Going Back To Haiti

In case you didn’t know, I’m going back to Haiti and leaving in just over two weeks! I wanted to share with you my support letter and ask that you consider partnering with me or directly with Haiti:


Dear Friends,

Just over a year ago, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti.

It was a chance, I thought, for God to use my talents for His glory. I assumed that as a college-educated engineer still wet behind the ears, I would show Haiti all the amazing things that could be done with a little bit of math, some ingenuity, and elbow grease.

I am humbled to report that I was wrong. Well, at least wrong about what talents God would be using.

Before leaving for Haiti, I was praying with Jon Epps, the director of Convergence (the young adults group at church). I was feeling ambivalent about so many things in life. Jon prayed that “God would rock [my] world,” and He really did…in every sense of the word (we were there during the earthquake).

I can’t fix Haiti. My skills as an engineer focus mostly on sensing, control, and communication; not designing hurricane strength aqua ducts, constructing bridges over raging rivers, or building earthquake resistant homes (because nothing is ever really earthquake proof). I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not supposed to fix Haiti. Sometimes it takes a little smack from God to remind me of that.

There is something I can do though. I can engage Haitians. I can come alongside them as best I know how and show them God’s love and compassion. I can do the work that God laid out using the tools He has equipped me with, even if they aren’t the tools I thought I would be using.

I can also come back and tell my story, which I’ve had the opportunity to do as a guest writer in The Oredigger (my alma mater’s student newspaper), and in the UPC Times (my church newspaper), in addition to my pictures and posts on my blog. I’ve also had the pleasure of talking in person with many people at work, church, and around town about my experience and the issues facing Haiti.

Now, I have been given another opportunity to spend 10 days serving the Lord in Haiti. In April, I will travel with 11 others as we come alongside UPC ministry partners Bruce and Deb Robinson. We will engage with the Haitians as we work to continue construction of a school as well as take on other tasks Bruce and Deb set out for us.

So I’m humbly asking if you would be my partner in this service through prayer, financial support, or both. I am looking for a group of people to commit to praying for me and my team during this Spring’s experience. As for finances, we are asked to raise $1600 each.

I know 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 (“Haiti: Andrew Ferguson” on the memo line please) and send the enclosed response card1 with your donation by April 5th.

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 Ferguson

If you’re interested in helping support me, you may also do so online through PayPal:





Download a copy of this letter: Haiti Letter (PDF: 345KB )


  1. only if you received an actual letter….you can use the PayPal link below instead 

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 

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 

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)

The Free Range Method

After talking with many great people, I think I finally have a plan.

There are really two parts to this story, however I’m going to tell them in reverse order.

On Monday, I was feeling quite anxious. I’ve been feeling rather anxious all semester and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I went to More on Mondays, which is a targeted “seminar” that The Annex arranges. This past Monday was specifically for graduating seniors and they brought Cindy Smith, a woman who specializes in transition. Cindy usually deals with missionaries, expatriates, and repatriation. But being a senior is not entirely different. She provided us with a slide that shows the major steps of transition and then walked us through them:
transition
Click image to embiggen

This was really helpful. Just realizing that transition, especially on this scale, can be stressful and chaotic. This also helped me realize another thing: transitioning from college/Colorado to mission trip to work/Seattle would be way to much for me to handle. So I pretty much have nixed the idea of doing a mission trip over the summer, and I think it’s a good call.

Second, I talked with Jessica a couple weeks ago. She spent last fall traveling for about two months in Europe, which is great because that’s basically what I want to do – although I may go farther East than she did. I also filled in some important details of my trip. For me, it will probably cost about $4k-$5k, which is a lot, but I don’t think unreasonably so. I saved at least $1000 by using airline miles to fly from the US to Europe (assuming there isn’t some insane “fee” for booking said flight). Keeping cash on hand seems the way to go, which is what I remembered from my trip to Europe a couple years ago (I paid cash for everything…still have some left over, too).

In terms of getting around, Jessica said that using RyanAir (which I’d heard of) and easyJet (which I had not heard of) were probably better than getting a Eurail pass, although I don’t have to make that call just yet. In terms of sleeping accommodations, HostelWorld.com is the site to visit. I poked around it a bit and it seems really easy to use and should fit the bill just perfectly. The Lonely Planet series of books is what Jessica used, I currently have one on reserve at the library to see if I like the format and what they cover. If not, I may just end up using Rick Steves’. Or just wing it.

The plan, thus far, looks something like this: fly into and out of Europe via Paris or Frankfurt using airline miles. Spend several days in each city until I’m ready to move on to another city. Use HostelWorld to find places to sleep and meet new people. Theoretically find some other people travel with at a hostel and join them for a little while. Rinse and repeat. I’m calling this the free range method.

I would like to list out some places that I would like to visit, although I don’t want to attach a particular time or order in which to visit them. I think this will help move my journey along.

One of the other major things that I need to resolve is what I’m bringing. I would like to bring some photography equipment, but I’m not sure what and how much. There’s also the problem about what to do with all my photographs after I take them. Since I shoot in RAW, I need some special equipment and software to do any sort of editing, I can’t just upload them to Flickr. Do I want to just bring a stack of memory cards? I’m thinking about purchasing a netbook1 to bring with me. Costco is currently selling an Acer Aspire One Netbook with 8.9″ display, Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz, 1GB DDR2 RAM, 160GB HDD, no optical drive, and integrated webcam for $299.99. I could load it up with the most basic of RAW viewing tools so I could delete any photos I think are absolute crap and would never keep (e.g. blurry photos) and then upload the rest to a secure storage space online. This way I wouldn’t be completely SOL if the netbook was stolen, lost, broken (not that I’m planning on any of that happening).

Also, how much stuff do I really want to be taking? I want to be nimble.

If you’ve ever traveled abroad in this sort of fashion, what did you bring?


  1. A netbook is a small and cheap computer used primarily to access the Internet 

25 Random Things About Me

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

  1. I’m an introvert.
  2. I want to go into space (and visit the Moon, specifically), but probably won’t get the chance.
  3. I plan on getting my EMT.
  4. I plan on getting my pilots license.
  5. I plan on getting a masters degree (although I don’t know in what).
  6. I plan on getting my professional engineers license.
  7. My blood type is O+
  8. I have a website: https://andrewferguson.net
  9. I’ve been consistently blogging since 2003 (2099 posts and counting).
  10. I listen to NPR podcasts when I go to bed (Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me; This American Life; Radio Lab; Car Talk).
  11. My goal is see every single Star Trek TV show and movie, in order, before I graduate college.
  12. So far, I’ve watched 661 Star Trek episodes and movies, I have 116 left.
  13. I enjoy programming, especially in PHP.
  14. I enjoy taking photographs and I want to expand.
  15. I’m thinking about going on a mission trip this summer.
  16. I’ll be working in Seattle for Boeing after I graduate.
  17. Out of all five of the years I’ve been in college, I serously think this year has been my favorite.
  18. I think it’s been my favorite because of the amazing community I found at MERGE and The Annex.
  19. I’m worried about going back to Seattle.
  20. I used to drink rediculous amounts of Dr Pepper. Now I try to limit myself.
  21. I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety.
  22. I used to have lots of panic attacks in school, all the way into high school. I do pretty well now.
  23. I turn 23 on Saturday.
  24. I share the exact same birthday as my mom…only 30 years later.
  25. I think it’s harder to be a Christian and an American than it is to be a Christian and a scientist. I struggle every day.
  26. I can’t put my contacts in using two hands, I have to do it with one hand. I blame my dad for this.

Note: I’m posting this on my blog, which is then sucked into my Facebook Notes.