2018 Haiti Mission: Day Eight

Just as Christ is always faithful to complete what he has started so are we called to be diligent servants who can be counted on to honor the commitments we make. Our commitments to ministry aren't just to people but, more importantly, they are commitments to God. To go into the mission field and be able to take a project from the planning stages to completion and to see God provide time, materials and helping hands has given us all a great sense of satisfaction. The painting, lights and fans in the women's bunk room are all complete and working properly. We could not have done it without the help of the students and we pray we were as much of a blessing to them as they were to us.

Last year we planted multiple bougainvillea plants around the new school property. These plants have beautiful flowers and some serious thorns. They are common here and used as added security along fences. The small plants we placed in the chicken coop are now flourishing and spreading themselves out along the ground. Our team, with the help of the students, made improvised hooked stakes out of metal bars and ran rope from the ground, through the razor wire and back down so the bougainvlleas could be trained up  to the top of the cinder block wall. This, plus the roosting poles, nesting box door, water dispensing buckets and hanging feeders brought our chicken coop project to completion.

Our final drive through the community is always bitter sweet. Buildings and streets have begun to be familiar. The neighborhood children who remember us from VBS wave and say hello. Haiti will always hold a special place in our hearts and it is hard to say goodbye when you are unsure if you will be able to come back in the future. But is something unique about relationships forged through ministry that go much deeper even when your time together is so short and despite the distance these bonds are never broken.

 

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Seven

The drive to Pastor Dovic's church in Dumay took us out of the city and into the mountain jungles to the south east of Port Au Prince. Pastor Dovic and the elders of his church greeted us and immediately made us welcome. Like most VBSs conducted here the children made their way in a few at a time. They all gathered around inside the church which is still under construction and has yet to have its roof installed which made for a lovely outdoor event. The inland area, which is much more rural than anything in the city, is surrounded by lush green jungle and mountains that feel completely different than the country's costal capitol.

VBSs, while more of the same worship, games and meal distribution, never fail to feel like a new experience. The children maintain the same enthusiasm and excitement but they bring a renewed joy to each of us as they slowly open up and we hear them singing and laughing. This area is heavily influenced by the vodou religion. Pastor Dovic has a children's outreach each Friday in hopes of ministering to a neighborhood which would otherwise not maintain contact with him and his congregation.  His church, while still under construction, has already become a center for the community to gather for the weekly outreaches and although there is not always funds for a food distribution they consistently have worship and a short sermon and games for the children as their parents look on. Please pray for Pastor Dovic as he continues to raise funds for church construction and reach his community which is so deeply in need of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Haiti. We have full faith that we will be able to accomplish all of our commitments to Pastor Brian and his staff that we made at the onset of this mission. Final touches on the chicken coop, installation of fans and fixtures and landscaping the open air coop area that has been overgrown by the bougainvillea we planted last year for added security will make for a full day's labor. Please pray that we do not run into any unexpected challenges and continue to work as one body as Christ intended.

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Six

All missions trips are fraught with delays. Delayed flights, delays in getting supplies, weather delays, public protests, weekends, holidays slow things down and even blog posts get delayed. While most delays are a frustrating and sometimes discouraging, and we have had our share of those on this trip, but not being able to complete yesterday's post was anything but.

We departed early yesterday morning to acquire the last piece of our chicken coop puzzle and begin construction on our roosting pole project. A few more steps today should see it completed. Unfortunately, since our visit last year, the coop roof was damaged by a falling tree branch and partially collapsed. With the anchors holding it to the cinder block wall having been broken we attempted to find new, longer anchors to repair the roof with but were unsuccessful. In the meantime, four load baring posts have been secured under the main roof beam to hold it up until the roof can be properly secured to the exterior wall of the property. We have plans to help locate the proper anchors back in the states and help Pastor Brian see the next team that arrives is able to fix it.

After lunch the team and students joined forces to host a one day VBS at the school property. In preparation, the men began moving the large benches from the rooftop patio to the ground floor for the children to sit on. A young girl, who was resting on a nearby rooftop, saw what they were doing and jumped up and exclaimed "VBS?!?!?". When one of the students acknowledged her and said yes she squealed, jumped up and down, did a little dance and started yelling "VBS!!! VBS!!!" over and over as she scurried down her ladder, into her home and out into the neighborhood to tell all her friends.

Our VBS began with worship and various games as over 75 children began to trickle in. Many we recognized and many recognized us in return. The entire afternoon was spent ministering to the kids. They caught onto the games quickly and showed a genuine excitement at the simple things we brought like jump ropes and nail polish. There is a maturity amongst the older kids that impresses. Even as children they are able to see a need and take the initiative to fill that need. Picking up smaller children who are crying, taking others to the bathroom, initiating games when some of them were not joining in on other group games and even keeping the peace and translating for us when the need for candy threatened to develop into a kinder riot. A group craft allowed us to teach the kids about how we go from being sinners to being redeemed using salvation bracelets. Food distribution at the end saw the kids bellies full as well as their spirits.

The evening was spent out at dinner with the entire "family", giving the staff and students a night off from cooking and cleaning for us. Instead we enjoyed fellowship over local cuisine and more fried plantains than we could safely handle. Our time together went well into the night, hence the delay of this post. Tonight you can expect an update on the finished chicken coop and our VBS at Pastor Dovic's church this afternoon so stay tuned!

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Five

Some days in the mission field are exciting. They have something new around every corner. Some days are more of the same tasks. Picking up the same paint brush or screwdriver and doing exactly the same thing you did the day before and the day before that. These days aren't any less important nor should they be less enjoyable or blessed.

Today was another round of painting and electrical installation. We had an opportunity to see the teamwork between missionaries and students become more relaxed and communication more clear now that we have spent so much time working together. The students have slowly gained a better understanding of what Geoff is trying to teach them. So much so that he was able to leave them to complete the a few of the steps without him which freed him up to work on the wiring plan and complete some more work on the solar panels. They watch him with respectful attention and you can see their joy as they accomplish tasks they have never tried before. We have never met a people so eager to learn.

In between conduit being installed and wire being pulled the girls finished the final coat of paint on the bedroom so that fans and lights can be installed on Saturday. Tomorrow they will begin the new task of cleaning and organizing the schools supply room and the medical supply cabinets to make room for the extra household supplies your donations helped provide. While they set themselves to their project Geoff and Christin will have time to collect the last batch of lumber to begin work on the chicken coop roosting area.  Once complete the chicken's can be purchased. These 25 chickens will provide eggs for the students, staff and visiting missionaries for a fraction of the price of purchased eggs. Tomorrow afternoon will be our first VBS at the school which will have a meal distribution for the children of the neighborhood afterward.

Now that we have reached the halfway point of our trip the close quarters, heat, work and less than ideal sleeping conditions can begin to catch up with us. Tempers start to get shorter and energy levels can drop. Please pray for our team that the Lord continues to sustain us and that He continues to be the center of all that we do.  We desire to see our fellowship grow through the trials rather than be discouraged.

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Four

Finally supplies!!! We have struggled for the last couple of days to get all the supplies we need for the projects we have committed to. We have had to visit multiple places, sometimes multiple times to find everything on our list or at least a good alternative when something isn't available, which happens often. Their hardware stores are guarded by armed security and take multiple steps to get what you need. A simple trip to pick up a few items can take hours. Today we have only one item that still needs to be purchased but we were able to make headway on one of the bedrooms that we are working to help complete.

 

The girls, with the help of some of the students were able to paint the entire room. Everyone chipped in and made quick work of the small area while Geoff installed conduit and junction boxes on the ceiling for fans and lights and receptacle boxes along the wall. The tight quarters made for some dancing around each other and shuffling supplies from one place to another but tomorrow the room will be ready for another coat of paint and the lights and fans to be installed.

While Geoff worked he was able to have Pastor Lucan and two of the students shadow his every move. They were eager to learn anything Geoff was able to impart. The men and women of Haiti are quick to jump in to help and are industrious workers. With so little tools and material at their disposal their resourcefulness is an incredible gift that is inspiring to watch.

All of us, even Geoff, have all been presented with tasks way outside our comfort zone. It would easy to let our discomfort and fear of not being qualified keep us on the sidelines or even keep us from going on mission trips all together. However, God has proven over and over that if He has called you he will qualify you and give you the ability to complete any task He gives you.

Doing the Lords work together never fails to connect people despite background, age or language barrier. Working with the students this year has done just that. Conversation and jokes are now passed around the dinner table like old friends with a long history.

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Three

We were so blessed by our time at the women's prison in Cabaret last year we were all sure we had to go again. Pastor Watson escorted us while Geoff and the students remained behind to continue work at the new school facility. We will have more to update you on that tomorrow.

The now familiar drive through the bustling street market in Port Au Prince took us north west along Port Au Prince Bay to Cabaret. The one hour drive leads through the more sparsely populated countryside where cattle and horses roam freely feeding on the roadside vegetation. The view of the cloud covered bay adds to the peacefulness of the area.

The prison, which does not allow interior photos, is a white beacon against a bright blue sky. We were kindly met by guards who led us through the white walled corridors up to the second floor to a large classroom with concrete benches and tables. Like most residential structures in Haiti the many windows had no glass or screens but allowed plenty of light and air to flow through the security bars.

As the ladies began to find their seats there were a handful that we recognized and who recognized us from our last visit. They greeted us with smiles and waiving hands. We opened with prayer and Pastor Watson led us in worship but the women's voices drowned out his guitar as he sang.

Maltresa shared a short but powerful devotional on being a light in a dark world and that before we are anything, black or white, woman or man, we are children of God first. We had brought a few bibles to pass out but there were only eight bibles to share between 50 women. There is a shortage of bibles available to the school so the ladies would have to return the bibles at the end of the study. This had a great impact on us all as we realized how blessed we are to have the bible easily accessible in so many forms.

Last year we were delayed in the waiting room for unknown reasons and did not have much time with the ladies. This time we had begun our time together almost immediately which allowed us to go around the room praying for the women who asked for it. Through our prayers we learned that often it can take years for them to see a judge for the first time after their arrest. Many prayed for the opportunity to go before a judge quickly or to see their families or children. Others asked the Lord to give them spiritual strength or to heal them from health trouble. We encouraged them to continue to pray for each other after we left.

It is easy for us to judge and assume that a person in prison deserves to be left there but Paul, a murderer in his own right, and so many other disciples of Christ have spent countless years imprisoned doing the Lords work. These women, regardless of deeds can also be such a light in the darkness. Matresa’s devotional is even more powerful when we stop seeing them as prisoners and start seeing them as Children of God first.

When all was done and we closed in prayer we passed out all 50 hygiene bags that your support helped us provide. Please continue to pray for the women of this prison, that they would find fellowship with each other, find freedom in Jesus and provision in his Word.

2018 Haiti Mission: Day Two

We attended Calvary Chapel Port Au Prince for morning services. Pastor Serge greeted us and made us feel welcome as did many of the congregants. Sunday being a day of rest all businesses were closed so we were unable to gather supplies for the coming week. Instead we visited the new school facility to begin electrical work and construction on the chicken coop.

Geoff installed a flood light at the very top of the three story building by hanging from the open rafters and installed a large switch allowing the power to the tilapia tanks to be switched between solar and city grid power. The girls helped some of the students raise the and repair the roof on the chicken coop that had collapsed when a tree fell on it and measure out one of the bedrooms and prep it for painting. In between we enjoyed fellowship with the new students. One of the students from last year came for a visit and took us across the street for a popular Haitian Fruit Champagne soda where we met some young boys who allowed their photo to be taken.

Tonight a few of the students we hadn’t met yet returned from visiting family over the weekend and another short term mission's family that is close with Katie came to the school for dinner before heading back to the states. Both the tables and our stomachs are full after sharing heaping spoonful's of rice and beans with sauce, pasta, and fresh local mango and our hearts are full of fellowship with our brothers and sisters.

2018 Haiti Mission: Day One

Our flight out of LAX yesterday was delayed due to the lightning storms in Los Angeles. The delay was enough that we almost missed our connection to Haiti. We are grateful that the Lord was faithful to get us to the plane on time so that we could travel together as a team to Haiti. We arrived at 9 am and made our way to the school.

After some time in fellowship we completed orientation, sorted the supplies we brought along and put together 55 personal hygiene bags for the women's prison visit scheduled for later this week. We also visited the new school facility to begin coordinating the logistics of electrical work, completing the chicken coop and painting some of the completed rooms.

For those of us that were here last year it was nice to reestablish relationships and have that be the focus instead of being task oriented. The people are the ministry and the reason why we are here. Our relationships are the foundation of our witness so although the day was not packed full of ministry related tasks it felt like a truly productive day.

The team asks for prayer for resilience and perseverance in the heat and rainy weather. We are seeking the Lord for the things he wants us to accomplish this week and be obedient to his instruction.

After 16 hours of travel we are looking forward to a good night's rest and our visit tomorrow morning to Calvary Chapel Port Au Prince.

2018 Haiti Mission: Meet Katie!

PA080520.jpg

Hi my name is Katie and I have been attending Calvary Chapel Perris Valley for about three years now. My first missions trip was actually to Haiti last year and I am very excited to see how God is going to work in our team while we are out there. I have traveled to different countries before but Haiti is special in the sense that people there have a type of joy and happiness that we don’t normally see here in the states, or anywhere else I have been. Since coming back from Haiti last year, it led me to start the internship program at our church so I can learn how to better serve those in my church and others when I travel. Having been in the program for almost a year I am so excited to apply what I have learned and what the Lord has shown the past year, towards my trip to Haiti this year. Please keep our team in prayer while we are out there; that we are able to do as much as we can and also support the people there to the best of our God-given ability. 

2018 Haiti Mission: Meet Geoff

HGS-31.jpg

Hello, my name is Geoffrey Burkhart. I currently attend Calvary Belmar in Lakewood Colorado with my wife Christin Cordova-Burkhart. There we run the Youth Group and I play on the worship team.  I began attending Calvary Perris Valley about six years ago when Christin and I first met and it is where I began my personal walk with Jesus Christ. My first mission experience was in 2016 when my wife and I volunteered at Tanalian Bible Camp to work with at risk teens in Alaska. I also went again in June this summer to continue working with the kids I have come to know and love (photo above).

I felt the Lord calling me to the mission in Haiti after hearing about all the details of the need and desire of the local people to know the Lord. What I like most about the Cross to Light organization is that they are raising up local men as leaders instead of sending an outsider to plant a church.

As an electrician I feel that I can be very useful to their infrastructure. It was a relationship through the body of Christ that led me to gain my professional skill and I am very excited to be able to use it in the service of the Church. Please pray that we will be able to bless the local people by providing whatever needs they are facing.

2018 Haiti Mission: Meet Maltresa!

Hi my names Maltresa. I have been attending Calvary Chapel Perris Valley for about three years. My first mission trip was to Japan and ever since then I’ve had a heart for missions. My second mission trip was Mexico and last year was my first year going to Haiti. I have been a travel bug for the past few years out of all the countries I have been to Haiti is by far my favorite. The heart of the people and love of the children really grabbed me. I currently serve in children’s ministry and I serve as a member service rep at a credit union. I absolutely love serving others and I was so blessed to be able to serve the people of Haiti. I am beyond excited and look forward to serving again this year. I can’t wait to see how God uses us. 

Please pray that although our team is small that we can work well together and accomplish as much as we can while we are there.

2018 Haiti Mission: Meet Christin!

Hi, my name is Christin.  I was attending CCPV before my dad became its pastor. I moved to Denver, CO in 2014 with my husband Geoff and we attend Calvary Belmar in Lakewood. Currently, I work as the missions coordinator for CCPV and my husband and I are also youth leaders with Calvary Belmar's junior and senior high school ministry. We are lucky to have two home churches instead of just one. We also volunteer with Colorado's Collaborative Foster Care System working with kids in foster care as well as annual trips to Tanalian Bible Camp in Port Alsworth, Alaska to work with Alaska's at risk youth.

This will be my second trip to Haiti. I went last year and was moved by what God is doing there. God opened my eyes and gave me a new perspective on missions. It wasn’t my job to bring Jesus to the people of Haiti. It wasn't my job to feed them or heal them. Jesus was already there doing those things. He sent me to be a connection and to show them Jesus' love so that they see the work he is already doing in their lives and in their communities.

I am excited to be the team leader this year but I pray that I step out of the way of what God wants to do and let him be the true leader of the team. I am excited to be going back with Katie and Maltresa. We formed a special bond working together last year and it is comforting knowing that we already make such a great team. My husband will be joining me this year too which is such an incredible blessing.  Having a spouse who loves to serve God with me is an answer to my prayers.

I ask for prayer for our team to act as one cohesive unit and that the Holy Spirit would be the driving force behind everything we do. I pray that none of us go in there thinking we know what's best or to empower ourselves but that we instead empower others so that they may better serve their community. I ask for personal prayers that God gives me wisdom and strength to face any challenge in a way that glorifies him. Please pray that we do not miss any opportunities to be God's servants and that we will be a true example of His love for the world.  

It isn't for us to ask what God's plan is four our lives but to ask how we can be a part of God's plan to save the world.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. - 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

2018 Haiti Mission Final Countdown: T Minus 24 Days

PA060447.jpg

We have a little less than a month before we leave for Haiti on October 12th. We have one more fundraiser this Sunday the 23rd and then final preparations begin.

Soon we will begin purchasing supplies for two VBS days with community feedings after VBS is over. We will also be providing and installing ceiling fans and securities lights at the new school, painting the interior of completed dorm rooms and finalizing construction on their chicken coop. There is lot’s to get finished before our departure. Please be in prayer as we purchase and prepare all the supplies to fly with us.

Throughout the coming weeks we will be introducing our Haiti team. Please take the time to get to know them and their personal prayer requests as the prepare both physically and spiritually for our ten day mission to Haiti. After our departure keep an eye out for our daily blog posts to stay up to date on how the team is being used by God and how to continue to pray for them during their time in the Port Au Prince area.

Watch our recap video from 2017 for more information on Haiti and the ministry of Cross to Light.

Our 2018 Haiti Mission is a GO!

WE HAVE A TEAM!

Five volunteers have signed up and purchased tickets for our trip to Haiti in October. There are still open places (at current airfaire prices) available.

Please begin praying for our team as they raise money and prepare spiritually for the trip.


Maltresa Neely
Katie Arnales
Jacob Bornmann
Geoff Burkhart
Christin Cordova-Burkhart

We will continue to publish updates as we get closer so check the Haiti Mission Blog for more information.

Haiti Mission: Thank You and Mission Video

On behalf of the CCPV Haiti team we want to thank everyone at Cross to Light in both the US office and in Haiti for your assistance and hospitality.

We want to extend a special thanks to Pastor Brian for igniting a fire in our hearts for Haiti and Brandy Lee, Cross to Lights US coordinator. We are blessed by your diligence and hard work handling all the details to make this trip happen. 

Thank you also to Pastor Rajive, Mickie and Michelle. We know you are a vital part of the work being done in Haiti. The light of Jesus Christ shines bright within you all and we are inspired and blessed by each of you.

We also want to thank all the staff and security team at Cross to Light for keeping us safe and showing us what a servant's heart looks like. In all the hustle and bustle of ministry it is easy to forget that there are people cooking and cleaning and watching over us as we sleep but we appreciate all you did to make our stay in Haiti comfortable and safe.

God Bless you all and we will see you in 2018!

With love and hope in Him who sends us,

The CCPV Haiti Mission Team

Haiti Mission Day 10: A Unified Team, The People of Haiti & Saying Goodbye

A missions team can be made or broken by the trials faced in the field. Close living quarters, lack of sleep, culture stress and the heat and humidity as well as the spiritual stress of seeing the kind of poverty and tragedy that you don't see in the US can all contribute to the degradation of a mission team. Our team was made up of volunteers from five different churches who all came together in unity in Jesus Christ. We tackled each new day with no personal agendas but only the desire to bless one another and share the love of Jesus Christ to the people of Haiti. Each of us put on the armor of Christ each day and stepped out of our comfort zone. For some of us that was communicating without having a language in common, or traveling through areas that would be considered unsafe or unsanitary by American standards. For others it was being away from home and their loved ones or not having the security we have back in the states as we travel around.

Each team member brought valuable gifts to the table was an integral part of the mission's success. Experience with children and VBS programs, medical experience, and construction and electrical knowledge were just as vital as the gifts of prayer, wisdom, gentleness and compassion embodied by each team member. God took a group of strangers and created a harmonious team of soldiers prepared to step into the unknown to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' - Matthew 25:23

PA080617.jpg

The culture in Haiti varied in small ways from place to place. Some were more shy or less likely to agree to being photographed while others were more outgoing and approached us and asked to be in photos and were excited to view the results. With political unrest in the city the tension was high as protesters congregated and crowded the streets. In the country the atmosphere was more relaxed and slow. Cows and horses roamed through rice fields and homes were spaced out.  However, we found that most people were consistently kind and hospitable and despite their poverty they are exceedingly generous.

Although much of Haiti would be considered unsafe for us to travel alone, the culture places such a high value on its women and children that rape, molestation and physical abuse are almost unheard of and when one of these things happen "Haitian justice" is swift and unmerciful. Alcohol and drug abuse are also rare due to the high cost of purchase and lack of import. Even cigarettes are not common although they are more socially acceptable. The people have immeasurable pride in their families and accomplishments. Even their homes which are typically bare floored, cinderblock and concrete are shown off to visitors. Jobs are scarce and the men and older boys will work long hours in the heat and humidity to provide for their families. Women are rarely seen doing construction work or driving motorcycles. Instead, they typically sell small household items, cloths and food in small stands or lean-tos along the roads and work as cooks and laundresses. Higher paying office jobs and government work are open to both sexes.

Haitians are an industrious and innovative people. Children make toys out of tin cans and bottle caps and the men and women make tools and supplies from odds and ends they can salvage and repair. In a world oversaturated in media and social climbing these beautiful people find joy in the simple things, their families and in Jesus Christ. They sing to Him with enthusiasm and even in the face of persecution they are unashamed of their faith.

Whether it be at the churches we visited, the grocery stores we shopped at or the people we waived to as we were driving around a majority of the people we came in contact with were friendly and approachable. Their laughter and joy were contagious and was only amplified as they played practical jokes and goofed off with each other and the team members. The children would come to us and grab our hands, sit in our laps and hug us even though they only just met us. They were hungry for love and affection and so open and honest with us as we shared with them.

Despite having to battle political corruption, natural disasters, a history of oppression by the voodoo religion and a lifelong struggle with poverty their faith in Jesus Christ doesn't waiver. We went to bless them and instead we were blessed. They taught us the joy of singing to the Lord without shame, being truly excited about the Word of God and believing, body and soul in Christ's provision and love for us. Saying goodbye this morning was bitter sweet. This trip was a defining moment for each us, one that we look forward to sharing with you all soon.

Haiti Mission Day 9: Good Stewards & Hope House Orphanage Visit

The team spent the morning cleaning the school top to bottom and working hard to leave the facility in better condition than when we found it. Two team members, Jason and Ruben, headed next door to help a woman clean debris from the small space where she would be building her one bedroom home. One of the things we are most thankful for is the ability to complete every task we started and be good stewards of God's time and resources while in Haiti.

After lunch at a local restaurant most of the team headed to Hope House orphanage nearby. They were treated to a skit depicting the fall of Adam and Eve and some worship and dancing. After the skit they were all given an opportunity to raise their hands and pray for Jesus to enter their hearts. A few of them raised their hands and were so adorable as they prayed to Jesus. The orphanage is also home to children with various handicaps that require full time care. A few of us branched off to visit these children, play music for them, sing to them, hold them and just share the love of Jesus Christ in an way we could. Despite their handicaps these children smiled and were so loving and animated. One little boy, Peter, who was one of many restricted to a wheelchair spoke a little English. He was the first to ask for a photo which sparked a few others to ask for one as well. They all smiled and posed for the camera and laughed with joy when they were shown their photographs. Many of the children are true orphans but many have been left there by parents who have no means to care for them.

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world" - James 1:27

Haiti Mission Day 8: Women's Prison Ministry & Neighborhood Kids Feeding Program

This morning the men stayed behind and completed grounds clean up and painting the shipping container buildings at the new property. The ladies ventured out to participate in the bi-weekly women's prison ministry put on by the full time female missionaries at Cross to Light. We were not permitted to take interior photos but the facility is clean and bright and the ladies are housed in large communal rooms full of bunk beds. While we waited to be taken in we talked with a few of the guards and some of the prisoners that were going about their business in the hall ways. We were led to a room that was about 10 by 15 feet. In another room across the hall another missionary who has been in Haiti for 20 years, was teaching English to some of the inmates. Our group of ladies arrived and filled the small room to capacity. We had worship, Diane gave her testimony, Michelle gave a short devotional and we ended with questions and prayer. Most of the questions were personal and they were curious about us, whether we were married, had children or what we did for jobs. Just like everywhere in Haiti they were all smiles and joy. You could see that many of them had already been set free by their relationship in Jesus Christ.

After a short break the guys returned from the new property and we began getting ready to do a neighborhood food distribution for the children. Cross to Light has done feedings before but this was different. Earlier in the week some of the members of Cross to Light were approached by the older neighborhood children who asked if they could do a feeding for the younger ones. The food was prepared by the staff and volunteers at Cross to Light but after a short time of worship and teaching the older children of the neighborhood distributed the food to all the little ones. After dinner they were all treated to a Jesus movie in Haitian along with popcorn. The night is currently being closed out with lively worship which is being sung as this blog post is being written and can be heard all the way on the roof where a few of us are fellowshipping.

Haiti Mission Day 7: Sunday Morning Church Service & a Neighborhood Women's Bible Study

The entire team attended Pastor Fednel's church in Canaan this morning. Service was full and worship was simple and despite not having a band it was passionate and inspiring. The congregation had heartfelt enthusiasm for prayer and the teaching that you just don’t see back home. Their excitement for the Lord and his word was unmistakable.  Pastor Bob's teaching was also received with enthusiasm by adults and children alike. After service a mini VBS was done for the kids and snacks were passed out. The team acted out the story of Adam and Eve and explained how we achieve salvation through faith and not works.

The afternoon was spent in much needed rest. A time of fellowship and naps were the order of the day until a few of the girls shared their testimonies at a bible study for the neighborhood ladies outside the Cross to Light gates. They also had a time of prayer over the ladies and their children after the study. Two sisters, aged 15 and 18 acted as our translators and many of the school's students also translate for us when needed. We are blessed to have such wonderful servants at our disposal. Without them we could not complete the ministry we were sent to do.

Haiti Mission Day 6: Breaking Bread & Bread Baking

Almost the entire team traveled back to Pastor Jonas' church in Cite Solei to host another mini VBS for the local children and distribute medical supplies. The team was cooked a special meal that had historical significance. This traditional meal was originally cooked by the French who occupied the country but they did not share it with the Haitian people. Now the Haitian people cook the meal to celebrate their independence from France. We were blessed by their hospitality and generosity in sharing it with us.

Two team members stayed behind to bake bread and visit the neighbors to pray for them and pass out the bread. A large majority of the homes we visited appreciated the prayers and they were adamant about hosting us in their homes rather than have us wait outside. A couple of the people gave us tours of their "in progress" homes and were proud of the progress of their construction. After prayer they began eating the bread and were sometimes finished before we left their homes.  It was easy to get lost in the moment and prayer and the presence of the Lord and not think about anything else.