We recently had a team of 8 from Wisconsin come to Haiti to serve with us. We had a great time. Here is a brief recap of our trip with some pictures. Enjoy.
The first thing we did was travel into the mountains in Peridot (about 45 minutes from Jacmel) to visit with some of our sponsored kids and the families that are caring for them. First, we visited with Modeline Pierre and her family. Modeline is one of our most recent kids into our program and already has one sponsorship. The family was very happy to see us come and visit them at their house. We just spent some time hanging out with the family, playing with the kids, and then prayed for them all. I asked to see the inside of their house and to see where all the children slept. Modeline’s care taker showed me only one bed for the entire family. She said that Modeline shared the bed with 2 other children. The other children slept on the floor with nothing, not even a pillow. So, I told her that we would pray about trying to get them some beds and mattresses. One of the team members stated that he wanted to help with some of the costs, so I thank the Lord for that. It would be great to get all the children to be able to sleep in a bed, even if they have to share with one or two others. We probably need about $400 to buy a couple of beds and mattresses for the family. God will provide.
We learned that Modeline’s care taker is not related at all to Modeline. Modeline was abndoned by her Mother when she was just a baby. The mother simply left Modeline at the door of this woman who is now her care giver. Her name is Sevita. Sevita said that it was God who left a gift at her door rather than a mother who abandoned her child. I was blessed to hear her say that she saw it that way. We are blessed to have one sponsor for this family, but we need a few more in order to really be able to help them. Would you consider sponsoring this family?
After leaving there, we headed further into the mountains to vist with Roseline Petit and her family. It was a blessing to see her, and she was so happy to receive us. Again, we spent time playing with her, talking to the family members, and praying for them all. I also delievered some letters to her that had been written by her sponsor. She was so happy to receive them. I challenged her reading ability, and to my satisfaction, she read well. I always love hearing our kids read. That might sound like something so normal, but it isn’t in Haiti. A child that can read is already ahead of more than 50% of the population. And this is why our sponsorship program is really making a difference in the lives of Haitian children. The sponsorship program keeps these kids in school on a consistent basis. Education is a must for the success and survival of the Haitian children. So, thanks for all of you who are investing in the lives of these orphaned children through our sponsorship program.
After saying good-bye to Roseline’s family, we headed back down the mountain and went to the school in Marigot just the next town over. That is the school where all of these children go. This is the school that we partner with. So, we did an outreach to many of the kids who had come. There were about 65 kids. We fed them sandwiches, and then the team performed a skit that illustrated the biblical message of Jesus being the only one who can cleanse us from our sins. It was great! It was the first time that we ever did a skit there. The kids really seemed to connect with it. After the message, we distributed new flip flops to all the kids. They were happy to receive them.
I gave the Director, Josue, some of the sponsorship money to pay for some of the tuition of our sponsorsed kids. He was happy to receive it because now he will be able to pay some of the teachers. You see, the sponsorship program covers the cost of school tuition. This in turn helps the Director of the school be able to continue to pay the teachers, which in turn enables the teachers to continue teaching, which of course enables the children to continue to learn. So, again, the sponsorship program really does go a long way.
But the school still needs a lot of support and we are praying about further ways to help the school be most effective in educating the children. I would love to bring a team of educators down some time to do like a teacher’s retreat/workshop. I think that could be great for the teachers. Anybody interested?
So, that was Monday. Needless to say, by the time we arrived back at the Mission/Disciplseship House, we were totally exhausted. After a great meal, the team relaxed, had a devotional, did some prep work for the following day, and called it a night.
We had the kids from our Jacmel sponsorship program come for the day. The team did a Bible program with them in the morning, which included a craft, some singing, and a message about how God used all the bad things that happened in Joseph’s life to turn out for good.
After the bible program, we fed the kids lunch, and then they all piled in my truck and we took them to the beach! They were so excited to go to the beach again. We had a blast just loving on them and enjoying our day together.
After we got back and said good-bye to the kids, we showered, ate dinner quickly, and headed out the door to our evangelistic outreach that we planned at the new community where we are trying to bring the gospel. We showed a great evangelistic movie in Creole called “The hope”. There were about 65 people who came out. Just before we started the movie, I pulled one of our translators (who are much more than just translators, but more like volunteer leaders) and asked him (Lures) if he would like to be the one that gives the gospel message after the movie instead of me doing it. He was very surprised that I asked him, but also very happy. You see, we realize more and more that Haitians are going to be the most effective in reaching their own people. So, rather than have me as the white person at the front and center, we want to develop young Haitian leaders to be able to minister the truth of the gospel to their own people. So, we’re trying to focus more on doing this. The previous 2 times that we have done an evangelistic outreach in this community, I have been the one to share a message with the people. So, this time, and from here on in, I want to have our Haitian leaders be the ones that do this.
So, after the movie, Lures came up to the front and ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. He spoke well with passion and conviction. After he spoke, he gave an invitation for anyone who wanted to accept Jesus. One young guy came forward and gave his heart to the Lord! Praise God for the first conversion that we have witnessed in this community. Afterwards, Lures, myself, and our other translator/leader named Anderson spoke with the young guy and encouraged him some more. Lures and Anderson just emailed me the other day and told me that they gave the young guy a bible and have already brought him to church. So, please pray for this young guy. I forgot his name, but I do know that he is 15 years old and doesn’t have a mom or a dad. His heart really seemed genuine when he came forward to pray to receive Christ. Lures was so happy to see how God used him to bring the message of salvation. And I myself was so happy to see God use Lures for His glory!
Please be in prayer for these two guys. I have asked them to pray about serving with our ministry on a regular basis. I told them that I would like to train and disciple them up as leaders in our ministry. I also am praying about any way that we can invest in their lives and help them be all that God has called them to be. They are both 21 years old and are in that stage in life where they are seeking the Lord’s direction for what God would have them do. But their options seem so limited right now because of the lack of possibilities that Haiti offers as well as the fact that they don’t have hardly any money, except for the money that they make when translating for us. So, I am praying about ways that we can further invest in the lives of these 2 young godly men who just want to honor God with their lives. Would you all be in prayer with me? I know that God has great plans for these guys. Thanks so much.
On Wednesday morning, the kids from the orphanage in Titanyen arrived in Jacmel where they would stay at our Mission House for the rest of the week. We spent the morning having the team getting to know the kids, then the team led the bible program. The kids were very eager to learn, sing, and make crafts. They had so much fun. Then, we fed them lunch. It was such a blessing to see these kids in our Mission House. They were just so excited to be there!
After lunch, we had originally planned to take them to the soccer field on this day for a fun field day, and then to the beach on the following day, but because we heard that there was Tropical Storm Emily coming our way soon, we decided to make the this day the beach day just in case the storm came later and we never would be able to go to the beach. So, the kids all piled into my pickup truck and the rest of the team piled into the tap tap that we hired for the week, and we were off to the beach again. I’m telling you, these kids were so excited when we arrived at the beach. I learned that none of them had ever been to the beach or in the ocean. So, I gathered them all together and on the count of three, we all ran into the water. It was awesome! We had such a great time. We had chicken fights, played ball in the water, rolled around in the sand, drank cokes, and just had tons of fun!
Just as we were getting ready to go, I gathered all the kids together along with the rest of the team. We all gathered in a circle and I gave the kids the opportunity to pray and give thanks to God for the wonderful gifts that He has given us. Many of the kids prayed aloud. It was beautiful. Then, we all sand a few songs, both in English and Creole. There on that beach, with other Haitian people looking at us, we worshipped the maker of the ocean and everything else. We gave him glory. We lifted up the name of Jesus for all to hear. I even had our tap tap driver join in our circle to pray and sing. I figured I’d invite him into our circle since he always invites himself into our group whenever we are buying food or drinks. Haha! It’s true. So, I decided that if our driver (Ti Fre) was going to score free food and drink, that he would also join us when we prayed and worshipped. It was really cool. As a matter of fact, that day when he dropped us off, he said “Ale avek Bondye”, which means “Go with God.” So, perhaps the Lord is using our witness to soften his heart. Cool.
After showers, we all gathered at the table and enjoyed a great meal together. These kids can eat! There is never any leftovers on their plate. They all licked their plates clean. By the way, those of the orphaned kids from the orphanage who came to Jacmel were: Felancie, Michelda, Marcarthur, James, Astride, Sainteline, Aslaine, Marie Carmelle, and Rivaldo. These kids had so much fun.
After dinner, everybody got into their pj’s and we all watched a movie together on our wall using our projector. We watched “Finding Nemo” in french. It was cool. The kids really liked it. I must say that it was not as great since the french dubbed voices were not as funny sounding as the original voices. But the kids liked it, at least those who were still awake. Some of them passed out because they were so tired from having a day filled with so much fun activity.
Thursday was the day that Emily was touching down in Jacmel. It turned out to be much lighter of a storm than was expected. But it still felt like pre-hurricane weather all throughout the day, therefore we were forced to stay indoors all day long. But we still all had a great time. The team led the kids with the bible program in the morning. Then, after lunch, we just hung out, played, sang some worship songs, played some more, and just enjoyed being together. We got so silly from being indoors all day, but it was great. After dinner, we had a short devotion and then watched another movie. Again, some of the kids passed out just after the opening credits.
Friday was our last day together. We did the bible program for the kids in the morning and then in the afternoon we brought them to the soccer field for a fun field day. The kids played soccer for a while, and then afterwards we had a water balloon toss. I was not there for any of this as I had to meet with a few sponsored families and bring them some food, so I brought 2 of the team members with me.
One of the families that I visited with was Lovely and her aunt Ismen. I mentioned before that the last group from Alabama came here and saw that Lovely was living in a tent, so they donated $1,000 so that we could get her into a house. So, I met with her and the owner of the house that she found. We negotiated a price and came to a deal. Lovely and Ismen were so happy to know that they will be able to move into a house after living in a tent for the last seventeen months. Thanks so much to Bethel Baptist for their donation to help this family. We get so excited to see how the Lord provides!
While I was with one of the families, the orphanage director (who was also with us for the week) called me and asked me when I was coming back to the field because the kids wanted to wait for me to come until they had the water balloon toss. I suspected something was up, and sure enough when I drove back to the field, they all had suspicious looks on their faces. I knew what was coming next, so I just opened the door and got out of my truck and allowed all of the kids to rush at me throwing their water balloons at me and getting me totally soaked! It was so funny. Even tiny little Marie Carmelle…she was the worst of them all. She was just filling up cups of cold ice water and running up to me and pouring it down my back! So, after I chased them all for a while and got each one of them back, we wrapped things up and headed back to the mission house.
After quick showers and changing clothes, we piled back into my truck and the tap tap and we headed out to the nice restaurant that we had planned for the kids. They were so happy. Again, I learned that none of the kids had ever eaten at a nice restaurant like this. We all had a great time together…including Ti Fre who once again slipped up to one of the tables as the food was being served. Haha. After hanging out at the restaurant for a while, we headed back to the mission house. The rest of the night was spent packing, wrap up session by me, devotions, and sleep since we all had to get up at 4AM the next morning to go to the airport.
All in all, it was a great trip. The team was a group of 8 people from Wisconsin. As a gift, they brought me some cheese…how nice…25 pounds of it!!!! Yes, my freezer is filled with nothing but cheese. So, if any of my missionary friends in Jacmel are in need of cheese…you know where you can find some.
The team did great! I really enjoyed having them down for the week and I am excited that they want to come back next year. God is good.