Thursday, December 13, 2012


I've made 53 scarves, which equals over $350 towards my trip to Haiti. Which equals 27% towards my total goal. Over 1/4 of the way there!!

And I have to say, I never imagined that I would have to figure out PayPal and shipping to finish scarf orders. I've shipped as far as West Coast CANADA!!

There is still time to order a scarf, but it won't be ready until after Christmas.

If you'd like to contribute to my trip without purchasing a scarf, you can do so by sending a check to either me or Church of the Cross with my name in the memo and a hand written note that also denotes it for my Haiti trip fund. For Church of the Cross's address, you can refer to one previous post.

Thank you all for your generosity and your decision to help me in my second (annual?) trip to Haiti! I am so thrilled to see what God has in store for me to learn as I travel outside of Port au Prince.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I hate talking about money.

But this is what I have to do.

For this trip to Haiti, it will cost me about $1,400. Unlike most college students, I do not have that much money laying around to freely spend. So for this trip, I am asking for sponsorship. If you feel led to contribute to my trip, you can do that in two ways, sending a check to me, or by sending a check to

Church of the Cross
5901 Millfair Road
Fairview, PA  16415

If you choose to send a check to Church of the Cross, please write in the memo my name (Katie Jobczynski) and send a note along with the check that it is for my account. 

On this trip I will be doing manual labor.. me right, crazy!? We will be painting the school, and possibly going up to a mountain church to help with construction. And getting to talk to the children!

So I'm brushing up on my Creole and searching for new skirts.

So there I did it. I talked about money. Now it's up to God.

"God's will, God's bill."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I've been up to....

Lately... I've been doing a lot of crocheting.

So far this year, I have received orders for 37 scarves!

This is so awesome because all the money that I receive making the scarves is going towards my second trip to Haiti.

Hence the lots of crocheting. I am working hard to get orders filled as soon as I can because many of them are Christmas presents. If you would like to order, please let me know how many and the colors as soon as you can!

Otherwise, I've been finishing up my Fall Term as a Junior. It's so crazy to think that I am more than halfway finished with my college career. This just means that I need to start looking for a grad school.

Also, I've been doing a lot of babysitting my four babes: Jessie, Jordan, Nina, and Marzy. (And other families as well.)

And I'm still co leading a small group of anywhere from 3 to 15 high school girls.

It's no wonder I am constantly crawling to bed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I recently (like an hour and a half ago) committed to going to Gressier, Haiti from February 22nd to March 1st in 2013 with Mercyhurst Service Learning.

This was a difficult decision for me to make based on my time spent in Cap Haitien.

I would love to go back to Cap Haitien, but I felt God pulling my heart closer and closer to going to the southern part of Haiti. I believe that He is wanting me to take a step out of my comfort zone to go to a part of the country that I have never been to before and to make me meet new people by going with Mercyhurst students and members of Church of the Cross here in Erie.

I don't have much information at this point, other than the cost and the dates. I am extremely excited that I will be going on my first official mission trip.

I would like to thank anyone who has purchased a scarf from me, the profits from the scarves will be put towards the cost of this trip. If you would like to purchase a scarf, please let me know!

I am asking for praying for those who are considering going. I will be updating this blog regularly when I find out more information.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Of Late

My bed is littered with things that I hope to get done. It's 9:04 PM and my cat is helping me type. I have notes to write for a class, a blanket I've been crocheting, and notes on a very important talk that I am going to give.

Exciting things have happened since school has started. A story was written on my trip to Haiti for Mercyhurst's website. The day that the story went up was the first day of classes, but with it entailed some very exciting emails. One of them I will tell you about.

This Friday, I will be speaking to a class of freshmen about my trip to Haiti to enrich their understanding of a book that they read for class. The book is "Breath, Eyes, Memory" by Edwidge Danticat. The story takes place outside of Port au Prince, but the professor has asked me to come and speak on my experience in Haiti. I asked the professor to have the students generate questions that they would like me to answer. This is mostly because it is incredibly difficult for me to speak about Haiti because everything about it is a big blur of experiences. I received the list of questions today, and I am SO EXCITED to speak to them.

The questions range from obvious --- What is Haiti like? What kinds of food did you eat? How did you communicate? Is there still effects from the earthquake? --- to more in depth --- What are schools like for children? What are women's roles in society? What do Haitians do for fun?

I am praising God for this wonderful opportunity to speak on one of my passions and to spread knowledge about a country that few American college students know much about. My prayer is that I will not bore the students and that maybe their heart will be stirred to serve Haiti as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reflections on Haiti

I want to do something with my life. Every morning when I wake up I want to bring God's glory to Earth.  When I was in Haiti, I felt that I was doing that in some way. Whether it be telling a student that they are brilliant, praying with someone, playing with a student after school, worshipping with my Haitian brothers and sisters, or showing someone that I genuinely care about them.

Here in the states I feel as though these opportunities rarely happen. It not everyday that I see an orange haired child running around, or a baby with malaria that I can pray over, or students coming over that I can continue to work with on numbers or reading even after school has let out. North Americans have no problems, right?

But I think that this is the plight of the North American people. We are comfortable in our lives, and we assume that everyone else is comfortable, because, let's face it, everyone is clothed, visibly healthy, and only have orange hair if they intend for it to be orange. We lack the audacity to reach out to others and find out what their problems are, because after all, it's much easier to go to Haiti and help where you can visibly see the problems than to dig into someone's life which is messy.

For many people, digging into someone's life is painful. You help them carry their burdens, when their heart is breaking, your heart is breaking. But this is what Christ calls us to do just this as we grow in our own lives. In Matthew 16:24 we are called to "take up our cross" and to follow Christ. Our "cross" is our sin and those messy things that we carry that we don't want others to see. This seems hard and challenging and not very fun or exciting, but we are also called to carry something else... something that makes helping someone else seem like the only logical thing to do. In Matthew 11:29-30 we are told to take up Jesus' yoke, because his "yoke is easy and burden is light." I take these two verses combined to mean something like, take up your problems and follow me, but if you follow me it won't be difficult because nothing you will encounter will be difficult.

So there, my problems are easy in God's eyes, I have nothing to fear. So my next command is to make disciples of the world. My prayer is to do just that. The only way I know how to end this is with a quote from Rob Bell, regardless of your personal convictions against his theology I find these words to still be true.. "with every decision, gesture, conversation, action, or attitude we are bringing either heaven or hell to Earth."

I think the best way for me to bring heaven to earth is to get messy. To dig into someone's life who is hurting, to show them that there is hope and that they are loved. Lord, show me who.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Night in the Airport, Round Two

Whew, it has been a long day. I guess the only way to explain why I am staying in an airport AGAIN, is to start at the beginning. The morning started with Danielle, Andrew, Stewart and I all heading to the airport with Rick, Andrew's father driving. Rick got a call from Matt, one of the teacher from the seminary who was heading back on the IBC flight from Ft. Lauderdale. He told Rick that the flight had to turn back around to Ft. Lauderdale because of mechanical issues. Our flight was scheduled to board at 9:30 AM, this was 8 AM, and the flight is two and a half hours long. So I prayed in the backseat on the way to the airport. Andrew was flying to Port, so he got into a different terminal. Stewart, Danielle and I waited in the IBC terminal. Around 10 AM Stewart left for his Miami flight. Danielle and I prayed and read the Word, we had no news about when the flight would be there. We met a couple teams from Oklahoma and Florida, we stayed with them and one of them let me use their phone to call my Dad and let him know what was going on.

So we continued to wait... and wait... and wait... Soon all of the IBC staff left. We heard news that if the plane did not come Tuesday, then it would not come at all. So we continued to wait. We were hungry and desperate for any sort of news. We entertained ourselves by talking about our passions, what we did in Haiti and card games. Finally we heard word that the plane would be arriving around 4:30 PM. The plane thankfully did, so we boarded and left at 5:00 PM.

I can officially say that I've been to the Bahamas. We had to stop there for a quick refuel.

Danielle and I finally arrived in Ft. Lauderdale at 9:00 PM. We got through immigration quickly. BUT we ended up missing all of our flights out.

So here we are.

In Ft. Lauderdale airport.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

What if...

... Grace didn't have a roof? Would there still be church services in the building? Would people still come and worship while the building is being built? Would people sit on plastic lawn chairs, under the sun, next to piles of cement blocks, broken rocks, and concrete mixers? Would Grace continue to meet?

Today I was a special guest, along with another missionary, to a baptist church in town. Church started at 7:30 AM, so we had to leave at 6:45 AM. It was back off the main road, on top of a hill. When we stopped I had to hop through a pile of sand to get out. We walked up a couple sets of stairs into a massive building. It was three stories high. There were people packed under the balcony sections. Erica and I were instructed by Léonie to write our names down on a piece of paper, so we obliged. We were then given front row seats along the side. Léonie was beside herself with excitement, it was her churches final day of Harvest Festival, so today was a big deal. She told Erica that she wanted me to experience something that I would never forget, and I have to say that this church service lived up to her wishes. The senior pastor introduced us to the entire congregation and we were welcomed many, many times and thanked for coming. I'm sure that blancs at the church was a pretty huge deal. We sat and watched as the service started. They talked about the different Sunday school classes and how each had taken up a special offering to give for the Harvest. Soon 600 children ages two to 15 began walking across the front of the church to give their offerings. This last for about thirty minutes. Then we sang a few songs, and then a group of women from the church called "Tabitha" began presenting their gifts. These women were mostly older, they went to people's homes, or to visit people in hospital or jail and pray with them. The women from Tabitha all brought produce. Tons of it. It was explained that after the service they would be selling the produce to pay for finishing the construction of the building. Yes, that's right. This church was only half built. They pray off the rain every Sunday in order to worship. It was quite spectacular.

The pastor preached on Psalm 100. Even through Erica's translation, the message was still clear to me. We need to be joyful, no matter what. Imagine in America, a church that is only half way built, full of people praying to keep the rain that has been falling for the past week away, and the pastor gives a message on staying joyful. I can't imagine anything like this happening at all.

After the service I had a group of the girls from the church all dressed up in white and pink dresses grabbing my hands and asking my name. They would gingerly help push my hair away when the wind would blow it in my face. I was asked many questions in Creole, most I did not understand. Until one girl pulled me down to her and asked me to give her one dollar, in English. I couldn't help but chuckle. That was followed up by some other little girls asking me to take them home with me. The Haitian person is incredibly bold.

The rest of the day was amazing. My new friend Danielle got back from the mobile medical clinic she was on. She told me many, many stories about her time. We went to EBF, where Enoch and I talked the incredibly shy Danielle into possibly doing a special at church Sunday! She's played piano for the past 17 years. Afterwards we went over to Dr. Rodney's house to spend some time with Vadaan, Roud, Oley, and Aleesha. We had Roud practice reading to me and I was so proud to see that he is doing better. I intend to start going over more frequently to continue practicing with him... maybe he will get bumped up a reading level!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Precious Life

These past few days have been some of the most emotional that I have had since coming to Haiti. Emotional in a way that causes you to put everything you have in God because he knows so much better than you do.

It started Wednesday, when I decided to go with Meg to the clinic. It was prenatal day so we saw lots of pregnant women. But then we saw a baby. An eight pound four month old. When her mom moved her she would start coughing, but she slept just like an infant. As Meg talked to the mother, we learned that the baby hadn't been eating for a while, so the mother was feeding her table food to try and get nutrients in her. This was a very sick baby. Meg decided to get the baby girl hooked up to a Lactated Ringer (IV with nutrients in it) so she could get fluids and nutrients. We took the baby back to a bed in the clinic, and Meg started taking the babies clothes off. The mother started to cry as Meg explained to her that her baby was very sick. It was incredibly heart breaking. You could see the baby's chest in and out because her breathing was so distressed. Meg and four other nurses worked to try and get the baby hooked up to the IV. They tried to find veins. The only problem was that this baby was so dehydrated her veins had collapsed. They found a vein in her right arm that they could use, but as soon as they put the IV in, it was no good. So they tried her left arm, it was also no good. Finally they tried her left foot, they got it, and then lost the vein. I prayed hard under my breath for a miracle to keep this baby alive. They had only her right foot left to try, after this, there was not too much more they could do for the baby. The nurses searched and the baby tried to squirm and scream, but she was too weak to make too much of an impact. They found a vein in her right foot, I prayed hard. They were able to inject the antibiotic that she needed for a suspected respiratory infection through the IV. Then they worked to set the IV up the rest of the way. Meg gave the baby Chloroquine for suspected Malaria. And we watched the IV slowly drip, too slowly. Meg and the nurses decided that there was nothing else that they could do for the baby. The IV was too slow, and she was not getting the nutrients that she needed through the veins that we were able to find. We told the mother that she would have to take her baby to Justinian, a hospital about 20 minutes away. The mother cried because she didn't have the money to take her baby there. Meg gave her some money to get the baby checked in... and we prayed.

We never heard anything more about the baby or the eighteen year old girl who was her mother.

Thursday I again decided to go with Meg to the clinic. We saw many patients. But there was one that stood out. He was carried in by his mother. He was seventeen years old. At first, I thought that he was severely malnourished. His arms were stick thin, his knees knobby. As Meg talked with him, she learned that he ate well, and slept well. So he should be healthy. She continued talking to the boy and his elderly mother and found out that up until two years ago, he was perfectly healthy. He then started losing strength in his upper arms and thighs. This was much more serious than malnutrition. As Meg continued talking to him and his mother, she learned that he was adopted from the streets by this woman, so she had no knowledge of his parents at all. This may be a genetic disorder. We also learned that he had been taken to Justinian right before this all started for a blood transfusion due to anemia. This could be syphilis or HIV. We learned that he had been to many different hospitals and clinics trying to find an answer for what had made him lose his strength. Meg decided, based on what she could see, that his condition was irreversible and permanent. She explained to the boy and his mother that even though he has this condition, and that he will probably die from it, that he should not be afraid. He is in God's hands. None of us know when our last day is coming, so everyday we should wake up praising God for giving us another day to praise and serve him. Since the mother was carrying the boy around, Meg and I went to look for a wheelchair. We couldn't find one, so we went back to the room where they were because there was a walker with a seat. Meg gave the walker to the boy and helped the mother get him seated on it. This was she would no longer have to carry the boy around. Meg asked him if he was happy and he shook his head "no." Meg gave him a hug, and has she held him he began to cry. So we prayed over him. By the end we were all crying. I ran back to the house to get some money to give to the boy and his mother so that he could continue to eat well. Meg sent the boy for labs just to be sure that he didn't have anything that they could check for at Bethesda.

Meg said that when she walked by the boy and his mother again, he gave her a big huge smile. Hearing about the smile reminds me that we should praise God no matter what our circumstance and to never take my good health for granted.

It's so sad being in a country where the people are unable to get proper medical attention as soon as they need it. Or answers to health concerns. Or tests to find out exactly what is wrong with them. Or attention when it is critically needed. But God has them all in his hands. He knows them by name, what is wrong with them, and how much longer they have to praise Him.

In more joyous news, I applied for a summer job back home in Erie. It is 23 mornings, Monday through Thursday, from 8:45 to 12:30, working for Carpe Diem, Mercyhurst's new initiative in the inner city school districts in Erie. It pays very, very well.

I got the job, and my own classroom.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Salt and Vinegar

At home, my mom uses vinegar for everything. My dad, brother, and I all make fun of her for it because she buys it by the gallon, and usually three or four gallons at a time.

I am currently sitting on my bed with paper towels drenched in vinegar laying across my back. It just so happens that one of the many uses of vinegar is to take the sting out of a sun burn. This past weekend we went to Cormier, a beach resort over the mountains. I put SPF 100 on every part of my body... except my back. I pretty much hate myself for this foolish mistake. I have one of the worst sunburns of my entire life, blisters and all.  With a shirt on, I can tolerate it, but with undergarments... I am holding back tears and clenching my jaw. So I stayed home from school today to rest, drink lots of water, soak my back in vinegar and aloe vera, and pray to God that something takes the pain away.

But there are more pressing matters to tell you about...

Thursday I had my first bracelet making session with three beautiful girls. But I can't for the life of me remember their names. None of them speak English, and we didn't have a translator, so things were rough at first. Somehow they understood, and starting making the "bracelets." I say this loosely because I was just having them practice the stitch over and over again. Pastor James and Pastor Migueloson stopped by, so of course there was much laughter and joking. At the end, I allowed the girls to pick out more colors so that they could make bracelets at home, and then bring them to me.

Today, the girls came again. They presented me with 23 bracelets that they made over the weekend. I then taught them how to make a chevron bracelet, they sang songs while Breanna danced around the living room. Despite the language barrier, I think that the meetings go well. We all pray together at the end, and they take more string to continue making bracelets at home. I was able to give them 25 Gouds per bracelets, which is roughly 60 cents US. I had hoped to give them more, but the amount that they brought back was more than I was anticipating the first week. I intend to get more money out of my back account so I can pay them a bit more Thursday when they come back again.

Saturday we went to Cormier with Bud and Jane's daughters that are visiting, and their household help. Mano, the yard man, brought his sweet daughter Gerlande. She was the source of so much joy for us throughout the day. In order to get to the beach you have to go through town and up over the mountains on a one lane road. This often means that there are other cars going the opposite way that you cannot see because of the twists in the road. Not only was that a bit scary, but we were also in the back of a truck. It had high sides, but it was much more comfortable to stand than sit, making a blanc truck full of blancs quite the site to behold. I've taken to waving to the little children because they all stare anyways. We got to the beach after an hour long ride that would have probably taken about 20 minutes in the states. Cormier was beautifully out of place. It is essentially a resort for the Haitians. It cost 5 US dollars to get in, about 800 Gouds. The sand was so white, the water so blue. The coral reef was just a few feet past when you waded in waist level. The beach was lined with white lounge chairs, there was a volley ball court, tennis courts and a restaurant. It seemed so out of place compared to the beached on either side that were full of Haitians laughing, dancing, and singing. We took Gerlande into the ocean for the first time and she had a blast. She loved the waves, and finding coral in the sand. We introduced her to the cheeseburger and french fries with ketchup. She ate half of her double cheeseburger, which was about as big as she, and refused to give the second half to the waitress to allow her to cover it with foil for later. She clung to the plastic bag that it was in for the rest of lunch. After lunch we went back out to look for beach glass, and the sun cooked my back. Afterwards was more cuddling with Gerlande she wanted to hold my hand the way out to the truck and over to see the bird cages filled with Budgies, Love Birds, Parrots, and Cockatiels... AKA my mom's heaven. She insisted that I sat with her on the truck, where she fell asleep on my lap on the way home. We eventually moved her into the truck with Gretchen and Bud who was driving. When we got back to the compound, Gretchen and Marcia gave her some hair clips which lit up her entire face. Melt my heart.

Tomorrow is my last lesson before Easter break, the Easter egg hunt, and the Principal's Party (a reward based on the school wide behavior program). Stephen, Meg's brother, will also be getting into town then. Wednesday, our first day of Easter break, we are driving out to Children of the Promise, which I am SO excited about.

Meg is taking up a donation to buy baby formula for Bethesda Medical Clinic here on the compound. There is a dire need for formula for HIV Positive mothers who should not breast feed, and also mothers who are uneducated about breast feeding practices, and need some supplemental formula while they are attempting to restart their breast milk production. Please consider helping Meg's cause to purchase more formula, bottles and nipples.

Please continue to pray for all of our health and well being.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My First Mobile Clinic

This past Saturday, Meg, Brooke, Dr. Rodney, Kate, and I all packed up into a truck and drove into town to Cap Haitien.

We didn't know at all what to expect. We were expecting 200 people, we had Pastor Migueloson and Pastor James as Meg and Brooke's interpreters. Kate and I had no interpreter. We weren't positive that we had enough medication. But we were trusting God because he knew better than us.

At 8 AM we stopped at a familiar, yet unfamiliar church named Sion. We climbed up the stairs with our boxes to the church. We entered the room filled with people and began setting up. The sanctuary was split into two rooms using blackboards. The front room was the waiting room, the back was two examination rooms and the make-shift pharmacy. There were elderly women, young mothers with babies, and every age in between. We quickly began setting up the pharmacy and making sure that the three rooms were equipped with extra chairs for the interpreters.

Pastor Migueloson told us that Pastor James wouldn't be arriving until 10 AM. We continued on, unpacking the box and sorting the medications into piles. Soon Pastor Migueloson spoke to the crowd that had gathered, instructing them that they needed to be patient with Brooke and Meg for they would be using an interpreter and also to tell them exactly what their problems were, for that was the only way that they could properly treat them. All of the blancos and Dr. Rodney were introduced, Meg spoke, then Brooke. Meanwhile Kate and I continued preparing the pharmacy.

At 9:30 AM, the clinic was in full swing. Kate and I began distributing the toothbrushes that Brooke brought and the proper medications. Things were a little slow and bumpy at first, considering that Meg was without a translator and Kate is limited in her medical Creole. So we chugged along. Soon enough things began picking up. Junior came and began translating for Meg, and one of Kate's old English students, Willy, started translating for Kate and I. This made things much, much easier. Soon our stack of dossiers was growing. We were handing out many, many medications. I can remember at one point looking at Kate and saying how I felt like were were taking part in the story where Jesus feeds 5,000. Our toothbrushes still had not run out, even with giving one to every adult, and our bags of medications were still heavy.

Around 11 AM Pastor James finally arrived, he took pictures, talked with some of the people waiting and then translated for Meg. Around 2 PM is when we started getting low on certain medications. By 2:00 PM we were finishing up seeing patients. God provided. Every patient that we saw was able to walk away with something, whether it be a toothbrush, or medication, or a prescription to receive the medication that they needed. By the end, if we had the medication, every patient got as much of what they needed as we had.

God knew better than us.

We saw 123 people that day. We got home at 3:30 PM covered in dust, liquid chloroquine, Amoxicillin powder, exhausted, yet completely overwhelmed by God's provision.

Our prayer is to be able to do one more medical clinic with Sion before we leave. More lives brought to the Lord, and more bodies healed to do His will.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Getting used to Haiti

This weekend has been quite crazy. Yesterday Meg was still sick, but Kate and I went out shopping with Jane, Cindy, and Brooke. We stopped at a small store that had a few imported groceries, then at another which was about the size of a Country Fair, with a little more selection. We also went into a bakery that had so many delicious looking desserts, but we only bought some bread.

We came home and then drove up to the Seminary to visit Pam, Matt, Stacy, and the girls. Stacy and Matt have the most adorable little puppy. She is so small and cute. Her eyes are still blue green. The older girl was running around in just her undies, barefoot, riding her bike, while I helped the youngest walk and chase her.

When we got back home, Meg looked pretty terrible. So we called Dr. Rodney to come and take a look at her. He decided that she had either Malaria or Typhoid. Thank goodness that I had a bottle of Chloroquine in my room. So Dr. Rodney instructed Meg to take four all at once (the treatment for Malaria). ahhh. I can't even imagine. Meg had already been taking Cipro, which is good, because it is the treatment for Typhoid. During the night she was completely miserable, she began vomiting. She, thankfully, woke me up.

This morning she was really looking bad. We called Dr. Rodney to ask him to bring her some IVs to get some fluids in her. His mother, a nurse, came in her Sunday best to give her the IV. The first IV chord was no good, so she had to run down through the compound, across the street, to the Catholic hospital to get a new IV chord.

Meanwhile, I went to the church next door with Brooke and Wadner. The church is just one big room with a stage. They had keyboards, drums, bass guitar, and microphones. Wadner interpreted for me. The oddest thing was that at the beginning of service, all the visitors were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. There were five or six of us. Thankfully I would say one sentence into the microphone, then Wadner would interpret for me to the congregation. The other thing that was odd was that their prayers were very, very long. Imagine about 10-15 minutes with your head down, except you have NO IDEA what is being said. Wadner interpreted some, but I think everything loses a little bit of impact in the translation. Especially when others around are hearing someone talk during their prayer. I felt a little out of place to say the least. Nonetheless, Dr. Rodney gave a beautiful message on the ways that the devil tries to draw you to him through the story of Haman and Mordechai.

Throughout the service I could feel many young eyes on me, adults do not mind but the young children do. There was a little baby girl, not even one, who absolutely adored me. The strange thing about the children in the service is that they are in the service. Most of the parents let the children run up and down the aisles while there are ushers who stand at the open doors to make sure that none of the little ones get out. I saw two of my students, Samuel and Roud.

After service, the three of us went back to the house so Brooke could examine Meg a bit more and take a look at her breathing (Brooke is also a doctor). Soon after, Dr. Rodney came back over again with some more medicine for Meg to take. At this point, Meg had had one full bag of fluids, the kind with nutrients, and she was working on a second. After the medicine she was given, she started to pep up a bit more. She ate some egg, applesauce, and bread with peanut butter. We all knew that she was really feeling better when I told Wadner that he and Brooke were staying for lunch and Meg said "Oh no, Wadner hates Kate's cooking" with a grin on her face. For the rest of the day I hung out with Meg, writing a lesson plan, and bringing her food and Gatorade. We had many visitors throughout the day, VaDam, Oulie, Roud, and Jake all came by, then Bud and Cindy with some cookies, then VaDam again with Brooke, and then Jane with Kim, Meg's mother, on the phone.

Meg ended up taking a bath, eating some more, taking the rest of her medicine, and now she has fallen asleep on the couch while watching The Patriot with me. It is raining. Not only God's blessings of prayer and healing, but also some much needed rain for the grass and gardens.

God is good.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday, Friday Gettin' Down on Friday

As most of you are well aware, today was Friday. In the education world, one of the best days of the week. By Friday everyone is exhausted, and by 2:00, everyone is looking at the clock and counting down the minutes. Today was no exception. Today the Kindergarten class was there of 7 students, for a total of 19 students in the classroom, me, Kate, and another classroom aid who is there to help the days the Kindergartner's are there. The aid corrects the student's workbooks while Kate teaches the three separate groups. The students also have tests on Friday, so Kate would typically be doing very different things all by herself with three different grade levels. But today I was able to help give spelling tests, watch the Kindergartners, and answer questions. I also read the after class story which gives Kate some more downtime to record grades or rest.

Yesterday, at Kate's class, Meg and I ended talking to a few of the men in the class afterwards. They were very interested in American culture and just hearing us talk. During that class time, Meg got most of the questions. Today we both went again, and I got most of the questions. They asked many questions about what I think about Haiti since it is my first time, if I have had the food, how the weather is back in Erie, and they were interested in how loans work. They were definitely questions that we were not expecting.

After going to the English class, Meg and I went over to Dr. Rodney's house, who is the father of one of my students. He was so excited to see me in his house. So Meg and I turned off his TV on him and his brother and made Roud get a book to read to us. Now imagine going into an American child's home, turning off their TV and making them get a book, this probably wouldn't go over too well. But Roud and Oulie (I think that's how it is spelled) were more than happy to read/listen to a story. Sweet Oulie fell asleep on me during Roud's story. Soon VaDam and Alesha came home, then Dr. Rodney. VaDam helped Meg and I with some Creole and I helped Roud with his homework while Alesha ran around playing with Meg's keys. It was great fun and so adorable to hear Roud today at school excitedly telling everyone how I came over to his house last night, he even wanted me to come over again tonight. I didn't though, because Meg is not feeling well and I am still very tired from traveling.

Tomorrow the plan is to get to sleep in a bit, and go travel to some other towns.

Bug Bite Count: 9
**Meg's friend Ketlye told me that my blood is sweet, and that they like me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

First Days in Haiti

I am totally exhausted, but having so much fun. I arrived yesterday around 9:30 AM at the airport, where Meg was there to pick me up. Thankfully, both of my bags arrived on the same flight as me, so after getting my bags Meg, Olan, and I headed out to the car. Many men tried to take the bags from us to "help" us get to the car, but they would only want paid for it even though we were able to carry everything. The drive through Cap Haitien was crazy. People walk out into the middle of the street, cars pass on all sides, cars drive in the wrong side, people on motor cycles weave in and out of traffic. I sat in the back and ate the banana that Meg brought for me. The streets were bumpy when we got outside of the city, but then we arrived on the compound. Meg helped me to unpack and showed me around the house. We went for a bit of a walk, then I came back and took a nap. When I woke up we had lunch with Brooke, tomato sandwiches, apple, and fried plantain chips (which are delicious! I don't think I will be able to have another potato chip ever again!). In the evening we went to Bible study with the other missionaries then to Bud and Jan's for dinner.

Today was my first day in the classroom. It was just the first and second graders today. There are 12 students in the class, 3 girls and 9 boys. The boys are very rambunctious! The students came up to me all day asking questions about their work, which I helped them some, mostly with re-reading the directions, then I had to tell them to sit back down because if I didn't they would just want to stand next to me and work. The classroom is about half the size of a classroom in the states, but with almost all the same things, which was crazy to me! The students totally wore me out, but hopefully soon my novelty will wear off.

Next I am going to observe in Kate's English class with Meg, then dinner at the house.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a night in an airport...

Currently, I am sitting in the airport just outside of where I board my flight tomorrow morning. This is the least fun part of my trip, and I think that I am working myself up about it.

My first two flights went well, both landed about 15 minutes early. I cried the first part of the flight from Erie to Philly, but the man next to me was very kind and tried to talk with me to get my mind off of it. Even now, I am still scared about the fact that in a few short hours I will be flying into a foreign country. My second flight was long, but the woman who was also sitting in my row was fantastic company. She is a traveling bartender, more accurately a snow bird. She was on her way back to Ft. Lauderdale from Maine where she was taking care of her father. She was very sweet and we had lots of good conversation.

So here I continue to sit, I think I may try and find a nice corner to curl up in and sleep for a little while...

Please pray for my safety as I spend the night here, and for safety flying into Cap tomorrow morning. Also pray that Jane, the woman picking me up, is there right away and I do not have to wait alone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My last full day...

...was filled with packing, and planning, and errand running. I have one bag completely packed and it is weighing in under 40 lbs. I am waiting on some clothes that are hanging up to dry before they will be packed to take. I deposited money into my bank account, stopped at my doctor's office to pick up an updated immunization record, and to Wal Mart to pick up luggage tags and locks. I updated both my iPod touch, and my iPod classic with new music and movies to occupy me during my flights.

Tomorrow I plan on finishing up the packing, visiting with my Grandparents, watching a video for my big project in Integrated Methods and dropping the CD off at school, and finishing with a farewell meal at Chic Fil A, because I won't be able to have any for the next 6 weeks.

Please keep me in your prayers tomorrow evening, I board my plan leaving Erie at 6:18 PM, my first flight by myself EVER. So needless to say, I am quite nervous about flying on my own, and staying the night in an airport, and flying into a country that I have never been to before.

Mèsi ak bonswa!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tying loose ends..

Today was really a fantastic day. I spent most of the day just resting and packing. Then around 3 I started calling the Academic Affairs office to try and get ahold of Michele Wheaton, the woman who was assisting me yesterday with getting my class schedule fixed. I was finally able to get ahold of her and she was able to fix my schedule. I am now registered for all 10 of my credits making me a full time student. This will reinstate my scholarship and grants and because my schedule has been fixed early enough, my bill will hopefully be corrected soon.

I also received my "text book" in the mail today, which I ordered two weeks ago. I was worried about the book not arriving in time, but it thankfully arrived minutes before I finally got ahold of Michele.

I also got my taxes finished and I will be getting a refund, this is really great news because I was beginning to worry about paying for my luggage to get down and back. This makes me feel more comfortable financially considered that I am going to have no income for the next six weeks.

The last thing that will hopefully be settled is my PHEAA. I am praying that God will end this drama, and provide me with the aid that I need. I am also praying that it is decided on before I leave because it will be difficult for me to make phone calls and pay bills while being in Haiti. I am confident that this will be resolved before I leave because God has sent me on this journey and will therefore make provisions to allow me to go worry free.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In one week...

I leave in one week. A week that cannot go fast enough. I am filled with excitement and a little nervousness.

Yesterday I met with Meg, my future room mate. We talked nothing about travel and everything about getting to know one another. It was wonderfully unexpected. I left our meeting feeling overwhelmed with God's grace and provision to be allowing me to be down in Haiti at the same time as Meg, rooming with her, and sharing many of the same passions for what to accomplish while we are down there.

The afternoon progressed to involve a bill from Mercyhurst, where I realized that I am still only registered for 4 credits, making me a part time student, instead of the 10 I am supposed to be scheduled for. Because of this, my scholarship and grants have been revoked. Very frustrating, and very little that I can do. So I started my day, today, by calling PHEAA, for my PA grant that was revoked about a month ago, about the status of my re-evaluation with the correct information sent it. They received it on February 27th, and I was told to expect another 2 weeks wait to find out the final verdict. Hopefully it will all be correct, because I will obviously be out of the country and unable to make phone calls and meet in SFS. I then called the Registrar's Office to try to get my schedule straightened out. Basically they forwarded me to Academic Affairs where I left a message explaining that I had met with Dr. Belfiore about scheduling for my Independent Study and the two other courses. They told me that they would get back to me as soon as possible.

Yesterday I also confirmed an idea that has been floating around for quite some time, and I believe that now is the right time to reveal it. I was trying to figure out a way to minister to girls in the village and also trying to provide them a skill that they could profit from. I sat making a friendship bracelet while pondering this. Then I realized that I could teach them how to make these! So I have messaged Pastor James to find me find a group of 15 to 17 year old girls who would be willing to learn how to do this. I would teach them how to make the bracelets, bring down the supplies, and pray and talk and laugh with them. I would also pay them $1 per bracelet that they make, I would then bring the finished bracelet's back to sell here in Erie for $2 each, the extra money would go towards buying more supplies for the girls to continue making the bracelets. I pray that they would be able to use this skill to make the bracelets to either send back to the US, or sell in their village. I am so excited to begin this and I cannot wait to meet these ladies and talk with them about Jesus and love them. I am also so excited to tell the women and girls in the US who buy these bracelets about the girls who made them.

I completed most of my packing, and have weighed my luggage and it is coming in at well under the weight limits for flying. This is fantastic considering that I will have to pay per pound on the IBC flight. I have also finished all of my sewing to be done before the trip. So now I am listening to my dog bark at the construction in front of our house that has been going on for the past two weeks, watching some television and praying that these days pass quickly.

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. in this world you will have trouble. but take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Monday, February 27, 2012

a birthday weekend

This past weekend was my birthday. I officially hit two decades old.

It was quite a strange day for me, my parents were gone for an overnighter, and my brother slept over at his friend's house. So I was home alone, which is rare on a weekend. I made myself a special breakfast of french toast, made my five dresses, and finished up some more small baby blankets to take to pass out at Bethesda.

My lowest point was easily modeling my dresses for my dog, which meant I had to wake him up from sleeping under a blanket. Which meant that he gave me a dirty look before reburying his head. Stinker.

Unfortunately my day wasn't much better than this. I have confessions to make.

Saturday was a low point for me. I was tormented with a panic attack. The realization that in two short weeks I would be leaving all that is familiar around me and going miles away from my bed, my family, my small group, my best friends, high speed wifi internet, WalMart... I mean seriously. Basically I had told myself months back that my birthday was the day that I would get all of my prescriptions filled and officially start packing. The devil attacked me in a wicked way Saturday. I allowed myself to have doubts and fears as to whether or not I really want to go. I was scared. I was anxious. I was sinning.

I went to bed after a tearful conversation with my best friend. Where she assured me that this is what I am meant to do and that I am strong enough to do this. I spilled my fears into God and read Psalms.

I woke up renewed and refreshed. They showed a video in service of Haiti, and the pastors at Zion Church, our partner church, and it was God's answer to my fears.

I sit here in my bed staring at suitcases on my floor. One half filled with school supplies, with my hope that I will be able to fit 2 weeks worth of clothing and six weeks of toiletries in the other half. Saturday I would have been unable to handle this sight, but through God's strength I am able to process this thought and be confident in God's desire for me to go to Haiti. I am thankful for friends like Scott and Meg who will already be down in Haiti when I am arriving. I am thankful for friends in Erie who have knowledge of what to take with me. I am forever thankful for God's provision to allow me to bring school supplies, extra clothing, and excess money.

Many people have asked how to contact me while I am down in Haiti. The best way would be to email me at my personal email address: I also have a Skype account which I am hoping will work as long as I only use the voice calling. My Skype user name is katielynn.j. I can also be contacted through my Facebook page. I will be keeping this blog updated regularly. I am looking into a "Magic Jack" to assist in making phone calls. If I do get one I will provide those who inquire with the number.

Please continue to pray for me as my State aid still has not gone through properly. Also pray for strength for me as I begin to say goodbye to friends, babies, and family these next two weeks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flights, Insurance, and the End of Term

Today marks the last day of finals for Mercyhurst University (catch that? we're a University now). I had my last final Monday so this week has been pretty low key for me, other than working in McAuley as often as possible. I finished all of my last projects with confidence that I worked to the best of my ability despite ending it all with a nasty cold.

As far as travel plans go, everything is looking fantastic! I have my flights there and back booked, and my travel insurance squared away. I will be flying out of Erie on Tuesday, March 13th at night, arriving in Philadelphia to catch a flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I will then spend the night in the airport, which will save me about $100, then fly into Cap Haitian on the morning of March 14th. For coming home all of my flights are on the same day, April 30th, which just so happens to be my mom's birthday. It was so nerve wracking to plan all of this travel, but I had the help of Julie Thompson, the grad assistant in the Education Department. She had planned all of my flights and found the Travel Insurance for me as well. We picked a plan that included natural disasters, and was also manageable cost wise.

Packing wise, I have lots of school supplies to take for my 19 students. I still have to finish my dresses, but I DID bring my serger up from the basement so I can learn how to use it before I make the dresses. I have made a few small baby blankets to take down and pass out at the clinic or orphanage.

My excitement is building. But so are my nerves. Praying for God's strength and courage to get me through these last few weeks.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

an overdue update

things have been incredibly crazy for me lately. tonight is no exception. i write with a heavy heart as my little bird is dying. i'm praying that he makes it until monday so i can take him to the vet's office and get some answers as to why he is so sick.

anyways, last i had updated i received my passport and had gotten most of my shots. now i can write and say that i have ALL my shots, and have turned in my study abroad application. this is really great because it is one less thing i have to worry about right now.

school is extremely busy for me right now, i have finally finished having to go for one practicum and still have two visits left at another. i have a few write ups to complete for both sites as well as a history research paper that is due monday. please pray that i can continue to stay focused and driven to complete my assignments because i am getting to the point where i am just ready to be done.

a bit of a praise report, a family friend donated a very large amount of money to me for my trip, even though i have INSISTED against it. so, i have started to purchase some (ha) school supplies to take with me. as per Kate's requests, i have 600 sheets of construction paper, 60 pencils, 10 black pens, 10 red pens,  12 glue sticks, and over a thousand stickers. and that's just the tip of the ice burg. i also found 20 "fun" pencils. there are 10 girly printed ones (flowers, polka dots, hearts) and 10 boyish patterns (stars, "super"), 6 butterfly erasers, a deck of crazy eights, a deck of go fish, a deck of old maid, number silly bands, a winnie the pooh coloring book, a scooby too coloring book, letter recognition matching cards, word building match cards, and number cards. these students have no clue that every time i step foot into a store i am thinking of them and what i can purchase to take down for them! this makes my heart swell with grace.

i think that this feeling is something like what Jesus feels for us ALL THE TIME. we feel as though we are great and that we have all that we need, but Jesus is sitting there going "you have NO idea what is coming for you!" i feel like this for my future students. they little idea as to how crazy, excited this college student from a place that gets snow is to meet them, and love them, and teach them, and positively reinforce them through awesome school supplies and be crazy and make them laugh and pray that something that i am doing is absorbed into their minds.

but anyways! so far i have only spent 1/10 of the gift that i was given on these treasures. so, i will fill one duffel bag with the school supplies, then i will use the rest of the money to help pay for sending it down because it costs extra for each extra bag that you put in cargo.

as of last monday, a team from my church has been working in Cap Haitian. i am so excited to be kept updated on what they are doing while they are down there. please pray for their safety while they travel back this week.

i still think about this all and how crazy this still is and how blessed i am to have such a wonderful opportunity through a school i never initially saw myself going to. God led me through a winding path to get me where i am today. all i can do is thank and praise Him for all that he has done, is doing, and will do for me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

answered prayers

"I asked God to let me see his presence in everything. So he gave me eyes." - David Bowden

it's funny how life works. 

i have started journaling again. mostly just my prayers as a way to be more deliberate about prayer. writing keeps my mind focused and my hands busy. i was never a big journal-er when i was younger, mostly because i felt my life much too insignificant to document.

"dear diary, today i went to school. i think i love some boy. i got into an argument with my friends"

why would i want to go back and relive those days?

but now i feel that God has laid the pen upon my heart for other reasons.

one of my constant prayers is that each day God will provide me with someone whom i can serve. David Bowden's words "answered" my prayer. there are so many people who need a bit of light, you just have to look into the darkness to find them.

i've always been afraid of the dark.

but my God is the purest light that ever was, is, and is to come.

so into the dark i will go.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jesus loves christians, but doesn't like them.

i am writing this as i listen to Francis Chan speak at Passion. his message is about reading the Word instead of merely listening to it from a teacher's filter.

i find this so convicting to me. sometimes i fall victim to not reading the Bible. i figure that i pray, and sometimes i see a Bible verse only, or i'll listen to some worship music and that it is enough.

it's not.

gut punch.

on days like that i would call myself a christian. i'm pseudo doing it. i'm thinking about doing it. my intentions are good.

but in that same moment that i am listening to a worship song, i may have a mean thought about someone somewhere. this is not Christ-like.

i am a sinner. i have been saved by grace. a suffocating amount of grace. so much grace that i should be trying to give it to other people because my spirit is so full that i cannot contain it all. and even if i tell a million people of God's grace, my spirit will still be overflowing. it's a terribly wonderful catch 22.

i think that there are already enough people like that in the world. people that just go with the motions, they merely receive God's grace instead of pouring it into others. i think that God has called me to be something bigger than that. i think God has called everyone who claims Him to be Lord in their heart to be something bigger than that.

in my mind, christians are too content with just being stagnant. they are the priests of Jesus' time. the ones who sat and refused to associate with those who were unworthy. those who were unlike them. people were either in or out.

christians are the ones holding signs that God hates Fags. they are the ones who are pounding the Bible over other's heads and yelling "you're gonna go to hell!" christians are the ones the world hates. they hate the world.

i don't think Jesus likes these people. He loves them, because that's what Jesus does.

i think that we are called to love others. i think we are to love the addicts, the orphans, the prostitutes, the atheists, the agnostics, the sinners, the HIV infected, the starving, the uneducated, the overly educated. we are called to love these people in radical, unworldly ways.

we are not called to judge, to criticize, to talk down upon, to argue with, to make fun of, to ignore, to scoff at. we are called to show people who Jesus truly is. to the core of His being. we should pour on them an unending amount of grace and love and care and to fulfill needs.

i'd like to think that if more people read who Jesus actually was, and was actually about, there would be more who followed Him. christians do a really lousy job at showing others who Christ is.

i do a lousy job at showing others who Christ is. but, tomorrow is a new morning, and my heart overflows with grace. thank you Jesus, for giving me infinite chances to show who you truly are.