Category Archives: Haiti
Dear Church Family
We thank God for allowing us to reach safely in Haiti Saturday afternoon. As a team, we appreciate all of your support and prayers. Please continue to pray for us as we serve the local missionaries and church. As Paul writes “and pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains” – Colossians 4:3. Here is an update on the trip and how it is going thus far.
At 6:00 AM on Saturday, our first flight left the Tulsa airport and after about 6 hours (total), and one layover in Miami, we stepped off the plane in Port Au Prince, Haiti. We were blessed not to come across any major problems, and we met with Noel Tugwell (director of Child Hope). As we were driven through the city, we soon realized the severity of the great need of the Haitian people. We were brought to the guest house in which we would be staying as well as introduced to Ernie and Sharron Rice (a full time missionary couple from outside of San Antonio, TX), Amber (an intern from near Buffalo, NY), and Jimmy (a Haitian man who was once an orphan himself and now works hard and spreads God’s name to fellow Haitians both inside and outside the city). We were then briefed by Christina (a full time missionary with Child Hope), who is our main guide and leader throughout the week. Shortly after, we walked up to the community center (known as “the Benz”) and spent time with some of the Child Hope orphans. We will spend much more time here as the week goes on. Later on in the night, a worship service was held at the Benz by Child Hope, and we had the joy of worshiping God’s name in both English and Creole. When this ended (well after dark), we were led home for a good night’s rest. Praise be to God in knowing that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” -Ephesians 2:10.
Written by Patterson Hilaire, Pearson Wade, Justin Edwards
Standing in front of a run-down cot with grimy walls looming about sat a woman. The interpreter stood near, and I asked her how she was doing.
“Fine,” was all she said at first. I then asked if she was in pain. “A little,” she shrugged her shoulders.
I looked at Jean, the interpreter, and asked him if she had lost her baby. He asked her, and she said yes.
No one was around to comfort her. No husband. No father. No mother, sister, or brother. Not even a boyfriend. She was alone, and she just had her dead child removed from her womb.
With my heart crumbling to pieces, I prayed for God to give me strength.
“Can I pray for you?” I asked.
She nodded her head yes. After praying, I so badly wanted to be able to speak with this woman. One on one. Tell her about the God who loves her. Encourage her and admonish her. Stand by her side.
But my eyes were all that could speak all the mourning thoughts in my head, and we moved on to the cot beside her’s to pray for the next hurting woman.
This was one of the most striking moments for me during our time in Haiti, when we divided as a group at a maternity
hospital in Port au Prince to pray for the women there. Check out Adam’s blog from Monday to read more details about it.
Today was out last full day in Haiti. We began the morning with breakfast and a devotional. Patterson brought several copies of the song “Nothing but The Blood” in Haitian Creole, and we sang that as a group with Adam leading on guitar.
Following that, we discussed the passage of Acts 17:16-33. It was about how Paul was in the city of Athens, and noticed the false idols in the city. He boldly preached against that and for God. Not just in front of a few people, but in front of an entire council of philosophers…no easy feat.
We prayed over the person to our right, for the need they had and for each of us to see a need today and have the boldness to go and do our best to meet it.
We walked over to a store called Apparent Project. It is a ministry and business combined into one. Parents who would otherwise be unemployed and unable to take care of their children (meaning the children would otherwise be orphans of poverty) make products for the store.
They make a variety of beautiful items: pottery, jewelry, key chains, purses, wallets, cards, clothing and woodwork items.
After visiting that store we came back and Lorrie picked us up. We headed off into a different region of the city. This area is reputed for danger and violence, and you don’t want to go there if you don’t have business to do.
This area, Cite Soliel, was a pretty bad area. It’s like the slums of Haiti. There were hundreds, maybe thousands, of tin shacks slinking on scorching ground among mini rivers and ponds of muddy sewage waste.
The heat was so intense that sweat was pouring down people’s faces and soaking through shirts, if they had a shirt.
We arrived to serve food with Lorie from Outside the Bowl Ministry. There are many gangs in this area, but because they know what Outside the Bowl does, they let us in.
We were there to serve the elderly community. Upon arriving the people were already sitting at the tables and benches, hungry.
It was going well, feeding everyone that is, until we ran out of plates about half way through serving everyone. After that, it got a little crazy. People started to give us children’s play buckets and pitchers to fill up food with. Once that ran out, everyone crowded the table that food was being served from.
A little crazy, but it could’ve been worse.
With one more hot and sticky ride back to the guesthouse, that completed our second adventure of the day.
After a bit of relaxing and prepping gifts for the kitchen staff and house managers who have been hosting us this week, the guys headed off to watch Lorrie’s son, Louis, play in the championship game of local schools in Port au Prince. Sarah and I went over to the orphanage to hang out and play with the kids.
For most of that time I sat and talked with a 13 year old girl named Katrina. Her English was very good and it was fun talking with her. We talked about what it was like for her to go through the earthquake, why she couldn’t live with her mom (she’s an orphan of poverty), and what she wants to do when she graduates from school.
She has a genuine smile and joy in her heart. It was wonderful to just get to sit and talk with her.
Later on the team went out for pizza with the Tugwells, and Adam and I went to dinner with his great uncle who happened to be in town. His uncle, Dwight, is in charge of overseeing missionaries in several different countries. The missionaries he was checking up on, Richard and Carol, hosted us for dinner.
They were very kind and had a variety of exciting and terrifying stories of their many years spent in Haiti.
This trip has been impactful for the community, and of service to the Tugwells, who are here day in and day out working in this intense land and heat. Keep them in your prayers.
I came to this trip wondering and doubting a bit as to how effective and impactful short term missions really are. Praise be to God, I’ve learned many ways of how they are effective:
- Teams can encourage and admonish the long term missionaries. They don’t have someone there by their side everyday patting their back and telling them what a great job is being done. It’s great when teams can come in to serve them and encourage them with the work they’re doing.
- Short term teams have lots of energy to give. It is a breath of fresh air for a group of people who have lots of energy to come in and play with all of the kids. Long term people don’t always have the time or the energy to do that, so it’s sweet and helpful to them when that is done in an appropriate manner.
- Lastly, teams that come in can do projects in a short span of time that would take the long term folks months to do. Additionally so, it’s helpful so that the long-term people can work on building relationships and discipling others, and not have to worry so much to paint the inside of a building. A team that comes in can get that done in a day or two no problem. Short term teams are very helpful in terms of completing projects (painting, construction, or other needs that must be met).
I am grateful to have gone on this trip. The Lord has worked in many ways, and it was effective in bringing His Kingdom closer. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel back tomorrow. We are expected to arrive very late on Saturday night!
Written by Bekah Harvey
Today, as a team, we got off to a very bright, sunny and early start. Breakfast started at 8 in the morning. The team enjoyed a very diverse and delicious breakfast of locally grown fruits of syrupy mangoes, sweet sugary watermelons, yellow soppy pineapple and papaya. On top of that, we the team had toast and oatmeal. Everyday we eat and experience the Haitian culture, we thank God because we see His infinite wisdom manifested in such diverse culture. His creation just speaks of His glory. When you bite into a sweet locally grown fruit— you are just amazed, and you cannot but imagine and think about God who orchestrated and created all.
Additionally, today was set out as a beach day. After a two hour long drive through the crowded streets of Port au Prince, we arrived at a beautiful beach called Indigo. On the beach resort we got to relax and unpack from such an intense week of laboring for the Kingdom. Members on the team participated in various activities at the resort such as purchasing souvenirs, playing in the ocean and in the pool. Even though it was set out as a day to “unwind,” the Lord still allowed for I (Patterson) to pray for a fellow Haitian believer. The guy was a vendor selling souvenirs and seafood to tourists who visited Indigo beach. He went by the name Arnold. Arnold said he is part of a local ministry and he is the kid’s director. He mentioned that there is a lot of needs among the young kids, and his dream one day is to take them in support them. Arnold said, “My proceeds go to taking care of my family, and what’s left I buy some gifts for the kids I work with— and help keep them out of trouble.” Moreover, Patterson got Ryan to pray for him. Ryan asked, “How can I pray for you?” He replied, “Pray that my dream of taking care of those kids come through and continue to pray for the ministry.” So Ryan prayed for Him and continuity of ministry. It was powerful to see fellow believers laboring in the field.
God is sovereign. He is a work in such a dark place like Haiti. Praise and honor be to Him! Thank God that His good news is going out among the Haitian people. However, just like Paul said in Colossians 4: 2-4, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. They are hungry for the Word of Jesus Christ. Pray for more laborers. The need it! Oftentimes, they are given to a prosperity Gospel because of much physical poverty in Haiti. Pray that they see that the Gospel remedies a spiritual Gospel, and through the Gospel reconciling love of Jesus Christ, that we have the authority of suffering because we have a greater inheritance to look forward to and experience know which is known as the Kingdom of God. Undoubtedly, God is working among the team and the Haitian people. Continue to pray for the team as we labor for God, and continue to pray for the Haitian people receiving the powerful Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to redeem, lead and guide them to the Kingdom of God.
Written by Patterson Hillaire
Tonight as we worshiped at the Bendz we sang, “Lord I give you my heart” and joined with the children crying out to the Lord. The verse in Psalms 98:4 ” Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises” came to mind as we asked the Lord to let not our will, but his be done. Throughout the day we were able to serve those around us while making joyful noise.
We started out the day with a service project where we painted the show room in TransServe. This was the entry to the building where they will be able to showcase and sell local handmade goods. After lunch, we did a craft with children at the feeding program and provided them with a keychain with scripture so that they could take it with them to hide the words in their hearts as Psalms 119:11 says. It has been a constant theme that I’ve noticed throughout the week, to be joyful. Just today it has been amazing to see the joy in the children’s eyes as we play with them at the Bendz, the eagerness as we pass out food in the feeding program, and the excitement when we did the craft with them.
Even though the people we are serving may not have the physical things that we have been blessed with, they have been given the ability to experience joy despite their circumstances, and Lord willingly they will one day be able to experience joy in Christ.
Written by Sarah Luttrell
Going to the Tugwell’s home group was a very encouraging way to end the day. The group was very open with each other and wasn’t afraid to talk about what God was doing in their life. We had an amazing time of fellowship and worship with each other. The cool thing about it was that in between songs anyone had the chance to read a passage from the Bible or share something that was on their heart. During the time of worship, I felt that God was calling me to read to a passage that was on my mind. That passage was Philippians 2:10-11 which says “So that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” This passage reminded me that one day no matter who you are, everyone will confess that Jesus is Lord. This was very encouraging to remember as we share the gospel in Haiti.
Earlier in the day we got the opportunity to help serve in a transition program of Child Hope by beginning to paint inside the transition program building. The transition program takes the older kids in the Child Hope orphanages and teaches them how to make jewelry, bake, and do woodworking. The materials that are made are then sold, which puts money back into their ministry. It was a cool experience to be able to help them out by beginning to paint the inside of their building. We got as much done as we could, but we will be returning there to finish up the job. It was awesome to be able to serve them in that way.
Lastly, one of the first things we did this morning was going into a nearby school and seeing how they ran things in their school. The kids in their were very happy and joyful despite their varying circumstances outside of the school. This is a theme I have noticed over my time in Haiti. Even though the people have very little, they always have a joyful attitude and don’t complain about what they don’t have. This has been a great reminder to me that I should always be grateful for all the things that I am blessed to have. I hope to have the same joyful attitude that these kids have in in my daily life back home in the States.
Written by Sam Burns