That’s What Faith Can Do
Here are some photos from this week. After the pictures I have a great song to share with you with a bit of a walk down memory lane, so please keep paging down.
Congratulations Leah and Tammy. Job well done!
New restrooms in the school yard
Electrical work being done in the school kitchen
Some of our high school students
Some of our preschool kids
Pastor Kevin, his friend Ted Boschetto and A, Jay showed some of their moves this morning, so our students and their families could see some of what’s in store for our students at school soon.
Pastor Kevin shared a message with the church in Thozin this morning.
Paul serves the children food each day at school.
Special fawns to recover the choukoun are coming all the way from beautiful Jacmel.
A group of our high school students will be working this week with a group from the Covenant Day School (Charlotte, NC). They spent some time preparing a place for the aquaponics project.
As I was preparing for church this morning, a song by Kutless came on. It’s called “That’s What Faith Can D0.” I know the tune and was enjoying it, but then I started to pay close attention to the words. They are powerful and I suddenly felt that I wanted to share this song in today’s blog post. So, all the Bold Letters are the lyrics of the song and the regular type will be stories from MOHI that go with those lyrics. I hope you enjoy remembering with me the wonderful things God has done in our lives.
EVERYBODY FALLS SOMETIMES GOTTA FIND THE STRENGTH TO RISE FROM THE ASHES AND MAKE A NEW BEGINNING
I remember when we first came to start Mission of Hope. We had spent two weeks in the country, planted the first church,formed our first leadership team and taken hundreds of pictures. It was March 27th, 2000. We we went to meet with a lawyer about the legalities of setting up a mission in Haiti, on our way to the airport and our return to the USA. When we got to the lawyers, the streets were “hot.” The lawyer was waiting for us outside his office and told Lex to drop the kids and I off and go park the car in a different area, so it wouldn’t get struck by rocks that were being hurled up the road. Not being so adept at Haitian Creole nor understanding of the waves of political unrest at the time, I thought people were shooting at each other. I grabbed my babies (they were 2 and 3 at the time) and ran into the building and up the stairs to the lawyer’s office. Lex and Josué drove down the road a ways and parked the car near the “Nèg Mawòn,” a well known statue near the palace.
Lex and Josué joined us a little while later and we had our meeting with the lawyer. The problems outside were no longer on my mind, as we began to outline our vision and hopes for our future working in Haïti. When we finished, we walked down the calm street to where the car was parked. As we came upon the car, my heart sank. Someone had forced the back (sliding) window open. Everything of value to us was in the diaper bag, because we always had the diaper bag with us – except that day, as I had run out without it and Lex didn’t think to grab it. There in the back of the car were all our suitcases and our video camera – NO DIAPER BAG. Credit cards, cash, passports, Lex’s special travel paper from US immigration, all the film with pictures of hundreds of children and their registration information – ALL lost! I stood in the middle of Port-au-Prince crying. That was the beginning of Mission of Hope International.
ANYONE CAN FEEL THE ACHE YOU THINK IT’S MORE THAN YOU CAN TAKE BUT YOU’RE STRONGER STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW
With no cash or credit cards, we had to turn in our car. Our friend Walter and his family, who we were staying with, were so gracious! We had no where else to go and at the same time he hadn’t budgeted to care for our American family for more than two weeks. We went to US immigration and the kids and I had passports ready for us to leave in just three days. Lex was another story. We had found such grace with immigration in the United States, but we were now in Haiti. The Haitian woman working for US immigration didn’t want to hear anything from me. I lost my cool and had to keep my distance, for fear that my husband would never be allowed to return to the US.
On the home front, Walter remained gracious and did his best to keep us fed and watered, but we knew we were a huge burden for him. Any of you who have stayed for any length of time with extended family or friends can probably understand the emotional weight I was feeling, being dependent on this wonderful, giving family. Port-au-Prince was VERY hot and full of mosquitoes. Between the two, I was having a hard time keeping the kids content – especially being stuck in the middle of the city with no place we could go. I spent most of my time filling up big wash basins with water and letting the kids play in it. We were out of insect repellent, so at night we would burn these nasty coils that made smoke to dissuade the mosquitoes from coming near. Of course the smell was horrid (in my humble opinion!), so that added to my lack of comfort. Mostly, though, I was determined that I would not leave Haiti without my husband!
Lex would go to the immigration office regularly. I just stayed back at Walter’s. (I knew I couldn’t handle that woman we’d have to see!!!) He heard so many negative reports. It seemed everyone knew someone who needed the paperwork he needed and they had to wait one to two YEARS to finally get it!!! You KNOW I was praying. All I knew was that I wasn’t going anywhere without him, no matter what that meant for me and the kids.
DON’T YOU GIVE UP NOW THE SUN WILL SOON BE SHINING YOU GOTTA FACE THE CLOUDS TO FIND THE SILVER LINING
One day Lex came back from immigration with a great big smile. He was talking to our “friend” (the woman at immigration) when the vice consul just happened to be walking by. He noticed Lex’s ordination card, that he had just given the woman. He started asking Lex questions and then made a call to immigration in Boston. He ended up talking with Mr. Smith, who had handled his case from the beginning of the immigration process in the States. The man knew us very well and had jumped through some hoops on our behalf already. Two days later, Lex had the necessary documents for us to return to the US. What could literally have taken YEARS took only two weeks! God’s grace got us through an delivered us.
I’VE SEEN DREAMS THAT MOVE THE MOUNTAINS
I remember sitting under the choukoun talking with a group of doctors, after having done a medical clinic at our school in St Etienne. We talked about how much they’d enjoyed doing the clinic, but also about how much work it took. Unlike doing clinic in Thozin, where all the supplies stay right there on the shelves, mobile clinics require a lot of preparations. Materials, medicines, equipment, supplies, forms, etc. all have to be gathered, packed, transported unpacked, set out, used, packed, transported, unpacked and put back in their places. One of the doctors started dreaming about how cool it would be to have a tractor trailer truck that traveled to distant areas all stocked and ready for clinics. We talked about it for quite a while and then one of the doctors said, “Of course it’s not going to happen. Who’s going to put up that kind of money for a mobile clinic?” His remark, although logical in one sense, really caught me off guard. It may look like a mountain, but if God has given that dream – what’s a mountain to God?!!!
When Mission USA asked if we could use another bus, we said absolutely. They asked what we would do with it. The answer? Convert it into a mobile medical clinic. That bus, already converted into a medical clinic, arrived at the end of 2013! God is so good!!! Bye Bye Mountain!
HOPE THAT DOESN’T EVER END EVEN WHEN THE SKY IS FALLING
During our first year of school, our family had returned to the United States to raise funds –
mostly to pay the school teachers, there was a sort of uprising in the school. A few of the teachers/church members came against the school director and encouraged others to become physically violent. They smashed chalk boards and threatened the director, who ran in fear. I remember the sick feeling, like my stomach had dropped into my toes. I felt like our dreams were evaporating. We were far from Haiti with no money to get there any time soon. And I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I told Lex, “If they have money to pay the teachers, maybe we should just let them take over, since we still don’t know where that money will come from.” He told me it wasn’t that they knew what to do with the mission, it was just that they wanted to have power. Sometimes people aren’t content to just walk away if things aren’t going their way. They feel compelled to destroy it. That’s what was going on. God had no part in it.
God provided the money for the teachers and for us to return to Haiti. Those people ended up leaving the church and the school and both prospered and grew afterwards. The reality is that sometimes people are just keeping a seat warm until the person the seat was intended for arrives. What a wonderful spirit came into the church once those people were gone!
I’VE SEEN MIRACLES JUST HAPPEN
A deaf man was standing outside our church in St Etienne, waiting to catch a ride to Port-au-Prince. He was planning to visit a particular church there, looking to be healed. As he suddenly wondered why he was going to Port-au-Prince. Wouldn’t the same God who would heal him in Port-au-Prince heal him right here in St Etienne. He entered into the church and was miraculously healed!
SILENT PRAYERS GET ANSWERED
In 2007/2008 two hundred, twenty-nine children were living in a church/school about 45 minutes east of us. Most were sickly, all were hungry and malnourished, few of them went to school and only a handful slept in a bed.
The commander of the UN Peacekeepers from Sri Lanka was very troubled when he visited these children and asked Lex to accompany him on another visit. Although Lex had grown up in an impoverished village and poor family, he was not prepared for the lack of care he witnessed that day. Little did he know that this was the beginning of a fierce battle for the lives of those children. Our lives were threatened on many occasions as we persisted, with the constant support of people back home like Pastor Kevin & Tammy, Kids Against Hunger – Tulsa and the Hands and Feet Project.
Eventually, after meeting with the mayor of Camp Perrin, he agreed to go retrieve 50 of the kids from his city. We went to visit them the next day with food, medicines, toiletries, clothing and footwear, knowing the families were probably not prepared financially to have their children back home.
One of the children that we were especially taken with did not come out to greet us. We went in search of Kendy and finally located him, his brother, sister and parents. No one in the family looked well fed or even healthy. We were happy to provide plenty of aid to last them a while. A few months later we sent some food to them. We later learned that one day the father was carrying on about the politicians who obtained rice for the poor, but shared it with their friends and neglecting those who really needed it. Kendy told him, “Daddy, it’s ok. God sent Pastor Lex to help us. He’ll send us food.” Two days later, the food arrived. God has provided much for Kendy and his family over the years. Silent prayers were answered.
BROKEN HEARTS BECOME BRAND NEW THAT’S WHAT FAITH CAN DO
A renowned vodou priest in town heard Pastor Lex preaching on MOHI’s radio station. God touched his heart and he could hardly wait for that Sunday to arrive so that he could publicly declare his faith in Jesus Christ. He will tell you just how broken his heart was, but today he has a brand new one!
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU’VE HEARD IMPOSSIBLE IS NOT A WORD IT’S JUST A REASON FOR SOMEONE NOT TO TRY EVERYBODY’S SCARED TO DEATH WHEN THEY DECIDE TO TAKE THAT STEP OUT ON THE WATER IT’LL BE ALRIGHT
Our dear sister went through 9 months of pregnancy, 12 hours of labor and an emergency c-section only to be faced with the reality that her baby was severely deformed. The baby died. As terrifying as it was to try again, this couple did and today they are enjoying raising the sweetest little girl.
LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT YOUR EYES ARE SEEING YOU WILL FIND YOUR WAY IF YOU KEEP BELIEVING…
We worked so hard over the first ten years of this mission to construct places for church, classrooms and orphan and guest housing. When the earthquake hit, we lost at least 80% of all that physical work. We were so grateful to be alive and that no one had been injured at any of our campuses. It seems I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness that descended upon our lives at that time. But once again, out of the ashes, He had amazing plans. In the past four years we were able to not only rebuild, but expand beyond what we’d even imagined. The children we were caring for at the time of the earthquake were blessed with an amazing new home with the Hands and Feet Project. The churches increased incredible growth. The Thozin campus has an absolutely amazing new school building, clinics, Bible school, laptop computer training program and Christian radio station. Our visitors and full time missionaries have a beautiful and solid building to live in with pure water running through all its plumbing, an incredible ocean to look out at and electricity. We have three more full time missionaries working here and an incredible Haitian leadership team and staff. There is so much more and even more on the horizon – more than what our eyes are seeing!!!
…OVERCOME THE ODDS YOU DON’T HAVE A CHANCE (THAT’S WHAT FAITH CAN DO) WHEN THE WORLD SAYS YOU CAN’T IT’LL TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN…
What were the odds that our family would survive living in Haiti. We liquidated all our earthly belongings and moved here with two toddlers and our 1999 tax refund. How crazy does THAT sound? (Even to me and I actually did it!) Even now, it is a daily walk of faith. There are way too many plates spinning for us to keep them going, but there’s faith in God!!!
EVEN IF YOU FALL SOMETIMES YOU WILL HAVE THE STRENGTH TO RISE
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31 Amplified Bible)