Happily Ever After

In less than two weeks my friend of 13 years will be married. Many of you who have visited Mission of Hope in Haiti have met Angelise and have been the recipient of her wonderful hospitality. Lex will be performing the ceremony at the missionary compound. We are decorating the choukoun (large gazebo in front of the ocean) and trying to get the lawn to fill in…although it’s not likely to happen in time. Angelise has been cooking for us for years and now I get to cook for her and her guests. I’m really excited about this big event and I’m excited for her “happily ever after” finally arriving. Angelise changed her wedding date so that Alexis could be for it. Apparently it’s critical that Alexis be here to do her makeup. I’m just kidding, that’s just an added benefit.

Preparing for as long as you both shall live.

Preparing for as long as you both shall live.

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Amy Long quickly worked her way into the hearts of many of our students. As she prepared to leave on Thursday, preschoolers broke into a loud chant, “AMY! AMY! AMY!”

Multi-tasking?  Always.

Multi-tasking? Always.

Nurse Ruth did everything but kiss the booboo.

Nurse Ruth did everything but kiss the booboo.

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Dr. Lavaud, Dr. Manoucheka (Dr. Lavaud’s wife) and Nurse Ruth have been taking care of lots of sick people this week. I burned myself this week while making breakfast for a team and Nurse Ruth fell over herself trying to take care of bandaging my burns. No worries, the burns were minor, I just needed to bandage them up so I could work with my fingers. We’ve been seeing a lot of little ones in the clinic. I’m so grateful for donors who provide food, clothing and medicine for many of our patients.

Prayer, vitals and gifts of food and baby clothing are part of the medical ministry at MOHI.

Prayer, vitals and gifts of food and baby clothing are part of the medical ministry at MOHI.

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We had a special treat this morning at church. While Lex was with our St Etienne, we in Thozin were blessed with a very relevant message from our missionary friend, Sean Moore (serving at the Hands and Feet Project). It was the first time he has preached at the church, but certainly not the last. He prayed for several groups of people during the message and brought forth some powerful truths about the importance of beginnings. The one scripture he shared that really struck me was from Titus 2:14, speaking of Jesus Christ, “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” He stressed that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us (meaning that we NEED redeeming!). The last part of the verse spoke to me – we are to be a purified people who are EAGER to do good. I want to be eager to do good! I want to be someone who looks for opportunities to do good!

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We were joined this morning by teams from the Hands and Feet Project and Be Like Brit. Renord was happy to accommodate the Hands and Feet Project’s team when they requested a tour of our facility. Since the kids at the Hands and Feet Project all come to school and church at MOHI, we are very much an extension of the project’s ministry to these kids. We love partnering with them, too!

A team from the Hands and Feet Project

A team from the Hands and Feet Project

Mountains, Peanut Butter, Peru, Really!

This week we hosted a team from Clinicians of the World, based out of Rochester, MN. They spent the week in the mountains of Grand-Goâve, educating about parasites and treating children for worms.

Friends from Clinicians of the World pose with Dr. Lavaud's wife - who is also Dr. Lavaud.  Dr. Rowlens and his team worked with people living in the mountains of Grand-Goâve all week.

Friends from Clinicians of the World pose with Dr. Lavaud’s wife – who is also Dr. Lavaud. Dr. Rowlens and his team worked with people living in the mountains of Grand-Goâve all week.

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Our dear missionary friends, Bob and Sally Heier, joined us for the week. Besides keeping us up late at night, they helped with organizing our e-book collection and working with our Haitian staff in the medical clinic. Wednesday was an extra special time for everyone up in the mountains of St Etienne. Medical care is hard to come by in the area (just like water used to be!), so every Wednesday we have lots of patients. We had a great team working together to make sure that all 59 patients were seen.

We so loved having Bob and Sally with us this week!!!

We so loved having Bob and Sally with us this week!!!

AJay assists Dr. Lavaud during clinic in St Etienne

AJay assists Dr. Lavaud during clinic in St Etienne

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Dr. Lavaud was at a seminar this week, learning about the importance of vitamin A for those in our communities. His wife, Dr. Lavaud (too!) was happy to fill in for him all week. She and Nurse Ruth kept things going and helped many who were not feeling well.

Pastor Bauvais prayers with patients before the doctor starts seeing patients.

Pastor Bauvais prayers with patients before the doctor starts seeing patients.

Dr. Lavaud's wife (Dr. Lavaud 2) worked with Ruth this week in the clinic.

Dr. Lavaud’s wife (Dr. Lavaud 2) worked with Ruth this week in the clinic.

We often give out layettes in the clinic - these were provided by World Wide Lighthouse Missions (Manchester, CT)

We often give out layettes in the clinic – these were provided by World Wide Lighthouse Missions (Manchester, CT)

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A couple of years ago, we were asking people to donate jars of peanut butter for MOHI while we were Stateside, with the intention of shipping the peanut butter to Haiti before we returned ourselves. Our friends, Charles & Cheryl Finn, who have been coming to Haiti for close to a decade now, decided to get others involved. The next thing we knew, there was a great Peanut Butter Challenge going on among several volunteer fire departments in central Massachusetts. (They tell me that firefighters are a rather competitive bunch. I never knew.) Charles went to work making a special trophy for the winning department. We are so grateful to all the generous firefighters who worked so hard to gather peanut butter for a third year.

Cheryl shared this good news with us: “And now the long-awaited news of the winners in the 3rd Annual Great Peanut Butter Challenge!!
The coveted Great Peanut Butter Trophy goes to
EAST BROOKFIELD for the 2nd year in a row! Congratulations!!!
Our other winners were:
2nd place. Uxbridge Fire
3rd place. Mendon Fire
Honorable Mention to our other participating departments of Ashburnham, Douglas and Rutland.
A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated!! All together we collected 1,060.26 lbs of peanut butter–WOW!! So many children will be fed because of each of you. Well done, well done, well done.”

The East Brookfield (MA) Fire Department brings home the coveted Peanut Butter trophy again this year.

The East Brookfield (MA) Fire Department brings home the coveted Peanut Butter trophy again this year.

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Lex has been working daily for weeks now in St. Etienne. As you can see from the pictures below, he is making great progress with the water tower up there.

The water tower in St Etienne

The water tower in St Etienne

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In case you haven’t noticed, I am particularly fond of our preschoolers. They are all just so CUTE!!! Once they get past being terrified of us white folks, they become quite affectionate.

Preschool is FUN!

Preschool is FUN!

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If I were to have a favorite, Stanley certainly might qualify. My office is very small and normally AJay is at the other tiny desk doing his school work. This week, however, he went to St. Etienne on Wednesday, so when Stanley came for his daily visit, he found a seat to sit in. I ended up finding some crayons and giving him a picture to color. Well, he is only 3 years old, so his scribbles didn’t surprise me. I decided to see if I could teach him to color in specific spaces rather than just scribbling. How do you think he did?

Stanley hard at work

Stanley hard at work

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Church in Thozin this morning was a joy for me. We had a guest musical group in that really encouraged the congregation. The married women’s group sang a song. They may not be the best singers, but Haitians love their mothers so much that we always enjoy hearing them. Pastor Lex shared a “get ready to celebrate Christmas” message that was enjoyable, funny, thought provoking and faith building.

I’m not very fond of seeing people point their fingers and say “you have no faith” or “you’re full of doubt.” It may be true, but unless you tell me something else, I won’t know what to do about it. Today Lex shared some of his “no faith” or “doubt filled” moments with the church. They were funny to look back on, but seemed quite intense when we were going through them. I felt like people were encouraged that even if they are lacking in faith, there is hope. They don’t have to stay in that state. I mean, look at the things Pastor Lex went through. God was gracious and he was able to turn his back on his doubts and put his trust in God. I think I could do that, too!

Worship Service in Thozin

Worship Service in Thozin

Standing in front of their Sunday School class

Standing in front of their Sunday School class

Personalities are seen even during prayer times.

Personalities are seen even during prayer times.

The yard takes quite a while to clear after church.  We like it that way!

The yard takes quite a while to clear after church. We like it that way!

Big sisters love caring for their little brothers.

Big sisters love caring for their little brothers.

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While we were in Florida at the end of September, we were happy to make a new friend. Amy Long has a long history in Haiti, but has been back in the States for just over a year. She talked to us about her desire to return to Haiti. We’re so glad that a visit to Mission of Hope International was on her agenda this week. She arrived this morning, just in time to join us for church. Afterwards we gave her a little tour and introduced her to some of our friends here. It was so fun for me to watch her tease and joke with everyone in Créole. Amy is in Haiti to visit a couple of places and she is expecting the Lord to show her where her next home will be. Would you pray with us concerning this, as well? If MOHI is the place the Lord has for her, then we definitely want to welcome her on board. If it’s somewhere else, we want her to know that and be free to follow the Lord’s leading. Thank you for your prayers.

Amy Long knows Haiti.  Her first morning here she was cracking jokes with everyone.  I think we could get along!

Amy Long knows Haiti. Her first morning here she was cracking jokes with everyone. I think we could get along!

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As many of you are aware, our daughter, Alexis, is living with a wonderful family in Tulsa, OK this year, while she completes her senior year of high school at Victory Christian School. She has been doing incredibly well in her classes, spiritual life, and socially, as well.

During Spring Break, her class will be traveling to Iquitos, Peru on a missions trip. Alexis has been praying and contacting some friends, hoping to be able to go with her class. The trip will cost $2,000. God has been good to her. This week several folks sent her support and she now has $400, the amount needed for the first payment.

Having been raised here in Haiti, Alexis loves reaching out to others. She told me that she would love to reach out to the people in Peru, but also that she would like to learn from the trip with the hope of bringing back something to Haiti.

I know many of you who have come to Haiti have been blessed by her – interpreting, singing, hiking, listening and encouraging are all areas that she excels at. Please prayerfully consider being a blessing to her by supporting her in prayer and with a financial gift so that she might continue being a blessing to others – this time in Peru.

Financial gifts can be made to Mission of Hope International and we will forward them to her school to pay the remainder of the trip money.  Please be sure to make a note in the memo “Alexis to Peru.”  Thank you.

Alexis in High School

Alexis in High School

Giving

Did you know that Giving Tuesday is this week?

Please remember our students here in Haiti as you consider giving this week. By sponsoring a class at the MOHI school, you will be helping to provide a great education, healthcare, nutrition and so much more to children that are truly in need of assistance. Just like Lex, who was able to attend school by the grace of a sponsor, these children will be prepared to impact the world around them. Please visit our sponsorship page and pledge from $10 to $100 per month to ensure these kids are receiving all the benefits that school will provide for them. Thank you.

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A few years ago we decided to start celebrating Thanksgiving here in Haiti. Although it’s not a national holiday here, we really do have plenty of reason to celebrate. This year our Thanksgiving celebration included friends from Haiti, America and Chile. We had a truly international experience with many people bringing dishes to share with everyone. Before dinner we had a baptism service where two American visitors were baptized. As we began eating, Pastor Laramie Brown read some excerpts from William Bradford’s writings, reminding us of America’s beginnings, the difficulties and deaths faced that first Winter, and the gratitude the colonists expressed to God for His provision and care.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

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While Thanksgiving may be an American or Canadian holiday, it is certainly fitting for all who put their trust in the Lord to express their gratitude to Him in all things. I must admit that I am so grateful for the wonderful community we have become a part of here in Grand-Goâve. Fourteen years ago I felt very isolated, but today I am at home with both my Haitian friends/family and our international friends/family. I am truly blessed!

This week our friend and fellow missionary, Travis Knipple, brought his Haitian work crew to our Thozin campus to install a solar powered electrical system. Travis is an electrical engineer by trade and a missionary by heart. It was wonderful to have Travis, his wife Jamie and his workers join us for Thanksgiving dinner, too. Electricity is very expensive, as is running and maintaining a generator that usually runs for about 12 hours per day. This solar system will reduce those costs significantly, while also enabling us to expand our medical services. Having 24 hour electricity means we can consider storing medicines that require refrigeration – such as vaccines.

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Solar Installation at the Thozin Campus

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Dr. Lavaud and his staff continue to “hold down the fort” while Leah is in the States.`We had so many babies this week and lots of ear aches. We are so grateful for our Haitian medical staff that can tend to the needs of so many each week.

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The MOHI Medical Clinic was full of babies this week.

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School has been going well at both the Thozin and St Etienne campuses. This week we distributed peanut butter to over students in St Etienne.

Peanut butter distribution to over 200 students in St. Etienne

Peanut butter distribution to over 200 students in St. Etienne

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I often hear our school administrators and Lex saying that the success of our students is a direct result of the investment of our students, their parents and our teaching staff. All three aspects are critical to the students learning and performing well. Before we even moved to Haiti, Lex would share with me about his vision for the MOHI school. His desire was to have a school that would provide an outstanding education for kids whose families would never be able to send them to an expensive, private school where that quality of education might be found. Things did not start out quite so amazing, but today our track record is phenomenal. We have graduated four high school classes and every single one of those students have passed their national exams on their first attempt. Today we have students, parents and staff that are content and full of hope for a bright future for these incredible kids!

The preschool teachers have been decorating the classrooms for Christmas while the students continue working hard.

The preschool teachers have been decorating the classrooms for Christmas while the students continue working hard.

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Happy elementary school students at MOHI in Thozin

Did you do your homework?

Did you do your homework?

Stephanie Harper joined us for a few days of work as well as some R&R.

Stephanie Harper joined us for a few days of work as well as some R&R.

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Earlier in the week, Stephnie Harper joined us for a few days. Stephanie works at the Union School in Port-au-Prince and was looking to enjoy a few days outside the city. Besides helping to prepare some food for Thanksgiving, Stephanie also spent a day organizing some of our E-book titles.

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Two of our very favorite people arrived yesterday for a short visit. Bob and Sally Heier were our mules, carrying in some needed supplies for us – including something perhaps not so necessary, but definitely appreciated: Christmas lights! Sally is an amazing, Haiti-seasoned RN and will be helping out in the clinic some this week. Bob is an amazing preacher and blessed us this morning at the church service in Thozin.

Pastor Bob Heier preached the Word of God with power in Thozin this morning.

Pastor Bob Heier preached the Word of God with power in Thozin this morning.

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Dr. Rowlens Melduni also arrived yesterday with a medical team from Clinicians of the World. They will be working in the mountain regions of Grand-Goâve this week, focusing on providing medicine and education to rid children of worms. He was sharing with the church this morning that approximately 80% of all Haitians living in this area are infected with worms and they steal about 30% of the nutrition being consumed by their hosts. Medical care is almost nonexistent in many of the mountain communities. We are happy to be a support to Clinicians of the World as they work in these villages.

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Welcome to Clinicians of the World!

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It was great to have Dr. Rowlens share with the church about their work. LaSonya, who travels with the team, blessed us with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace this morning.

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Dr Rowlens shared with the congregation about Clinicians of the World’s work in the mountains of Grand-Goâve and LaSonya did an amazing rendition of Amazing Grace.

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Another longtime missionary friend, Ed Locket, joined us in our worship service this morning, as well. We haven’t seen him in quite a while, as he spent considerable time in Honduras and also in the States. The church (including me!) was really interested in hearing his report about his time in Honduras. The area he was in has a lot of gang activity. Every day someone is killed. He told us that the government and police do what they can, but that the church also plays a critical role in impacting the community. As gang members hear the Good News of Jesus, they turn to Him and endeavor to follow His ways. Not only are they now preaching the Gospel, but they are no longer killing and they are influencing others to stop, as well.

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We LOVE having Ed Locket share about his adventures at church.

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Here are some more pictures from this morning in Thozin…

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Worship Music

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Snack time in Sunday School

Baptisms at the Missionary Compound this afternoon

Baptisms at the Missionary Compound this afternoon

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Most Sunday afternoons we have a bit of a crowd at the missionary compound, as friends and children come together to enjoy the beach and fellowship with one another. For the past month, we’ve had people getting baptized, too. It’s so awesome to see young people making the decision to die to their own selves and rise up to serve the King of kings.

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Did you know?…

The Thozin campus often serves as the local barber shop, as well.

The Thozin campus often serves as the local barber shop, as well.

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Thank you for taking the time to stay updated on our activities in Haiti. We appreciate you!!!

Leah’s Babies

The Gallet, a very poor village just down the road from MOHI’s missionary compound, is home to “Leah’s Babies.”  They do have their own mother, but they are so in love with Leah that Lex and I always refer to them as Leah’s.  Whenever they hear a car coming down the road they run to their front “gate” (a tarp next to the tarps that form a fence around their hut) and start shouting, “Leah!  Leah!  Leah!”  We stopped to chat with them on our way to church this morning.  It was great fun.  Here’s a little excerpt:

Middle brother: (pointing at me) “Is that Leah?”

Lex: “Yeah.”

Middle Brother: Liar!  (It’s not so harsh in Kreyol.  It’s more like saying “you’re pulling my leg.”)

Older Brother: “That’s a lady.”

Lex: “Where is Leah?”

Little Sister: “She’s not here.”

Little Brother: “Is she gone?”

Lex:  “Yes, that’s right.  But she’ll be back.”

Middle Brother: “She’s gone?”

Lex: “Yes.  She got on an airplane and flew way up into the sky…”

Lex points to the sky and all the kids look up, eyes filled with wonder.

Lex: “She went to visit America, but she’ll be back.”

Little Sister: “To Lexidan’s house?”

Older Brother: “This IS Lexidan!”

Little Sister: “YOU’RE Lexidan?!!!”

Lex:  “Yes.  I’m Lexidan.”

Little Sister: “OOOOOOhhhhhh!”

I think two months is going to seem like forever to these little ones.

 

 

Leah's Babies (thanks Dalissia for the great pics!)

Leah’s Babies (thanks Dalissia for the great pics!)

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Lex has been working in St. Etienne daily for the past couple of weeks.  Yesterday was an exciting day as the work crew poured the floor for the third level of the water tower.  The bucket brigade was in full swing all day and they managed to finish up before dark.

Water tower construction in St Etienne

Water tower construction in St Etienne

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We had a great time in church this morning – lovely praise and worship, special visitors, our beloved church family and a good word from Pastor Lex.  It was exciting to see Mr. and Mrs. Costlin presented to the church this morning, after their wedding and baptisms last weekend.  They looked very content, knowing that they had put action to the words of their commitment to the Lord.  It was fun to have our friends from Chile who are running an orphanage in the city of Aquin, Haiti, join us for church and lunch today.  Pastor Thomas spoke in Spanish, which was interpreted into Haitian Créole.  No English in there?  That was different!

Church Kids

Church Kids

Thozin Sunday morning

Thozin Sunday morning

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Despite Leah’s absence, the medical clinic has been functioning very well this week.  I was so thrilled to see the medical staff going beyond the call of duty and cleaning some areas that perhaps are a little neglected during the daily cleaning routine.  Just as in America, doctors in Haiti are highly respected by most people.  To see a doctor willing to do work that would be considered “beneath” him is a wonderful example to all of us.  One of my biggest concerns with educating the youth in Haiti is that they not become so full of themselves that they become a burden rather than a help to their families.  I am grateful for good examples for our students to follow.

Medical staff at work

Medical staff at work

Mobile Medical Clinic in St Etienne

Mobile Medical Clinic in St Etienne

Medical Clinic in Thozin

Medical Clinic in Thozin

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Speaking of students, I just have to share some pictures of them…

Thozin Students

Thozin Students

St Etienne Students

St Etienne Students

Kendy, Asson and Stanley visit the beach and see a double rainbow

Kendy, Asson and Stanley (students in Thozin) visit the beach and see a double rainbow

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I had an intense week of catching up on some work – to the point that I pulled an all-nighter.  I amazed myself.  I didn’t even start to feel tired until almost 4 in the morning.  Of course, that’s when we had a blackout and I had to come out of my “groove” to find someone to turn the generator on.  Anyway, I completed my tasks and managed to stay awake until about 4, at which point I took a 3 hour nap!  Like many of you, I am now busy preparing our Thanksgiving menu.  We are looking forward to having many of our American missionary friends over Thursday evening to celebrate Thanksgiving together.  It looks like our missionary friends from Chile will be joining us, as well.  I enjoy cooking, but don’t get to do it very often.  I will be taking a couple of days our of the office to cook for Thursday.  It’ll be great fun and an opportunity to teach Angelise how to make some new American dishes.

I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful celebration of thanks this Thursday.  May God continue to bless the good works of your hands, your families and His church.

 

Blessing Back

Pastor Lex and the team from Bless Back Worldwide

Pastor Lex and the team from Bless Back Worldwide

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We had an awesome week with the team from Bless Back Worldwide. It’s so exciting to see the team members living out the purpose of this organization – realizing that you have been blessed, now bless back. This team was able to teach and perform well checks on around 800 MOHI students at both of our school campuses. Each student also received their bi-annual worm medicine, which doesn’t taste the least bit appealing. No problem! Each student was given a granola bar to “wash down” the medicine.

Student Well Checks in Thozin

Student Well Checks in Thozin

Student Well Checks in St Etienne

Student Well Checks in St Etienne

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Each student also received a gift of a water bottle that says “Drink More Water” in Haitian Creole. (Leah is forever telling people to drink more water, as dehydration is a very common cause of illness in this climate.) The collapsible bottles have a nice clip on them, so students were feeling pretty “cool” with their new bright red water bottles clipped to their waists. Our amazing preschool teachers immediately wrote their students names on the bottles, so everyone could identify which one is for which child.

"Bwè Plis Dlo" (drink more water)

“Bwè Plis Dlo” (drink more water)

Dr. Daniela Diebel from Germany joined the Bless Back team to serve in the clinic for a week.

Dr. Daniela Diebel from Germany joined the Bless Back team to serve in the clinic for a week.

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An underlying stress all week was the knowledge that this would be Leah’s last week of 2014 with us. I’ve personally enjoyed having a friend/daughter to talk with everyday and have not been looking forward to her departure. However, I know that time away recharges us and I am excited for her to have time with her family and friends over the next two months. – And we’ll see how the preschoolers manage without their favorite nurse and greatest fan.

Leah in the midst of MOHI preschool students

Leah in the midst of MOHI preschool students

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One of our goals in hiring Haitian medical professionals was so that the clinic would be able to function while Leah is away. This week Leah was busy observing them (often from a distance) and assuring herself that they will do a good job while she is gone. Things are looking good.

Medical clinic in Thozin continued uninterrupted while the student well checks were taking place next door.

Medical clinic in Thozin continued uninterrupted while the student well checks were taking place next door.

St Etienne in the mobile medical clinic

St Etienne in the mobile medical clinic

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The Bless Back team worked so hard this week, that by noon on Thursday they had already seen all of the students. This meant that there would be time for an outing on Friday. They left early in the morning to make the two hour drive into the mountains of Jacmel to Basin Bleu – an area with water falls and 70’+ deep, fresh water pools. The team had a great time and still made it back in time to end their week here visiting people in their homes, listening to their concerns, offering prayer on their behalf and leaving the home with a gift of rice and beans.

Basin Bleu (Blue Basin) in Jacmel

Basin Bleu (Blue Basin) in Jacmel

Bless Back Worldwide blessing people in their homes with friendship, prayer and food.

Bless Back Worldwide blessing people in their homes with friendship, prayer and food.

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Work continues in St Etienne on the water tower. It’s a little slow going, as it requires a lot of reinforcing to be able to handle supporting all that water, but it will bring life to the whole area. A generator will be used to pump water up to the holding tank. This will then provide water (with gravity pressure) for the community all day long without needing to run the generator further.

Great progress in St Etienne on the water tower

Great progress in St Etienne on the water tower

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In the midst of a very busy week, the Red Cross showed up at the Thozin campus, requesting that students give blood. I was pleased that there were several brave souls from the high school that gave blood. Usually when someone needs to have surgery or is in need of blood, family and friends are called upon to donate, because there is not usually blood available.

A MOHI high school student chooses to donate blood

A MOHI high school student chooses to donate blood

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Thursday we were blessed to receive a team from our friends at White Stone Church in Knoxville, TN and our new friends from the Hope Alliance – Haiti. We have been communicating for about a year now about a shared vision to reach out even further to the youth of Grand-Goâve. This week we were able to meet several times, as we forge a partnership between us. We have some pretty exciting ideas on the burner. Would you pray with us that we are led of the Spirit of God moving forward, that we would design everything and operate together to further His purposes for this community? Thank you.

Making plans for expanding the Thozin campus with our friends from White Stone Church and the Hope Alliance.

Making plans for expanding the Thozin campus with our friends from White Stone Church and the Hope Alliance.

Our friends from White Stone Church and the Hope Alliance

Our friends from White Stone Church and the Hope Alliance

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I shared with you some time ago about a local voudou priest who made a decision to follow Christ while listening to Pastor Lex teaching on the mission’s radio station. This was such a special weekend for Mr. Costlin and his family, as he was married to the mother of his children Saturday evening at the missionary compound. His wife was doubly blessed, as both their son Kelly (a popular singer/musician) and Mr. Costlin sang songs for her. (She was just beaming!)

Beautiful wedding at the missionary compound last night

Beautiful wedding at the missionary compound last night

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This afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Costlin, along with two more of the boys from the Hands and Feet Project, were baptized in water. It was an awesome site and a weekend of great rejoicing!

More baptisms today at the ocean in front of the missionary compound.

More baptisms today at the ocean in front of the missionary compound.

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This morning in Thozin we had a sweet time of worship together. As seems to be our new custom, Pastor Laramie offered a blessing in English before Pastor Lex preached a message. It was wonderful to be reminded of the healing ministry of Jesus and the importance of not just carrying the name “Christian,” but actually doing the works of Christ.

Worship Service this morning in Thozin

Worship Service this morning in Thozin

How handsome is this little man?!!!

How handsome is this little man?!!!

A favorite snack from Sunday School each week - "Pèpèt" - nickname for "Mayi pete" or "exploded corn" aka POPCORN

A favorite snack from Sunday School each week – “Pèpèt” – nickname for “Mayi pete” or “exploded corn” aka POPCORN

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I hope I have been able to relay some of my excitement over this week’s happenings. Thank you for taking the time to stay up to date on all that’s going on. As always, thank you so much for your partnership, friendship and all your support for MOHI in prayer and financial gifts. May God continue to bless you!

Busy Medical Ministry

Leah has been getting a good workout leading up to her trip back to the States. She’s has started training our Haitian doctors and nurse to be prepared to run the clinic without her for several weeks. She’s also had the pleasure of keeping Carly and Kristy busy this past week. Carly, Kristy and Leah all went to PRESCHOOL together! Carly now lives in Maryland and Kristy in California. They served all week with a great attitude and a joyful disposition. We are blessed to have gotten to know them a bit.

Medical Cinic in St Etienne

Medical Cinic in St Etienne

Carly and Kristy's last hurrah!

Carly and Kristy’s last hurrah!

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This week, we are joined by a great team from Bless Back Worldwide, along with Dr. Daniela Diebel from Germany. They are here to do annual check ups on all of our students. They will also be involved in education during the week. Dr. Daniela’s brother, Nicci, has served with us on two occasions previously and recommended MOHI to his sister. This morning at church, Lex was asking the congregation if they recognized her. I suggested there may have been a young man that has been here before that looks like her. Some of the kids from the Hands and Feet Project said “Nicci!” Hopefully they will have the opportunity to visit with Dr. Daniela and ask her all about their dear friend Nicci.

Bless Back Worldwide Team

Bless Back Worldwide Team

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The water tower project in St Etienne is progressing. Just like our school in Thozin, this building will have lots of concrete and reinforcing steel bars in it to support the water on top.

Work on the Water Tower in St Etienne

Work on the Water Tower in St Etienne

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It was so nice to have the newly baptized church members join us for a communion service last sunday evening.

Welcome to the Family Hugs

Welcome to the Family Hugs

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Today we had another baptism service. Boss Blan, who has does construction work for MOHI and the Hands and Feet Project for many years, and Dalissia Grothe, who is serving this week with the team from Bless Back Worldwide, were both baptized this afternoon. Pastor Laramie and Andy Brooks assisted in the baptism. It was a glorious moment for everyone present!

Baptism Service in the Ocean in Front of the MOHI Missionary Compound

Baptism Service in the Ocean in Front of the MOHI Missionary Compound

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

Students at the MOHI School in Thozin

Students at the MOHI School in Thozin

The front of a funeral procession in Grand-Goâve

The front of a funeral procession in Grand-Goâve

The  MOHI Church in Thozin

The MOHI Church in Thozin

View from MOHI's Missionary Compound

View from MOHI’s Missionary Compound

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Thank you always for your prayers and support.

Can You Feel the Love?

Everyday I witness so much love and caring between our missionaries, staff, students, church members, and neighbors.  I’m so grateful for the wonderful community that I have become a part of.  Is it perfect?  Hardly!  Do I always feel the love?  Heh!  NOT!  It’s hard to say whether there is more good than there used to be or if my perception has changed because I love more than I used to.  Perhaps it’s a little of both.  Whichever it is, I do have every confidence that the Lord is with me and He is showing me the good all around me.

I hope you enjoy the pictures this week!

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Welcome to Leah's old classmates (we're talkin' PRESCHOOL here!), Carly and Kristy!  They are also nurses.  Carly works in Maryland and Kristy in California.  Looking forward to a great week with them!

Welcome to Leah’s old classmates (we’re talkin’ PRESCHOOL here!), Carly and Kristy! They are also nurses. Carly works in Maryland and Kristy in California. Looking forward to a great week with them!

The boys love hanging out on the motorcycles and dreaming of one day.

The boys love hanging out on the motorcycles and dreaming of one day.

Leah has a friend (actually she has a LOT of friends!)

Leah has a friend (actually she has a LOT of friends!)

Worship Service this Morning in Thozin

Worship Service this Morning in Thozin

Baptisms this morning in front of the missionary compound

Baptisms this morning in front of the missionary compound

Joel and Wilamane

Joel and Wilamane

Kettia

Kettia

Lex being a grandpa

Lex being a grandpa

A little soccer in the heat of the day

A little soccer in the heat of the day

Renord and his staff keep track of all the tools and supplies at MOHI.

Renord and his staff keep track of all the tools and supplies at MOHI.

Cheno has a bike.  It makes hauling water quite a bit easier.

Cheno has a bike. It makes hauling water quite a bit easier.

Are you feeling the love?

Are you feeling the love?

Preschoolers getting ready to form a line - it's a process.

Preschoolers getting ready to form a line – it’s a process.

Toy guns are popular in more than one culture.

Toy guns are popular in more than one culture.

Preschool Beauties

Preschool Beauties

Elementary Students

Elementary Students

Nurse Ruth

Nurse Ruth

Nurses

Nurses

A newbie waiting for her turn in the clinic

A newbie waiting for her turn in the clinic

The mobile medical clinic in St. Etienne

The mobile medical clinic in St. Etienne

School time in St. Etienne

School time in St. Etienne

A teacher in St. Etienne sharing the love with her student

A teacher in St. Etienne sharing the love with her student

We trimmed some trees at the missionary compound and now we have cooking fuel for the school in St. Etienne.

We trimmed some trees at the missionary compound and now we have cooking fuel for the school in St. Etienne.

Pouring the second floor on the water tower in St. Etienne.

Pouring the second floor on the water tower in St. Etienne.

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Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Welcome to Our Medical Staff

We hit a new milestone this week at Mission of Hope International. We hired our first full-time medical staff. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Lavaud and Nurse Ruth. Both will be working 5 days a week, helping to provide much needed healthcare for some of the poorest of the poor in our world. Leah has her hands full in a new way now, as she endeavors to train them in the way the MOHI clinic operates. From protocols that need to be adhered to, to showing the utmost respect and really listening to our patients, I have every confidence that our team is heading in the right direction.

Thanks to our friends at Bless Back Worldwide, we have the funding to start our staff off.  As with everything we do, this is a step of faith for us.  We will be starting a sponsorship program for individuals, medical professionals, doctor’s offices and hospitals who are interested in supporting the MOHI Medical Clinic.  If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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Meetings with Leah are not always tearful!

Meetings with Leah are not always tearful!

Dr. Lavaud checking a patient's xrays

Dr. Lavaud checking a patient’s xrays

Our medical team: Dr Lavaud, Leah Fuller RN, Nurse Ruth

Our medical team: Dr Lavaud, Leah Fuller RN, Nurse Ruth

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One of our church members, Baby, has been going to nursing school for several years now. She’s always quick to lend a hand whenever we need a little extra help. Leah especially appreciates Baby’s communication skills with our patients. She is a very patient teacher and a bold leader who demands order in the clinic. We are eager for her to complete her studies and hoping that she will join our team here at MOHI, as well.

Baby, a nurse in training

Baby, a nurse in training

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We so appreciate Pastor Kevin Groder’s return this week. He was able to set up 16 desktop computers in our new computer lab, as well as train Mackenson how to do much of what he did. Thank you for your service!

Desktop Computers in the MOHI Computer Lab

Desktop Computers in the MOHI Computer Lab

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After three weeks together, we said good-bye to Sean Collins this morning. He worked with many of our students on behalf of Unleash Kids. I thought this week’s rocket project was particularly well received, as the students squealed and danced at each launching. Great job, Sean. Thank you!

Rocket Time

Rocket Time

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We are so thankful for the many people the Lord has put in our lives, from many different parts of the world. We look forward to our occasional visits from our Chilean friends who are working with children in Aquin, Haiti. This week, we had a visit from our new Rotary International friends, Carl and Patrick.

Counted as Friends

Counted as Friends

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We’re also grateful for fellow missionaries who have won over our hearts. I thoroughly enjoy the relationship that our friend, Michelle Meece (Hands and Feet Project) has with our kids.

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AJay and Michelle – Best of Buddies!

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There’s no lack of love between our staff and students either.

Feeling the love between the preschoolers and Pastor Hakine

Feeling the love between the preschoolers and Pastor Hakine

Friends

Friends

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Love and hard work will bring these students far.

High School Juniors

High School Juniors

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We had an awesome service in Thozin this morning. It was awesome to see Pastor Laramie pray before Lex brought a message to the church. I knew we were in for something special when Lex called for the mirror.

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We were all challenged this morning to look at ourselves in the mirror. CAN we look ourselves in the face? Remember the story of Jesus from John 8? The religious leaders had brought a woman to him who had been caught in adultery. They wanted Jesus to deal harshly with her, but instead He held a mirror up to them, saying, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her….” It seems that until we can judge ourselves, we are not fit to judge others. Verse 9 reads, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” Of course, once we really do judge ourselves, our desire to judge others tends to diminish and our capacity to love others increases.

Church at Thozin, Grand-Goâve

Church at Thozin, Grand-Goâve

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Many of you have been sending in donations for the purchase of the lot next to our Thozin campus. THANK YOU!!! If you haven’t done so yet, please do send in your gift.

We have some really exciting plans in the works for this land, including a vocational training center that will help prepare our high school students to find or even make work opportunities for themselves. We are also hoping to partner with Whitestone Church (Knoxville, TN) to provide an afterschool program for all the neighborhood kids. This would include fun activities, like sports; serious activities, like tutoring and discipleship training; and necessary activities, such as providing a meal and health services. Needless to say, we are pretty excited about expanding into this new lot and expecting it to happen in the not too distant future.  We greatly appreciate all of you who continue to pray with us for God’s will to be done here in our midst.  Thank you.

(Left) MOHI campus in Thozin, Grand-Goâve

(Left) MOHI campus in Thozin, Grand-Goâve

Medical Ministry – The Next Step

From the very beginning, medical ministry has been an integral of our vision at Mission of Hope International. Since neither Lex nor I are trained medical professionals, we have had to be very patient in the development of this ministry. For years the only thing we had going on would be occasional mobile clinics whenever we found American medical professionals who would come spend a week with us. Many people were helped through them, but we had no way of offering continuous care to those who really needed it. That was the extent of our medical ministry until Gama and Angela moved to Haiti in 2011.

What a blessing Angela was to our students and neighbors as little by little she put time into attending to the sick. In response to her hard work, we transformed a spot into a permanent medical room. Sally Heier, an amazing RN from southwest Florida came on the scene, mentoring us. She is passionate about providing care for the poor that they can actually follow through with and enjoy the full benefits of. In 2013 Angela returned to the States and Leah Fuller joined us, building on the foundation Angela started. Bless Back Worldwide began working with us in 2012 and today are true partners, providing medicines for the MOHI clinic, investing in the expansion of the clinic, bringing medical professionals to come along side of the work Leah is doing and so much more. Leah also conducts regular medical clinics at our St. Etienne campus, using the mobile medical clinic donated by The Chapel and Mission USA. Today’s medical ministry is focused not so much on quick fixes for desperate people, but ongoing patient care and education for the communities we serve.

Dr Roy Blank (Bless Back Worldwide) and Nurse Leah Fuller – Dr Blank came down this week specifically to help interview doctors for a position at the MOHI Clinic.

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We are very excited about the next step in serving our students and communities. We are currently interviewing Haitian doctors and nurses with the hope of hiring one of each to work with us. This will allow us to continue to provide healthcare for our regular patients while deepening our impact within these communities. A Haitian doctor and nurse will be able to teach patients much better, as they are a part of the culture and their language skills far surpass American health professionals. Leah will be able to organize teaching materials for classes on critical subjects such as hypertension, diabetes, nutrition, sanitation and family planning. Education is the foundation that will enable people to enjoy good health.

Obviously some good teaching going on here!

Obviously some good teaching going on here!

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Our patient base does not have the means to support a doctor and nurse’s salaries. It would make sense to just charge the patients enough to cover them, however we would lose most of our patients who are struggling to feed their families. Seeing as that these are actually the people who we are here to serve, this would not line up with MOHI’s vision for medical ministry. Consequently, we are looking for other ways to fund these Haitian medical professionals. Leah is working on some thoughts and I hope to share some information from her with you soon. In the meantime, would you please pray for wisdom for us as we continue to navigate on this path? Thank you.

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We were so excited to receive a container of food this week from our friends at Kids Against Hunger Global (Tulsa, OK). We are so grateful to Marshall & Sherry Horn, the entire Board at KAHG and to each individual who helped to purchase and package this food. The food will be cooked and served in our schools, shared with orphanages, distributed to those presenting signs of poor nutrition in the medical clinic, and shared with others as their needs are made known to us. If you have a group (church, youth group, school group, civic group) that might be interested in working with KAHG to package food to be sent to Haiti, please let us know and we will gladly put you in touch with them.

A container of food arrived this week from Kids Against Hunger Global (Tulsa, OK)!

A container of food arrived this week from Kids Against Hunger Global (Tulsa, OK)!

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We have some pretty amazing kids and school staff here at MOHI. I’ve been noticing a different feel at the school this year. I seem to get more smiles and hugs from the elementary students and the high school students are being a bit more respectful. I’m noticing in little things like greetings and choosing to make eye contact. I know it’s still early in the school year, but I do believe that our staff is making progress with the students in this regard and I’m just down right happy about it.

MOHI students

MOHI students

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Pastor Kevin Groder is spending some time here at MOHI this week. He encouraged the church this morning about discerning the will of the Lord. He also likened himself to a dump truck full of sand. Uh, I suppose you would have had to have been there for that one.

MOHI Sunday Morning

MOHI Sunday Morning

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Some of the girls at MOHI

Some of the girls at MOHI

Some of the boys at MOHI

Some of the boys at MOHI

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I want to thank each of you who follows MOHI’s work via this blog. Your prayers and support are critical to all that we do here. God bless you!

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!