Making a Medical Difference
Once upon a time, in a land far away, I was a young school girl. (Can you imagine?) I remember learning about the civil war and how so many soldiers died from infected wounds. It seemed so foreign to me. I once had a scraped knee that got infected. My mother put scalding hot washcloths on it, as I screamed out in pain. Had she saved my life? Hard to imagine a scraped knee could have killed me. Apparently, the discovery of antibiotics is what made that seem so absurd to me.
This is what an infected bug bite or boil can turn into.
Fast forward 35 -40 years and I’m seeing with my own eyes what infection can do to people. A simple antibiotic is often beyond the reach of the poor and so a “simple” infection can be the cause of becoming maimed, losing a limb or worse.
Enter Mission of Hope International and Nurse Angela. I remember how insecure Angela seemed in her knowledge of nursing and how she would double guess herself constantly. But she never gave up. God sent many people along side to help her in areas where she was weak and little by little she turned into this amazing nurse that I see before me now. As long as we’re alive we’re learning. She is a picture of confidence now – not arrogant, just confident. I watch her as she treats each patient with respect, care, love and patience. I see her wrack her brain over the more challenging presentations and we rejoice together when the patient responds well to treatment.
This week, we welcomed a couple of RNs from Living Faith Fellowship (Souderton, PA). Janet Knechel and Beth Studenroth will be working with Angela in the clinic for a week. They spent Saturday preparing for tomorrow morning. Janet has 41 years of nursing experience and has been to Haiti over a dozen times. Beth, like Angela, chose nursing as a profession after her first visit to Haiti. We are blessed to have them here with us.
Myself, as an American with access to healthcare all of my life, had never really considered what life would be without it. While there are hospitals and medical clinics in Haiti, the doctor to patient ratio is very low. The advanced medical equipment and laboratory testing capacity is usually very hard and sometimes impossible to locate here. Add to this the extreme poverty that over three quarters of the country’s population lives in and you can see what an impact volunteers can make in the lives of our friends here in Grand-Goâve and St. Etienne.
I am not a medical professional, but I absolutely love the medical profession. If I had my druthers, I’d spend my days translating in medical clinics here in Haiti. I encourage all of you who are medical professionals to consider volunteering a week of your time to come experience what medical missions looks like – more importantly to help those who may have no other alternative for help. Most of us have at least one friend in the medical field. Maybe you could suggest they join you on a trip to MOHI this Winter. Remember, I’m not a nurse, but I love being in the clinic and there are things that people like me can do to really support the medical staff. Contact us – I’ll be waiting to hear from you!
Ed Lockett at the MOHI school in Thozin
We had several visitors this week at the MOHI school in Thozin. Our fellow missionary and dear friend, Ed Lockett stopped by with a group. He always brings something for the kids. Sometimes it’s pictures that he’s taken of them, balls, jump ropes, school supplies. Often times he’ll bring his guitar along and sing (and joke – a lot!) with the kids. He’s always surrounded and that’s just the way he likes it. He does such a great job of remembering individual children, too.
Ed put a smile on this little girl’s face!
Archived kindergarten graduation
Graduations will be happening in our two schools in just over a week. This is such a big event for these students and I am so excited for them. Each class will give speeches and other presentations, like songs and poetry. My favorite part of the graduation, personally, is listening to the kindergarten children over-pronouncing their French Rs. Unlike in English, where we pronounce the R mostly with our lips, the French R is pronounced from the back of the mouth/throat. So, when the child begins greeting the crowd, they say “Dear parents, professors, director, founder…” kind of like this, “Cherrrrrrrrrr parrrrrrrents, prrrofesseurrrrrrrrrs, dirrrrecteurrrrrrr, fondateurrrrrrrrrrrr…” It is so sweet to watch and such a riot to see all the attendees smile and laugh with joy as the speech is being given. Add to that the little practiced movements with the hands or a bow and it’s unbelievably cute. Ah, you probably wish you could see, too. Maybe you’ll just have to plan to join us next year.
6th grade class – practicing their moves for graduation
Later in the week our sixth grade classes will go to national exams. Both graduations and exams are milestones in the lives of our students. Please join our churches in praying for these students for peace, understanding and knowledge to be evident in them as they take these exams. Thank you.
Unlike American schools, we don’t HAVE to have electricity in classrooms in order to use them. Consequently, as benches become available, we are moving the students into their new classrooms. Woo Hoo! They love it and so do I!
In preparation for a busy summer, we have been constructing an additional dorm building. It is designed to hold triple bunk beds and should accommodate 36 people. Maybe we should plan a summer youth camp for next year. Hmmmmm. Let me know if anyone’s interested and maybe we’ll work on it.
We took a trip out to Archaie this past week. We met up with our friends Bob & Sally Heier at an orphanage they’ve been supporting for several years. We’d heard so much about it, so it was special to finally get to see it ourselves. Papa, as everyone refers to the pastor running the orphanage, has really invested his life in these kids. I was impressed simply because the place was so clean. The kids were happy and acted quite normal for children. I sensed the children are being raised in a very loving atmosphere.
We also went into the downtown area and saw the new open market area the president just recently inaugurated. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve visited Archaie. There have definitely been several improvements made. I always call it the banana capitol of Haiti. The bananas make the countryside look lovely and now the city area is looking beautiful, as well.
Restaurant in St Etienne
As you can see in the following pictures, progress continues with the restaurant construction. The stone work in the patio is nearing completion. The new staircase is now setting on the flooring below. The upstairs ceiling and railings are all painted white and Janina has been working on the fine detail of covering the columns with coral. It’s so unique and beautiful.
upstairs railings are now white
The center staircase will replace the one to the right.
detailing the stone work
stone stairs being formed
Church service this morning in Thozin
Baby dedication this morning in St Etienne
Okra – grown at MOHI (and a few bananas, too!)
Kids Against Hunger food is being thoroughly enjoyed!
My babies had a work/play day at the beach, helping Janina find coral for the restaurant.
We planted some sweet corn and okra seeds in the flower beds!
Here at MOHI we believe in growing GOOD things. Sometimes it’s children and sometimes it’s a stalk of corn. Ideas and attitudes are growing here, too. It’s our constant prayer that it all be GOOD!
The corn you see in this picture is our most successful attempt, thus far, at growing sweet corn here in Haiti. It’s looking healthy and is already taller than our last failed attempt, so I’m excited about it. You may recall we built flower beds in front of the school to help protect the freshly painted walls from being dirtied. It’s unusual in our community to find flowers growing without having some corn mixed in with them. After all, the flowers aren’t edible.
Watermelons growing in Icondo
Our rainy season was non existent this Spring. It normally begins in March, but this year we didn’t get rain until the middle of May and it didn’t last very long. Nevertheless, God has blessed us and our mountainside fields are starting to produce. We tasted our first watermelon this week and it was very sweet. The corn (not sweet, but good for making cornmeal) is getting tall now, too.
We planted a Moringa seed several months ago. It grew into this amazing tree (below). Tiny Moringa leaves have 7x the vitamin C of oranges, 4x the vitamin A of carrots, 4x the calcium of milk, 3x the potassium of bananas and 2x the protein of yogurt. I eat them in a salad most mornings. Time to educate our neighbors!
Moringa – the super-food native to Haiti!
Kids Against Hunger
We are so grateful to our friends at Kids Against Hunger in Tulsa, OK for the shipment of food we received this week. The rice/soy casserole packets were created with some hefty nutrients added. In an area where malnutrition is rampant, being able to share this food with our neighbors is a major blessing.
I often think of the biblical accounting of Jesus feeding the multitudes. He was sharing words of life with the people and they were following Him to hear more and more. The Bible says that Jesus was moved with compassion. He ministered to people on two different levels – spiritually AND physically. He didn’t neglect one in favor of the other. He didn’t want the people to suffer.
Kids Against Hunger is based on the idea of kids feeding kids. I have participated in packaging sessions myself. It’s an opportunity for kids (and adults, too) to look beyond themselves – to put their hands to work providing for the need of another. It’s an avenue for them to express compassion – to be more like Jesus.
Food from Kids Against Hunger being off loaded at MOHI
Construction at MOHI
Railings are going up on the second side of the new school building and the van with the remaining electrical components needed is on the ship. Yes!!! Thanks to Ted Bronson for driving the van to Miami. He and Rick will be coming to Haiti once the van arrives here to install the rest of the electrical. It would be wonderful to have some others join them. (Hint! Hint!)
We will need lots of benches to put into the new classrooms. Elgane has started painting some benches, but we will need to build more. It sure would be nice to have some carpenters come to Haiti with Rick and Ted. (Hint! Hint!)
Elgane painting benches for the new classrooms
The walls are up and the transitional house has been disassembled at the missionary compound. We’ll be pouring the bond beams tomorrow.
St Etienne Restaurant
Janina and Peter continue working hard in St Etienne. It’s fun to see their creativity coming through with an ocean theme in the mountains. When they first arrived (about a month and a half ago) they spent some time collecting coral. We’re now starting to see it appear in the restaurant construction. We think it’s pretty cool.
Literature, Books, Computers
Gloria managed to stir something up in me while she was with us two weeks ago. I’m all excited about making literature available to our teachers, to start, and then to our students, as well. I was able to download about 17 books from a list of literature books she gave me – all in French! How exciting is this?!!!! Gloria will be coming in August, with her son Kyle, to work with our science teachers and will also be discussing a book she bought for others of our teachers.
At this point, our teachers and students are familiar with mostly French and Haitian literature and most of that is really philosophy. Books for Haiti has donated two Kindle Readers to MOHI, which are being made available to our teachers. The hope is to eventually have enough of them for an entire class. Now they can be reading the works of world renowned authors like Hawthorn, Shakespeare, Meliville, London…
I think back to the time when Lex and I were just talking about the vision for MOHI. Lex was intent on providing a school for children whose families could not afford to send them to a private school, but he was also determined to make that school as good as any private school in the country. It is so exciting to see what God is providing for these kids. Many of them are very poor, but all of them have such potential. Working together, we can develop that potential and impact the destiny of this country.
Here are some samples of drawings our computer club kids have been working on:
Moments at MOHI
Angela stays VERY busy looking after our students, staff and neighbors!
Students wash their plates after lunch – and grab a drink of water
Service this morning at the MOHI church in Thozin, Grand-Goave
Pastor Manyol sharing Bible verses with those asking to be baptized
Cadélis and Mackenson asking history questions of the children calling into HOPE 106.3 this week.P
As much as I detest political commercials and the hard core party lines that make people not able to deal with each other, I am so thankful that we CAN be so disagreeable in America. Here in Haiti there is so much more freedom than there used to be, but people still die for speaking out in politics.
I remember when Alexis was little – maybe 7 years old. Then president Aristide was scheduled to visit Grand-Goâve. Through our work in the city, we’ve come to know all kinds of people from all different political perspectives and we have managed to remain on good terms with all of them. I had talked with some of the people organizing President Aristide’s visit and told them that Alexis kept asking me if she could bake a cake for the President. They told me they would make arrangements for her to present him with a cake after the public event was over. I was all excited. My little girl was going to be presenting a cake to the president of the entire country.
As the time neared, I mentioned it to Lex. He shut me down. Now, you have to understand, I was not nearly so “easy going” back then as I am now – and I’m still not that easy going. I was irate that he was ruining this opportunity for my daughter! Well, he held his ground. He declined the invitation to sit on the platform and we didn’t present the cake to the president. I understood his reasoning intellectually, but emotionally I was very disappointed. Shortly after that event, the country became a political pressure cooker and the kids and I went home to the United States. During that time, the Lord put Lex in the right places at the right times to act as an intermediary between political parties on numerous occasions. He was even in a place to prevent a political assassination.
My pride wanted my daughter to be goggled over, but God’s plan was to bring peace and save lives. Acts as simple as sitting on the platform or presenting the president with a cake would have caused our community to see us as siding with his political party. Instead of bringing peace, we would have endangered our own lives, the sustainability of the mission and would not have been in a respected position that enabled Lex to help so many. This experience and others are why I’m not so quick to fight with my husband when we don’t see eye to eye.
In America, I may not have voted for the president, I may not like the president, but if the president were coming to my town, I would be there and I would show him the respect due the office of president. I would go home afterwards and never think for a moment that someone might be upset with me for shaking his hand or being happy to have been in his presence. That’s a freedom that was paid for with blood of American men and women – sons and daughters. I’m so grateful to all those who have paid the ultimate price.
I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend, and also taking the time to reflect and be grateful.
Haitian Mother’s Day
It’s a joyful day all over Haiti today, as everyone celebrates Mother’s Day. I think I’ve had more people thinking about me today than I’ve had all year! I got kissed like a new baby, all day long, lot’s of “bon fèts” (literally happy birthday!) and Feyo sent me 8 coconuts because he was thinking of me.
Gama and Angela with Lex’s mom – singing for the camera.
I absolutely love going to church on Mother’s Day and listening to Lex give honor to all the moms. I especially enjoy his stories about his own mom. Madame Therméus is now 86 years old and living in Leogane with Gama’s mom. Lex’s stories this morning of the misery he put his mother through touched home with the church – AND with me. I laughed, as I imagined my husband as a mischievous little boy.
Lex shared several stories I’ve already heard and shared, including my favorite: The family was going through a very difficult time. Lex’s dad grew crops. Their store house was empty and it wasn’t harvest time yet. Lex would put a chunk of rock salt under his tongue before going to school. Apparently, it helped trick his body into thinking he had eaten something. The whole family was suffering terribly. Finally, Madame Therméus woke up the whole household at 3 o’clock one morning. She put a big pot in the middle of them and told everyone to pray. She and Lex’s dad prayed earnestly, “Good God, you gave us all of these children to raise. You didn’t give them to us to die. They need to eat. You need to give us food.” Now, I know that sounds a little rude, but in Haiti people don’t always use lots of “pleases” and “thank yous” with people they are close to. So, I don’t think God considered it rude. As a matter of fact, I’m quite convinced he didn’t consider it rude, because he answered that prayer. As soon as they finished praying, Lex’s mom went out to the market place, not knowing how she would come home with food for the children. Around 8 or 9 in the morning, someone from far away arrived with a measure of sorghum and a small measure of beans. Gama’s mom prepared food for all the children and left two plates for Lex’s mom and dad. When Lex’s mom came home, she told everyone that a farmer had been looking for her to tell her that he wanted to sell her his whole field of casava root on credit. That meant that she and the children went to work processing the roots and turning them into casav – a bread-like food that is so loved by the Haitians. (I’m rather fond of it, myself!) There was rejoicing in the house that day – and important memories made. Memories of a mom and dad who knew who to turn to in their darkest hour. It also gave Lex an appreciation for hard work, as he helped to sell the Casava – walking around in the hot sun with them piled on his head!
My children were 2 and 3 years old when we came to Haiti seemingly nothing was easy for us as we started the mission. I remember what it was like when we had no money and didn’t know how we were going to buy food to give our children. You might not be happy to go a day or two without eating yourself, but can you imagine your babies crying because they’re hungry and you have nothing to give them? It’s heart-wrenching. Thank God, He always provided for our children. There has not been a day that they’ve gone to bed hungry, but there were many days that it certainly looked like they would have. It’s times like those that mold us into who we are to be. It’s these kinds of experiences that teach us what it means and how it feels to really trust God, because at those moments He’s the only one that can do anything about our circumstances. It makes us able to comprehend more fully what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
This afternoon we are hosting a big concert in Thozin for Mother’s Day. Chorale Inter-Juene (Port-au-Prince), Kelly Vernet (Digicel Star) and the MOHI Choir are providing lots of beautiful music for everyone to celebrate with their moms. Last night Lex did a little show on the radio with Kelly. People were calling in and wishing their moms a happy mother’s day, while Lex and Kelly promoted the concert. The kids look so great this evening. I asked Madame Edon (rather loudly), “Where did all these gorgeous young folks come from?” She quickly responded, “From Mission of Hope, Madame! These are all YOUR children!” Of course I knew that, but I just wanted to make a scene in front of them. I’m proud of them all. Happy Mother’s Day!
MOHI Choir (black/red), Inter-Jeune Choir (white), Kelly Vernet (upper left)
The preschool room works for extra tutoring for our sixth graders in the afternoons!
It’s crunch time for our students in 6th grade, as they will be heading to National Exams in less than a month. I see them outside when I head home at 8 or 9 o’clock each night, studying under the street lights. Each afternoon now, they have an additional three hours of tutoring available to them in the school. It seems to be a time of regret for some, as they realize they should have taken their education a little more seriously earlier in the year. It’s also a time of prayer for their families, as no one wants these kids to repeat a year of school because they couldn’t pass the tests. Will you join us in prayer, too? Thank you!
The physical work on the building construction continues to move along – a bit more slowly than we had hoped, but we’re ever grateful for the incredible support we’ve received for this building over the past year and a half. We’re in the homestretch now. The remaining electrical supplies needed will be shipping from Florida in just a few more days. We’re so grateful to our friends/partners who have made this happen. At this point we need about $8,000 to fabricate and install the doors and windows. Please feel free to write a check and/or pray for the provision to come and the work to be completed.
The kindergarten class is preparing their entrance for graduation.
Reading a Bible story outloud
Preparations for graduations (kindergarten to first grade, sixth grade to high school and high school to adulthood) are well underway. While all the classes will have special presentations and speeches to give, it’s always the kindergarten class that steals the show. I wish you all could hear for yourselves how long it can take to get a French “R” out of these little one’s mouths. Soooo cute. This is their opportunity to show everyone how well they can sing, dance and orate.
Gloria spent some time with Kreyol Bible Story Books in our primary school classes this week. She worked with our teachers in real time, showing them some good tips for utilizing the books. All of the students were so excited to handle these beautiful new books (donated by the United Methodist Church in Columbia, NJ – thank you!!!) and the older students all read a story together out loud. As an American, with access to more books than I could possibly read in a lifetime, it’s easy to overlook their incredible value. These children’s faces just lit up and learning was suddenly “fun.” One of the rooms in the new school building will be used as a library and computer lab. Students will have access to both physical and electronic books. The sky’s the limit – or is it?
I’m so excited about the possibilities that will be opened to these young people who have access to this kind of information. I’m so thrilled about the opportunity to work with other organizations like Child in Hand, One Laptop Per Child and Books for Haiti. Working together we can combine our skills and resources to really “make it happen” for these kids. And that’s what really thrills me about all of the people from these organizations that we are working with – it’s all about the kids. Working in the midst of poverty, it’s easy to get distracted by one’s own discomforts and needs. But God has blessed us with people who are willing to make their own needs secondary to the needs of the student body. I love it!
Creativity is evident at the computer club!
I see Marie Syliane and her kids a lot more often than I used to, since they moved into their new house. They come to the mission daily to fetch clean water to bring to bring home. I’ve seen a change in their countenance. They are so happy to have a real house to go home to.
This summer, our friends at Bless Back Worldwide will be building homes for two more families in need. I will be updating you as preparations begin and once their team is here assisting in the building.
Would you like to be a part of building a home for a family that was left homeless after the quake? Houses range in price from $5,000 (basic 2-rooms) to $7,000 (additional porch and latrine). You can choose to send funding and we will hire a Haitian crew to construct the house, or you can choose to come to Haiti with a team to assist in the construction. (FYI: Your presence is preferred!) If you’re thinking about it, send me an email and we can talk more about details.
Would YOU Visit Haiti?
My family usually heads back to America in August or September each year, so I purposely don’t schedule teams at that time. Well, we have finalized our plans and won’t be leaving Haiti until September. Sooooo, if you’ve been thinking about coming for a visit, August is still open! It’s just around the corner, so if you’re interested, please contact us right away to reserve a spot and get the preparations started.
Sovereign Grace team
Fall in America
Our schedule for this Fall in America is starting to come together. If you see we will be in your area, please plan to hook up with us! Plan to join us at a specifically listed location or contact us to set up something. If you see that we won’t be in your area, please consider making plans with us for NEXT Fall!
- Sep 4-15 Southern/Central Florida
- Sep 16-20 Family vacation
- Sep 21-23 Charlotte, NC
- Sep 25 Nashville, TN
- Sep 27-30 Akron, OH
- Oct 2-3 Eastern Connecticut
- Oct 4-13 Massachusetts
- Oct 5 “Meet and Greet” Open House (Westminster, MA)
- Oct 6 Clifton Lutheran Church (Marblehead, MA)
- Oct 11 All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Belmont, MA)
- Oct 14 Washington DC
- Oct 16 Jacksonville (AM)/West Palm (PM), FL
Picture Highlights from this Week
MOHI’s Radio HOPE FM 106.3
Who took the cookie from the cookie jar? Who me? Couldn’t be…
Wilson follows along in his own Bible
Happy faces at church this morning
Pastor and Madame Edon enjoying Lex’s stories this morning
Scherly (mom) and Doudley
Me and Doudley
Boss Pepe was a part of many of the stories this morning, having been raised with Lex.
This Week’s Highlights
Let me try to give a “quick” run down on this week’s highlights, because it’s yesterday’s wedding that’s really dominating everyone’s minds here at the mission today. What a beautiful event it was. But first, there were quite a few other beautiful happenings this week, as well…
Gloria Harvell, one of the MOHI USA directors, returned to Haiti this week. It’s always such a blessing to have her here. She has been working with our staff on graduation preparations, as well as interviewing individual teachers. She hopes to get a clearer understanding of how classes are being taught here and perhaps add some new techniques and skills to our staff’s repertoire. The two of us also have plenty of details to cover concerning the different programs and projects we are involved in here in Haiti.
MOHI’s clerk, Gloria Harvell, in Haiti
Angela enjoyed some help again this week, as Be Like Brit shared their visiting nurse, Tom, with MOHI for a couple of days in the clinic. He was a great help to so many, including little Kristie…
Madona, Tom and Kristie
We also had a big day of medical and dental clinic with our local UN Peacemakers from Sri Lanka.
Renord had his teeth checked and cleaned. No cavities!
It was a wonderful service in Thozin this morning, with the sweetest spirit of worship. Pastor Lex brought forth a very liberating message, ending up with a big conga drum on his head. It was a great illustration of how we take on heavy loads that we don’t need to.
Here in Haiti people often carry very heavy loads on their heads. Although it can be very damaging to the spine, it does feel easier and doesn’t throw off a person’s balance or posture. Before putting, say a 40 lb bucket of water on their head, they will first prepare a “tòke” to put on their head to cushion the bucket, so it doesn’t hurt so much.
Pastor Lex encouraged us not to let our friends prepare a “tòke” for us or allow them to put a heavy load on our heads. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Let’s give up the burden that living in this world gives to us and take on Jesus’ burden instead. His won’t cause our health to deteriorate and it comes with peace of mind!
Do you sometimes carry around an unnecessary load?
I love that when Lex “gave his burden to Jesus” he was able to utilize the “tòke” to clean himself up. Carrying a heavy load can really make us sweat!
It was really exciting to see Totou’s mom join others who came forward with a desire to lay down their burdens and follow Jesus. You may have followed Totou’s story in my previous posts. He was severely burned on his arm when a pot of boiling rice dumped on him. He came to the MOHI clinic when we “just happened” to have a burn specialist working in the clinic that week. God brought through many doctors and nurses, along with Angela and Alexis to bring him all the way through the long process of caring for his wounds. He has now recovered and has only a tiny scar on his wrist.
Pastor Lex and Angela praying with people at church
I have decided to follow Jesus!
Visit from the UN
If you’ve been paying attention to MOHI for very long, you already know that we have a very good, working relationship with the Sri Lankan army officers that serve here in Haiti as UN Peacekeepers. Late in the week, the Sri Lankan officers escorted Mr. Mantulak from Argentina, and others from Sri Lanka, Peru and … wait for it … a US Army officer! (We don’t see many American officers, so it was extra special to me!) They sat with Lex for about 45 minutes and then requested a tour of our Thozin campus. They expressed an interest in helping out with the school in some capacity. I’ll let you know if anything comes of it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since coming to Haiti, it’s to never count my chickens before they’re hatched. I sure do enjoy them when they do hatch, though!
Meeting with the UN at MOHI’s Haiti office
Pictures of other interesting happenings at MOHI this week…
Lex and Peter – Always planning and discussing how to make it happen. This is the patio area at the restaurant site.
My okra is sprouting and the corn is not nearly as high as an elephants eye…I’d settle for a horse’s eye.
Shipments from Nora and Pastor Carlos came in this week!!!
Janina paints the new steps at the restaurant in St Etienne
Some of the staff singing “Happy Birthday” to Lex, while he thoroughly enjoys his sweet potatoes with fish sauce.
Pelio & Darline’s Special Day
Darline – the early years
Pelio Desrosiers and Darline Desir. I first met them when they signed up for school in 2000. Pelio was in third grade and Darline in second.
Today, Pelio works in construction and as a driver at MOHI. Darline works as a teacher in one of our first grade classes. They are the first of our students to marry each other, so it was an extra special day for the MOHI school staff and students, as well as our church.
I’m so proud of the young people in our church who pulled together with Pelio and Darline, along with the best man and maid of honor, Mr. & Mrs. Renord St. Aimé, to create an amazing, memorable day. So many details were planned and carried out so well. The church was beautifully decorated, the bridal party was gorgeous, the reception had food for everyone and that mint green and white was everywhere. Here’s a picture of how the wedding went:
Preparing for the big event
1. The ushers and brides maids enter 2. Almost all of the wedding party does some kind of “dance” to enter 3. The entrance can take half an hour or longer, depending on the size of the wedding party. 4. One of two “announcers” 5. Berlandie also filled the role of “announcer.” 6. Jeff and Naderge, Prince and Princess 7. Luc Sony and Esther, King and Queen 8. Flower girls 9. Woud and Doudley, ring bearers 10. Bearer of the Word of God 11. Renord and Pelio, best man and groom 12. Madame Renord, maid of honor 13. Darline, the bride (with Doudley in tow!) 14. Pelio meets Darline in the isle 15. The couple heads to the alter
The vows, the benediction, the kiss, the presentation of husband and wife.
The legalities…everyone signs the papers in front of witnesses during the ceremony in Haiti.
Some of the yummy food that was prepared (ALL day!) by friends of the bride and groom.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Mother’s Day will be celebrated next week in Haiti. This week, however, I want to wish all of you moms a very happy Mother’s Day! All of our staff and students here in Haiti join in with me in honoring you today. Thank you for sacrificing your own agenda in order to bring life to your children. God bless you!!!
Mother’s Day In Haiti
Radio ads are playing regularly on HOPE FM, MOHI’s radio station here in Grand-Goâve, for our special event coming up on Sunday. MOHI’s Youth Choir will be hosting a concert, featuring our Grand-Goâve native, Digicel Star (Haiti’s version of American Idol) Kelly Vernet along with the Inter-Youth Choir from Port-au-Prince. Everyone bring your mom!!! It’s sure to be a big and very LOUD event.
ALL Haitians love their moms! Such a huge generalization, and certainly there’s someone who doesn’t, but I’ve never met that person. I don’t expect to, either. I’ve had several conversations with people about their mothers. No matter how “unfit” I might judge a mother, the children never see it that way. They realize how difficult life can be for a mom in Haiti.
The first thing they tell me is that “Mom suffered for 9 months. Sometimes she was sick or tired.” Oftentimes mom was humiliated for being pregnant in the first place – and yet “she chose to carry me for 9 months. I owe her my life!” Often times, mom really can’t depend on a man to provide for their family, and yet she is responsible for child-rearing, cleaning, hauling water, and cooking (as well as caring for her man). Often times the woman is left alone to fend for herself and her children, which means she needs to do something to bring in money, in addition to everything else. This usually involves waking and leaving home in the middle of the night in order to go to Port-au-Prince to purchase merchandise to re-sell at the local market. Or perhaps to go work the fields and (hopefully) bring in a harvest. When ends don’t meet, it’s mom who is left with the heartache of listening to her children cry themselves to sleep, hungry again.
Yes. No matter how you or I might judge one’s parenting skills, chances are that even when they are old themselves, the children will always love mom. Next Sunday will be a joyous occasion at MOHI, where young and old alike will gather to give honor to those extra special people in their lives – their moms.
Mother’s Day For Me
For me, Mother’s Day is always full of mixed emotions. I remember my first child who was born at only 5 months gestation and my second at 6 months. Both died on the same day, two years apart. It was the beginning of the end of a chapter in my life. I remember going to church on Mother’s Day and not being able to stay in the service, because I was just so overwhelmed with emotion. I never expected to have children again, but God had other plans. He has given me two treasures in Alexis and A. Jay. I love them to the moon – and back again.
My “kids” – Alexis, A. Jay, Gama, Edna
Spouses: Angela, Tony
Grandsons: Nathan, Ben, Caleb
God’s also given me others, like Gama and Edna who both lived with us for the first 5+ years we were in Haiti. Today they are both married and have given me “grand babies.” What a joy to my heart when I hear (through the grapevine) that Edna learned how to raise her children by watching me. Alexis and A. Jay were only 2 and 3 years old when Edna came to live with us. In all honesty, it never occurred to me that she was watching my “parenting techniques.” I am glad though that she found something over those years with me to emulate. And I hope she drops anything that wasn’t worth copying!!! I also have other kids that I get to “help” mother – a whole school full, really.
I love that song from Veggie Tales – “God is bigger than the boogie man…” Fears, regrets, losses they all have the ability to pull us backwards and keep us down. God is bigger than all of them. No matter the disappointments we face – big or small – we don’t need to let them defeat us. We can choose to do as the Apostle Paul told us in Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” While it’s good to have dreams and goals, it’s better to have God’s dreams and goals in our lives. When we keep our eyes on HIS direction, we won’t be disappointed. (He’s a much bigger dreamer than I am!)
Dieunison is an orphan who is street smart and prefers not to live in an orphanage. He became very close to our friend Paul Fallon, who used to look out for him when he was in Haiti regularly. Now that he’s not here very often, Paul has become his “sponsor” and we make sure that he eats, goes to school and such. Dieunison turned 9 on Thursday. Paul wanted to recognize his birthday without doing anything overboard. He asked me what most kids do for their birthday here. I replied that most kids around here don’t even know the date they were born, never mind celebrating it. I spoke with Gama and we gave Paul our recommendation.
Wednesday afternoon, Dieunison, his brother Dieury and a few boys that they are very friendly with came to Skype with Paul and then have a “party.” It was fun to see the boys so very excited. They had food, drinks, cake and gifts. The portable radio was a huge hit. They may have stayed up a little late that night dancing – or so their neighbor told me. It really was nice to be able to make the day extra special for them.
Radio HOPE FM 106.3
HOPE FM 106.3
I’ve enjoyed seeing some progress with the radio station of late. The air conditioner in the studio is finally operating properly, so that the equipment (and the DJ, too?) doesn’t over-heat. We’re starting to have some commercials and talk shows now, too. Last night I went outside to take a little break from my work and found Lex and Pastor Edon having a little chat on the radio. Lex was asking Pastor Edon questions about our church. I loved hearing the responses: “You can come to our church just the way you are. You don’t have to have fancy clothes or a high education.” “If you’re coming from another town, have one of the motorcycle taxis bring you to Mission of Hope. They’ll bring you and then stay for the service.”
Please pray for our staff and listeners as we serve good music and Good News to our community and beyond.
Our friends at World-Wide Lighthouse Missions in Manchester, CT are preparing to send us school supplies before the new school year begins. If you are able, please be a part of it.
Jim Murphy from Winchendon, MA
What a joy it was to have Jim Murphy with us for a few days. He was able to take the grand tour of MOHI and also help out with construction at the restaurant in St Etienne. He headed back to Massachusetts with Jackie on Wednesday. We really miss Jackie. She was here for one month, but had become part of the family.
Carrying in the new tiles
Peter and Janina are still busy working on the restaurant. Peter is finishing up the stairs that Jim laid out. The Haitian tile they ordered arrived this week. Janina is very excited about her waves (one of the tile designs).
This week we worked on some more columns in the office suite area. We should be able to finish up this week with the finish plastering. The never-ending painting continues, as well.
MOHI School Construction in Thozin, Grand-Goâve
Angela worked hard in clinic again this week, ministering to the needs of our community as well as our school students. Angie Sutton from the Hands and Feet Project joined us for a day with a team that was visiting. This week we will be conducting a joint clinic with Sri Lankan doctors and nurses from the UN.
Church in Thozin
We had a wonderful time of worship this morning. Gama brought an energetic exhortation for the church. I hope you enjoy the photos…
Jim Murphy returns to Haiti!
We are so excited to have our dear friend, Jim Murphy with us in Haiti for a few days. Jim, along with Stephen Sandoval were our first visitors from America at MOHI in Haiti. It has been ten years since Jim was last here and most everything has changed. It’ll be interesting to hear all his impressions before he heads back home.
Upon his arrival last night in Grand-Goâve, Jim started walking around the Thozin campus and telling us about the corn field that this campus used to be. Jim was here as we measured it out and determined where we were going to put our first building – a 30×60 foot pole house with thatch walls and roof. Jim and Stephen later returned to install a truss roof on our first “real” building – the chapel. Jim did lots of research in order to come up with the truss design. He did a great job, as that roof survived tropical storms, major hurricanes and even the earthquake. The roof provided much needed shelter from the elements for so many that were left homeless after the quake – including the 32 orphans we were caring for at the time.
It was so funny this morning to hear Huguener, who was in third grade when Jim first came to Haiti, make a remark about a nail gun. I have no idea what he was talking about, but Jim immediately started laughing and it was obvious that their memories were connected. Today Huguener is a high school graduate and studying engineering. Anything that MOHI is building, you know that Huguener is there giving input and making it happen.
Jackie Scarello is finishing up one month’s service at MOHI
We have so enjoyed having Jim’s granddaughter, Jackie Scarello, be a part of MOHI for this past month. She has helped in many areas like the medical clinic (which I’m sure is her favorite!), painting at the restaurant and downloading ebooks in French on the Kindles that were donated to MOHI by Robert Ende at Books for Haiti. Jackie has been easy to work with and so kind to everyone she has met. Our heartfelt gratitude to Jackie for coming to Haiti and serving without complaint. We hope to see you return soon!
Jordan and Kristie
As Lex would say, “Three months is not three days!” Jordan Alexander made it though. He became a part of our family for those three months. He jumped in and helped in many areas, from creating our high school student ID cards to hosting the team from Sovereign Grace Community Church. He was a blessing every day of those three months. Jordan headed back to Texas yesterday. I’m sure his experience in Haiti will influence his future. We pray that the Lord will clearly guide him and bless is days. We are hopeful too, that we will see him on Haitian soil once again.
May is the beginning of the end of the school year in most of our minds here. It is the time that students in 6th grade really buckle down and study. Why? Because next month they will be going to their first national exams. If they pass, they get to enter high school next year. If not, they will be stuck in sixth grade until they can pass the exams. Our students, their parents and teachers work hard all year long in order for these students to get the results they desire. Our first 6th grade class in St Etienne will be going for exams, as well. Over the years the students at the MOHI school have had outstanding results on their national exams. Please pray for these young people as they prepare. Graduations are scheduled for June.
Graduation from high school, from grammar to high school and from Kindergarten to grammar school
Railings installed on one side of school
The school construction continues, but has been hindered by a broken down welder. In Haiti getting things fixed is not usually simple and that has been the case with the welder. We are also waiting for the remainder of our electrical supplies to arrive. Prayers are greatly appreciated!
The students in the computer club have been learning to animate their drawings. I look forward to seeing the results soon!
It’s so good to have Angela back in the clinic/pharmacy at the Thozin campus! This week Be Like Brit shared a couple of their visitors with us. Cindy Miers, RN and Megan Roseberry, nursing student worked in the clinic two days with Angela. They saw many children and some adults. One young girl was dehydrated from vomiting and they were able to give her IV fluids. A woman came in with a little baby whose eyes were rolling in her head and she was foaming at the mouth. Cindy, Megan and Angela reacted quickly and sent her directly to the hospital to get the fluid pumped out of her lungs (she was barely able to breath). She came back with her later in the day for some medicines and a malaria test. The baby was nursing, eating and moving around. QUITE the difference. Simple intervention probably saved this child’s life.
Cindy started an IV on this little girl.
Cindy assessing this little one
Megan and her little friend Jounika at the MOHI clinic
Church at Thozin
You know I love to share pictures with you from our church services. Today Renord did the picture taking. Consequently, I am in MANY of the pictures, whereas I’m not normally in them at all. So, I thought you might like to see what I look like at church…
Renée has LOTS of friends at church
This is what Lex looks like at church…
Here are some more pictures from this morning…
Love these pastors!
A. Jay and Dadley
The married women’s choral group
These girls were baptized last Sunday and had their first communion with us this morning.
St Etienne Restaurant
Work continues at the restaurant in St. Etienne. Here are some pictures from this week…
Janina stretching to reach as she paints the restaurant ceiling
Syliane and her children moved into their new home this week. She is so grateful to God for providing for her and her family like this. Thank you once again to the team from Sovereign Grace Community Church for helping to build this home for this family. If you’re interested in helping a family in need of a home to live in, too, please contact us. Thank you.
Kendy boldly walked into my office the other day (which requires some courage, considering how protective our staff is of my space!) with a little bag in his hand. He told me, “Here Madame. I didn’t want to see you spending your money on key limes when I could just pick some for you.” PLUS, he put on his “I’m a farmer” (old man) style hat for the occasion, too. How sweet is that? ♥
Sometimes I feel like I spend my life saying “Thank You!” But you know what? I am just so grateful to all of our friends and partners who think about us, pray for us, support us financially, gather donations and ship them to Haiti, help with administrative tasks in America, hold fund raising events for MOHI, write to us, tell others about what this mission, click “Like” on and share our Facebook posts… I can’t even list all the “little” things that people do that enable us to do our part here in Haiti. I love Haiti. I love the Haitian people. I am so glad that God led us to work here in Grand-Goâve. Sometimes the challenges can seem overwhelming, but God always sees us through. Thank you so much for your prayers. Thank you so much for all the ways that you support MOHI. God bless you!
Planning for America
Pennsylvania 2012 – Chris & Joy knew just what we needed!
I am beginning to make plans for our annual return to America. Each of our friends and supporters are such an important part of this work in Haiti. We would love to see as many of you as possible. At this point, it looks like our itinerary will take us to Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and New England from Sep 5 through Oct 15. If you are in any of these locations and would like to have us share with some of your friends, business associates or church groups, please contact me to see if we can coordinate a time. The dates fill up quickly, so please don’t wait. We would love to share with everyone about what God has been up to at MOHI in Haiti.
Keep checking back here to see what events you might be able to join us at, as well! Soooo looking forward to seeing so many special friends once again!
We had an extra special baptism service today, as three of the children from the Hands and Feet Project decided to leave the past behind and follow Jesus into their futures. What a joy to see Denise, Naomi and Mikerlange make this choice for their lives. Congratulations, Girls!!!
Peterson Forest’s creation on a laptop.
I am so pleased with the progress our kids in the computer club are making. We have a need for USB computer mice to connect to the laptops. I love the creativity we’re seeing in these students, but the built-in mouse on the xo laptop is very limiting. Please contact me if you have a mouse (or several) you would like to donate. This week we will be adding another 20 elementary grade students to the computer club. Junior and Elisabeth are doing an excellent job of training and keeping the students motivated. This summer we are planning to start another class, specifically for young, non-reading students.
St Etienne Restaurant Project
It’s so wonderful to see the determination of Peter and Janina as they began moving forward with the work at the restaurant in St. Etienne. Jackie joined them a couple of times this week, as well. I KNOW they worked hard, because Friday evening around 7 I went to the missionary compound to see them and they were in bed already!
The restaurant in St Etienne
Look out below!!!!
Church in Thozin
I always like to share pictures of the beautiful people we worship in Haiti. Here some pictures from this morning in Thozin.
Different natural families, but one in the spirit.
Thozin church this morning.
John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
morning worship in Thozin, Grand-Goâve
Some of our babies…
Jackie and Janina at church and at work
Painting the interior and installing the railings are still the focus at the school construction site. Plumbing, doors and windows are still needed. If you would like to help purchase any of these items, please visit our donation page. “School Construction” should be noted in the memo. Thank you!
Steve and his daughter Sarah with Syliane’s family in front of their new home.
I shared with you last week that Will Coley would be leading a team from Sovereign Grace Community Church (Peabody, MA), constructing a home for Marie Syliane and her three children Silène (12), Fedner (10) and Islande (7). They did come and they did build and there is a new home for this precious family. Praise God!
How do you think it felt for Will, Steve, Sarah, Sarah, Norah, Scott, Tom, Katie, Aimee & Lizzie when they left Grand-Goâve on Saturday? They worked so hard, but I don’t think one of them minded it. To know that this family will sleep securely and safe from the elements makes me feel so happy and I know they all feel it, too.
The Sovereign Grace team with Syliane and her family.
Syliane has been battling with Shingles for months. Please pray for her whenever she comes to your mind. She has a lot on her plate, raising three children on her own in such difficult circumstances, but she is confident that God will continue to care for her family as He has every day for the past five years, since her husband died.
Once again, I want to extend my thanks to Sovereign Grace Community Church and Will Coley for raising the money to build this house and for coming here personally to do so. May God abundantly bless each one who had a part in this work.
Would you like to build a home for a family in need, too? The project cost for a basic, 2-room house is currently $5,000 ($7,000 would include a porch and outdoor latrine). You can raise the money and come to MOHI with a team to construct it, or you can raise the money and we will have our Haitian construction crew build it. Either way, it will benefit a family that needs a secure home to live in. Please feel free to contact us to start planning to help another family.
Barrels for Haiti
School supplies previously shipped to MOHI by WWLM
Our dear friends, Pastor Kalinsky and the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church/World-Wide Lighthouse Missions in Manchester, CT will be sending barrels of supplies to MOHI in Haiti soon. They would like to open the doors to all of our friends – especially in New England, to be a part of this. They are collecting school supplies, but focusing on back packs and notebooks. We would LOVE to be able to provide all 800 students with these donated items in the Fall. Please feel free to hold a “school supply” drive, on behalf of MOHI and then contact Adrienne Lautenbach for delivery information at 860.645.4141 ext. 159 or by email at email@example.com. The deadline for these donations to make this shipment is May 30th, so please do not delay. Spread the word and be a blessing to the children of Haiti. The cost for shipping these supplies to Haiti (a dozen barrels or more) is estimated to be $2500. Any help with these shipping costs would be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made at the World-Wide Lighthouse Missions website. (please note “MOHI Barrels” in the memo), or via mail ( PO Box 5010, Manchester, CT 06045-5010 / Checks payable to ‘ WWLM ‘ ).
Our friend and friend of Haiti, Candace Lee was the co-writer for the movie “Home Run” which is in Theaters now. I encourage you to go see it. The reviews have been good. I would love to hear from all of you just how good it is!
We made arrangements with Will that if his team worked hard, we would bring them to one of the hidden paradises in Haiti. Basin Bleu…
Fun Times at Basin Bleu!
Here are a few more pictures from this week’s activities…
Sally cleaning out an ear infection
Angela and Caroleann working in the clinic
On the road again
Building Syliane’s home
Making blocks for Syliane’s house
SovG painters in the school!
600+ Transitional Shelters
Jordan and Jackie visiting Thozin homes
MOHI was involved in a lot of disaster relief activities after the January 2010 earthquake rocked Haiti and specifically our city, Grand-Goâve. God and our partners enabled us to distribute over 500 tons of food to our communities, as well as other important items for sanitation, personal care, food preparations, clothing and tarps. We also erected over 600 transitional shelters in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse. This week, Jordan Alexander and Jackie Scarello began visiting the recipients of those shelters to see what impact the shelters had on their lives and where they are going from here.
Without exception, each family was grateful for their home. They didn’t know where they would have gone to survive without these shelters. Some people added onto the pressure-treated, wood framed homes, walled with heavy duty tarps and covered with sheet metal roofs. Some took immaculate care of them and others did not. These buildings were intended to provide shelter for up to three years, for families without a place to live. I would say they lived up to their expected life span, very well.
Two difficulties that were repeated at every stop: The shelters are extremely hot and the families do not feel secure in them.
I remember when we were building the shelters, thinking about how hot they would be. I figured most people live outdoors during the day and at the time, it wasn’t hot at night. The need was so great, that I decided a hot house was better than no house at all. When a Haitian tells you it’s hot, believe you me, it’s HOT! So, the fact that every family said the same thing shows that it is a very difficult situation for these folks to be living in.
I never really considered security to be an issue. It definitely is, though. Many of the families have been robbed. People would just slice the tarp open and help themselves to the family’s possessions when they were away. Virtually every one of these families are living with a real sense of insecurity right now.
Transitional shelters are not intended to be permanent homes. These shelters were a tremendous blessing to all of these families, who had no place to get out of the weather even, but now what? As I looked over the reports from Jordan and Jackie, I saw no indication that even one person had built a new home. Everyone they asked about future plans had nothing concrete to say. Most have no idea what they will do and some are trusting that God will provide.
Syliane’s house will be built next to this one, which we built with Missionary Ventures after the earthquake.
It’s been over three years since the earthquake. There are still hundreds of thousands of people without a real home to live in. Sometimes we can think, “Well, they live in Haiti. They’re used to not having all the conveniences and nice things we have in America. They’ll survive.” Could I survive, though? If I hear an unusual sound in the street, I’m up in a flash, peering out my window. I can’t imagine the stress a parent feels, knowing that only a tarp separates their children from whoever may be wandering around outside at night. In every society there are people with good intentions and there are people with bad intentions. There’s a reason there are walls, locks and security systems all over the world. We all need to have a sense of security in order to enjoy our lives.
Building transitional shelters was a blessing to thousands of people. Now it’s time to take the next step and build real homes for our neighbors, starting with the most vulnerable people. This week Will Coley is leading a team from Sovereign Grace Community Church (Peabody, MA) in constructing a home for a family here in Grand-Goave. Marie Syliane and her three children Silène (12), Fedner (10) and Islande (7) will be the recipients. Syliane came to us when Islande was just a baby. Her husband had died and she was desperate for help with her children. We have reached out to her many times over the years. Our in country operational directors all felt this was the person they wanted to see have a real home to live in. I am so excited to see this home built this week! And so grateful to our friends at Sovereign Grace, for raising $5,000 and coming to put their own sweat into this building. Thank you!
We have been communicating with Clifford at the Covenant Day School (Matthews, NC) for a bit now. It was a joy to finally meet him face to face yesterday, along with four others from the school. They are with us for a very short time, but are making good use of that time. Last night they took part in the revival meetings the youth are hosting at the Thozin church. Clifford shared an encouraging message with the church this morning, while other team members worked in the children’s church. They shared a Bible lesson, sang songs and and had lots of fun with the children.
Yesterday’s new arrivals
This afternoon the CDS team went into a village near the missionary compound to visit with folks, play soccer, pray with those in need, check on any who are ill, distribute some footwear and just love on our neighbors. Tomorrow they will have a quick opportunity to see the school in Thozin operating before they are whisked away to Port-au-Prince. It’s been a great first encounter and we hope to work together to bring the children in our school the best education possible.
Janina has returned to Haiti, along with another friend from Germany, Peter Wefer to work on the restaurant project in St. Etienne. I am very excited about the impact that this “business” may have on this rather remote area that happens to be on a very major road for this country. This road leads to one of the more touristic cities, Jacmel. I look forward to sharing more with you as things progress.
Jordan, Janina, Peter and Jackie are all here for extended stays. The first three for three months each (to start anyway) and Jackie for one month (again, to start). MOHI “long-termers” have to be self starters and able to work independently. It’s a much different experience than our short termers who are usually here for one week and kept busy. We figure that anyone coming for one week, really doesn’t “NEED” to watch tv, spend hours on the computer and get lost in a great novel to pass the time. Our long-termers, on the other hand, do need some distractions. After church today, there was opportunity for a swim and – what’s that? XBox?!!!! I loved walking in on that soccer match!
Jordan, A. Jay, Claudson, Alexis & Jackie enjoying some down time today.
Angela taking a listen
Yes, Angela Parayson has returned to us, after taking a little over a month back in the States. She hit the road running, working in the clinic the day after her arrival with Carolanne Knetchel, her friend and fellow nurse from back home. Together they have been seeing as many as 30 people in a day. From those little old ladies I love with their high blood pressure issues, to the young man with a machete wound and the little boy who needed stitches, these women have been doing it all. I love how God gives a vision that is seemingly impossible to fulfill and then sends people (like Angela, Carolanne and so many others!) to make it happen.
Lex and Carolanne fixing up a machete wound. Ouch!
That’s Totou’s arm. Pretty sweet!!!
There always seems to be opportunities to put in or remove stitches…
More help is on the way, as Bob and Sally Heier will be arriving to spend the end of the week with us. Sally is an amazing, “teachy” RN – okay, I’m not sure that there is any other kind, quite honestly, but I LOVE how she works with Angela in the clinic and trains her beyond what she was able to glean working in America.
Youth Choir One Year Anniversary
The MOHI Youth Choir celebrated their first anniversary this week, with special services and a free concert for the Grand-Goave community. These young people worked hard to make decorations and hang curtains in the church to add a festive touch to everything.
I Love My Church!
Pastor Edon and his nephew Michael
The youth sure do know how to decorate!
Sunday morning is a highlight in my week. I love hearing a good word in season, seeing all my friends and worshiping the Lord together. Here are some pictures from this morning.
What a wonderful time the children had this morning! I thought you’d enjoy some pictures…
Friends from the Covenant Day School worked with the Children’s Church this morning.
A happy Miklène
I’m confident David enjoyed today’s activities!
Admiring the artwork
Friends from the Covenant Day School enjoy our kids, too!
The school construction continues, with our focus turning to railings, doors, window grills and shipping the remaining electrical supplies. Railing sections are being fabricated right now. We are in need of funding for the doors and window grates. Your help is greatly appreciated!
Railings for the new school are being fabricated.
We’re so grateful to Child in Hand for sending Junior and Elisabeth to help our computer club for two days every week!
Cheno could be leading a future generation!
When I look into a child’s eyes, I often wonder to myself, “What will you become tomorrow?”
Learning to repair tires at a young age…
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Sanding and Painting…Sanding and Painting…
Lots of painting is still going on in the new school building. I’m amazed at the amount of time the details are taking. We’re still hoping to have this first phase of construction completed by the end of May.
We had a good week in school with good attendance in all our classes this week. Junior and Elisabeth worked with our new computer club students and are beginning to identify leaders among the kids. This will be critical to ensure that the laptops are well maintained and that others will be motivated to learn, as well.
I love watching the kids enjoy a hot meal at school…
Did I mention that Spring has sprung in Haiti?
Is it my imagination? Or was Andrew sitting on his 2 year old daughter, Faith in church this morning?
I so enjoyed watching Jordan trying to get a mango for himself today…
Inter-Youth Choir from Port-au-Prince
Church this morning was pretty cool. The Inter-Youth Choir, from Port-au-Prince was with us again, bringing some heavenly music into the house. Pastor Lex shared an encouraging message with us. It was a rather “raw” message that touched many hearts. I have often heard this Haitian proverb quoted, “Kreyol pale, Kreyol konprann.” The literal translation is “Creole speaks, Creole understands.” The actual meaning is closer to “I’m speaking your native language and I KNOW you understand me.” It was that kind of a message, with the little nuances of culture that the Haitians understand and that most Americans will never quite grasp the significance of.
In the message, Lex started talking about weapons. (Let me preface this by saying this has NOTHING to do with American politics! Few weapons in Haiti are legal. This is a message about what you put your trust in.) Sometimes people feel like if they carry a gun they are safe. Some guys give their girlfriends guns, in case they ever have a problem. Unfortunately, many times those guns end up killing the ones we love. What if you shared a Bible with your girlfriend, instead of a gun. That Bible could lead her to eternal life. The Bible, the truth that we can receive from it, can deliver us from bad circumstances.
There was much more to the message, but that part was significant to what happened at the end of the service. When he was done preaching, Lex asked if there was anyone that wanted to come forward to pray and ask Jesus to come into their lives. Two people responded, a young man and a young woman. After the service was over, the young man came to Lex to tell him what had happened in his life.
This young man had been arrested for possession of an illegal weapon, but didn’t have a gun on him, he had only a bottle of whiskey. Nevertheless, he spent time in prison for it. After a year, someone came to the prison for a visit and gave him a Bible. Three days later they called him to release him from prison. They began to talk with him about getting a lawyer and how much money he had to pay, court fees and such, in order to leave. It all added up to an unimaginable sum for him. Someone else across the room spoke up and said, “No. He doesn’t need to pay anything. Let him go.” And they did. Today he was asking himself, “What would have happened to me, had I picked up a Bible instead of a bottle?” Food for thought.
Yesterday we said goodbye to Anne, our nurse friend from Germany. What a blessing she has been to this community over the past three weeks!
Kim Conrad and some of the guys
Kim Conrad was here ever so briefly and has now returned to the life of airplane mechanics. She spent most of her time with “the guys.” She spent three months working on the school construction last year and was really eager to spend some time with “the guys” again.
Rod, Robin and Trinity also left yesterday, after spending a week with us. We are grateful for Rod’s help with some of the maintenance issues we were having.
This week Mission E4 has a team staying at the MOHI missionary compound, while they continue working with their schools and ministering in Leogane and Fauche.
I’m really excited about the team coming in the next week. Will Coley, who survived the earthquake with us here in Haiti, will be returning with a team from Sovereign Grace Community Church (Peabody, MA). Their time here will be focused mainly on the school and building a home for a family in need.
Marie Syliane Baptichon came to our church several years ago, after her husband died. It’s not unusual for someone to come looking for “stuff” and then move onto the next church and the next. She came and she stayed. She has three children, Silène (12), Fedner (10) and Islande (7). They were just little when their father died. We are thrilled to have a part in seeing this family have a home to live in. Thank you to our friends at Sovereign Grace for raising the money to build this house. As you can see in the picture, the foundation is being prepared now, so they can put the wall up once they are here. I am so looking forward to watching this team work together with our Haitian masons and laborers and to seeing the joy on the faces of this precious family.
Our Sri Lankan friends headed back home this week, but not without a proper goodbye. They invited us to their camp to meet the new commanding officer and some of his staff. The morning they were leaving, they came by to plant a mango tree in our school yard. What a great way to be reminded of our friends, as we watch this little tree grow and provide fruit.
Enjoying our friends from Sri Lanka before their return home
Claudel was in a motorcycle accident a little over a week ago
We open our school clinic up to the neighborhood several times a week. This past week Dr. Srihari (Child in Hand and BelikeBrit) joined us for two days. We were so thankful, as we had a few difficult and unusual patients this week.
Claudel was victim in a motorcycle accident. He was injured on his knee – a difficult wound to heal without immobilizing the leg – and also had hit his head. His sister brought him to the clinic and explained the circumstances. Claudel seems to have lost much of his mental capacity from the accident. While these injuries are beyond our ability to treat, Dr. Srihari was able to point Claudel and his sister in the right direction and caution them about the real danger of not recovering, if they don’t pursue treatment.
Maestro Odenet has been working for us for about 12 years now in the school and has also been in the music minister for all that time. He came to me Thursday to tell me about his sister’s 13 year old son, Lucritch. When my kids were younger, they used to invite Lucritch over to play almost every weekend. He was a very well behaved and intelligent boy with a clean mouth – which was always very important to me!
Lucritch and his mom meet with Dr. Srihari
Odenet began explaining to me that when Lucritch was born, he didn’t breath on his own and had to be resuscitated. They never noticed any kind of developmental issues with him, but in January he began having trouble walking. His mom brought him from doctor to doctor, trying to determine what the cause was. The last doctor she saw, told Lucritch’s mom that she was supposed to have had tests done for him when he was little, so now he’s having these problems because she didn’t do that.
I thought it sounded odd that he could go thirteen YEARS without any evidence of brain damage to now suddenly be exhibiting it. I brought Odenet to see Dr. Srihari and explain to him what he’d just told me. He asked for Lucritch to come see him the next day, so his mother brought him to see Dr. Srihari. I feel so good knowing that someone who understands how to find a diagnosis and followup with it is now involved. Lucritch will need to get a CT scan done and Dr. Srihari will be studying previous test results, as well as the CT scan results. So often in Haiti, doctors tell the patients what they want them to do and the medicines they want them to take, but don’t explain to them what is actually going on in their bodies. Lucritch’s mom is so happy to have someone explain things to her plainly.
Please join with us in lifting Lucritch up to the throne of grace where we will find help for this time of need in his life.
I had a birthday last week. I’m 50 years old now. Perhaps my ears are becoming more sensitive with age. There were many musical rehearsals yesterday, right next to my office. The bass guitar seemed to get louder and louder with each rehearsal until I just couldn’t deal with it any longer. I stormed out of my office and went and hid in the new school, with it’s thick, sound-insulating, concrete walls and enjoyed a little peace for a short moment. In my teen years, I had discovered Styx sounded better the more volume it had. Somehow, that just doesn’t translate to Haiti at 50 years of age. It does cause me to not want to be too harsh with my young friends who are enjoying the volume, though.
During the week, I deal with school sounds. They can be pretty loud, too, but they are brief and passing. After a short distraction, I can usually focus on my work again. Being the weekend still, and having had such a hard time of it yesterday, I decided to take my computer, a wireless internet connection and head to the second level of the missionary compound.
Here I sit, listening to these very chatty songbirds making a racket – and absolutely loving it! I miss the birds! There are very few birds in the city and I don’t remember ever seeing birds in the school yard. (That may have more to do with the abundance of children and noise, rather than a lack of birds?) I remember living in Willimantic, CT in an old Methodist Campground – cute little cottages, just not quite so well-kept as Martha’s Vineyard. I set up a little bird sanctuary right outside my dining room window. I would enjoy the abundance of birds (chickadee, titmouse, snowbird, cardinal, sparrow, wren, finch, woodpecker, blue jay, catbird, mockingbird…) and I’d shout at the squirrels (and the neighbor’s cat) when they made the birds fly away. I’ve always loved observing nature and today I am able to enjoy that peaceful sense of contentment in the midst of the mangos and coconut palms before me.
In the distance, I can hear the inter-juene choir, who sang at church this morning. They’re not singing, but they are laughing and splashing in the ocean. I can hear the kitchen staff, as they prepare a meal for our guests. The plates are clattering, but mostly I hear them telling stories to each other and laughing.
This place we call “Cayes Mirliton” is full of great memories for me. At a point in my life when I must have been on the verge of a mental breakdown – NEVER a quiet moment of privacy, being the main culprit – we moved to Cayes Mirliton, leaving the noisy, busy city behind. I homeschooled my children every morning and went to the “office” (previously my home) every afternoon. Everything changed once I was able to choose to “go home.” I suddenly loved being with everyone again and was playful and perhaps people even liked being around me, too.
That loud music, that irritated me to no end, drove me to Cayes Mirliton today. Perhaps if I had been listening to the gentle leading of God’s Spirit, I wouldn’t have had to wait for the music to drive me here. Just maybe, God loves me enough to let me get frustrated to this point to remind me there’s more to life than my own work agenda. Hmmmm… Maybe.
Cayes Mirliton memories…
Over the years…