I've never considered myself a "touchy-feely" person. I like to maintain personal space and appreciate it when others do, as well. When I met Jesus, it was in a "hugging" church environment, so I learned to hug and I've become quite accomplished at it (so long as the recipient doesn't hold on for "too" long).
I have to admit, however, that I've truly come to appreciate the power of a hug. Hugs can help to strengthen us when we feel weak. They can reassure us when we are confused. They can comfort us when we grieve. They can open the door to friendships that we never expected. They can be like a healing salve in the midst of conflict. Could my "natural" afront to friendly, physical contact rob me of the very tools the Lord has provided for me to live my life to its fullest? Problem solved: Hug me!
Beatrice welcomed many of you to Mission of Hope International in Haiti with hugs and cared for your physical needs for food, water, and shelter. Today she shares those hugs with many in the US, greeting people at her local church as they enter the auditorium to worship.
Hugs are comforting when we're not feeling well. Getting treatment at the medical clinic at MOHI can bring health, too.
The nurses work together to register patients and check their vitals. Some patients live nearby, but others travel long distances on foot from the surrounding mountains or by motorcycle from other cities. They are very grateful that they can depend on the clinic when they are facing difficulties. Here is a short video clip from Tuesday morning.
Elasnè came to the dental clinic from Leogane with a bad toothache. He was taking a nap and dreamed that he would come to Grand-Goave for his toothache. When he awoke he decided to take the 25 minute ride to Grand-Goave where he discovered the MOHI clinics. He was able to see a dentist the same day and found immediate relief.
Joslin, a 19 year old junior at MOHI's Thozin campus, recently had a visit in our dental clinic (all is well!) and shared some of his thoughts with us while he was there. "I like school very much - especially MOHI school. They give us a good education and I get free medical and dental care. I love Jesus because He died for my sins. My father is my role model and I work with him very well. He is my best friend and I share all my secrets with him. He installs ceramic tile and I love to work with him, but I would really like to become a doctor one day."
A little friendship and fun to bright the day!
Our students in Port-au-Prince finished their period exams this week. The students and staff continue working hard as we are now less than three months from the end of the school year.
Billy moved to the Dominican Republic after graduating from high school at MOHI. We are so proud to see him teach elementary school students in his new neighborhood. Hats off to you, Billy!
We all learn from the different circumstances in which we find ourselves. One of the things we fell in love with at the Christian Light School was the Baby Feeding Program in the Ravine near the school. We vowed to duplicate the program at our other school locations. We're so excited to have a partner organization step up to provide the food funding for a new program in the village of Ti Paradi (Little Paradise). For those of you who have visited the mission in Grand-Goave, Ti Paradi is the village where you leave the main road and head down the dirt road to the missionary compound. Dlensky, Edisson, Shama, and Roodnaica are four of about 40 babies and toddlers (2 and under) who are being registered for the program. Praise the Lord for His care for these little ones!
It has now been one year since my last trip to Haiti. Like many of you who have made trips to serve with MOHI and CLS over the years, I miss it terribly. Many of you have spoken to us of your desire to return or even make your first visit and your chagrin over having to be so patient. This has prompted us to put some feet to a vision that was set on the back burner. So, a while back I made arrangements for Pastor Lex to visit the Dominican Republic after his time in Haiti this past week.
It was a very good (allbeit short!) trip. It was a "scouting mission" to visit Haitian communities and look for ministries that might benefit from a partnership with MOHI. We do not plan to build new schools, churches, clinics, etc. but to come alongside those that are already in place. Pastor Lex told me it was as if the Lord had people just waiting for his arrival - even though there were no plans for visiting any specific works. A seed has been planted and we're looking forward to going back and seeing what God has planned!
Madame Elveus is a wife and mother of three children who is now an active part of the church in Thozin. Prior to this, she and her husband decided it would be best if she went to Port-au-Prince to find work. She was not happy there. She eventually came back to Grand-Goave and found employment at MOHI. She's elated to be back at home with her family and working full time, too. She is seeing God provide for her and her family.
I'm grateful for the many active members of the MOHI churches. And for Pastor Edon who works hand in hand with Pastor Lex to oversee the work of these churches.
There is an acronym for HUGS on my computer wallpaper that reminds of how I desire to live out my days in this world as a follower of Christ. I share it here in the hopes that it may inspire others like it does me.
As we go through our days this week, let's remind ourselves to clothes ourselves with humility, contend for unity, err on the side of being too generous, and do all with sincerity of heart.