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…Until They Know How Much We Care

Here’s the first blog we’ve gotten from the Single Adults team in Haiti, written by Aaron Young. (The internet – and time to write – are always a little unpredictable down there. The photo is from the airport on the way to Haiti.)

Process matters.

Today was our first field day in Haiti, and we experienced first-hand the truth that people really don’t care what you know until they know you care.

We were the first group from Mission of Hope to go into the village of Robert in Archaie to do “ministry reconnaissance.” We went to gather the general sentiment of the people – such as where they are spiritually, how much access their kids have to education, if they have access to health care, etc. Mission of Hope’s vision is to bring life transformation to every man, woman, and child in Haiti under the leadership of Jesus Christ. And so, the gospel is to be present in all steps of the process.

As my team approached the first house, the translators told us the homeowner didn’t want to accept Christ today. We quickly found out that a part of our team had started off by asking her if she knew Christ and if she wanted to accept Him today. Since her answer had been No, our translators told us we should move onto the next house. But we told them we wanted to continue speaking with her to get to know her. Throughout the next hour, we were able to articulate the gospel and two personal stories, but for much of the time, the lady of the house had her arms crossed. We were not able to make much headway with her, but were able to pray for her infirm lower leg.

 

Our afternoon activities proved to be more successful in terms of connecting with the villagers. We were able to use a more indirect method. We first built up a rapport with them before diving into their spiritual health. Though our intention both that morning and in the afternoon was to love well, our strategy change for the afternoon proved to be more successful in building a relationship with people. We worked to find a common bond rather than try to get a salvation conversion right away.

 

The Gospel can be something boldly declared, but when we can, we want to get to know the person, develop a relationship, see if there are connections, and continue to invest in the person. That’s what Paul did when he revisited his converts. It is a privilege to be a small part of Mission of Hope where we can be one of the many touches, knowing this local sending station and future teams will be back. The Gospel is not a short-term investment. God’s mission is not a short-term work but a long-term investment.

This is not the end of the story for these families. Pray with us that the people we visited today will soon be fellow worshipers our great Lord and Savior.

 

 

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Throngs Have Become Individuals We Love

Written by Mark

As the work continues, the throngs of children and people have become throngs of individual faces with individuals stories. The Lord has put a yearning on our heart to have the ability to communicate well with these men, women, and children – to share the love of Christ with them. Opportunities have arisen today.

Sekal, approximately 17, who had been entrusted with one of our cameras early on, showed his artistic prowess by taking photos of his friends and sharing them. Today, he took part with one of his friends in reading the verses of the Romans Road to a gathering that began with 4 or 5 children. At the end, 6 more children had joined along with what looked like a husband and a wife holding their children, all listening attentively to Sekal and his friend read the Romans Road.

Times like this saw some faces enthralled, and some who nodded along – knowing the story of grace.

As metal tin rang with the sounds of drills above from our team’s work, Gloria shared, through a translator, her story of having 6 children with no father in their lives, a sister who passed away last year, and shortness of breath that comes most acutely when she thinks of her sister. She is a believer, and we were given the opportunity to pray with her.

This kind of opportunity has been given to us around the town. As team members work on the home, others are able to share the gospel with the homeowners and neighbors.

Moise, an 8- or 9-year-old boy, sat helping one of our team members practice Creole, as they worked through the Romans Road, stopping to memorize. Moise was dressed well, but as time went on, Olven, about 14, came by to ask for all of the accoutrements that had made his clothing stand out – belt, glasses, watch, phone. Olven put them on himself, and stopped to talk. As they continued working on the Romans Road, our team member shared that “Jesi renmen ou” (Jesus loves you). They smiled broadly with acknowledgement and say “oui.” “Ou renmen Jezi” (Do you love Jesus?). They shake their heads “yes” also.  Olven left quickly then came back with a notebook and a pen, and Moise helped Olven write Romans 6:23 down in his notebook in English. Moise was present again later in the day to help read the Romans Road verses to a new crowd of kids.

Hammers, drills, talking, playing, speaking Creole (trying), and serving one another. These are some ways we share Jesus, for His glory and for those he loves. He loves these people passionately.

Please pray for our continued ability to communicate the love of Christ to these people. Particularly, we would like to see the translation barrier passed. More than our time here, please join us in praising God for his work in Haiti. Please pray the Lord would continue to make the gospel known, and to strengthen the Haitian people and those He is leading to partner with them to see that every man, woman, and child be transformed in Jesus.

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Slow Work & His Work

Written by Jen

Confession: I like things to go my own way and on my own timetable sometimes. Especially when we are trying to repair roofs here in Jérémie, Haiti. But God is quickly reminding me that He is always on time.

Our house today was a complicated house to roof, but it shouldn’t have taken us the second half of the morning plus all afternoon to get through it. But with batteries continually dying and the heat radiating off the tin, it did, and going into day 3 of working we will have to still go back and complete a few things.

But the best part of the story comes from a question I asked at lunch: Where was the family? This was later answered by Charles, our security guard, when we were packing up the site for the day. Charles said, “Don’t you want to meet the family?” and anxiously began seeking them out.

And in walked the mother & her 3 boys, Wal, Wilson, and Diene. The mother asked that we pray the boys would come to know and walk with Jesus – and not get caught up in the gangs here in Jérémie.

Before we prayed Raul asked if he could share his story with the boys. He gave a short account of his turmoil due to self-seeking actions, which ultimately left him at rock-bottom. But Jesus was there and began to bring him back up. We were then able to pray for the boys as we stood in their house. We planted seeds today; we showed the gracious love of God today.

There was a reason it took us so long today, and there was a reason those boys didn’t show up until then. For His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are His ways our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

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Bringing Light

We arrived in Haiti on Sunday, and at our destination, Jérémie, all safe and sound Monday morning after two flights, a bus ride, and a boat ride.

Monday was our first day working in a neighborhood in Jérémie that was hit with the hurricane. After the Haitian homeowners put up the rafters, we work with Haiti Bible Mission to screw on the new tin roofs, giving the families

protection from the rain and shelter from the sun, etc.. The Haitians working with us are pros—they couldn’t even tell us how many roofs they had put on because they have lost count.

Looking at the island from our boat, there are far fewer lights than people, a stark contrast to the brightly lit nights in the States. I cannot quite conceive night with so little light, and it makes me think of living without the

light of Christ, without the word, which is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. My prayer is that through the relationships developed and continued through the local church, Christ would change lives and bring light to this dark and heavy place.

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A Long-Awaited Meeting & a New Sister

Written by Callie Summers, Team 6

I first came to Haiti in 2016, and I started sponsoring a child through Mission of Hope. Her name is Louina, and I help pay for part of her schooling and her food and supplies while she is at school.

When I knew I was returning to Haiti this January, I applied to visit my child, and got the confirmation shortly before I left for Haiti. On Thursday, two other ladies and I got in a truck to visit our kids at their schools. We faced quite a few barriers to getting there: transportation and logistical difficulties, the Education Champion’s last day on staff was supposed to be Wednesday, and trying to find our way to our destinations. After some extremely interesting roads up a mountain and a car change (4-wheel drive was needed), we arrived at my girl’s school.

My friend Lauren had my phone to take pictures, and the principal brought Louina outside to meet me. We hugged and sat down on a stoop to chat. Our Education Champion was also our translator, and Louina and I began to get to know each other. Her favorite subject is Science, and she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.

I asked her if she went to church with her family, and she said she used to go to a Catholic church but it had gone poorly, so her family stopped going. I asked her if she knew if God loved her, and she said no. She knew the name of Jesus but nothing else about him, so I started to share the gospel.

I told Louina that we all make decisions with our thoughts, words, or actions that hurt others and ourselves, and that those things don’t please God. Even though He is our Father and wants so badly to have a relationship with us, sin separates us from Him. But He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to live here with us. Born of a virgin, He lived a perfect life, died a perfect death on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day. He paid for all our sins. Jesus made it so that we could be reconciled and have a relationship with God, who loves us dearly and wants to have a relationship with us.

I told Louina I am not perfect by any means, but God forgave me of all my sins once I accepted His free gift and accepted Him into my heart. I asked her if she had heard that story before, and she said no. I took a deep breath and asked her if she would want to accept God’s free gift and accept Him into her heart as well. She said yes, and I almost began to cry (but held it together). She said she would go to church on Monday and talk to a pastor about her decision! Praise God.

Despite all the opposition we faced to get there, our 20-minute conversation changed Louina’s life and mine forever. I have a new sister in Christ and am looking forward to continually investing in her life for years to come.


Interested in sponsoring a child through Mission of Hope? Check out this website!

 

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Conversation over Clothes

Written by Elizabeth, Team 1

Her name was Shelly.

She sat outside her home on a small wooden chair, methodically washing clothes in a large, pink, plastic basin. Her pregnant belly protruded past her thin white T-shirt. She looked tired, worn.

When we made our way up the hill to her home, she wasn’t smiling. Just concentrating on her task, not making much eye contact.

Our translator, Jude, explained to her that we were there with Mission of Hope to learn more about her village and its needs. She agreed to let us stay, and we all took seats on the ground around the laundry basin. The view from the hill was distractingly beautiful, a powerful backdrop to what God knew was about to happen.

We talked with Shelly for a while. She shared that she lived in the home with her husband and they were expecting their first child in February, a girl. She said they needed water and had gone three days without it before. All during the conversation, she still washed, rubbing the clothes back and forth in the suds, wringing out the water, placing the clean clothes in a similar black basin, repeating.

As I watched her wash, I felt the Lord gently nudging. “Ask to help her,” He whispered.

Unsure how this would go, I asked Jude to ask the woman if she could teach me what she was doing.

She looked at me, surprised I think. I moved onto the rock closest to her, dove my hands into the basin’s soapy water and followed her methodical motion. Instantly, her shoulders relaxed. She smiled, laughed at my white girl clothes-washing skills (or lack thereof). We talked with her for nearly an hour, about faith and family and the nerves of raising a child. All the while, she and I washed the clothes. Actually, I’m pretty sure I washed two shirts in the time she washed ten, but who’s counting?

This story has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the grace of God. He washes us clean from our sins so that we can tell others this good news too. Shelly, praise God, was a believer and sister in Christ. And while I doubt we’ll be washing clothes when we meet again in heaven, I can’t wait to see her there and celebrate God’s provision.

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New Sight for Joseph (Physically & Otherwise)

Written by Tara on Team 8 (the Medical Team)

On Day 1 at the mobile clinic, we had a young man, Joseph, come to the clinic with a large mass growing on his left eye – one that had caused blindness in that eye and prevented him from being able to shut his eye. Toby, one of our providers, saw him that first day and asked him to come back to the clinic the next day. In the meantime, we began brainstorming options to help this young man get the operation he desperately needs.

The next morning, Joseph was back in the clinic, patiently waiting. By that time, God had helped us locate some available funds to support Joseph in getting his procedure. We sat with Joseph, his aunt, and the village champion to communicate that he would be getting the operation he needs. We prayed for him and then went our separate ways, getting the rest of the clinic started for the day.

I felt unresolved walking away from that conversation, and was encouraged by LeAnne and Colson to follow up and communicate the Why behind our work at the clinic and excitement over God’s provision for Joseph’s operation. I grabbed our translator, and we sat down to talk more with Joseph and his aunt. Long story short, I learned Joseph was orphaned, and his “aunt” took him in despite already having 10 children of her own. The aunt expressed her despair that she was Christian, but Joseph was not. I was able to ask Joseph about what he believed and tried to answer any questions that he and his aunt asked. In the end, we were able to pray for him, and Joseph accepted Christ on 1/16/18.

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3 Stories from Haiti: Voodoo, a Memorial, and a Bus Conversation

The three notes below are written by three ladies on the trip. The first comes from Gracie on Team 4.

Our translator, Johnny, has the most amazing story of faith. He grew up with two parents that practiced voodoo. This involved sacrificing animals and babies to the devil. They would spend all of their money on live animals for sacrifices, which left them in a deeper state of poverty than they already were. It took over their lives.

As a young teenage boy, Johnny was asked to join a gang where he found himself deep in drinking, drugs, and inappropriate relationships. He had a friend that shared the gospel with him and invited him to church. There, God opened his eyes to the Truth. Johnny told the pastor he wanted to accept Jesus but was afraid of what his parents would do to him. The pastor encouraged him to step out in faith, not in fear, and that God would take care of him.

That day Johnny went home and told his dad about his life transformation. His dad was upset but his mother accepted Christ as her Savior that day. Johnny’s life was forever changed. He went back to school with God on his side. He ended up making it through all of his education and graduated with a degree.

He is so smart and such a wonderful speaker. He speaks at different churches, translates for Mission of Hope, and shares the gospel wherever he can! He gives all the glory to God!!! What a blessing it was to our team to hear his story of grace and how God changed his life!

Next up, some thoughts from Sarah, Team 6.

I had an opportunity to get to know a translator named Max on our way to the village of Canaan. It is a relatively new village, primarily made up of people displaced after the earthquake.

As we were passing a huge sign that said “Memorial,” I asked him what it was for. He let me know that the memorial that was built over a mass grave, specifically after the earthquake in 2010, when thousands of Haitians died and even more were displaced. It is a beautiful stretch of land, with mountains in the background and an amazing view of the ocean. I asked if he had ever visited the memorial, and he said yes. He communicated that it was very sad, especially because he had lost a friend in the earthquake. Every year the president of Haiti comes to the memorial on the anniversary and speaks about the earthquake. It is amazing to me  that something I remember hearing about on the news and being confused by is still affecting people today.

What an amazing opportunity to partner with Mission of Hope and the people of Haiti. It is so fun to see the way the Lord is working through MOH and redeeming Haiti, and to be able to meet people who are faithfully persevering through great tragedy.

Finally, Molly from Team 5 shares a surprising opportunity from the group’s first full day in Haiti.

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” The first day did not go as planned! Surprise! But how great that God’s plan was fully present.

Mario, one of our translators, sat by me on the bus, and we engaged in casual conversation. As we continued our conversation, I felt compelled to ask him on a scale of 1 to 10 – 10 being the most sure – how sure are you that you would go to heaven? He answered 5, and when I asked why, he said because in Matthew 5:48 we are supposed to be perfect to get to heaven. I was able to share with him that yes, that is true but that is not the end of the story!

As I shared the gospel with him and Ephesians 2:8-9, he was able to see that JESUS is the way, not his own doing. It brought tears to my eyes to see that our mission today was to love on the people who were sitting right beside us. Many more conversations with the translators were like mine, and we were encouraged. Thank God for His plans and knowing exactly what we need!

 

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Young Adults have arrived in Haiti!

The internet situation is always a bit unclear in Haiti, and we just got three posts this morning. Here’s the first, a “travel log” about the team’s arrival and plans.

We made it! We’re here! After a few tiny hiccups and some fun memories, we are all officially in Haiti! We have mountains on one side of us and the ocean on the other—our own tiny slice of Heaven. We spent tonight learning more about Mission of Hope, worshipping our Savior, and praying over the week. We’re all super excited to get out in the field tomorrow and will be making our way to Canaan and Archaie as we get to do some exploratory work for Mission of Hope in these areas they haven’t been able to go to yet. Our medical team will be heading out in the mobile clinic and are super pumped to get to meet some physical needs for the people here.

We’d love your prayers against spiritual attacks, sickness, and anything that might try to stand in the way of the advancement of the gospel. We KNOW God is going to do big things this week and are so encouraged to see what He does! What an honor it is to get to be a small part of that!

 

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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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