Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tout bagay byen – Everything  is Good!

 Jeff is exceptionally happy because a new record for setting up the shop has been set today. Tomorrow he says he’s going to spend the day in the hammock. Shhh….don’t tell Mark know. Eat your heart out, Jeff Laing!

Pray for us as we are having a talent show tomorrow night (AKA The Gong Show)!

Ellie learned that there are an enormous amount of tools in the world that she has no idea how to use. She is adapting great! Don’t worry Mom and Dad (especially Mom!) She is not playing with the power tools.

Heather worked on room assignments. Great News! Everyone except one person has a bed! Don’t worry,  Week 1 Team. Bring snacks to buy your lottery ticket.  

Scabies was the topic for the Community Agents. Hold on a second – Shari and I have to go scratch.  OK, we’re back. No secondary infections have surfaced yet. 

Sabine packed, unpacked, and repacked OB kits. Mission accomplished. 

Josh drove half way to St. Marc, drove back, re-drove to St. Marc, and now knows the way by heart. Repetition seems to be a theme this year.

“No electricity in the morning,” Mark just said. Don’t forget your headlights. What, no coffee in the AM? 

Liane spent the day in the hammock and rewrote lists. We are now on the 10th edition. She’s getting close to having it perfected with only red ink. 

Adam worked on the electricity all day. Thankfully he is still alive, however his hair is standing straight up! 

Pam, Josh, and Bob had an epic towel snapping tournament. Bob won. More bandaids may be needed. 

Rats got into the pharmacy and got into steroids. They are bigger than ever this year! A shotgun would be a good idea. 

Jackie kept everyone entertained with her shenanigans. It wore her out and she went to bed early. 

There was a goat on the beach this AM. Tonight we had goat for supper. No more goats on the beach tonight.

All (some) kidding aside, it was a great day with beautiful weather. We all worked really hard and are excited about what has been accomplished. We appreciate your prayers. Can’t wait till the rest of you get here! We are dreaming of the snacks you are bringing! Just kidding – we can’t wait to see you!

Pam says Deb’s too wordy. Time to say good night. I'm sorry -  too many words – Good Night!

Arrival of the early group!

Hey everyone! This is Rene here at the Mission Possible office in Findlay. Pam emailed me and asked me to let everyone know that the team made it there safe & sound yesterday (and I'm sure are thoroughly enjoying their nice ocean view with their coffee this morning). ;)  Thanks for the prayers; keep them coming as they prepare for the arrival of the first big group in a couple of days!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Haiti - Jan 14-20, 2018 - Teacher Training

January 15, 2018

At LaHatte 4th and 5th grade class

Slip sliding while driving in the truck down the dry river bed. 

What an adventure on our first full day here!  :-)

We arrived Sunday afternoon and going through the airport and customs was the easiest ever. We organized our supplies for each school and unpacked at the compound. That night we went to St. Marc for church and thoroughly loved worshipping with our Haitian brothers and sisters. We are one in the spirit and Carter translated the message for us to follow along. 

Today was an early morning departure and a bumpy cargo truck ride on "River Bed Road" to LaHatte school. We were able to observe six (preK-6th grade) classes in the morning and enjoyed passing out some new school supplies to each teacher, helping to teach a few French songs with the instruments we also brought there. This is the most remote and poorest of all Mission Possible schools with approximately 90 students.  

Our afternoon focus was at the Mission Possible teacher institute where teachers in training and current Mission Possible teachers are attending each afternoon.  Members of our team have each prepared a 5-day unit intended to increase their knowledge in a content area and/or improve their teaching skills.  Today we found our "students" to be attentive and interested in what we had to share, and we look forward to our remaining days.

Sharon Newlove, Judy Shick, Patti Spiegel and Mary Jo Williams

January 16, 2018

At Chardène school, Mary Jo and the elementary principal are discussing the schools yearly goals while Herve translates for them. 

Judy is presenting one of the preschool teachers some new school supplies we brought with us. 

Two of the cuties at the Chardѐne school.

Today's ride to our two school visits along with our translators and the school nurse. 

Sharon teaching Math concepts at the teachers' institute.

We started our morning at 6 a.m. and are still going strong at 8 p.m.  It was a good day!  Traveling by truck(see photo), we visited Chardène and Saint Marc schools, enjoying the children and observing the teaching.  After returning for lunch at noon, we regrouped for the afternoon teaching at the institute.  By 5:30, we were very hot and tired and ready to return to the mission center to feel the sea breeze, hear the calming waves and taste the Haitian cuisine.  We are now preparing for tomorrow, ready for devotions and a good night's sleep (without the noise of mangoes dropping on the roof) :-) 

January 17, 2018

Lunch is served at Dupin school.  
The students line up to get their plate and take it back to their classroom to eat. 

This was this boy's first day at the school in the youngest preschool class. 

He ate every bite and then licked the plate clean. 

Judy loved singing with the preschool classes and they loved it too. 

Mary Jo and Reginald (her translator) finishing her lesson today. 

     We began the day at Dupin, a school up in the hills north of our center.  We had the opportunity to visit classrooms again, and distribute materials to some of the classrooms.  It is always interesting to be at one of our schools at lunchtime.  The children basically have the same lunch daily which consists of beans and rice, usually with some gravy.  This day each serving had a pasta noodle on top.  The children are very grateful for this food, and they begin their meal with prayer.

     Following our lunch and some time to brush up our lesson plans, we again went to the Teacher's Institute.  Our attendance was a little low today because there was rain in the forecast.  Rain creates transportation problems for the Haitians in this area, as many live in the hills to the east of us.  We had an enjoyable day of teaching, and find that we are strengthening connections with our teachers daily.

     The trip back to the mission center afforded an opportunity to get to know our interpreters better.  They are very interested in learning about our lives and some of the English phrases we use.  We all joke around together and are having so much fun getting to know each other! 

January 18, 2018

A Kindergarten group at Lanzac school singing with Miss Judy. 

Patti was thrilled to be in a 7th grade Spanish class and actually help teach Spanish at MPCA!!

She taught a song about the days of the week and had fun with these kids. 

Our translators for the week! Carter, Evans, Reginald and LaFortune

We started our day eating breakfast, sharing a devotion, gazing at the beautiful sunrise over the ocean, and rejoicing that we only had one mango "boom" on the roof during the night.  We walked up the road to our school at Lanzac.  We were encouraged to see active teaching techniques that we have been emphasizing at the teachers' institute being done in the classrooms.  

MPCA was our next stop.  With over 600 students at this school, many of the classrooms were very crowded.  The lower grades were lively and active, which we love to see.  Patti taught a fun song to a crowded room of 7th grade Spanish students.  During the morning we were able to observe some improvements that could be made to the MPCA classrooms that would make them more inviting.  We came back to the Mission center to have lunch and regroup for our afternoon teaching sessions. 

Here are some of the lessons we are able to teach throughout the week. Judy taught techniques for teaching French vocabulary with poetry and music. Today she taught a lesson on Zaccheus including storytelling, tongue twisters, writing, songs and instruments. Sharon taught various ideas this week for teaching mathematical concepts. Today she demonstrated a method for very young students to practice counting and doing physical exercise at the same time. Patti explained TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) this week for teachers to increase longterm reading comprehension.  She has been using Creole books to show them how they can incorporate them with their students. Mary Jo has been focusing on the psychology of learning and how they can use these principles to improve student learning.  Today she focused on using higher level questioning to encourage students to think more deeply.  

Tomorrow is our last full day, and we will be putting finishing touches on our plans this evening.  We are thinking of all our loved ones at home and appreciate all the prayers and support we are receiving from you.  God is good!

January 19, 2018

At Dégeance we started with a school assembly.  We prayed and sang with musical instruments. 

We then enjoyed visiting individual classes. 
Take note of the woven leaf walls in this classroom.
There is not much protection from the rain,
 a demonstration of the need for a new building.

After we left the current school, we walked down to the new building site. 
Here is the foundation for the new church inside the new property wall. 

They had to dig down (by hand!) 60 feet to find water for the well!

Missing home, we had to show our love for our lovely (but cold) state of Ohio!

And of course, we were in training mode, so we just had to teach our interpreters
the O-H-I-O chant and pose.  They are now Buckeye fans!

Tonight we are enjoying one another's company, thinking about packing, and reviewing the happenings of the day.  We are so grateful to see the progress being made on the new building site for the Dégeance church and school, in addition to the banana, mango and papaya trees already planted along the inside of the fence.  Our last day of teaching training was also very rewarding, and we feel as if we have made many friendships with our Haitian teachers and principals.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Haiti - Dec 4-8, 2017 - Pastors Seminar

December 5, 2017

The Pastors' Seminar is going great. With at least 200 in attendance, the first day of the seminar has been wonderful and God is being lifted up.  Continue to pray for the rest of the seminar.  They send everyone their love!

December 6, 2017

We are busy, but everything is going great! Each day we start out by visiting schools and so far we have been to MPCA, Lanzac, and Chardene.  Herb was able to visit one of his students he sponsors. Then at one point Lynn looks at me and says "I think that is the girl we sponsor." We asked her name and sure enough it was her, so he was able to visit with her.  I have a great picture of her, but I can't send it thanks to our internet problems.

The rest of our time is spent at the conference, which starts at 3:00 pm and ends at 8:30 pm.  Each pastor then teaches 5 times each night. The translators are amazing and are keeping up with the Americans really well.  We added to our numbers and had close to 300 participants tonight.   There has been amazing conversations about church, theology and our relationship with Jesus.  I will send a quick update tomorrow and then I'll have your husbands home on Friday!   Everyone is feeling great despite working and sweating hard!   


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Haiti - Nov 29 - Dec 5, 2017 - Leadership

First entry - Yesterday we traveled to 2 of Mission Possible's schools; Lahatte and St Marc's.  We met with the directors, secretaries, and community agents to hear their stories, to see what they're excited about, and to learn about their concerns.  We also did a teamwork activity with some of the students called the Magic Carpet Game.  They were confused with the directions at first, but once they understood, they seemed to really enjoy the short activity.  Later that evening, we had many of our leaders come to the Mission Center for dinner and to learn about John Maxwell's 5 Levels of Leadership.  It was a great time of fellowship.  Please continue to pray for us as we travel to more schools today.  Pictures to come soon!

Second entry - Yesterday we visited 2 schools, Chardene and Dupin.  Jacob was able to meet two of his church's sponsor kids (pictures to come soon).  In the evening we attended the student leaders last gathering before they graduate.  It was a great time of celebration and prayer.  Today we will be attending that graduation.  Hope you are all doing well back home!

Third entry - Today we attended the student and adult leaders graduation.  It was a great time of celebration with their closest friends and family.  Over 130 adults and students received certificates for completing the programs.  2 years ago they started learning about the importance of leadership and today they started their next journey... giving their leadership away to others.  Thank you to all who prayed for our leadership, we are excited to see them grow.  The rest of the afternoon we hung out the mission center and enjoyed some downtime.  Tomorrow we are excited to visit St Marc's church.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Haiti - Nov 6-19, 2017 - Medical

November 7, 2017

Today was the first day of our grand adventure. After we all prepared ourselves for the day and ate our breakfast, we took off down the road to Lanzac.  We set up all our things in the largest room they had and set to work. The children came with their parents due to their preschool age. Most cried at first, some cried the entire time, while others were docile and sweet, not shedding a single tear.

Sharon, in charge of checking feet, never seemed to fail in garnering a laugh or at least a smile from the children she saw. She would blow on their little toes, and they would spread them far apart and laugh while she looked them over to see if all the little piggies were okay. In the meantime, Claudia would just play with the littles while they were waiting their turn to be poked and prodded, and make them forget all about the terrors they had imagined to come from these strange,“blanc” people.  

While all the laughter was falling on the echoing walls of the large room, the hearing tests were happening upstairs in the principal’s office. This was the first stop for the kids, and they came in the room unhappy. Most of them calmed down after a couple soothing words from Vanessa and the translator. One little boy, Claendel Nicholas, came in the big scary principal’s office stoic and skittish; he glanced up at me (Rebekah), who promptly smiled at him. His face lit up with a huge grin, eyes sparkling, he turned towards his mama and uttered something in Creole. She giggled and turned to the translator and told him what Claendel had said. Next, it was the interpreter’s turn to chuckle as he looked up and told me that Claendel had said that he loves me. Claendel continued on to the others, and the hearing people went back to testing other kids.

All the while, Pam was marveling over how much better all the kids were doing since they had started coming to take care of them. Our work was interrupted by our midday meal, and after lunch, it was time to clean up and move on.

Chardene was our next stop. We hopped on the truck, crowded with translators. After a short bumpy trip, we got to Chardene and checked up on the fourth graders. We saw each girl and boy, yet we did not get to spend near as much time there as we did at Lanzac. Only a couple hours after we arrived, it was approaching darkness and the sky was looking stormy.  We packed up, and just as we were getting ready to set out, the sky let loose in a torrent of rain. Rain and mountains and bad roads are not the best things to be driving in, but we made it down the mountain alive, yah! We were tired, wet, and being jostled from side to side and front to back, but we were singing the whole way down. It may not have sounded the best, but we were joyful. Happy to be were we are in the moment. Finally, we made our way back to the mission center where we found a warm meal waiting. We ate, we had devotions, and we talked about our day.
-- Bekah

November 8, 2017

It is truly an understatement to say this trip has been amazing. What a blessing it is for the team and I to have the opportunity to come help these babies. Today the team went to Dupin to do more physicals, and we saw so many brave faces! The kiddos were so incredibly tough through everything. Even this sweet girl, who was getting a thorn pulled out of her foot today, didn’t even shed one tear. It was extraordinary. Belinda got to see the boy that she sponsors (Kenbelove), and it was a beautiful reunion. If you have followed our medical teams over the past year, you know the story of Kenbelove and Belinda. :) Throughout today and yesterday, God's great love was visible. I have been so grateful to the team for being so willing to let me help and for teaching me so much.  I have also been grateful to our Almighty God for humbling me through this experience. God is good, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the week holds. Also to Crystal’s and Jameson’s families: they made it safe and sound, and we are so glad they are here!
-- Claudia

Claudia has been learning to flush ears!

Belinda and her sweet little Kenbelove!

This student stepped on a thorn and had to get it pulled out of her foot. What a trooper!

Vanessa and Bekah had quite the audience today as they were doing hearing checks!

Carter turned 20 years old today, so he thought it was time to get a check-up.

November 9, 2017

Today was an interesting day. We started at St Marc this morning, assessing first the sick students and then some other elementary kids. It was a smooth morning, and we were thrilled to have Crystal and Jameson thrown into the mix with us today! It really made a difference and we are thankful that they arranged their plans to come serve with us.

After lunch at St Marc, we traveled to Chardene again to do physicals for some Secondary students. When we arrived, there were a few interesting things going on- things that some of our team members had not experienced before. It was an opportunity for us to pray together as a team and to declare the name of Jesus over that school ground. The rest of the afternoon went well; it rained (of course!) but was dry and lovely by 5:00 when we headed back to the Mission Center.

We were tired when we got back, but really enjoyed having guests here for dinner. The Community Agents joined us for dinner tonight, and also received a new polo shirt & a cross pin in celebration of them being one year into the program. We have certainly noticed a difference in the health of the students since having Community Agents there each day to keep an eye on them. What a blessing!

Sharon with one of our translators, Camie!

Rene and Pam with Anite's son, Kurt Leaderson!

Community Agents receiving their polos & pins tonight!

What a wonderful group of Community Agents!

November 10, 2017

Today we had a busy and fun day at LaHatte. Even though our team is fairly small, we managed to give physicals to all of the students that were at school today. There are some absent students that we will have to follow up with later, but we feel very good about what got accomplished today! We also had some sweet reunions between team members and students, which is always a blessing to witness. The trip to and from is always an adventure, but the truck didn't get stuck in the mud so that alone makes it a successful day. :)  Jameson got to ride in the front of the truck with a live chicken on the way home, which made for an extra interesting trip! When we arrived back at the Mission Center this evening, our blood pressure clinic patients were waiting for us so Deb and Crystal tended to them. Tonight we just spent time together as a team; our team members that are leaving soon are already dreading going back home! Mostly because of the cold weather, I'm sure. :)

Thanks for praying for us!

November 11, 2017

What a great trip we had going to Degeance today to do physicals on the children there!  We got to the new property for the future MP Degeance School, and were so excited to see so many school children (on a Saturday) there to meet us and help us carry all of our gear up the mountain.  Upon arriving, the children were singing, just as if it was a normal school day. Many parents were there with the children, which was so helpful in getting histories, especially for the younger children. We saw more children today than we have at any other school this week. It was exciting to see Kenson who had been burned last Feb. He looked so healthy and has had an amazing recovery. Likewise, it was a joy to see Angelina, who had the abscessed tooth last Feb.  She, too, looks great and healthy. 

This being our 5th day together, we were like a well-oiled machine. Our translators pretty much stayed with the same team members they had been with all week. We could not function without them, and it has been fun to share and get to know them even better throughout the week.  Upon arriving back to the Mission Center we took a “team picture”, as next week there will be some new members added to our team.

We had a sweet time of worship and devotions tonight after supper. Pastor Herve shared with us and Belinda gave us each a special verse. Each of us shared who we had been praying for this week and new MP t-shirts were presented to each team member.  It is sad to say “good-bye” tomorrow to Belinda, Rebekah, Steve, and Claudia. We will cherish the memories we have experienced together this week. We pray for safe travels home for them as well as for the new team members that will be arriving Monday.

Thank you for all of your prayers. We are feeling them here and appreciate them so much.

-- Deb

November 12, 2017

Today was a day of rest; just what we needed. After attending church at MPCA together, Belinda, Claudia, Steve and Bekah all headed to the airport to begin their travel home! We will certainly miss them but are looking forward to our next team coming tomorrow. Our day today was full of getting organized for next week, catching up on a few things from last week, meal prepping, hand washing our laundry, swimming, and even a couple of naps. It was wonderful to be able to breathe, re-charge and get ready for what God has for us in this coming week. Week 2 folks- we're ready for you!!!

November 13, 2017

The second week team arrived safely this afternoon! After a long morning at Lanzac, followed by a busy afternoon at Saint Marc, the two-weekers were sure great to see their smiling faces once we got back to the Mission Center! Deb spent the afternoon with the Community Agents as they presented their capstone projects; she was very happy with how well they did! The rest of the team saw several students today and kept extremely busy!

November 14 ,2017

The first day with a new team was fantastic.  We spent the day at St. Marc. Everyone jumped right in and found a job.  It’s always amazing to see how God orchestrates putting a team together, with the different personalities and skill sets.   From getting a good hearing check to seeing the dentist, the children received a full range of services.  There were some treatments and dressings to do, ears to flush and medicine to disburse, but overall the students are looking healthy.

We ended our day with one of our interpreters, Balak, playing his guitar and teaching us a few praise and worship songs.  The highlight was when his sister Magdala accompanied him on a duet. Schneider, another interpreter, even joined in playing the drums.  Singing along with our Haitian friends was such a great reminder that God’s love knows no border.  We all sing praises to the One True God.  It truly was a joyful noise unto the Lord.

We came home to a wonderfully prepared meal by Monita and enjoyed the evening together.
We are all excited to head to Dupin tomorrow and enjoy another day loving on the children and serving together. – Kelly

Wonderful day.  Beautiful children and young adults.  My only regret was not practicing my Creole enough to be able to communicate better.  However, that gave the older kids a chance to practice their English!  --Kathe

Jameson took good care of this sweet little guy at Lanzac!

Kelly got to snuggle a 2-year old student this morning!

Cierra had a big task of assessing our students today!

Josh was brave and held the light so our dentist could pull some teeth. His face says it all. :)

We enjoyed some spontaneous worship today after we finished working!

November 15, 2017

Our team started off the day practicing being flexible. We were scheduled to go to Dupin, but it rained during the night and was raining again in the morning, so we decided we would go to MPCA instead. Just as we were gearing up to go there, plans changed again and we decided that going to Dupin would be safe afterall. Our team members were wonderful with being patient with the leaders, which was very appreciated. It was a busy day up at Dupin- approximately 20 teeth were pulled by the dentist, lots of ears were flushed, feet were tickled and checked, and several physicals were completed! Our team is working really well together, which helps us push through our exhaustion. Tonight Balak and Schneider came to the mission center and lead worship for us, which was a really sweet time together as we just slowed down and focused on something different (and more important) than medical-related things. It was a good day!

We had another great day with the community agents this afternoon. Three of the agents presented their capstone projects, which stimulated many questions and good conversation among the group. I am so proud of them for the effort that they have put into their projects. Our session ended with a lesson on scabies. After learning about scabies, the community agents role-played talking to the family of a child found with scabies at their school.  They were very engaged! -- Deb

Emily had a busy day flushing ears!

Bahi checked student's height and weight!

Kem enjoyed her time checking (and tickling) the students' feet!

Balak was very interested in the dental tools!

Kenbelove and his papa with Pam!

November 16, 2017

Our team is in full swing of the second week. Even though there are only two more days of seeing kids and performing medical assessments, there is still lots of work to be done!  Today we spent the whole day at Chardene and saw 200 patients. The line of students seemed almost as vast as the view of the Caribbean Sea from the Mission Center; it appeared to go on for all of eternity. However, our fearless team continued to work together as a well-oiled machine. Any time part of a group leaves and new members join, there can uncertainty to how the team will function. As the posts before mentioned, we have been blessed with two weeks of great team members with one goal in mind – to serve God’s children in Haiti. Please pray for our team tomorrow and Saturday as we finish the work we came to do. Many have been here for more than a week and fatigue can begin to set in at times like these. Pray that we would be focused on our mission and for energy to sustain us as we grow tired.

Personally, today was tough for me as clinic was very busy and there were several children and staff with many medical needs. I could feel myself “hitting a wall” and just needing rest. However, today was also very rewarding for me as I was able to follow up with a patient from last week, who had improved immensely. I also had the opportunity to go to the local hospital and visit a patient that I saw yesterday who required surgery for a broken arm. Praise God that this little boy’s surgery went well!

In the morning, I can easily see small islands off the coast of Haiti from the mission center. By night, their view disappears in the darkness, but it is a wonder to imagine them clear as daylight. In the same way, after our time at the school is over for the day (and even after the trip is over) the vivid images of the students pictured in our minds will be forever engrained, even though we can not physically see them. 

-Jameson (with help from Sam)

November 17, 2017

We spent Friday at MPCA and it was a great day. Since it is such a big school, we were strategic in how we saw the students. We were fortunate enough to see the sick students, and I think Lydie (our dentist) reported that nearly FORTY teeth were pulled today. WOW! It has been a busy week, but such a great one. Our team got a chance to actually spend time playing and interacting with our students today in a non-medical way, which was refreshing. Tonight we spent time together sharing about how we all ended up here; it was fun to hear the different paths we took & details that had to line up in order for each of us to be here in Haiti serving together. We know that it was all God and that we were hand-picked by Him alone. Pastor Herve shared how he has been involved in different aspects over the last 30-ish years, and it was neat for the team to hear his heart and his vision for this ministry. We concluded the evening by praying over both Pastor Herve and Ruth, as they are each field leaders in Haiti & the Dominican Republic. It has been pouring rain all night, so once we were finished we each had to make a quick dash back to the dining area from the gazebo, some of us losing flip flops along the way! This team has been a blast, always finding new reasons to laugh together and encourage each other. What a blessing. :) 

Vanessa with one of the students that she fitted with a hearing aid. So neat!

Pam giving the dickens to the MPCA students.... just kidding. :)

The students loved Kathe!

Josh looked out for his new little friend today!

The Community Agents gathered together for the final time this trip.