I often think about the amazing tapestry that is Mission of Hope International. Although Lex and I lead the organization, the things being accomplished are so far beyond our abilities. It’s really amazing! I am so aware of the Lord’s hand in all that we do. He connects us to people that HE has prepared to be a blessing to the people of Haiti through MOHI! Whether it be specific skill sets, encouragement, donations of goods, monetary donations, ideas or spiritual impartation, MOHI would not be impacting so many without each one of those connections. If you are one of these connections, I just want to thank you for being obedient and making such a difference. I am so grateful for each of you!!!! Okay, I just had to get that off my chest! Here’s an update on some of what’s been going on this week:
Preparations for the next school year continued this week. Painting at the school is an ongoing project. Between the dust and grime so common in Haiti and students leaning their heads on the wall, our white classroom walls are obviously impractical. We had originally planned to paint them gray, so that’s what we are doing now. Our administrative staff at the schools are busy planning classes, scheduling teachers and registering new students for the 2014-2015 academic year. There is an expectancy in the air, as each year our teaching staff improves and we are honing in on the best staff available in our area. . We enjoyed some good reports from Leah this week in the clinic. Tuesday she wrote: “Yesterday we had a set of five week old twins, a boy and a girl. When I met Jhomline and Jhomley two weeks ago, I was concerned about Jhomley both because he was quite a bit smaller than his sister and because being newborn twins in Haiti is no easy task. Yesterday at their weigh in, each baby had gained at least a kilogram. There are few better ways to start the clinic week, than with babies gaining weight, especially when one of those babies snuggles when you pick him up. Ask me how I know. “Then, this morning in clinic we had ten month old twin girls who weighed in at about 19 pounds each. I held both of them at once, and nearly threw my back out! Both of these girls were healthy overall, with only minor ailments, making their visit that much sweeter.” Saturday Leah wrote: “Part of the protocol for clinic visits for children under five is a risk screening for malnutrition. There are different levels of malnutrition, and once a child hits the more severe stages stages, their care becomes specialized and outside of the level of care we can provide. So we try to catch at-risk kids before they get to those severe stages. Through education, deworming, food supplementation and monthly (or biweekly for younger infants) weigh-ins we try to keep these kids from more severe illness. “Rounding off our week of healthy twins was a visit from a couple of little girls I’ve been following closely since last fall. They have a dedicated mama who makes every appointment and finds creative ways to help her daughters get the nutrition they need. Thanks in no small part to her care, these girls have gained enough weight to graduate out of the malnutrition danger zone. I rejoice at how these babies flourishing now. They run and play and laugh like the kids they are, getting ever stronger and healthier. Seeing them was a perfect bookend for the work week.”
Clinic in St Etienne
Lots of rain over the weekend fell over the weekend in Grand-Goâve, due to a tropical depression in the area. We are grateful that the work we did in the entry to the Thozin campus has done its job. No water from the street backed up into the yard and church. Alexis started school this week at Victory Christian School in Tulsa. Her first day she attended a breakfast for the seniors at 6:30 in the morning, where she met many of her new classmates. As we all know, one of the biggest concerns when starting in a new school is wondering if you will be accepted and valued by the other students. I was so excited to see a picture posted by the school on Instagram, showing Alexis sitting in a group of smiling students on the grass during the senior breakfast. She had a good first day of school and, in the Lee Family tradition, we picked her up at school and all went out for ice cream with her. I asked her a zillion questions when we got back to the house and she ended up falling asleep before I finished. We had to wake her up when our dinner guests arrived later that evening. She was exhausted, but pleased that she had survived day one.
Seniors at VCS
Brother Bimba is a dynamic evangelist from Liberia, whom we met thirteen years ago at the New Testament Church in Oneida, NY. We hadn’t really communicated for many years before he contacted us a few months ago. He lives in Tulsa and came out to see us this week while we are visiting. What a blessing to meet his daughter Deborah, who just graduated from Victory Christian School, where Alexis is now going to school, and his lovely wife. He and Lex had a wonderful afternoon of fellowship (iron sharpening iron, really). We had an extra special weekend here in Tulsa. We were first introduced to Dr. Gary & Melissa (Alexis’ new “parents” for the school year) by Dr. Gary’s brother, Pastor Dan Lee. We were so thrilled that Pastor Dan & Tammy, along with their amazing sons, drove in from Kansas City for a visit. What a wonderful time of encouragement and vision building we had! We also had a blast with a visit to the zoo, a cookout, pool time, a sweet time of worship at the nursing home, and sharing in a church service this morning.
The Lee and Edmé Families
Arctic blast at the Tulsa Zoo
The reason Renée loves going to the zoo!
Worship service at Woodlake Church in Tulsa
The guys have been working on packing up a truck that will soon be shipping to Haiti. The bulk of the truck will be filled with the beautiful furnishings for the library at the MOHI school in Thozin, along with food from Kids Against Hunger Global. Dan & Tammy also towed a trailer behind their van, carrying whiteboards they have donated for the school (which we are so excited about).
This truck, donated by Kids Against Hunger Global, will be shipping to Haiti soon, filled with food, library furniture and white boards.
We received an email that brought tears to my eyes – tears of gratitude and joy, not sorrow! You may recall that last month we hosted a town hall meeting on behalf of the US Embassy at our missionary compound. For the first time ever, the embassy asked us to show them any projects we were working on, so that they could see what we are up to in Haiti. Lex showed them around our Thozin campus, the block factory, the housing project, the Hands and Feet Project and Be Like Brit. The Embassy staff brought along a young, Haitian, university student who is serving as an intern with them for the summer. Here is an excerpt from the email he wrote to Pastor Lex today: “…Like I told you during our visit, I am a student in business management at Ecole Nationale Superieure de Technologie (ENST). I really appreciated everything you’re doing, everything you’ve built and all the good that you’re doing for the Grand-goave community. By visiting your facilities and learning about Mission of Hope, I realized that there is still hope in this country, with people like you acting and giving themselves for the community without expecting anything in return. “You really are inspiration for me and I really would like to help you in your ministry as much as I can. I was thinking on a little project that I could do with some of my classmates since we are in university in Haiti and we know how the market is so we could probably give the kids some orientation and some advices for their future. Well, I haven’t planned anything yet but I know that I can bring something to those kids and to Mission of Hope. I had the chance to be in the country’s best school since I was a kid and I’d be happy to help other kids who were not as lucky as me. My classmates and I, will think more clearly and in more details about an activity that we could organize together…” I can’t even begin to tell you how touched we were by this young man’s sentiments and that he feels inspired to take action to also help the students at our school. The Embassy staff related to all of us in the town hall meeting that they were all infused with hope after witnessing so many wonderful things MOHI, HAFP and BLB are doing in Grand-Goave. They were also very happy to see that we have really built a missionary/expat community in our area. They told us that they only get to see the negative side of Americans in Haiti, as their job is to help when Americans are in trouble. We are so thrilled that the work of the missionaries in our community brought hope to their hearts. Lex and I are hoping to see many of you at our annual Meet and Greet in Westminster, MA coming up on Saturday, September 6th. Please come by! Maybe you’ve never even met us, but are curious about the work we are doing. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of visiting Haiti. Maybe you just want to encourage us to keep on keeping on! We would LOVE for you to stop by for a few minutes or a few hours! Please don’t be shy. And for those of you who have served in Haiti with us previously, please come by and share your experiences with those who haven’t been! Contact me today for the time and address.