Right now I'm in downtown Seattle to be exact.

I'm still fundraising. And I'm still wanting to go home.
We are getting closer to our goal of $30,000. Last blog post I wrote that we'd reached the half-way point. We now only have $8,000 left to raise. $8,000! Amazing huh? We received $7,000 in donations over the last three days which brings the total to $22,000 in about two weeks! I feel instead of writing a blog post I should be writing a book. Have you ever felt like you need to give God more credit or maybe more glory for something?

I'm having a hard time stressing to people how amazing this journey has been. Nothing I have physically done through my traveling in the States has affected our fundraising or at least the money coming in. NOTHING. I think this has been an eye opening experience for me. We always say "we give the glory to God" after maybe winning a huge playoff or championship game. I think it's probably fair to say that even though we "gave God the glory" we didn't forget about the touchdown I scored in the last couple seconds, or the penalty kick I scored to win the game, or the amazing catch I made to end it.

When does it become a phrase we don't just throw around but instead save it for when we really truly mean it?

Well this is how I'm feeling. I mean it. I feel as if my heart wants to explode, and I want to shout over Pike's Place.. "yeahhhhhhhhhhhh, Go God!!!" 

*so since I don't have a picture of me screaming and dancing*

One thing has hit me as well. Some people may look at these posts and fundraising goals, and laugh. Maybe to other organizations $30,000 is easy. Maybe it's not a big deal. I LOVE that $30,000 is a big, big deal to us. I love $5,000 being a big deal. Heck, we love your $20 donations. I don't think the amount is what does it for us.
It's the random emails we get from someone that we haven't seen in 4 years wanting to donate. It's our second grade teacher. It's another humanitarian reaching in their pockets for the cause. It's our family members starting to accept that we won't be coming back and doing what they can to help us stay. It's that random person you meet on the bus that gives you $20 like "Hey, go get 'em." It's the kids that walk up to you after church and pull out their coins. This is what it's about. It's about these people. This is what it always as been about for us.

Looks like I've got my preacher hat on today 'cuz here I am wanting to pray.

God, I pray that we do not loose sight of giving you the glory for how much you love us and for how close you are to us, and especially for bringing these people into our lives. I pray that we always make these people feel involved. I pray it never becomes about big donors. I pray that no amount is ever too small. I pray that children continue to come up after church and offer their coins. I pray that our response will always be, "you are making a difference." And God I pray that we will never give anyone else the glory. 

Starbucks, the travellers home away from home.
You can chill from 6 am to 6 pm, WITH suitcases and they still won't kick you out. ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

God's country

It's Jenn again. I’m sitting here with all the windows open. It’s chilly here. It’s a nice chilly. I’m not sure if you realized it yet, but I’m not in Haiti. I’m in "God’s country," as Karen would say. Good ole’ Wisconsin. I’ve never been here before but I haven’t seen anything I didn’t like. It reminds me a little of Texas.  I have been here for 6 days and it feels like I’m part of the family. It doesn’t feel like I should be saying good bye to the Gigure family tomorrow. I mean I just now started realizing how to open all the cabinets and doors with their child proof locks. I just realized I shouldn’t get out of the bed in the morning without a sweatshirt. Henry their 4 yr old son has stopped being nice to me. That means I’m fitting in. I’m not new anymore. He doesn’t have to impress me anymore.

My time here has involved amazing conversations, delicious frosty beverages, good meals, speaking at church, making bracelets, church camp, hot showers, Star Wars on the Wii, adoption and haiti talks… let’s just say I had an amazing time.  I have enjoyed every minute of being here.

Pastor Brian @ Mt. Zion
Some good 'eats' - compliments of Karen

telling some attentive kiddos what life is like where I live

So here I am at 8:00 at night and I need to start packing for my morning flight to Seattle. My 6:20 a.m. flight to be exact. I am asked what I will be doing there but to tell you the truth I have no idea. I have learned to stop planning. Some may ask how do I live my life that way. Well to be honest, I couldn't imagine life being any different.

See after returning from two weeks in the States at two different weddings I was told by God on my very first night back in Haiti that I needed to head back. At first I wrestled a little bit, but it was inevitable.  God always wins huh? Karen had been inviting me out her way for some time so she was the first person I called to ask if I could come see her. She said yes without any hesitation. That’s what landed me in Wisconsin.

Yesterday, we sent out a newsletter and mentioned in it how much money we raised last weekish. The total was $15,000. Oh, I didn’t tell you the best part of the story...God told me I needed to go to the States to raise $30,000. A lot of people commented today saying I must have done very well in Wisconsin. Does doing well mean I raised a lot of money? Because if so then I didn’t do well at all. I did however do well at getting face to face and heart to heart with people and forming what I hope to be lasting relationships with some incredibly big-hearted people (one of who is pictued right there to the left.) Really its been our donors who have just jumped on board and decided to donate more money this last week then they have the last three months. How awesome is that? God’s funny like that. I keep tell people that I'm really not doing anything special with the fundraising. I think I just had to be obedient and answer God.

So here I am happy and home sick for Haiti at the same time. More than anything I’m just in awe of our amazing God. He continues to show us that if we are obedient and faithful, he will provide. Thank you to everyone who has been praying this week, everyone who has given support, and everyone who I met in Wisconsin. Can't wait to see ya'll again!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Come talk with me

I guess it's time for a Jenn blog post. As you all now know I'm in the States raising money for Second Mile Haiti. I can't wait to tell you all the amazing things that are happening, but for some reason I have a story about Dadou on my heart. 

A couple days ago, Dadou and I were sitting at our kitchen table rolling beads. I was telling him about my upcoming trip to the States. He asked me why I was going to the States and as usual I was flat out honest with him. I said we are really low on funds at the moment and God said, "Go now Jenn." I told him that I asked God are you sure I need to go now because it will be really hard on Amy and I both at this certain time. Then again God replied, Go now Jenn." I continued to roll beads, and I noticed that Dadou hadn't said anything. I looked up and his mouth was wide open. First words that came out of his mouth was.... "you talk to God?" It was priceless. This man prays for everything. He's always saying God does this and God does that. So I never thought he would be so confused. I literally blew his mind. 

I started to think a little about this a little more. I was thinking oh man he doesn't know that God talks back? Then it hit me. It was like a slap in the face. I don't always hear God either. Here I am acting like this is an everyday thing. I get busy and I "forget to read the bible." When this happens God and I don't communicate. I don't hear him, and the reason I don't hear him is because I didn't desire to start the conversation with him in the first place. 

This always gets me. We spend a couple months out of the word. We decide to open the bible one morning and we are hooked. We are hooked on his love once more. And the greatest thing is He pulls us in with open arms. It's beautiful. It's His unfailing love. We have better days. We seek him more. We hear him. We tell God over and over I'm sorry for leaving, and I missed you.

Another thing hit me as I continued to talk with Dadou. I was trying to describe my conversations with God. The first thing I said to him was "you need to talk to God like he's your best friend." I told him how I have two best friends, and I desire to talk to them all the time. I want to tell them when good things happen in my life. I want to tell them when something is wrong. I cry with them. I told Dadou that if the only thing I ever told my best friend is that I need this or I want that then we wouldn't truely be friends. Dadou got it. He understood. We have a connection like that. 

Later when I was thinking about this a little more I realized this conversation was as much for me as it was for Dadou. It's interesting that I used a best friend as my example. When people describe our Father's love they can often relate it to their relationship with their own fathers. Well to be honest my father was never around, and if he was around then he wasn't all the way there, if you know what I mean. I don't know what it's like to have that kind of father's love. Neither does Dadou. Dadou's father passed away when he was really young. So maybe it takes us longer than others to get it. But that's okay. 

I can however look back on the last couple years, and recognize that I have been blessed to get to know a couple of men that have come to fill that role. Boy have I been blessed. I have been blessed to live with some of the most spiritual Dads I know. I think the world of these men. Our God is good like that. It's amazing to see the people God puts in our lives. God has given me insight to a father's love. I think I'm realizing that God has been wanting me to see this for some time. He's been wanting to share this with me. Especially lately. 

Well God... I haven't been forgetting to read your book lately and I just wanted you to know I hear you loud and clear.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Little Miracles

Little miracles, we've all had em. Your mom calls and you mention you're a bit under the weather. Unbeknowst to you she calls up her prayer group and you don't know how you've done it feeling so sick and everything but by twelve o'clock you've done five loads of laundry and cleaned an entire house.. Healed. You give God a little shout out for back up before going into a meeting with some super snarky and unflexible people and you come out of the meeting thinking, wow, that went rather smoothly.. Helped. Just when you think you'll have to resort to donating platelets, again, you find $20 where you'd least expect it... nah just lucky.

But serisouly...

When you think about how the Creator of the Universe steps into your life to intervene and engage then those little miracles we experience when we pray are really not so little at all, they are actually great spectacular things that should be given lots of publicity.

We've got a few, I mean a fair amount, of people praying for us right now. And we're pretty serious about this prayer business ourselves. I'm going to go out on a limb here and try and make Jesus more famous then Joseph Kony by calling these miracles what they are: HUGE footprints of God moving in our lives. Now I'm no advocate for yelling but I'm really tempted to retype that last sentence again in CAPS! God moving in your life is big time people. It's time we start talking about it.

Kelinise: What do you do with an 18 year old whose blood pressure is hanging out at 160/130? (For those of you less medically minded folks think HIGH and DANGER). Well you'd give her a second anti-hypertensive drug. What do you do if it still doesn't go down? Give her a third. And if its still high? A fourth and then maybe it's time to start praying for the kiddo. Miss Kelinise, our little, but not young, diabetic friend was going on her 7th day of hospitalization for high blood pressure when a group of people decided to make a committment to pray. Not for her specifically, but for Second Mile Haiti, for Jenn's trip to the States, and for big miracles to happen that would advance our project. 30 days of focused prayer starting yesterday. They asked for feedback, for specific requests. And only hours after mentioning Kelinise I got a call from her saying that her blood pressure was down to 140/90. Oh Lord, in Heaven, I never saw it coming. After 7 days I thought those yucky high numbers were here to stay and that I was going to have to tamper with the monitor if there were any hopes of freeing the poor girl from the hospital. Today, day 8, she was officially discharged with a blood pressure of 120/80. Perfection.

Sick, tired, and anti-social: Sometimes I wonder how I have any friends. I love to be by myself. Sometimes, I'm flat out not a fan of talking to people and I'm an expert at awkward. Which is why I hated that today I was not by myself at all and that while trying to "get work done," I had to talk to people. There was no Jenn to buffer my awkwardness and pick up the slack. I just wasn't in the mood for the various situations and conversations that were happening amongst our employees. Ha, wasn't in the mood!? Who do I think I am? And of course I wasn't in the right mood. God had given me some pretty clear direction about what sort of mood I needed to be in to get through the day. That morning, while journaling and praying I asked him for insight into the day to come. He said there would be challenges but he was offering to help me get through them. In order to sail through the bumps I was going to have to adopt an attitude of dependence. I was going to have to see people through his eyes and view situations with his perspective. The miracle? I remembered this around 3 pm and the whole day wasn't wasted. It was like a light switch turned over and the feelings of frustration vanished like darkness at sunrise. Ha, my mood! The miracle? God doesn't write you off for being a huge screw-up, but lets you on for the ride even if you are a few hours late and a few dollars short. God completely took over around 3 pm and I had an amazing rest of the night.

Jenn reads her first non-fiction book: Jenn's been travelling for two days now. Not sure why? read here. Before she left Haiti I was packing her suitcase  backpack because frankly I'm just better at that then she is, and she reminded me to throw in Kisses for Katie, a new book written by a brave young Jesus-lover in Uganda. I stayed cool and collected on the outside but inside I was doing a party dance. This book encouraged me in a huge way and I really wanted Jenn to read it. But you can only push that kind of thing so much. Besides Jenn reads horror, mystery novels so a book about a real life nice person was going to be a bit of a stretch for her. But, of her own accord she decided that this trip might be the perfect time to read Kisses for Katie. I chatted with her a little bit during the end of her final bus ride today and she admitted to me that she had almost finished the entire book. And I quote "I think I was supposed to read this on this trip." The miracle? 1. Jenn read something other than James Patterson. 2. God used the book to encourage Jenn and remind her that's He's big, awesome, and just like he provided for Katie and grew her ministry, he's got something up his sleeve for us too.

Maggie: Maggie is a dear friend of ours. She's 50-something and her husband is in his 60s. I was shocked to see Maggie at the hospital the other day and saddened to hear that her husband was in such bad shape. Through a combination of high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes he is now unable to see, walk, eat, or talk. "He went from a man, standing on his own two feet, to a little baby," Maggie said to me in dismay. The little miracle came for me at the hospital this evening. I was there to pick up Kelinise. Went I went upstairs to the adult unit she wasn't there. I checked in the peds unit where she sometimes goes to visit a younger patient with diabetes. Not there either. I then checked back behind the unit where families do their cooking, bathing, and washing. There she was but she didn't hear me calling her name. Then I noticed Maggie sitting by herself, staring into space and looking terribly sad. I jumped up next to her and asked the elephant in the room question: how is your husband today? "He's not good at all. I thought he was going to die last night," she admitted. We kept talking. She asked about Jenn. She said the famous Haitien phrase Bondye Konnen, God Knows, which is reserved for times when you need to aknowledge that something is hard and you don't understand why. I told her that Jenn was good, and gone actually. And that a big group of people decided to pray for me while she was away so that I wouldn't get discouraged. She said that was good but that she didn't think I would get discouraged. She told me that "my daughter," Kelinise, had made a great comeback. I told her that that same group of people had prayed for Kelinise too. And before I left I told her that that same group of people would pray for her husband. Oh the smile on her face. The miracle? God ordained that moment. He knows Maggie and Louisnel and loves and cares for them. So much so that he put a group of praying people together at this exact time to love and support them from afar.

Free cash: Oh and some guy did give Jenn $20 on a bus today. (But that's just a bonus and doesn't actually make it into the list of top God moments.)

*Some of this post may get a little silly but it's an attempt at honesty and an attempt to give God glory for his faithfulness and for answering our prayers in strange and redeptive ways.*

The moral of the story, God is doing big things through a bunch of little miracles and a bunch of people who have committed to pray.

If you like to get in on this 30 days of prayer action please send an email to Katie at
Katie is awesome and nice and really good at writing emails. I didn't ask her if she'd be willing to forward our prayer emails along to you but something tells me that she'll be okay with it. ;) Or, leave a comment and we'll get you connected.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

News, Beads, and Double your Gift!

In an effort not to turn our two week absence from Haiti into a four week hiatus from blogging I’m sitting at the computer late at night and typing with hopes that this turns into an enlightening or at the very least, an intelligible summary of what we’ve been up to and where we’re headed next.

Did you catch the last couple of facebook statuses? We made two today. The first was something like…:Yay, happy to be home! …which is exactly where we’ve been since Tuesday. The second was to make an exciting announcement, an opportunity that couldn’t have come at a better time.


Remember in January when we raised $10,000 because of a matched gift that set us on our way to accomplish a whole lot of awesome? Well, that happened. And it can happen again! We are so stoked and so grateful for the generosity of a certain family that has offered to match all donations up to $5,000 this week.  

Simply amazing. We’ve got such big dreams and plans for the property and you can help us get that $10,000 to push forward. Thanks in advance! 

And thank you to everyone who hosted us in America. To the friends that loved and encouraged us, and the folks that listened to our hearts and vowed to keep us and our friends here in Haiti in your prayers, a thousand “thank-you” emails (which are coming, I promise) wouldn’t be enough to convey how deeply we appreciate you.

And that brings me to our second big announcement.
I feel like I should be calling for a drumroll, please.

Jenn is heading back to the States! For some reason, it just feels like the right thing to do. She’s headed there for an indefinite amount of time to do some more fundraising. The goal is to raise $30,000 in a span of two, maybe three weeks and get back to Haiti before she misses those of us staying in Haiti too much.

No one, not even those little dancing monkeys, really likes the feeling of asking others to reach into their pockets and dish out the cash. We’re no different. Blessed be the day when we don’t ever have to “fundraise” again…which is why we’ll call this a “connecting” trip which is what it really is about anyway. We want to connect you to the awesome story God’s writing just a few hundred miles south of the great Southern states. We’ve both experienced what it’s like for God to tap us on the shoulder to tell us he wanted us in the game. And we wouldn’t trade that for anything! We believe it’s worth getting to watch a bit of that game, or at least get to know the players, so you can recognize that tap when you see it. You may get sent in for the fantasy version which is my fancy way of saying God might be calling you to play apart in something a world away from the comfort of your home and your community.

You may be asking why $30,000? That's a  fair question. My quick answer is that God just put that number in our heads somewhere along the line. But since some people may not find that answer fully satsifiable, I'll give you some more details. We want to finish the clinic! It's going to cost around $5,000 to finish the roof and fully stock our clinic with two beds/exam tables, waiting area benches, selving, and of course some first aid supplies and basic medications. Secondly, we need $2,500 for each mom/baby home. We want to build 6 of these homes at one time! That's another $15,000. And the last project we hope to complete is the back property. The back property needs fencing and lots of chickens, goats, and cows. With just a little bit of attention that back property can become a garden that will feed our comound and an exciting agricultural training program that we've yet to talk much about on the blog. Can you believe all of this can be done for under $30,000?

If we can achieve our first goal of $10,000 through matching donations, and Jenn goes to the States and raises another $20,000 we could finish all of our building in less than two months! Our clinic could be open to serve the community next month!

So let’s do it. Garage Sales, Burrito sales, auctions, cook-outs, bracelet parties, car washes you name it! Jenn is starting her trip in the Mid-West and she’s ready to travel!  Just send us an email if the thought of Jenn coming to visit you is so exciting you’ve already whipped out the lemonade stand in celebration.

We woke up early yesterday and today to cut cardboard boxes and to roll beads. We have quite the team and its all hands on deck. With Jenn heading back to the States in four days we want to make as many bracelets as possible. Many of you participated in a recent fundraiser where we sold bracelets made by Haitien artisans in Port-au-Prince. These bracelets made out of recycled paper products were a huge hit!

It's so exciting to have some of our own!


 To donate to Second Mile Ministries, follow this link.

And don't forget Jenn wants to visit you!