Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | July 18, 2014

Friday July 18 – Our Last Day


We were fitting kids with new flip flops in one of the most impoverished communities we know. We have been there multiple times so they know me as my alter-ego – Chuck Norris. This little guy is my best bud.



We have just finished our last work day.  We’ve been working on the house in the morning and VBS in the afternoon.  This has worked very well as it is very hot.  We can’t take in enough fluids to keep up.  I know I’ haven’t kept up on the blog – apologies for that.  The internet is sketchy at best.  And by 8:30 PM everyone has retreated to their rooms to cool off or sleep.  The week wears away at body and soul.

It has been a very good week.  We finished the walls of the house and by now the carpenters have finished framing the roof.  It is a good, solid house made of block, concrete and rebar.  This is the first home building I’ve ben a part of where we built the new house around and through 1/2 of the existing house.  That house was made of sticks, mud and some concrete and was falling apart.  We are not skilled labor but we tried our hand at making concrete block (I think our success rate was between 30-40%) and several other skilled jobs.  But what we are really good at is hauling buckets of sand, water and other materials up the hill.  Carrying rock was my personal favorite and a job everyone couldn’t wait to jump into.  Ha

It is a good taste of what unskilled laborers live every day minus not eating for several days at a time, drinking bad water and sleeping in plastic and cardboard shacks.  I don’t know how people carry on.  Yesterday we went to the Justinian (hospital) to get some prescriptions for a child with Chickungunya.  It is everywhere here.  We went through the peds ward – most of the children had it.

We also visited Pastor Alfred’s clinic on the road to Port au Prince.  He is doing very good things and we donated funds to improve their ability to care for the people of the community.  VBS has been great fun.  As is always the case, the school children our friend Jean works with are well behaved and sing to us in English.  The neighborhood kids are a bit more how you ay, free spirited.  They climb allover a person and they love to touch our hair as it is new to them.  The HIV/Aids kids were the hardest.  Through no fault of their own they have this disease and their parents are dead.  We tell the story of Joseph and several others emphasizing how we are called to live.

There is so much sickness it is jarring.  I suppose you can legitimately say there is sickness everywhere, which is true.  But in Haiti there is no safety net, no free service in the ER, no free meds.  Our friend Sainty’s dad had an operation several weeks ago but they didn’t have money for antibiotics or pain meds.  LUMC donation help with situations like this.  I’ll give several examples of what we come across – a young man who was in a car accident with head, neck and shoulder injuries, with no money for medications.  He has serious headaches and pain.  The wife of a friend was run over by a motorcycle that did not stop.  It dragged her down the street causing multiple injuries.  The head mason on the crew building the house has a large growth on his neck.  He told Mike it had been checked and he has something serious that has spread too far.  Two of the translators have had Chikungunya, one twice.  And on and on.  We help those we can with the resources at hand.

On to the feeding ministry LUMC supports.  This trip we were able to participate in food distribution.  It is well organized and the pastors determine who is included.  There are 40 families or groups.  My favorite is the kids with HIV.  As they have no parents they live at the school.  The teachers and their assistants are volunteers.  Yes they get paid nothing, to teach, counsel and live with 40 HIV/Aids kids 24×7.

You might ask if the feeding ministry is of value?  on the day of food distribution we looked out from the mission building and saw a line of people down the hill waiting in line.  The day after there was a rumor the program had 20 more openings which was not true.  There was a mob at the mission gate when we arrived at the end of the day.  It was difficult turning them away.  I may be repeating myself from an earlier post.  Apologies if I am, the days blur together.

The team has worked well together.  I heard this PM Kelsey was finally on her way home from Ft. Lauderdale.  She left Haiti because she was ill and had some flight issues, I think due to weather.  Prayers for Kelsey’s safe return home and speedy recovery are welcome.  Lori has been ill off and on with a preexisting condition.  She has been frustrated with not being able to participate every day.  But she is a trooper and is an expert with crafts, in particular glitter.  We leave for the airport at 7 AM Saturday morning – your prayers for health and safe travels are welcome.

Apologies for not including any thoughts.  Some time later I think.


Pastor Alfred’s Clinic


Lori Doing VBS



Amanda and Taylor with some friends This is just below the house we built


At the end of each VBS the child received a bag of rice & beans for their family. Our friend here is enjoying her juice and sucker on the way to the bus.


More VBS fun. The pool in the background has been empty for years. This is at Hotel Beck. The kids colored, played games, got framed photo of themselves, heard three Bible stories and climbed all over us. Great fun.


These folks heard a rumor that 20 more people were being added to the food program. There were more across the street to the left. This is at the door of the mission house. They were disappointed to put it nicely.


I got this shot of one of the women leaving the mission after receiving her bag of rice and beans. I think it weighs more than she does. She is passing the mission bus.


Amanda is checking this woman’s card that authorizes her to pick up her rice and beans. You can seen or team lead Mike’s arm on the left as he prepares to hand her the bag.


These are the HIV and AIDS kids in front of the our super cool Espoir Haitien bus.


Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | July 16, 2014

Tuesday July 15



Just a short post.  No internet Monday.  And as usual, the power has been blipping off.

Monday and Tuesday we worked on the house in the AM and VBS in the PM.

The house is on a hill, thankfully not all the way up.  And we’re mixing concrete for the block right by the road.  I think we start carrying fresh block up the hill in the AM so you never get away without carrying everything up hill.

I will try to add a couple of photos but we’ll see how the connection does.

VBS both days has been a blast.  We were back at the Hotel Beck today which gave us room to spread out.  Yesterday we worked with a group of 40 kids who have HIV/Aids and are orphans living at a school/orphanage.  Beautiful kids

Today’s group was another 40 and I”m pretty sure gold glitter was a hit as it was everywhere on and everyone.

The temperature today was better, 85 degrees.  But the heat index was 102.   I think I’d kiss whomever invented Gatorade if I could find them.

Everyone is tired from working in the sun.

Kelsey and Lori have been under the weather.  Lori appears to be doing better.  The docs here and Kelsey will decide what’s next for her Wednesday AM.  She was at dinner tonight and ate . . .

Oh yes, we also participated in the feeding ministry the congregation helps fund.  We were up close and personal with the program, filling bags with rice and beans and handing them out to participants.  It was something to meet some of the people we’re impacting.  If you see a photo of an elderly woman carrying a heavy bag (below) buy our bus, she’s one of them!  The other photo is of Amanda checking the authorization card for a woman in the food program.  Amanda is from a Northern VA church that Mike Hertz our team lead attends.




Enjoy the blessing we take for granted, and don’t forget to thank God for them.

Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | July 14, 2014

Sunday, July 13 in Cap-Hatien

Hi, sorry I haven’t done a post. The Internet connection is awful. We had multiple power outs last night which always causes problems. We’ve surveyed the place we’ll be building the house. So different from Nica as the ground is nothing but coral and limestone in this area. Having dug here in the past we should have a great morning in the sun. I can’t wait. Everyone is well by the way. We’ll do VBS in the PM. We heard 40 kids which is a small group. But I know how easily 40 turns to 80 or 100.
There are nine of us so VBS will be an all hands affair.
It will be great fun.
We don’t work on Sunday so today was our “down” day. It was a great opportunity for us to get comfortable with each other.
I’m doing this via my phone and can’t attach photos. I’ll try to connect my laptop again and add some as the connection seems to have revived itself. I know God has plans for us tomorrow and has our way prepared.
That is comforting!

Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | April 19, 2014

The Day Between



I was thinking about this day, Good Friday, after returning home from the church service this evening.  And how often I find myself drifting back to Haiti.  And tonight was no different.  It is weird how seemingly random it is that an image of someone we know or a place where we’ve  spent time in Haiti, rises up into my conscious mind.  And I stop whatever it is I’m doing, close my eyes so I can slip down into the image and the sights, sounds and the smells, always the smells of Haiti wrap around me like slipping below the surface of the water just off the beach on a hot summer day.

Only not as inviting and comforting.  :~)

The following thoughts come from a Men of Integrity devotion by John Ortberg . . .

So remember, tomorrow is the day between.

The day after this but the day before that.











The day after a soul gets crushed way down but there’s no promise of ever getting up off the mat. It’s a strange day, this in-between day. In between despair and joy. In between confusion and clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light.

Even in the Bible—outside of one detail about guards being posted to watch the tomb—we’re told nothing about Saturday. Saturday is the day with no name, the day when nothing happened.

Key Study Passage: Matthew 12:38-42; Jonah 2




May you reflect on what it must have been like to be a follower of Christ on that day.  We are so fortunate to know how this story turns out.  The question is, do we act like it?

What does this have to do with Haiti?  Well everything really.  You see the moment you become a Christian your life is turned upside down.  Well, truth be told, life is turned right side up – our senses awaken and we become aware of the life we were created to live.  I call it “the Matrix Moment.”  I could no longer walk by someone in need without stopping to help.




And my friend, Haiti is the ultimate wrecking ball.

I have yet to come across a place and a people that simultaneously shows me how amazing God is and how desperately lost we are without him.  May God’s love provide whatever it is you need on this day between.









Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 21, 2014

What He Said

“Do not despise these small beginnings,

for The Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . .”

Zechariah 4:10


Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 15, 2014

Tuesday in the City

It has been a day of many experiences.

The gas shortage is still a problem. You couldn’t tell it by the traffic though. We saw one station that had only diesel but one of the guys finally filled one of the vehicles.

Marlene and Carolyn were at The Beck while Norm and I went in search of wire for the new house and a pair of vise grips. More frustration but we found what was needed. Mike and I played mountain goat to get up to Pierre’s house to check on progress and varnish the new doors. By the end of the day the metal roof will be finished. Marlene went in search of the antibiotics the boy in the hospital needs. It appears to be in short supply here a she has been searching since yesterday. The medical team had the right medication but the hospital wouldn’t use it because it was expired by a few months. Of course they didn’t have the correct med either.
It is a crazy world.


A neighbor helps out . . .


The fir for the doors came from the U.S and built here in Port au Prince.  It is hard to find anything made, grown or built here.  Even the chickens are imported from Dominica.

The flip flop purchase was a huge success yesterday but we only managed to get about 1/3 of what is needed. So this PM it was back to the market for more. I think we found 22 pairs in the correct sizes and handed them out in the community.  Below we’re giving more children shoes.


I think we’ll be visiting another area of the market tomorrow to see if we can finish. Imagine yourself a parent who cannot afford to buy your kids even a pair of $3 flip flops. Hunger is everywhere. A different sort of Hunger Games.
We rounded off the afternoon visiting a Compassion project in town that Marlene and I saw her first trip here. She has been emailing with Compassion and the local director. This is a specialized site that does vocational training for Compassion kids 15 – 20 years old. They teach computer and cell phone repair and sewing. It is a very cool place. Marlene and Jean (local Haitian) may try to visit one of the Compassion projects in the mountains before we leave.
It has been a good day. The spirits of the team are good after a bit of a slump. The slump has hit me every time I come to Haiti – the needs are so unbelievably great.
The key is developing programs (like Compassion does) to sponsor children, plant churches and/or work with local pastors and create jobs.




Pastor Ralph and Carolyn


Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 15, 2014

Monday January 13


Today was a better day in some ways than yesterday. It was hot in the morning as we lost the onshore breeze. In typical Monday traffic, the air was stifling – thick with vehicle exhaust and the dust they kicked up. I tried not to think about what else was in the air. There is a gas shortage which means ridiculous lines at the four service stations. I heard this PM people wait for hours. Just a little more misery for the average person.
We painted the metal roofing for Pierre’s home – we missed Jerrilynn’s expertise and the men we worked with in July asked after her. I should have a photo of his (mostly) completed home before we leave. A retaining wall behind the house and a latrine will be completed after.

Marlene went back to the hospital after lunch to bring a book to the young man with aids. He is 15, his brother died last month and his mom not long before. What was left of his family had put him out on the street when he got sick. Our friend Jean found him and brought him to the hospital. About all I can say is the hospital is a miserable place and Marlene doesn’t think he’ll last long.
While she was there I went with some of the guys to pick up two pumps for a water project. Haiti frustration quickly settled in. The place that told us they had the heavy duty hand pump we needed at a good price, didn’t have one in stock. They sent us to another place across town which turned out to have a cheaply made Chinese knock-off of the one we expected, at the same price. We eventually located what is needed but dislike wasting so much time when we’re only here for a week.
I also went to the local market with Norm and Jean in search of flip flops for the kids from the impoverished community who have no shoes. They don’t have much of anything but protection for their feet is important because of the nasties on the ground. The market was a mass of humanity and just about anything one might want to purchase. We passed everything from salted fish to mounds of habanero peppers and, flip flops! We bought a variety of sizes, styles and colors and Mike and Lucien brought them to the children. I wish I had seen it but Mike said the children were excited to have them. It is such an interesting culture. In a place where almost everyone is hungry and struggling to get by, the poorest of the poor are shunned by those who appear to us to be just as badly off.
I asked about it and one of the translators said the mom’s hold their kids back because they are ashamed of their clothing and lack of shoes.
Oh, I almost forgot, the meeting today with the Catholic priest and his financial guys went well. Assuming everyone agrees to the terms, Empowering Haitians will have a long-term lease of Hotel Beck by the end of the month.
Unfortunately, due to the timing Ralph and Carolyn will be returning to the Sates again. Ralph participated in a meeting with a large group of local pastors that went well. So they are disappointed the Beck won’t quite be ours in tie for them to stay.
Apologies for the long post . . .



Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 13, 2014

Haiti Sunday

We started off the day by sleeping in until 7:15. We were exhausted so it was most welcome. Marlene and I didn’t even go to breakfast.
We were planning on leaving for Vilouse’s church by 9 AM. Of course we’re dealing with Haiti time so our ride came by at 9:30.
Haiti time, Nica time, same-same
It is a large Baptist church in town, between 6-7,000 members and added on to multiple times. Vilouse told us it would be a three hour service. Our Methodist blood was in for a jolt. Unfortunately we found we’d need to leave after an hour to accommodate the remainder of the schedule for the day. There was beautiful acapella singing and prayer and Chapter 25 of Gensis. At one point I thought the pastor was praying, until Marlene told me he was giving statistics for the 27 Sunday School classes and worship attendance. French-Creole is obviously not my thing. All those years of French classes are paying for Marlene. And me!
After lunch we completed preparations for visiting the community above our hotel.
We have been here multiple times but it is always a shock to the Spirit.
Our plan was to assemble the children, pray for them, the children would sing for us, we would do our David and Goliath VBS and we would take instant photos again which was something they asked for. One “small” addition was we would provide a meal of rice, beans and chicken for the children, which would happen at the end. Things didn’t quite work out that way. One of the kids told us they were hungry so it was decided we would feed them before VBS, etc. And of course, I’d swear kids were appearing from every direction.
It was obvious we didn’t have enough food.
I wish I could tell you the story of the loaves and fishes occurred in Cap-Haitien, but it didn’t. Things worked out though because we started scooping rice and beans off full plates onto extras and viola (my French word of the day), we were okay. It was controlled bedlam as kids ate and everyone talked at full volume plus.
Did I mention Marlene, Carolyn and I managed this?

We set up to take photos and thankfully a couple of the ladies volunteered to stick photos in frames and others kind of managed the throng. I think we took 180 instant photos and Marlene and I took at least 200 digital.
Carolyn also brought 300 packs of Smarties which were a hit for children and adults. We gave one soccer ball to the children and another to some teenage boys.
Here’s the thing about the community – there is no sanitation, they trek long distances for bad water and they don’t eat every day. The children tend to be malnourished and sickly. Many kids don’t have shoes, which is very bad in a place that is rocky and contaminated. The parents are uneducated and would work if there was any.
Three and a half hours was enough, we were physically, emotionally and spiritually drained.
We will talk tomorrow about what can be done to move this community in a positive direction.
Many other things were crammed into this day but I think this is long enough.
Oh, and tomorrow is the meeting with the Catholic Church about Hotel Beck.
I was thinking of a line in one of my favorite songs this evening “I’ve been downhearted baby, ever since the day we met, ever since the day we met.”
And Monday is a new day






Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 11, 2014

Saturday January 11

I’m not sure how we have arrived in 2014.  The last thing I remember was being exhausted and sad to be leaving our friends in Haiti behind last July.

It is good to be back.  We caught up with more friends today including Michelle, our Fort Bourgois friend where we worked on the water project.  The picture below is of a second water project we started last year and the people here continued.  This was literally a scooped out hole next to the road.  Now it is an 18 foot deep well with good water all year.  The two spaces on either side of the well are going to be showers so folks won’t have to stand naked by the road to clean themselves.



These photos are of a group of carpenters who build amazing furniture completely by hand.  We are helping them build their business.  We have a contract with them so as they increase sales they reimburse for the loan.  They can also repay by building things we need for the mission house.  They are industrious young men who taught themselves woodworking.






This is why we keep returning.



Posted by: Chuck Passarelli | January 11, 2014

Friday, January 10

Just a quick note to let everyone know we made it to our destination.  Travel was uneventful for all.

Of  course it is warm  and humid but today there has been a nice breeze.

All of our friends were waiting for us at the hotel and it was a nice reunion.

Marlene brought hundreds of 4×5 photos from our trip last July which she gave out in packages wrapped in ziplock bags.  Everyone was excited.

Lucien and Jean in particular, were pleased with photos of their school children and neighborhood kids.

Tomorrow we head out to look at some new projects and to carefully go over Hotel Beck.  It looks like the Catholic Church may be ready to make a deal for this site.  We have plans for a mission team center, training classes for people here and many other dreams.  We should know something Monday.

In the meantime everyone is calling it an early night as it has been a long day.

Oh, Pastor Ralph and Caroline are well!  It was nice to sit and talk with them at dinner tonight.  I’m looking forward to many more conversations this week.

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