Celebrating in St. Etienne
We held a conference our first year as a mission. Stephen Sandoval, a police detective from Leominster, MA (and a leader in our home church) was the preacher. He and Jim Murphy were our very first "team" from America. I was so excited about the conference.
We had been living in Port-au-Prince with our dear friend Walter Henry (then school inspector for the Methodist mission schools throughout Haiti), his wonderful wife, and three beautiful daughters, while waiting for our home/office in Grand-Goâve to be finished. We moved to Grand-Goâve the day before Stephen and Jim appeared.
We all slept on air mattresses and they arrived at the new house with the first of our new furniture: a set of white metal and wood table and chairs. The next piece of furniture came during that week, as Jim and Steve built me a desk and hutch out of rough-cut, local boards and drywall screws that they carried down with them. I can't even tell you how much I appreciated that desk! I would get slivers on my forearm whenever I wrote, but that work space was SUCH a blessing to me. Years later, when I got a "manufactured in the USA" desk, I wouldn't let them toss the old one. It went into the kitchen area, where it housed pots, pans, and dishes, while providing a generous work area for food prep.
Back to those very first days in Grand-Goâve. We purchased a "recho" - a small round charcoal grill (without the actual grill on top) on which to cook. It was on this small stove that I cooked for our first "team." We'd only purchased one of them and just lighting it was a near impossibility for me. (No, they didn't sell lighter fluid at the local WalMart!)
Unfortunately, I missed most of the conference, as the cooking took so much longer than I could have imagined. I still have a vivid image in my mind of me sitting there (with a 2-year old AJay leaning on me), staring at that pan of hamburger helper (we'd brought it with us from the States), with no hamburger (still today not available locally) and not enough heat to make it boil. It was finally done, just in time for the "team's" arrival after the conference's evening session ended that night.
Fast forward sixteen years. We held our seventeenth annual conference in July. Our congregation in St. Etienne has been putting on a conference each year for quite a while now, too. This past week was full of praise, worship, prayer, special musical performances and plenty of good (usually loud) preaching. Oh, and there was even a wedding in the midst of it all, yesterday morning.
Alicia in Haiti!
Today was a day to say "hello" and "goodbye" at the church in Thozin. Lex officially introduced Alicia D'Olimpio to the congregation this morning. We are so excited that she has arrived!!! She had to make some quick changes at the airport and leave one suitcase behind, as the airline was not allowing passengers to pay for a third bag. Thankfully, her family was there at the airport with her and she was able to make some quick decisions, repack in front of thousands of people (brings back memories for me!), and send a back of supplies back home. I'm so thankfully for Angie stepping right in to show Alicia the ropes at the missionary compound and helping her to get connected (phone and internet) once again. Welcome to Haiti, Alicia!!!! The missionary kids are going to love you! (Just like all the rest of us do.)
Right off the bat, Angie brought Alicia with her to visit Ti Ben in the little village near the missionary compound. What a joy to see Ti Ben smiling and reading her Bible! Please continue to pray for this young woman, that she would continue in prayer, fellowship, the Word of God and growing in Him.
To The Mountains
Today we also had a bit of a send-off. The Brown family has been an integral part of the church in Thozin, but will no longer be there on a regular basis. Please join us all in praying for this family, as they continue to preach the Gospel in the mountains surrounding Grand-Goave and begin church planting. We have all benefited greatly from their presence in the church and will miss seeing them, but we rejoice with them as they endeavor to move deeper into the calling the Lord has placed on their lives.
I am so grateful for all the ways the Lord has allowed Mission of Hope International to touch so many individuals over the years. I am grateful for the churches, schools, staff, friendships, and so much more. I especially thank Him for the medical ministry happening daily through this mission. We can't know how many lives have been saved. Simple things, like this little cutie from St. Etienne who had an abscess that needed to be drained. The procedure was easily performed and she was put on a course of antibiotics. Simple, because the clinic staff and medication was there for her. That's not the case for so many others. I rejoice for this beautiful one that we were able to help!!!
Here are a few more pictures from the medical clinic, for which we are so grateful.
Peanut Butter Drive
Please remember to gather your peanut butter together to give to our Peanut Butter Drive, going on right now!
In Central MA, fire departments in East Brookfield, Douglas, and Ashburnham are competing for a trophy, so you can drop your peanut butter off there to help them win, too! In Belmont, jars of peanut butter may be dropped off at the All Saints Episcopal Church. Our friends at World-Wide Lighthouse Missions, Inc. will be packaging the peanut butter and bringing it to the shipper for us, so you can send it directly to their warehouse at WWLM, 723 Main Street, Manchester, CT 06040. If you are able, please include a few dollars to help get the peanut butter to Haiti. This is another great way to promote good health and save lives among the most vulnerable children. Thank you!