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Living a Life of Service…..by Meredith Hall

Meet Nu Nu and Maniese (Mineez). Both of these women impacted me in amazing ways this week. Nu Nu let me crouch down next to her on the ground and scrub laundry with her using bare hands, a bar of soap, a large metal bowl, and water from the canal (which her 6 yo daughter carried back by the gallons). I sat with her on the muddy ground while a translator allowed us to have a conversation. As she scrubbed the clothes, her 6yo brought her the 12 month old to nurse while she continued to wash the clothes.

Maneise is a joyful 70 year old woman who taught me how to cook beans and rice in a skillet over an open fire between two one room huts that she shared with her son, his wife, and their four children. She told me her story of losing her husband and battling cholera over the past five years. Her life was marked with, what my first world mind, would call heartache and headache. But her laugh and smile lit up my heart and everything around her.  Not only did she teach me to cook but she sang in her loudest most beautiful voice, her favorite church hymn.

I️ am forever changed by these two women. I️ saw Philippians 2:3-8 lived out by watching, learning, and listening to their life stories.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:3-8

They were humble servants putting the interests of others well above the comforts of themselves.  It impacted me a lot this week..”serving is inconvenient, uncomfortable, and humbling.  Living out humility can’t be done without serving. In serving, you will become more like Christ.”

It has been so humbling to watch these women and many others as they give themselves daily to the service of their families and community every day.  I️ pray for myself and my own family, as we head back to the comfort of our washing machines, ovens, and air conditioning, that we remember Nu Nu and Maneise and their humility and joy as they served their families in such a Christ like way and be moved to do so with my own family and community.   I’ll be honest, I️ serve my family but I️ don’t always have an attitude of humility and joy.

What are ways you are humbly serving others, and is it out of obligation or out of humility and the joy of your heart?

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Sunday Worship in Haiti……From Duff and Aidan Bourassa 

Worshipping Jezi in Haiti

It’s Sunday morning in Haiti, and we had the pleasure of worshiping God in a local church. It’s always fun to attend a service that is not in your native tongue, as you don’t quite know how God will speak to you. Just outside the Church, I was greeted by a young boy, he grabbed my hand and led me inside. He was young, but he did his best to translate the worship songs to me-he was such a blessing.

The church was open air, and it was hot, but that didn’t stop the locals from wearing their Sunday best.  Everyone sang and worshiped with so much passion; it was an excellent site to witness.

As the offering plate was passed, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Widows offering described in Mark 12:41-44. The Haitian people are plagued with poverty, yet everyone in the rows around me gave something to the offering.  It was so encouraging to see their faith lived out.

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Home in Haiti for a Few Days…..by Scott Kedersha

13 different families (33 individuals) arrived safely in Haiti for the fall Watermark short-term discipleship trip. Our day started bright and early (3:00am cst) and I’ve been amazed at how well all our kids (ranging from 9 to 16) have done. The adults have been awesome as well! We arrived safely at Mission of Hope and it’s just about time for lights out.

Tomorrow we’ll hit the road and travel to a nearby village to help serve with our ministry partner, Mission Of Hope Haiti, and to share the gospel in nearby villages. We’re excited to get to spend time with the people of Haiti.

As I reflect back on a long day, I’m excited to be here, but the complaints start to mount in my mind and heart – I’m tired, the bed is terrible, it’s really hot, and there’s no WiFi. And I’m going to miss some good college football games this weekend.

At the same time I remember how quick I am to grumble and complain. I forgot how Good God is and instead choose to focus on the negatives instead of the positive. Somehow I quickly forget the levels of physical and spiritual poverty all around me in Haiti and back home in dallas.

I’m thankful for Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Will you join us in praying 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 for our team, for the people of Haiti, and for the people of DFW?

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An Alternate Route to God’s Plan for the Day

written by Lonnie Smith

You are probably familiar with the proverb, “We make our plans; God orders our steps.” And that is exactly what happened today.

Our team had decided to head to the markets for the afternoon, see how the local people work, and spend some time getting to know their culture. As our bus pulled to a stop on the side of the busy street, our guide led us down a road to an orphanage instead of to the marketplace.

It was at the orphanage that I experienced God in a whole new way. Kneeling on the floor with the children, I had the opportunity to tell them from Psalm 127 what a gift children are to the world. I also had the opportunity to tell them they have a Heavenly Father who is a Father to the fatherless and will never leave them or forsake them. As I explained to them Christ’s great love for children and how He said in the Bible, “Let the little children come to Me,” I witnessed their faces beam with fullness of joy.

I told them just like children in China and in Africa and in America, and all over the world, they are image bearers of God. Then I had the opportunity to pray and ask our Heavenly Father to provide for them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As I quoted John 3:16 to them, imagine my surprise when I noticed half the children quoting that verse along with me! I was reminded of the great work of the gospel that God is accomplishing through His people in Haiti.

I walked into an orphanage to bless children with the message of the love of God in Christ for them, but I left that afternoon with the biggest blessing of all – actually experiencing the truth of scripture in that very moment, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.”

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Learning Humility from Haitians

 

written by Renee Caskey

Yesterday’s Mission of Hope devotional was on humility, and in the midst of my eagerness to serve these beautiful people, they served me.

Here’s the story.

Our team had the opportunity to spend time in our partner village, Titanyen, yesterday. We were scheduled to paint a house for a newly married couple – married just 10 days ago!

When we arrived at the house, I had to use the restroom, so our translator asked the homeowner where I could use the restroom. I was prepared to go behind a bush, road-trip style. Instead, the homeowner walked me safely to his latrine, over hills and near a large hole in the ground. Before we left the house, his new wife handed me a roll of toilet paper (toilet paper is quite a luxury in Haiti).

After I used the restroom, while the neighborhood kids played and giggled, I returned the roll of toilet paper to the homeowner’s wife. She grabbed my hand and led me to their makeshift kitchen. Inside she handed me a bar of soap and poured water on my hands over an old 5-gallon bucket.

I’ve learned over the past few days that the people of Titanyen must walk to a local well to pump water, and being that they live at the top of a hill, that would be a mighty trek. This woman used water she and her husband had labored to obtain to wash my hands! Here I am – at their new house to bless them by painting the walls, and she blessed me by providing toilet paper, soap, and water!

As I said, we had just learned about humility. And this could not have been a better picture of Christ’s love for me than in that moment.

 

 

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Love Shared in Action, in Playing, and in Writing

written by Monica DeLeon, Fort Worth member

What an experience it was to worship in Creole yesterday at the Mission of Hope church! As we walked in, we were joined by several Haitian children grabbing our hands to sit with us. The service was a lively two hours long. There is certainly nothing like singing to our Lord in another language. It was awesome to think about how we will one day worship together with people from every tongue, tribe, and nation in heaven!

I had the opportunity to sit with a 15-year-old boy during church who wrote me a note in English asking if I could help pay for him to finish school. We have been instructed not to offer aid on our own but to offer to pray for them, knowing that Mission of Hope has a relationship with these people and can better discern how to help.

I asked him questions and he said that Jesus was his Savior. I also recalled the amazing message we had last Sunday at Watermark, where the pastor from India described speaking to a man in the class of “Untouchables” and telling him that he was made in God’s image. My eyes were full of tears in this moment, recognizing all the needs around us here. I sensed the Holy Spirit directing me to write a note of encouragement back to this boy.

I told him that I thought his English was excellent and that God had great plans for him. I told him to seek to grow in his relationship with Christ and to read the Bible. I told him that I believed that he would grow to be a hard-working man and that he would be a good husband and daddy one day. (He had been surprised earlier to hear that my husband and I have been married for 25 years.)

I’m grateful for the message last Sunday reminding us to love others who may not know how much God loves them. I expected the boy to be upset when he read the note, but instead he squeezed my hand tight. When the service was over, he gave me a big hug before we left. How interesting that God allowed this conversation to happen through written words rather than verbal. I am thankful that the boy could take these words with him as a reminder to combat the lies around him with truth.

In the afternoon, we were able to visit another MOH campus in Bercy to see their school and their newest addition – Grace House. MOH has identified a “reverse orphan problem” in Haiti, where families often abandon care of their elderly for financial reasons and lack of resources. Grace House is now caring for five elderly people with plans to take in more as resources grow.

From there, we continued to Leveque, where we saw the amazing work Mission of Hope has done in building concrete block homes to replace the temporary shelters that were created by Samaritan’s Purse following the earthquake. We were greeted by a rush of small children eager to take our hands and lead us up to the playground. It was such a joy to watch all our children engage with the kids so easily. The Haitian children were swinging, sliding, clapping, and asking to be picked up and held – which our kids loved to do.

Last night ended with a sweet time of worship with our Watermark Church family. Several shared how God was touching their hearts to live differently when they return. These moments away from our daily life are giving us perspective that we can take with us. To God be the glory!

 

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A Whole Lot to Experience – and Share About

Written by Justin Lord, age 17

There’s a whole lot from yesterday to talk about but I’ll try to be reasonably brief.

We didn’t have a good idea of what we were going to be doing heading into Labodrie that morning, other than it would generally be what we would do all day. We pulled up into the village that Nickson, one of our Village Champions, was from, and it was much more rural than where we had been before. That means much more space, bigger houses, more animals, and less job opportunities.

It was Saturday, so the children who could afford to go to school were now outside playing along with those that couldn’t, and it was with these kids that I and the rest of the Plano team spent the morning playing. The Dallas and Fort Worth group spent the time talking to, surveying, and evangelizing with the surrounding households. It was a lot of fun, and it was exhausting, especially because most of us were drinking from our water bottles minimally in an effort to be more sensitive to the surrounding Haitians.

Speaking of water, some of the groups were handing out AquaTabs, which can be used for several weeks to purify water. Due to some miscommunication, not as many were handed out as I wanted, but that ties back in to the lesson for me that we aren’t in control.

After lunch, the groups switched jobs, and thank goodness because I didn’t have much energy left. One kid who I had played frisbee with latched onto me still during Strategic Village Time, and right after he left several other kids came up. So I spent most of SVT holding and giving rides to Haitian boys, including one who had nothing on but a T-shirt. In the end, we all left thoroughly exhausted (2 boys managed to doze off on the noisy, bumpy ride back!), but with a clearer idea of the impact God was using us to create.

Well, gotta go, it’s time for church! TTFN

 

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New Paint & New Friends

by Ryan and Sarah Hartman

Haiti is a striking place in a number of ways: its mountainous, coastal landscape is stunningly beautiful; its people have a deep and powerful sense of community; and life here is is simple.

On the other hand, there is a severe lack of opportunity, resources and, ultimately, purpose. One of our translators, James, explained how people can find it difficult to have a reason to smile. Many Haitians grow up without an education, and some of them never find a reason to work. Who’s to blame them? Even the ones who DO try are at the mercy of forces outside of their control. They could work tirelessly and graduate high school with a true desire and drive to attend college, but outside of generous donations there is no actual way of even coming close to affording it.

And with all of these large-scale systematic failures, what can a small group of uncomfortable, awkward Americans do in a week to make a positive impact? Sarah and I have asked ourselves this question on multiple occasions, and today we found a possible answer: We painted a house.

While that may sound underwhelming on its face, it opened up a world of opportunities and hope in the power of God. Luke 11:39-41 says: “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.” This reminded us that while it’s great that we took this gray building and covered it with beautiful, lively colors… it was the hearts of the people inside the house and in the surrounding community that really mattered. God placed us at that home to open up conversations with the villagers. Sarah and I were blown away by the Watermark families, who boldly initiated conversations and gave all of their energy serving the community. What an incredible way to kick off the week.

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A Thanksgiving Day with Pop Tarts, Cobbler, Water, & Living Water

by Makayla Hix and Dolly Viera, Young Adult team members

Happy Thanksgiving! Thursday morning our team started off by having Pop Tarts for breakfast, a family tradition for one of our team members! We were then able to go into Titanyen and participate directly with two local churches. Each of the church’s pastors identified 5 families who would greatly benefit from water filters. We partnered with the families in the installation and proper care of the water filters. We were then able to connect the water filters and explain John 3 and how Jesus is the living water.

God showed up many times today – the most notable moment was when one of the men who came to receive a water filter. His name was Dalexis and he spoke fluent Spanish. This was a blessing because Dolly also speaks Spanish and was able to clearly communicate with him. It was the first time this trip that we were able to have a conversation with a Haitian and not need our translators (which gave our village champion, Danny, a break).

After showing him how to properly use the water filter, we asked him how this water filter was going to improve his life. His response reminded me of something Christ would have said while on earth: This filter will give me clean water, but it will also allow me to give clean water to my neighbors. We were so encouraged by him. He learned Spanish from working in the Dominican Republic but returned home because he had a near-death experience and knew the Lord granted him a new life, a life fully devoted to Jesus. Now he strives to be the godly leader in his family, serves faithfully at his church, and holds fast to the hope that every man, woman, and child in Haiti will come to know Jesus.

Tonight, the Haitian women of Mission of Hope provided a delicious Thanksgiving meal complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and cobbler.

We came to Haiti to bring people to Christ, to encourage our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. But we’re the ones who are leaving Haiti so encouraged by the joy and hope of every believer here. We are so thankful.

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Strength & Conversations

by Kristin Perry, Young Adult team member

“Hump Day” may have been the best day yet here in Haiti. Our team started out pumped up and focused to spread the good news, and that’s exactly what happened. We were welcomed off the safari wagon by several beautiful children, eager to play and love. Great conversations were started with the people of Titanyen about their lives here in the village, where they come from, what they do for work, etc. As each team spoke more with the men and women of the village, the Lord used us to encourage believers to continue boldly in their faith. Several women expressed the challenges they face on a daily basis in their cultures, and many of us were able to relate. As people walked by and curiosity spiked, our team courageously engaged these people, resulting in a new sister in Christ.

After lunch, the Lord showed His mighty power once again by giving us all strength to go back out to the village (the rice is beginning to weigh on us) and continue His work. A group of us engaged with a man who practices voodoo and were able to share the power of Christ with him. He expressed his belief in Jesus but has fear that he will be unemployed if he accepts the Truth. He promised to go to Mission of Hope church on Sunday, and we will continue to pray for him.Others of us had more challenging conversations and were able to witness the need for peace in the community.

Others of us had more challenging conversations and were able to witness the need for peace in the community.

As we wrapped up Day 4, we were humbled and encouraged to know that we have three new sisters in Christ, several conversations helping people feel assurance of salvation, a full stomach of Haitian spaghetti, and more than anything, the love and comfort of Christ in our hearts.

God is at work, but there is still work to do.

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