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Archive for the '2015 March Young Adults' Category

“Our Team Will Not Soon Forget This Day”

We had one remaining blog post from the recent trip, as the team finished out last week! Enjoy this post by KyLea Ingram!

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27)

When you pray for God to use you and direct your footsteps, you never know where the day will take you – but it’s an adventure. Our team started the day in prayer, praising God for the work He’s done this week and praying for Him to work through us more on our last day in Titanyen. Our team split into two small groups, like the day before, and set off with our village champions and translators.

I was told by our translator that my group would be stopping by a pastor’s house first, so he lead us through the streets to a small church. When we arrived, we found a room full of children (approximately 2-to-10 year-old kiddos) who were all sitting quietly, scattered around the room. This group of children was different than the others we had encountered over the week. They were subdued and not really engaging with us. We sat with them while the pastor came and chatted with us for a bit. He explained that this was an orphanage, and he had picked up these children from around Haiti to care for them with housing and education.

Somewhere in the conversation, he mentioned one was sick with a cough and fever. I felt one little boy’s head, and was shocked by how hot he was. The pastor then explained that many of the children were sick, and the little boy whose head I felt started crying. My heart broke. I dropped my backpack and scooped him up as he sat in my lap with tears running down his face. We looked around the room at all these little faces, and our entire team’s hearts fell. Each person held a child, many of us trying to hide our own tears. Overwhelmed, we began praying as our Mission of Hope intern began asking our Village Champion if we could help get them to the clinic. We learned that the kids had been sick for a few days, and had run out of food within that time frame. Not only were they sick, they were hungry, and the sweet pastor had run out of resources to care for them.

We were able to reach the other half of our team, and they soon found us and joined in, with LC (a nurse by trade) beginning to examine some of the kids. After speaking with our Village Champion and Mission of Hope intern about what we could do that would be helpful, not hurtful, we were able to call a “tap tap” (Haiti’s version of a taxi) and get the children to Mission of Hope’s clinic. Half of our team stayed in the waiting room with the kids. I think what hurt the most was knowing that not only were these kids sick, but they didn’t have mommies to hold them.

So, we stepped in.

We waited with them as long as we could, until we needed to head back into the village. What we found that morning was definitely unexpected and heavy on our hearts. In chatting with our translator, he explained that God had put it on his heart to go by the orphanage, but he didn’t know why. Overwhelmed, I stopped to reflect on God’s mercy.

Many see suffering and ask where God is – and how could He be good if all this suffering is happening? In that moment, I was reminded that God forgets no one, not one. Stopping by an orphanage was not on our original agenda for the day. Yet, God led us there so we could hold babies who needed to be held, comfort them as they cried, and get them the medicine and nutrition they desperately needed. I don’t see a cruel and forgetful God; I see one who placed it on a poor pastor’s heart to care for the orphans… One who led another to bring a team to check on the kids… and One who used other people with resources to care for them… each, members of Christ’s body, being His hands and feet. That is the Father I know: a good Father who forgets not the least of these, but knows the number of hairs on each of our heads.

Curious about what happened next? We began going door-to-door to share hygiene training and the Gospel, encouraging the believers we encountered and praying for those who don’t yet know Christ. Then we got a call, and we were taken back to the orphanage.

I still can’t believe what we found. The children ran to the door to greet us, smiling and laughing. Fevers were gone, spirits were lifted, and hugs (with happy tears this time) were shared. What a picture of God’s grace.

Our team will not soon forget this day. God is good, friends. And though we live in a broken, fallen world, He is alive and working, still carrying out His rescue plan, and inviting His followers to be a part of it.

We’ve seen brokenness and poverty this week, but we’ve also seen hope. And hope does not disappoint.

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Lespwa means Hope

By Jorden Mitchell

Today was day 4 in Haiti and day 3 in the village of Titanyen. The past two days have been work days for us, so it was definitely exciting to get to do strategic village time. Our strategic village time is MOH’s plan for learning about the folks living in the villages around the campus. It consists of us going house to house in the village to give out hygiene packets, understand how they live, teach them about the hygiene items we give them, and share the gospel.

A memorable story from today came from a stop at the house of a woman named Jaslynn. She said she didn’t know much about hygiene although she just had a baby 10 days ago!! Our wonderful nurse, Laura Trent, came to the rescue and discussed germs/bacteria and why hygiene is important for her and her new baby. Rasheal then came in and explained how to properly wash your hands and when it is necessary to do so. When we asked her about church, she stated she didn’t go because she doesn’t have nice clothes and people talk about her. Laura has a similar story, so she continued engaging with her and talked about how she let go of worrying about other people and began focusing on Jesus. We go to church to deepen our relationship with Him. When we understand the sacrifice God made in sending His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us, and rise again to save lil ol’ us, other people’s opinions of your clothes definitely don’t matter! We talked a bit more and asked if she had any prayer requests, and she asked us to pray for her family in general. Jorden then explained the gospel a little further and asked her if she wanted to have a personal relationship with Christ. Jorden then led her in a prayer to accept Christ, and to our surprise, another gentleman sitting on her porch joined in the prayer and accepted Christ as well!! It was such a blessing to know others were listening, and we didn’t even initially realize it. Our time was so sweet with her and we’re all so grateful for it. We made sure we informed her about other resources at Mission of Hope to learn more about Jesus and where she could go to church and allow the MOH staff to followup with her.

Later that afternoon, we had something called Kids Club for all the kiddos of Titanyen. We had probably 50-60 kids come play games with us and watch a skit we put together called The Treasure. The underlying message of the skit was to help them understand that no material possession or anything else in this world can satisfy their soul besides Jesus. People tend to believe money will fix all their problems, but we know that it most certainly doesn’t fix anything. Only Jesus fixes us and satisfies our soul. Being with the children of the village is so rewarding. They run to us with open arms everyday as soon as our bus pulls up, and they walk us to the bus as we leave everyday. Their hearts are so big and loving and they are so full of hope and happiness that transfers to us. We may be here to serve them, but in all actuality, they serve us and fill our hearts as well!

This place is so beautiful, and every bit of our airport shenanigans was more than worth it to get here!

PS – I’m about to go join this epic dance party that our team is responsible for starting…of course 🙂
#Haitidanceparty2015

#LespwaMeansHope

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Nudged by the Spirit

By Brooke Buchanan

Today was our second day in Titanyen, and it was definitely a fun one. Our team spent the morning planting trees for different families in the village, using this as an entry point to engage and share the gospel with them. With each family, we explained that we were there to give them a free gift of a tree. This tree would grow roots to connect to water and a source of life, and in time would bear fruit and bless all who cross paths with it. In the same way, we explained it is our hope that the family’s faith would grow roots and connect to the ultimate source of life, Jesus Christ. In time, their faith and relationship with Christ would be able to grow and bear “fruit and shade” and bless the community around them. This went incredibly well, and it opened the door for many great conversations. Among those conversations was a time where some of the girls were able to engage with the women of one household. We helped out cleaning the dishes (because really, who likes doing the dishes?) and got to know the mother, who had been a believer for a majority of her life and we had a great exchange of encouragement and discussing things like our favorite characteristics of God (hers was His mercy and grace – mine, too).

One notable story took place during this time of service with a young man named Jonathan. One of our team leaders, Eric, decided to explore the surrounding area while we were planting trees, and he came across two young men who he felt “nudged” by the Spirit to speak with. He returned with Chris, another member of our team, and one of our translators. One of the boys left, but Jonathan remained. Through the conversation, Jonathan explained that he had been a Christian for four years. However, through digging in and asking questions, Eric and Chris quickly found that he wasn’t sure about his fate, and Jonathan admitted that he didn’t really know Jesus and have a relationship with him. Jonathan began the conversation hopeless, avoiding eye contact, looking for happiness in things – a house, clothes, etc. By the end of the conversation, Jonathan’s demeanor had changed. He had hope and a new source of happiness, and Chris was able to pray with him. Jonathan accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior today. Praise God, indeed.

After lunch, the plan was to continue planting trees. However, a small group of kids followed us from the bus, so Emmanuel, one of our village champions for Titanyen, told us that he thought a change of plans was in order. We spent hours playing with these kids, while more kept joining in. At one point, there were at least 60 kids and 5 or 6 different games going on, from soccer to Little Sally Walker.

Tomorrow we will have “Strategic Village Time” where we’ll educate families on hygiene and help gather information for Mission of Hope to effectively meet the needs of the surrounding villages, while using this as an opportunity to engage with the families about their spiritual condition and share the gospel. In the afternoon we will work with the kids club at MOH, acting out bible stories and pointing them to Christ.

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The forgotten group…..

By Chris Morris

Today was our first complete day within the village of Titanyen. It was a remarkable experience for our team and God displayed His matchless goodness through this time. We arrived in the village of Titanyen around 8:30 in the morning, and after a short briefing from our translators and team leaders, we walked a short distance to a house we were going to paint. The family was a middle-aged couple with three children, of varying ages. As they moved their belongings out of their home, we exchanged greetings and began to get to work.

Almost immediately you could hear the excited whispers of children outside of the home attempting to see what we were up to. About ten of us began to paint while the rest took full advantage of the opportunity to engage the family and members of the community outside of the home. It was a remarkable sight to see our team walking into conversations with these Haitian men and women, with and without translators. God’s grace was on display, as was further evidenced by our team talking about some of the conversations they had while we were in the village.

One story came from our teammate Aaron Philip, who was great with the teenagers we met today, an easily forgotten group because they’re not children but do don’t have their own household. There was one particular Haitian that Aaron spoke with today that really demonstrated 1 Timothy 2:7: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” As Aaron began to speak with this young man through one of our translators, he was given the typical “Sunday School” answers about Jesus. Instead of being satisfied with the “right” answer and walking away, Aaron asked how he could specifically pray for him. At that point, the young man looked from the translator to Aaron back to the translator and said he wanted to be honest. He went on to share that he had not been praying, reading his Bible, or going to church because he felt as though God saw him as useless. Whether it was his lack of formal attire for Sunday church or inconsistency in his relationship with the Father, he had come accustomed to providing the correct answers but his heart was distant. Even more, it appeared that Aaron was one of the first people to press into these answers and discover their validity. And so, Aaron was able to remind him of God’s surpassing love for him through Jesus Christ and despite his perceived shortcomings that God loved him deeply and will be faithful to follow through on His promises.

This story is just one of the amazing reflections of God’s grace. It is never easy to walk into these situations, whether they take place in Dallas or a foreign context. However, God is overwhelming us with His provision of boldness and love.

We are thrilled to be a part of what God is crafting here in Haiti through Mission of Hope, and we look forward to sharing more stories like these with you over the next couple of days!

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How do we see God?

By Kylea Ingram and Jacob Haas…….What a 36 hours it has been. After 2 canceled flights, an incorrect flight booking that God still used to get us where we needed to be, and a road trip from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale to make our connecting flight to Haiti, we finally landed in Port au Prince and made our way to the Mission of Hope campus. Our team of 14 young adults is tired, but in good spirits. We’ve seen God consistently show up and provide for us. The two flight cancelations alone allowed for some of our team members to be available for important conversations with friends and loved ones back home. Couple that with how God used a flight that was accidentally logged for the wrong date to put us in the right place at the right time to get on a flight to Miami with only 17 seats remaining, and we have definitely seen God flexing in the midst of all of our travel logistics. The following is a recap from Jacob Haas and what the Lord has been teaching him during our first day in Haiti.

“As we walked out of the airport, I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of people aimlessly standing around and watching us load onto our bus. Most of the Haitians made eye contact and looked intently at our clothes and luggage, while others hung their head low and would not look up as we passed by. We arrived at MOH just in time for the Sunday church service to begin. As I was walked down the aisle, somebody grabbed my hand, and I looked down to find a two-year-old Haitian boy standing there. Once we got to our seats, he reached his little arms up to me, motioning for me to pick him up. We spent the next 40 minutes singing praises to Jesus while I held this adorable little guy in my arms. While holding him, I prayed over him, for his life and for his family. I became very aware of this child’s desire for me, and my ability to provide, protect, and love him. This relationship reminded me of how I am with God – I am the child, and he is the Father holding me in love. After worship ended, we sat down while many took up an offering. My new friend sat on my lap and immediately started tapping at my wallet. After doing this, he lifted up two fingers and muttered out, “dollar,” asking for me to give him money. As this was happening, I was in pure denial. I had held this innocent child for nearly an hour until my arms were numb, and in that moment, he chose want over relationship – as I realized I so often do with God. I can become specific in what I think I need and when or how I need it, and then become frustrated with God when I do not see my prayer immediately answered. I miss the truth that God has a perfect plan for my life and a daily provision. Ephesians 3:23 reminds us that, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Like this child, I often think that I need more than what God has already blessed me with. I falsely believe I would be more satisfied or feel more loved if I was given my heart’s desires. Today was a good reminder that God is a loving Father who knows what I need when I need it. And what I always need is an abiding relationship with Him through Christ. After a long adventurous experience in getting to Haiti, God continues to open my eyes to His love and provision. I am very excited to get some rest, and for the remaining days of the week to play out.” Tomorrow our team will head into Titanyen for a day of service projects. We are looking forward to how The Lord will use us this week.

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