Operation Water Engineering: A Mission Trip to Haiti?

For several months now, shortly after I saw The Advent Conspiracy, I have wanted to be involved in humanitarian/missionary projects to bring clean water to places that don’t have it.

Last semester (Spring 2009), I was part of a group at Merge (Flatirons Community Church) that was looking for opportunities for college-aged people to be more active in mission work. It was at that point that I started developing more passion for using my engineering skills to serve other people, specially with regard to getting access clean water.

A specific idea I had was doing what I’ll call “emerging technology transfer.” The idea is that we would take some form technology and extract the emerging technologies out of it to be put to use in different ways. For example, technology in a Toyota Prius, could be used to design a wind turbine where the blades would be made using the same composite technology1, which would connect to a generator that is based on the regenerative braking system. The same motor-generator system would also be used to power the water pump. Excess energy would be stored for later use in NiMH batteries ius. And for the cloudy days, the efficient gas-engine could be used. There are other issues, such as: will they be able to maintain this equipment? So I digress.

Convergence, the Young Adult Ministry at University Presbyterian Church, is going on a mission trip to Haiti in January to “come alongside UPC ministry partners Bruce and Deb Robinson as they serve the Haitian people through various community development initiatives, mainly through flood control projects.”2

From upcconvergence.files.wordpress.com:

We will be doing a variety of work, ranging from irrigation projects, rebuilding structures damaged during hurricane season, and more. We will primarily work on construction projects. If you have specific professional skills, we will inquire to see if they might be useful to the community. In addition, you will get to see how God has been working through the Robinsons during their time in Haiti.

As it turns out, I do have specific skills that could probably be useful. I have a passion for the project, I can get the time off, and I can mostly afford the trip (if I decide to go, I may ask for some fund raising help). I’ve also never been to Haiti before, which would sort of tack on a bonus country to my Travel the World goal.

But there’s still that hint of reservation…is this what I should be doing?


  1. I actually don’t know if such technology is used on the Prius, just assuming here. 

  2. http://upcconvergence.wordpress.com/mission-trips/haiti/ 

My Faith Journey

I wrote this at the beginning of the year for a missionary organization that I was applying to. I ended up withdrawing my application for other reasons, however, I thought this was worth sharing. And what better day to share than Easter? He is Risen.

I’ve never really been sure how to best answer this question. I do not believe there is a single identifiable point in time where I became a Christian. I was raised in a loving Christian home, as both my parents are Christian’s. My faith has been, and continues to be, a wonderful journey of understanding. Along the way, I have developed a relationship with the Lord that I can call my own. My goal is to seek Him, incessantly. I can, however, identify some critical points in my journey.

High school was a time when a lot of my faith flourished. I went on student trip to Lake Shasta through my church and an organization called Sonshine Ministries. I became part of an amazing Bible study that, even after high school ended, still stays in contact with each other regularly.

College has been hard though. I attended Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ for a little while my freshman year, but it was radically different from what I was used to and I soon stopped going. Sophomore year, I tried going to a variety of different churches around my school. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I thought I had finally found a church: First Presbyterian Church of Golden. I went for the remainder of sophomore year and the start of my junior year. However, it just wasn’t sticking. I found the sermons uninteresting and inapplicable in my life. The audience was also predominately older couples and children, there were practically no college age students. So I gave up and coasted for a while, going to church only when I was back in Seattle.

When I was back this last summer, I was talking with our senior pastor, Earl Palmer, and some friends from my Bible Study. One question came up about how to find another church away from home. Part of what I got out of the that discussion is that I was missing something when I was trying to find a church in the past: the community.

When I got back to school this past fall, I called up a friend, Matt, and asked if he wanted to go this church I’d heard about, Flatirons Community Church. As it turned out, he was already planning on carpooling up with another mutual friend, so we all carpooled together. After church, Matt introduced me to his community at church. This is when I stopped coasting in my faith. I had found community within a church; which is the part I had been missing previously. And it has been an absolute blessing to be in this community.

I have been enjoying going to Flatirons. I’ve also been going to The Annex (a college ministry run by First Presbyterian Boulder) on Tuesdays and I recently volunteered to drive freshmen from their dorms to The Annex and back.

The Quest Continues

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I’m thinking that maybe I should start making weekly updates on my summer plans. To follow up on last weeks report, I’ve prayed and thought long and hard about Messenger and Engineering Ministries International and I don’t think those would be good matches for me.

Messenger is really a community-based missions trip and I think me not returning to Colorado next year is not inline with that goal. eMi seems to be more of planning organization rather then a doing organization. I’ve been planning for the last five years, I’m ready to do.

I’ve talked to a couple friends I have in Switzerland (Remo and Günther) and Germany (Philip). One thing that I’ve started to look into is using RyanAir and Eurail to travel. RyanAir would be nice and fast, but I think is ultimately unfeasible to use on a regular basis because they only fly into cities with airports. Once I get to a city, I’d need to find some mode of transportation if I wanted to explore anything more than walking distance.

Eurail could be the ticket, though. I could get the 21 country pass and travel to just about any city of a decent size. Sure, it would be slower, but the sheer number of cities available make it completely worthwhile. Besides, Europe is that big. $1039 buys me two months of travel. I’d also probably consider 15 days of travel in two months for $709. If I did get a Eurail pass, I would probably just visit a lot of cities, spending as many days I wanted in each city (sleeping at a hostel, presumably), and then catching the next train to where ever. To this end, I have a phone call with Jessica planned tonight to

But I haven’t given up on a mission trip yet! My search is progressing and I talked with Lance who suggested an organization called Serving in Ministry. It looks like SIM has some really interesting short term mission trips, including a photography/videographer position; I’ll definitely be checking them out some more.

Flatiron’s Community Church may also be planning on sending a college group to Afghanistan over the summer. I emailed Ron, the Director of Missions at FCC to see what the deal on that will be.

I did finally call the Department of State today to see if there were any special travel restrictions that I needed to observe. They didn’t seem to have a list, so I’ll probably just keep an eye on the Entry/Exit requirements for countries I intend to visit. (Side rant: Why doesn’t travel.state.gov work with Google Chrome?)