Moms

Moms

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.

IMG_5978ALL 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

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’s Birthday

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.

20130509 MOHI Happenings

Radio HOPE FM 106.3

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.

School Supplies

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.

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Missionaries

Jim Murphy from Winchendon, MA

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

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).

School Construction

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

MOHI School Construction in Thozin, Grand-Goâve

Clinic

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.

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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…IMG_1409

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So Thankful!

Missionaries

Jim

Jim Murphy returns to Haiti!

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

Jackie Scarello is finishing up one month's service at MOHI

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

Jordan and Kristie

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.

MOHI Schools

National Exams

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

Graduation from high school, from grammar to high school and from Kindergarten to grammar school

Construction

Railings installed on one side of 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!

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Computer Club

The students in the computer club have been learning to animate their drawings.  I look forward to seeing the results soon!

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Medical Clinics

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 started an IV on this little girl.

Cindy assessing this little one

Cindy assessing this little one

 

Megan and her little friend Jounika at the MOHI clinic

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

Renée has LOTS of friends at church

This is what Lex looks like at church…

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Here are some more pictures from this morning…

Communion Service

Communion Service

 

A Pastor Pow Wow during the sound check

Love these pastors! 

A. Jay and Dadley

A. Jay and Dadley

 

The married women's choral group

The married women’s choral group

 

These girls were baptized last Sunday and had their first communion with us this morning.

These girls were baptized last Sunday and had their first communion with us this morning.

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Good Stuff

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

Janina stretching to reach as she paints the restaurant ceiling

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Syliane’s House

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’s Limes

Kendy

Kendy

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? ♥

Thank You!

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!

Love This Place!

Planning for America

Pennsylvania 2012 - Chris & Joy knew just what we needed!

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!

Baptisms

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!!!

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Laptop Mania

Peterson Forest's creation on a laptop.

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.

laptop moments

laptop moments

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

The restaurant in St Etienne

Basin Bleu

Look out below!!!!

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.

Different natural families, but one in the spirit.

Thozin church this morning.

Thozin church this morning.

John 4:24 "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

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

morning worship in Thozin, Grand-Goâve

Some of our babies...

Some of our babies…

Jackie and Janina at church and at work

Jackie and Janina at church and at work

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School Construction

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!

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What’s New?

Syliane’s Home

Steve and his daughter Sarah with Syliane's family in front of their new home.

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.

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

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 adrienne@wwlm.org.  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 ‘ ).

Home Run

Home RunOur 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!

Lovely

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!

Fun Times at Basin Bleu!

Here are a few more pictures from this week’s activities…

Sally cleaning out an ear infection

Sally cleaning out an ear infection

Angela and Caroleann working in the clinic

Angela and Caroleann working in the clinic

On the road again

On the road again

Building Syliane's home

Building Syliane’s home

Laptop happiness

Laptop happiness

London Bridge

London Bridge

Making blocks for Syliane's house

Making blocks for Syliane’s house

SovG painters in the school!

SovG painters in the school!

 

 

Housing and Updates

 

600+ Transitional Shelters

Jordan and Jackie visiting Thozin homes

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.

Collages7IMG_4998Without 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.

IMG_5011I 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.

 

20130413 SP Houses3IMG_5021I 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.

IMG_5036Transitional 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

Syliane's house will be built next to this one, which we built with Missionary Ventures after the earthquake.

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!

Visitors

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

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.

Jordan, A. Jay, Claudson, Alexis & Jackie enjoying some down time today.

She’s Ba-ack!

Angela taking a listen

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!

Lex and Carolanne fixing up a machete wound. Ouch!

That's Totou's arm.  Pretty sweet!!!

That’s Totou’s arm. Pretty sweet!!!

There always seems to be opportunities to put in or remove stitches...

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.

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Youth Choir One Year Anniversary

Handmade decorations

Handmade decorations

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.

Worship Team

Worship Team

I Love My Church!

 

Pastor Edon and his nephew Michael

Pastor Edon and his nephew Michael

The youth sure do know how to decorate!

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.

Children’s Church

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.

Friends from the Covenant Day School worked with the Children’s Church this morning.

A happy Miklène

A happy Miklène

I'm confident David enjoyed today's activities!

I’m confident David enjoyed today’s activities!

People...flowers...and???

People…flowers…and???

Admiring the artwork

Admiring the artwork

Friends from the Covenant Day School enjoy our kids, too!

Friends from the Covenant Day School enjoy our kids, too!

School Construction

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.

Railings for the new school are being fabricated.

Laptops

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!

Cheno could be leading a future generation!

Tomorrow

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...

Learning to repair tires at a young age…

 

Psalm 34:10

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,     but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

I Hear Birds Singing

School Happenings

Sanding and Painting...Sanding and Painting...

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…

Lunchtime!

Lunchtime!

Fun

Did I mention that Spring has sprung in Haiti?

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Is it my imagination?  Or was Andrew sitting on his 2 year old daughter, Faith in church this morning?

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I so enjoyed watching Jordan trying to get a mango for himself today…

20130407 mohi

20130407 mohi1

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Special Meanings

Inter-Youth Choir from Port-au-Prince

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.

IMG_2159There 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.

Friends

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 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.

IMG_5945-001I’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

Enjoying our friends from Sri Lanka before their return home

Claudel was in a motorcycle accident a little over a week ago

Claudel was in a motorcycle accident a little over a week ago

Clinic

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 meets with Dr. Srihari

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.

Sounds…

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...

Over the years…

Laptops and More

I Made it!

Lex and Nathan in Leominster, MA

Lex and Nathan in Leominster, MA

Lex is back in Haiti.  PHEW!!!!  Many thanks to all of you who prayed for me to make it through those eleven days.  I DID!  My heartfelt gratitude to all of you who took such good care of Lex while he was in New England, too.  I asked for a picture of Lex in the snow and I got one with our little man, Nathan.  I thought you might enjoy it, too.

Many of you took the time and energy to get some OTC medicines to Lex before he came back.  Thank you so much!  They are all now in the pharmacy and being handed out, as needed.  Lex  was also able to locate some needed items and get them to the shipper in Boston.  We look forward to receiving them here in Haiti within the next couple of months.

Laptops

Mark teaches the students how to clean the laptops

Mark teaches the students how to clean the laptops

We are so grateful to Child in Hand for bringing One Laptop per Child to MOHI this week!  Adam Holt and Mark Battley, along with their interns, Junior and Elisabeth, spent four days working with twenty of our students.  I was disappointed that a few of our students chose not to participate in the training, but we replaced them with those that were a little more interested.  By the end of the first day these kids were just on fire.  I’m not sure what they thought computers were about, but they discovered lots of fun things about them.  They got some basics down, like washing your hands before using a laptop, how to plug them in and turn them on, how to use the keyboard and mouse.  Once they went through all of that they were ready to give the laptops names and begin playing some educational games, so that they could grow accustomed to finer details of operating the mouse.

20130325 OLPC

The second day the students spent at the missionary compound, which is located right on the shore.  It may have been a bit distracting for them during class time, but they sure enjoyed it.  Now that we have a bus (thanks to our friends in Akron at The Chapel!) it was easy to get everyone to this out-of-the-way location.  Now the students were taking photographs and video clips using the laptops, as well as learning to draw.

Learning about cartoon-making with Mark

Learning about cartoon-making with Mark

 

Using laptops under the "choukoun"

Using laptops under the “choukoun”

What's with the crowd?  Ah, taking pictures of the scenery.

What’s with the crowd? Ah, taking pictures of the scenery.

Over the next couple of days the students worked on several projects.  I’ve included pictures of some of the work below.

Emmanuel

Emmanuel

Peterson

Peterson

 

Elange

Elange

Soiline

Soiline

 

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Junior and Elisabeth will be spending two days per week working with our new computer club, as we give these twenty the opportunity to really explore with the laptops and begin inviting their friends to join them.  Eventually, we hope to have the laptops become an integral part of some of our classes in the school.  Mark has cautioned us to be patient, as even in the USA it took many years before that became a reality.  In the meantime, those who really want to expand their knowledge and computer capabilities are able to do so.

 Friends from Afar

The Winchendon School presented Lex with a t-shirt.

The Winchendon School presented Lex with a t-shirt.

It’s such a joy when we have visitors from back in the States and other countries, too.  This week Forward in Health stopped in with a team from the Winchendon School.  Our family’s first town of residence in New England was Winchendon, so it was extra special to meet them.

Robin, Rod and Trinity Akin

Robin, Rod and Trinity Akin

Rod Akin, who was working with Samaritan’s Purse when we started constructing the new school, arrived yesterday with his wife Robin and their daughter, Trinity.  They are from Idaho and have been anticipating coming for a visit for quite some time now.  Rod searched for and found the “Passion of the Christ” in French and shared it with a church full of folks last night.  This morning he shared a Bible message with the church.

Kim Conrad

Kim Conrad

Kim Conrad is back.  Kim was our first contact in Akron, OH and has been here several times.  The last time was for three months.  She is working full time in Cleveland now as an airplane mechanic, so her time is more limited than it was back then.  Kim was very involved in the foundation construction on the school.  She hauled more buckets of dirt and concrete than you could imagine.  She has been a great encouragement to us and a very hard worker over the years.  We’re so excited to have her back for a few days.

Anne Hergt

Anne Hergt

Anne Hergt, from Beyern, Germany is a nurse by profession.  She has been “holding down the fort” while Angela is away.  What a blessing to have someone on site to care for the sick and injured.  I love seeing Anne enjoying just sitting with the children, like I saw her this morning.

Jordan Alexander has been with us for almost two months now.  He’s become one of the family.  I love this picture of him and Kristy this morning…

Jordan and Kristie

Jordan and Kristie

We are looking forward to Will Coley, our fellow earthquake survivor, returning next month with a team from Massachusetts.  They will be constructing a house for a family in need of a home.  I’m really excited about this project.  I’ll be sure to get you some pictures of it!

Easter Sunday

In America it’s common for people who hardly ever go to church to make sure they attend on Easter Sunday.  In Haiti, it’s often a time of the lowest attendance.  Doesn’t that seem bizarre?  Big holidays in Haiti, such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, are times for being social.  These are the times that people go visiting.  Some of these holidays the streets are busy all night long.  Many times people in the city hike out to the mountains to visit family, god-parents and childhood friends.  Sometimes the mountain folks hike to the cities for the same reason.

Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time at church this morning.  As I said previously, Rod Akin brought the message.  Our youth choir sang a couple of songs.  Kelly, the Digicel Star (Haiti version of American Idol) from Grand-Goâve shared a beautiful song that he wrote about wanting God to take the lead in his life.  Let me share more about this morning via photos…

Some of my babies :)

Some of my babies :)

Worship Team

Worship Team

Mackenson on sound

Mackenson on sound

Percussion

Percussion

Musicians

Musicians

Youth Choir

Youth Choir

 

End of message

End of message

Great Service!  Time to go home.

Great Service! Time to go home.

Construction

It was a short work week because of the holiday, but we still managed to make some more progress.  More finish plaster in the ground level rooms, painting and touch-ups and some hand-hauled gravel in front of the building are some of what happened this week.

Jordan and Samuel touching up the paint

Jordan and Samuel touching up the paint

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Together

Lex & Renée Edmé

Lex & Renée Edmé

Lex and I are so grateful for so many wonderful friends and partners that are working together with us, making things happen in Haïti.  Thank you one and all.  None of this would be happening without you.  Each and every one of you are critical to this mission.  Thank you for your faithfulness in praying, sharing the vision and good reports, and making donations.

If you are standing on the sidelines, watching the action, I encourage you to take a leap of faith with us.  Pray for the people we come in contact each day, for our staff, students and missionaries.  For as little as $10/month you can become a class sponsor in our school.  Come to Haiti and see for yourself the incredible work that is being done and put your hand to the plow with us.  Share what you’ve learned about MOHI with your friends, family and business associates.  Post this blog on your facebook page…

James 2:17 (KJV) reads “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  Don’t wait to do something grandiose.   Do something little.  God grows amazing, huge trees from the tiniest of seeds.  You never know what doing your little part, faithfully, will cause to happen.

If you’re feeling inspired to help, please contact us or make a donation.  Big or small, material or spiritual – don’t stand on the sidelines any longer.  Be a part of Mission of Hope International in a real and tangible way!

A Haitian Story

School Construction Progressing

"He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." ~Luke 6:48

“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” ~Luke 6:48

I used to work in construction, MANY years ago; roofing, siding, decks, additions… Although I’m certainly not a seasoned professional, I always felt like I knew a bit about construction.  That is, until we started building the school in Thozin.  This has been a whole new ball of wax!  It seemed to take forever to get the foundation in place.  Once that was done, the walls just flew up.  That was enjoyable.  Now the finish work is like returning to the foundation again.  There are just so many details to take care of!

The team from One Laptop Per Child arrived today.  We looked at the room that will be the library/computer lab and I got excited.  Once Lex is back, we’ll sit down and talk about the electrical installation in that room and furniture that will make the best use of the room and computer storage.

If you follow up on Facebook (mission of hope international) you know that I’m all excited about the flower beds we built in front of the school.  Yesterday we planted some plants, as you can see below.

 

Flower beds are planted

Flower beds are planted

School Happenings

This past week our students were taking their exams for this period.  Next week will be vacation for all but twenty of our students.  Those twenty, ages seven to seventeen, will spend four days in a training seminar with One Laptop Per Child, learning how to use the new XO laptops.  I spent some time with the training team today and I’m confident the kids are going to have a blast!  We’re excited to have children from the Hands and Feet Project and Be Like Brit represented in the mix.  Our hope is to find leaders among these children who will in turn help to teach others how to navigate this new tool.

A Haitian Story

Jon Brennan, "How Great is Our God!"

Jon Brennan, “How Great is Our God!”

We had a wonderful time in church this morning.  We’re grateful to the Hands and Feet Project for sharing Jon Brennan and  Daryl Brown (BridgePoint Chruch, St. Petersburg, FL) with us this morning.  Jon ministered to us in music.  It was so wonderful to look around the church and see the people really engaged in the song “How Great is Our God.”  Most of them knew the chorus in English and joined in singing with him.

Daryl is an American who spent years living in Haiti, so he is very fluent in Haitian Creole.  His message to the church was significant and I believe we will be referring to it regularly as the years go by.

Daryl Brown tells the story of TiMalice and Bouki

Daryl Brown tells the story of TiMalice and Bouki

Daryl read from Ephesians 4:17-32 and told us a Haitian story. Some of the people knew the story, but many (myself included) did not.

imagesTi Malice built a beautiful, strong house to live in.  His friend Bouki came by to visit and was so impressed with the house that he felt he must have it.  He offered to buy it on several occasions, but Ti Malice never wanted to sell it.  Finally Bouki offered Ti Malice $40,000 for his house.  Ti Malice calculated that he could build a new house for about a quarter of that price.

images (1)Ti Malice finally told Bouki that he would sell him the house, but with one condition.  Ti Malice would have one nail in the house that would remain for him.  The whole rest of the house would be fore Bouki, except for that nail.  Bouki agreed, gave him the money and Ti Malice went and built another house.

12316078273lpv5MAfter quite some time in his new house, Ti Malice became dissatisfied.  He missed his old house.  He wanted it back, but didn’t see how he could get it.  Then an idea came to him.  He found a dead dog in the street and put it in a sack.  He tied the sack up and that night snuck into Bouki’s house and hung the sack on his nail.  The next morning, Bouki awoke to a horrible scent.  He searched until he found the dead dog hanging from the nail.  Bouki couldn’t do anything about the dog, because that was Ti Malice’s nail and he had no right to touch it.  Eventually, Bouki couldn’t handle the smell any longer and he moved out of the house.  After he moved, Ti Malice went back to his old house.  He took disposed of the dog, cleaned the house and moved back in.

Daryl used this story as a great example of what Ephesians 4:27 says, “Neither give place to the devil.”  All it takes is one little nail to open the door for your life to be subject to unbearable stench.  I imagine we will be exhorting each other all the time: “Don’t give the devil a nail!”

One of the things I love about going to church, is seeing all my babies!20130324 Thozin church

Here are a few more pictures from this morning:

music and worship

music and worship

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UN Dinner

UN Peacekeepers in our area are mostly from the country of Sri Lanka.  Over the years we have made many friends among their commanders and officers.  The are usually stationed here for about 6 months.  The current contingent will be leaving later this week.  One of the majors came by to invite Pastor Lex to their a small dinner party they were throwing to say good bye to the friends they’d made here.  Lex, of course is not here, so he invited me.  I, of course, don’t travel alone – especially at night and all the way into Leogane.  The major was happy to have us all come, so Alexis, A. Jay, Gama, Jordan, Anne and I all headed to Leogane for a very multicultural evening.

Just for the record, that's apple juice that A. Jay's drinking!

Just for the record, that’s apple juice that A. Jay’s drinking!

Lex heads back to Haiti this week.  PHEW!!!  Please remember him in prayer.  Thank you!

 

 

Always Exciting!

When Lex is Away…

Lex headed to Massachusetts on Friday.  Saturday a friend asked me if I missed him.  I suddenly became bi-polar.  Part of me thought, “he JUST left yesterday!” and the other part said, “OHHHHH do I miss him.”  Now, our kids have said recently that we’re “lovey dovey,” but that is NOT the reason I was missing him.  The REAL reason had nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with responsibilities.  When Lex is here I can make decisions, but I can always just give my opinion and let Lex make the decision – which is often my preference.

The kids and I dropped Lex off Friday morning.  Immediately I had the responsibility to get one of the vehicles repaired, which meant doing what I needed to do quickly, because Pastor Hakine was waiting for me to bring him money for the repair.  Part of what I was doing was picking up some items at a grocery store in the mountains overlooking the capitol.  I hardly ever go to the city, so when I do, I usually will go to the grocery store – it’s like being in America for an hour every few months!  This particular time, however, we managed to get stuck in the store’s elevator!!!  I was glad it was only Jordan, Alexis, A. Jay and I, so we could tell jokes until someone opened the door for us.

The boat was getting swamped

The boat was getting swamped

The traffic was terrible, so we didn’t get back to Grand-Goâve until about 5pm.  Around six I get a phone call from Alexis, down at the guest house.  “Mom, the boat is full of water and the ocean is too wild for anyone to get to it.  There’s nothing we can do…”  In my mind, I see the boat full of water with just the railing sticking over the top of the ocean.  The reality was that the ocean was throwing it around like a ping pong ball, so the back of it was full of water a lot of the time.  Now I have to decide what to do about the boat.  I make some phone calls and gather some men together to go get the boat.  I think to myself, “I’ll stay here and let them handle it, so we can fit an extra guy in the car, since I won’t be much help pull the boat out.”  But then it occurs to me that someone has to make decisions – decisions that Lex would normally make.  If I don’t go and something goes wrong, it’s totally MY fault.  YIKES!  I go down to the ocean.  We had a about 20 guys there and were able to get the boat to safety.  It was good that I went, because I was able to make more decisions.  I got to enforce my decisions, too…  “Yes, I know you think it’ll be alright here, but it’s much easier to push it up another 25 yards right now than it will be in the middle of the night when someone realizes the ocean flooded this area and the boat is in the water again!”  “I know it’s not really necessary to tie it to the trees, but it’s not really that difficult and if there WERE to be unusual circumstances, it would keep the boat from floating away.”

I miss Lex a lot when he’s gone, because the decisions I have to make are a lot different from “which email am I going to respond to first?”

Computers

fb23Today I had the privilege of meeting with our friends from Child in Hand and One Laptop per Child.  In just over a week, a team from OLPC will be coming to train twenty of our students on laptops.  I’m so excited – you have NO idea!!!  One of the things that they may be learning about is investigative reporting – using the laptop to take pictures and make a cartoon of a story they witnessed.  Perhaps the children at MOHI will one day be publishing a newspaper for the school or maybe even for the city.  How cool is that?  I really appreciated the conversations I had with Adam Holt, the country director for Haïti.  It was obvious to me that he wasn’t a novice in international affairs and working within the Haitian culture.  I am looking forward to the training and working with OLPC long-term.

Friends

Tim, Renée, Ginger and Emery

Tim, Renée, Ginger and Emery

We met Emery and Jeannita Gaudet when our kids were little.  Whenever we were Stateside during “yard sale weather” we would go to yard sales.  I was a major book-aholic.  I would read to my children daily and as they began learning to read I wanted to have books available for them.  Lex, of course would always look for things like used tools.  Emery and Jeannita hold an annual yard sale to benefit an organization they work with here in Aquin and so when we came upon their place in Leominster, MA we had a lot to talk about.  Last year Emery helped on the school construction and the Be Like Brit orphanage.  It was great to see him today and to make a couple of new friends – Ginger and Tim.

Children and Music

Church in Thozin this morning was full of all sorts of praise and worship.  I put some video clips together so that you could enjoy a glimpse of the diversity.

We have so many beautiful children in the church.  I just have to share pictures of some of them with you…

Music was already playing when Kristy arrived.  She was really entering into His temple with thanksgiving and praise this morning!

Music was already playing when Kristy arrived. She was really entering into His temple with thanksgiving and praise this morning!

 

Woud is safe in the arms of her cousin, Figenia.

Woud is safe in the arms of her cousin, Figenia.

Lovena likes the camera

Lovena likes the camera

Stanley, Kendy's baby brother, is feeling all grown up these days.  He actually sat on my lap during the service this morning!

Stanley, Kendy’s baby brother, is feeling all grown up these days. He actually sat on my lap during the service this morning!

They are precious in His sight!

They are precious in His sight!

School Construction

IMG_2088The school is transforming before my eyes!  As the painting progresses, we are starting to see just how beautiful this school will be.  This week we started building flower beds in front of the building.  They are being built out of the local green rocks we see here in Grand-Goâve.  Do you like them?

Flower bed construction

Flower bed construction

Thirteen Years

Thirteen years and still progressing!

Thirteen years and still progressing!

Coming Through the Fires

Our family came to Haiti with a vision to begin Mission of Hope in March of 2000.  Thirteen years later, here we are still, but the vision has expanded into more than we could ever have imagined!  The impact of this ministry has grown, as have the challenges.  Hopefully, over the years we have been able to convey the positive impact more than the challenges.

Do you ever look back on the circumstances of life that were so difficult to go through and rejoice that God brought you through?  I do so often.  Sometimes, like when dealing with the death of a loved one, I remember the intense pain I felt and I can thank God for having dulled that pain and strengthening me to keep on going.  Other times I outright LAUGH at how immense a problem seemed at the time and realize how I would be so fortunate to have such little issues come up against me now.

First year teaching staff at MOHI in Thozin - some of them are still with us, thirteen years later!

First year teaching staff at MOHI in Thozin – some of them are still with us, thirteen years later!

That first year of school we had so much difficulty navigating the expectations of our staff and community.  We came from America, so everyone knew we were extremely wealthy.  The reality was that we shipped our pick up truck with a few belongings in it and gave most everything else we owned away.  We took our income tax refund and flew to Haiti.  We had enough money to rent a house for the year and build a thatch building in which to start the school and church.  After that we learned, through experience, just what walking in faith (sometimes barely crawling!) would feel like.

One time, we had gone back to the States to raise money and a few of our staff decided it was time to overthrow us and take over the mission.  Those poor souls.  They had NO idea what they were trying to do.  We never knew where their next paycheck was coming from.  I remember thinking, “Well, Lord.  If they have the means to pay everyone, I don’t mind if they take over!  Can they???”  Of course, that wasn’t God’s plan, but it did help to establish the attitude that I still have today:  “If it’s not God building the mission, if it’s not HIS will for us to be here, I am not interested in being here!”  Seriously, I can’t imagine trying to do this in our own strength.  Talk about impossible!!!

That’s just one of the challenges that I can laugh about today.  At the time it seemed like my world was falling apart.  We lost staff and people left the church.  What’s really fascinating though, is how our church in Thozin just exploded after that incident.  And the general feeling in the church was one of freedom.  God brought such transformation into our midst.  Things have never been the same since.

Many of us have gone through great challenges in our lives.  The difficult ones are NEVER enjoyable.  Making it through and overcoming those challenges changes our lives forever.  One of my lifetime favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  We face so many opportunities in life to throw in the towel and quit.  When our circumstances are out of control and any redemption seems totally impossible – when bad things happen to good people – that’s when we need to perk up our ears and open our eyes, expecting to see the remarkable creation God brings forth out of that desolate place.  Some circumstances will not change, but just maybe God has a plan for ME to change – to become so much more than I ever thought possible.  After all, it’s you and me that really interest HIM, not the current circumstances.

Miraculous Testimony

MOHI church in St. Etienne

MOHI church in St. Etienne

This morning at the church in St. Etienne, a man from Jeremy (tip of the southern peninsula of Haiti) who was unknown to anyone present, shared with the church what God had done for him this weekend.    I apologize if this sounds choppy, I’m having to translate from Kreyol…

Five years ago Daniel had consumed a drink that someone had poisoned.  Just minutes after he drank it, he could no longer speak.  He visited every hospital and doctor recommended to him by anyone and everyone, but after five years was still unable to speak with his wife, children or anyone else.

Recently, a neighbor encouraged him to visit a particular ministry in Port-au-Prince that has a reputation as a healing center.  He and his wife worked hard to come up with the $250HT required to register and get to Port-au-Prince.  Finally, he and a neighbor who lives in Jeremy, but is from St. Etienne, left on the long journey to Port-au-Prince.  They decided to sleep at the friend’s house in St. Etienne Thursday night, leaving again Friday evening to head to Port-au-Prince (-apparently this particular ministry is open 24/7 and they were planning to arrive at night time).  They got on a taptap (Haitian public transportation) and headed out.  The vehicle broke down unexpectedly, right in front of the MOHI church in St. Etienne.  The driver refunded everyone’s fare and told them to try to find another ride.

At this time, Daniel’s friend realized that he had left his phone at home.  He sat Daniel down on the side of the road in front of the church and headed back home to get his phone.  It so happened that as is their custom, the church had gathered for their Friday night prayer service.  Daniel sat listening to the church praying and thought to himself, “I’m on my way to be prayed for and healed all the way in Port-au-Prince, and here these people are already praying.  Why do I need to go to Port-au-Prince?  I can receive the same healing here that I am looking for in Port-au-Prince.”  As soon as he finished his thought he fell asleep.  He thought he’d slept for about ten minutes, when he suddenly awoke and discovered that he was able to speak again.

Daniel was obviously overwhelmed with his discovery.   The people were still praying fervently inside the church.  He thought he should go inside and tell everyone what had happened to him, but then he realized he wasn’t dressed appropriately to go inside.  (Haitian culture frowns on going to church in shorts, which is what he was wearing.)  He was eager to surprise his wife, so he decided to head back home to Jeremy.  

When Daniel arrived in Grand-Goâve, it was very late and difficult to find a vehicle to take him home, so he slept in Grand-Goâve.  Once asleep, he saw a man calling to him to come talk with him.  In the dream, he went to him and the man said to him, “How is it that you are going all the way home without even thanking the church or testifying to what God has done for you?  Go back and tell the church their prayers arrived in front of me and their names are written in the book of life.  The only thing is, they are not tithing.  Tell them for me, they have to pay 10% on everything they bring in and I will bless them.”

Pastor Hakine and our new friend, Daniel

Pastor Hakine and our new friend, Daniel

In the morning, Daniel returned to St. Etienne and stayed at his friend’s house for the night.  This morning he came to the church early and shared with Pastor Hakine what had happened.  Pastor Hakine asked him to tell the church about it.  He told Pastor Hakine that he would testify, but he was so eager to get home to surprise his wife that he would not be staying for the service.  Pastor Hakine agreed and Daniel told the church what I’ve told you.  He finished his testimony by saying that he didn’t have any money, but that he was going home and next month he would return with his own tithe to give the church.  He said he didn’t have any money left, at all, but that he was trusting God that each vehicle that stopped to pick him up would allow him free passage.  He thanked Pastor Hakine, turned and walked quickly out of the church.  A couple of the working men in the church literally ran after him to give him money to pay his way home.

The way he left the church further convinced the people that his testimony was true.  Churches in Haiti, as I imagine is the case many countries, are accustomed to people trying to “shake them down” – going from church to church telling a fictitious story of woe to play on people’s emotions in order to get money.  Daniel was only interested in high tailing it out of there so he could show his wife what the Lord had done for him.

Whether we all agree with his doctrine or not, I think we can all rejoice with him that he was dumb and now he speaks!  Praise God!

St. Etienne School

Donated food from Food for the Poor

Donated food from Food for the Poor

I talk a lot about our main school in Thozin, because that’s where I live, but there are plenty of good things happening at our St. Etienne School, too.  Jordan spent a day with our school kids there this week and brought back some great pictures to share with you.  Just like in Thozin, the kids are so precious.  The teachers and students work hard in somewhat less than desirable conditions.  We thank God for providing a roof over their heads, benches to sit on and food to eat.  This week MOHI was blessed with a food donation from Food for the Poor, that will help ensure the kids are nutritionally prepared to learn at school each day.

MOHI students in St. Etienne

MOHI students in St. Etienne

School Construction Update

New paint on the school and smashing the concrete trough, as we come to the end of pouring concrete

New paint on the school and smashing the concrete trough, as we come to the end of pouring concrete

We continue to make progress on the new school building at MOHI in Thozin, Grand-Goâve, Haïti.  The finish work is much more tedious than putting up walls and yet my excitement is growing day by day, as I imagine the students and staff moving into the school in just a couple more months.  My spirit soared as I watched the men take turns smashing the concrete trough they made all those months ago in which to dump the concrete from the mixer.  Knowing that we’re coming to the end of the concrete work is just exhilarating.  I’ve noticed an excitement growing among the students this week, as the outside of the building is being painted.  I hope you are excited to see the progress, too. Please do keep supporting this project with your prayers and financial donations.  Thank you!

Burn Baby

Totou's healing arm

Totou’s healing arm

Totou’s arm is almost back to normal now.  He has one little spot on his wrist where he was burned the worst that is still healing, but as you can see in this picture, the rest of his arm is returning to normal.  I can’t thank all the medical staff who worked on him enough for impacting this young boy’s life so dramatically.  Thank you!

Thozin

Pastor Edon preached a lively message about love this morning.  It was broadcast live on Hope FM 106.3, MOHI’s radio station.  Yesterday, since there was no school, they put a speaker out into the yard, so everyone could hear the radio station.  As we arrived in the yard, and at different points throughout the day, I witnessed construction workers and little children alike swaying to the beat.  Funny thing is, there wasn’t much shouting going on during the day.  *Happy!*

Church in Thozin this morning

Church in Thozin this morning