Saturday, October 13, 2018

Haiti - October 13-20, 2018 - Student Photos

October 13, 2018

We are at the Mission Center. All is well. We are eating Haitian spaghetti, listening to the waves, and feeling the evening heat. All flights were on time. All bags made it. No problems in customs. We made it from the air port to the Mission Center in two hours. We were and are blessed all the way around. Tomorrow is church and we start student pictures. Pray that our new photo taking and naming process works smoothly.

I Cor. 2:9 - We have no idea what God has for those who love Him.

October 14, 2018

This morning we went to LaHatte and worshiped with the people. We didn't know the songs so it was a little difficult, but we clapped right along with them. After that we took pictures of the Pre-K class and they were pretty shy. We took pictures of 1-6th grade and the kids got more engaged with us as we progressed. After pictures the kids had a lunch of rice and beans. We hung out for a while after pictures and played hand games with the kids. The little girls loved to play with your hair and jewelry. The older kids loved to hold hands and find out what grade I was in. When we left the school many of the kids road down hill with us to get to there village at the end of the hill. Even though we're finished on the first day I was ready to go to the next school.
~ Nelle Hines

October 15, 2018

Hope - Seeing God in Haiti gives me a lot of hope. It is amazing to see these people worshiping God with their singing and to see them so full of joy and hope.

Endurance - It's sometimes difficult to keep going through the heat and tiredness to get the job done. But God gives us endurance to get everything done.

Acceptance - The Haitians have taught me so much about acceptance. They are so willing to start a conversation with you and ask you about yourself. The kids love to play games with you or hold your hand. They are so kind and welcoming.

Persistence - The people here are not quick to give up. They are quick to learn, and despite their laughing and poking fun they are quite persistent in trying to understand our English.

Happiness - The happiness here is shown in the little things. Simple things like playing hot hands or photographs bring us, and the Haitians happiness.

Patience - Often times language barriers create frustrations among us and the Haitians, despite this we all try to practice grace. Perhaps this means maybe we should all learn some more creole.

Jenny & Tavia

October 16, 2018

As we began our third day of picture taking we all felt confident we were ready to tackle the two schools we had on the agenda: Lanzac and Saint Marc. We have developed a great rhythm and found ways to maximize the strengths of each team member. For me the task was clear and I was ready to conquer it.

Then I read our devotional for today in which we read about by Jesus's compassion for his sheep in Matthew 9:36. We are here to love on the people of Haiti, not to just complete a set of tasks. With that and Mr. Roth's encouragement to take the time to truly look into the eyes of the kids on love on them, we were off to the school in Lanzac. After an arduous one minute walk out the front gate to the school we began our day.

We completed our day with the school in Saint Marc, a stark contrast to Lanzac. Lanzac was a small peaceful school while Saint Mark was a hive of activity. Both brought great opportunities to love on the students and be blessed by the interactions.

It is so easy for me to get task orientated and try to "fix" things. To look around and think if I could just fix some of the physical issues of Haiti that would somehow change things. The truth is the only thing that can change people, whether in Haiti or the United States, the truth of the Gospel and the love of our Lord and Savior. It is that love we hope to share this week as we complete the tasks were are assigned.

We are closing out our day with a group work session to organize the name cards. Along with a great deal of conversation and laughter. We have discovered Devon's hidden talent for making incredible kettle corn. With hearts full and stomachs filled with kettle corn we excitedly anticipate all the Lord has in store for tomorrow.

-Nelle and Tylor

October 17, 2018

Greetings from Haiti!!

What a week it has been so far. Today (Wednesday) despite it being a student holiday, we made our way to two different schools. Our first stop was the Mission Possible school at Dupin, but not before quite a trip up the mountain. Our translator, Evans, was insistent the girls ride in the cab of the truck - and boy am I thankful he did! Bumpy, pots holes, washed out sections of road, mud, crater sized holes, horses, donkeys, and goats, were just some of the obstacles we encountered- it was a ride to be remembered. Upon arriving at the school, the guys said that it felt like they had just finished a good arm work out at the gym.

The school at Dupin is rather small, and the students moved through the picture line quickly and efficiently. One of the groundsmen at the school was an incredible help keeping the students moving along through the line smoothly, and even getting them to smile for us occasionally. It took us about an hour and a half and we were packing ourselves back into the truck Haitian-style, and heading back down the mountain to our next school.

Next up was Degeance. This is another mountain school, with incredible views all around. We hiked a short distance up a fairly steep hill, that took us through a banana and plantain grove. The only buildings at this school are made of palm fronds. Mission Possible is currently in the middle of building a new school for the students at Degeance a little down the mountain from their current location.

Picture taking, again went very quickly. We wrapped everything up and started our trek back to our truck. On the way down we were joined by some of the students from Degeance and we stopped and looked at the new property. There is a block and cement wall all around the property and the start of one of the buildings. While visiting the new property, Devon interviewed the pastor/administrator for Degeance. He talked about what the new property will mean for the community. Devon was also able to get some ariel footage.

During this time - it was HOT, really HOT, the hottest it has been this week, and VERY still. There was no breeze at all to offer a respite. We were out in full sun, and those of us, not a part of the interviewing were getting a little anxious to get things wrapped up. Those students that started down the mountain with us, were still hanging around. We decided to play our version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, but it was more like Get the Hat on Aaron's Head. We convinced the kiddos to join in and giggles ensued. The novelty began to wear off, and so we found an old plastic bottle, added a few rocks and ended our afternoon on the mountain playing Kick the Bottle.

We made it back to the mission center around 2:30 and most of us took a little snooze and then jumped right back in to indexing pictures from today. Dinner was veggie rice and chicken in spicy sauce, and avocados ... because avocados are life, at least in Haiti.

The rest of the evening has been walking on the beach, picture taking and looking for shells, cards, making kettle-corn (third night in a row), and ice cold coke from the fridge.

So after four days, what am I thinking? Well, this place is lovely. Beautiful views, amazing food, extraordinary people ... people that love the Lord and who are interested in seeing the next generation grow into Godly men and women. God is here, and he is working in the hearts of the people of Haiti.

October 18, 2018

We just returned from St Marc church, 10:00 pm, and enjoyed worshiping with the believers there. Travel this evening was fine to St Marc and our trip to Chardene school today was both successful and safe. More details tomorrow.

October 19, 2018 - Morning

   This being our final morning in Haiti we are all filled with mixed emotions. We would be lying if we claimed to not miss our home, however, we are filled with a longing to stay. Our hearts have truly been won by the people of Haiti.
          Last night we were blessed with the opportunity to attend a church service at Saint Marc Church led by our very own team leader, Trace Roth. The moment we crossed the threshold we were overtaken by what seemed to be a thousand singing voices. During the worship service, the church truly lived, even the walls around us seemed to be singing praises to God. We were surrounded by an unquestionable love for our Glorious Lord. Many knees were bent and many prayers were prayed, it seemed as though the congregants greatly understood what Christ had done for us all. The message was centered around repentance and the hope we find in God. It was a uniquely enlightening experience.
         The devotion of our Christian family in Haiti is evident in every aspect of their lives. It would seem as though they truly understand the gravity and reverence of our Holy Father.
         We spent yesterday with the Students and staff of Chardene, one of the Mission Possible's Christian Academies. It was a refreshing reminder of why we are here, not only are we taking pictures, but we are forming relationships. The students were more then enthusiastic. They loved teaching us phrases and playing games with us.
        This country bears a constant reminder that the light of Christ encompasses all nations, and all cultures.
         Our team is thankful for the opportunity God has put before us. We are thankful for the love and support of the Haitian people, and will keep them in our prayers always.
                                                                                                                             by: Benjamin O'Dell



What a week it has been! Seven days in the country and we have somewhere around 5,000 photos of students and classes. It has felt more like a mentally draining week than a physically draining one. The mental capacity to arrange students from 18 months old up to 20+ years old was quite high. Add in the challenge of getting each of the 2,000+ students to smile in each photo while not speaking their language - now you have quite an experience. I'm thankful for the team of very uniquely gifted people that God had assembled for this trip. We had an engineer, IT professionals, audiovisual techs and a few high-energy youth :) Our team excelled in efficiency both at each school taking photos as well as re-naming the 5,000 files back at the Mission House. God provided a strong mother-figure on our trip to make a HUGE difference when working with the students. It was just a wonderful assortment of the uniqueness of the body of Christ. Our US minds thrived on the task based nature of our trip and we feel that we have accomplished what we set out to do. It is a good feeling that so many sponsors will receive updated photos of their student, with many of them smiling :)

The reality of going home hasn't quite sunk in yet as we prepare to leave for the airport... We tried to capture some of our thoughts tonight during the beautiful sunset "Golden hour", but our memories are too fresh to process what we have seen and experienced here in Haiti. The starkness of the natural beauty in this country contrasted by the severe poverty and lack of basics was visually represented here. The idea that so many people have cell phones and Facebook accounts, yet lack access to clean drinking water and basic civil services like medical, fire, and police. The country offers high speed fiber internet, but not necessarily consistent electricity. We haven't had city provided electricity here at the Mission House since Sunday, so we have been utilizing solar power in battery backups. The lack of quality leadership in the country has led to this situation, even with billions of dollars in aid sent into the country. At times it does look hopeless - but the people here are full of hope. There is a sense of national pride, even with terrible living conditions in my eyes. As many others have said on the blog... God is here working in Haiti and I am hopeful for their future as a country. May we all pray for the leadership in Haiti, that God would raise up godly leaders who can help steer the country out of the developing world and into a self sufficient country. That the story of Haiti's recovery would be a major part of every world history book, chronicling the journey from third world poverty to a leader in humanitarian aid to other countries.

But now, our time in Haiti has come to an end. I am thankful for the time we were given to serve in the capacity of updating student photos, and to share the love of Jesus from the global body of Christ. We are tired and drained, but excited to return and share our stories. The transition back into the wealth of the US will be different for each of us, and we covet your prayers as we adapt back into US culture (and excitingly low temperatures). Pray that the national team of Haitian Mission Possible would be encouraged by our visit and energized to keep up the good work they do here. Pray for safe travels as we fly home and make our way through security, customs, and Saturday airport crowds. Pray that our families would be understanding of the mixture of exhaustion and excitement we are returning with. Pray that we would not slump back into our normal routine without being changed by the things that we have seen here.

We look forward to seeing you all and sharing our stories in person soon!

In Haiti,

Devon Roberts (and team)

Our Team Photo

The bucket head

sorting school supplies

The twin-bucket heads :)

Almost complete with the file naming!!!

Deep discussions on the meaning of life.

Translating video testimonies from Creole to English.