Monthly Archives: March 2015

Living Stones and Kingdom Work

Some weeks here at Hope Center are quiet. As I sit here writing on my blog, I hear a rooster call in the distance; the guineas in the yard are calling out to let us know that Jillian has arrived; a baby is crying in his mother’s lap while they wait to see the doctor; and Madame Marta is greeting people in the yard as she looks around for trash to pick up. “Ti cafe ak pen souple,” she asks as I step out onto my front door step to say hello. She’s asking for a little coffee and bread for breakfast before she commences with her work. At 85 years old, she comes to Hope Center every day with a bag in her hands, working to keep the place nice and clean to earn chicken feed for her chickens. She’s like the Hope Center Clinic cheerleader in that she walks around among the waiting patients in the morning, greeting them with a kiss on the cheek and asking them how they are doing. Her voice dances with the mountain fresh air and touches my heart. I glance out my front door and see the flower petals waving in the breeze and the empty chair swing spinning in a slow circle. It’s a quiet week here.

Sitting on the love seat in my house, looking out my front door, listening to the sounds of Hope Center

Sitting on the love seat in my house, looking out my front door, listening to the sounds of Hope Center

Other weeks are not so quiet. Last week, Hope Center was one of those not-so-quiet weeks. That’s not a bad thing at all. It’s actually a very good thing. When teams are here, every day begins with a buzz of anticipation as team members prepare for the tasks of ministry they have planned to do. As the day progresses, the team members gather back together for lunch and then dinner and share with one another about the things God did through them over the course of the day. At the end of the week, we are amazed at how God multiplied their efforts to do many great works that will carry on many months and years to come. It’s often too much to recount. This is the case with the Crystal Springs/MSU team. The group from New Zion Baptist Church, some students from Mississippi State University, and our Jacob and his girlfriend Madison all joined together for an amazing Spring Break of ministry at Hope Center in Haiti.

The Crystal Springs team in front of our church at sunset

The Crystal Springs team in front of our church at sunset

Their plans for the week included building benches for the church, hosting VBS, building a house for Johnny’s family, helping with clinic, and hosting a ladies Bible study. With God’s help and provision, they accomplished all of these things and more.

On day one, the buzz of the saw in the yard cranked up early as half the team immediately got to work on making benches. Charles had created a design that is very sturdy and will allow for a hymnal tray to be added to the back of each bench later. These benches will allow us to pack in so many more people in our church as we grow in numbers every week.

Also on the first day, another group of team members loaded up and went into the village to begin work on building Johnny’s family a house. The house they have been living in had three rooms, but only one of the three rooms had a roof, and it was falling in. There was only one working door on the house, and inside was dark and dusty from the mud walls and heat. Their new house has two rooms with a vented roof for air flow and windows to allow for light to come in during the day. It has a locking front door and a concrete floor instead of dirt. It may not seem like much from American standards. but to this family that has endured many a muddy night as the rain poured through their tattered tin roof, it is a blessing from God that they have prayed for for a long time.

In VBS, the team loved on children throughout the village each afternoon, teaching them about the joys and benefits of knowing Jesus. They talked about how Jesus is the light and He shines through us when we let his light shine. They gave out little LED flashlights from Community Bank as a useful reminder of the light of Christ. They also gave out water bottles that said “Jezi se vivan” (Jesus is living water). On the last day, they walked the children down to the well that the team members had fixed in their “spare time” and let the kids fill their water bottles up with fresh, clean water. It was LOTS of fun!!

Ladies Bible study was a huge blessing to the women of our village. They love spending time with the American women, discussing issues important to women and letting God minister to their hearts through song and sharing of the Word. On the last day, the leaders of the Bible study washed the ladies’ feet to demonstrate the love of Christ in us as we minister to one another. It was a touching moment. Even Jess got in on the special time as he washed the feet of a man that came to the bible study and then he and Junior washed one another’s feet. Such a precious time!

Throughout each day and in between all of the planned activities, many team members helped with clinic by working triage, counting pills, and entering information into the computer from patient files. There is always an abundance of activity that goes on behind the scenes each week at Hope Center, and this team jumped to action whenever a need was seen.

I could talk about and post pics of all of the things this team did to minister to the people of our village last week, but time will not allow because it was MUCH. I will list other things below and post a slide show of all of the pics of the week below. Suffice it to say that we are so very thankful that people are willing to be led by God to come serve in our village at Hope Center, Galette Chambon. We do not take lightly the sacrifice it takes to come here and serve. However, we do know that God blesses people who trust in His provision and say YES when he calls them to come serve. And when people come, they allow God to use them in many amazing ways, and those works carry on for many years to come. It’s called KINGDOM work because as people come serve, they are building the Kingdom of God up in a way that has eternal impact in people’s lives.1 Peter 2:5 says, “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” When teams come here to work, they are like living stones that build up the kingdom of God. Their sacrifice is an offering that is acceptable and blessed by God. Long after a team leaves, the memories of laughter, prayer, worship, and hard work echo through our minds, and through the minds of the people they touch, and we are all blessed.

Other things the team did: (I’m sure I don’t have a complete list here either!)

  • Fixed the village well that has been broken
  • Worked on electrical issues within Hope Center
  • Installed an outlet in the ag missionary house
  • Worked on the ambulance and bus
  • Helped with ESL classes and Creole Literacy class
  • Fixed a door latch on the mission house
  • Fixed the deep freezer hinge
  • Changed oil in the skid steer
  • Visited people in the village
  • Watered trees in the village
  • Built a chicken coup
  • Special VBS at orphanage
  • Shared in song during worship service at church
  • Helped deliver a baby at 3:45 a.m.

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Working Together-Getting it Done

Last week at Hope Center, we had another combo team here from South Carolina and Florida. Sometimes team members may be a little apprehensive about joining up with a team of people they don’t know from somewhere else, but inevitably the members end up becoming close friends as they serve alongside one another and our Haitian staff and friends.

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SOOOO much happened last week that there’s no way to include it all! The first team arrived on Sunday afternoon. The team was from Lauren, South Carolina. They immediately unloaded the bus and began pulling out all of the goodies they brought for the children in the orphanage for the upcoming birthday party. Charles and Hannah had worked hard with their home church over the winter break to organize and accumulate birthday presents for each child in the orphanage so that over the course of this year we can have birthday celebrations for them. The South Carolina team had agreed to get the gifts to Haiti, and they were extremely excited to be delivering them. The team members had also chipped in by purchasing sheets and towels for the orphanage as well. For a while there was a sea of pink and blue all over the tables as we sorted through the gifts and prepared to take them to Rachel’s apartment at the orphanage.

On day two the Pensacola team began arriving. Because of the winter storm in the states, many flights have become delayed and rerouted, making people miss flights and have to rebook. It took two days for them to all get here. As team members arrived, everyone seemed to just fall into place where their help was needed. Junior, Dr. Seth, and Jimmy set up shop in the dental clinic, Craig, John, and Carroll worked with Makil and Woodnorder in the orphanage building a shaded area, Cindy helped Rachel get unpacked and organized for plans she was making for the orphanage, and Nancy was able to offer some amazing help to Hannah with homeschooling Lilly.

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One thing I thought was really cool was that on Monday, we were trying to figure out where everyone would work. Susan and Joe were in the pharmacy, but were a bit overwhelmed by the idea of filling prescriptions all day not knowing much about the medicines we had in there. Suddenly, someone said, “Clark has worked in a pharmacy before, why don’t we go get him to come work in here!” So we sent for Clark, who was helping the other men build a shade area in the courtyard at the orphanage, and asked him to help in pharmacy. Oh my goodness….this was one of the best moves made all week! Clark did an amazing job in the pharmacy. Susan was able to help us enter patient records into our computer system as they came in which was a huge help. Joe, Robin, and Adaire worked with Marc and Estima in triage, and Tony & I floated around fielding questions and helping everyone get what they needed when they needed it.

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Once the Pensacola folks arrived, we were able to double our patient intake because we added Dr. Mitch to see patients while Kirsten and Karen helped with pharmacy, lab work, and assisted with other needs in the clinic, and Susan was able to completely focus on entering patient records. Don, Eb, Peter, Seth, Ethan, and Doug immediately got to work on orphanage needs and Craig, John, and Carroll shifted to building an agricultural nursery in the ag yard for seeding plants before transplating them to gardens. Debbie, Natalie, Kim, and Tracey helped in both the clinic as well as the orphanage throughout the week. And at some point during the week, the men built benches to be used in the orphanage as well as in the clinic waiting area. These will be used every single day as people wait to be seen by a doctor, thankful that God has provided healthcare for them as well as a place to sit while they wait.

Pensacola & Laurens men working with Makil on the orphanage shade area

Pensacola & Laurens men working with Makil on the orphanage shade area

On Wednesday, the medical team packed up and headed back to the back of the village to a small school where they did medical checkups for all of the school children. They saw many, many children and their parents at the clinic. Our dentist, Dr. Seth stayed here at Hope Center and continued seeing dental patients. At one point, Tony and Kirsten had to return to Hope Center with a pregnant mother because they thought she might be in labor due to some belly pains. Once they arrived, they decided to send her on to the hospital. While they were here, a man brought in his mother who had recently had a mastectomy and was severely infected – almost septic. The infection was horrible. Tony drained the site and cleaned her up as much as possible and they sent her on to the hospital too. Tony said that had he not been here to see her and had we had to send her away, she probably would have died over night. God knew she was coming here and used the pregnant mother to get Tony & Kirsten back to Hope Center to get her cleaned up, antibiotics on board, and sent on to the hospital. God is always in control!

Dr. Shubert with two sweet children on mobile clinic

Dr. Shubert with two sweet children on mobile clinic

Karen and Clark with school kids at mobile clinic

Karen and Clark with school kids at mobile clinic

These two teams worked non-stop all week! They worked seamlessly and enjoyed worship time together each evening in the breezeway. On Tuesday night, we all went down to the church for worship time with the local membership. Tuesday night worship services are always such a wonderful time of ministry and praise. Someone had put a bug in Pastor Mickenson’s ear that Adaire was an amazing pianist, so he invited her to play a couple of songs. They ended the worship set with “How Great Thou Art” and the entire place was rocking with praise! It was a glorious time as both Americans and Haitians worshipped in song together with hands raised and voices loud. I think we all floated out of there that night, fed by the Holy Spirit, and blessed by God our Father.

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One of the biggest events of the week was a birthday party for the children at the orphanage. Much planning had gone into the event, and everyone had a great time! Many children here don’t even know when they were born, and they certainly aren’t accustomed to celebrating the day of their birth. We want these kids to look forward to their special day every year and know that they are loved and that God has blessed them and has a great plan for their lives.

Hannah and Adaire and other team members serving up birthday cake!

Hannah and Adaire and other team members serving up birthday cake!

As we do every week when a team comes, we went on a walk through the village as soon as we could sneak in a couple of hours of free time. We went up on the hill visiting with families and explaining to the team members how God has provided in so many ways for the people here. We stopped by Mdm Marta’s house, and as usual, she invited us all in. She fell in love with Clark, and he asked her if she would go on a date with him. She laughed and said “Wi!” So on Tuesday night after church, we prepared a big meal for them and set up a table out back with flowers and a candle. To Clark’s surprise, Mdm Marta invited a guest to their date!! Mark said he got “swagger jacked” and we all enjoyed watching Marta and her friend enjoy a dinner together. It was a sweet time. Marta was eager, however, to box up her food and take it up to her house to share with the children, so the romantic dinner was cut short. That Marta is something else!!

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On the last day of the week before time for the teams to leave, we thought we were going to have a baby! Kirsten had prayed and prayed that she would get to help deliver a baby while here. The first-time mother came in with pretty strong contractions, but she was extremely anxious. After a little while in the clinic, she requested to go outside to deliver. The team made a bed for her outside under the almond tree, and the wait began. We thought a baby was inevitable when the mama’s water broke, but unfortunately contractions pretty much stopped after that. Tony eventually made the decision to let Meresse take them to the hospital. We were all sad that we couldn’t deliver a baby, but we were glad that the mama was going to get the medical attention she needed too. She came back today with her mother and husband and brand new baby girl. Both mom and baby are doing great…and so is daddy – who was quite nervous when they were here. Ha!

Kirsten and Karen with Tony and Alex laboring a mother under the almond tree

Kirsten and Karen with Tony and Alex laboring a mother under the almond tree

As always, it’s hard to say goodbye to a group of people who you have worked & worshipped with all week. It seems like just about the time you have gotten to know everyone, it’s time to put them all back on the bus and send them to the airport. They leave us with many great memories though and friendships that will continue on in the weeks, months, and hopefully years to come. They leave a part of themselves here at Hope Center, and they take with them a heart full of blessings from serving however God led them to serve while here. We are thankful for their time here. Until lot fwa! (next time!)

South Carolina team picture before leaving

South Carolina team picture before leaving

The Pensacola team before leaving Hope Center

The Pensacola team before leaving Hope Center

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