Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great quote

Great Quote:

"No doubt many a state has been preserved by the Godly remnant in it, whom the majority would have exterminated had it been in their power. Hence, the value of good men in bad localities. When you, my dear friend, go into a place where there is no religion, do not be so very sorry at your position, for God may have great ends to be served by you."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Itinerary for next Haiti trip

Hey, all!

Here is our itinerary for our next trip to Haiti!
Be praying for us. :)


Wednesday, March 11th
Jonathan leaves for Haiti – 10:10 MIA

Thursday, March 12th
4:00 AM Lakeland/Clermont Groups Depart
4:30 AM Lakeland/Clermont Groups meet at 60/27 Intersect
8:00 AM Arrive at MIA/Check-In
9:00 AM Group Meeting at the Gate
10:10 AM Depart for Port-au-Prince, Haiti
11:30 AM Arrive in PAP
12-2:30 PM Grocery Store/Check-In/Lunch
3:00 PM Depart for Baptist Mission/Fort Jack/Lookout
6:30 PM Back at Hotel for Dinner

Friday, March 13th
8:30 AM Meet in lobby/Depart of Kensckoff
10:00 AM Arrive in Kensckoff/Meet Leaders/Building Site Tour
12:00 PM Lunch with Key Church Members (Q&A – roundtable)
2-4:30 PM Free Space
4:30 PM Depart of Hotel
6:30 PM Back at Hotel/Dinner/Group Time

Saturday, March 14th
8:30 AM Meet in lobby/Depart for Kensckoff
10-4:30PM Arrive in Kensckoff
Market, Play with Children, Make Blocks by the river, Farm, etc.
4:30 PM Depart for the Hotel
6:30 PM Back at Hotel/Dinner/Group Time

Sunday, March 15th
8:30AM Meet in lobby/Depart of PAP Airport
12:20 PM Depart PAP headed for MIA
3:30 PM Arrive at MIA/Load up and drive home

Following God versus Setting and Achieving Goals

Good quote that shares how an ancient warrior dealt with the difference between peace of mind and pressing hard toward a goal:

"I have no confidence in the flesh, my own abilities to produce...
in fact, I count all things I once trusted in as loss...
HOWEVER, I press on, not as though I have attained, but I follow after. 
Again, not as if I have apprehended, but this one thing I do;
I choose to forget everything behind me, 
and reach forward to those things which are before me.
I press hard toward the mark to attain the goal and prize!"
- Saul of Tarsus
to his team in the ancient Greek city of Philippi
(my paraphrase)

As Chad and I continue to work on our goal setting system for, I continue to try to work out my understanding of simply following God (flowing with Him) compared with goal setting. 

At first these seem to conflict, yet Paul (once Saul) had this on lock down. He had it figured out quite well.

Tell me what you think

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mission Statement

This was my submission to the Peace Corps as my personal mission statement.


My personal mission statement has been for some time now:

I motivate and inspire, activate and equip, everyone I come in contact with.

This mission statement has followed me in ministry, in my service in non-profit work, as well as in the business world. It has chased me in the way I have viewed the people I have interacted with in India, China, Africa, South America and, most recently, in Haiti.

What I want to see is a certain thing that happens on a person's face when they have a sense of purpose, dignity, yea, hope of improvement.

What I love is that single moment where a smile breaks the hardened, cracks in an worn face when they realize that not only is someone here to help; someone cares. Someone loves them.

It has led me to have a passion and a longing for the most poor in completely underdeveloped areas. This sense of satisfaction started when I served in the church with at-risk youth. Then it was compounded when I served my co-students on Semester-at-Sea when we almost wrecked in the Spring 2005 trip. It compounded yet again with every visit; the brick-making family in Viet Nam, the orphanages in Kenya, the favellas in Brazil, and the homes in rural Haiti.

I cannot NOT serve in this function. I can no longer exert energy for any other type of work. No matter what the skill set required (business, accounting, management, negotiations, etc), I can only apply it to the service of those in need.

I could show you my 5-year goals and plans, or review the things I have done and experienced in the last 5 years, and you would see the trend.

Up until now I have made decisions that have often sacrificed strong potential for large financial gains. Some would say that I have “sabotaged my own success.” I would say that I have made decisions for others' success.

Looking at my goals for the future, there are plenty of goals surrounding financial freedom. There are pleny of goals for travel and development. All of them circulate in making myself free to serve; free to serve humanity, free to serve the poor, free to serve the needy, free to serve the hurting.

My whole purpose and being move toward being free enough to unabashedly seek to motivate and inspire, activate and equip, all that I come in contact with, especially the most poor.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Haiti Update!

Hello, Everyone!

I just wanted to give the update on the going-ons with me, Haiti, and what I have been doing there.

Our last trip was highly fruitful.
I went with Jonathan Capre for a small excursion to scout out quotes on replacing a building, prices for hotels and rental jeeps, and meeting leadership to prepare for partnering the local Haitian church with an American Church. (We focus on strategic partnerships between US people or organizations with Haitian people or organizations.) It was a quick trip, but the people we continue to bring provision and hope to are priceless.

As usual in Haiti, the acrid smell of charcoal is everywhere. (It is their main source of energy for cooking.) The rooster would wake us up every morning at 4 a.m., with the gray of the morning starting to show. How I wished we would eat that chicken! But, I would have to settle for one meal of goat, and the rest of rice and beans. I cannot tell you how many of my friends there would say joyfully at one point or another, "Mesi. Thank you, brother. I did not expect to eat until I felt full today!"

Mosei was a great guide and driver as normal. He is our designated ministry driver who navigates the wild roads in Haiti where you make your own 3rd lane. Scarier than Florida drivers! Clovis, missing teeth and all, has a great smile and is always there to deliver messages and information in a country where mass communication like cell phones and e-mail are hard to come by. He brought news of revival in the north, as well as the degree of need in that area. Chester, one of the better English speakers and leader in the area where we will be doing this first partnership, is a handsome young guy. He is several years younger than me, but, with the help of Jonathan here in the US, is almost finished with his electrical engineer degree; advanced education is a very hard and expensive thing to come by. His wife and children depend on him, so he does odd jobs, when he can find some, between his duties as a pastor of the local church.

And, as usual, many random moments made me laugh. From the time I went to climb into the wash basin (no running water) only to find a rat trying desperately to climb out. You should have seen 2 Haitians and a blan (white person, me!) jump, laughing hysterically, once that mouse got on the floor! Another time, I had a question and approached a man who was sitting only to find that he was using the restroom right there. My Haitian friends and guides couldn't help but laugh at the look on my face. And who can forget Elna's coffee?! Haiti, an island just like Cuba, grows fantastic coffee! Elna, Jonathan's sister who lives in the house with her family, makes the best coffee that trumps any Cuban coffee I have ever known! (While we were there we heard that Starbucks was exploring partnering with a coffee farm there, and we are hoping to find out if this is true. That would bring many great jobs for our people.)

Once we arrived at the partnership location, I became quite hopeful that we can make permanent change in Haiti. The problem quite often is that people are giving handouts, when what they really need are hand-ups!

There are so many half-finished buildings. There are so many partially-fixed cars. Worse, there is so much US money being poured through the Haitian government. These funds rarely trickle down to the people. Having studied micro-enterprise for a short time, I am growing confident that we can build sustainable, small business/small investment solutions for these people.

With the partnerships we are starting to create, with ingenuity and training, and with everyone's help, I believe that we can do more than the same old thing in Haiti. I believe that we can make continued, permanent change for these people.

This last trip we managed to give rice and beans to about 30 people, which, when distributed, will help about 70-90 people. That will only last for about 30 days. This is far better than what they would be facing.

However, the meager $300 that it took to feed them once could be invested into 10-20 people's small business. With the right accountability in place, it could permanently improve those 10-20 families. More than that, they could be significantly better off to hire more people and expand the prosperity further.

The additional benefits are many, but a few are:
a) that money actually gets paid back (98% payback rate) with a little interest so that,
b) the money can be reinvested into another 10-20 people's businesses,
c) there is a social accountability which draws the community together tighter to help make sure that everyone is succeeding, and
d) the group accountability offers a platform for weekly training on medicine, disease prevention, managing finances, learning english, and so much more!

You can see that I really like the idea of sustainability; our donations go much further to actually solve the problem! AND, the people have an improved sense of self-worth. A perfect combination for growth and light and hope!

I love it!

That being said, we are going again in March; from the 12th to the 15th. If you would like to be involved, please let me know ASAP!
  • If you want to GO, tickets need to be purchased by Tuesday of next week! EGAD! I know its soon, but we just had a few positions open up. Get us a deposit for the tickets. Attached is a sample of the Transforming Travel packets that we have put together. (We call these trips Transforming Travel because that's what it does!)
  • If you want to SEND, you can mail in a donation to the contact information below. PLEASE E-MAIL OR CALL ME TO LET ME KNOW THAT ITS IN THE MAIL.
  • You can also send me donations through PayPal at my e-mail address below.
  • Money will go to i) bringing food and provisions to Haitians, ii) group trip costs, and iii) continued research for feasibility of micro-lending/micro-enterprise in this particular area
  • If you are interested in helping us do future research or needs analysis (what are the nutrition, education, agricultural, technological needs, etc.), again, contact me to let me know.
  • If you know of any individuals or organizations that would be interested in becoming a founding partner with our ventures in Haiti, feel free to put us in touch with them. We can work with them to see if there is a potential partnership in helping them meet their goals.

We are ready to go. To make the trip truly effective, we need an additional $1,200. (That's only $20 from everyone who received this e-mail!)

Anything you can do to help is welcome!

I will keep you informed of the awesome things going on in this arena! There are a few pictures of our last 2 trips attached as well.

Thank you so much for everything, and your prayers, and we will keep pushing over here!

Most Sincerely,

Grant R. Nieddu
(772) 321-1840

P.O. Box 2115
Lakeland, FL

Monday, February 2, 2009

Trying to Write

Ideas and words spin in a vortex in my mind. Were the only thoughts present about writing this could be a tornado that produces good, but, mixed with concerns about provision and direction, and businesses I have started to provide, and books that I have read of late that stir me, and movies I have watched for entertainment, “writing” is a lone shard of shrapnel whipping wildly on the edge of the storm amid the dusty clouds and debris.