Clinic and Church

This week we hosted a team from Clinicians of the World, founded by Dr. Rowlens Melduni. This organization is based in Rochester, Minnesota, but the team had people from may States (NC, GA, CT, MS, NY, CO). The team consisted of 13 medical personnel (MDs, PAs, RNs) and 7 others to support them. They worked in several of the remote areas of Grand-Goave, as well as seeing some patients in our clinic. Dr. Melduni is a Haitian-American cardiologist who has a heart for the people of Grand-Goave. We were blessed to be able to provide logistical support for his team. Angela and Tammy worked hard this week, inventorying our medical supplies.  We also had extra help this week from the UN medical staff that came to consult patients. Our compact camera died this week, so I have very few pictures to share with you. Unfortunately I have not found any pictures posted by the Clinicians of the World team yet that I could share with you either. I was able to get some pictures from this morning from Davidson. Pastor Edon had a fervent message for the church in Thozin this morning. Can people tell you’re a Christian by the way you behave? Christianity is more than going to church and saying you’re a Christian. As Mother Theresa once said, “Preach the Gospel everywhere you go. Use words when you have to.”

Worship Service in Thozin

Worship Service in Thozin

Children's Ministry

Children’s Ministry

Little friends from Be Like Brit

Little friends from Be Like Brit

We had a fun afternoon at the missionary compound. With no teams in right now, it was very quiet – for a while. THEN the fun began! It was so nice to have the children from Be Like Brit spend a couple of hours with us. I believe I was the blessed recipient of at least FORTY kisses – one from each of the kids and six from Fafane! Once the kisses were done, the kids got down to serious business. They hoola hooped, played with Saphira (the cat), punched and kicked Kevin’s punching bag, played a little soccer, played “school,” danced, chatted and explored. Chrislove and Mackenlove, who are both very accomplished hoola hoopers, were obviously excited to show off their skills to the other kids.

Lots of activities took place at the missionary compound today!

Lots of activities took place at the missionary compound today!

Christy is incredibly CUTE!

Christy is incredibly CUTE!

I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas season where you are. It looks like many of you have had some cold weather and frozen precipitation. We’ve had some cool evenings. It was 71 degrees when we came over the mountains from Jacmel earlier in the week. That area gets down into the 60s overnight at this time of year. No matter the weather, let’s all keep Jesus as the center of lives and celebrations. Merry Christmas!

71 degrees in the mountains on the way to Jacmel - 87 degrees in Jacmel - elevation makes a difference!

71 degrees in the mountains on the way to Jacmel – 87 degrees in Jacmel – elevation makes a difference!

A Bless Back Thanksgiving

This is our second year of celebrating Thanksgiving with a team from Bless Back Worldwide.  Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we still worked during the day on Thursday, but we had a wonderful feast and time of giving thanks in the evening with the team and some of our fellow missionaries from Grand-Goâve.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Throughout the week, the team kept us busy with medical and dental clinics, dental training in the school and teaching at the nursing school in Petit-Goâve.  It was wonderful to be a part of touching so many lives throughout the week.  The week ended with a food distribution in a very impoverished area of Grand-Goâve.  The people were so grateful for the food and enjoyed spending some special moments with the team.

Teaching at the nursing school in Petit-Goâve with Bless Back Worldwide

Teaching at the nursing school in Petit-Goâve with Bless Back Worldwide

Food Distribution in the Galèt

Food Distribution in the Galèt

Dental Clinic with Bless Back Worldwide at the St. Etienne Campus

Dental Clinic with Bless Back Worldwide at the St. Etienne Campus

Little Ones

Little Ones

The Blessed Back Worldwide Dental Training Team

The Blessed Back Worldwide Dental Training Team

Medical clinic with Blessed Back Worldwide

Medical clinic with Blessed Back Worldwide

A blessed week with the team from Bless Back Worldwide

A blessed week with the team from Bless Back Worldwide

Angela held her first seminar this week for the children’s ministry teachers.  They went over the lessons they will be teaching for the month and prepared the craft items together.

Children's Ministry Teacher Seminar

Children’s Ministry Teacher Seminar

As we said goodbye to the Bless Back Worldwide team yesterday, we said hello to another team.  Clinicians of the World will be staying with us for a week, while they conduct medical clinics in the mountain areas and with local orphans.  Friday they will work with us in the Thozin medical clinic.

Clinicians of the World packaging medicine for the mountain people

Clinicians of the World packaging medicine for the mountain people

Today we had another wonderful time of fellowship, worship and preaching here in Thozin.  Pastor Kevin Groder shared from the book of Matthew, the story of the master who went on a trip and entrusted his servants with his wealth.  He encouraged us to use whatever talents God has given us – don’t just leave them on the shelf, they are to be used for God’s glory.

Children's Ministry

Children’s Ministry

Sunday Morning at the Thozin Campus

Sunday Morning at the Thozin Campus

Ah, The Children

Sunday morning worship service in Thozin

Sunday morning worship service in Thozin

Sundays are really the highlight of the week for me.  I enjoy church, hearing the Word of God preached, worshiping in song and praying with my brothers and sisters.  I think my very favorite part though, is seeing the children.  In Matthew 18, Jesus talks about children and tells us that we should become like them.  As I observe the children, I realize how much joy they bring to me.  I pray that I bring joy to my Heavenly Father, too.

Cuties

Cuties

 

This morning several of the children were wearing tiaras and little Christy was dressed like royalty for her birthday – she’s two years old, now.  Renord borrowed one of the tiaras while he was doing some silly acting during children’s ministry this morning.  It was great fun!

There seemed to be an abundance of royalty present this morning in Thozin

There seemed to be an abundance of royalty present this morning in Thozin

In America we do a great job of teaching our children ownership and responsibility.  Here in Haiti, parents do a great job of teaching their children to share.  This is something that I see in my husband.  I don’t know that he knows how to finish a plate of food on his own.  No matter how hungry he is when he starts eating, if anyone else is around they are likely to eat some of it, as well.

Share...this is what we do

Share…this is what we do

Lex’s dad raised crops in huge gardens.  Lex told me how his dad came home one night with 8 small watermelons.  He put them out on the table.  All the children knew that he’d brought one for each of them and were eager to receive theirs.  However, he started cutting the watermelons and passing the pieces around to the children.  He told them that whatever they have to never keep it all for themselves.  Whatever God gives you is meant to be shared.  This is one of the many fundamental differences in our cultures that Lex and I have had to face.  To this day, he is MUCH better at sharing than I am.  For me, I give because I choose to (out of the “goodness” of my heart – ouch!).  For Lex, he gives because that’s what we do when we receive from the Lord.

Children's Ministry

Children’s Ministry

We’re excited to have another team from Bless Back Worldwide serving with us here in Haiti this week.  They arrived last night.  Tomorrow they begin medical and dental clinics.  Please pray for God’s wisdom and knowledge to be imparted to the care givers.  We’re grateful for God’s amazing provision!!!

The team from Bless Back Worldwide

The team from Bless Back Worldwide

Remodeling has begun to make room for two new rooms, one medical and one dental.  We have been digging to bring water into these rooms.  We’re doing the concrete finish on the ceiling and finishing the window frames.  One of the rooms used to be the director’s office.  We had to take down all the shelving and relocate the library books, too.

Let the work begin! - dental and medical rooms in Thozin

Let the work begin! – dental and medical rooms in Thozin

Tammy and Pelio pack the library books

Tammy and Pelio pack the library books

It’s so cool to see the growth in the medical ministry here at MOHI.  We miss Leah, but Angela has still had lots of others working with her.  This week several UN Peacekeepers assisted, as well as Kristin who was here for three weeks at the Be Like Brit orphanage.  We are grateful for all the team work!!!

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An old friend is back.  Colonel Nandana was here in Haiti with the third Sri Lankan contingent in 2009.  Now, he has returned as the commanding officer for all the Sri Lankan Peacekeepers in Haiti.  We were honored to give him a tour of the new school and show him a bit of the medical ministry.  The school kids loved seeing his men up close.

Colonel Nandana, commander of the UN Peacekeepers from Sri Lanka

Colonel Nandana, commander of the UN Peacekeepers from Sri Lanka

The Thozin School

The Thozin School

Pastor Kevin and Tammy Groder are back from their quick trip to the States.  Kevin was able to have some medical tests done, which showed that he has a herniated and bulging disc in his back – the source of the pain he’s been experiencing for about 9 months now.  While it’s very painfully, it doesn’t look like it requires surgery.  Please join us in praying for healing and relief from the pain.  Thank you.

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Overflowing Thankfulness

I’d like to start out today with pictures of this week’s cuties.  They are the ones who help us to get up every morning and face hardships without wavering!

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God has blessed us with so many wonderful friends and partners over the years.  I am so grateful for each and every one of them.  Mission of Hope International would never be making the impact it is today, if God hadn’t brought us all together.  How cool is this?!!!!

 

As we approach the American Thanksgiving holiday, I have been praying for you all and thanking the Lord for you.  Individuals who believed in the vision from the very beginning committed to pray and give regular donations to help get this work on its feet.  I think of the people the Lord used as His mouthpiece to advise us along the way.  When the right decisions to make seemed contrary to what we’d always known, there were words of confirmation coming at us at every turn and so we stepped out into unfamiliar territory time and time again.

All the times that I needed a friend, I found one.

 

I remember how Lennie and Amy Engman opened their homes and their lives to us.  We’d gone to church together for years, but we didn’t know each other, at all.  How many times we have called on them over the years!  They were grandparents for our children and counsellors for Lex and I.  Amy provided so much motherly wisdom to me, as I endeavored to raise children in two different cultures.  To this day we can call on them, day or night, and KNOW that they will do everything they can to help us.  God has provided for us in incredible ways!!!

 

In the early days in Haiti, we really had nothing.  Every time we returned to the States, David and Jane Case (another couple who didn’t know us from a hole in the wall!) would buy us all new underwear, shoes, clothing, soap, shampoo – all the basics that we needed, but had no money to purchase.  Again, that was God’s provision for us, but it took willing souls to make it happen.

Hundreds have supported this mission with financial gifts.  Some, I have never even met, but the Lord knows each and every one of you.  I pray that His blessings overtake you!

 

Over the years the Lord has brought people of kindred spirit to encourage us and work alongside us.  Many have put their hands to work, constructing the school, restaurant, transitional houses and permanent homes.  Others have worked with our school teachers, students, pastors, nurses, mechanics, carpenters, masons, administrators, etc – sharing their knowledge to help our friends to learn even more.

 

I think of our amazing board members, Gloria Harvell, Carlos Pereira and Gama Parayson, who use their skills to help run this ministry.  They all work full time and have responsibilities at home and in church and yet they all put in extra effort to ensure MOHI is running smoothly.  Thank you JESUS for these special people!

I am blessed with an amazing husband, Alexis, A. Jay, Gama, Angela and Nathan, who are all missionaries at heart.  I thank God that He has brought along our dear friends Kevin and Tammy Groder and our new friend, Leah Fuller, to join in serving Him full time in this place that we all love so much.

 

Many organizations have partnered with us over the years, too.  Some have partnered for specific projects and others in a long-term relationship.  All are so valued!

 

Today I want to share with you a little about our partnership with Bless Back Worldwide (BBW).  BBW has been sending teams to us for just over a year now.  They focus on medical missions, but also do quite a bit of teaching, children’s ministry and soccer clinics.  They have been helping to build homes for families in need (remember, about 70% of the buildings in Grand-Goâve were destroyed in the earthquake!) and paying for surgeries and other medical needs.

 

We spent time with most of the leadership and board members of BBW while we were in Charlotte this September.  Talk about people of “like precious faith!”  I must say, we were exhausted from all the questions when we left Charlotte, but we were also very encouraged to be partnering with an organization that desires to learn and adapt to a culture that they admittedly do not know.  (FYI, they are quick learners and know an awful lot about Haitian culture already!)

A recent team from Bless Back Worldwide

A recent team from Bless Back Worldwide

 

I remember one of the board members asking us, “What is priority for you right now.”  Knowing that they focus mostly on medical missions, I so wanted to respond with something medical in nature, but that really wasn’t the case.   Lex and I knew very well that our priority was to finish the new school in Thozin, so that’s what we told them.

 

I will never forget Jane Case telling Lex, “You have not because you ask not!”  She was referring to James 4:2.  Without preaching a whole message, (which I could so do right now!) maybe we all should consider what she said.  No, we shouldn’t go around asking people for their stuff, but I know most people would love to bless someone with something they need – they just need to know that it’s needed!  Sharing this need with BBW enabled them to consider the need and decide if/how they wanted to help.

 

The “fear” I felt, sharing our real priority with them, was that they might feel that we didn’t appreciate the medical missions that they focus on.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Lives are regularly being saved and changed through medical missions.  It has been a part of our vision since the beginning.

 

God is so good to us!  Our friends at BBW have decided to partner with us in completing the basics of the first phase of the school, as well as transforming a couple of our other rooms into medical and dental patient facilities.  Praise God!  We are so excited and thankful!

 

20131117 mohi thozin clinic plans

 

The timing worked out such that Paul Fallon (yes, architect extraordinaire!) was here with the last BBW team and he was able to hear from them what they were looking for in this facility.  Paul has been such an amazing help to us since the earthquake.  He has designed buildings and done estimates and overseen work for the past three years.  We are so grateful for his continued role in the construction projects.  Alan Roseberry, who put in all the rough plumbing in the school, plans to be here to do the finish plumbing, as well as the plumbing for the medical/dental rooms.  Yay!

 

We are currently planning to fabricate a septic system in the driveway of the Thozin campus (see picture below).  This will require that we block off the front entrance area, so no one gets hurt.  This week we built stairs to the back door, which is never used, but will be now!  We will begin some demolishing (just unfinished floors) to accommodate bringing water into the medical/dental rooms this week.  Electrical conduit continues to be installed and benches continue to be built.

 

Here are some more pictures of this week’s activities…

 

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20131117 mohi church th

20131117 mohi church th1

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As most of you know, my husband believes in being grateful.  He often speaks of the woman from Michigan who sponsored him in school when he was growing up.  He would love to know who she is so he can give her a hug and say “thank you” for giving him an education.  There was a couple from his little village in la Gonave, Maleguy, which also played a major role in his childhood.  They pastored the local church and made sure the kids were in school and eating.  The pastor passed away several years ago, but the wife, Madame Pastor Boulou just passed on a couple of weeks ago.  Lex and some others left by boat yesterday to be a part of the funeral today.

 

I found it interesting that as Lex spoke of her, he did not show any sadness at her death.  There’s a general understanding among all “her kids” (Lex included) that she lived a full life in service to Jesus, completed it well and has now gone home.  It’s a joyous occasion!  They are happy for her!

 

Would you join me in praying for our friends at Mission E4 today.  Several of them were involved in an automobile accident in Marlborough, MA yesterday.  Two remained hospitalized.   I pray the Lord touch them and bring healing to both their minds and bodies.

Welcome Back to Ed

It’s great to see our friend Ed Locket back in Haiti. He spent a long time away and returned this week with a group from Rock Bridge Community Church (GA). This group has obviously been well trained by Ed in the arts of playing, singing, dancing and snuggling. The volume they were able to get out of our preschool classes was just amazing. They blessed many of the older elementary students with notebooks and also gave a donation for the school in St. Etienne. Thank you!!!

Ed Locket and guests descended on the Thozin campus with song and fun!

Ed Locket and guests descended on the Thozin campus with song and fun!

Now that we have supplies available (thank you to all the donors and teams that have carried them in!) the children are able to have a craft time during Children’s Ministry Sunday mornings.

Craft Time

Craft Time

In the new school building, the kids can gather all together in the activity for a time of prayer and worship, before going to individual classrooms, divided by age.

Prayer and worship in the children's ministry this morning.

Prayer and worship in the children’s ministry this morning.

The arrival of the new mobile medical clinic means many supplies have arrived, as well. The items for MOHI will be unpacked in January when our friends from the Chapel (OH) arrive. However, we were able to unload some special items for our friends from Archaie already.

Joe, from the COBBA orphanage in Archaie came to pick up goodies that were sent in the mobile medical clinic last week.

Joe, from the COBBA orphanage in Archaie came to pick up goodies that were sent in the mobile medical clinic last week.

Besides school happening daily, there’s always some other kind of work going on in the yard.  This week we had a lot of bench building going on.  We’re so grateful for all of you who have given towards the church benches.  We also needed more school benches.

More benches built this week!

More benches built this week!

Well, I guess it’s payback time.  Kevin, Tammy and Leah held down the fort while we strolled around America.  Now they are in the States while we and Angela stay on the front lines.  I suppose it’s fair enough, but I do miss them being here to toss ideas around with and be silly.

Oh how I would have loved to have had them here 13 years ago, when we were brand new to Grand-Goâve.  There were many times that I felt there was no one who understood what I was going through.  When I think about those times, verses from the book of James come to mind: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)  Well, I’m still far from perfect, but I can honestly say that I am approaching that “needing nothing” stage.  I’m amazed at how content I have become.  The Lord is truly my everything.

This theme has been reverberating in our church in Thozin since last Sunday night, when we broke out in a spontaneous song, singing “Be my everything!”  Again this morning, the church lifted their voices in worship, acknowledging that He is our everything.  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT)

Here are some pics from this morning.  Soooo good!

The after church crowd!

The after church crowd!

Prayer and worship in the general assembly this morning.

Prayer and worship in the general assembly this morning.

Just So Much

Food Security…and the Lack Thereof

     Crazy Prices

Something happened to prices in the open market while we were in America.  Plastic cups, which sold for seven Haitian dollars per sleeve now sell for twelve.  Eggs, which sold for about $30 Ht now sell for $45.  So it is for most everything that we buy locally.  While most food prices have increased by 50%+ wages have not.  It is times like this that often lead to uprisings in such a poor economy.  Please pray for the people of Haiti who struggle day in and day out to put food on their tables.

I remember when A. Jay was a colicky baby.  At about 4pm each day he would start screaming and crying.  It’s just heart-wrenching for a mom to deal with an inconsolable baby.  It lasted only a couple of months, but I worked hard every one of those nights to try to comfort and calm him.  I found that if I stood in front of the dishwasher, with it running, and rocked him in my arms, that he would calm down.  I would put a blanket on the floor and put him down once I felt he was sleeping soundly.  Lord help me when the dish washer came to the end of the cycle.  I had the cleanest dishes in Gardner during that time.  I would make sure the dish washer ran until at least midnight every night.  I would do anything in my power to keep him from waking and screaming again.

I often think of that time when I consider the mothers in this country who are so challenged to feed their families.  A hungry baby cries and cries.  A hungry child whines and cries and pulls on mom’s skirt and it never stops…until food is given.  A. Jay was only colicky for a couple of months.  There are children whose lifestyle is to be hungry.  How do these moms cope?  Why do they have to?  It’s one of the injustices in this world, for sure.

     Feeding Programs

IMG_1643School feeding programs are one of the best ways to ensure that children are eating regularly.  When we first started the mission, we didn’t have food for the students.  What a difference when we started feeding the kids.  So often the kids would fall asleep during class.  After we started feeding them, they were lively and rambunctious.   Their grades improved.  Their faces changed.  Everything about them seemed to improve.  I was seeing with my own eyes what I had learned in school, that it matters what we eat.  For some of our students, if they didn’t eat at school, they would likely not eat every day.

It costs a lot of money to feed school children everyday.  We have over eight hundred children in school.  Over the years we have received some of the school food from the World Food Program.  We actually were distributing food (rice, beans, oil and salt) to 30 schools in partnership with them.  Now, for reasons beyond my comprehension, no food is being given by them for any of these schools.  We are grateful that when we really needed it, Food for the Poor and Kids Against Hunger came through with food for us.  Food for the Poor gives a portion of the food we need.  Kids Against Hunger has sent us two containers of rice and soy meals.  This food helps to feed our school kids, but we also distribute it to others in need, such as orphanages and families in crisis.

Sharing food with the COBBA orphanage (Archaie, Haiti)

Sharing food with the COBBA orphanage (Archaie, Haiti)

While we were in the States, we had the privilege of participating in a food packaging event at The Chapel.  As a result, there are cases of food that will be available to us in January to help continue feeding these and other children.

It can be a bit nerve wracking to not know where the food is coming from for the school.  But I always remember the verse from the Bible that says, I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. (Psalm 37:25 KJV) and I am confident that the Lord will always provide food for these youngsters  (aka “my babies”).

     Peanut Butter

Amazing!  Five Fire Departments from rural Massachusetts have donated over a ton of peanut butter to Mission of Hope International!  We are so grateful to Cheryl “Chel” Finn, who caught the vision and ran with it.  Now it’s no longer hers alone.

Last Fall, we asked friends and partners to collect peanut butter for us so that we could ship it to Haiti.  Everywhere we went people were bringing us peanut butter.  It was great.  Chel, who teaches and works with many firefighters in Massachusetts, spread the word among her friends and co-workers.  Well, that spark caused a fire and there developed a competition between several departments to see who would donate the most peanut butter.  Chel’s husband, Charles, crafted the Great Peanut Butter Challenge trophy, which went to the Douglas Fire Department, with over 200 jars of peanut butter donated.

This Fall, we didn’t ask for peanut butter donations, but the fire that started last year, rekindled.  Now we are no longer counting jars, but rather by pounds.  Here are the resulting donations:  1st place East Brookfield 732.05 lbs  …  2nd place Rutland 491.625 lbs  …  3rd Douglas 369.125 lbs  …  4th Mendon 287.359375 lbs  …  Honorable mention Uxbridge 186.6875 lbs …  All together these five fire stations donated just over 2,066 pounds of peanut butter.

The Great Peanut Butter Challenge

The Great Peanut Butter Challenge

It’s fun to see the competition and enjoyment caused by the Great Peanut Butter Challenge, but it’s rather sobering to realize that this peanut butter will impact the lives of hundreds of children living at risk.  According to figures from the CIA World Factbook, the infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births) in Haiti is 50.92.  18.9% of children under the age of 5 (when they are most at risk of death) are underweight.  We are talking not only about quality of life, but life and death.  We are so grateful for the efforts of so many to send peanut butter to Haiti.  The peanut butter has been donated, now we need to ship it to Haiti.  Because of the overwhelming response, we are in need of about $2,000 more this year than last.  Please consider donating to get this peanut butter to where it will make a real difference in the lives of children.

Healthcare

     Leah

We have been so blessed to have Leah Fuller with us for three months, working in the Thozin medical clinic.  I have enjoyed the “deep” conversations we have had over patient issues, general injustices and cute babies.  Leah spent 6 months with our fellow missionary friend, Ed Locket, prior to coming to MOHI.  She adopted many of his skills for loving on kids, remembering names, interrupting adult conversation to pay attention to them, etc.  I have had so much fun walking between the office and the missionary compound with her.  All the little ones call out to her along the way.  It’s precious.

Leah will be returning to MOHI in January to serve full time – for a “to be determined by God” length of time.  Together with Angela, we will continue providing the much needed services and medicines to the people of our communities and the students at MOHI.

Clinic Happenings

Clinic Happenings

     Prevention

I remember hearing my mom/grandmother saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of medicine.”  It’s so exciting to me that MOHI is becoming more and more proactive in prevention.  All of our students receive medicine to help them not contract worms and they are being taught good sanitation practice.  The community and our staff are also learning the importance of good sanitation, as Pastor Kevin has been sharing educational videos (in Kreyol) in the clinic waiting area.  This week he also held a class for our workers at the missionary compound about food safety and hand washing.

     The Mobile Medical Clinic Arrives

We have been talking about the mobile medical clinic.  We have walked through it.  We have helped pack food to put in it.  We have been a part of the packing.  We have dreamed of its arrival in Haiti.  Now, we have seen it arrived here.  I can’t even describe to you the excitement I felt upon seeing the bus drive into our Thozin campus Thursday night.  I told our staff that was there for the arrival, “it’s 38 feet long!”  Pastor Hakine said, “Oh no, it’s much longer than that.”  I took the tape measure out and we measured it – 38 feet.  The point is, it’s sooooo long!  That means there’s plenty of room for holding everything we need to drive to a remote location and hold a medical clinic.

The mobile medical clinic has arrived!

The mobile medical clinic has arrived!

Leah shared a story with me recently, that just reaffirmed in me the need for this bus.  She told me of a woman who lives in a remote area where there is no healthcare available.  She had high blood pressure, but could not afford to get herself to the next city, be consulted by a doctor and purchase bp medicine.  The woman eventually had a stroke and is suffering from the damage now.  A mobile medical clinic visiting her village monthly would have made a world of difference for her.  High blood pressure and diabetes are both situations that need to be treated continuously.  I believe that the Lord will utilize this bus to save many, many lives in many remote areas of Haiti.  Please keep the medical ministry here in prayer, trusting the Lord to grow it and sustain it, according to His will.

     Vision

Paul Fallon’s time here also overlapped with the Bless Back Worldwide team.  (You remember Paul Fallon, architect extraordinaire!!!)  It was great that Melissa, who is our point person for BBW, was actually on this team and got to share some ideas with Paul.  We had a great meeting where we developed more of a plan for the medical clinic, the addition of dental and a new position for the school science lab.  The recent BBW teams have included dental professionals and they have barely been able to scratch the surface of the need we’re seeing here.  It’s wonderful that BBW is interested in long-term solutions for our students and communities.

Church

     Thozin

We were blessed this morning by a timely message (for me, at least) from Pastor Kevin.  I was encouraged to stretch my faith.  I shouldn’t depend on what I know I can or cannot do, but I should expect God to do amazing things, just as we see recorded in the book of Acts.

Pastor Kevin and Tammy will be leaving this week for a quick trip back to the States.  We pray they are able to accomplish everything they’re setting out to do and return to us encouraged and just RARIN’ to go.

Church Service in Thozin

Church Service in Thozin

     Sunday School

We’re implementing some changes in our Children’s Sunday School program.  Honestly, it’s pretty exciting!  Lex sat down our leaders and laid out some of his goals for the program.  Angela is now adding her experience to that of our other Sunday School leaders (Alexis, Carline and Luc Sony).  We’ve also added a budget, to enable a snack and drink for the kids.  This morning was a great start, but it seems that we will need to increase our staff pretty much…immediately, as we had 148 children in three classrooms.  Nevertheless, it was a very encouraging start.  There are lots of great things in store for these kids!

Sunday School for Cuties only!

Sunday School for Cuties only!

     Incredible Worship

There’s an incredible worship service happening right now as I am trying to finish up this post.  Wow!!!   Alexis is translating for Pastor Kevin and the music’s going and they’re singing in the spirit about Jesus coming back.  I just had to go join in for a bit.  Wish you all could have been here with us for this one.  So glad, too, that Ed Locket is back!

English Worship Service Tonight in Thozin

English Worship Service Tonight in Thozin

Electrical

We are grateful to Ted Bronson for his generosity.  Ted not only donated and shipped his van, filled with electrical supplies to Haiti, but he also came himself to get things started.  This week Ted worked hand in hand with our crew to get the cables run from the electric pole to the electric room, underground to the school.  They installed all the breaker panels and went over details with us.  Now we will be working on the inside wiring.

Electrical system for the Thozin campus

Electrical system for the Thozin campus

Library and Computer Lab

Having architect Paul Fallon back in Haiti for a bit was just awesome.  He got the roof and stairs built in the new electrical building and did some estimates (to complete the school, to make an awesome library and to improve our medical/dental facilities).  We also got to go over some changes coming up in the school and he advised us on how to adjust the use of the building to accommodate those changes.  One change is that the science lab will now become the computer lab, next to the library.  The science lab will join the medical/dental clinic area.

Kindle readers from Books for Haiti

Kindle readers from Books for Haiti

Carpeting has now been purchased for both the library and computer rooms (thanks to a generous donor!) and should be shipping down here in a few weeks.  Robert Ende and Cynthia Reid brought us forty new Kindle readers last week to add to our collection of books.  Each Kindle can hold well over a thousand books.  Many classics are available, free of charge.  Others will need to be purchased.  An Amazon gift card would be a great Christmas gift for our classes – just in case you were looking for a unique giving opportunity. (*smile*)

Hard working boys

Hard working boys

We had a couple of our high school graduates join Tammy this week, learning how to use the Kindles.  We are hoping to bring them on as part time librarians in December or January.  Even though the library room itself will not yet be ready, we are eager to begin using the Kindles and physical books that we have stored right now.  Perhaps when the rooms are ready, our staff will all be ready, too.

School

It’s wild to be in the school yard and feel like it’s still vacation time.  The students are in classrooms once again.  Yay!  There’s such a sense of pride all around.  We are so blessed to have a school building that is solid and provides space for each classroom to work independently.

Who misses Leah the most?

Who misses Leah the most?

Every morning when I arrive, however, I am VERY aware that school is going on.  All the preschool classes start out their day with singing and dancing in the yard.  It’s so much fun to watch them.  Of course they do tend to wander away and come over to grab onto the missionaries a little bit, too.

Missionaries

We are so blessed to have several full time missionaries working and/or living with us now.  Besides the four Edmés, Angela Parayson, Kevin & Tammy Groder and Leah Fuller now call MOHI home.  I am incredibly grateful that God has brought people that I can get along with.  (I know, you all thought that was an easy thing, but they all know better!)  I feel like we’re all family and I love it!

Missionaries, visitors, staff - we all enjoy each other!

Missionaries, visitors, staff – we all enjoy each other!

 

Love Those Kiddos!

Team Work

We had a great week with our friends from Bless Back Worldwide (BBW), architect Paul Fallon and electrician Ted Bronson.  The  BBW team worked like a well-oiled machine.  Their main goal was to perform well-child checks on all 800+ students at the Thozin and St. Etienne campuses.  Goal accomplished!

 

Team from Bless Back Worldwide (Charlotte, NC)

Team from Bless Back Worldwide (Charlotte, NC)

Regular clinic patients, as well as many students with fevers and cold symptoms were cared for all week.  Dr. Chris Kibler (Dentist) and Susan Thomson (dental hygienist) worked so hard, not only checking teeth, but also doing extractions and cleanings.  The team was able to distribute food and clothing in one of the poorer villages in our area, as well as dedicating the house that BBW paid to have constructed.  Madame Nelson and her three children were so blessed to be the recipient of a new home, Bible and a special “God Bless Our Home” plaque.  This is the third home that BBW has purchased for families in need.  Thank you!!!

Leah in front of the restaurant (turned clinic for the day!) in St Etienne

Leah in front of the restaurant (turned clinic for the day!) in St Etienne

St Etienne students

St Etienne students

St Etienne

St Etienne

Thozin well-child checks, pictures and education

Thozin well-child checks, pictures and education

Madame Nelson's new home

Madame Nelson’s new home

Food Distribution

Food Distribution

 

Arriving at Thozin

Arriving at Thozin

 

Paul Fallon, who spent two weeks of each month here for all of 2012, is a always a welcome addition to our missionary/expats team.  The timing of his return is just perfect.  He helped our carpenters figure out the roof for the electrical room.  He’s been doing estimates for finishing the school, as well as helping us to think through some changes.  He was also able to talk medical space with Melissa, from BBW.  They are very involved in our medical ministry here and it was wonderful to see her have the opportunity to talk with Paul about room designs.  We also decided to move our science lab out of the new school and into the medical clinic area, where it can serve both our students and the clinic.  The room in the school will now be utilized strictly as a computer lab, as we’ve discovered we cannot combine the library space with computer space.  All is well and we are very pleased with having the computer lab and library connected, but separate.

Electrical

Electrical

Ted found himself a great electrician from Petit Goave and the two of them have started doing the “heavy” electrical work, preparing for the transformer to be installed and the service to be brought into the new electrical building.

School

Carpet for the library and computer lab

Carpet for the library and computer lab

So many exciting things are happening at the school.  The students and staff are so excited to be in the new classrooms.  They’re even coming to school looking crisper and more professional than ever.  The things happening in the school are exciting, too.

It always exciting to meet the new preschool (3 year olds) class each Fall.  The kids are so tiny and adorable.  This year all of our preschoolers start each day with some physical activity out doors.  That means that most mornings when the missionaries arrive at the Thozin campus, we find about a hundred little cuties clapping, jumping, wiggling, singing and/or flying like butterflies.  They’re just so irresistible!

Preschool Frenzy

Student Frenzy

Reflection

Lex brought up an interesting point for me this morning.  He was asking, “Where do you go when things are going wrong?  What do you do when confusion reigns?  Where do you turn when disaster strikes?”  He said, “We all knew Who to turn to each time the earth shook in 2010!”  We all voiced our agreement, as we remembered the night of January 12th.  The tremors never stopped for more than 15 minutes at a time.  Many of us were gathered in the church yard, where we tried (most unsuccessfully) to sleep.  We always knew when another tremor was coming.  They would come from the east and we would hear camps of people to the east of us start shouting out, “Jezi, O!” (Oh, Jesus!)  We’d all brace for the tremor and shout out to Jesus in the midst of it.  Then to our west we would hear the next camp and the next, shouting out likewise.  In that moment when the earth no longer seems to be solid, we all knew that Jesus was the place of refuge and help.

Did I mention that I am happy to be back in Haiti?  I am!  And I’m looking forward to the many friends that will be coming to visit this Winter/Spring.  Drop me a line, if you’re interested in coming, too!

Horses getting washed down, just down the beach from the MOHI missionary compound

Horses getting washed down, just down the beach from the MOHI missionary compound

Back in the Saddle

Where to Begin?

Lex, Alexis, A. Jay and I just spent 5 1/2 weeks in America.  We traveled by car from Fort Meyers (FL), to Charlotte (NC), to Franklin (TN), to Akron (OH), to Manchester (CT), to several locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, to Jacksonville (FL), and to Ft. Lauderdale (FL).  We took four (glorious) days of vacation (NO telephone calls!!!), but the rest of the trip we kept a very difficult pace.  Thus, I’ve not posted since we left Haiti.  I apologize for that.  I do hope to give you a thorough update today to make up for it.  Despite the pace, we so enjoyed our time speaking, making new friends and catching up with many of our faithful supporters.  I will share some of the highlights later in this post.

Back to Haiti…

Just LOVED seeing so many cuties at church this morning!

Just LOVED seeing so many cuties at church this morning!

Newly built church benches

Newly built church benches

What a thrill for us to return to Haiti and find everything functioning just as if we were here.  Now, I’m sure it was different for our missionaries and staff, as they all took on greater responsibilities, but they did an incredible job.

IMG_0823Pastor Kevin and Tammy took over our roles as the troubleshooters and Leah kept everyone healthy.  They were kind enough to write and share pictures with us while we were away, too.  Our staff organized the opening of our schools, kept the churches hopping, built a home, church benches and an electrical supply building, kept the missionaries, orphans and students fed, kept the radio station reaching out, kept things maintained and fixed things that broke…  One might think that our presence may not be needed anymore, but the welcome we received upon our return showed that we were certainly missed.

Bless Back Worldwide paid $5,000 to build a home for a family in need.

Bless Back Worldwide paid $5,000 to build a home for a family in need.

Lunch time for our first year preschool class.

Lunch time for our first year preschool class.

A Dieu Manatise

Our return was preceded by the death of Feyo’s sister, Manatise.  For those of you who have not yet visited MOHI in Haiti, Feyo is an older gentleman that we say “came with the house.”  He was the caretaker for the missionary compound prior to MOHI’s acquisition of it.  He is loved by so many from America and Europe who have visited here.  He is now deeply saddened by Manatise’s passing.  Just as in America, the death of a loved one in Haiti requires many expenses by the family.  This is a time when land and farm animals are sold to pay for the funeral.  MOHI is standing by the family through this difficult time.  If you would like to help, please make an online donation and mark in the memo “Feyo’s sister.”  We’ll make sure your gifts get to the family.  Thank you.

No Turning Back

You may recall a couple of months ago, at the Thozin church, a vodou priest made the decision to follow Jesus.  Friday morning our pastoral staff went to his home, at his invitation, to clean out all the trinkets he had used previously in vodou.  They loaded them all in the van and drove them to the river to be burned.  It’s a big commitment when a man burns the items that provide an income for him.  We are so happy for him and the church remains diligent in prayer and intercession on his behalf.

A firm decision to be a follower of Christ

A firm decision to be a follower of Christ

Leah Fuller

When Leah first came to MOHI, almost 3 months ago, she told me, “If we are still friends after 3 months, I want to talk with you about coming back long-term.”  Although we missed half of those three months, we ARE still friends!  Leah has purchased airfare to return to Haiti in early January.  We are thrilled that Kevin, Tammy, Leah and our family are all able to get along so well in our close living quarters.  I look forward to working together for the benefit of the kingdom of God and the people of Haiti.

Our Time in America

Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights of our time in America.  We were so pleased to have been able to touch base with so many of you.  I regret that we did not always have our camera handy to capture the moment, but we did get a few shots.

Florida

Lex looking for food in Sally's "Haitian" garden

Lex looking for food in Sally’s “Haitian” garden

We stayed with our friends, Bob and Sally (Bob Heier Ministries) in Ft. Myers for about a week and a half.

Our friends Chris and Joy Youell, who organized a wonderful fundraiser for us last year in PA, are now in Ft. Myers, as well.  Together they all worked hard at creating an itinerary for our time there.  We were able to visit several churches, including services and/or events at Baptist churches in Ft. Myers, Port Charlotte and Lehigh Acres.  We spoke with several student groups at the McGregor Baptist Church’s school in Fort Myers, Sunday School classes at Crossroads Baptist Church, and attended a couple of social events.

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Sharing with the children at Crossroads Baptist Church

Sharing with the children at Crossroads Baptist Church

Aside from making so many contacts and visiting with our friends, there was yet another highlight for me in Florida.  Bob and Sally brought us to ECHO. I personally enjoyed those couple of hours more than I can even express.  I will share a little about it farther down in the “vision” part of this post.

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North Carolina

Our friends Jackson and Melissa Roper were the most gracious hosts.  Other than the middle of the night, they had us on a tight schedule of meetings the whole time we were with them.  They work with that awesome organization called Bless Back Worldwide.  (Woot!)  We met with all of the organizations leaders, folks who had already made trips to Haiti, as well as those scheduled to come next month and those who arrived here yesterday.

We spent a day with Clifford Chin at the Covenant Day School, enlarging our vision for our schools here and brain storming about ways we can work together more and more.  We met with principals, guidance counselors, teachers and administrators, as well as speaking to five classes.  We took off from there for a meeting on the other side of town and then headed to a lovely dinner meeting at the McCloy’s home.

Ludwig and Farah invited us to their home for a Haitian-American dinner with many of their Haitian friends from the area.  It was so wonderful to have a “taste of home” and meeting so many professionals who want to do something for their homeland.

We visited Elevation Church with Tom and Leigh Ann Loeblein while we were in Charlotte.  That was quite an experience, as it is NOT your traditional church.  It was very loud, which I am somewhat accustomed to here in Haiti, but the bass in the chest made me feel all of my fifty years.  *smile*  Pastor Steven Furtick shared some great insights from God’s Word.  It was time well invested, for sure.

Franklin, TN

We spent just one day in Franklin with our friends Mark and Aegis Stuart, from the Hands and Feet Project, and their awesome kids, Journey and Christela.  Mark’s parents, Drex and Jo, joined us there.  It was so great to catch up with everyone and to challenge them to a game of bowling.  Drex won.  Will and Andrea (also from HAF) were around, too and we were able to talk a little shop while having fun.

We met up with our friend Hanna Wickham and her cool son Zjandre at the mall.  It was a quick visit, but much appreciated.  Hanna’s parents, Lennie and Amy Engman, have been our home away from home since we moved to Haiti, so Hanna’s extra special to us.

Akron, OH

Fred and Sandy Muffet (Directors, Mission USA and Chapel Green Campus Local Missions) outdid themselves once again on this trip!  They made arrangements for our family to have a house to stay in.  (Since we live with people ALL the time, this is a huge treat for us!)

Fred & Sandy Muffet at the rice packaging event at the Chapel (Green, OH)

Fred & Sandy Muffet at the rice packaging event at the Chapel (Green, OH)

Fred and Sandy made arrangements to have a food packaging event at the Chapel (with Bob & Sally joining us, too!) on Saturday.  Several lines of people (children and adults alike) worked in two hour shifts throughout the day.  Lex shared before each shift about our work in Haiti, thanking the people for their sacrifice and hard work to help the children of Haiti.

Sunday Lex prayed and shared at both morning services at the Chapel’s Green Campus, as well as in the adult sunday school class.  Hundreds of folks turned out for the after service cook out and were so gracious to our family.

The highlight for us was seeing the school bus that they have converted into a mobile medical clinic!  It’s HUGE and AWESOME!  We are so excited about this addition to our medical ministry here in Haiti.  We are expecting the bus to arrive in Haiti this week.  The bus will be used to bring medical care to people outside of our local areas.  It will be parked regularly at our St Etienne campus, where we can utilize it as a school clinic in between its other outings.  Woo Hoo!!!

Mobile Medical Clinic

Mobile Medical Clinic

Packing the bus with supplies for Haiti

Packing the bus with supplies for Haiti

Manchester, CT

As always, it was such a blessing to spend a day at the Full Gospel Interdenominational Church and their missions outreach organization, World-Wide Lighthouse Missions.  Pastor Kalinsky and her husband welcomed us into their home and organized a great lunch with their staff.  We were able to go over donated items with them and give some input as to our needs here in Haiti.  They have committed to shipping 12 barrels to us 3-4 times per year.  How exciting in that?  If you have things that you would like to get to us, they are willing to add them to the barrels, too.  Donations should be mailed to World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, 723 Main Street, Manchester, CT  06040, ATTN MOHI Barrels.  They can also be dropped off at their warehouse.  Please contact Cris Mack (860) 645-4198 to arrange a drop off time.  Barrels cost $150 each to ship, so please be sure to include a check to help cover shipping costs.  Thank you!

It was great to join our partners at FGIC for their midweek service.  They were so welcoming and encouraging to us.  This church has been a long time, faithful supporter in prayer, finances and counsel.  We are so blessed to have this Kingdom connection!

Manchester is just around the corner from my hometown of Mansfield, CT.  We were able to stop in for a quick visit with my brother Douglas there.  We got talking about college, as Alexis is a Junior in High School now, and decided to take a ride over to the University of Connecticut.  Alexis joined her uncle in his sporty convertible.

Alexis gets a fun ride with Uncle Douglas

Alexis gets a fun ride with Uncle Douglas

My high school, E.O. Smith, is located right on the UCONN campus, so I was very familiar with the campus…or at least I USED to be!  I was shocked with the major changes that have been made on campus with a new little city, parking garage, “high rise” apartments over the “downtown” style store fronts.  The student body has increased significantly, as well, with over 17,000 students on campus.  Despite all the changes and increased foot traffic, the beauty of the campus remains intact.  I enjoyed my walk down memory lane and Alexis enjoyed her first exposure to a college campus.

Massachusetts

We are so grateful to Lennie and Amy Engman for always opening their home to us and accommodating our never ending crazy schedules!!!  We arrived in Westminster Thursday night and took off for Nashua, NH the next morning!  Alexis is taking three classes this year through Joshua Tree Educational Services, LLC, which is located in Nashua.  All of her classes are on Friday, so she was able to sit in with her classmates and teachers for both Fridays we were in New England.  She spent the night and joined us the next day for our annual Meet and Greet Open House at the Engman’s home.

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This year’s event was as wonderful as each of the previous ones.  We welcomed dozens of friends, supporters and others we were meeting for the first time.  We are so grateful for everyone taking time out of their busy schedules to accommodate us!

Sunday we went to the Clifton Lutheran Church in Marblehead, MA.  It was wonderful to see our friends who had come to Haiti earlier in the year and to meet so many sweet people from their church.  Lex was able to share his testimony and share some words of encouragement.  We are grateful to Pastor Dave and the church for their support and donations.  We are especially grateful to Nora Walker and her mom, Sarah, for their commitment to collecting school supplies and spreading the word about our work in Haiti.

After church, we drove from Eastern Massachusetts to Pittsfield, in the West for a special event.  Mark Stuart and Will McGinnis had invited us to attend an Audio Adrenaline concert.  We’ve been working with them (via the Hands and Feet Project) for years and it was fun to see Will at “work.”  I’ll tell you what, they have some neat songs on their new album “Kings and Queens.”

We had many meetings throughout the week with different pastors, entrepreneurs, staff/board members and friends.  Some folks who will be coming to Haiti soon, others who have been previously, some supporters and others who are starting to support MOHI.  We just love spending time with people who love the Lord and want to be a part of bringing life to others through Him!

We had the privilege of shopping for carpet to put in the library room in Thozin.  We decided on a floral print on a moss green background.  The carpet should be shipping to Haiti near the end of the month.

Thursday was our shipping day.  We did some last minute shopping on Wednesday and early Thursday and then headed to Hyde Park.  We brought peanut butter and school supply donations and met Sarah Walker there with the donations from the Clifton Lutheran Church.  It was quite late by the time we finished up, but we were grateful that we’d gotten there when we did.  The container was close to being full, which meant that it would be shipping out right away.

A few months ago, an old friend from high school, Dr. Cheryl (Vasil) Minor contacted me about bringing a team from her church to serve here at MOHI.  While in MA, we were able to join her and her husband at the All Saints Church in Belmont for a fundraising dinner for their trip.  It was, of course, so great to see each other and catch up on the past 32 years!  We shared with the group about MOHI’s ministry in Haiti.  I love how interactive the group was, as they had lots of questions to ask.  It was a late night, but thoroughly enjoyable!

Saturday was it.  We had to prepare for Sunday church and pack the car for our return to Florida.  We finished up early Sunday and were on our way to West Newbury Congregational Church.  This is another church that has been a great support to us.  Many of the members have been to MOHI, some several times.  Lex shared with the congregation and we enjoyed a brief time of fellowship before hitting the road.

On our way out of town, we stopped at Paul Fallon’s home to drop off a couple of suitcases.  Paul arrived in Haiti with them last night, so that was a great blessing for us!

Jacksonville, FL

From Virginia to Jacksonville, FL our car started to act up.  We were grateful to arrive safely in Jacksonville where our friends Peter and Esther Plastridge graciously received us.  John Armour (who oversaw the construction of our new school’s foundation and also created the amazing water purification system we use here!) and his son Austin spent the better part of the day with Lex, trying to fix the car.  In the end, we had to go to plan B.  John let us take his van to get to the airport in Ft. Lauderdale, while he and Peter made arrangements for the car to be fixed.

Since the car, which will be shipped to Haiti soon, stayed in Jacksonville, Peter and Esther decided it was a good idea to fill it with items we need.  Along with their church family, they will pack the car before driving it to West Palm Beach, where Ticker will take it to the port in Miami.  In the meantime, we have a hefty bill to pay for the car repairs.  As always, we know that God will continue to provide!

We made it to Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday night at 9:30 and left for the airport at 4:30 Thursday morning.  We had a good flight and are happy to be “home” again.

Vision

Honestly, Lex has always been the true visionary in this venture called “Mission of Hope International.”  I have always been very content in supporting his vision – and sometimes he has had to “drag” me along, as it was more than I could comprehend.  This year, however, it seems the Lord has been expanding my vision personally, by leaps and bounds.  This vision is still in support of Lex’s vision, but is just more detail focused.

Information

The first area that I started to get “lit” about, was bringing computer technology to our students.  Child in Hand has brought XO laptops (via One Laptop Per Child) to our students.  I am excited for our kids to not only learn how to operate a computer, but also to learn to express their creativity.  Drawing, writing, reporting, blogging, school newspaper…  The ideas are flying around and they’re all a thrill to me!

Library

Personally, I love a good book.  I like that I can travel the universe from where ever I am.  My imagination is much more incredible than even the latest technologies for film-making.  I grew up with a library in my school, in my neighborhood and at the neighboring university.  There was never a shortage of books.  That’s not the case in Haiti.  Haitian schools stress reading text books and learning by repetition.  Here it’s highly unusual for someone to have a novel, biography or piece of classic literature at their disposal to read.

When Paul Fallon designed the new school building for us, we asked him to include a library room.  Recently I’ve been getting all worked up about the prospect of our kids having access to books on a regular basis.  When our friends from Kids Against Hunger were here a couple of months ago, we started dreaming of a beautiful, inviting room for children to come to and read.

Tammy Groder, who loves books even more than I do, is cataloging all the books that we have.  Melissa Lee is preparing the interior design of the library room.  Brian Gosselin will be leading the construction crew coming in February to execute that plan.  I am sooooo excited!

Books for Haiti is also donating 40 Kindles to MOHI, which will expand our library without taking up too much space.  How cool is that?!!!

Agriculture

During our time in Fort Myers, Bob and Sally took us to ECHO.  This was an incredible experience for me.  They grow all kinds of plants that grow in Haiti.  They are an information resource for all sorts of things like farming talapia, providing seeds and education about how best to grow them to, my favorite, a unique method of producing cooking fuel.

So, let me tell you about the cooking fuel.  Goats are very popular in Haiti.  Goats, like all animals produce manure.  It was explained to me on this tour, that one can make a giant “tea bag” out of goat manure, put it in a 55-gallon drum, fill the drum with 30 gallons of water, seal the drum, install a gas line on the drum that leads to a tire tube, install a second gas line from the tube to a burner and voila!  How?  The manure will begin to break down, creating methane gas.  The gas goes through the line to the tube, which begins to inflate with the gas.  The gas is then used as cooking fuel and there is no need to cut down trees or spend money on propane.  How amazing is that?!!!

At another area we saw sugar cane growing.  There was a chicken wire fence going down the center of the field.  We saw that on one side there was a lot of undergrowth.  On the other side there was virtually none.  Why?  Because there were free roaming chickens on one side.  The chickens kept the undergrowth under control, aerated and fertilized the soil at the same time.  (It also keeps the chickens from hopping up on the dinner table, like they used to do at our place years ago!)

Our tour guide shared a story about sharing rice planting techniques with farmers in a particular country.  The farmers were really not interested in listening, as they had been planting rice a particular way for generations.  One farmer, however, asked for help.  He followed the “new and improved” planting method.  When the harvest arrived, he reaped 100% more than the other farmers.  The next season, all the farmers asked the one to help them to use the new method.

My prayer is that the Lord would send someone to work with us here at MOHI who would utilize some of these awesome ideas from ECHO.  I have every confidence that once the results are seen, people will want to follow.

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Family Vacation

Finally, for those of you who have made it this far, you may enjoy seeing these pictures from our family vacation.  Thanks for reading and I hope to be back on my weekly writing schedule once again.  Thank you!
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Kids Against Hunger Global at MOHI

Friends from Kids Against Hunger Global

Starting the painting day with prayer

Starting the painting day with prayer

 

Taking a break from painting

Taking a break from painting

What a special time we had this week with our friends from Kids Against Hunger Global (Tulsa, OK).  Marshall & Sherry Horn, Dr. Gary & Melissa Lee, Jillian Lee and Brian Gosselin jumped right into the fun.

The team started out on Monday, working on painting the house that KAH had paid to have built for Mireille and her family.  There was quite a bit of shopping for furniture and household supplies.  Brian and Dr. Lee built bunk beds and a cool shelving unit for the house, too.

Building the bunk beds...

Building the bunk beds…

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We were blessed to have Dr. Lee working in the clinic with Leah for a few days.  He did a second operation on Alexis’ toe, brought some new medicine for Fritzon (our patient with the ulcers on his ankles) and helped out many others.  Leah’s Friday was the best ever, when they removed Fritzon’s dressings to find remarkable improvement.

Dr Gary Lee joined us for clinics

Dr Gary Lee joined us for clinics

Tuesday the team had the opportunity to do some hot feedings.  One at Pastor Enoch’s orphanage, here in Grand-Goâve and a second one at our St Etienne campus.  They also had the opportunity to give some items away in St Etienne, which is always a blessing.

Wednesday all the Americans (except for A. Jay and me) took the boat to the big island, la Gonave.  Lex had brought medicines and food out the day before in preparation for this visit.  Over 50 people were helped by Dr. Lee, Leah, Alexis, Tammy, Jillian, Melissa and Jackie.  In the isolated, fishing village of Aux Pacque, simple ibuprofen can mean a world of difference.  Hundreds of packaged meals, donated by KAH, were distributed to the people, along with toys and candy for the kids.  The team presented the local soccer club with new soccer balls, pumps and needles.  Talk about being excited!  The soccer players were very grateful for the gifts.

Thursday we all (except Tammy) went to visit an orphanage in Archaie that our friends Bob and Sally Heier introduced us to.  We brought cases of KAH food with us to leave with them.  The twenty children there are being raised by an older man we all call Papa, his wife, their sons and their staff.  I love the atmosphere there.  The kids are all very respectful and just beautiful (and great singers!).  They are really doing a nice job with them and we are so glad to be able to bring assistance to them, as the Lord provides.

Friday was a day to reconnect with the kids in Thozin, to finish up the shelves and shopping for the house.  By Saturday morning at 9, the curtains were hung, the furniture in place, the beds made, new clothes laid out, toys placed in toy bins and special gifts were in their places in the house.  We presented the new home to Mireille and her children.  There were many tears of joy (both American and Haitian!) during Marshall’s prayer and the exhorations that followed.

A sweet home!

A sweet home!

The team left for the airport at 10:30 Saturday morning, but not without a hitch.  That being, Kendy.  Kendy is the one the Lord used to help rescue close to one hundred children from a bad situation where they were living.  He’s the one that we all fell in love with and couldn’t turn our backs on.  Sherry was especially determined to make sure of that.  Kendy has been waiting about 5 years for Sherry to come back to Haiti.  He was soooo excited to see her again.  Even though he was only 4 when he met her, he never forgot her.  Even Alexis and A. Jay, who are virtually never fooled by our little actors in the school, were moved by the love Kendy obviously has for Sherry.  Now, as the goodbyes were being said, Kendy said goodbye to Sherry and walked away.  After a bit someone said, “Hey, Kendy, what’s the matter?”  He was sitting on a bench in the corner of the church, all alone, sobbing.  Kendy tried hard to “suck it up and be a man” but it was hard – especially as the rest of us started to tear up!

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Kendy is fine.  Once the team left, he started planning his family’s move.  His mom had planned to move in on Sunday, but Kendy (in all of his 9 years of wisdom) would hear nothing of it.  Mireille finally gave in and they all carried their personal items up the mountain to their new home.  I wondered if they would make it to church this morning.  I was pleasantly surprised to see all of them nicely cleaned up, wearing nice clothes (and their new sunglasses) and their big smiles in church this morning.  They had a wonderful first night in their beautiful new home, thanks to Jesus and their friends from Tulsa.

Can you feel the love?

Can you feel the love?

The Library

I’m so excited about developments for our school library.  On the electronic side of things, we have XO laptops from Child in Hand that our kids have been learning to use.  Books for Haiti has procured donations for 40 Kindles, which can be used in the library and classroom alike.  We have about one thousand books in French and English that are being cataloged for placement in the library.  Melissa Lee, from Tulsa, has decided to make this library project her own.  Now, if you know Melissa, you already have an idea of how exciting this is to me.  Melissa makes everything she touches beautiful.  She will be collecting books, as well as deciding on all the interior finishes for the library.  We are hoping that Brian Gosselin will be returning this winter with a team to execute the plan in Melissa’s mind.

Here’s what Melissa had to say about it on her Facebook wall…

“I absolutely love to see the progress that is being made in Haiti since our first visit in 2008, through Mission of Hope International! However, we have so much more to do! We will continue sending food, of course! For now, our next immediate project is to complete the LIBRARY in the MOHI School!! Details to follow! :) Thank you to all our friends and family for your prayers, we appreciate you so much! Sherry Latham Horn and MarshallRenee Rosen Edme and Lex Edme we cant imagine better people to link arms with!”

So few students have access to any books, beyond text books.  I love reading books and find it so sad that these kids don’t know the joy of curling up with a good book.  Well, Praise God!  That’s about to change!  Not only will they have access to books, but they will also have a comfortable room, conducive to going on an adventure (in their minds), as they read about far away places.

Now that Tammy Groder is here full time, she is ready to facilitate the creation of this library.  She will be working with Melissa on the US side and our staff here in Haiti.  She will have the opportunity to train our librarian(s), making this project happen.  I just love how the Lord brings the right people together to join hand in hand to see dreams turn into realities.

New Teams

20130831 KAH OLPCThis weekend we welcomed a team from One Laptop Per Child.  They are working on setting up electricity for the library/computer lab and bringing Internet in a Box to our students.  This will thrill our students, who will begin working with it this week.  They intend to work with the kids on film making, too.  Yay!  We also welcomed some new friends from Missouri, Patricia Penberth, her son Stephen and their friend Allie Perry.  Tricia is an RN and will be helping Leah in the clinic.  Allie and Stephen will be doing various things, mostly helping prepare for the opening of school.

Church

Today is a triple church service day.  We started out with our morning service in Thozin and then went up into the mountains of St Etienne to join them for their final day of conference.  It was a long service with LOTS of music.  There were many churches represented and we were so blessed to see the great turnout there.  This evening we will come together again at the church in Thozin for an English/Kreyol communion service.

Conference at the MOHI church in St Etienne

Conference at the MOHI church in St Etienne

America Calling

Our family will be heading back to America in less than a week. While I am so looking forward to having a break from what is the “norm” here and seeing so many friends in the States, it is also a time of more stress than normal, as I attempt to complete more tasks than time is likely to permit. If you think of me at all this week, please pray. I know that I can do all things through Christ. I also know that what I need to do is impossible without Him. I’m so grateful for His presence in my life this week – and always. Hope to see you soon!

Oh Happy Week!!!

I’m just bubbling over with Joy today!  I’m so grateful to the Lord for putting so many wonderful people into my life and for making my life such a wonderful adventure.

My family (Lex, Alexis and A. Jay) are just my favorite people in the world – and I get to LIVE with them!!!  (Bob and Sally just had to be in the pictures, too!)

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Some of our best friends from Massachusetts, Kevin and Tammy Groder (along with Indy – the dog!) arrived in Grand-Goâve on Thursday.  They have disposed of most of their earthly goods and come to Haiti to serve God and the Haitian people.  Yay!!!  They come with soooooo much to offer!  I’m so excited about what is in store!

Kevin and Tammy Groder and friends at MOHI

Kevin and Tammy Groder and friends at MOHI

We have 4 kittens.  Indy may think they are appetizers?

We have 4 kittens. Indy may think they are appetizers?

Our dear friends from Kids Against Hunger Global (Tulsa) arrived yesterday!  Marshall and Sherry Horn, Dr. Gary and Melissa Lee and their daughter Jillian, along with Brian Gosselin will be spending a week with us at MOHI.  KAH, along with the Hands and Feet Project were very instrumental in helping us to rescue kids from a bad institutional care situation.  Over 80 children were removed from the facility.  Thirty-one of them are now thriving at the Hands and Feet Project here in Grand-Goâve.

These folks sent another container of KAH food to MOHI recently!

These folks sent another container of KAH food to MOHI recently!

Sherry is Kendy's best friend...he's in LOVE!

Sherry is Kendy’s best friend…he’s in LOVE!

Miklène told Brian, "I'm your friend and you're my friend."

Miklène told Brian, “I’m your friend and you’re my friend.”

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Dr. Gary Lee was eager to begin unpacking...

Dr. Gary Lee was eager to begin unpacking…

Leah has been a God-send.  She is so passionate about providing the very best health care possible for the poorest of the poor.  She spends most afternoons researching issues she’s found with her patients.  Every day she dresses Fritzon’s open ulcers.  Here’s her update on Fritzon… 

    Last week I wrote about Fritzon, our 24 year old patient with the chronic leg ulcers. We were in the processing of trying to set up surgery for him, on the recommendation of a doctor in Port Au Prince. This week, I worked with an American doctor in the clinic, and consulted with a couple of other American doctors who are familiar with the situation. After talking with them, and running some test results through Google translate we have come to the decision that surgery is not necessary at this time.
For now, we are proceeding with daily dressing changes, and pressure bandages to decrease the swelling in his lower legs. Please be in prayer for Fritzon as we are almost literally pouring salt on open wounds to get rid of the infected tissue. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds. Also, please join with me in prayer for wisdom and discernment with this man, so that he can get the care he needs. Thank you.

This past week, the Hands and Feet Project here in Grand-Goâve, was kind enough to share Dr. Sotiere and his wife, Susan with us.  They and Leah made a great team, with Alexis, A. Jay and Jackie supporting them.

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This morning Marshall ministered in song (He Touched Me was a big hit with folks here!) This is Marshall and Sherry’s third trip to MOHI in Haiti.  We are blessed each time by his anointed voice in song.

Marshall Horn singing "He Touched Me"

Marshall Horn singing “He Touched Me”

 

Dr. Gary Lee ministered from the Word of God.  He read from the books of Titus and Ephesians, encouraging us all to continue doing good works, but also to expand upon them.  Feeding the hungry, caring for widows, visiting the prisoner…these are all good works that Jesus talks about.  We also are to do everything as though we were doing it directly to honor Christ.  Even employees should do their very best work, whether they like their boss or not – whether they are feeling energetic or not.  Every single thing we do, we should do to bring honor to Him who loved us and gave His life for us.

Pastor Lex translating for Dr. Gary Lee

Pastor Lex translating for Dr. Gary Lee

We’ve given out a bit of clothing this week.  Our teachers have received school supplies and personal items, as well.

Stanley sporting some new clothes...

Stanley sporting some new clothes…

Blessing the teachers...

Blessing the teachers…

Our construction and maintenance crew has been working hard, as usual.  Junior has had his hands full with electrical issues at the missionary compound.  Our generator works great (thanks to The Chapel!) and our inverter works great (thanks to Travis Knipple!), but we’re having issues going from one to the other.  Sonel has been painting shelves and desks.  Our farmers have been cleaning up the fields from the watermelon and okra harvest, preparing for whatever is next.  All the guys have been trimming the grass, fixing benches, etc.

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Speaking of benches, we have had a “bench drive” going on at the Thozin church this month.  We’ve always used our school benches for church, but with the new building, the benches will be staying in the classrooms.  Each new bench will cost $50.  We’ve had several people pledge and/or give money toward the benches.  We still need about 30 more.  We’re so blessed that some of the church members have given money towards the benches, but we realize that most of them will not be able to come up with $50.  If you would like to help, please make an online donation and note “benches” in the memo.  Thank you.

Here are some more pictures from this week…

Jackie with a little friend

Jackie with a little friend

Dr. Sotiere and Leah removing Marc's stitches...

Dr. Sotiere and Leah removing Marc’s stitches…

Andrew and Lex at the Hands and Feet Project's Ikondo construction site

Andrew and Lex at the Hands and Feet Project’s Ikondo construction site

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Leah and Tammy enjoying a moment with the Lord...

Leah and Tammy enjoying a moment with the Lord…

Estanley at church...

Estanley at church…

It was just a short nap...

It was just a short nap…

Praying in Sunday School...

Praying in Sunday School…

How Amazing is this?!!!

How Amazing is this?!!!