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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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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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