Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

73. Bridging Worlds with Compassion and Service with Ann Wenck

May 12, 2024 Ann Wenck Season 5 Episode 73
73. Bridging Worlds with Compassion and Service with Ann Wenck
Ordinary People Extraordinary Things
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Ordinary People Extraordinary Things
73. Bridging Worlds with Compassion and Service with Ann Wenck
May 12, 2024 Season 5 Episode 73
Ann Wenck

Have you ever sat down for a lunch that altered the trajectory of your life? Our guest Ann would answer with a resounding "yes," as she shares the unfolding of her remarkable journey from a simple meal to dedicating herself to the service of Haiti's most vulnerable. Ann's narrative is a stirring testament to the power of turning ordinary encounters into paths of profound change. Her annual pilgrimages to a Haitian village showcase the incredible difference one person's nurturing heart and steadfast spirit can make. From the joyous task of buying goods from local elders to the more complex endeavor of providing mattresses to orphanages, Ann's experiences are a beacon of hope, reflecting the immense ripple effect of kindness.

There's an unspoken challenge in Ann's tales: to remember gratitude amidst abundance and to seek fulfillment in lifting others. We are reminded that the comforts we often take for granted, like running water and household appliances, are luxuries in many parts of the world. Through Ann's passion and action, we witness the extraordinary impact that arises when we let our lives reflect a greater glory, encouraging all of us to spread kindness and build hope in our own corners of the world.

 🎥 Watch the Full Video: https://youtu.be/zbjbBLrNUYc

💭 “You can’t change the world, but you an do things to make it a little brighter.” ~Ann

💭 “I don’t preach, but I try to show Jesus through my love.” ~Ann

1 Samuel 3 is the Bible story we referenced 

ordinarypeoplestories@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ordinarypeoplestory

https://www.instagram.com/ordinarypeopleextraordinary/

X: @storiesextra

Any advice should be confirmed with a qualified professional.
All rights reserved: Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

Stories shared by guests may not always be shared views of OPET.
Being a guest does not mean OPET approves of every decision or action in the guests' life.

We all have a story, all of us, share your story. You don't have to have the perfect answer or the perfect life - share what Jesus is doing in your life. This is an easy, real way to witness & share your testimony.


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever sat down for a lunch that altered the trajectory of your life? Our guest Ann would answer with a resounding "yes," as she shares the unfolding of her remarkable journey from a simple meal to dedicating herself to the service of Haiti's most vulnerable. Ann's narrative is a stirring testament to the power of turning ordinary encounters into paths of profound change. Her annual pilgrimages to a Haitian village showcase the incredible difference one person's nurturing heart and steadfast spirit can make. From the joyous task of buying goods from local elders to the more complex endeavor of providing mattresses to orphanages, Ann's experiences are a beacon of hope, reflecting the immense ripple effect of kindness.

There's an unspoken challenge in Ann's tales: to remember gratitude amidst abundance and to seek fulfillment in lifting others. We are reminded that the comforts we often take for granted, like running water and household appliances, are luxuries in many parts of the world. Through Ann's passion and action, we witness the extraordinary impact that arises when we let our lives reflect a greater glory, encouraging all of us to spread kindness and build hope in our own corners of the world.

 🎥 Watch the Full Video: https://youtu.be/zbjbBLrNUYc

💭 “You can’t change the world, but you an do things to make it a little brighter.” ~Ann

💭 “I don’t preach, but I try to show Jesus through my love.” ~Ann

1 Samuel 3 is the Bible story we referenced 

ordinarypeoplestories@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ordinarypeoplestory

https://www.instagram.com/ordinarypeopleextraordinary/

X: @storiesextra

Any advice should be confirmed with a qualified professional.
All rights reserved: Ordinary People Extraordinary Things

Stories shared by guests may not always be shared views of OPET.
Being a guest does not mean OPET approves of every decision or action in the guests' life.

We all have a story, all of us, share your story. You don't have to have the perfect answer or the perfect life - share what Jesus is doing in your life. This is an easy, real way to witness & share your testimony.


Speaker 1:

Thank you for making Ordinary People Extraordinary Things what it is today. Thank you for sharing. You are the best way for people to hear about Ordinary People, extraordinary Things, and about faith and hope and how it impacts us. We are in 42 countries. I cannot believe it. Continue to share. Continue to share with people all over the world, in your own city and the country where we remember that, at Ordinary People, extraordinary Things, your story is His glory. Welcome to Ordinary People Extraordinary Things. I'm Nancy and I'm here with Anne. Anne, thanks for being on the show, thank you for having me and I'm excited. My mom, luann, said you have to talk to Ann, and so I was excited to get her comments and her thoughts on that, and I'm looking forward to our chat today.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Your mom is very sweet and very supportive. I can't imagine what kind of a supportive mom she is, because she's a very supportive friend. How long have you known each other? Well, she was quite a few years ahead of me in school, so I can't say that we've known each other for a long time. But, as you know they, you grew up down the road from where I grew up. So for a long time in our adult life and go to the same church, yeah, yeah, your mom was our next door neighbor, right?

Speaker 1:

yes, I mean next door as far as when you live on the farm between you. But yeah, yeah, well, if people don't know who you are, could you do three words or phrases to describe yourself?

Speaker 2:

I would say strong, outgoing and nurturing. Do you want me to elaborate on those?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think strong because I just am able to go into difficult situations and I don't get riled up by them and nurturing, because I was a stay-at-home mom and I started out that way and then my kids got older and flew the nest. Then I found other people to nurture, from patients with dementia to Red Cross, to just anybody that needed help. But just God puts them in my life and and outgoing is just part of my family. You know my dad, it comes with the territory just can talk to a wall. That helps me a lot and the things I love to do, because sometimes you have to be the talker when someone else isn't able to talk and sometimes you have to be the listener, and that's easy for me too.

Speaker 1:

So oh, that's great. Well, that goes right into what we're talking about. So one of the things that you do is you go to Haiti.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, my first trip to Haiti was in 2011. And it's kind of funny how it started, because I was having lunch with one of my best friends and her son was joining us and he was in his probably 30s at the time and he knew someone that was lining up this trip to go to Haiti. And he said, just out of the blue orange, hey, do you want to go to Haiti? And I said, yeah, what will we do? And from then, my daughter wanted to go as well and she was, I think, 20 at the time, and he hooked us up with the guy that was doing the trip.

Speaker 2:

And I've been going every year since, sometimes twice a year, and the first trip I went, I knew I was going to be a lifer. I loved the people, I loved being able to help with the smallest of things. You can't change the world, and uh, but you can do things to make it a little brighter and then so I've formed lots of relationships over the years, of course, with this many years to go to the same village every single time.

Speaker 2:

So I know, okay, I've seen little kids grow up and it's yeah, so it's like seeing family. When I go back there, the first thing I do is you gotta see this person time in town and this person, and so I have a day or two of greeting everyone that I know and then get down to the business of finding people with needs that haven't been met by other organizations, because there are so many great organizations there but they can't fill every little need. So, being just a single, I used to go with groups to start with, and then I decided I wanted to go on my own, because I wanted to do my own thing where.

Speaker 2:

I saw the needs instead of what the group the needs they saw. So I just go out into the community and into what they call the countryside which would be like where my folks live and your folks live, where the houses are a little further apart and check on those people and see what their needs are as far as maybe some health needs, or there's always food needs, housing needs, so you just wow, you just go on your own, you go to the same village.

Speaker 2:

I have a translator always with me and I have a place to stay before I go. I there's. I stay with a mission group there's three different ones I think that I've stayed with and so I do have a nice bed and a cold shower. There's no warm water there, you know, but you don't care. When you're in Haiti, for me nothing matters. All the roughing it means nothing, like I'm going to be hopping all over the place here. But the last time I was there and I was in church, and that church is three hours long and I had to go to the bathroom, like for the last, there was an hour left and so I asked my translator, I asked someone and they took me out to the bathroom. The bathroom was a room probably the size of, maybe bigger than, a porta potty, but all it had was a hole in the floor and you just squat down and you go to the bathroom.

Speaker 2:

And in america I was like I am not finding me a decent bathroom, but over there you're like oh, yeah, and you go. You know, so in haiti, nothing bothers me, nothing at all, not the poor accommodations, or and the accommodations are not all that poor, they're just not America. But um, yeah, so I always have a nice place to stay and no air conditioning no, a lot of times no electricity just depends on what's going on but it's so much better than all the people that I visit. There's nothing to complain about, nothing, nothing. These, yeah, these people live with rats coming in and out of their house, and I've stayed in places where we've had rats. I mean, it's just that's the way it is. The homes are not built like they are here, so you have rats and mice and some people sleep with a net over their tent or over their bed. I never did that because I'm not that afraid is that mosquitoes or?

Speaker 2:

and oh wow, all the above just to keep critters off you.

Speaker 1:

And there's a lot of cockroaches so how long are you there mostly?

Speaker 2:

when I first started going with the team, I was there for a week and I maybe did that for five or six years and then one time I decided I wanted to stay a week longer, because after a week my heart was not full and I, when I came home.

Speaker 2:

It was such a hard adjustment because I did not feel fulfilled on what I did there. And walking from a third world country into America is crazy because you all of a sudden are in a grocery store, you can buy anything you want and you sit in your home, you push your dishwasher and you push your clothes washer. And still my mind is in Haiti, with these people that it takes them an entire day long to wash their clothes at the river or at their house, if they carry water there, and then to dry them on cactus bushes and to shower outside with a big tub. And so I found, if I went for two weeks, I really felt fulfilled, I got a lot more done and my heart was happy when I left, instead of having a sad heart when I left, because that just didn't do me any good to leave with such a sad heart. I wanted to leave on a happy note and know that I felt fulfilled and I would be ready to go back the next time instead of dreading that week just goes way too fast.

Speaker 2:

So since then I stayed a week after with the group trip and since then I just started going on my own and I go for two weeks now you say, you kind of go out and you see a need and you try to fill the need.

Speaker 1:

Can you give us a couple examples of how you, how you can do that?

Speaker 2:

well, one way of meeting a lot of people is giving up food. So I do that every time I go there, and their main staples are rice beans. These are the things I put in the giveaways Rice beans, oil, sugar, bouillon, matches, soap that they use to wash by hand. And when I started, in the very beginning, we just went in the countryside and looked for the shabbiest houses we could find, and they're all pretty shabby. But now I am down to in the last few years. We just look for the elderly, because they seem to have more needs than the younger people. They have some health needs, they have house needs, they just have most people that have no possibility. But these people really have no possibility. So in doing that just rolling up on homes and we always my translator will yell out gramun, which means grandpa or grandma, it's the same word, and that's what we're looking for people I say if they look over 70 or you can just tell by looking at them how, what kind of need they are, and then we'll often attract a crowd around us and some of the 40 and 50 year olds will be saying I'm a grandma and I'll say you don't count, and even if you, uh, aren't a grandma, you have to be older than me. I always say to people in order to be get food, you have to look a lot older than me and you look younger than me, and then you laugh and it's a lot of fun with. Oh, it just it's a lot of fun with everybody that comes around us. So then, once we get to them, then we'll find out just in conversations I don't do a questionnaire or anything, but just in talking with them we'll find out. Maybe their back has been hurting or their vitamin, they, they need vitamins for a certain thing, and so I feel like the Lord just places these people in front of me and then we find their needs. A lot of the people simply just get food and they are so, so happy.

Speaker 2:

My favorite thing is when we are driving down the road and we're always on a motorcycle because that's the. The roads are horrible, so that's really the main means of transportation, and we'll see a lady in the age group that I want to hit and she's carrying a basket on her head, which is very common there, and we'll stop and ask her, talk for a couple minutes and then say we have some food to give you and ask her where she's heading to, and several times this person will be heading to market, which is, you know, like a open market where they just sell things. They'll put things down in front of them and hope someone buys them. And this lady, one of the ladies, on her last trip she had already walked three miles and she had three more to go to get to this market to sell. She had some small sticks and something else, but then I always buy everything that they have so they have the money for that and don't have to keep walking, and then we fill their basket up on top of their head with the food that we're giving them.

Speaker 2:

And it's just, it's a double blessing and it is so much fun. Wow, I love it because the first thing we always ask someone when we catch someone walking is how far they have to get to their home, because if it's a long distance it's kind of heavy stuff, but they're used to carrying heavy stuff. But anyway, that's how we find out where they're going and she'll say I'm going to market. So I'll say ask her, because my everything's through my interpreter I don't know any creole is the language that they speak and so I'll say ask her what she's selling and we'll look at it. I'll say, tell her we're gonna buy it. I'll ask her what she wants and there's no differing what, and we usually give her more than she wants, and it's usually a gal sometimes it's a guy, but yeah, that's fun.

Speaker 2:

And another fun thing that happened this last time was kind of along that same lines. We were heading back and we had no food left and a lady on the road. They'll often sit in front of their homes with their oranges or whatever they have spread out in front of them to sell and she flagged us down and she wanted some food and I felt so bad because we had nothing left. We'd given out everything for the day. So we bought everything that she was selling on the roadside, which was a huge bag of beans, and then we took the beans to an orphanage where you saw the mattresses from. And so it's just like it's a domino effect that you get to give something, get something, pass out something on. And those are the days that really feel my heart. And then the days that break my heart's heart is the orphanage yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

I saw a video that you posted of the orphanage and the beds and yeah, that was. That was sad. Could you kind of explain to people if they have that?

Speaker 2:

children are orphaned. It's just that maybe their mom died and their dad dads there aren't the best at taking care of the children if the mom passes and so they get, they go to an orphanage. And this was the first time I'd been to this orphanage. The place that I was staying this time was called Philadelphia Mission Church of Peon and he said there's this orphanage over here that doesn't get really any support, because he knew I was giving out food and he asked me if I'd give some to them and I didn't even know it existed where it was at in this little town. So we went over there and met the people and, yeah, they have no support from anyone. I don't know how they do it. Usually every place has some American support and this place, they said I was the first white person they had ever seen. She gave us a tour of it and I asked to see the beds and stuff, just out of curiosity. What they had never expecting it to be, just blankets on springs and some of them if they had any covering left on the bed, there was a huge hole in the center and it was just so incredibly sad. So I knew I had to find mattresses, which is a.

Speaker 2:

It's a feat in itself to find mattresses there. There's no, they don't have stores like they have here, and I don't know well, most of our stuff comes in through Port-au-Prince, which is the capital, which is where all the fighting is going on right now. When you see the horrible things on TV from Haiti, that's where it's at and literally they are the port that all the containers come in, and then they go from there and they get spread out through the little country of Haiti. So by the time you get them, they're filthy and have been through a lot of hauling and on the back of motorcycles and whatnot. So there's one little store in the town that we go to and it didn't have. We needed 14 mattresses and it did not have. Uh enough, I think I saw two there that I would take, because I just kept looking through them when, nope, not that one, that one's too ripped, nope, nope. So then we went to another town and my taxi driver had a car an old car, but it worked. And so we get in town.

Speaker 2:

I bought three mattresses and I said we need a lot more. How many can we fit on there? And he said as many as you want. And I said are you serious? We ended up getting 11 mattresses between the trunk and on top of that car and when we pulled back into the orphanage at the end of the day they were so thrilled, but still then there's more needs after that. And then I needed to find plastic to put over the mattresses because the kids potty the bed just like they do here in America, and that rots the beds out. And then to try and find sheets and I, a friend of mine who helped pay for the mattresses she was there longer than me and she did get them some sheets and I found some sheets while I was there. But it's just never ending the needs and food for them and I think they have like 30 kids there.

Speaker 1:

Wow. So do you get overwhelmed, do you get saddened, do you get discouraged by by what you just said? Is that the needs never end.

Speaker 2:

I think that's where the part where I said I'm strong comes in. I knew when I went there that I was not going to be able to absorb their pain or I wouldn't do them any good. It's kind of like I volunteer with hospice as well. If you go into where they're hurt as, you're doing no good for anyone yourself or them. So God gives me the strength to just be strong and focus on the problem at hand and try and do as best I can to help them with that. And then at night, yeah, there's some sadness and lots of prayers and stuff, but in the moment God gives me the strength to just keep on going instead of breaking down, which is what would be really easy to do.

Speaker 1:

Do you ever feel like you know? You said that you were looking for elderly and then, like people were coming that were younger, saying oh, I'm elderly. Does that bother you Kind of like oh you're trying to get something that I'm not willing to give, or you just kind of have fun with it, or how do you deal with that?

Speaker 2:

I always switch it around to have fun with it Always. And that's when I go into you are younger and prettier than me. I know you are not a grandma. And that's when I go into you are younger and prettier than me. I know you are not a grandma, and my translator goes through all that too. And I always take jewelry too, and that's one thing that I give out. So sometimes I'll give them a piece of jewelry a bracelet or earrings or something and a lot of my friends have donated their old jewelry to to me to take, so that's always fun. When I give up food, then they always get a little something to make them prettier than they already are oh, that's wonderful.

Speaker 1:

This is such a tangible way to show Jesus to to these people that's what I hope.

Speaker 2:

I just I don't preach, preach, um, but I try and show Jesus through my love that they are loved, and I think I do that well, just in my touch, and I hug and kiss every single person I meet, and my translator said one time um, that's how they say my name in Haiti, um, you don't have to kiss every person. And I said, oh, but I do, and they get a kiss on each cheek, a slow, not just an American pet goodbye. I just want them to feel they are loved outside of their little circle.

Speaker 1:

People care about them in the outside world do they know about Jesus a lot in Haiti?

Speaker 2:

Yes, as I said, their church is three hours long. They are, I would say, better Christians than us. I mean, the first time I went in America, we're like, how much? How long has he been doing the sermon for these guys? No, yes, they do know about Christ, christ, and there are lots of churches there. The one I usually go to when I'm there my translator is Baptist, so I go with him. You know, I don't know what they say. I enjoy the songs and I recognize it somewhat because you know I am Catholic. So, yeah, there are a lot of churches and oh, this is really special too.

Speaker 2:

A few years ago they built a church. That's up on. I wouldn't call it a church, I guess, but it's a place to go pray. They call it a church and it's up higher on the mountain. You have to go up quite a distance to up there and when you go up there, there are church groups and just single people laying up there praising the Lord, just laying on the ground in these bushes and tall grass, and then there is an inside part with a cement floor and I think they have huge groups in there once in a while. But yeah, it's just a lot of stuff you don't see in America. That inspires me. I learned from them when I went up to that church. I just thought this is amazing. These people climb this mountain to go up here and praise the Lord and you do feel so close to them there. I can see why they do it.

Speaker 2:

It's amazing so yes um, there's still a lot of voodoo there and it's not, I mean, like America. Not everyone believes either, but there are a lot of christians, there are a lot of good people and they know their bible. Yeah, it's amazing, wow. And everyone wants you to go to their church. Everyone likes to take you about, and this last time we went to a church of when I was delivering food, we met this family of seven, and the reason we stopped there is because I saw a grandpa sitting out in the yard. And that's what we'll do we see somebody in the yard or yell, then we'll stop.

Speaker 2:

And it turns out he was living with his son and daughter-in-law and, I think, five kids, and they were playing music. We heard music coming from the house and I said where is that coming from? Well, the father plays the organ at church and he had a solar panel set up to practice this organ at home. It was most beautiful music. So this last time I was there, we went to their church to hear them. They sing and one of the boys plays a guitar and the dad plays the organ. So I was in a new church this last time before. So, yeah, just moments like that are just so fun and rewarding.

Speaker 1:

Yeah oh, that's really inspiring. Yeah, I, that's so. I feel like it's so hard for us because we are just in general, I know that there are there are there is poverty in the United States, but that you know, my daughter, even this morning, was like I don't know what to have for breakfast you know kind of like, ah, and I gave her like 20 things that she could have, and we even have more than that, right, I mean.

Speaker 1:

And she's like no, no, and I, I was like Rachel, we are so blessed that you can have almost anything you want for breakfast. We have so much food in this house. But to really try to understand that is difficult. Oh, you don't know what you don't know. Yeah, definitely, you know, like I've been to India and um and seen some of that, but it's it's hard for me to remember when I'm back here and not to just kind of get into a comparison game or to, you know, just get into the culture of America as far as like, oh, I need something bigger or better or different. Or do you have any thoughts on that or any ideas that we might just maybe get a glimpse and be able to hold on to that just a little bit better, might just maybe get a glimpse and be able to hold on to that just a little bit better.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'll tell you one of the things that hits me every time I use the dishwasher, the clothes washer, when it takes them all day long to do those things, I think here I push a button and I leave the house and we have the robot vacuums. We just have the cushiest life and then we sit around, we're so tired, I have to put clothes away, and so it just takes me. I mean, I'm just grateful for running water. When I run the water until it gets hot, I think all the water I'm wasting just and it's not taking water from them, of course, but in my head I'm running all this water just to get to the temperature I want, when they would just love to have water. So for me it's just being more grateful for all the things that I have, and I can't change that and I can't give that to them, but just be appreciative of what I have, and it's taught me that.

Speaker 1:

Definitely it's taught me that, yeah, that's a good thing, just even thinking, okay, okay, every time I have to do the dishes, I have to do the laundry.

Speaker 2:

Kind of try to reframe that a bit and here's another one, if we would have a little electricity outage for a few hours, people are on Facebook saying, oh my gosh, mine's not on yet. When is yours coming on? And and again, you don't know what you don't know, because if I hadn't, been there, I would probably be the same way, but my gosh, those people live without electricity, so for us to be without it for even two days doesn't bother me a bit not a bit yeah so it's good for people to go into places like that to realize how fortunate we are and quit complaining and help others more.

Speaker 1:

I like it. I like it. What are you grateful for?

Speaker 2:

oh my gosh, my health number one, because if I wasn't healthy I would be no good too. Well, I might be good to my family they'd probably still like me, but I wouldn't be good to me because I like going out and spreading sunshine and if I'm not able to do that, that would be really hard on me. So some days if I'm thinking what should I do today, then I go to the nursing home and visit some people that don't get visitors, or the people dementia. They're always happy to have visitors. I mean, they don't remember you were there, but it doesn't make any difference. It's like a baby. I always tell people that don't think, um, their family members remember them, so they shouldn't go. I say, well, our babies didn't remember us either when they were a week old, two weeks old, but we sure wanted to make them happy.

Speaker 1:

You know, it's just like that yeah, yeah, that's good, that's really good. I, I just see, and I I know why my mom said you need to talk to her, as, as I love, what you just said is like I don't know what I'm gonna do today, and then you pray about it or you're like, hey, how can I help someone else? Instead of well, yeah, I just need some time to myself, I guess I'll just watch another show, or you know, I feel like sometimes we get into this like self-care thing a little bit too much and we don't go out and we love on others.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. And I think, just even when you see people in the grocery store that are older because older people are often feel like they're invisible. And recently I saw a man in fairway and I said, hi, how are you doing today? He looked to be in his eighties, I would guess, and he said, good, do I know you? And just because I spoke to him and I said, no, I don't know you, but I thought you looked like a really nice guy and I just wanted to say hi to you. So, just simple things, even in the grocery store, it's just so easy to find fun people and so I chat with him. We chatted for like 15 minutes.

Speaker 1:

he told me about his life and where he lives and, yeah, you just run across really great interactions with people oh, I love that because I feel again that we're kind of in this stage of America where it's just easy to say everyone's so terrible and just get down on the world and get down on everything. But you just lifted it up with just what you said. So what a good way to look at things.

Speaker 2:

You know, one of my favorite things have always been to find a grumpy person and make them smile or laugh. You cannot be grumpy forever, so I guess I like a challenge. This guy did not look like a challenge, but I know people in my life that have and yeah, that's always fun to do. I can get you, I'll bring you home. I guess that's part of the outgoing to do I can get you, I hope, when you won't.

Speaker 1:

Yes, that's part of the outgoing part, right? Yeah, I can see that. Well, what will you say to someone who who's kind of inspired by what you're talking about, but not sure that they could go to Haiti or but? What would you say to them what would you, how would you encourage them to do something?

Speaker 2:

I would say in the United States alone there are lots of opportunities I took my girls to when Katrina hit. It was in 2005, down in New Orleans. It was the first huge hurricane wiped out I don't know if you remember, but a lot of New Orleans. So at that time I went oh no, I just started with Red Cross and I called Des Moines Red Cross when that hit and said I don't know what I can do to help, but please let me know if there's anything I can. I got deployed for three weeks to go down there, just that fast. I had to do a background check and went down there. That was the start of my working with Red Cross. I was down there twice for three weeks helping them and then the next summer I took my girls and one of my best friends and her daughter went down for a week and we went with the church group and then the summer after that we took them again and just went down on our own, found a place to stay and found people to help.

Speaker 2:

So there's little things like that that just arise. That that's how you can get started here in America doing simple things. I know church groups that go to Chicago and do mission work. There's all sorts of places around here that you could start and then, if you felt like spreading your wings, you could try out of the country.

Speaker 2:

And the thing about I like about Haiti too I mean it just fell in my lap and but one of the things I really like about it is that it's so close. Haiti is just in our backyard. I mean, it's not that far from Miami, so it's easy to get there and easy to get back quick, as opposed to some of the other countries that people go to and needs are everywhere. So I'm not saying they shouldn't go there, but for me I like the place I ended up going is nice and close. Yeah, oh, place I ended up going is nice and close. Yeah, oh, that's good. I um brought my children up going to the nursing home with me. You probably did too, like, did you guys play bingo at the nursing home?

Speaker 1:

your children yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So we just started out doing all those volunteer things together and then, as the children got older, instead of gifts for Christmas or birthday um, we haven't done gifts for so many years, but they would do a good deed for someone else and that was my gift, and then at Christmas they would all either have it written out or a video or something showing me what they had given me, and that was way better than opening any gift, and it had to be anonymous. That was one of the things they couldn't. What I wanted them to learn the gift of not getting thanks, just helping someone because it feels good, and so they still do that and that's really fun.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that is so. What a great idea, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Because what do we need for gifts as parents? Really, we go buy what we want.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

We do by Christmas time. You're just trying to figure out something you don't need, so somebody can give you something. So, yeah, it's probably been 20 years since we've done gifts wow, wow.

Speaker 1:

That kind of just takes the pressure off of the Christmas, doesn't it? And get back to what it's supposed to be about.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes, yes. And finding out what they did for someone else is so much more exciting than opening a box with a sweater, a VCR, whatever is going on that day that you get the gift. So much more exciting for me.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's so great.

Speaker 2:

And that's what anybody could do here in America easily just to start out with the charity and giving you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, no, thank you for that. Well, unfortunately we don't have a lot of time and I've loved our conversation. Um, well, we already talked about what you're grateful for. What's your favorite Bible verse or story?

Speaker 2:

Well, um, what's? There's first of all, a couple of songs, and you'll know these songs. Here I am. Lord really speaks to me. I love that when we play that in church and I have it on my iPod. But Matthew 2540, the King will reply whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do unto me, and that really speaks to me, that we just need to help each other, and that's what God put us all here for, and nobody's in it alone, right, or?

Speaker 1:

shouldn't be, shouldn't be Right. Yeah, I was just trying to find the verse really quick. I don't know if I'll be able to find it. Is it when? When it's? Is it Samuel? I shouldn't even say it, but where God's speaking to him and he goes to to the prophet and says you called me, you called me. He's like no, I didn't call you, go back to bed, you called me, you called me no. And then finally he says oh, god's trying to speak to you. Go say here I am. So yeah, I thought of that.

Speaker 2:

Is it I Lord? Yeah, I've heard you calling in the night, yeah, yeah, yeah. Another song that I love is they Will Know we Are Christians Through Our Love, through Our Love. You know that song, of course. Yeah, and when I'm in Haiti, I really feel like that.

Speaker 1:

I hope they know I'm Christian through in America and just even getting a little angsty about like oh, we're going to go through another presidential campaign, and can we? How can we hurt each other even more? And you?

Speaker 1:

know, and how can, how can we show love? How can we show we're Christians, you know, can we? And by your love, I love that. That point right there. Yeah Well, I don't even know if I need to ask this what kindness have you shown, what kindness have you um seen in the last few weeks? Because it um, this is what all this has been about, but is there anything specific?

Speaker 2:

well, what's really making my heart happy this week is when I was in Haiti delivering food, you know, I said I'll come along. Someone needs. This family had a mud stick house. That was totally, and a lot of the houses there are, but even the mud was no longer in the sticks, so it was just open.

Speaker 2:

When it rains, it got wet, the mud floor and I was able to find an organization called Mercy Missions to build them a house and it's so cheap compared to our houses in America. I mean, I could build 50 if I sold this house and this is just a little ranch. But so that's being built this week and I keep getting pictures from the people that are building it and the guy sending me the pictures. That's my kindness. I'm just so happy that I get to be along for the ride and see the house as it goes up, and I think they should be ready to move in next week maybe oh, that's so great yeah that's so that well, thank you for sharing a little bit of your story and I'm praying that this will um just impact someone to show a little bit more love and kindness, yeah it's so easy.

Speaker 1:

Well, you make it sound easy, but no, thank you for for sharing and being open to share that with us.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1:

I hope that this episode has been impactful for you and a reminder at ordinary people, extraordinary things. Your story is his glory, and so make your story known in order for his glory to shine. We do that with faith and hope with every story that we hear. We will be back in two weeks with a brand new episode. In the meantime, check out all five seasons of Ordinary People Extraordinary Things and make sure to share it with your friends and family that will be impacted by this podcast.

Faith and Hope in Ordinary People
Aid and Outreach Efforts in Haiti
Expressing Jesus Through Love in Haiti
Gratitude and Helping Others
Spreading Kindness and Building Hope