Near and Far

Leah, the incredible!

Leah Fuller, ABG … and RN

Leah Fuller, RN is really, in my opinion, Leah Fuller, ABG (amazing blessing from God)! American missionaries serving in foreign fields often have a very fine line to walk. It’s easy to be so proud of our American heritage that we get a superiority complex. On the other side of that forever swinging pendulum, we can relate so much to our brothers and sisters where we are serving that we can cultivate a negative attitude toward our visitors as they fumble through the difficult cultural exchanges. Leah and I are very aware of the fine line and try hard to encourage each other to walk it each day. We also enjoy planning our menus together and this week we planted some seeds together.

Leah and I started a garden this week.

Leah and I started a “garden” this week.

.Leah put in a full week in the clinic, while fighting with a cold this week. Would you pray for her to recover quickly so she can continue serving in the clinic? Thank you.

There's been no shortage of babies at the clinic this week.

There’s been no shortage of babies at the clinic this week.

Leah at work, caring for our students and neighbors

Leah at work, caring for our students and neighbors

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School has been going great. Here’s a little glimpse…

Learning the Importance of Hand Washing in Preschool Class

Learning the Importance of Hand Washing in Preschool Class

Painting in Preschool

Painting in Preschool

In the Classroom

In the Classroom

Everyone loves lunch time!

Everyone loves lunch time!

Sean Collins and some MOHI students are measuring the sun!

Sean Collins and some MOHI students are measuring the sun!

Friends, Food & Water...Life is Good!

Friends, Food & Water…Life is Good!

I love the choo-choo method of learning to form and move in lines!

I love the choo-choo method of learning to form and move in lines!

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Church was awesome this morning. We had a wonderful time of praise and worship and a great word of encouragement from Laramie Brown. Laramie, his wife Amy, and their children Luke (15), Lance (14), Anna (10) and Abby (10) are serving full time now at the Hands and Feet Project here in Grand-Goave. We are really excited about this family and look forward to getting to know them better.

The Brown Family, missionaries at the Hands and Feet Project

The Brown Family, missionaries at the Hands and Feet Project

Better Late than Never!

Better Late than Never!

Not sure if they're laughing AT me or WITH me, but I'm glad they're laughing!

Not sure if they’re laughing AT me or WITH me, but I’m glad they’re laughing!

We Love the Kiddos!

We Love the Kiddos!

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Church was awesome tonight, too! Scott Long, from Mission E4 shared an unforgettable message with us about living holy lives. He entertained us with his cookie recipe. He put milk, sugar and some other ingredients in a bowl. He then held up another ingredient and asked how much dog poop we think he should put in the cookies. After several minutes of back and forth, we all understood that none of us wanted even the scent of dog poop in our cookies. He related this to sin and evil influences in our lives. Even a little is disgusting.

Angie and our "Hands and Feet" girls

Angie and our “Hands and Feet” girls

Scott put together an interested cookie recipe tonight.

Scott put together an interested cookie recipe tonight.

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Our St. Etienne church had a full house this morning. We were also blessed last week when Pastor Mano and Pastor John conducted a seminar for the area pastors, complete with some reading material for them to take home with them.

Full house at the church in St Etienne this morning

Full house at the church in St Etienne this morning

Pastor Mano and Pastor John in St. Etienne

Pastor Mano and Pastor John in St. Etienne

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This week Lex took a ride far into the mountains near the border of the Dominican Republic to check on a small school in the little village of Anse-a-Pitre. It was a long and somewhat perilous drive, with giant drops off the edge of the road. It was also breathtakingly beautiful as he passed through the pine forest and lush peasant gardens. He was thrilled to discover that someone cared enough to establish a small school there in boonies of the mountains.

Anse-a-Pitres

Anse-a-Pitres

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Work this work included some landscaping at the missionary compound. We are using some of the beautiful green rocks that are abundant here to build some stone walls.

Landscaping at the Missionary Compound

Landscaping at the Missionary Compound

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What do you think of this guy’s mode of transporting lumber to the job site?

This is how some carpenters get to work.

This is how some carpenters get to work.

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Thank you for taking the time to read again this week and for being a part of reaching out to the people of Haiti with the love of Jesus!

Home in Haiti

I could sit and watch the interactions of children all day long! I just LOVE them! Of course, I do have a few responsibilities to take care of, but I’m so glad for those moments when I notice these precious little ones. This morning, Jamesly was toddling around the back of the church for quite some time. Eventually, his dad, Pèpe, gathered him up and sat him on his lap right in front of me. Jamesly reached up and held onto Pèpe’s ear. He rubbed it, it traced its outline with his finger, it lightly touched it… this went on for the rest of the service. How comforting it is for a little man to have a daddy to hold him, safe and secure!

No need for a blankie or a stuffed animal.  All I need is daddy's ear!

No need for a blankie or a stuffed animal. All I need is daddy’s ear!

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I gave out a bunch of Smarties this morning at church. I love watching the reactions of the children. Some light up like the morning sunrise. Others look shyly at the ground. All of them will look for me again next week.

Little ones at church this morning

Little ones at church this morning

Worship service at MOHI in Thozin

Worship service at MOHI in Thozin

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Having been away for two months, this morning was especially enjoyable, as I got lots of hugs and kisses from people of all ages. There are quite a few elderly folks that are very special to me. Mr. Daniel, who worked day in and day out hauling materials during the school construction in Thozin. It’s hard work even for a young man, but he takes great pride in providing for his loved ones. He experiences the aches and pains that so many of us do as we age, but I can’t remember a time that he saw me that his face didn’t brighten as he eagerly greeted me for the day.

Madame St. Armand is another one I love to see. I used to be rather afraid of her, as she has a pretty strong personality. She was a very hard worker, traveling from town to town to sell her wares in the open markets each day. I could never remember her name and she’d always be telling us that we HAVE to go to all the special events that seemed to be happening in her family. One day, many years ago now, during our women’s meeting we had a special evening with Angela – this was before she was even married to Gama. She had brought yummy-smelling lotions and we were all enjoying rubbing them on our feet. When Angela got to Madame St. Armand, she smelled it and tasted it. It didn’t taste so good, but she tried to conceal her disgust. Nevertheless, we all saw what she’d done. A storm came and we all ran into the office and squished together in a much too small area. We were short a seat and started to play our own version of musical chairs. Next thing I knew, we had composed a song for Madame St. Armand. It was about how we were all shining for Jesus and we would say we’re shining from our feet and our hands and our faces,etc. But Madame St. Armand was shining from her mouth and her belly. We all laughed and laughed and laughed. From then on, whenever I would see her, I would call her “Madame Klere” (the shiny madame) and she would say “klere, klere.” Now I absolutely love seeing Madame Klere. We hug and joke and she tells me all about her life. I visited her several times after the earthquake, as we put up transitional shelters for her children and their families in her yard. I’ll never forget seeing her beautiful house with the beautiful carved doors pancakes under a concrete roof. I thought of all the times I’d seen her struggling to get into the back of a big truck to go spend the day selling. She’d worked so hard to build that home and is was gone in a matter of seconds. I witnessed so much pain and devastation after the earthquake and I worked hard to be strong for everyone, but seeing the few items she’d salvaged gathered under the mango tree and her home in ruins brought tears to my eyes. Yes, Haitians are a resilient folk. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they didn’t HAVE to be, though?

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It’s incredible to come back to Haiti well after the school year has begun and see the students in their new uniforms and the professors working hard with them. I remember when we started the school in Thozin. Most students didn’t bother showing up until a month or more after school opened. I’m so proud of our school staff, students and their parents for taking the rules to heart and working together to make a brighter future for these children.

MOHI School in Thozin

MOHI School in Thozin

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The library and computer lab in the new school are slowly coming together. The lab is now ready for the computers to be set up. We’re trusting the Lord has someone ready to network them and make sure they have the proper software installed. The library furniture is all packed and waiting to be shipped to Haiti. We were given a vacuum while we were in the States. We packed it in one of our duffle bags and brought it to Haiti with us. It was so fun to watch the reactions of our staff, as most had never seen a vacuum cleaner.

The "machine for the carpet" is a brand new experience.

The “machine for the carpet” is a brand new experience.

Ready for computer placement

Ready for computer placement

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Leah continues to do a tremendous job caring for the sick and running the medical ministry at MOHI in Haiti. She cares for our students at both schools, as well as providing help and solutions for others with urgent and chronic conditions. Her true love, however, when it come to medical ministry, is education. She has some really great ideas and wonderful vision for this ministry. We have been talking over the past few weeks about our next step towards reaching some of these goals. We believe the next step is to hire a Haitian nurse to assist Leah, as well as a Haitian doctor to work part-time in the clinics.

Medical clinic with Leah Fuller

Medical clinic with Leah Fuller

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We are anticipating this will add about $1200 to our monthly clinic budget. It’s important to all of us that the clinic have a sustainable plan in place, so that continuity of care remains viable for all our patients. Currently we charge our non-student patients about fifty-three cents to be seen at the clinic. (MOHI students are never charged for our medical services.) This discourages people coming just to try to get free medicine to re-sell. We have considered charging more money, in order to cover the cost of paying the doctor and nurse, but this would be contrary to our vision of providing healthcare for those who simply cannot afford it. Would you consider praying with us for wisdom, as we move forward into the next step of this ministry? Thank you!

The more Mission of Hope International expands its ministry, the more maintenance there is to perform. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however! We are providing jobs in a country with an unemployment rate approaching 75%. What a blessing to provide an income for these families and contribute to a sense of self worth for so many hard working people.

Maintenance is no small feat at MOHI

Maintenance is no small feat at MOHI

Jean-Claude Duvalier died at the age of 63

Jean-Claude Duvalier died at the age of 63

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We awoke yesterday to some sad news.  Our gatekeeper and yard worker at the missionary compound, Jean Claude, died yesterday morning.  He had been struggling with illness for quite some time and had spent the last 3 weeks at a hospital in Leogane where he passed early in the morning.  We often referred to him affectionately as “Prezidan,” after the former President and dictator Jean Claude Duvalier.  Later in the day, we received the news that the former president also died yesterday.  May both “presidents” rest in peace.

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The father of one of our students recently fell off a mountainside and died. Blandina’s fourth grade classmates came to the church today in uniform to prepare to join the funeral procession. Please join us in praying for Blandina and her family as they not only grieve the loss of this beloved man, but also as they seek to survive without his provision for the family. We trust that her Heavenly Father has a plan for a good future for Blandina.

Fourth grade students prepare to join the funeral procession for their classmate's father.

Fourth grade students prepare to join the funeral procession for their classmate’s father.

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Yesterday afternoon we took a quick trip to visit the MOHI campus in St. Etienne. A structure is currently being constructed to pump water into an elevated water tank. This will allow water to be available without having to run a generator constantly. It was good to visit with some of the neighbors, Pastor Hakine and to see the work for ourselves. I always enjoy the view from this campus, too!

Oh how we missed this beautiful view from the MOHI campus in St. Etienne!

Oh how we missed this beautiful view from the MOHI campus in St. Etienne!

Construction at the St. Etienne campus

Construction at the St. Etienne campus

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We did spend the first part of the week in Florida with Bob and Sally Heier. We are so grateful for their friendship and their willingness to share their thoughts and advice with us. We have great respect for them and love them as dear parents – even though there’s no blood relation apart from the blood of Christ. We enjoyed being with our friends and partners in ministry at Grace Bible Church (Ft. Myers) and also a long awaited visit with the Youell family. Their first son, Gus, was born last month and we were so blessed to meet him.

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For all of you who have been asking how Alexis is doing, thank you. God is good! I’ll let some recent photos respond to your questions…

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Thank you to each and every one of you who are a part of this mission to Haiti. Thank you for your prayers, your advice, your assistance, your donations and your words of encouragement. We are so blessed to be back home in Haiti and to know that you are here with us in the spirit.

Haiti Work and American Travel

I’ve not had the most dependable internet over the past week, so I apologize if anyone was looking for a post that never materialized. We are in our final week in America, after a really great road trip, connecting with so many friends and supporters. While we have been doing this, our staff in Haiti has been keeping the ball rolling. I’m just so proud of them. I remember the days when things were really fall apart each time we left the country. Today, we feel like we could live in the States and MOHI would still operate as if we were there. We thank God for the men and women who are so faithfully serving HIM at MOHI right now!

School has been going very well. Maitre Sylvain, who is Pastor Bauvais’ son, has been teaching in our elementary school for over fourteen years. This year we promoted him to the position of assistant school director. Judging by the clothing and faces in this picture, I’d say he’s enjoying the promotion.

Maitre Sylvain is now the assistant director at the MOHI school in Thozin

Maitre Sylvain is now the assistant director at the MOHI school in Thozin

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Ecole Evangélique Mission of Hope International

Ecole Evangélique Mission of Hope International

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I feel like I say this all the time, but it’s so true. We are extremely blessed to have Leah Fuller, RN working with us full time in Haiti. These pictures are from last week. This week she joined us in Charlotte, as we met with our partners at Bless Back Worldwide. We had opportunities to try to fine tune some of what we’re doing in the clinic with teams coming in, as well as dream about the next steps. To complete a meeting with their board, knowing that we were all of like faith and on the same page with the vision for the clinic, teams and future endeavors was remarkable and just a tremendous blessing!

Leah and medical ministry

Leah and medical ministry

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Work continued in our absence on the medical clinic. Our workers poked a hole in the wall between the medical room and pharmacy in order to cut out a doorway. This will make the pharmacy more accessible to medical professionals working in the medical room, needing to check on a particular medicine. We also are working on hooking up water to the medical room. This week our crew hauled a big water tank up onto the roof so that we can provide running water without having to run a pump constantly.

Punching a hole for a doorway between the medical room and the pharmacy

Punching a hole for a doorway between the medical room and the pharmacy

Working on water for the clinic

Working on water for the clinic

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The finish carpenters/cabinet makers have been working on the furniture in the computer lab and the radio station.

Computer Lab Construction

Computer Lab Construction

Radio station upgrades

Radio station upgrades

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Of course church services continue in our absence. So many are blessed in the presence of the Lord each week.

Sunday  morning at MOHI in Thozin

Sunday morning at MOHI in Thozin

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With the first phase of construction being complete, we have been trying to add some green to the campus. Renord is always on the lookout for plants and even starts them in buckets at times.

Adding green to the campus - corn in Thozin

Adding green to the campus – corn in Thozin

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While all of this (and so much more) is going on in Haiti, we have been traveling through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida. We spent three days with our dear friends from the Hands and Feet Project, Drex and Jo Stuart. It was a fascinating time, as we had never spent any time in Kentucky. We enjoyed learning about farming practices at these MASSIVE farms of corn, tobacco, soy and sorghum.

Kentucky - I'd never really seen crops growing like this!

Kentucky – I’d never really seen crops growing like this!

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Drex showed Lex and AJay how to use a lathe. This was important, as we are in the planning stages for beginning vocational training with our high school students. Seeing first hand how things work, help us to better plan for the future.

Drex at the lathe

Drex at the lathe

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We enjoyed some historic parts of Kentucky, including the first church that Drex pastored, the Bill Monroe Homestead (he’s considered the author of bluegrass music), and Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home.

Drex and Jo in front of their first church, and some of their neighbors

Drex and Jo in front of their first church, and some of their neighbors

Bill Monroe's Homestead

Bill Monroe’s Homestead

Abraham Lincoln's Childhood Home

Abraham Lincoln’s Childhood Home

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We had the opportunity to visit the church that Drex is pastoring once again, in Indiana. We joined a youth group event, visited the parsonage and then shared with a large home gathering about the work we are involved in, in Haiti. It was special to meet some of Michelle Meece’s family and close friends, too.

Michelle's Mom

Michelle’s Mom

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We headed to Tennessee for a quick visit with more of our Hands and Feet Project friends. Will McGinnis was so gracious to host us at his home and we enjoyed seeing all the Haiti Made products that had come from what used to be my bedroom in downtown Grand-Goave. I was very impressed with the quality of the products now being produced. We had some “business” meetings, but we also enjoyed some time with our friends in Tennessee.

Will was great at this game!

Will was great at this game!

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Over the past fourteen years, we have been blessed with the opportunity to stay with the Engman family, in Westminster, MA. This trip we were able to visit their daughter, Hanna and her son in their home in Nashville. (Unfortunately, Brandon was at work.) What a joy to hear Z play the drums, doing a double bass rhythm and just blowing us away with his energy and skill.

The Wickhams

The Wickhams

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We have several long-time ministry friends in Florida whom we got to visit (however briefly) this week. We stopped for a night with Peter and Esther Plastridge in Jacksonville. They have been great partners over the years through prayer and advice, as well as monetarily. They also introduced us to John Armour, the creator of the amazing water filtration systems that keep us and so many other healthy in Haiti. We had a great meeting with him, his wife and sons.

Today, we had lunch with Chris, Joy and the new addition to the Youell family, Gus. Chris is a “sound guy” and is helping by locating some of the gear we need to take back to Haiti with us.

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We appreciate Bob and Sally Heier more than I could ever explain. Most of you who have been to Haiti have heard us refer to them, most likely NUMEROUS times. They are great supporters as well as incredibly wise advisers. Bob has pastored longer than we have been alive and Sally is probably the most capable nurse for working with the Haitian people that I have ever met. We are so grateful for their eagerness to welcome us into their home, taxi us around, deal with our unusual schedules and activities (like drying out our soaked clothes and ironing the time cards so they weren’t destroyed when everything got wet!) and go to church with us. We all ministered this evening at Grace Bible Church in Lehigh Acres. What a sweet bunch of folks who have been praying for us and supporting us regularly all year long!

Bob & Sally Heier, signing the devotional they wrote.

Bob & Sally Heier, signing the devotional they wrote.

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I decided that Florida is a lot like Kentucky, because it’s so flat, but instead of corn, they grow oranges here!

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We have enjoyed much of the beauty in America and are so grateful to our many friends who continue to support our work in Haiti. Thank you! As we prepare to return, would you please join with us in prayer for a safe trip and a smooth transition into the land that we’ve grown to love so much? Thank you!

Haiti and Akron

School is in full swing in Grand-Goâve and St Etienne. Thanks to many generous donors, we have been able to give clothing, shoes, back packs and other items to many of our students, as well as providing a great education for them.

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Preschool

Preschool

Primary School

Primary School

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We are so proud of Leah. She has been the lone missionary at MOHI in Haiti for the past month and a half. She has kept the clinic going strong, while also keeping an eye on general operations, letting us know if anything seems off. Between her and our staff, we are on track!

Leah in Action

Leah in Action

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Lex, AJay and I have been in Akron most of this past week. It’s been such an incredible time. Our friends at Mission USA and The Chapel have welcomed us so generously. Steve and Cindy Brown moved out for most of the week, leaving us to enjoy their beautiful home on the lake, where we enjoyed a little bit of boating and fishing. Fred and Sandy Muffet arranged a picnic Meet and Greet for us, where we were able to touch base with so many friends, supporters and Haiti volunteers. We had a wonderful time at The Chapel this morning and we enjoyed the opportunity to share with the Prime Time group about the work we are all accomplishing in Haiti. They have been such a huge support with the buses and supplies that they helped send to us in Haiti.

Akron Pleasures

Akron Pleasures

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We so enjoyed seeing Roger and Linda Putnam again. Their son, Josh, was one of the first visitors we had in Haiti from Akron. They opened their home to us for our first trip to the area. What a blessing they have been to us.

Roger & Linda Putnam, Jason Ball

Roger & Linda Putnam, Jason Ball

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Perhaps the favorite part of our time in Akron, was when we joined Mission USA at their outreach night. They pull into a low-income housing project, cook and serve burgers and hot dogs for mostly moms and their kids. They hold activities, such as musical chairs and soccer, celebrate birthdays (with cake, ice cream and singing), minister individually and hold a Bible study for the moms. I so enjoyed interacting with the kids and encouraging one of the moms as she explained the difficulties she is facing. Lex and I are so blessed to see the wonderful ministry that Mission USA is engaged in here in Akron, as well as what we had already seen and experienced in Haiti.

Mission USA outreach

Mission USA outreach

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Tomorrow we will be on the road again, beginning our trek south. While we are traveling, the mission in Haiti is fully operating. We thank God for His guidance and wisdom for all who are impacting the lives of the children of Haiti. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Two Worlds

New England is just so beautiful!  Everyday, as we drive from one place to another, I feel such contentment at being back in the land of my birth.  The trees, flowers, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, rivers – even the skies seem so different from Haiti.  What’s really amazing is that I can enjoy being here so much and still look forward to returning to Haiti.

Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA

Mt. Wachusett, Princeton, MA

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As we were driving along in silence one day, Lex said to me, “Look at this country!  Even the animals live better than most of the people in Haiti.”  My immediate reaction was to think he was exaggerating, just for effect.  As I thought about what he said, however, I realized he was being brutally honest.  Most pets live in their master’s homes.  Even the domestic animals all have barns to shelter them in harsh weather.  Food and water are abundant, even for wild animals (of which there are so few in Haiti).

I have to admit, a few tears slid down my face as I took it all in.  So many go to bed hungry in Haiti.  So many don’t have what we would even consider a bed here – a straw mat, a piece of cardboard.  Barns in America provide much better protection from the elements than many homes in Haiti.  Clean drinking water is often impossible to find.  Many are sick and even die from drinking dirty water.  Those fortunate enough to find work (less than 1/4 of the population!) often work for 8-12 hours doing heavy labor in the hot sun.   How my heart breaks for the intense suffering of so many people – all of whom Jesus loves and freely gave His life to redeem.

One of our biggest goals at Mission of Hope International, is to provide an outstanding education to children whose families might not otherwise afford to educate them.  We are so grateful for the Lord’s provision in this regard.  Year after year our students prove that they can perform just as well, and sometimes even better, than children from great means.  I’m so proud of how focused they are on their education and how hard they work to take advantage of all that God has provided for them – spirit, soul and body.

School is back in session.

School is back in session.

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Although my family is Stateside, everything continues to function normally at the mission in Haiti.  Our schools opened for the 2014/2015 school year on Monday.  Leah lets me know regularly how much she loves seeing all the kids back – especially the little ones!  This is our 15th year providing schooling for the children of Grand-Goâve.  Each year always seems better than the previous one.

Leah continues serving the sick with joy in the MOHI clinic.  We are so grateful to have such a dedicated, passionate and caring person on our team!

Clinic with Leah

Clinic with Leah

Leah's patient

Leah’s patient

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The MOHI dance team was invited to yet another UN function.  We are so proud of how well this group represents the mission at these events.  AND they dance great, too!

MOHI Dance Team at the UN Camp in Leogane

MOHI Dance Team at the UN Camp in Leogane

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The water tower in St. Etienne is under construction.  This will enable us to provide water for the community without having to run a generator constantly.  We are anticipating a cost of $6,000 to complete this project.  If you or someone you know would like to help in bringing water to this community, please make a donation and indicate “Water Tower” in the memo.  Thank you.

Water Tower Construction

Water Tower Construction

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Yesterday we enjoyed the company of many of you at our annual Meet & Greet in Westminster, MA.  What a wonderful day it was.  Thank you to everyone who came out and for all the generous souls who made donations to help reach out to our friends in Haiti.

Friends in Westminster at MOHI's annual Meet & Greet

Friends in Westminster at MOHI’s annual Meet & Greet

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We had a wonderful time this morning at Chair City Community Church in Gardner, MA.  We thank Pastor Dave and Kristi Tralongo, along with the entire church for their hospitality and generosity.  We look forward to continuing to work together for the Kingdom.

Pastor Dave & Kristi Tralongo, Lex & Renée Edmé

Pastor Dave & Kristi Tralongo, Lex & Renée Edmé

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We covet your prayers, as we begin the “road trip” portion of our time in the States.  We plan to leave early Tuesday, heading to Akron, OH.  We are trusting the Lord will guide us safely to each destination and prepare the hearts and homes ahead of our arrival.  We are so excited about seeing so many of our wonderful friends and supporters.  We’re also looking forward to making some new friends.  Thank you for your prayers!

 

Attention!

All you folks in New England, MARK YOUR CALENDAR NOW!!!

WHO:  YOU are invited to…

WHAT:  Our annual Meet & Greet

WHERE:  141 Bragg Hill Rd, Westminster, MA 01473

WHEN:  Saturday, September 6th at 1:30-5PM

WHY:  Because we want to see YOU before we head back to Haiti!

CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS OR RSVP:  (978) 652-6195

I hope to see many of you there.  That’s THIS Saturday!!!

We held our St. Etienne annual conference this week.  What a blessing to have water available right on site this year!  While the church and our neighbors were celebrating in Haiti, Lex, AJay and I were celebrating in Nashua, NH with our friends at Grace Fellowship.  We are so grateful that their pastor, Paul Berube, recognized the need and the church was able to pay for the well to be drilled.  God was surely leading, as it’s not every day one drills a well on a mountain top and finds water.  Praise God!

 

Conference in St. Etienne

Conference in St. Etienne

New decor for the new school year

New decor for the new school year

Teacher meeting prior to school opening

Teacher meeting prior to school opening

Leah multi-tasking

Leah multi-tasking

Maestro Odenet and an officer from Sri Lanka discuss how MOHI can assist in an upcoming event at the UN Camp.

Maestro Odenet and an officer from Sri Lanka discuss how MOHI can assist in an upcoming event at the UN Camp.

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It is a wedding weekend for us, while we are in New England.  My niece was married Friday night and Lex’s nephew was married this afternoon.  Congratulations to Brianna & Nami and Jackie & Huguener!  It’s been so special to have time with family whom we don’t often see.  My three brothers were at the wedding Friday night and two of Lex’s brothers, several cousins and lots of friends were at the wedding today.  Here are some pictures from the week and these events:

That's my oldest brother, Kenneth, on the left - there are 15 years between us.  Doesn't seem like so many any more!

That’s my oldest brother, Kenneth, on the left – there are 15 years between us. Doesn’t seem like so many any more!

The "guys" - Some of our Haitian American family that came to the wedding today (and Chloe photo bombing!)

The “guys” – Some of our Haitian American family that came to the wedding today

Church at Grace Fellowship in Nashua, NH this morning.  This cracked me up!

Church at Grace Fellowship in Nashua, NH this morning. This cracked me up!

Divine Connections

I often think about the amazing tapestry that is Mission of Hope International.  Although Lex and I lead the organization, the things being accomplished are so far beyond our abilities.  It’s really amazing!  I am so aware of the Lord’s hand in all that we do.  He connects us to people that HE has prepared to be a blessing to the people of Haiti through MOHI!  Whether it be specific skill sets, encouragement, donations of goods, monetary donations, ideas or spiritual impartation, MOHI would not be impacting so many without each one of those connections.  If you are one of these connections, I just want to thank you for being obedient and making such a difference.  I am so grateful for each of you!!!! Okay, I just had to get that off my chest!  Here’s an update on some of what’s been going on this week:

Classroom walls

Classroom walls

Preparations for the next school year continued this week.  Painting at the school is an ongoing project.  Between the dust and grime so common in Haiti and students leaning their heads on the wall, our white classroom walls are obviously impractical.  We had originally planned to paint them gray, so that’s what we are doing now. Our administrative staff at the schools are busy planning classes, scheduling teachers and registering new students for the 2014-2015 academic year.  There is an expectancy in the air, as each year our teaching staff improves and we are honing in on the best staff available in our area. . We enjoyed some good reports from Leah this week in the clinic. Tuesday she wrote: “Yesterday we had a set of five week old twins, a boy and a girl. When I met Jhomline and Jhomley two weeks ago, I was concerned about Jhomley both because he was quite a bit smaller than his sister and because being newborn twins in Haiti is no easy task. Yesterday at their weigh in, each baby had gained at least a kilogram. There are few better ways to start the clinic week, than with babies gaining weight, especially when one of those babies snuggles when you pick him up. Ask me how I know. “Then, this morning in clinic we had ten month old twin girls who weighed in at about 19 pounds each. I held both of them at once, and nearly threw my back out! Both of these girls were healthy overall, with only minor ailments, making their visit that much sweeter.” Saturday Leah wrote: “Part of the protocol for clinic visits for children under five is a risk screening for malnutrition. There are different levels of malnutrition, and once a child hits the more severe stages stages, their care becomes specialized and outside of the level of care we can provide. So we try to catch at-risk kids before they get to those severe stages. Through education, deworming, food supplementation and monthly (or biweekly for younger infants) weigh-ins we try to keep  these kids from more severe illness. “Rounding off our week of healthy twins was a visit from a couple of little girls I’ve been following closely since last fall. They have a dedicated mama who makes every appointment and finds creative ways to help her daughters get the nutrition they need. Thanks in no small part to her care, these girls have gained enough weight to graduate out of the malnutrition danger zone. I rejoice at how these babies flourishing now. They run and play and laugh like the kids they are, getting ever stronger and healthier. Seeing them was a perfect bookend for the work week.”

Clinic in St Etienne

Clinic in St Etienne

. Lots of rain over the weekend fell over the weekend in Grand-Goâve, due to a tropical depression in the area.  We are grateful that the work we did in the entry to the Thozin campus has done its job.  No water from the street backed up into the yard and church. Alexis started school this week at Victory Christian School in Tulsa.  Her first day she attended a breakfast for the seniors at 6:30 in the morning, where she met many of her new classmates.  As we all know, one of the biggest concerns when starting in a new school is wondering if you will be accepted and valued by the other students.  I was so excited to see a picture posted by the school on Instagram, showing Alexis sitting in a group of smiling students on the grass during the senior breakfast.  She had a good first day of school and, in the Lee Family tradition, we picked her up at school and all went out for ice cream with her.  I asked her a zillion questions when we got back to the house and she ended up falling asleep before I finished.  We had to wake her up when our dinner guests arrived later that evening.  She was exhausted, but pleased that she had survived day one.

Seniors at VCS

Seniors at VCS

. . . . . . . . . . Brother Bimba is a dynamic evangelist from Liberia, whom we met thirteen years ago at the New Testament Church in Oneida, NY.  We hadn’t really communicated for many years before he contacted us a few months ago.  He lives in Tulsa and came out to see us this week while we are visiting.  What a blessing to meet his daughter Deborah, who just graduated from Victory Christian School, where Alexis is now going to school, and his lovely wife.  He and Lex had a wonderful afternoon of fellowship (iron sharpening iron, really). We had an extra special weekend here in Tulsa.  We were first introduced to Dr. Gary & Melissa (Alexis’ new “parents” for the school year) by Dr. Gary’s brother, Pastor Dan Lee.  We were so thrilled that Pastor Dan & Tammy, along with their amazing sons, drove in from Kansas City for a visit.  What a wonderful time of encouragement and vision building we had!  We also had a blast with a visit to the zoo, a cookout, pool time, a sweet time of worship at the nursing home, and sharing in a church service this morning.

The Lee and Edmé Families

The Lee and Edmé Families

Arctic blast at the Tulsa Zoo

Arctic blast at the Tulsa Zoo

The reason Renée loves going to the zoo!

The reason Renée loves going to the zoo!

Worship service at Woodlake Church in Tulsa

Worship service at Woodlake Church in Tulsa

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . The guys have been working on packing up a truck that will soon be shipping to Haiti.  The bulk of the truck will be filled with the beautiful furnishings for the library at the MOHI school in Thozin, along with food from Kids Against Hunger Global.  Dan & Tammy also towed a trailer behind their van, carrying whiteboards they have donated for the school (which we are so excited about).

This truck will be shipping to Haiti soon.

This truck, donated by Kids Against Hunger Global, will be shipping to Haiti soon, filled with food, library furniture and white boards.

l . We received an email that brought tears to my eyes – tears of gratitude and joy, not sorrow!  You may recall that last month we hosted a town hall meeting on behalf of the US Embassy at our missionary compound.  For the first time ever, the embassy asked us to show them any projects we were working on, so that they could see what we are up to in Haiti.  Lex showed them around our Thozin campus, the block factory, the housing project, the Hands and Feet Project and Be Like Brit.  The Embassy staff brought along a young, Haitian, university student who is serving as an intern with them for the summer.  Here is an excerpt from the email he wrote to Pastor Lex today: “…Like I told you during our visit, I am a student in business management at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Technologie (ENST). I really appreciated everything you’re doing, everything you’ve built and all the good that you’re doing for the Grand-goave community. By visiting your facilities and learning about Mission of Hope, I realized that there is still hope in this country, with people like you acting and giving themselves for the community without expecting anything in return. “You really are inspiration for me and I really would like to help you in your ministry as much as I can. I was thinking on a little project that I could do with some of my classmates since we are in university in Haiti and we know how the market is so we could probably give the kids some orientation and some advices for their future. Well, I haven’t planned anything yet but I know that I can bring something to those kids and to Mission of Hope. I had the chance to be in the country’s best school since I was a kid and I’d be happy to help other kids who were not as lucky as me. My classmates and I, will think more clearly and in more details about an activity that we could organize together…” I can’t even begin to tell you how touched we were by this young man’s sentiments and that he feels inspired to take action to also help the students at our school.  The Embassy staff related to all of us in the town hall meeting that they were all infused with hope after witnessing so many wonderful things MOHI, HAFP and BLB are doing in Grand-Goave.  They were also very happy to see that we have really built a missionary/expat community in our area.  They told us that they only get to see the negative side of Americans in Haiti, as their job is to help when Americans are in trouble.  We are so thrilled that the work of the missionaries in our community brought hope to their hearts. Lex and I are hoping to see many of you at our annual Meet and Greet in Westminster, MA coming up on Saturday, September 6th.  Please come by!  Maybe you’ve never even met us, but are curious about the work we are doing.  Maybe you’ve been dreaming of visiting Haiti.  Maybe you just want to encourage us to keep on keeping on!  We would LOVE for you to stop by for a few minutes or a few hours!  Please don’t be shy.  And for those of you who have served in Haiti with us previously, please come by and share your experiences with those who haven’t been!  Contact me today for the time and address.

Haiti, MA and OK

Lennie & Amy Engman

Lennie & Amy Engman

We had a great week in Massachusetts. We met with many of our friends, family and supporters throughout the week, as well as thoroughly enjoying a family day in York, Maine. We so appreciate the amazing people the Lord has brought into our lives. We are especially grateful for Lennie and Amy Engman, who have given us a home away from home for most of the past fourteen years. Not only to they provide a home for all four of us, but they share in our lives and are rich in godly wisdom to share with us.

Welcome to Gus Youell!

Welcome to Gus Youell!

We were so happy to receive the news that our friends Chris and Joy Youell’s first born arrived this week. Augustus Gordon Youell arrived on Thursday (quite a bit later than was expected, but certainly at the appointed time!). He weighed in at 9lbs 15oz and measuring 22 1/4″. Congratulations to the Youell family!!! We are so very happy for you!

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Everything continues to go well in Haiti during our absence. Leah, the amazing RN serving full time with us in Haiti, continues to care for dozens of people each day. She wrote to me about the pictures below:  “I really love that little boy on my lap. He’s SO sweet and tempts me to rethink my stance on taking children home from clinic. He’s a snuggler and just turned 3. The baby is in the “trying not to get malnourished” program. He’s a different kid with steady access to peanut butter. He just had his 1st birthday. she’s pregnant again.  (For the second pic:) That dad was awesome! He was super engaged with both his kids and he and I both had a good laugh when he tried to teach his 2 and a half year old to say “ventilator” (“fan” in Haitian Creole). it was really precious to watch their family”

Leah and her patients

Leah and her patients

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National exam results for our high school juniors and seniors came through this week. ALL of our students passed!!! This is our fourth year of graduating senior classes and not one of them has failed the national exam. We are so grateful to the Lord for His guidance and the many prayers that have been answered on behalf of these students!

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The dance team from our school in Thozin was asked, once again, to perform at the United Nations Medal Award Ceremony for the Peacekeepers from Sri Lanka. Maestro Odenet chaperoned the group and we hear they put on a good performance. It’s also a special time for the students, as they get to experience the heat (SPICY!!!) of Sri Lankan food.

Performing at the UN Medal Award Ceremony

Performing at the UN Medal Award Ceremony

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The team from Bless Back Worldwide that left at the beginning of August, brought down lots of back packs to share with our students. Our school staff has been giving them out to students this week, along with many needed school supplies.

Back packs from Bless Back

Back packs from Bless Back

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Pastor Edon, the elders, deacons, worship team and married women’s group have been hard at work in the church in Thozin. People are coming and being blessed morning and evening on Sundays, as well as during all the midweek services and activities.

The MOHI church in Thozin

The MOHI church in Thozin

Our family headed out to Tulsa Saturday. We were met by the Lee family, whom Alexis will be living with while attending school here. We settled in and then all worked together to make 120 sandwiches. My understanding is that none of the soup kitchens in the area work on Sundays, so many are likely going hungry. One of the teachers from Alexis’ new school (Victory Christian School) chooses to feed the homeless each Sunday afternoon. We later had some lunch and went to the movies. I was so excited to see The Giver, as it’s one of my favorite books and I did find it very engaging.

Making sandwiches for the homeless in Tulsa

Making sandwiches for the homeless in Tulsa

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This morning visited the Praise and Worship Center, where our Kids Against Hunger – Tulsa friends, Marshall and Sherry Horn, attend church services. Pastors Ray and Kim Mills invited us to share with the congregation about the Mission in Haiti. The folks were very encouraging to us and we enjoyed lunch with several families. Dr. Lee got Lex to try alligator for the first time! What do you think he said it tasted like?

Pastors Ray & Kim Mills with their daughters

Pastors Ray & Kim Mills with their daughters

Marshall & Sherry Horn, Lex & Renée Edmé, Dr. Gary & Melissa Lee

Marshall & Sherry Horn, Lex & Renée Edmé, Dr. Gary & Melissa Lee

Alligator anyone?

Alligator anyone?

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This evening we went to the final service at Victory Christian Center’s annual Word Explosion. Pastor Bill Winston from Chicago shared an incredible message that definitely “charged my batteries” spiritually. The praise and worship (musical) part of the service was so awesome. It was international night and there were people dressed in native clothing and songs sung in many languages. We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Victory Christian Center's International Night at Word Explosion

Victory Christian Center’s International Night at Word Explosion

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As you can see, we’ve enjoyed our first two days in Tulsa! Tomorrow Alexis will go uniform shopping and we hope to meet with her guidance counselor to set up her schedule for the year. Thank you to all of you for your continued support in prayer for MOHI in Haiti and our family in America. Thank you!

All Is Well – Haiti and America

I love that my family can be in the States and everything at MOHI in Haiti is still moving along just fine!!!  Lex has been in close contact with our lead staff in Haiti and I have been in touch with Leah.  What a joy to hear so many good reports.

Leah continues to hold medical clinics at both the Thozin and St. Etienne campuses.  She shared some pictures with me this week.  Of course she thoroughly enjoys the privilege of caring for so many little ones.  Although she does seem partial to the babies, the reality is that she’s partial to all of her patients.  She brightens when her eye catches one of her elderly patients heading her way and she spends so much time and energy on figuring out the best ways to help them to feel better.  They appreciate her so much, too!

2014 via Leah

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National exam results for our 6th grade classes came back this week.  37 of our 39 students in Thozin passed and 8 of our 9 students in St. Etienne.  We are so proud of these kids!!!  Their teachers and parents deserve a lot of credit, too.  I know the teachers worked hard with them and we are very pleased.

Our church soccer team has been playing well, winning our last two games.

MOHI's church soccer team

MOHI’s church soccer team

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As you know, our family flew to the States last weekend.  We have been enjoying meeting up with many friends, family and supporters since our arrival.  We were all very eager to meet Gama and Angela’s new baby girl, Nyah Renee Parayson.  She’s just perfect!  I was thrilled to take her for a little while so that her mommy could take a quick nap.  I’m in LOVE!

We're in LOVE!

We’re in LOVE!

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I was so glad to have the opportunity to meet up with some old friends from the church I attended back in the 80s, Juanita, Leslie and Bev.  Juanita has been living back in Puerto Rico for many years now, so it was extra special to be able to see her again.  It was fun to see Leslie, to hear about her family and the ministry to Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, which she has been involved with for many years.  I usually see Bev each year, as she has very much been a mother figure in my life since I was 18 years old.  Her daughter Patty and I were roommates and her son Scott (who is known at MOHI in Haiti as my brother!) is the founder of Mission E4, whom we house teams for several times a year.

A precious reunion with Bev, Leslie and Juanita

A precious reunion with Bev, Leslie and Juanita

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This morning we drove to the Clifton Lutheran Church in Marblehead, MA to share with the congregation about the work that they have been doing in Haiti.  A team from this church was with us just a couple of weeks ago, building a home, teaching sewing and painting a mural.  It was great to see them all again, and to encourage the church in their generosity to the poor.

Clifton Lutheran Church, Marblehead, MA

Clifton Lutheran Church, Marblehead, MA

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Stefanie, who led the sewing classes a couple of weeks ago, was so touched when the team presented her with a special gift from Haiti.

Stefanie receives a gift from her team - a Haitian woman at a sewing machine

Stefanie receives a gift from her team – a Haitian woman at a sewing machine

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After church we went on a little tour of Marblehead with Ross, Scott, Nora, and Hannah – all friends who had visited us in Haiti recently.  It is indeed a beautiful area, right along the ocean.  Downtown are houses dating back as far as the 1600s!  Along the shore are many beautiful homes and mansions.  We enjoyed climbing the rocks along the shore and looking out at the many sailboats and water birds.  Ross did some math and told us that we could build homes for 2,8000 Haitians for the amount of money it costs to build one of these homes.  $5,000 for a two room house goes a long way!

Some of the beautiful homes in Marblehead, MA

Some of the beautiful homes in Marblehead, MA

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Here we are, enjoying the views…  Well, we were actually posing for pictures, but we DID enjoy the view, too!

 

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We love to share with people about the work happening in Haiti through Mission of Hope International. If you would like to schedule us to speak with your church, youth group, business associates or family members while we are Stateside, please contact me asap at renee@mohintl.org or click here and we can look for a time to connect.

 

Thank you all for your support in every way.  We are very aware that we just couldn’t do what we’re doing if it weren’t for all of you who are supporting us.  Thank you!!!

For the Women

The Women’s Health Fair was an incredible success! The women in Grand-Goave are so accustomed to having to fight to survive, but this week they were able to taste a little different experience at MOHI. The team from Bless Back Worldwide worked for months, planning out schedules and activities for this event. We are so grateful to Melissa Roper for leading the plan and the team. Job WELL done!

Edwarde made sure the right people were in the right place at the right time!

Edwarde made sure the right people were in the right place at the right time!

Times of Praise and Worship

Times of Praise and Worship

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Each day of the Fair, the women gathered to sing and pray together. They then split into groups and made their rounds to the different rooms. Some of the stations had craft activities, some had short teachings on a variety of health subjects (choking, acid reflux, baby care…) and others involved pampering. Each of the women were seen by a medical professional. Each day focused on women in different times of life, young women, pregnant women, mothers of babies and toddlers, older women, etc.

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On the pregnant women’s day, they viewed a film showing the developmental stages of the baby in the womb. Afterwards, they went to see the doctor. One young woman was moved to tears to see her own baby on the monitor while having an ultra sound performed. It was so awesome that the women were able to ask specific questions and really learn about what was happening with their bodies as well as the development of their little ones.

Teaching at the Women's Health Fair

Teaching at the Women’s Health Fair

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The Bless Back team came with some pretty neat craft ideas. The first one was VERY practical. They made hand washing stations using an empty 20 oz plastic bottle. It was an ingenious idea and the women were thrilled with them.

Hand Washing Stations

Hand Washing Stations

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I was really moved by the picture below. This woman is painting a fan to take home with her. She has probably never held a paint brush in her life. This was such a treat for all the women. Many of them had to watch the team members and get some help from them. Something Americans have been doing since nursery school is an extra special moment in the lives of many of these women. They all got to take their handiwork home. It’s not only useful, but it will also hold much sentimental value for them.

Painting a Fan

Painting a Fan

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The women enjoyed all of the craft projects, but I think their very favorite was on the first day when they made tote bags from used tee shirts. Throughout the week I noticed so many of the women had put them to use and brought them to the Fair with them.

Crafts including beaded spheres, flower arrangements and tote bags made from old tees.

Crafts including beaded spheres, flower arrangements and tote bags made from old tees.

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The pampering room was a very special place, where the women were treated as the special ladies they are. Manis and pedis were the order of the day. There was also haircare and makeup on the agenda. How wonderful to feel the love of others AND go home looking GOOD!

The Pampering Room

The Pampering Room

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No event is complete without food. Amitane and several of the women at MOHI prepared a meal each day for the women. Mary Alice and Georgia also made sure there were plenty of snacks available for everyone.

Mary Alice and Georgia making sure there's food and snacks for everyone

Mary Alice and Georgia making sure there’s food and snacks for everyone

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The Bless Back team also came prepared to work with children each day. They had story times, crafts and other learning opportunities, as well as singing and playing. The Roper family and Pete did an amazing job keeping these little ones hopping – sometimes literally! I particularly loved the time they spent with books, both in the yard and in the villages each day.

Activities for the children

Activities for the children

Jackson was able to carry books to the soccer field for the kids there to have a "library" time.

Jackson was able to carry books to the soccer field for the kids there to have a “library” time.

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We (the Edme family) left Haiti together with the Bless Back team on Saturday. We have a lot of traveling on the horizon. We were so blessed to be welcomed into Wayne and Patsy Fish’s home last night. We had a wonderful summer meal (including our all time favorite, New England corn on the cob!) with many of our friends who had come to MOHI in Haiti previously. We were thrilled to finally meet Theo Rameau in person. He’s all of 3 months old and absolutely beautiful! Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying him that I forgot to take a picture. Oops!

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This morning we joined them at the Congregational Church of West Newbury, MA. Pastor Kevin and his fiance, Cindy were so kind to us and we enjoyed sharing with the congregation about the work they are accomplishing in Haiti through their regular support. It’s such a great experience for us to be able to visit with our supporters and encourage them with stories from Haiti.

Pastor Lex at the Congregational Church of West Newbury this morning

Pastor Lex at the Congregational Church of West Newbury this morning

Pastor Kevin and Cindy will be married soon, on August 16th!

Pastor Kevin and Cindy will be married soon, on August 16th!

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This trip to the States is a milestone for our family, as Alexis will be staying behind in Tulsa. We have so enjoyed the last 14 years in Haiti. Our Haitian friends have known our kids since they were very young. They sure have changed a bit!

A little bit of change over 14 years!

A little bit of change over 14 years!

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Thank you for taking the time to keep up with our activities. Please do remember us all in prayer. Leah is in Haiti. The mission will continue functioning without our physical presence. We trust our time in the States will be productive and blessed. Thank you!