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A combined team from Clifton Lutheran Church (Marblehead, MA) and Sovereign Grace Community Church (Peabody, MA) served with us this past week. Many of them were awesome return visitors and the newbies were pretty great, too. Their main goals were to build a home for a family in need and to teach sewing classes where everyone would have a project to bring home with them. Both goals were joyfully accomplished with much gusto. A couple of unexpected projects took place, too – some sanding and painting of the school and Scott Walker painted an absolutely beautiful mural in the entry hallway of the school.

A symbol of peace and hope

Some of the sewing that took place this week – including a very hippy looking headband for Cheno!

Building a home for a family in need

Sanding and painting…painting and sanding…

Two of the four sewing classes that took place this week.

It was such an honor to meet Zac and Naomi Kerce (Leah’s brotherin-law and sister). It was like having an extra Leah around all week. Leah was bouncing off the walls with excitement all week, too! They were a great encouragement, not only to Leah, but to all of us. They also helped out with many tasks that were beginning to weigh on Leah. I can only say, I hope they come back sooner rather than later!

We LOVED having Leah’s sister, Naomi and her husband, Zac join us for the week!

As the US Warden for our area, I had requested the US Embassy send representatives to Grand-Goâve to hold a town hall meeting with us. Linda and Annie, who both work in the American Citizen Services unit, arrived at our Thozin campus Thursday morning, ready to see what all MOHI has been up to. Lex showed them around the school, medical facilities, radio station, aquaponics project, block factory, housing project, the Hands and Feet Project, Be Like Brit and Haiti Made. They then joined over forty Americans at the missionary compound, where we had prepared a meal for them. After lunch Linda expressed her gratitude to all of us who are working in the area. In her position, she usually only sees the problems that Americans have run into. Her trip to Grand-Goave left her inspired and full of hope, as she witnessed the many ways in which we and other organizations are investing in the people of this community.

The town hall meeting set up by the US Embassy was preceded by an American-style luncheon at the MOHI missionary compound.

Kid’s Club is going strong! The kids just have so much fun with it. Occasionally I will come out of my office to see who it is that’s singing like that. We have some impressive voices – and some maybe not quite so impressive, too. Lex loves to see activities for the kids during summer break. When kids have absolutely nothing they have to do (like going to school) they have more of a tendency to get themselves in trouble. Kid’s Club gives them somewhere to be and it also puts some good nutrition in their little bodies.

The children have been thoroughly enjoying Kid’s Club in Thozin.

Not only did they have fun, but the kids enjoyed a hearty meal each day during Kid’s Club this week.

I love that Melchini is helping to distribute food and drink to the younger children!

We said goodbye to the Massachusetts team yesterday morning. I appreciate all the work they did, as well as the relationships that were forged. Last night we said hello to our friends and partners from Bless Back Worldwide (Charlotte, NC). We’ve all been gearing up for months for this week’s event – a Women’s Health Fair! Melissa shared with folks at church this morning about taking this week to honor the women, who are the heart of our community. They have brought gifts for them, craft projects, medical care givers and teachers, some pampering ideas and lots of projects for the kids to participate in. About 270 women have pre-registered for the event, which will be kicking off tomorrow morning.

The team from Bless Back Worldwide on their way to Haiti yesterday

It’s time for the women’s health fair with the team from Bless Back Worldwide!

We had a sweet time of worship in Thozin this morning. Pastor Lex brought a wonderful message to us about getting along with each other and God’s plan for resolving conflict. As always, he encouraged us all to look to the Holy Bible for direction in our daily lives.

A wonderful worship service this morning in Thozin

Often times I will translate the “transitional” part of the worship service for Lex – the time between music and preaching. It’s during this time that he usually introduces visitors and makes announcements. Toward the end of this period today, he told the church that our family would be traveling later in the week and that Alexis would be staying in the States to finish her senior year of high school. I opened my mouth to translate and nothing came out. Next thing I knew, tears were pouring out of my eyes and I’m looking at Lex with a dumbfounded expression on my face. I finally asked him to translate for himself, as I just couldn’t bring myself to give voice to what he had said – that Alexis would not be coming back to Haiti with the rest of us.

Not only can I laugh at myself – so can my family! Here we are laughing as I’m trying to get past my tears.

Although I’ve been aware of this for some time now, for some reason it just really hit me this morning. She will be missed by so many who have fallen in love with her over these past fourteen years. Many of the women spoke to me after church, telling me they felt heartbroken. It made me feel good to know that I’m not alone in these feelings!

As I went to write this post today, it occurred to me that many of you have appreciated Alexis on your trips to MOHI over the years. She has been such an integral part of everything in this mission that her absence will certainly be felt by many. So, I decided to share some pictures and words about Alexis tonight. I would also ask that you would remember us in prayer as we embark on this phase of our lives – and for Alexis that she adjusts quickly to her new home and school, and that the Lord would give her knowledge, understanding and wisdom to accomplish much in this final year of her high school education. Thank you!

By the way, Alexis is called “Alexis” by Americans, but most Haitians affectionately refer to her by her nickname (from back in 2008), “Sisi.” Here’s to you Sisi!…

Sisi was 6 months old when she first came to Haiti. She’s pictured here with her Grandmother, Uncle Daniel and Auntie Junia.

Baby Girl!

Sisi and A. Jay started showing teams around the area many years ago!

Best Buddies

Sisi has always enjoyed working in the medical ministry.

Sisi has been doted on by MOHI staff and friends for 14 years now!

Sisi LOVES children!

From an early age, people have been asking Sisi to be in their wedding ceremonies.

Sisi loves performing, as well as teaching dance and singing.

Nathan and Ben are Sisi’s extra special family members.

Sisi always looks for opportunities to dress up!

These are few special places Sisi has visited in Haiti with a few of the special people in her life.

FOOD! Ice cream was always hard to come by when Sisi was little in Haiti, so it was something she always enjoyed. As she got older she enjoyed cooking and creating her own concoctions.

Sisi loves her pets!

Sisi will be in the care of these wonderful folks while she is living in Tulsa!

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