Happy New Year
I love being a part of God's work at MOHI in Haiti! For the last couple of years, we've really had vocational training in our hearts and on our minds. The sparks started flying when World Wide Lighthouse Missions sent us teams to do sewing and carpentry classes. Bless Back Worldwide followed suit with cosmetology classes. Holger and Sigrun Kraft were finishing up 3 months with us when they coordinated with Mission USA on the culinary classes. As most of you know, they returned this Fall to continue with the culinary program.
It's so thrilling to me to hear Holger and Sigrun talk about the classes, the students, and the products they are creating together. The enthusiasm, the smiles as they recount different situations reaffirms my belief that God has been a part of it all.
Here are some of the highlights being reported from our baking classes:
We have a great core of students who are eager to learn and they do so well. They are also very respectful of their teachers and surroundings.
They are learning teamwork. Normally washing dishes is the job of the youngest at home or the least skilled. The students are learning that when you're part of a team everyone shares in the glory, as well as in the less desirable moments.
All products produced are sold out each day, meaning the bakery is already self-sustaining (aside from growing and expanding).
People in the church will be giving financially, as well as volunteering their time at the upcoming Christian Leadership Academy in order to care for our guests who will be spending 3 nights with us. The students decided they would volunteer their time and expertise in the kitchen to bake bread for the attendees. What a blessing!
Holger and Sigrun are such a wonderful reflection of Jesus. The students have a great role model in them, with their gentle responses, words of encouragement, and perseverance in creating an atmosphere of excellence in the kitchen.
The new items shipped to us by Mission USA are helping to turn out some mighty fine looking bread! Thank you Friends!
The Gathering Place
This morning was our third, and hopefully FINAL week, holding our Thozin church services outdoors. Praise God!!! It was great for Lex and I to be back among our church family after being Stateside. Angie Sutton led us in a beautiful time of musical worship and Pastor Lex brought forth a message from God's heart - God sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross to redeem us from the penalty of our sin. In following Christ, we love our neighbors. Not all neighbors are really lovable, and yet, through the power of God's Spirit in us, we are able to love the unlovely. (I'm convinced it's easier to do when I realize how unlovely I may seem to others in my own weakness!)
This week we have been working on the gable end block walls, the framing of the roof, and covering the roof. The roof should be completed in the next couple of days.
There is overwhelming poverty in Haiti, and yet we are seeing so many families in the church being blessed. Pastor Lex reminds them they are blessed to be a blessing. Many have stepped up to give toward the Gathering Place. Some have given money. Others are giving cement. As of this morning, we were already up to 44 sacks of cement.
I'm so eager to see what God has in store in 2018 for our friends at Mission of Hope International here in Grand-Goave, Haiti. We've been here for almost 18 years now. Much has been accomplished. Many lives have been touched, changed, positively impacted. Somehow, though, I can't help but believe that truly the best is yet to come - in the here and now, in the future, and most definitely in eternity!
The last couple of years have been a time of great transition in my family - youngest left home, graduated from high school, started college...oldest got married...now I'm preparing to become a grandma - that means that I'm having to think an awful lot about what exactly that looks like in our family. Right? All this to admit, I've been a bit distracted - and yet God is still at work at MOHI. I think HE really LIKES working with me, but obviously HE isn't dependent on my brilliance to accomplish what HE has planned for our Haitian neighbors. What a relief!
I never formed the words with my lips, but I suspect I might have had the thought, "God can't do this without me." I mean, it sounds so extremely silly to verbalize it and yet why am I relieved to realize that this is not the case? Hmmmmmm.
Lex and I were so blessed to spend Christmas with our family in the US. We celebrated a few days early at the home of our newly weds.
Christmas day we forged ahead, in the wee hours of the morning, through a nasty snow storm (thank you Alexis for driving!) to get to Logan International and catch our return flight to Haiti. We arrived in Grand-Goave just before 6:30PM and went directly to the Hands and Feet Project in Ikondo where our missionary family was gathered for Christmas dinner.
How special we felt as the surprised missionary kids came running out to greet us with enthusiastic words, giant hugs, smiles, laughter, and reports of what was most on their minds at that moment: Christmas Gifts! We had such a grand time that we forgot to take pictures. Sorry.
This was the first time since the beginning of MOHI that we were in the US for Christmas. It was just amazing to enjoy it in both of our worlds!
Next Up: CLA
We have some great friends and powerful ministers arriving this week to minister at the annual Christian Leadership Academy. Each year this is a special time, especially for pastors and church leaders. They enjoy the fellowship with one another, the skills they learn, the opportunity to be encouraged and reassured in their callings, and the special attention and care they receive. Good pastors and leaders spend so much time and energy serving others. It's important that they are well cared for, too. Would you join with me in prayer for these meetings? I trust the Lord has something special planned for each person attending, as well as for those ministering.