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Archive for the '2017 Feb Family Trip' Category

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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