Tag Archives: hope center

God’s Provision is Amazing

Recently I posted about my friend, Jores, and I wanted to give all of you an update. Before I do, however, I also wanted to brag on what an amazing God we serve. Most of you reading this already agree with that statement, but it just never ceases to amaze me how our God watches our day to day experiences, and He works things out to see His Will come about in ways that we could never dream as we simply pray, “Not MY Will be done, but Your’s, oh God.”

You see, Jores has never been one to go around soliciting others to give him what he needs. Jores has always simply ministered to others, giving as he could to honor the Lord with his gifts and abilities. He never went around telling people how desperate his situation was, but rather served along side others who serve the same Lord, and prayed that God would use him in any way He wanted to use him. Then God sent a ministry to Jores’s village, Jores joined up in the cause by working as a translator, God led missionaries to go help in the school where he had been volunteering as an English teacher, then God put it upon someone’s heart to pray that he could one day go to college, then that person shared their burden about Jores to someone else, then that person found a way to send Jores to school….and now he is not only on his way to med school, but with a brand new computer to do his work on. GOD IS GOOD!!! You see, God created each one of us to do great things in His name. We don’t have to make that happen; we simply seek His Will for our lives and obey when He calls, and one day we will discover that purpose God had for us all along and HE can be praised for leading us to it.

I am so excited for my friend, Jores. He is working so very hard in school, and when he sends me messages to thank me and others for believing in him and for providing a way for him to go to school, I just thank God for the way he has worked in Jores’s life, and I pray that God will continue to bless him, give him endurance, and lead him down the path which he was destined to go. Thank you all who have prayed for Jores!! And Thank you all who have helped him begin to see his dreams come true. I am sure sometimes he just wants to pinch himself because it’s hard to believe that his dream of one day becoming a doctor is actually happening, BUT GOD knows the plans He has for Jores, who is called according to HIS purpose – plans that are meant to give him a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) – and plans that will also give others a future and a hope. Our God is an AWESOME God.

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Jores and Tony on the day the new laptop arrived. Jores sent me a message and said, “It’s so light! And it looks like no one has ever used it!” I explained to him that it is what we called “brand new” and that he will be the first and only person to use it. It is HIS. 🙂

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Meet my friend Jores Merilus

Meet my friend, Jores Merilus. It thrills me to introduce you to him because he is a perfect example of what God is doing not just in our village of Galette Chambon, but in countless other communities throughout Haiti. The people have been praying, and God has been answering. Psalm 34:17 says that “when the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” As people like Jores cry out to God, and then continue in faith serving Him and seeking His will in their lives, God moves, and amazing things begin to happen!

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When Jores was a child, he ran along the many pathways and rock roads that wind their way throughout the village just like everyone else. He went to the well getting water for his mother just like all of the other kids. He helped his family grow their own food, and he helped his father keep up the family business of making charcoal and selling it in the market. This is the life of any young man growing up in our village. Jores was no different than anyone else….or was he? Yes, Jores was indeed different because Jores not only went through elementary school,  he went on to high school, and he not only completed high school, but he learned English well enough to get a job translating at Hope Center on a daily basis. Jores also volunteers as an English teacher at a local school in the village teaching young people who want to learn English as well. Jores is a giver. He is an extremely intelligent, highly motivated young man who has had a dream of becoming a doctor for a very long time. That dream is about to come true!

Last summer, a team was visiting Hope Center and we went to help Jores with his English classes. While there, I was watching Jores interact with his students, and I turned to one of the team members and said, “You know, that young man right there has the potential to become anything he wants to become. I have prayed and prayed that one day God would lead someone to sponsor him and send him to college.” I had no motive. I was just making conversation and bragging on one of the amazing young men who works with us. The week passed on, and on the last day, before the team left, this team member pulled me aside and said, “Mickie, I talked with my husband, and we want to sponsor Jores in college.” I was floored. God had heard Jores’s prayers, knew the desires of his heart, and had moved me to make conversation with the very one He had appointed to use as the vehicle that would take him to the place where his dreams would come true. In October, Jores began taking some preparatory classes to get him ready to take the entrance exam for medical school. He completed the classes in January and took the exam and PASSED it!! Now Jores is preparing to enter college and begin a seven year journey to the destiny God planned for him before he was even born.

I have no doubt that Jores will make it through college and become an amazing physician. He will continue to give of himself and his gifts as he ministers to people in ways I don’t even think he can imagine. ….But God had a plan and Jores had a dream. Jores prayed for God to hear his prayers and help him to somehow realize his dreams. In faith, Jores continued to grow in his relationship with the Lord, serve the people of his community, serve in our clinic at Hope Center, help his mother with their family charcoal business, and patiently wait upon the Lord.

Please pray for Jores in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead as he continues on this journey to his destiny. Pray for God’s provision. Pray for endurance as Jores has many long hours of studying and preparing. Pray for protection among his family as they adjust to his changing schedule and pressures of school. Pray for his sponsors and others who are led to give to help Jores’s dreams come true. And please continue to pray for Hope Center as we adjust to not having Jores around daily in the clinic. He will be missed.

We are so very thankful to be a part of this incredible miracle taking place. I am just overwhelmed with gratitude to our Lord Jesus for placing us in this place where we can experience His greatness every single day.

**For those of you who want to pray with us for something specific related to Jores, we are praying that God will provide for a specific need that Jores has for this coming year and that is a laptop computer. In medical school, he will be expected to do research and write papers frequently, and all of this will be required to be done on a computer. Jores does not have a computer to do his work on, and a laptop would give him the ability to take his work back and forth with him to school. I have no doubt that God is going to lead someone out there to bless Jores in this way. If God is leading you to do this, please send me an email and we can get it worked out. Our email address is tnmwest@gmail.com.  I will close now expressing our gratitude to you for your many prayers, words of encouragement, and support for all that God does through us, But God Ministries, and Hope Center. We are indeed so very blessed.

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Tony and Jores outside Hope Center Clinic after a long day’s work

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Good News and Challenges

One exciting thing about being a Christ follower is that He is always shocking our socks off with the way He works through His people to bless others. A few weeks back, we put out a post asking people to give to sponsor 200 children in school, and guess what! We have 200 children sponsored for school tuition for the upcoming school year! Hallelujah!! It’s a pretty cool thing when we begin to pray, God prompts the hearts of His people, His people follow through, and BAM! It’s done! This is so exciting! I live in a world of miracles, and I am pretty pumped about this place. Ha! soloman's kids

So that was the good news….Now for the challenge…..

Now that we are able to cover the tuition for 200 children in our village, their needs are not completely filled. In Haiti, children must wear closed toed shoes, carry their books (that they must purchase) in a back pack, and wear a uniform. The parents in our village don’t have the funds to buy these things. Just last week, we kicked off a tennis shoe and back pack drive hosted by Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon, MS. If you live near Brandon and you have new or gently used tennis shoes and/or back packs, please, please drop them off at Crossgates Baptist Church. There is a big trash can in the lobby that has a sign on it. Put them in there. Thanks!! 

Now suppose you don’t live near Brandon or you don’t have tennis shoes or back packs to give. You can still help if God prompts you to help! There are several ways. 

1. You can go to http://www.butgodministries.com and click “Donate” and choose “scholarship” on the drop down menu and give. All funds that continue to be given to our scholarship fund will go to help pay for uniforms and books for the children. 

2. T-shirts!! If you know of someone who owns a screen print shop that would we willing to donate 250 t-shirts to one of our two sponsored schools, please, please send me an email or reply to this post. (tnmwest@gmail.com) Of course, you need to check with the business first to make sure they are on board. Ha! The principals of each school have agreed to allow their children to wear an alternative uniform that is a t-shirt in their school colors. If we have enough for each child in the school to get one, no one will be without a uniform and feel different from everyone else because they can’t afford it. We are working to have uniforms made for all of the children, but in the meantime, if they can wear a t-shirt, that would be great! Call someone you know that owns a screen print company and ask. It’s an opportunity to give a huge blessing to school children in Haiti that wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. 

3. If you sew, or know someone who does, and you would like to help us make uniforms for school children in Haiti, please let me know. We are working on getting the sizes of the children who need uniforms, and we are also working on getting the fabric and patterns. This has turned out to be a bigger task than we imagined, but God will provide what we need when we need it, so no worries. When we acquire the patterns and material, we will get the information out and let people get to sewing! I just need a list of willing tailors!! 🙂  Email me at tnmwest@gmail.com.

johel's kidsPhilippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It is this very promise that we share with the Haitian families daily who are our neighbors and friends at Hope Center in Galette Chambon. We know that God knows their needs and He is already moving His people to give in order to supply those needs. If one person refuses to obey, He simply moves someone else to receive the blessing of giving. Regardless, He moves and people give. We have complete faith and trust in Him to do it. 

People ask me all the time, “What do you all need down there?” Well, the answer to that question varies, but SPECIFICALLY, right now we need funds for books, tennis shoes, back packs, school t-shirts, and uniforms. GENERALLY, we need people to pray and be willing to ACT upon the movement of God upon their heart. Remember: God WILL move people to help His children. The question is, is He moving you? If He is, then you will not regret acting on it.  

Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” We have learned that there is no greater blessing of joy than to give of ourselves to help others in need. There are many, many needs in this world, and I pray you will seek God to know how He can use you to meet those needs. When you say, “Yes,” the blessings begin to flow. 

Thank you for your prayers; thank you for your obedience; thank you for your love for our little village of Galette Chambon. Lives are being changed here, and a generation is learning what it means to trust in the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.  

God bless you all! We are so very thankful for you!!

~Tony & Mickie West

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God Wants to Make Dreams Come True

Have you ever watched someone’s dream come true? Exciting isn’t it? What’s even more exciting is to see someone’s prayers answered after they have faithfully prayed for something for years. Right now, we are being blessed to watch this very thing happening for someone we love dearly. His name is Jorese. 

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Tony and Jorese outside the clinic.

He is one of our main translators in the medical clinic, and he is so very intelligent. He is one of the most compassionate, giving people I know. We have known Jorese for a year now, and we have watched him grow so much over the months.  We are so blessed by his friendship and the contribution he makes to Hope Center.  He has a very quiet, gentle spirit, and an understanding of medical things that is amazing.  It didn’t take us long to figure out that Jorese was created and gifted by God to serve in the medical field. However, his resources are very limited. He lives in Port au Prince, but he spends most of his time in Galette Chambon, helping his mother whose health is poor, translating at our Hope Center clinic, and teaching English classes for free to children in his village. He gives so much of himself to help others. God has used this time in his life as a translator and teacher to prepare him for the next journey of his life. Yesterday, however, Jorese began a journey towards the plan that God designed for him before he was even born.

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Jorese overseeing the American mission team as they work with Haitian English students in his classroom.

Today, God began the first steps of making a dream come true for Jorese.  Yesterday, he registered to take his entrance exam for medical school. You see, Jorese has always wanted to be a doctor, but he never had the courage to tell anyone because he didn’t see that it was possible for this dream to come true. Then one day God began answering many prayers around his village. Over the course of this year, as God sent But God Ministries to the village of Galette Chambon, Jorese has witnessed God healing people, providing income for people, feeding people, sending children to school, and providing housing for people who were living in tents. He began to realize that God really does answer prayers! 

He never knew how it was going to happen, or when it was going to happen, but Jorese knew God made him to be a doctor, so he kept praying that God would make a way. Now it is happening.

So how did it happen? A few weeks ago, a mission team was at Hope Center and someone on the team was there, I believe, particularly to meet Jorese. The team went to help Jorese with his English classes, and as the class was coming to an end, I mentioned that I had been praying with Jorese that one day he would be able to go to college. Later that day, a member of the team came to me and offered to let God use her to help Jorese go to college. Since then, we have been checking into things, working out the details, and now he is registered to take the entrance exam.

I’m sure it’s bittersweet for Tony. Although he is thrilled that Jorese is on his way to medical school, he will miss Jorese and the impact he has in the clinic. We know that God already knows who will serve in the clinic in his place, and who knows? Perhaps one day, Jorese will serve as a doctor at Hope Center! Wouldn’t that be super-cool?! Whatever His plan is, we know that it is beyond what any of us can possibly imagine.

That’s how our Father, God is! Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jorese has sought God with all his heart and God has listened and is answering. Praise the Lord!!

Please pray for Jorese as he begins his journey through medical school. It will take seven years for him to complete it, and it will take much hard work and endurance. He will meet obstacles and difficulties along the way, but with perseverance and strength provided by our awesome God, Jorese will come to live the life God planned for him – a life beyond his biggest dreams. 

Thank you, once again, for your diligence in prayer for But God Ministries, for our family, for our village, and for Jorese. You play a very important part in seeing these amazing things happen here. May God bless your part immensely!

~Mickie

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Scholarships for Children of Galette Chambon

Praise The Lord!! Because of the faithfulness of many people, 126 children in the village of Galette Chambon, Haiti, will be able to go to school this coming school year. In case you didn’t know it, THIS IS HUGE!! We currently have about 200 on our list who need help, but to know that in just a little over a week, this many people have contributed to the scholarship fund is AMAZING!!! These parents and children will be so relieved to know that God has answered their prayers and provided a way for their children to be able to go to school. Hallelujah!

If God is leading you to be a part of this, please go to the But God Ministries website, click Donate, and choose “Scholarships” in the drop down menu. Contribute whatever you can…however God leads. $25 pays for a year’s tuition and $100 covers ALL costs for the entire year for one child for school. To us in the US, that sounds like a bargain, but to a Haitian parent who has little or no financial resources, it’s impossible without supernatural provision. God has heard the prayers of these people, and He is calling us who have much to help those who have little. Pray about what God would have you do, then click on the following link:
But God Ministries

God bless you!!
We are so excited about what God is doing!!

Tony & Mickie West

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Saturday Emergency

This past Saturday started out like any other Saturday. We were all buzzing around Hope Center, cleaning the dorms for the next team, packing away the groceries the cooks bought in preparation for another week of team meals, reorganizing the clinic for another week of seeing patients, etc. when suddenly there was a loud rap on the back gate of the compound. When Tony opened the gate, there was a thin, young woman who could barely walk, obviously in tremendous pain, holding her hand that had been loosely wrapped in gauze but was quite saturated with blood. Two men held her up on either side, and they were all very much in distress. Tony quickly helped the woman to the clinic and began to check on the injury. She explained to him that someone came to her house that morning and when she opened the door, the person at the door attacked her with a machete and nearly sliced her hand off. Her hand was deeply gashed across her palm and on around to the top side. The tendon of her pinky finger was obviously severed because it was hanging to the side and she could not lift it. Tony was afraid bones were cut as well. As soon as he saw that the tendon was cut, he realized we needed to get her to a hospital. About the time he was headed to the house to check on some things, I walked out and could immediately tell by the look on his face and his three unfinished sentences started at once that something was terribly wrong. He explained to me what was going on and I rushed over to the clinic to see how I could help. As soon as I saw her, my heart wrenched for her and I knew I needed to go with her to the hospital. The two men with her wanted to take her to the hospital on a motorcycle tap-tap, and she clearly would not have made it to a hospital that way. She couldn’t even walk! I asked Tony if I could go with her to the hospital, and he said I couldn’t go to Port au Prince, but I could go as far as to Ganthier to help secure a tap-tap to get her to the hospital. We lifted her into the truck and she immediately fell back on my shoulder in tears. I held her and began to pray. On the way down the road, we passed Jacques’ truck near the orphanage. Tony asked Jacques if he could take her since he speaks good Creole as well as English. We switched over to his truck and off we went. She wimpered softly through the fog that the medicines had brought upon her, and tears continued to gently stream down her gaunt, ebony cheeks. Jacques proceeded to make phone calls to see where we needed to go. I continued to pray. He decided to take her to a clinic in Fond Parisienne that has an ambulance service and doctor on duty. We took her in to see the doctor. He decided to x-ray her hand to see the extent of the damage. Hallelujah, there were no severed bones, however, he confirmed that the pinky tendon was severed and that would need to be fixed before sewing her up. He wrote us a letter of admittance to the emergency care hospital in Tabar, gave her a pain injection, and off we went again, this time to Port au Prince. (He would not agree to an ambulance) I decided to sing to her to see if that would help calm her spirits. She slowly drifted off into a deep sleep as we jostled around in the back seat of the truck while passing over portions of the highway that were covered in pot holes, cracks, and rough terrain. After driving for about 45 minutes, we finally reached the emergency care facility. I took her in while Jacques parked the truck. The hospital staff had me take her over to a gurney in an open waiting area then communicated to me that I would need to wait in the waiting area where there were no less than 70 people. After praying with her one more time, I obeyed and waited for Jacques. He informed me that her family had called and that they were on their way to the hospital too. After being assured that they were almost there, we decided to go on out to the truck to prepare to head back to Hope Center. After a few minutes of waiting, Jacques said, “There’s more to this story than just a guy attacking her with a machete. This lady is involved with voodoo.” He explained that she had said some things to him in Creole that I didn’t pick up on. From there, we proceeded into a conversation about the voodoo culture and the things that are practiced and believed in Haiti connected with voodoo. It is truly something that most Americans simply cannot wrap our brains around. One thing is for sure. It is very sad, very violent, and very evil. I am praying that Marie realizes that Jesus loves her and that He is the reason she has survived this terrible act of violence. I pray that she will return to our clinic soon to see Tony and hear more about the love of our savior, Jesus Christ. I pray that she will be saved and healed and will no longer be tormented by the life she has been living under the curse of voodoo and violence. I pray that she knows she is loved. My heart is heavy for Marie tonight. I wonder if she is at home now. I wonder if she is thinking about the prayers she heard whispered over her. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give her peace tonight and that she will KNOW where that peace is coming from. 

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By His Hands We are Fed

It has been an amazing week since I arrived back in Haiti. I wish I could share every detail, but I don’t have time to write it all and you don’t have time to read it all. However, today I just could not postpone writing another day. Today God showed up in a mighty way. This afternoon, about an hour before we were to walk back into the village to have VBS with the children in the back of the village, a young mother and her mother showed up to the clinic with a baby. As soon as Tony saw him, he thought the baby resembled the twins he has been taking care of for several months. This baby was very malnourished, just like the two he had seen a few months ago. Come to find out, his mother is the sister of the mother with twins. This child is fourteen months old, but he looks like he is three months. 

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This is Davenson and his mother Daena. His is fourteen months old but only weighs about fourteen pounds. Please pray for provision and improved health.

At first it seemed as if the mother didn’t want to feed him, but we soon found that she was just feeling helpless because her child wouldn’t eat. The reason he wouldn’t eat is because all she had to feed him was corn and he couldn’t eat corn. The nurses with the team who have been working in the clinic this week fed him some formula, and all he would eat was about two ounces. He immediately fell asleep. 

The team felt led to give the family some food, so they asked Tony about it. Tony told them where he keeps the extra beans and rice for families who move in and Stan took the large ring of keys to the storage place to get the rice. There were about 40 keys on the ring and the door opened with the first one Stan tried. We got a 40 lb bag of rice, a gallon of oil, and a bag of dried beans and walked with Daena, Davenson, and his grandmother far into the village to deliver the food supplies. 

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The grandmother carried her grand baby along the trail through the village to their house. Soon he woke up and could actually hold his head up! It’s amazing what 2 ounces of food did for his energy level. Someone handed him a cracker and he held it almost the whole way home.

We all followed the grandmother and daughter through the brush down the long dirt pathways of the village all the way to their home. At one point, the grandmother took me by the hand and began to share with me how happy she is that God has brought us to her village. She said that she had prayed for God to provide for her family, and He sent Tony to the clinic of Hope Center and he gave them food to help her grand babies grow. (I was pretty excited that I was able to understand her as she said all of this in creole!) She and I began to sing “Mesi Jesi” (Thank you Jesus) over and over again. I put my arm around her and we walked and swayed as we sang together. 

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Standing in the grandmother’s home, we prayed for her family. We prayed for God to continue to provide for them and protect their health.

The grandmother showed us her home and told us that we were welcome. She asked us if we would pray for her home and her family. We stood in her little home made of mud and sticks and prayed for God to protect their health, provide food and safety, and give the grandparents wisdom as they continue to raise their family. After we prayed, we went back outside and made an exciting discovery. Daena was so excited that little Davenson was actually taking the bottle that he had refused earlier at the clinic! She was elated! 

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Davenson happily takes the bottle his mother is giving him. She was elated! Her baby was finally eating!

We visited a little while longer and took a few pictures then headed on back to Professor Soloman’s school to do VBS. 

 

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Here is the grandmother with her twin grand babies and Daena with her baby Davenson. All of the babies have been severely malnourished, but God is providing for them….by HIS hands we are fed!! Hallelujah!!

I was completely moved by this experience today. It tears my heart out every time I see children who are starving and their desperate parents and grandparents seeking any help they can find for their children. The thing is, we see this nearly every single day. But you know what? God is moving every single day too. The very reason we are here is by His hand. The very reason we have food to give to people in need like this is by His hand. The very reason people come here to help in the clinic and share the love of Jesus with our people is by His hand. God is providing in amazing ways, and the people in this village are so very grateful for the ways God is answering their prayers. 

God is great. God is good….and we THANK Him for His provision of food. By HIS hands, they are fed, as He gives us daily bread. 

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

 

 

 

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Comfort from the Father

Sacrifice…

You know, I have heard it said many, many times that Jesus Christ knows our struggles and He can understand and identify with things we are going through, for God’s Word says in Hebrews 4:15  “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” His Word says that there is no difficulty or trial or temptation that we can go through in this life that He was not faced with in similar fashion. He also knows that we, unlike Him, are fallen creatures. He was without sin because He is God – He “knew” no sin! He was the “I Am” that spoke to Moses through the burning bush, and He is the “I Am” that He claimed to be when he spoke to the Jews and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” in John 8:58. The Word says, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” And in Philippians 2:5-8, the Word states, “Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it something to be held  as equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Wow. Today God has been speaking so much to me about this very thing….sacrifice. I know God is speaking to me about this because I spent most of the night last night speaking to HIM about it! You see, Tony and I both have been becoming very weary under the burden of the calling He has given us. This is not to say we have second guessed the call and the decision we made to surrender everything we knew as normal to become full time missionaries in Haiti. It just means that there have been times when we have found ourselves simply very tired and crying out to God for relief. Last night, as I cried out to Him for strength to continue on, He began speaking to me as my Father often does, saying, “My daughter, I love you, and I know how you feel.”

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This cross reminds me of the sacrifice our savior gave to leave His Heavenly home to provide a way of reconciliation to me. Thank you Jesus!

It’s been a remarkable, yet at the same time, difficult six months for our family. We have experienced what it means to sacrifice in many ways. However, at the same time I have to ask myself, have we really? It certainly and often feels like we have! When we think back on what our hopes and dreams were years ago when we signed papers on a piece of land and began looking at house plans with dreams of building our own home there, our vision for the future did not include giving up everything and being divided between the US and Haiti. We did see our dream come true, and we lived in the house we built for twelve years, watching our children grow up and enjoying many, many fun times with them and their friends. Actually, when we look back, we realize that we have been blessed in so many ways. God has given us two amazing and talented boys who have been a constant source of joy. He has allowed us to travel all over the world whether through sports events, family vacations, or mission trips. He has given us gifts and prepared us for this time in our lives in such a way that we recognize that we are perfectly designed for such a time as this. In our weariness, it so easy to focus on the sacrifice and sometimes feel exasperated. However, just about the time we both feel exhausted under the weight of our current circumstances, Jesus reminds us of His sacrifice.

Think about it. Jesus left the glory of Heaven to become not just a part of humanity, but a sacrifice for the sins of those He came to serve. He gave up everything for us, and we questioned Him, rejected Him, and ultimately sent Him to His death. It was all part of a plan that He knew had to take place, and He willingly gave Himself. In one of His most human moments throughout the time He spent here, he cried out to God, when Matthew 26:39 describes that “He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’”  Because of His love for us, He willingly went along with the plan. He knew that in order for us to be reconciled to God, He had to give Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Was this easy for Him? NO! Was it necessary? Yes.

So when I compare our sacrifice to His, I come to realize that ours is small, yet He doesn’t see it as such because He comforts us when we cry out to Him! He says, “I know how you feel,” and He does!! He left His home and His father. He went to a place where life was very different and difficult. He experienced what it felt like to give up everything and serve with no real home to call His own or income other than what God provided through those He chose to use to bless and provide for Him. He sacrificed it all only to be unappreciated and taken for granted by those for whom he gave it all. He knows how it feels to be separated from His home and the comfort and glory of Heaven to go to a place of anger and filth and despair. Yet He looked around at the people He came to serve, and He felt nothing but Love. THAT is the key!

We turn to Him and we ask Him to let us focus on His love for us so that we can in turn love on those we now serve THROUGH Him. Just as Jesus had precious moments with those who truly loved Him and followed Him, we too have many, many precious moments with others who He uses to bless us – from precious Haitian brothers and sisters in Christ, to serving brothers and sisters on mission teams, to attentive brothers and sisters here in the US, God uses so many others to bless us in unimaginable ways. We turn our focus to Christ and His sacrifice, then we lift our eyes in praise to our loving Father who truly does know how we feel, and we are comforted and refreshed.

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God has given us many precious moments like this one to be thankful for!

I am so thankful for a Father who loves us unconditionally and has a plan beyond our ability to comprehend. It is a good plan, and we trust Him. We are experiencing His grace and provision unlike anything we could ever have imagined. We are blessed to be used by Him daily, and we serve Him with GLADNESS!! Most of all, I am thankful that He loves us enough to comfort us. He is Good ALL THE TIME. 

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Our Crossgates Family praying for us before we moved to Haiti. Oh how we cherish the prayers of those who are led to pray!!

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Spring Break at Hope Center

I have been working on this post for two weeks now. It has been extremely difficult to write it just because I am writing about our time together as a family in Haiti over spring break and I just didn’t want it to end! I think I will start with a recap…. It has been a difficult year and yet it has been a glorious year as well. To think, this time last year we had just returned from Spring Break in Haiti with a team from Petal, and we were making plans to move to Haiti to serve full time. Now, a year later, we have sold a house, two vehicles, all of our furniture and most of our belongings, moved to Haiti; opened the medical clinic full time; opened the dental clinic (Tony learned to pull teeth); finished the orphanage; began making our house a home by painting walls and building cabinets;  raised money for scholarships for over 200 children in our village; built over 20  houses and moved 18 families out of a tent city and into those houses; hosted many, many teams that have come from the states to serve in VBS, construction, medical and dental clinics, evangelism, and discipleship; taken mobile clinics to remote parts of Haiti; hired a Haitian pastor and countless other Haitians who for the first time have steady income for their families; seen over 150 people come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior; and now we are about to begin having services in our new church. Of course, this is not a complete list either! If I listed out everything, it would take forever to list and forever for you to read, so I have mainly hit the high points. In the midst of all of this, our family was faced with a difficult decision to sacrifice time together as a family in order to give our youngest son an opportunity to finish school in the states. It changed the dynamic of our experience dramatically, but God has assured us over and over again that we made the right choice and that He has the whole plan under control. This decision, however, has required more faith and trust in God than even our first decision to sell everything and move! We have had to trust that God would provide us a place to live while here in the states; trust that He would provide support that would cover the increased cost of living in two different countries for a period of time; trust that He would sustain us while being separated by so many miles and missing out on precious moments that we would prefer to enjoy together as a family. But God does sustain us, and He has provided in ways beyond our imagination, and for that we are so thankful. It is so hard…but it could be a lot worse, and we are thankful for what we have and how God has blessed in so many ways along the way. Now to Spring Break… Before we all arrived in Haiti as a family, the Lord made a way for us to be able to do some things together in the states as well. The week before spring break, we were invited to Briarwood Presbyterian church in Birmingham, AL, for a missions conference. God blessed us beyond our wildest dreams by introducing us to so many new friends and giving us many opportunities to visit with other missionaries and share the story of our mission to Haiti to countless people in Birmingham. We are so thankful for the new friendships we made during our time there!

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During the conference, Tony and I sat on a map where Haiti is located and the children prayed for us and our mission. Such a powerful moment!

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This is our first host family, the Shirley’s. Such a precious family!! We were so blessed to get to know them! I wish I had gotten a picture of the Warren family too! We stayed with them the second part of the week. Both were so gracious and a JOY to stay with!

At the end of the week, Tony went to Brandon to get Jacob and take him down to Dallas for a soccer showcase, and Jonathan and Katelyn came to Birmingham to finish the week with me and catch our flight to Haiti for Spring Break. I am so thankful that Tony could take Jacob down to Dallas and watch him play soccer. It is hard for me not being in Haiti, but I know it is also very hard for Tony not being able to see Jacob play sports. It is a sacrifice we have both committed to, but it is not easy by any means. We are thankful for chances to be able to to do these things that we used to take for granted before our call. At the end of the weekend, Tony and Jacob caught a flight from Dallas, and Jonathan, Katelyn, and I caught a flight from Birmingham, and we all met in Miami for our flights to Haiti together. When we arrived in Haiti, the team from Grace Chapel in Madison was already there. As always, God had already planned to have the perfect group at Hope Center for such a time as this. The team was a group of young people all around Jacob’s age that worked on construction and VBS with children on the Hill. Jacob had planned to go to Leoganne and join up with a group from Crossgates that was serving at an orphanage there, but after getting to Hope Center and getting to know this group of teens, he decided to just stay home and serve with them instead. I was actually glad it worked out this way because our family was together all week instead of separated once again. We enjoyed working with the team on a few things, but we also enjoyed just being “home” together as a family during this time as well.

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Meal time with our team from Grace Chapel

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All the young folks on the team playing cards together

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Hanging out on the water tower. Fun times together!

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Playing with the kids from the village by the soccer field

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Jacob riding Bicly’s donkey

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Family picture in front of Hope Center

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Neighbors from the hill came to help pick beans for dinner

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Me and sweet Bicly

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Each mealtime, our cooks, Vierge and Therese, wanted to have their picture made with the food. They are so proud of their jobs!

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Children having fun at VBS

We gave out lots of hugs and Easter suckers to the kids, and we enjoyed just walking around in the village and visiting with friends that we enjoy catching up with when we return to Haiti. We got to celebrate with the families on the Hill as they experienced electricity at their houses for the first time. We got to see great progress in the construction of the church at Hope Center which has made us look forward even more to worshipping with our Haitian brothers and sisters this summer. There was one really cool moment in clinic during the week that I wanted to mention. On Thursday, Tony sent for me to come down to the clinic to meet someone. Sitting there in the chair next to Tony was this precious elderly man. Tony introduced me to him and explained that this is the man who walks 8 hours every two weeks to come have his blood sugar levels checked and refill his prescription. He lives up in the mountain area. After kissing my hand, he immediately started trying to tell me something. Vladimir interpreted and I learned that this is the man who is responsible for initiating God’s vision for Hope Center and calling us to Haiti in the first place. He said, “I am the one who went to the mayor and explained that we need to partner with someone in the US to build a clinic here.” He is such a precious man!!

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Sweet elderly man who walks 8 hours to the clinic every two weeks

Another precious moment was when Tony showed up in the house in the middle of the morning with this sweet baby in his arms. She is 3 months old but she looks like she is 3 weeks old! Her mother brought her into the clinic a few weeks prior and Tony was not sure if the baby would survive. She was severely malnourished and very sick. Tony prayed for the baby with the mother and asked God to give him the wisdom to prescribe the right treatment and for God to give health to this baby. God has answered his prayer! The baby is healthy and growing! Hallelujah!

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Three month old baby that we have been praying for. God is answering our prayers and healing her body. Hallelujah!

At the end of our week together, we all went up to Thoman to go to Mathurin’s church. Jonathan and Katelyn sang and Bicly joined us for church and dinner. On the way back down the mountain, we all stopped to take in the beauty of God’s creation and take pictures. It was a PERFECT week, and we are so very thankful for the time we had to spend together!

Tony & Mickie on the way home from church in Thoman

Tony & Mickie on the way home from church in Thoman

Family time!!

Family time!!

 

Jonathan & Katelyn at church in Thoman

Jonathan & Katelyn at church in Thoman

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Jacob in Thoman

We thank you all so much for your continued prayer support as we seek to find a balance between serving in Haiti and supporting our boys as well. God is teaching us so much about our faith and perseverance at this time. As I studied the book of Hebrews this morning, God reminded me that the picture of our life doesn’t always look the way we thought it would look, but that doesn’t make it an imperfect picture. God’s plan IS perfect, and if we just trust Him and remain faithful to Him, He WILL bless us and reveal to us the perfection of His plan eventually. So many of the heroes of the Bible endured great hardship. They trusted God and He brought about so many mighty things for many years to come through the perseverance of His faithful servants. I want to be a faithful servant in both the work He has called us to as well as the role He has given us as parents. In both He is creating a legacy of faith that will endure long after we are gone. That is His perfect plan, and we are honored and committed to that work. HE is faithful to complete that good work through us, and no matter how hard it is sometimes, we will never give up on His great plan for our lives.

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Our God is MORE Than Enough!

        I am so excited to report to you that last weekend, we moved six more families in to houses on the Hill at Hope Center. It is always a glorious day when these families move out of those nasty, dirt floor tents that are crammed in the middle of the noisy city. The moment they walk into their new house, they become overwhelmed with thanksgiving. It’s such a blessing to be a part of it. It’s such a blessing to be a part of EVERYTHING God is doing at Hope Center because He is doing SO MANY amazing things!!

Daniel, our new pastor at Hope Center, takes a picture of Stan Buckley and one of our new residents on the Hill at Hope Center as she receives the keys to her new home. Thank you Lord for Your provision!!!

Daniel, our new pastor at Hope Center, takes a picture of Stan Buckley and one of our new residents on the Hill at Hope Center as she receives the keys to her new home. Thank you Lord for Your provision!!!

          When Tony told me they were scheduled to move last weekend, I said, “Oh how I wish I could be there to help!!” The next morning I had an email from him with a flight he had put on hold for me. I knew that because he took the time to find a flight that would have me there to help but get me back in time for Jacob’s first round of the playoffs, it was important to him that I be there too. Saying “ok” to booking a last minute flight was a bit scary, but I stepped out in faith that God would provide and I booked it. I am SOOOOO glad that I did. I’m so glad that I have learned not to cramp God up in a piggy bank either!  I know He wanted me to go, so I know He will provide me with the funds to cover the expense. I have told so many people that if they are called to go on a mission trip, and they say they are going to go when they can afford it, Satan is going to see to it that they can never afford it!  That’s one area of faith I am so glad I have learned obedience in. Anyway, I am very glad I went!!
Miss Marthe, age 82, climbed up in the cab of the JAC truck and waited with a smile, for the move to her new home on the Hill in Galette Chambon.

Miss Marthe, age 82, climbed up in the cab of the JAC truck and waited with a smile, for the move to her new home on the Hill in Galette Chambon.

At the tent city in Delmas loading up the JAC truck for the first trip back to Hope Center.

At the tent city in Delmas loading up the JAC truck for the first trip back to Hope Center.

Moving the families in took two trips, the first of which had us sitting at a stand still on the road for an hour because a large truck had overturned and was blocking traffic…nothing new in Haiti. Then after they finally got the truck out of the way, a guy with a bulldozer decided it was time to do some road construction, so he held up traffic another 30 minutes while he scooped and shoved muddy rock around up and down a 40 yard section of the highway. We finally got through after roasting in the sun for a while, but all of that couldn’t suppress the smiles of the families sitting on top of all of their personal belongings piled up on the back of our JAC truck. It was the first day of a new beginning, and everyone was very excited to get moving.
Truck overturned on the road.

Truck overturned on the road.

Bulldozer working the road after truck overturned.

Bulldozer working the road after truck overturned.

Tony meets with Yonnell Hyppolite and his family while neighboring children come to welcome the new family to the Hill.

Tony meets with Yonnell Hyppolite and his family while neighboring children come to welcome the new family to the Hill.

  I also got a chance to work with the two new Hope Center cooks and housekeeper. After they were hired, we discovered not only do they not know a lick of English, but they also do not read or write! We are slowly but surely overcoming those obstacles though, and the fact that they are so appreciative of the work they have been given, the opportunity they have to be a part of God’s work AND make income for their families, and the knowledge they are gaining is so refreshing. They are so eager to please and do their absolute best. Saturday evening, after dinner was done and the kitchen was cleaned, they washed their aprons, hung them to dry, then headed home – a short walk up the hill. I went into the kitchen to check things out, and the first thing I noticed was that it was SPOTLESS. There was not one thing out of place, the counters were completely clean, and food for Sunday was placed strategically on the top shelve, neatly and covered, ready to prepare when they returned. We have had our moments of miscommunication at times, but huge progress has already been made.
Sainte-Vierge and Marie Therese, our new Hope Center cooks are so thankful for their jobs at Hope Center. When they first received their new aprons, they didn't put them on until AFTER they cooked dinner because they didn't want to get them dirty. Now they know that they are designed to help them keep their clothes from getting dirty so they wear them with pride! They wash them out in bleach water every night and hang them up to dry for work the next day. Thank you Lord for leading us to these two women. Please pray for continued understanding and clear communication as they learn so many new things required with their job. Before working at Hope Center, they had never used a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, or washing machine and dryer. Life suddenly went from hard but simple, to complicated yet convenient. It was a lot to learn in a short period of time though. They have thanked God over and over again for giving them so much new knowledge....things you and I take for granted. :)

Sainte-Vierge and Marie Therese, our new Hope Center cooks are so thankful for their jobs at Hope Center. Thank you Lord for leading us to these two women. Please pray for continued understanding and clear communication as they learn so many new things required with their job. Before working at Hope Center, they had never used a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, or washing machine and dryer. Life suddenly went from hard but simple, to complicated yet convenient. It was a lot to learn in a short period of time though. They have thanked God over and over again for giving them so much new knowledge….things you and I take for granted. 🙂

As a gift for their hard work, we gave all three of them a pretty shower bag equipped with towel, washcloth, and soap so that they could come in and get a nice hot shower before working each day. You would have thought we had given them all keys to their own brand new Mercedes! They hugged and kissed me on the cheek and thanked me over and over again. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted simple conveniences like a hot shower with not just any soap but “pretty soap” to clean with. People here have to carry their bath water up a hill in a 5 gallon bucket and find a way to bathe in privacy behind their houses. This is sometimes an impossible task.  Realizing this, we decided to bless them with these shower bags and tell them that they are welcome to use the Hope Center facilities. The next day they all showed up early, got their showers, and began their day refreshed. By Monday, when I was preparing to leave, the ladies were busy cooking dinner in the kitchen. When they realized I was going to have to leave before dinner, they grabbed me by the hand and pulled me into the kitchen where four pots of food were bubbling hot on the stove. They scooped out a serving from one of the pots and put it in a bowl with a fork for me to take with me on the way to the airport. It was delicious!! They were so proud, and I was so relieved to confirm in my mind that my husband will not starve during this kitchen transition. Ha!
This is Joresse. He has a huge burden for the education of the young people in his village. He is a translator for Hope Center, and on the weekends, he teaches English, music, and computer at a school in the village. He does not get paid a thing for his time, but he knows that as he helps educate children in the village, their lives will improve.

This is Joresse. He has a huge burden for the education of the young people in his village. He is a translator for Hope Center, and on the weekends, he teaches English, music, and computer at a school in the village. He does not get paid a thing for his time, but he knows that as he helps educate children in the village, their lives will improve.

Before leaving Monday, we made a quick trip back to the back of the village to a little school where one of our translators teaches English on the weekends. His name is Joresse and he teaches young Haitians English, music, and  computer classes for free in his spare time. He has such a heart for the educational progress of the children of his village. His recent request for English Picture Dictionaries was miraculously met when he received exactly enough books from people ordering them through Amazon and sending them to But God Ministries. We delivered them on Monday before I left, and the students were thrilled! He is pretty sure the classes are going to grow now that God has not only provided books but He has opened the door to send American missionaries to the school often to help with classes. Joresse did ask me to get the word out that they need laptops for their computer class. Right now they teach a class of 15 on one very old desktop computer. They not only teach the basics of computer usage, but also Word, Excel, and Powerpoint….but again, on that ONE computer. I told him that I would get the word out and then pray that God would move to provide more computers. If you know of anyone who has a laptop they would like to donate to us to take to their school, please let me know. Of course, it needs to work and have decent battery capacity since they don’t have constant, reliable electricity. I know that God will provide for their needs as we pray, and Joresse knows that too. I am so very thankful for his servant’s heart.

We put out the word that Joresse's school needed textbooks and God moved people to respond. We received enough books to give every current student a book. We presented the new textbooks to Joresse and some of his students and they were so thankful. More books will be needed as more and more students begin taking the classes.

Presenting the new textbooks to Joresse and some of his students. They were so thankful. More books will be needed as more and more students begin taking the classes.

Thank you once again for your prayers and support as we continue on this journey. As I have been writing this post, a song by Lincoln Brewster has been in my head that says, “You’re amazing – More than amazing – Forever our God – You’re more than enough.” Our God is indeed more than enough. We have cried out to Him, and He has heard our prayers. As we have sought Him with everything we are, He has kept his promises, and he has been faithful to provide for all of our needs. Words cannot describe how amazed we continue to be by the love the Father has for his children…He is indeed enough.

Walking in His Steps,

Tony, Mickie, Jonathan, and Jacob West

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