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“It’s Just Haiti.” “It’s Just Dallas.”

by Family Trip member Mandy Sisco

Today a sweet eleven-year-old old girl took my hand and spent all morning teaching me Haitian words. Ubelle means “beautiful.” That was the theme of the day for me.

Beautiful smiles.

Beautiful people.

Beautiful weather.

Beautiful scenery.

I stood overlooking the homes of Lavic and was floored by the beauty that my eyes were taking in. This little community is tucked among vibrant green vegetation at the base of rolling mountain tops. Grey clouds were sprinkled throughout the crisp, blue sky, seemingly shouting HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!? As I turned to the person to my left to see if they were taking in all that I was experiencing, I realized it was one of our interpreters, and he didn’t seem phased. I told him that my breath was taken away at this sight, and he smiled politely and said, “It’s just Haiti.”

It struck me how easily we miss the beauty around us. What does God have for me back home? What amazing scenes has the LORD set for me that I respond with, “That’s just Dallas”? I’m hopeful that today can serve as a reminder to have my eyes wide open. Open to His goodness even when chaos seems so evident. Open to His faithfulness when I can only see what’s just in front of me. Open to His reminders of who He is.

I can’t help but be reminded of Psalm 121:1. It says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?” As I lay a weary head on my pillow tonight, my prayer is that our whole team would have our eyes lifted up and ready to see where our help comes from.

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Spiritual Jet Fuel for the Two Julies

by Family Trip leader Rick Howard

Over the past 5 years, I’ve made 7 trips to Mission of Hope Haiti with Watermark teams of all ages and compositions. But family trips are my favorites of them all, because it’s on family team trips – like the one I’m on this week – that I see the best in parents and kids come out. Parents are at their best, because it’s on these trips that those parents, unencumbered by the distractions and busyness of Dallas, more often than not step out of their comfort zone as believers and live out their faith in ways  that seem more tangible and fruitful than they often do at home.

Saturday we split our team of 42 into 4 groups for painting houses, playing with kids, and sharing the gospel. On those teams, two women in particular stood out, as they did that one thing that makes most believers very uncomfortable – but for them it is “jet fuel” for their soul. That is sharing their faith with strangers. Those ladies, Julie Fowler and Julie Anders, while blessed in many ways, have also both experienced more than their fair share of challenges and disappointments the past few years. In spite of that, they’ve never lost their passion for telling  others who Jesus is and what He did for all of us. That passion for evangelism was never more evident than earlier in the trip as we traveled and Saturday as we served and shared in the village.

These two Julies, it’s clear, rather than shy away from conversations about faith and Christ, looked for them, embraced them, relished them, and celebrated them. As many on our team focused on painting and playing, the two Julies remained on point as our lead evangelists on their teams. No matter what else was going, they did what we are called to do – share not just the love of Christ, but the story of Christ. In doing so, they set an example for every parent and child what it looks like to truly be on mission with the gospel – while at the same time being refueled spiritually for the days ahead when they’ll do it again whether in Haiti or in Dallas.

julie-on-haiti-family

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Family Trip Arrived Safely!

As of this morning, the Family Trip folks had arrived safely in Haiti and at Mission of Hope.

They headed out today to paint two houses in a new village and spend time with kids at a church, but you’ll start to receive “reports from the front” (as internet availability allows) soon.

Thanks for praying for the team!

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What I was created for by Andi Reagan

When I came to Haiti for my second time, I was expecting to see God’s beauty in the way I usually do… which is in nature and feeling His presence in worship. While I have enjoyed those things, I have to say this time around I saw God reveal Himself through my team. I have seen us individually share the gospel and pray with patients in the Questcare Clinic back at home in Dallas, but seeing the faithfulness of our entire team all together was so encouraging!

I looked around and all at one time, Rachel was singing “Jesus loves you” to a child, Bobby was sharing his own story of life change, Laura was praying with a Haitian to accept Jesus as his savior, and Amy was sharing the evangicube. Moments like that bring me a joy that is hard to explain.  God’s church being the church.  Standing in that medical clinic set up in a church building, time stood still. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing exactly what I was created for.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” I never thought that at the top of a mountain village in Haiti, and sweating more than I ever have is where I would be living my life to the fullest.   Nothing beats a feeling like that! I praise God for showing me Himself through the people He created, in the world He created bringing His name glory:)

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Value by Robert Duhaney MD

haiti-medicalOne obvious thing that stands out while serving on this medical trip is a lack of basic needs. It’s one thing to read about it or see it on TV but to experience it firsthand is quite sobering. It’s only been our second day on the mobile clinics and we’ve seen everything from an elderly man with a huge hole in his shoes to two kids who have stomach aches due to poor nutrition. It’s easy to question the justice in this. How was I so fortunate to have what I have and they have so little. Does God value me more? No, he values me the same way as the Haitian patient sitting across from me. And while we can look at injustice like Habbakuk did and question “why Lord?” I think the answer lies in the church. As followers of Christ, we are the ones he has commissioned to help meet the needs of those around us.

At Watermark we have been learning in Acts how the early church shared with each other as they had need. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who we seek to serve.  According to Psalm 139:14, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God cares about the orphan and the wealthy businessman alike. He cares so much that he sent his son to die for us (John 3:16). In Romans 5:8 it says that while we were sinners Christ died for us.

So it is nothing we bring to the table that makes us – we are valuable because God said we are. He made us all that way. It’s not something that man gives to another man or takes away – it’s in intrinsic to who we are.  What a beautiful truth! We are in desperate need of Jesus no matter how much money or possessions we have. Jesus taught us this in the parable of the rich man and the kingdom of heaven – our wealth makes us even in more need of him.  I have been touched by the faith of many of the Haitian people and our ministry partners at Mission of Hope who believe God’s view that every human has value. They see the poverty around them, and are faithful to help supply the need in the name of Christ.  Our Watermark medical missions team has a unique opportunity to share God’s love with the Haitian people because of the love he poured out on us. Coming to Haiti is a response to that love.

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We are all called By Amy Votary

img_1954When I said I would come on a medical discipleship(mission) trip to Haiti with a team from the Watermark’s QuestCare Clinic I honestly thought I was just signing up for the medical side. Sure, I’m a nurse. I’ll go and do nursing things. No problem. And yes, of course, I love Jesus. It all seemed to make sense. Then came the training for Haiti. I’ve always believed that everyone can share the gospel if we want, but that it’s not necessarily everyone’s calling. I can remember signing up for a shift at QuestCare and seeing that the only open position that day was pastoral care. Skip- I’ll wait till there’s a nurse position open to volunteer. What would I have to offer in a pastoral care role? How would I initiate a conversation about Jesus with a stranger?After texting Paige and being encouraged to come in anyways, I did. That day she had me draw the bridge story of salvation to a patient. I was terrified and didn’t know how I would ever get through it without enough awkwardness to fill a room, but I did it. 

 

Training for Haiti shocked me in all the same ways. I remember leaving one of the first meetings thinking “We are ALL going to tell these people about Jesus? I’m here for the medical part because I love Jesus, but I won’t actually be the one telling them about Him”. Little did I know I would spend this week in medical clinics all over different villages in Haiti talking to patient after patient about Jesus Christ, salvation, if they have a relationship with Him, and about if they knew what that means. Just weeks before that the thought of bringing those things up in conversation scared me half to death, not because I don’t have a close relationship with Him, but because I didn’t realize that everyone can share the gospel. No, we aren’t all called to be preachers and missionaries or lead other ministries, but we are all called to share how Jesus has changed our life. And I must say, that’s good news! God has given me everything I need to tell of His love. In addition to that he better equipped me with all of the training and practice we went through during our Haiti meetings leading up to this trip. I can truly say I’ve see such a huge change in my boldness. I’ve seen so much growth in my ability to share the gospel. I would have never guessed that I would be talking to complete strangers so openly and unashamedly about the love of my Savior. 

 

We are equipped to share. We are equipped to serve. And we are equipped to love. We just need to be bold. 

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Marriage Matters

by team member Anna Hughes

 

Last night during our devotional, we were asked to share a single word we had been “feasting on” – a specific word God had presented to us that described what we had been enjoying and celebrating during this season. One of our doctors, Bill Lee, shared the word “marriage.”

We were supposed to describe our word in just a short couple of sentences. Bill gave the most beautiful testimony of how his marriage has only grown sweeter over the past 47 years. He shared how his marriage was such a beautiful image and reminder to him and his wife and (he hoped) to others as well, of Christ’s love for the church.

Needless to say, he had us all close to tears.

But one of the things that has been so amazing to me on this trip is how important this word needs to be in Haiti, and how important it isn’t.

I can’t help but to think that we are losing sight of the importance of this word back home in America as well.

In Haiti, a nation overwhelmed by economic poverty, single mothers with multiple children and absent fathers are far from uncommon. Mothers are unable to go to work and in turn, unable to provide for their children or take care of themselves.

In Haiti, they are forced instead to rely on local clinics that provide little education and temporary “fixes” – similar to Planned Parenthood clinics back in the United States.

Rarely are they educated on what their children really need nutritionally, how and when to have sex healthily, or what a relationship with Jesus truly looks like and how He applies to these issues.

Many of these young women we have seen, however, have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Praise God! And they love Him and press into Him and trust that He will provide. I prayed that for many women today.

But marriage is about so much more than economic stability. It isn’t just a status.

Marriage is the type of relationship God desires. It is the kind of relationship He desires to have with each and every one of us, as individuals. And it is the kind of relationship He intended each and every one of our families to be founded on – so that our families would also be the effective ministry He intended them to be.

It has been such an awesome opportunity to volunteer with Mission of Hope’s mobile clinics here in Haiti, provide care, and help meet both the physical and spiritual needs of the people here. They not only focus on what brings people to the clinic, but also what their relationship with Jesus will look like after they leave. It’s a lot like what we get to do back home at QuestCare Clinic in Dallas.

Today I am thankful that God has revealed the kind of awesome and selfless relationship He desires to have with us – a marriage sort of relationship. And I pray that both the people here in Haiti and back home would be constantly reminded of the importance of marriage.

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God in the Details

by team member Laura Devers 

Hey y’all! What a first day of mobiles (mobile clinics)!

We set up shop in the village of Titanyen and were able to see 95 patients, 5 of whom accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior for the first time! My last trip here, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the sheer mass of people that were waiting to be seen all day long and the line never seeming to get shorter.This

This trip, however, though nothing changed in my circumstances, the Lord did quite a work in my heart. He kept saying over and over, “Just take care of who I have in front of you.” Instead of looking around at all whom had the potential not to be seen, He kept my gaze on each individual. What a picture of our God! He somehow sees each of us individually as His children and yet is sovereign over us all collectively! One of many instances where my mind was blown…

This morning I was reading through the end of John 12 and took away the word “command.” My prayer was for the Lord to show me what it looks like to be faithful in being bold to make disciples, sharing the Word of God, and making Him known.

Throughout the day, He led every conversation and allowed me to be a part of 2 salvations (Justinine and Marie)! Just like volunteering at QuestCare Clinic back in Dallas, every patient was cared for physically AND spiritually. Every patient was prayed with. Every patient heard the gospel.

I had one woman who discipled me, sharing at least 3 stories of her own about the Lord working in her life and using her to advance the kingdom! Her mother had died giving birth to her. One faithful individual shared the gospel with her as she grew up, and as soon as she heard she knew that she was here because of the Lord’s grace each day. Her life purpose was to share with her children and all around her about what an amazing God we have.

As I did with all of the patients, I learned far more from her than I taught.

God used this one woman to show me an example of His boldness. To show me a woman who faithfully followed His commands despite what could so easily be seen as a hard and discouraging life. My prayer for myself was to be bold and obedient this morning, and in His grace and sovereignty the Lord allowed me to witness what that looks like through this woman.

This woman will never be forgotten.

She encouraged me in boldness and purpose and was a walking testimony of the Lord’s strength. She challenged me with the same thing the Lord has been challenging me: to believe that He is enough and be bold in sharing this with all around me. He is all we need here in Haiti, and He is all we need back home in Dallas, Texas.

haiti-medical

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The Mission Started Before the Plane Landed

The Clinic team arrived safe and sound in Haiti, and after some great conversations the first evening – as well as a friendly game of Farkle – the team got settled in at Mission of Hope.

The team didn’t even wait until landing, though, before they started the mission!

The photo below is of team member Victoria Bragg. She got the chance to share the gospel multiple time with the passengers next to her on our flights. There’s nothing more convicting than waking up from a nap hearing her saying, “…but that’s why it’s not from works. We have assurance because of what He’s done.”

 

Pray with us as the team kicks off, learning more about MOH and then as mobile clinics have started on Monday!

victoria

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Dear Haiti

Addisyn wrote this on the plane returning from Haiti. She’s 15.

Dear Haiti,

your beautiful country and beautiful people have captured my heart. my love for you is immense. may the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face shine upon you.

You have taught me to: have joy in the midst of the trials, to love fearlessly, call upon the Lord continually, seek others’ interest ahead of my own, and to always remember that the Lord is to be praised.

your children hold a dear place in my heart. I’m praying that they would be the next generation of leaders for your country. that they would be the turning point of your government because they love the Lord. I can’t wait for the day that Jesus comes back because they will sit at His feet and finally be home. they will feel even more loved and cherished than I could ever make them feel.

so, do not forget your God because He is the best thing that could ever be yours. He will take care of you when you are in need. His protecting hand will be on you. Cast your eyes on Him, Haiti. He loves you.

Addisyn

addisynsharingecube

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