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Home in Haiti

I could sit and watch the interactions of children all day long! I just LOVE them! Of course, I do have a few responsibilities to take care of, but I’m so glad for those moments when I notice these precious little ones. This morning, Jamesly was toddling around the back of the church for quite some time. Eventually, his dad, Pèpe, gathered him up and sat him on his lap right in front of me. Jamesly reached up and held onto Pèpe’s ear. He rubbed it, it traced its outline with his finger, it lightly touched it… this went on for the rest of the service. How comforting it is for a little man to have a daddy to hold him, safe and secure!

No need for a blankie or a stuffed animal. All I need is daddy’s ear!

I gave out a bunch of Smarties this morning at church. I love watching the reactions of the children. Some light up like the morning sunrise. Others look shyly at the ground. All of them will look for me again next week.

Little ones at church this morning

Worship service at MOHI in Thozin

Having been away for two months, this morning was especially enjoyable, as I got lots of hugs and kisses from people of all ages. There are quite a few elderly folks that are very special to me. Mr. Daniel, who worked day in and day out hauling materials during the school construction in Thozin. It’s hard work even for a young man, but he takes great pride in providing for his loved ones. He experiences the aches and pains that so many of us do as we age, but I can’t remember a time that he saw me that his face didn’t brighten as he eagerly greeted me for the day.

Madame St. Armand is another one I love to see. I used to be rather afraid of her, as she has a pretty strong personality. She was a very hard worker, traveling from town to town to sell her wares in the open markets each day. I could never remember her name and she’d always be telling us that we HAVE to go to all the special events that seemed to be happening in her family. One day, many years ago now, during our women’s meeting we had a special evening with Angela – this was before she was even married to Gama. She had brought yummy-smelling lotions and we were all enjoying rubbing them on our feet. When Angela got to Madame St. Armand, she smelled it and tasted it. It didn’t taste so good, but she tried to conceal her disgust. Nevertheless, we all saw what she’d done. A storm came and we all ran into the office and squished together in a much too small area. We were short a seat and started to play our own version of musical chairs. Next thing I knew, we had composed a song for Madame St. Armand. It was about how we were all shining for Jesus and we would say we’re shining from our feet and our hands and our faces,etc. But Madame St. Armand was shining from her mouth and her belly. We all laughed and laughed and laughed. From then on, whenever I would see her, I would call her “Madame Klere” (the shiny madame) and she would say “klere, klere.” Now I absolutely love seeing Madame Klere. We hug and joke and she tells me all about her life. I visited her several times after the earthquake, as we put up transitional shelters for her children and their families in her yard. I’ll never forget seeing her beautiful house with the beautiful carved doors pancakes under a concrete roof. I thought of all the times I’d seen her struggling to get into the back of a big truck to go spend the day selling. She’d worked so hard to build that home and is was gone in a matter of seconds. I witnessed so much pain and devastation after the earthquake and I worked hard to be strong for everyone, but seeing the few items she’d salvaged gathered under the mango tree and her home in ruins brought tears to my eyes. Yes, Haitians are a resilient folk. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they didn’t HAVE to be, though?

It’s incredible to come back to Haiti well after the school year has begun and see the students in their new uniforms and the professors working hard with them. I remember when we started the school in Thozin. Most students didn’t bother showing up until a month or more after school opened. I’m so proud of our school staff, students and their parents for taking the rules to heart and working together to make a brighter future for these children.

MOHI School in Thozin

The library and computer lab in the new school are slowly coming together. The lab is now ready for the computers to be set up. We’re trusting the Lord has someone ready to network them and make sure they have the proper software installed. The library furniture is all packed and waiting to be shipped to Haiti. We were given a vacuum while we were in the States. We packed it in one of our duffle bags and brought it to Haiti with us. It was so fun to watch the reactions of our staff, as most had never seen a vacuum cleaner.

The “machine for the carpet” is a brand new experience.

Ready for computer placement

Leah continues to do a tremendous job caring for the sick and running the medical ministry at MOHI in Haiti. She cares for our students at both schools, as well as providing help and solutions for others with urgent and chronic conditions. Her true love, however, when it come to medical ministry, is education. She has some really great ideas and wonderful vision for this ministry. We have been talking over the past few weeks about our next step towards reaching some of these goals. We believe the next step is to hire a Haitian nurse to assist Leah, as well as a Haitian doctor to work part-time in the clinics.

Medical clinic with Leah Fuller

We are anticipating this will add about $1200 to our monthly clinic budget. It’s important to all of us that the clinic have a sustainable plan in place, so that continuity of care remains viable for all our patients. Currently we charge our non-student patients about fifty-three cents to be seen at the clinic. (MOHI students are never charged for our medical services.) This discourages people coming just to try to get free medicine to re-sell. We have considered charging more money, in order to cover the cost of paying the doctor and nurse, but this would be contrary to our vision of providing healthcare for those who simply cannot afford it. Would you consider praying with us for wisdom, as we move forward into the next step of this ministry? Thank you!

The more Mission of Hope International expands its ministry, the more maintenance there is to perform. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however! We are providing jobs in a country with an unemployment rate approaching 75%. What a blessing to provide an income for these families and contribute to a sense of self worth for so many hard working people.

Maintenance is no small feat at MOHI

We awoke yesterday to some sad news. Our gatekeeper and yard worker at the missionary compound, Jean Claude, died yesterday morning. He had been struggling with illness for quite some time and had spent the last 3 weeks at a hospital in Leogane where he passed early in the morning. We often referred to him affectionately as “Prezidan,” after the former President and dictator Jean Claude Duvalier. Later in the day, we received the news that the former president also died yesterday. May both “presidents” rest in peace.

The father of one of our students recently fell off a mountainside and died. Blandina’s fourth grade classmates came to the church today in uniform to prepare to join the funeral procession. Please join us in praying for Blandina and her family as they not only grieve the loss of this beloved man, but also as they seek to survive without his provision for the family. We trust that her Heavenly Father has a plan for a good future for Blandina.

Fourth grade students prepare to join the funeral procession for their classmate’s father.

Yesterday afternoon we took a quick trip to visit the MOHI campus in St. Etienne. A structure is currently being constructed to pump water into an elevated water tank. This will allow water to be available without having to run a generator constantly. It was good to visit with some of the neighbors, Pastor Hakine and to see the work for ourselves. I always enjoy the view from this campus, too!

Oh how we missed this beautiful view from the MOHI campus in St. Etienne!\

Construction at the St. Etienne campus

We did spend the first part of the week in Florida with Bob and Sally Heier. We are so grateful for their friendship and their willingness to share their thoughts and advice with us. We have great respect for them and love them as dear parents – even though there’s no blood relation apart from the blood of Christ. We enjoyed being with our friends and partners in ministry at Grace Bible Church (Ft. Myers) and also a long awaited visit with the Youell family. Their first son, Gus, was born last month and we were so blessed to meet him.

For all of you who have been asking how Alexis is doing, thank you. God is good! I’ll let some recent photos respond to your questions…

Thank you to each and every one of you who are a part of this mission to Haiti. Thank you for your prayers, your advice, your assistance, your donations and your words of encouragement. We are so blessed to be back home in Haiti and to know that you are here with us in the spirit.

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