Because…

This is a letter that Bruce sent Amber, who forwarded it on to the rest of us and I thought it was worth sharing as well:

Dear Amber and UPC team,

Because you couldn’t fly out normally, we had to drive to Cap Haitian.

Because we were going to be in Cap Haitian, Bill Piepgrass, surgeon and former missionary doctor here decided to come to Haiti since he had a ride back to La Pointe to work at the hospital.

Because Bill was going to come to Haiti to work on Port-au-Prince refugees, he invited his friends, Gary an orthopedic surgeon, Don an anesthesiologist, and Helen an OR nurse.

Since we were going to be coming back empty, we asked and God gave us a load of medical supplies from Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

Because we had all the medical stuff in the back of the truck, all these medical people had something to sit on (sortof) in the back of the truck for the nine hour trip back via Gonaives. Incidently, it is not as easy when you are over 40.

Because the doctors came and because they had stuff to work with, they were able to treat patients like you are going to read about below1.

Sometimes waiting is a very difficult, important, and fulltime job. Because you patiently waited until it was God’s time and way to get out of the country, we were able to get in sequence for the timing of all that was to come. And be there with the truck.

On Tuesday Lord willing we should be receiving two more plane loads of medical supplies from the cruise ships of Royal Caribbean.

Thanks for coming and helping. The team house roof is pretty much done except for the dinking around finish jobs and it shouldn’t leak anymore.

In Christ,
Bruce

PS please pass on to the team members

Bruce was also able to put in the outlet that we didn’t get to and they now have power at the vocational school in Foison.


  1. Bruce forwarded a story about two Haitians whom the medical supplies helped  

Mission Trip Haiti: Epilogue, Part 3

I’ve spent a substantial amount of time trying to figure out what to make of everything that happened; or perhaps more precisely, in light of what happened, what am I going to do now? Sure, I returned home to Seattle, went back to work, and have even told my story (hence you reading this). In a bigger sense, I ask myself what am I being called to do. Is it different than what I’m doing now? This, of course, has various theological implications about what a calling is and how one discerns God’s will.

Photo by Brenna Hesch

The problem with mission trips, and really anything else that thrusts a person into atypical situations is that it exposes you to what looks like the greener side of the fence without showing you all the weeds. The typical reaction to this feeling, I think, is to change everything in ones life all at once; there’s a huge push to become a better person, but at what expense? My approach has been one of timid toe-dipping: make small course corrections now, nothing that will list the ship. It doesn’t seem like much now, but in one year (or five, or ten) the trajectory change will be substantially noticeable.

I still have more growing to do.

Photo by Jon Mullins

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I was going to process everything. I would have just liked to have sit in quiet meditation for a couple of days, but I’ve never been one to sit still for very long and my responsibilities in the real world were calling me.

Photo by Brenna Hesch

I spent several hours (over twelve) editing the photos and probably another five or six hours writing (and linking photos). I really wanted to avoid a telling a serialized string of events, so I stuck to recalling events that stood out in my mind, even if that meant skipping over some things. My goal is that I could use the picture to compliment and supplement what I wrote1, and in that regard, I hope I was successful in telling, more or less, the entire story.

Photo by Jon Mullins

I also wanted to avoid having this be all about the earthquake. This has probably been the most difficult issue to deal with. Initially, I felt like a survivor without a disaster. But as the shock of the entire situation has warn off, I find myself wonder what our status really was. Were we evacuees of a natural disaster? What sort of danger were we really in? I’ve tried to push myself to tell a fair story, but it’s a tricky balance.

Photo by Brock Fehler

If you were to ask me to sum up my experience in one sentence, it would be this: Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city2.


  1. they say a picture is worth a thousand words 

  2. to quote Chris Tomlin 

Mission Trip Haiti: Business as Usual, Almost — Part 2

Everyone was shocked; I hadn’t even once considered that the epicenter could be Port-au-Prince.

My first reaction was untempered, “Let’s go! People need our help!” However, Bruce kindly and patiently explained our position: a group of white people, with no experience in disaster recovery, who can’t speak French or Creole, and don’t have place to stay, food to eat, or water to drink. Of course, Bruce was right; we would have been more of burden than anything. I guess that’s the kind of insight one gets after working in Haiti for twenty-five years.

Life continued, more or less, as normal. Bruce was working overtime trying to coordinate relief efforts with his organization, CrossWorld, and we did what we could for the people of Port-au-Prince from where we were by praying. The only real impact to us was that our days were a bit shorter since Bruce had so much going on.

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, Nord-Ouest, Haïti


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, Nord-Ouest, Haïti


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38.0 mm || 1/400 || f/4.2 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti


Continue reading “Mission Trip Haiti: Business as Usual, Almost — Part 2”

Mission Trip Haiti: In Words and Photos – Part 1

Editors Note: Sorry it has taken so long to get this post up. The last several weeks have been hectic, at best.

I wrote this as a stand alone blog post for a variety of reasons. One of which is that I was asked by my college newspaper, The Oredigger, to write guest column – which I was more than happy to do. The original plan was to take a blog post and then repurpose it for the newspaper. As it turned out, I did it the other way around.

Below is an expanded version of what I wrote for The Oredigger.

For those who aren’t majoring in History, here’s the quick introduction to Haiti, courtesy of the CIA World Factbook:
From www.cia.gov:

In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti’s nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L’ouverture. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence in 1804. The poorest country [and also perceived as the most corrupt] in the Western Hemisphere , Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

My involvement with Haiti is a rather curious one. Last spring, I was looking for a summer mission trip that would be able to use to my skills as an engineer. Although I pursued several different avenues, I didn’t find anything that struck a chord with me. Excuses will always be prevalent, especially in today’s society. Through an interesting set of short conversations with a variety of people over the fall, I decided that it’s high time I let my “religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” (G. K. Chesterton)

So there it was.

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Tacoma International Airport, Washington, United States

I left for Haiti on January 8th. It was an arduous journey to get there (or so I thought), leaving in the early morning from Seattle, flying to Chicago, and then to Miami. Miami only offered a short reprieve (I think we spent more time trying to get to our hotel rooms than we did in them) before we had to be back at Miami’s International Airport to catch our flight to Haiti.

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18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Miami International Airport, Florida, United States


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Miami International Airport, Florida, United States


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18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Miami International Airport, Florida, United States

Continue reading “Mission Trip Haiti: In Words and Photos – Part 1”

Another Haiti Update

Some of this information is going to be repeated becuase I had about all of four minutes last time I was online. Once you get to the second paragraph, it should be mostly new stuff:

As you probably know by now, there was a severe earthquake (and several dozen aftershocks) just south of Port-au-Prince Haiti on Tuesday. I am staying about 125 miles north near a town called Port-de-Paix. We felt the earthquake (best guess is around a 3.0 or so, perhaps less), however I and the rest of my team is safe. The missionaries we are staying with have enough food, water, gas, and other essentials to last for a very long time (easily several months).

Unfortunately, getting out of the country has proven to be a bit difficult. Port-au-Prince (which is where we flew into and are supposed to fly out of) is in ruins, although the airport is reasonably intact (or so I’ve heard). We were scheduled to fly back on Monday, 18 January. However, American Airlines has cancelled all flights for the time being and has rescheduled us for Saturday, 23 January. Additionally, we have to take a short “commuter” flight (from Port-de-Paix to Port-au-Prince) on a local airline that has also stopped operating and has stated that they will not resume operations until American Airlines starts flying (which should be Tuesday, 19 January).

Several aid ships for several nations are here or enroute. The United States Military has or very shortly will take over control off the airport and hopefully things will get going again. It’s rumored (although I can’t substantiate this) that Monday is the day they are airlifting a bunch of stuff in, which is why we can’t fly out.

We’re past plans B, C, and D and are on to about Plan E now. We are monitoring the situation and still attempting to get out on Monday (although we don’t really think that will happen). One possibility might be to get a flight out on an missionary flight operated by Missionary Flights International. However, we won’t be moving until it’s a “slam dunk” to get back to Miami (or somewhere else in the US).

Contact with the outside world as also been at a minimum. So far, I’ve only been able to get Internet access for about 10 minutes in the last 10 days. I haven’t read any news reports or seen any photos from Port-au-Prince, thus all I know is what Bruce (one of the missionaries) has relayed to us (to his credit, he has been doing a great job of keeping us apprised of what’s going on).

We’ve continued on with our original plans as best we can and have generally been in good spirits; however, yesterday was a bit tough as final word came down that American Airlines was not flying on Monday and our flight have been pushed back almost an entire week. I think everyone has taken the news rather well and has shifted gears to figure out how to make the best of the situation we are in. Most of us have jobs and took a large chunk of vacation time to come down to Haiti and now we have to dig into that bank even more, which hurts a bit (at least for me).

I’m also tired of eating oatmeal and tuna fish sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, respectively, everyday; however, Deb (Bruce’s wife) has cooked amazing dinners for us every night and I’ve been eating better down here than I have at home most nights.

We’ll continue to keep on keeping on down here. I’d ask that you pray for safe (and soon) travel back to Seattle and peace of heart and mind while we are down here.

Know that we are safe and will get back to Seattle as soon as safely possible. Feel free to post comments below. Updates will be provided when I get more Internet access. You can also stay up-to-date at http://www.upc.org.

Andrew, out.

Update from Haiti

This is just a quick update to tell you that first off I am, along with the rest of our team, ok. We are in Port-da-Paix, which is about 125 miles north of Port-au-Prince. At about 4:45pm on Tuesday we felt an small tremor (~3.0 or so on the Richter scale, best guess). We thought it was an isolated and local tremor. As we all now know it was quite more than that.

There really isn’t a lot were are able to do from where we are, so we are going about our project as usual. We get intermedite updates from our hosts as time and information permits. However, this is the worst thing to Haiti in at least 100 years.

My biggest concern right now is getting back home. To get back to the US, we have to take a 45 minute flight into Port-Au-Prince and then catch an an American Airlines flight to Miami. Right now, we don’t know if American Airlines if flying or not.

I’d ask that you pray for the people of Haiti. That you would pray for us and the rest of our trip. And that you pray that God would find us getting home safely.

-Andrew

In Haiti

Believe it or not, Andrew isn’t at home, please a message… at the beep. I must be out, or I’d pick up the phone. Where could I be? Believe it or not, I’m not home!

I have left the country (no, really, I’m out of the country again) and am on vacation from 8 January 2010 through 18 January 2010. I will be returning to life as you know it on Tuesday, 19 January 2010.

I do not plan on having access to email (or really any form of communication), so don’t plan on hearing from me until after the 19th.

If this is a real emergency (i.e. someone is going to die), my parents have my emergency contact information.

Good luck.

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56.0 mm || 1/2000 || f/4.5 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia

Haiti Update

I finally got out the last batch of the letters I’m planning on sending for fund raising purposes. Inevitably, there are some people who I didn’t send letters to who may feel left out. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to send letters to everyone. It takes a lot of time and energy to address and prepare letters (plus 44 cents in postage). I targeted people who I though would not read my site on a regular basis and/or would be interested to know what I was up to. Please consider this letter personally addressed to you.

Last night our group received a list of what Bruce and Deb hope for us to accomplish. There were many things on the list, mostly dealing with some basic construction needs a la High School Mexico Mission Trip

Of particular interest to be are:

  • Troubleshoot the wiring from the generator to the well and find out why it is not pumping water to the school.
  • Look at an possibly improve the wiring for the generator and school and church there, or at least plan what should be done.
  • The church has a fledgin ‘computer center’ with a couple of computers and an internet connection. I don’t know what shape it is in but I need to talk with the pastor to see if he wants anyone to work with some of the teachers and their instructors on this.

The internet connection in our team house does not at present work. We have not been able to re-aim the satellite dish with the new transmitter even though we have the right equipment and have done it before. This is a prayer request. If it is not working when you get here, if anyone can help us we would appreciate it.

All these things make me very excited! I’m pretty good at trouble shooting and I love guerrilla improvisation. I’ve already relayed a message1 back to Bruce asking for more information so I can read up on the right specs and bring the correct tools.

I’ve been reading up on Haiti (here, here, and here), including the fact that it is perceived as one of the world’s most corrupt countries, even more than Russia.

Some important dates to keep in mind:

  • January 3rd, 7pm – Commissioning at UPC Evening Service
  • January 5th, 7:30pm – Commissioning at Convergence
  • January 8th, 12pm – Depart Seattle
  • January 18th, late at night – Arrive Seattle

I can’t believe I’ll be in Haiti in less than a month; better start packing!


  1. It was really just a volley of questions 

Christmas Time is Here

I can’t believe it’s only 13 days until Christmas. I’ve turned on the snow on this site, apropos considering the temperatures we’ve been experiencing this week. I’ve also been working on my Christmas list. Honestly, I don’t feel there’s a lot I need right now. I’m enjoying not having “stuff” around and I’m trying to keep more stuff from coming in. Things I do appreciate include1:

  1. things that I will use (to be differentiated from things that you think that I’ll use)
  2. things that are home made
  3. things that are consumable (although this needn’t mean strictly in the edible sense

This is not to dissuade you entirely from gifting me something, just to make you stop and think.

The Advent Conspiracy also has an updated video, which I’d encourage you to watch especially as it’s what I’ll be doing in Haiti (a bit) and this time of year in general:
Click for YouTube Video

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying going to some Christmas parties and have several more to go to in the coming weeks. Compared with what I’d normally be doing this time of year (finals and driving home for Christmas), I’m grateful to be where I am and to be doing what I’m doing. And the New Years eve party (LEGO’s! What a grand idea!) should be fun too. I also get the 24th through the 1st off from work (paid!).


  1. but are not limited to 

On a Mission For God in Haiti

I will be sending out letters later this week, but I wanted to provide an update on my plans now!

haiti-letter

Dear Friends,

It is with great excitement that I write to you about this next step in life. As you know, I graduated this past May from the Colorado School of Mines with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering. After traveling in Europe for nine weeks, I started my job at Boeing as an entry level Design and Analysis Engineer for Integrated Defense Systems. For a while, I have known that God has blessed me with special talents, especially those involving technology; and over the last several years, I have felt called to use my talents for His glory.

Last spring, I was looking for a summer mission trip that would be able to use to my skills as an engineer. Although I pursued several different avenues, I didn’t find anything that struck a chord with me. Excuses will always be prevalent, especially in today’s society.

This fall, I’ve been attending Convergence, the young adult ministry at UPC. Through an interesting set of short conversations with a variety of people over the last few month, I’ve decided that it’s high time I let my “religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” (G. K. Chesterton)

I have been given the opportunity to spend ten days serving the Lord in Haiti. I will travel with 11 others as we come along side UPC ministry partners Bruce and Deb Robinson. We will be engaged in a variety of work ranging from irrigation projects to rebuilding structures damaged during hurricane season, and more. I have no doubt that God will be able to use me and my skills for His work.

I am writing to ask if you would be my partner in this service through prayer and/or financial support. I am looking for a group of people to commit to praying for me and my team during this winter’s experience. As for finances, we are asked to raise $1500.

I know that in this economy that is a lot to ask, so any contribution you could make to this trip would be greatly appreciated; and I promise none of it will go to pay off my school loans. Your gift will be fully tax deductible (your cancelled check serves as a receipt), and any contributions I receive above my individual cost will be applied to team expenses as a whole. Please make any checks payable to UPC and send the enclosed response card with your donation by December 31 if possible.

This is a pretty exciting trip and I’m looking forward to seeing what God is up to. If you would like to stay appraised of my goings-on, I will be writing about my process and trip to Haiti on my web site, which you can visit at http://AndrewFerguson.net

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV))

Your Brother in Christ,

Andrew

Download a copy of this letter and fundraising response form: Haiti Letter (PDF: 595KB)