Monday, December 14, 2015

Haiti - Student Pictures - December 5-12, 2015

December 7, 2015

Our first day of student photos at our Chardene school (Pre-K through 13th grade) was a huge success!!

We have already been greatly touched by our time with the kids here.  We photographed just over 500 students and their teachers.  And we had so much fun at the same time!  Along with just taking pictures, we played and interacted with the kids, sharing Jesus' love with them through our time and attention, hugs and hand shakes, broken French and a fluffy blue teddy bear.  We were so proud to see the students working hard on their school work, and especially on their "faith work" and discipline.

Tomorrow we head to two other schools, and I'm looking forward (ha!) to the long hike up the mountain early in the morning.

December 9, 2015

We are right on schedule and taking lots of pictures that we are excited to share with you when we return.  Yesterday we hiked up a mountain and over some water to Dupin, then headed into the “city” to reach our St Marc school.  Played a lot with the kids at both places.

Today we walked to our Lanzac school, where we saw just 25 little ones.  And although I didn’t believe him, Darren was right when he said some children would cry.  There was one pre-school student who actually ran away screaming(more than once) because the scary white people were invading his territory! 

After Lanzac, we went to our largest school, MPCA, where we photographed most of the students there.  Because there is some extra testing going on this week, we will need to finish three grades tomorrow.

This evening began with a dinner with our leadership academy graduates, then a time for them to hear from Darren and Pastor Herve about the difference good leaders can make in someone’s life. 

Tomorrow we hike up another mountain to Degeance, and will hopefully be able to do a little sight-seeing on the way down before heading back to MPCA.

We appreciate your faithful prayers for us while we’re here!  We know the Spirit is moving in Haiti, and believe God will do great things through the work we are doing this week.
December 11, 2015

Last post for this trip... We're all missing our friends and families and looking forward to leaving tomorrow - but also sad about leaving this beautiful and desperate place!  This morning we traveled to Lahatte to visit the adorable kids at our farthest school.  I haven't been there before, and didn't know that there was an actual dessert (with real cactus!) in Haiti!  Thankfully, the kids were very excited to see us, and no one cried or screamed and ran away!

We took a short tour of a close village, and loved on the kids while taking their pictures and helping our nurse (Anite) determine which students needed vitamins the most.  We watched them play some soccer during recess before lunch, and learned a lot about their culture.  It's hard to believe that the people in that area often have to walk between 2 and 3 hours to find water, then carry it home!!

Darren and I will be having a couple of short meetings this afternoon with Pastor Herve and Hachemy, then the Leadership graduates will be here for dinner and training again this evening.

Please pray that this time together will spur us all to share with others about the amazing Haitian people and culture, and to work toward building a better place to raise up the next generation of Christ-centered leaders!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Haiti - Student Physicals and OB Sessions - Nov 7-14, 2015

Nov 9, 2015

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning, Nov 8, and headed to church about 30 minutes from here. It was a time of lively praise and worship, a wonderful sermon about the importance of having Christ-centered families, a testimony from a woman about her son who was near death but now is healed, and even had the entire congregation pray over our team. Tonya expressed how powerful it is to have so many people simultaneously praying over you in a language that you can’t understand. It’s always so moving to see how deeply the Haitians care about us!

On Sunday afternoon we held a blood pressure clinic. It was encouraging to see a good number of people show up and was a nice way for our team to ease into the trip in a more relaxed atmosphere. Sunday evening was spent preparing for our first day at the school, along with playing a little bit of Fizz-bo!

This morning we made the trip to Chardene, where we were welcomed with the kids singing “Father Abraham” for us! We first saw the students that needed the most attention and were thankful for how smoothly we all transitioned into our roles as we worked to assess them. We saw a lot of stuff that we were expecting to see, along with some things that were a little more severe, and it’s always such a blessing to be able to help these sweet people.

Amber, who is experiencing Haiti for her first time, said that the highlight of her day was spending time with the kids. She loved their smiles and their orneriness as they played with her stethoscope, looked at her watch, and of course wanted her to take their pictures!

Nov 10, 2015

Today our team hiked up a mountain, crossed over some water, and visited Dupin! We were very blessed to have several Haitian men who were willing to carry the heavy stuff for us, and I'm happy to report that no one fell and rolled down the hill! :) It's always humbling to have the men help us; you really see their servant hearts through the way that they carry things for us, hold our hands as we walk up and down steep hills, and show us which rocks to use as stepping stones while we're crossing over water. We saw a lot of students in the morning, all with varying sicknesses.

This afternoon we held an OB clinic for some of the pregnant women in Dupin. The women were really appreciative of the teachings and it was a good eye-opener to all of us as we learned just how different our cultures can be when it comes to caring for unborn and newborn babies. Tonya got the neat opportunity to let the women hear the heartbeats of their babies! It's always such a sweet moment to see the ladies' faces light up and to see the other women in the room celebrate the moment with them!

Nov 11, 2015

The past 24 hours have been full of conquering things. First, we conquered a huge spider (It was roughly the size of our heads! Okay maybe not quite that big, but it was big enough!) with the help of a sweet Haitian man. I'm sure he got a good laugh out of us being so scared! This morning we conquered climbing up another mountain to visit the Degeance school. Several students from the school came down the mountain to help us carry our stuff; it was so sweet of them, and once again we were blown away by their thoughtfulness. We saw a lot of students this morning, and even though it was crowded and hot, we felt so privileged to have had the opportunity to lay hands on these kids and give them some attention.

In the afternoon, we had another OB clinic for some pregnant women in Degeance. They were a really fun group of ladies; they had some wonderful questions and offered a lot of information about how they deliver babies in their villages. They did a wonderful job learning how to do CPR on their babies if it was ever needed, and were excited to receive their OB kits!

Nov 13, 2015

We didn't get a chance to post yesterday, but it was a great day! We visited Lanzac school right away in the morning where we saw a very sick little girl. Luckily we were able to treat her and explain to her mom and principal exactly what the problem was. It was such a blessing that we got to be there that morning to help her.

After Lanzac, we made the long and dusty trip up to LaHatte school. And boy, was it hot! We were encouraged by how organized it was and how well the kids did during their physicals. They're always excited to receive any type of attention and love, so while some of us did an OB seminar with the pregnant and/or new mommas, Amber, Rene, and Hannah took the kids outside and played with them! Despite the incredible heat, it was a great time playing and singing with those kids! The other half of the group had a great time with the ladies, and we even got to take turns holding a beautiful pair of one-month-old twins! It's so hard to believe that today was our last full day!

The week has gone so fast, and we've seen God move in so many cool ways! After we were done at MPCA this afternoon, we gathered in the back of the truck, along with our translators, nurse and pastor, to join hands and pray together. It was so neat for them to pray for us, and us to pray for them. One of the coolest things about these trips is seeing how we get to build relationships with people, and re-connect with people we've met on previous trips!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Leadership Academy Graduation - September 5, 2015

Equipping the next generation of Christ centered leaders...

Mission Possible has talked about this focus for many years and today we celebrated a giant leap in the direction of this focus.  
It was monumental.
Many of you have been hearing and praying for our leadership academy and today we honored our first class of graduates.

The candidates have been coming to training for almost two years and have learned leadership skills, been trained in the Word, done physical training, and have learned to be a better leader, not only for our organization, but for their role in their families, churches and communities.

The morning started with a roll call and reciting of the core leadership points and singing of the Haitian National Anthem in front of their friends and family.  

It was followed by a graduation service where they were congratulated, honored and admonished to use what they had learned for kingdom business.  They received diplomas and rings in honor of their hard work.

We will now be working with these leaders to help us reach the island of Hispaniola for Christ.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Board Trip - September 4, 2015

September 4, 2015

The US and Canadian board of Mission Possible are here seeing the ministry, talking to our national leaders, encouraging those that have worked through our leadership academy, praying about what God has next for us, and enjoying the fellowship with each other and our brothers and sisters in Christ who live here.
We woke up in good time today and journeyed to Saint Marc to take care of some business.  While we were there we walked through the downtown area and shared the sights and sounds of this busy community.  We prayed with a father who showed us a photograph of his daughter who has a condition that is making her left lower extremity swelled.

We went up to see the Church and School in Saint Marc, Chardene and MPCA.  School has not started yet, but the principles in each school shared with us great stories about the upcoming school year and we heard about number of leaders and teachers that have been students at our school.  It made us feel good about the leadership focus of our mission and the potential of the students we work with.

In the evening, our leadership group came and ate supper with us.  We had cake and celebrated their involvement.  There are some great people working for us and we are going to have a graduation tomorrow.
I am posting two pictures.

The first is a photo of an accident we witnessed today.  A young man was driving a large truck with large containers of water and as he went up a hill he started losing it, over corrected and the truck fell on its side.  We saw it happening and there was nothing we could do but watch.

Water went cascading down the hill and amazingly the driver jumped out the side window (obviously he was not wearing a seat belt).  We made sure he was ok and many people came, some filling containers with the free water that was pouring out. 
I couldn’t help think about the frustrating position this young man was in and how he was going to tell his boss about what happened.  If this is like normal accidents in Haiti, the truck will be there for days, weeks, or months.  My mind went to the difficult situation that many of our students are in.  They are in a desperate situation with little opportunity to get out of it.  The young man in the accident needs a tow truck, a repairman, insurance, and an understanding boss to help him through his.  Our school starts in a few days and our kids need spiritual help, discipline, a nutritional meal, and leadership training.  The accident reminded me that a lot of these kids have a great need and we have the opportunity to help in ways that they cannot imagine.

The second image I am posting of a young girl that was on the beach this morning looking in at us and our team.  I wandered if she is going to come to our school someday.  I wondered if she could someday be one of the leaders that can help train in God’s word to reach the next generation and continue the mission.  I am grateful for Mission Possible and look forward to see what God has in store for us.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Haiti - Teacher Seminar, VBS, and Youth Ministry: July 2015

July 26, 2015

Today we were able to worship with in the Haitian church at MPCA.  As songs, psalms and prayers in Creole resonated throughout the open air building, we were little more than spectators. Steve Bowlin admits he was amazed by the sincerity of the worship as we witnessed the young and old with closed eyes and raised hands, praising their heavenly Father. The Haitians frequently echoed Merci Seigneur!  Merci Seigneur! Merci Seigneur! (Thank you Lord!) While most of the thirteen team members know Spanish, none speak Creole, and only a few can recognize French. In fact, one of the concerns expressed in our first team meeting under the pavilion by the ocean here at the mission center was the ability to communicate. In that first meeting veteran team member Pastor Herb Codington mentioned that many try to serve from a posture of strength, but true service comes from a posture of weakness. In the worship service today, David Rath was able to expand on that idea of weakness by speaking on the story of Gideon and how God told Gideon, “You don’t need men, you need me.” Though we are not facing a battle this week, we are like Gideon’s men.  We have ten from our group who will be working with around 150 students each day.  They will be teaching how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Four of our group along with two Haitian teachers will be training approximately other 120 Haitian teachers. Given the language barrier, those odds are a bit worrisome. But with the promises of the Lord and the prayers of His people, the Lord will be victorious.

- Jeanette

After church and a delicious Haitian lunch, the team started getting ready for the week of
Church Camp at different churches in the community.

July 27, 2015

Today was a good day. I was able to lead a group of Haitian children in a few games. I had a plan for what games we would play but those didn't work out because the kids had traditional games they played. Tonight, we spent time with a group of kids at the service we had. It was tough to communicate what we were talking about with the language barrier and all. But, it was still a successful discussion. It has been great thus far.

-  Drake
Our first day of camp, in my opinion was very successful. We started by riding in a cattle truck to our first school, which was about 20 minutes away from our mission house. The scenery in the cattle truck was absolutely breathtaking with so many mountains and beautiful fruitful trees. We had about 107 St. Marc students for our soccer camp and VBS. The ages of the children were three to sixteen. Griffin, Nathan, Steven and I lead the soccer part of the camp. We had the children do shooting, passing and then played girls and boys. The girls were requesting to play against the boys and ran around and were screaming for about two minutes. They gathered and started to play, the girls not doing too well (5-0) requested that I play on their team. After scoring for the girls, they all went crazy. Seeing all the smiling and welcoming children who wanted to be held, hugged or learn more about God and English were the highlights of my day. This evening we did a Bible study with young adults from MP schools with the theme of “Your Identity in Christ”. They were very open with us and I loved hearing their dreams for their future and how they plan to serve God and their community and ultimately their country. Even with a language barrier, it is still amazing to be able to show love and Christ through our VBS and the beautiful game of soccer.
- Kayla


July 28, 2015

The teacher seminar is going great.  We have around 120 teachers attending and they are enjoying the learning and collaboration.  We have four American instructors and two Haitian instructors.  Each morning starts with devotions and worship.  We are all learning from each other and it has been amazing.



July 29, 2015

Today we made our first hike of the trip as we traveled up to Dupin. We did another day of VBS and ended up having approximately 160 kids show up! I was in the craft/evangelism group and led, with the help of a translator, the kids through the Gospel while making beaded bracelets. It’s always so fun hearing the kids scream out what each color means and to see the story of Jesus’ love make sense to them in a really simple way. On the way back down the mountain, Emilee and I each suddenly had a child that wanted to hold our hand and lead us down the path. The way they made sure that we walked on the part of the path that wasn’t as dangerous, and then went as far as to throw big rocks in the river for us to use as stepping stones, was a testament to the way that these kids love unconditionally.  They just genuinely enjoyed us taking time to be there with them, hold their hands, and love them. Love is a language that definitely doesn’t need to be translated! Later this afternoon, we held our third session for teenagers. It’s been really cool to break into small groups and to get to know the Haitians in our group better each day. They are starting to open up more and share the struggles that they face as Christians in their culture, but it’s been so fun to joke around with them, too. The best part of the event was the epic song/dance battle that happened between the Haitians and our group!

-- Rene

Today we went to Dupin.  It was the first time we had to hike to get to the school. The hike was not very long but it was hot and wet. Some of my favorite parts of the trip so far include: just being with this group of people.  I’m learning some new words in Creole.  I love doing VBS with the little kids in the morning.  I didn't think I was going to like it as much as I do.  My favorite school so far is Chardene.   Those kids were awesome.  I miss my family and air conditioning and my bed, but I wouldn't change anything about this trip. 

- Nathan
July 30, 2015

First of all I just want to say God is good! It’s amazing how much He has shown that He can use me in such a short amount of time here in Haiti. Not only that, but how much the Haitians have taught me about a simple faith and unconditional love. I came expecting to help them, and seeing how much they appreciate us gives me a change in heart. Our translators Carter, Tyson, and Jean have been with us everyday and each day I have asked many questions about Creole. They absolutely love when we ask questions about them and their language, so they always quiz me the next day and laugh at my pronunciations.  They always have a huge smile when I can have a conversation with them or the little kids.  The kids especially have so much fun when I show them the words I know, I count to 20 and say each color, then I teach them the English words for it. I think they are appreciative when we want to learn something from them. With that being said, today we hiked up to Degeance where there was very little space to play, but we improvised.  I walked up to a few little girls and asked them their name and age, told them their hair was pretty (Chave bel). The kids show us so much genuine love and they truly want to be loved, so being an example of God to them is such a wonderful opportunity. During the camp, I led games and I played guitar for each age group and we taught them the motions to “Lift Your Name on High” and at the end we all sang and danced to it together. As hot as it was, listening to them praise with us in their language gave me chills.  It has been a humbling experience and huge blessing to be here.

July 31, 2015

Sac passé!(What’s up) This week has been an awesome experience.  I have learned how giving and open those in the Haitian culture are.  When first arriving in Haiti, I saw how much more difficult the essentials for life are to come by and the way of life is much simpler.  Yesterday we played the high school and college age Haitians who have been coming to our evening meetings at soccer!  We had a great time playing against them even though we lost 3-6.  It was difficult playing on their field with all of the rocks and no grass.  I am looking forward to coming back to the U.S. for all of the amenities, but also at the same time I don't want this week to end.  I was playing with some of the little kids and would pick them up and spin them in a circle or throw them in the air and after I did that to the first kid I had a swarm of kids run over all hugging my legs and asking to spin them next.  After doing that to about thirty to forty kids, I was done but looking down and seeing how ecstatic their faces were, I couldn’t stop.  I’m so happy that God gave me this opportunity and thankful for it.  I couldn't ask for a better group of people to experience all of these things with.

Bonjour! As someone who, before this week, had only been to the Dominican Republic, this week was an incredibly different experience. The two countries, while sharing an island, differ in many aspects of their culture and ways of life. Both of the countries share the island of Hispaniola and similar flora and fauna, however, their similarities stop fairly short after that. The most noticeable difference is the language. While the D.R. speaks the well-known Spanish language, Haiti has it’s own unique language of Creole, which is essentially a mix of French, Spanish, and English, making it very hard to learn and translate. The other distinct difference is the terrain. While the mountains of the Dominican are lush and rich with an infinite number of greens, Haiti’s have been stripped barren and are a solid dusty brown. Haiti also brings along the strange and mystical voo-doo religion that has just recently lost its grip on the country. If asked which country I liked more, I couldn’t give an answer. The two experiences are not at all the same so comparison is impossible. Haiti has given me a new perspective and opened my eyes to missions outside of the Dominican Republic.

Prayer together before the soccer game

We had a downpour after the soccer game and everyone enjoyed the cool rain