Friday, March 4, 2016

To be a servant

Nothing could prepare me for the impact of delivering water into the worst slum in the western hemisphere. Cite Soleil is only 8 square miles but is packed with 300,000 people. The density is shocking. 

The children hear the water truck honking and come running to greet us. They run along side the truck yelling “Hey you! Hey you!” As we get out of the truck, we are greeted with what can only be described as pure love and joy. For a moment I am no longer aware of the extreme poverty as these little angels jump into our arms and wrap themselves around us as if we are beloved family, but we are not, we are total strangers. We hug them back with the same abandon, as if they are our own loved ones. To have only two arms suddenly feels inadequate as we scoop up these beautiful smiling faces holding 2 children at a time with several more clinging to our legs and waists. It is then that we gaze around. We are not in a sea of love. We are in unimaginable poverty. Garbage was everywhere growing unchecked as if it was a malignant cancer.  Piling up higher and higher and reaching further and further into the small community infecting the water and dwarfing the already small huts. I can’t fathom surviving in conditions like these. Suddenly, I stagger a bit and my world cracks.

I focused that day on being the person who held the water hose. I took my job seriously. Wasting as little water as possible. The Haitians lined up with their buckets, often fighting as everyone is desperate to get water first. We fill and fill and fill small water buckets. I focused on my job, aware of the smells and continuous loud noise and commotion in the streets. I was also aware of my own sweat, which would have to be replaced with clean water. When we finished the first stop I thought we had worked through lunch and into mid-afternoon. It was 11am. The rest of the day was a blur. 

A few days later we returned to distribute water again. For this I am very grateful. I felt more acclimated to this new environment and experience. This time I knew I had an opportunity to open my lens wider and to see and do more. I focused more on the people and surroundings. I spend most of that day holding children and helping them bring their water buckets to their huts. For the moment, I felt a part of this community. The streets were filled with people bringing their small buckets back to their huts and returning back to the truck quickly to get as much clean water as possible. I have never felt a greater sense of accomplishment. And I have never felt so fulfilled. The Haitians got clean water and were seen and loved that day. I also received clean water, was seen and loved that day… and a lot more. 

Healing Haiti is the only organization that delivers clean water to the people of Cite Soleil free. 

-Lisa Illies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Elders

Visiting the Elders today was not what I thought it was going to be. I don’t know what I expected it to be, maybe like volunteering in my nursing home back at home is what I can most compare my expectations too, but I certainly didn’t expect what I felt today.
I had lost my grandparents at younger age, and so what memories I have of them are truly special and such a blessing. The advice i give to those who I see get annoyed or find the elders in their lives a burden is “Don’t take the elders in your life for granted, cherish every moment you have with them because you truly never know when you have to say Goodbye.” I can not emphasize it enough, and today was just a reminder of all of the good I had with my grandparents.
Today had really hit home for me when we visited the Elders because of loosing mine at a younger age, and today I really saw the light of my grandparents in the sprits of the Elders today. The first elder, Ofan, he reminded me much of my my Abuelo, he was the first of the grandparents I had lost as a child, he had spirit, heart, hope and passion even though he had his leg amputated. To see the spirit he had when he was playful bantering with my mission brother, Paul, like they had been friends for years, to see the light in his eyes when he spoke of his goats, the hope that he was going to see his goats again and the heart of the lord, because no matter what he had been through, his heart was still full of the lord and he knew his lord was there watching over him and it gave him the hope that it was all going to be okay. 
The second elder we had visited was Marie, she reminded me so much of my grandmother, I saw the same light and spirit today in Marie’s eyes that I had seen in my grandmothers eyes even at the end of her life. Just like my grandmother, Marie knew and believed in the lord that he was going to watch over her and love her, the light and love in her eyes even though she was sleeping in a tin hut and had out lived most of her family, and the thanks and just joy that she had when I was washing her feet, hands and face. 
It’s just truly amazing that all we gave them was 15 minutes of our time, some love, song and prayer and they were just so thankful. It truly broke my heart to see that these people are here and that they have nothing but they still love and are thankful. I believe that today I found part of an answer to a question I had asked before I went on this trip and even now while i’m on this trip, Why am I here? Why did you send me here? and today was all about love, that was it. Even though these people had close to nothing and that the floor of there home was dirt, they still had so much love. 
Today all sorts of boundaries were broken, I saw two men who were literally polar opposites, came from two different sides of the human spectrum, converse like they were long time friends and had no cultural or language limitations. I saw a women who couldn’t come out of her tin hut because he had fallen and had to lounge on her dirt floor, show so much thankfulness and worship and love because we sat there and sang with her.
So on this day, from what I had witnessed, I end it with one message.. just love and cherish the time with the ones you love. 
Glwa pou Bondye, Glory to God. 
Thank you for reading, 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Slumberland Serving in Haiti February 22-29, 2016

Slumberland is sending another team to serve in Haiti.  This is the 4th team and it happens to coincide with dedication and opening of Hope Church in Cite Soleil located in the poorest slum in the Western Hemisphere.  The first year we visited Cite Soleil and the new site of Hope Church, it was nothing more than a garbage dump.  Our team will be in Haiti serving from February 22-29.  Watch the blog frequently, we will try to update it each day (providing we have internet) with stories and photos of our week.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Staff Appreciation Dinner

The Slumberland team had the privilege of treating the entire Healing Haiti staff to an Appreciation Dinner.  We have done this the last three years and it has grown into a very special night.  The Healing Haiti staff serves over a thousand people a year that "go" on a Healing Haiti missions trip.  We treated them to a dinner out at a local restaurant,  the ladies were dressed up beautifully and had great time with a photoshoot.  We had special music from Don Fadell (Don wrote a special song for the staff), Matthew and Michael sang a song, and Madam Kisnell sang a special song for the group.  We gave a gift bag to each staff person to tell them how much they are appreciated.  They are a great staff and more than deserved a special evening.

Fun was had by all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Word of the Day…

Each day, we’re challenged to come up with a word to summarize our thoughts or experience for the day.  Today was a day that I approached with some apprehension, a day when I knew I would have emotions flowing, a day we’d be visiting the home for sick and dying children.  I’ve got four daughters and to think of any of them being in the situation these beautiful young children are in, would be unbearable.  I saw people come together today and so the word of the day for me was…

TEAM… I approached my word a little bit differently.  We have this amazing group of individuals  through Slumberland, people who love and care for the people of Haiti but also for the other members of the team, and then there was an amazing group of people at the home for sick and dying children, the nurses that take care of these children, and then finally, the group of people working at the Apparent Project who provide jobs for hundreds of people so they can create wonderful works of art to bring to the world and help Haiti…. all TEAMS of people… For me the day, the word TEAM, boiled down to this:

An acronym:  Time Encountering Amazing Masterpieces….

God created us all, we’re masterpieces; from our bodies, to our minds, the way we NEED to help each other.  Today, I saw that in action and I truly had a day comprised of Time Encountering Amazing Masterpieces.



The babies hope we will hold them
they hope we will love them, comfort them
they hope we will feed them, or give them a drink
their parents hope we will save their babies, make them healthy
The Nuns hope we would change the babies, hold them, feed them
the babies just want the hurting and fevers to stop
I Hope I Can Help!
My wife is at home hoping I will adopt them all
I hope they are cured
I hope the Haitians are learning and a change will come
I hope in some small way we are helping to Heal Haiti through God’s Love


Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Beauty out of ashes, we often ask, how can that be?  Well today we saw it happening. For years we have stood at the dump, stood in the waste and garbage and wondered how God could use this piece of land.  Today our group saw the transformation , out of the rubble is rising a church and school that will serve the people of Cite Soleil. As the children gathered and sang, as they have for years, “God is so Good,” we experienced that goodness, for years it was by faith, now it is a reality!!  Praise God, God is so good.