Blessing Grand-Goâve

Bless Back Worldwide

862942_10100599974488408_1958805309_nWe had an extremely busy week with a team from Bless Back Worldwide (Charlotte, NC).  This team of twenty-two included medical doctors, dentists, PAs and RNs, as well as non-medical folks.  Everyone worked together so well and truly blessed the people of Haïti.  While medical clinics were the main thrust of their time here, the teens and some of the others were involved in teaching sanitation lessons and playing with the students in our schools.  Thursday evening was “movie night” for the kids in the neighborhood near the Thozin campus.  The place was FULL of little ones, bubbles, dancing, snuggles and laughing.

We had several challenging medical situations that presented this week.  Our 4 year old friend, Totou, continued coming to clinic for burn care.  his entire forearm was badly burned in a pot of boiling rice over a week ago.  His mom brought him to the clinic every day.  Angela, Dr. Prasit and Liz Cambo cared for him daily.  I’m happy to say that his skin pigmentation has begun to return on his arm.  Praise God!  His battle is not over, but he’s on a good path to full recovery.

The team from Bless Back Worldwide treated, counseled, taught and trained here at MOHI.

The team from Bless Back Worldwide treated, counseled, taught and trained here at MOHI.

removing a matchstick

removing a matchstick

A young girl had a piece of a matchstick stuck in her ear for over a year!  The team’s doctors were able to remove it.

The team shared the following praise report: “On Tuesday night we got an emergency call that a baby needed our doctors help. The 2 month old baby girl was brought to the beach property where we are staying and our doctors saw her immediately. They diagnosed her with Spina Bifida and said she needed surgery ASAP. They wrapped her back in gauze so she could make the long drive to the hospital to hopefully get in to see someone. Before she left, all 23+ of us prayed for her and for a miracle. We found out last night she got into a hospital and it just so happens that an American neurosurgeon will be in Haiti in a couple days and our sweet baby girl will have the surgery she needs this Friday! God is SO good!”

Ledan, a man from les Cayes who used to serve on the police force here in Grand-Goâve called Pastor Lex Wednesday.  He had broken his leg a while back, was treated, but was now experiencing a lot of pain.  He asked  Lex’s advice where he should go to resolve the problem, as he felt he had not received proper care.  Lex told him where to go to get a free xray done and invited him to come to see the Bless Back Worldwide doctors with his xray.

Ledan's poorly set, broken leg was reset.  He's resting comfortably now.

Ledan’s poorly set, broken leg was reset. He’s resting comfortably now.

The doctors looked at the xray and realized that not only was his leg not set, but the plate the previous doctor had implanted had literally broken in 2.  The “cast” on his leg was very flimsy (they were able to cut it off with scissors!) and only reached above the break by an inch or so, so the pressure on the break was certainly too much for it to bear.  The team was able to reset the leg, using HUMAN traction (see the picture above!), and recast the entire leg.  Ledan called when he returned home and told us how much better his leg feels and he knows it’s a different ball of wax now.  Lex told him to make sure he stays off of it.

Friday the team had the opportunity to bless the people in the village of Ti Paradi with a mobile clinic and fun activities for the kids.

A productive and fun time of ministry in the "Galèt" of Petit Paradis.

A productive and fun time of ministry in the “Galèt” of Petit Paradis.

In five days this team saw 136 dental patients (which included 233 extractions) and 873 medical patients!!!  What did they have to say about it?  “We are so blessed to have had the opportunity to Bless Back the people of Haiti!”

Here are some more pictures of the many special moments experienced while they were here…

Teaching and Loving on Kids

Teaching and Loving on Kids

Special moments at church

Special moments at church

Washing away the stress of the day

Washing away the stress of the day

Self defense lessons are an added bonus when Pastor Kevin is in town!

Self defense lessons are an added bonus when Pastor Kevin is in town!

Simply irresistible!

Simply irresistible!

Movie Night!

Movie Night!

An incredible team from Bless Back Worldwide

An incredible team from Bless Back Worldwide

LOTS of dentistry and training

LOTS of dentistry and training

Management

Management

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Church

The Inter-Youth Choir from Port-au-Prince

The Inter-Youth Choir from Port-au-Prince

The Inter-Youth Choir from the Missionary Church of Port-au-Prince visited our church in Thozin this mornning.  The church really appreciated their ministry and they enjoyed a great message and time of worship with us.  

Marcy Magness' baptism

After church, we invited the church down to the mission compound to witness Marcy’s baptism.  It was a special time.  It reminded me so much of the “family picnic and baptism” our home church always held in the summertime.

 

 

Hard Workers

Bob Heier seems deep in reflection during the medical clinic in St. Etienne.  The views at this campus are breathtaking.

Bob Heier seems deep in reflection during the medical clinic in St. Etienne. The views at this campus are breathtaking.

Mission USA in Haiti

Fred and Sandy Muffet from Mission USA, led a team of 27 to Mission of Hope International this past week.  Fred knew that he had a crew of hard workers coming with him and he was concerned that they all find enough to do.  Do you think they found enough to do? …

  • medical clinics in St. Etienne, Thozin and Petit Paradis
    • consulted over 300 people
    • distributed needed medicines to these same people, free of charge
  • Eye clinic and distribution of glasses
  • Equipped handicapped people with wheelchairs, crutches, canes and walkers
  • Gave out Bibles
  • Distributed food
  • plumbing
  • electrical work
  • retrofitted the generator exhaust
  • set up the new oven and stove
  • made and installed shelving
  • made and installed screen doors
  • vehicle repairs
  • boat repairs
  • played with lots of kids
  • served a fresh, hot meal to about 300
  • sanded and painted some of the new classrooms with primer
  • special times of ministry to
    • MOHI women’s ministry
    • Handicapped Association of Grand-Goâve
    • MOHI churches in Thozin and St. Etienne
    • couples
    • patients and family members in the hospital
  • crafts with younger students
  • English class in the high school
     

That’s at least some of what this team was up to.

Medical Clinics

This little guy was close to death when we happened upon him. Praying that he makes it.

There were a few difficult situations in the clinics this week.  We were holding a mobile clinic in Petit Paradis, when we came across a baby who was most likely only a day or two from death.  His situation was beyond anything we could do, so we prayed and paid for his mother to take him to a hospital.  As of this morning he was still alive.  I pray that God would bring him through this situation and that God would be glorified throughout the rest of his life.

Margaret, Prasit and Liz caring for Totou.

A little boy, Totou, was burned on his arm by a pot of rice that flipped over and spilled on him.  Cindy Bennett, who works in the burn ward at her job, went to work on him and left very detailed instructions for his care.  She stressed that he was at risk of losing his hand, as she cleaned his wounds and bandaged him up.  She instructed Totou’s mother how to prop his arm up and care for him during this time of healing.  Each morning Totou returns to have his wounds cared for.  We are pleased to see no signs of infection and pray for a full recovery for this little man.

 

Our friends at Child in Hand, Dr. Margaret Lin and Dr. Prasit both worked quite a bit this week, right along side the medical team.  What a blessing to have such well informed and trained doctors right close by to assist when more urgent matters arise.  They were also called upon this week when a child overdosed on an antimalarial drug.  I’m glad to report the child recovered well.

Disability Clinics

Dozens and dozens of handicapped adults came to our Thozin campus this week to be equipped with walkers, wheelchairs, canes and crutches.  It was such an amazing time as Linda, Tim, Shanda and others took time with each person individually.  First off they would determine what equipment would be most beneficial to the patient.  Then they would go to work making sure it was adjusted and fit to that person’s specific needs.  They trained them and their family members in proper uses, as well as teaching them to do different exercises to help them with their individual problem areas.  In addition to the physical help, often times Shanda would spend time counseling and praying with them.  She always gave them a Bible to take home with them, too.  I think one of the greatest things about the clinic this week, was the love and respect that was experienced to each of the patients.  So often they are the forgotten in society – considered not quite human, but this week they were the most important people in the world to a group of Americans who traveled thousands of miles and spent lots of money in order to love on them.

So many smiles were brought forth as the team ministered to the needs of handicapped individuals in Thozin this week.

Here are some pictures of various activities this week:

waiting to be seen at the clinic in St. Etienne

Waiting for her turn in clinic

Waiting for his turn in clinic

Kathie gets a little snuggle during craft time

First grade teachers observe their students with their new pinwheels

Traveling by the busload, the team arrives in Petit Paradis to do medical clinic, food distributions, play with kids and love on everyone

This woman holds the bag of food we gave her in front of her home

Tim & Shanda with their guest pastors who came for dinner and a time of encouragement from them.

 

 

Cooking dinner for about 300

Ready to serve dinner to about 300 people

 

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Bless Back Worldwide

BBW has sent another team to work with us.  They will continue doing medical clinics, adding some dentistry to the mix this time, as well as lots of activities with our school students and communities.  This morning they joined us for our worship service in Thozin followed by a tour of our Grand-Goâve community.  This afternoon they began organizing for tomorrow’s medical clinic.  We are eager to see how the Lord will use them to be His hands and feet this week.

We enjoyed having the Bless Back Worldwide team with us at church this morning.

We enjoyed having the Bless Back Worldwide team with us at church this morning.

Blessed with Great People

Welcome to Jordan

Jordan and Lex in the eaves at the missionary compound

We’re excited to have Jordan Alexander join us for three months at MOHI in Grand-Goâve, Haïti. Although it’s Jordan’s first time in the country, hundreds of women are in love with him. Why? Jordan’s dad, Shawn, ran a micro-finance program for women at MOHI. It touched the lives of 500 women. To this day, these women are praying for Shawn. Whenever one of these women is introduced to Jordan, they do a double take and a big smile forms on their lips.

Jordan is here to serve. He came with no expectation to make a specific impact. As such, he is ready to jump in and help at every moment. This, of course, is a God send for Lex and I!!! Jordan has already been a great help with photography, computer skills and general labor. Like his father, Jordan immediately fell in love with St. Etienne. He will be assisting a medical team there tomorrow and Tuesday.

Please remember Jordan when you pray for MOHI and all the people involved in the work here. Change is not usually easy, but very often it causes amazing life to spring forth. We are trusting that the Lord has great things in store for all of us here, and that Jordan’s presence plays a role in those blessings.

PKG

Gama translating for Pastor Kevin

Our friend Pastor Kevin Groder arrived yesterday.  He will be hosting two back to back teams for us.  The church in Thozin was blessed to hear from him in both the morning and evening services today.  I love the practical words that he shares that can be applied to our lives right away.

Mission USA

Mission USA, an outreach of The Chapel (Akron, OH) arrived today with a team of 27.  They were scheduled to be here yesterday, but Nemo had other plans.  Four more people will arrive tomorrow to complete the team.  It was really cool to be able to pick them up at the airport in the bus they sent to us.  It was a smooth trip and we enjoyed several hours this evening unpacking and preparing for tomorrows tasks.  They have a big day ahead of them with medical clinic in St. Etienne, giving out wheelchairs, walkers and crutches to people suffering with handicaps, painting, pouring concrete, building shelves and mechanical work on some of our vehicles.  Here are some pictures from their arrival today:

 

Fred drove the last 1/2 hour to the mission

 

 

Unloading

Off the bus!

 

Shanda encouraging the team before they retired for the evening

 

Continuations

Never Ending Christmas

Gifts continue to be given. Let’s see if we can make this a never-ending Christmas!

Has the Christmas season passed at your house?  Here, it lingers on and on, as we continue giving gifts to orphans and children being raised in poverty.  We have been giving out fruit trees, clothing, shoes, animals, toiletries and food.  This is one aspect of my “job” that can go on and on and never end and I will be thrilled about it!  Lex and I just LOVE it when the Lord uses us to bless someone else – especially when that someone else is obviously excited and grateful for what they receive.  Many of you are the reason these gifts are being given.  This is a TRIPLE blessing – the receiver, the giver in Haiti and you who have given from your homes.  It’s it wonderful?!!!

La Gonâve

It’s where Lex was born and raised.  La Gonâve is an island across the bay from Grand-Goâve, which is seen from the Be Like Brit orphanage, as well as the MOHI mission compound.  MOHI has a church in the main city of Anse-a-Galet, but we also like to visit a school and church in the village of Aux Parques.  This little fishing village is surrounded by mountains and the ocean, so it is pretty cut off from everywhere, except by boat.  Our missionary friend, Ed Locket, built a gathering place for them years ago.  From time to time (when the boat is running well) we visit them, bearing gifts.  My first trip there we had ice cold plastic bags of water.  I think those interested them even more than the Kids Against Hunger food we’d brought to them.  There is no electricity in the village, so it’s a major feat to get a sip of cold water.

This week Lex, A. Jay, Paul Fallon, Paul Beaulieu and our inventory controller, Renord brought school supplies, clothing, energy biscuits and lots of love to the school kids.  They were so grateful.

Construction Continues

This past week Paul Fallon started laying out the electrical system in the new school.  We also continued with finish plaster on the ground floor interior.  This is a very slow going process.  Wooden staging has to be constructed in each room for the masons to stand on so they can reach the ceiling and tops of the walls.  They “throw” the plaster on the wall, leaving a rough finish and then “throw” on another layer and smooth it over, with water.  Lines are run and sharp, straight lines are formed.  Then the staging is broken down and the lower sections are done.  (That’s an observer’s description – I have no real knowledge of what they are doing!)  Here’s what it’s looking like though:

Electrical conduit and boxes being installed and finish plastering taking shape

Friends from Home

Nan, Ted, Renée, Lex, Sue, Rick and John at the MOHI missionary compound

What a joy to see Rick & Sue Scott and Ted & Nan Bronson in Haiti after a decade of asking them to come!  They arrived just last night and we enjoyed a dinner by the ocean catching up on each others’ lives.  Today they joined us for church, toured the school construction in Thozin and visited various sites that the mission is involved in.  After lunch they got to see Grand-Goâve from the ocean and enjoy some of the natural beauty that remains in this country that has been tormented by poverty for centuries.  Now they are enjoying the English church service.

John Armour, who also arrived yesterday will be preaching tonight.  You remember John?  He set up the foundation for the new school building last year.  He also invented the water filtration system we were given after the earthquake.  It utilizes nanotechnology and is just amazing.  We drink better water here than you do!!!  John is here to install another system at the missionary compound, thanks to the generosity of the faithful at the Chapel (Akron, OH).  We have been transporting drinking water to the missionary since the earthquake.  This will be a HUGE relief for our vehicles and staff and a blessing to our guests.  Needless to say, we are thrilled to have John back here, too.

This week, our volunteers will be continuing the electrical installation in the school, working with our preschoolers, visiting people in villages and assisting Marcy in the gardens…at least for starters!

Medical Care

There are several organizations and individual medical personnel who bring medical care to the children and families at Mission of Hope International.  Angela Parayson, the medical missionary serving our schools and communities, helps about 60-80 people every week with advice and dispensing medicines that we often take for granted in well developed countries.  I’m always amazed at how the medicines are dispensed and yet the shelves in the pharmacy are constantly being restocked.  Churches, like the Evangelical Church (Fall River, MA) and House of Love Ministries (Orange, MA) have collected over the counter medicines (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cough and cold medicine, antifungal cream, pepto bismol…) and shipped them to Haiti from Boston.  Each time a shipment arrives, it’s like Christmas in the pharmacy and Angela gets ALL excited!  She is making a difference in so many lives, utilizing her education, the wisdom God gives her and the tools He continues to provide.

The Difference a Shake Makes…

Nutrition shakes make a huge treatment when treating malnourished individuals.

The Evangelical church sent us cases of nutrition shakes (Ensure and others).  I remember Pastor Carlos mentioning to me that they were coming and not knowing whether we would find them useful or not.  Well, yes, they have been VERY useful.

Just this morning, a young woman in our church passed out while singing.  Angela and Angie Sutton (from the Hands and Feet Project) were able to bring her into the clinic, assess her and begin treating her.  They discovered that she was suffering from an anorexic condition and hadn’t been eating or drinking.  Just one nutrition shake later, they could see her face return to life and they were able to spend some time with her and her family in counseling.

Recently we were holding a mobile medical clinic at our school in St. Etienne.  A young mother of a healthy 4 month old baby appeared to be at death’s door.  Although the baby was thriving, the mother was badly malnourished.  Again, the nutrition shakes gave the young woman the jump start she needed and the medical personnel were able to counsel the entire family.

A middle aged man recently suffered from food poisoning.  After receiving several liters of IV fluids, Angela gave him a nutrition shake to put some nutrients back into his body.  Yes, Pastor Carlos, the nutrition shakes were very useful.  We are down to about a half dozen of them now.  Would you be interested in running a “Nutrition Shake Drive” for the MOHI medical clinic?  Please contact us and we can give you a contact for shipping.

Let Everything that hath Breath Praise the Lord!

When I’m feeling healthy, I haven’t always remembered to be thankful for that health.  When I’ve been in pain or uncomfortable, I have often tried to remember what it was like before the problem arose.  Things like a stiff neck, a broken toe or a hang-nail on my little finger immediately remind me that I should have been thankful all along.

Here in Haiti I see so many people suffering from asthma and other breathing issues.  It is a very dusty place.  I’m not talking about dust that you wipe of your bedroom dresser every week when you clean house.  I’m talking about dirt from the dirt roads and the dirt yards that gets kicked up and breathed into our bodies.  Many people have a hard time breathing because of this dust (dirt) and the abundance of pollen from the trees and plants that grow year round.  I had never witnessed an asthma attack until just a couple of months ago.  I’ll tell you, it gives me a great appreciation for the breaths that I can breath.  The MOHI clinic has a couple nebulizers that we are able to use to give breathing treatments to people who are suffering from chronic asthma or sudden asthmatic attacks.  What a difference these machines are making in people’s lives!  

The Orphans

 

This morning I was in my office before church started.  Alexis came running in, “The orphans are here!  The orphans are here!”  She didn’t stick around long enough to see the look on my face, but she must have been expecting it.  “The orphans” have been here for almost 5 years – 3 of them living at MOHI!  Why in the world would she be bouncing off the walls over their presence?!!!  “The Be Like Brit orphans!”  Ahhhhhh, now I get excited, too!  Last time I wrote, BLB had their first orphan, Kervins or Chacha, as he now known.  Chacha joined our first year preschool class this past week.  I’m happy to say that Friday he went to his classroom an sat down with a smile on his face and no screaming.

Chacha’s first day of school at MOHI’s preschool

Now Chacha has an additional six “brothers and sisters” living in his home, often referred to as Brit’s orphanage.  Jonathan, the program director for BLB here in Haiti, took a picture of the whole “family” this morning before church.  How beautiful are these kids?  Alexis spent some time with them last night and totally enjoyed them all.  THAT’s why she was so excited that they had arrived at church.  Each one of these children is so precious.  I was adopted at the age of four.  I still remember the day I arrived at my new home and some of the terror I felt.  No matter how good the move may be for these kids, it’s never easy.  Please support each of them and the BLB staff in prayer this week as the adjustments to change continue.  As you can see in Jonathan’s picture, they’re off to a great start!

A Full Tummy

Have you ever left church with a full tummy – spiritually, that is?  Today was one of those days that was as satisfying as a Thanksgiving feast.  Here are a few pictures I want to share with you:

Faith, Michelle, Glory and Angie

Cousins enjoy being together at church

All decked out for church

Sue Scott greets the church

The married women of the church share a song

communion service

Pastor Lex sharing God’s Word

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English Service

This evening’s English service was full, too. John Armour preached about the Holy Spirit and being led by Him.

Moments

A Potpourri of Love

Our friend Janina, from Germany, with Jephte, Fablandie and Benjamin at Bassin Bleu

When I look at the many people we’ve met here in Haiti over the years, it just amazes me.  We have made friends from all over the globe.  There is one common thread that unites us and that is a love for the people of Haiti.  This month we’ve heard from friends in the UK, Canada, Germany, Sri Lanka, Africa and, of course, America.  We received many greetings of love and well wishes for the new year, not only for ourselves, but for our brothers and sisters here in Haiti.  What a blessing!  Thank you all for your generosity and the overflow of love.

School

MOHI elementary school students gather to sing the Haitian National Anthem while the flag is being raised.

When I was a kid, school was the door to a social life.  I just loved school – at least until later in high school.  For my children, Alexis and A. Jay’s social life happens outside of school, so they’ve never been overly fond of having to go to school.  They both are plenty intelligent, but somehow interpreting for a visiting group holding a medical clinic or visiting homes in a village, leading a hike or joining a team for a swim has always seemed a bit more inviting.

In Haiti, it is a privilege for a child to go to school and by the time they are in first grade, every single one of them understands this.  They take great pride in having a uniform and a well bathed body.  Parents work hard to clean and press those uniforms, to braid their daughter’s hair and give their son’s short, well defined haircuts.  Early in the morning even the men are seen proudly accompanying their preschoolers to their classrooms.

Lex, Paul Fallon and Paul Beaulieu meet in one of the new classrooms

All of us can share in this sense of pride, as we work together to complete their new school building.  Tomorrow we start installing the electrical system.  Thank you so much to those who helped with purchasing the materials.  We are grateful to Paul Fallon and Paul Beaulieu for carrying some of these supplies into the country with them this week.  More will be coming down next week, when our long time friends Rick & Sue Scott and Ted & Nan Bronson join us here.  We will be ready to start painting classrooms soon, too.  If you are looking for a particular project to get behind, please consider making a donation so that we can purchase the primer and paint right here in Haiti.  

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Memorable Moments

A grill and other kitchen supplies are ferried to the island in boats

We had several fun moments this week.  We celebrated A. Jay’s 15th birthday on Wednesday.  It’s hard to imagine now that he was all of two years old when we came to Grand-Goâve!  Now he towers over me – and thoroughly enjoys it, of course.  We were blessed to have family (Gama, Angela, Nathan, Tony, Edna, Ben, Caleb, Claudeson),  foreign friends (Michelle, Andrew, Angie, Faith, Glory, Jonathan, Kervins), and local friends (too numerous to mention!) join us for a few hours together.  As you can see in the picture to the left, we used boats to move the kitchen out to the little island (Lilette) just off the coast of Grand-Goave.  Lilette is inhabited mostly by goats and songbirds.  We enjoyed BBQ chicken, French fries and some local seafood cooked over an open flame.  Leave it to us to be totally untraditional:  Angela baked a chocolate cake for A. Jay (his favorite), but we never sang “Happy Birthday” to A. Jay or cut the cake.  (Oops!)  He did enjoy it that evening, however!  Below are some pictures from the day.

A. Jay’s 15th birthday outing at Lilette

 

This week, Be Like Brit received their first orphan at the newly completed orphanage.  Three year old Kervins is a curious little fellow.  Program director, Jonathan LaMare, looks like a new parent each time I see him.  We enjoyed having them both join us at A. Jay’s birthday outing, as well as at church this morning.  He will be joining his peers in first-year preschool class soon.  We commend all of the staff at BLB for making this a good transition for Kervins.

Marie Anges, who works in inventory control, unpacks a case of pencils from Manchester, CTYou may recall Pastor Kalinsky and a team from the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church (Manchester, CT) visited us last year.  We also spent almost a week with them Stateside, this past October.  This week we received a large shipment from World Wide Lighthouse Missions, an outreach of this church.  This shipment included much needed school supplies, peanut butter and other items.  We are so grateful to the church, as well as the community, which donates to WWLM regularly, for providing these items for our students here in Haiti.  Gloria Harvell, one of MOHI’s directors, will be coming to Haiti next month and utilizing many of these supplies while working with our teachers.   I love the timing!

As always, church service this morning was a highlight of my week.  Pastor Josue from Port-au-Prince shared with us about the importance of reading the Bible (night and day – based on Josh 1:1-8) and giving (especially the tithe – Malachi 3:10).  The church was very responsive.  Besides the preaching and the wonderful time of praise and worship, I thoroughly enjoying seeing so many friends.

Mireille learned how to make my favorite dessert this week – makes me happy, for sure!

The Bus

The MOHI bus (from the Chapel, Akron, OH) parked in Port-a-Piment

I really want to give you a report on the bus that came to us from The Chapel in Akron, OH.  It has been so helpful!

The mother of a local policeman died a couple of weeks ago.  There were many people who wanted to attend the funeral, but it was being held in Port-a-Piment, way in the south of the country.  We were able to make the bus available so that many of the policeman’s relatives and co-workers, as well as some of the mission staff were able to attend the funeral.  The bus was used to bring 31 children to a museum in Port-au-Prince for a day and to pick up the items shipped to us from Manchester, CT.

We are so grateful for all who gave and sacrificed to get this bus (and all it was packed with!) to us here in Haiti.  Thank you!

 

Light on the Hill

Light on the Hill

MOHI started in the village of Thozin, Grand-Goâve, but we have touched many other areas of the country, as well.  Our second school is in a village called Palmis-a-Ver in the St. Etienne area of Leogane.  We always refer to it as St. Etienne.  There are about 200 children in the school and upwards of 300 in the church.  The campus is situated on a lovely mountain top with breath taking views of valleys and mountains.  The people rise before the sun each day to work the land, care for their animals and to travel to market areas to sell their crops and wares.  They are a hardworking and content community and we have fallen in love with them over the past few years.

Even though the church and school are located on the main road, there are very few services available in the area.  Whenever we have medical teams come, we always bring them to the St. Etienne Campus where so many turn out to take advantage of free medical care.  We are praying for the Lord to open a door for this community to have more of a full-time medical clinic in the area.

Top: St Etienne campus February 2010

As you drive by the St. Etienne campus, it’s easy to think that there’s no one in the area.  Homes are hidden  in the valleys and mountain sides under trees, so they’re hard to see.  Also, the people are accustomed to walking up and down mountains in order to get anywhere, so people come from some distances to attend church and school.

Educating the children is only a starting point, but there needs to be jobs available for those children when they finish school.  For this reason, we are always keeping our eyes open for business opportunities and ways to bring more jobs to the areas where we are working.

Over the past two years, we have been building a restaurant in St. Etienne, little by little.  It’s a beautiful building (in my not so humble opinion) that has the potential to change the whole community, as we work together to spark the economy of the area.  Janina Menze just spent three weeks with us, dreaming of how she can help finish up the building and start training people to make this a restaurant visitors can’t resist.  Please let us know if you are interested in investing in this venture.  Whether you have skills, stuff or cash, all can help to make this dream a reality for the people of St. Etienne.

A Light on the hill in St. Etienne

Church in Thozin

Here are a few pictures from the church in Thozin this morning. We are blessed with so many cuties and a bunch of awesome folks.

Eglise Evangelique Mission of Hope – Thozin, Grand-Goave

Pastor Lex’s sister, Christiane and brothers Raymond and Daniel joined us for church this morning.

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Private Book Signing

We always enjoy seeing Len and Cherylann Gengel when they come to Haiti.  This week they brought us a copy of their new book, Heartache and Hope in Haiti.  We had fun doing a photo shoot while Len personalized the book for us.

Len and Cherylann Gengel at Brit’s orphanage in Grand-Goave

Enjoying Friends

Team G3

We had a wonderful time with Team G3.  They held medical clinics at the St Etienne and Thozin campuses, distributed gifts to orphans, taught hygiene and health classes, participated in our Christian Leadership Academy, sang, played music, did data entry, visited Be Like Brit and traveled to Jacmel for seafood on the beach.  Many people were helped by the team and our staff and family enjoyed the fellowship with friends from home.

Team G3 distributes gifts at Pastor Enoch’s orphanage. Pastor Enoch (center picture) and the children were so grateful.

Mission USA/The Chapel (Akron, OH)

We’re excited to have Fred, Sandy, Happy, Bill and Tim here with us in Haiti from The Chapel, in Akron, OH.  They’re here for the weekend to prepare for their full team coming in next month.  Their most exciting task while they are here?  Opening and unloading the bus that The Chapel sent to us!

Fred, Bill, Happy and Tim work at breaking into the bus!

It was fun to watch them go in through the roof hatch, because the air compressor they’d put in at the last minute had shifted and the door could not open.  The back door opened and the boxes began coming out.  We looked a bit like an ant farm as we unloaded wheelchairs, walkers, peanut butter, pots and pans, water bubblers, medical supplies.  Then we moved the bus to the kitchen and unloaded a four hundred pound, commercial stove/oven – one of my “wish list” items!

The bus was returned to the back gate and preparations were made to remove the 850 pound, 20KW, diesel generator.  Now, if this Mission USA team was actually in the USA, we would have just rented a forklift, however, they were not in America:

Sandy, Marcy and Renée help unload the bus

Unloading the bus

 

Welcome to Marcy Magness

Marcy will be at Mission of Hope International for two months.

Marcy will be with us in Grand-Goave for the next two months.  She comes to us from near Philadelphia, PA where she works the land and spends Winter helping those in need.  We appreciate Marcy’s experience in agriculture, who sense of adventure and flexibility – the latter two being prerequisites for mission work!  Although Marcy has only been with us a few days, it is apparent that she will be a blessing to the mission team.  As you pray for the Edmé and Parayson families, please be sure to pray for Marcy and Janina, as well.

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Water

As I brushed my teeth this morning, I was watching the water pour out of the faucet and realized that I should turn it off until I’m ready to rinse.  We have plenty of water, but it costs us money to maintain and put fuel in the generator so that we have electricity to pump the water up onto the roof, where it is gravity fed to the shower, sink and toilet.  I’ve noticed that Lex often seems irritated about water being wasted.  Excess water from crop irrigation running into the road or even the little stream that runs into the ocean without being consumed by people will often get a rise out of Lex.  Even after all these years in Haiti, I still don’t really “get it.”  I’ve never had to carry a bucket of water on my head for a few feet, never mind for miles in the hot sun.

In 2000 (left to right) Walter Henry, Lex, Josue (school director), Pastor Moïse and A. Jay in the front

When we first started Mission of Hope, we were living in Port-au-Prince with our good friend, Walter Henry.  It was so hot and the kids were very uncomfortable, so I would block the shower drain and fill the bottom of the shower with water for them to “swim” in.  Every afternoon Walter would check all his plumbing, because he knew he must have a leak somewhere.  He said there was no way that they could be out of water so quickly.  Well, it wasn’t until we lived in Grand-Goave for a little while and would run out of water (we didn’t have a well at that time) that I realized that I had been the cause of Walter’s leaky plumbing.  Oops!

Just plain water, whether potable or not, is of great value.  We have spent a lot of money  in order to provide good drinking water for the many visitors we’ve housed over the years.  We are so grateful for the Aquavast filtration system provided to us by Branches of the Vine Ministries after the earthquake.  John Armour installed it for us at the former cyber cafe right in downtown Grand-Goave.  The Chapel has now purchased a second system for us to have at the mission compound, so that we will no longer have to haul water.  All our missionaries and guests will have purified water to drink and bathe in.  Praise God!  John will be traveling to Haiti later this month to install the new system.

Wilson is Home!

Wilson with his doctor and care giver, Michelle

It has been a very long year for Wilson, but he has finally completed his cancer treatments and returned home to the Hands and Feet Project, here in Grand-Goave, this week.  What a joy for the church this morning, as Pastor Lex called him up front for all to see.  He expressed his gratitude to the Lord and to Michelle Meece for her dedication to Wilson’s care.  Michelle spent many nights sleeping on the floor under Wilson’s hospital bed – a circumstance that is difficult for any missionary to endure.  She did it all without complaining and with an obvious love for Wilson.

Wilson will be back in school tomorrow!!!!

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3 Years Ago

For whatever reason, our family has never been big on holidays.  We make a bit of a big deal for our kids’ birthdays, but that about it.  Yesterday was the 3rd year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.  I thought about it, I prayed for the families of the victims and I thanked God that no one had been killed on any of our campuses, even though we suffered such extensive structural damage.

Last night, Sandy and I were walking in the yard at the mission compound around 7pm and I started to tell her where I was three years ago.  At that moment Alexis, A. Jay and the team we had with us were all sitting in the middle of the street in front of what was then my office.  We had no communication from Lex.  I only knew that he had gone to Leogane.  I didn’t even know if anywhere beyond Grand-Goave had experienced the same horror that we had.

Thankfully Lex did make it home that night.  I remember the look on his face as he came around the corner and laid eyes on us.  The relief and intensity of emotion was visibly washing over him.

When we first came to Haiti there were no cell phones.  If Lex got held up and didn’t arrive home when I expected him, my imagination would go wild.  I would be so angry when he’d get home, like I was the only thing in this world that mattered.  I remember so well the last time I experienced the rage.  I was expecting him home that evening, but knew that he might have to spend the night in Port-au-Prince.  He didn’t come home that night, so I knew that I would see him home first thing in the morning.  Morning came and went.  By noon I was really worried.  He probably strolled in about 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I was just steaming, but I’d had enough experience to know that I should let him talk before I bit his head off – which I was CERTAIN I would be doing.

Lex was obviously tired, as he began to describe his day to me.  He was driving home, early in the morning (just as I had expected), when he came across an accident.  A missionary vehicle had been involved in a very bad accident.  He described in great detail (of which I will spare you) all the details of how he found them and how he took charge of the scene.  The local missionary was just beside himself and didn’t know what to do.  Lex encouraged him and they worked together to get people to the hospital, as well as helping him with all the legalities.  It was a horrific scene, but it wasn’t until Lex got home that his emotions kicked in.

Well, I didn’t bite his head off or even give him a piece of my mind.  I loved on him and told him how proud I was of him (knowing that I could never have taken control of that kind of a situation).  Afterwards, I went to God in prayer.  I told Him that I just couldn’t live like this.  Unexpected events are expected in Haiti.  How could anyone live with the worry and crazy images I was seeing each time he was later than anticipated?  Apparently, God really did want me in Haiti, because He answered my prayer that day.  My family’s well being is beyond my control and no amount of worry is going to help any of them.  That day I thanked God for taking care of us and I decided that I would just always trust that He would continue to do so.

As I sat in the middle of the road with my children and the team I was responsible for, I trusted that where ever my husband was, he was with Jesus and that there was nothing I could do for him.  I focused on those around me, making sure we were all together and alert.  Lex has eyes and ears all over Grand-Goave.  If he is concerned about any one of us, he knows within the same minute where we are and what we’re doing.  But on January 12th, as he made his way past thousands of injured and deceased people, he thought about his family.  He knew we would be in the office, but he didn’t know if the office was still standing.  Our reunion that night meant the world to him.

Many people in Haiti are superstitious and every time January 12th comes around they are terrified for their lives.  People all over the world today live in fear.  Maybe you’re afraid you could lose your job.  Maybe you’re afraid to send your kids to school or let them go to the movies.  Maybe you’re afraid your kids will make poor choices and end up in trouble.  Maybe you’re afraid of terrorists, world war or the end of the world.  I could write for the next year about all the fears we could be facing, but what’s important is to know that we don’t have to be slaves to fear.  We can choose to trust in the promises of God found in the Bible and not let fear take root in our minds and hearts.

How do we do this?  Well, here’s the best advice I could ever give you, because it’s right from the Bible in Philippians 4:6-9(NIV):

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

My own personal experience testifies of the freedom found in not only reading, but acting on this advice from the Holy Scriptures.  Living in fear is tormenting, damaging and deadly.  It may take effort to think about good things and act on those good thoughts, but it brings life and peace.  Let’s trust God to care for us, just as He promised us in 1 Peter 5:7.

Lex and I care about you, too.  We’d love to hear from you and pray for you.  Please drop us a note sometime at lex@mohintl.org or just click here to contact us.

 

Wow!

“Wow” is the one word that best describes this past week.  Wow!!!

Friends from Germany

Silke Baur and Janina Menze return to MOHI from Germany

What a joy to have Silke Baur and Janina Menze back in Haiti with us!  Silke spent three months with us in 2010, as new nurse.  She was a blessing to so many.  She is back now as a much more experienced and confident nurse, working with a whole medical team.  I have witnessed so many see her and watched the recognition settle in and the inevitable, “Silke?!!!”

Janina was here for about a month and helped to set up and organize the transitional housing project we did with Samaritan’s Purse.  In the end, we erected close to 700 homes.  Janina was there for the very first one!  She also witnessed Maestro Odenet’s wedding and made lots of friends from the University of Akron and the World Race.  She came back last year, requesting to be baptized by Pastor Lex.

We have many fond memories of working with both of these young women.  We were so excited when it turned out that they’d be here at the same time, and just thrilled that they both flew into New York and shared a room overnight before heading to Haiti in the morning. Seems like someone orchestrated this song!

Team G3

Team G3 joined MOHI church leaders and new believers in a baptism service Saturday morning.

Our dear friend, Cheryl “Chel” Finn, has been coming to Haiti for many years.  Since the earthquake, she has lead several teams to MOHI, each one bringing much needed medical knowledge and skills.  This week, Team G3 has been helping immensely with data entry, teaching, consulting those not feeling well, counseling and performing wound care.

Sara, Lex, Kelsi, Lori, Renee

Lennie and Amy Engman have opened their home to us over the past 13 years.  Their grandchildren, Kelsi and Sara Anderholm, and niece, Lori Paajanen, joined G3 this year, too.  This is Kelsi’s second trip to MOHI.  She is in her final semester of nursing school and has been a great addition to the team.  Sara has done LOTS of data entry, assisted in music ministry.  Lori spent three months with us previously, so she has been a great help with translating.  Each one of them are here for too short of a time.

The Bus Arrives!

The bus is now in Grand-Goave!

Mission USA, an outreach of The Chapel (Akron, OH) shipped us a bus last month.  We are so excited to now have it in our possession!  It arrived in Grand-Goave Saturday night.  It will stay parked and packed while we await the arrival of a small team coming from Ohio to unpack it.  There’s some really great stuff in the bus, and we are so grateful that those who packed it will be here to make sure no little parts get misplaced.  Thank you so much to all of you who had a part in this adventure.  Looking forward to picking you all up at the airport – in STYLE!

Be Like Brit

We enjoyed greeting guests at BLB, like Congressman Jim McGovern

This weekend was extra, EXTRA special, as we rejoiced with the Gengel family and friends over the completion of the Be Like Brit orphanage.  Lex agreed to take charge of security for the weekend event.  No easy feat when you consider just the Americans flying in for the event numbered close to 70.

About 150 friends and relatives gathered for a somewhat solemn dedication ceremony on Saturday.  Lex and I were caught totally off guard when Len and Cherylann called us forward to receive the Britney Gengel Shining Star Award.  They shared their gratitude toward us for our contributions to the successful completion of the construction.  Gama and Angela Parayson were also presented this award.  We all felt very honored about this.

Lex greets former Haitian Minister of Health, Dr. Josette Bijou

The construction of this orphanage brought hundreds of jobs to Haitian families and businesses – a great boost for our community.  We were pleased to have several Haitian government officials present: the former minister of health, Josette Bijou, Grand-Goave’s congressman Franck Laporte, Grand-Goave mayor Salam and director of the mayor’s office Pastor Wouillio Zamor.   Congressman, Jim McGovern and Consulat General, Jay Smith represented the American government.

It was such a joy to see so many of our new friends, make some new ones and to hear Britney’s friends tell stories about her.

Alexis Edme singing “There Can Be Miracles” at the Be Like Brit orphanage dedication ceremony in Grand-Goave, Haiti

Our daughter, Alexis had the privilege of singing two songs in the ceremony, as requested by the Gengels.  Here’s a short clip of the final song, “Oh Happy Day.” (See if you can find me dancing!)

Here are some links and pictures about the BLB dedication ceremony:


 

 

Len and Cherylann enjoying “Oh Happy Day”

Congressman Jim McGovern addresses family and friends at the Be Like Brit orphanage dedication ceremony.

At the airport with Congressman Jim McGovern (Worcester, MA)

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Worcester Telegram #11

Worcester Telegram #15

American Citizen Business

Jacqueline Smith, Renee and Lex Edme, Consul General Jay Smith

Consul General, Jay Smith, had requested a meeting with American citizens in the area in the afternoon, once the ceremony was over.  A couple dozen Americans and Mr. Smith’s wife Jacqueline joined us at the MOHI mission compound by the ocean.  It was a great opportunity to learn some things we didn’t know about the relationship between Haiti and the US.  Mr. Smith answered many questions and participated in plenty of discussion about how we can work together to bring change to our community.

 

The Year in Pictures

2012 has been a wonderful year, here at MOHI in Haiti.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Tonight’s post will be hundreds of thousands of words long, but I trust that you will enjoy it.  Thank you so much to all of you who supported these works in Haiti.  None of this would have been done without you.  And thank you for working with us in 2013 to make it the best year ever for our friends in Haiti.

School Construction

School Construction

Building a home for Kendy’s family

St Etienne MOHI Campus

Working together helps us accomplish more

Medical Clinics

MOHI students are the best!

2012 Graduates from the MOHI Schools in Thozin, Grand-Goave

Short term missionaries and visitors

Peanut butter fun

Lots of gifts were given out this year for Christmas

Good times in church

There were a few difficult moments this year, too.

Food distributions

Christmas Culture

Construction Update

All the outside plastering is completed now.  Yay!!! It was exciting to see all the staging come down and get moved indoors, as the masons begin finishing the ground floor rooms (kitchen, conference room, activities room, science lab, library/computer lab, storage and the four-office suite).

Front of the school

Christmas Gifts

We have had so much fun giving out Christmas gifts this year!  We haven’t given out any Barbie dolls or Hot Wheels (at least not yet), but we’ve given out lots and lots of food, goats, chickens, fruit trees, sneakers…  And the wonderful thing is that each child lit up as if we’d given them the latest popular (and very expensive) toy being advertised for the season.  Each child was truly thrilled and grateful.  Here are a few of their pictures…

Footwear, fruit trees, chickens and food…Merry Christmas!

Christmas and Culture

This will be my 13th Haitian Christmas.  Being raised in a Jewish home, I don’t have any fond childhood memories of Christmas traditions.  As a young adult I enjoyed learning the “baking Christmas cookies” tradition with my pastor’s wife, Bev Long and her children.  I pursued it further back in Connecticut with Jennie Heald and her children.  When Alexis turned two, I was all excited to continue this tradition in our family.  We had great fun that Christmas, as Alexis and the kitchen turned into a winter wonderland (flour everywhere!)  We put up a Christmas tree that year and bought lots of gifts for both of our kids.  That was both the beginning and ending of our somewhat normal, American Christmas traditions, for the next Christmas found us in Haiti.

Here in Grand-Goâve, most of us never dream of a white Christmas.  We don’t have a Walmart nearby and most people in our area just don’t have the means to purchase Christmas lights and trees and pile beautifully wrapped presents underneath them.  Yet, there are many other similarities between Christmas in Haiti and Christmas in America.  It’s a time to visit loved ones, a time of joy and reflection, a time to love on children, a time of deep spiritual meaning…

This morning my husband’s Christmas message focused on love and sharing.  He shared about Jesus being the King of all kings.  He could have been born in a palace or a fancy hotel.  But God chose to bring him into the world in the most meager circumstances.  Jesus gave up all that He had for our benefit.  Lex encouraged us to also be givers.  It’s not a time to impress the wealthy or powerful, but a time to give to someone in need.  Find someone who has no social status and bless them with some food or an article of clothing – along with a smile and hug, of course.  Don’t do it for others to see, but do it as an act of kindness from God’s heart through your hands.  No matter where we live in this world, no matter our social status, if we ask, God will bring someone across our path that we can be a blessing to.  And in this way, we can honor Jesus for His birthday, too.

Lex, Alexis, A. Jay and I wish all of you a blessed and joyous Christmas!  Alexis decided we’d send you all a white Christmas…

Christmas at BLB

Be Like Brit Orphanage

We are looking forward to sharing Christmas dinner with our friends from the Hands and Feet Project and Be Like Brit. This will be the first Christmas dinner at Brit’s orphanage. We’re so excited about the orphanage’s opening next month. The Gengel family has been through so much and have invested their lives into this project. Gama has done a tremendous job of overseeing all the work on a daily basis. Paul Fallon’s presence each month over the past years has also enabled the construction to be completed. We are so proud of everyone involved in building this building. We look forward to the new year and seeing children coming to be raised in a loving atmosphere at Be Like Brit.

One more picture for you…

The girls from the Hands and Feet Project, here in Grand-Goâve, assisted Angela in praise and worship this evening.