Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings
When I got to Doko, I met strong people who are struggling with life so that they can bring bread to their family every day. Occupations include cultivators, farmers, vendors, and fishermen. They can’t provide all the necessaries things to get all of the kids in school on time, but they are making all of their best to make them go to school even at the age of 13 years old. -Hudson
But one of the most beautiful, soul-sanctifying things God ever does for us is to bless our lives through those we’ve come to bless, to expose the pride and superiority that makes us think we’re in perceived control of them, and to realize that God is the one who’s truly in control of all of us. Sure, people learn and grow from what we do, but we learn and grow as well by being in their company.
— Joey Lankford
Although we could not have anticipated the events that began on the night of July 6, we are thankful that none of our children, staff, or guests were ever in imminent danger. Further, though we were so eager to welcome our friends from The Bridge, we are grateful that JetBlue 1709 never landed in Haiti but was instead diverted to the Dominican Republic before returning to the United States.
Thinking about my safety and the safety of our Haitian co-workers, Steeve has asked me to return to the United States today.
This is a difficult decision for all of us, and we request that you give us time and space to process the events of the last 10 days.
Please continue to pray for Haiti and for Haiti Awake in the days ahead.
It's been a week since the beginning of civil unrest last Friday here in Haiti. The current political environment is still uncertain, and people are cautious, but we are hopefully optimistic that the situation between opposing political parties will be resolved soon.
After 3 weeks of teams this summer, the events of last weekend here in Haiti necessitated our cancelling the rest of our summer plans and sending our interns home early. Our staff, our children, and our guests were never in any danger, and we are grateful for God's provision. We understand that many Americans were affected by our decision, but we ask everyone to keep the focus on those who are living this reality - our Haitian brothers and sisters. Though the cancellation of teams is disappointing to Americans, this is a week, not the day-to-day reality of life for the foreseeable future.
The video with this message shows some of the events over this past weekend from Haiti Awake's perspective. Pray for the faces you see in the video for they are the future of Haiti.
By far, the most common question people ask me is, “When are you going back to Haiti?” and since April 18, the answer has been, “June 14.” Over and over people expressed surprise. “But that’s so far away!” And it was. But now the date is drawing close, and last minute preparations are being made.
And my heart is happy.
On Monday, May 7, 2018, over 200 people gathered at Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC, to celebrate missions around the world. On this night, 25 tables were set to share more about missions based in the Wilmington area but operating all over the world.
Two of the tables hosted by Pastor Roger Barnes, Sophie Leonard, Alexandria Augi and Jennifer Augi (all members of the March 2018 team) highlighted and told the story of Haiti Awake.
Sophie Leonard and Alexandria Augi were also able to talk with the children in attendance at this event about the Bible schools they led in Haiti while traveling with Haiti Awake. They encouraged the children not to feel limited by their age but to listen for God’s calling to go and serve being the hands and feet of Jesus.
The mission night was a wonderful opportunity to share in our local community how lives in Haiti are being changed through friendship, discipleship, community, teaching, resources, time, and most importantly the unifying love of Jesus Christ.
Steeve, Polo and Manoucheka attended the Ansanm Pou Ayiti Haiti National State of Health Congress which was held at the Karibe Hotel in Port au Prince May 10 and 11.
The Congress gathered over 200 policy makers, seasoned executives, public and private stakeholders, and knowledgeable pioneers in the health industry to discuss the state of health in Haiti.
Over the course of two days, attendees analyzed the current environment and health system in place, studied the role of public and private sectors in spurring innovation, discussed the challenges individuals and organizations face within the health industry in Haiti, and collaboratively examined the available opportunities for solutions, innovation, support, and systems for change to Haiti’s health landscape as we know it.
Our Haiti Awake staff learned so much and were so grateful for the opportunity to attend.
I won't describe Hannah Hewling as a new family member, as I described Alexandria yesterday, because Hannah's been a part of Haiti Awake since the first Bridge team came in the summer of 2016. Last summer Hannah stayed in Haiti with us for two weeks, and this year she's coming back to intern for the 2nd half of our busy summer.
Hannah is a third grade teacher in Garner, NC, who graduated from UNCW in 2017.
While living in Wilmington, Hannah was a member of The Bridge Church, where she met Becky. On her first trip to Haiti, Hannah instantly fell in love with the people and culture of Haiti.
Hannah can not wait to continue to build on relationships she has made as well as, use her teaching background to encourage the children. In July, She will be teaching English at the children’s home and assisting with the three teams during her trip.
How thankful we are at Haiti Awake for the many people God has brought to work alongside of our staff through the years. People like Hannah bring fresh ideas and new energy to our efforts.
Looking forward to a great summer!
We are planning for a busy summer at Haiti Awake with 6 teams - back to back to back to back to back to back . . . Our staff will work for 6.5 weeks without a day off! We are feeling excited - and challenged.
One of the only ways we'll survive this busy season is with additional sets of hands - one of those sets belonging to Alexandria Augi .
Alexandria Augi, daughter of Rich and Jen Augi, felt God was calling her to the mission field on her first mission trip to Arizona in 2010. She absolutely fell in love with sharing God and His love with the children there.
This March Alexandria traveled to Hait for the first time. It was immediately evident that she felt at home with our children and our staff - and they were equally comfortable with her. Just a few days into her trip in March, we began talking about the idea of Alexandria coming to Haiti to intern for the first half of our busy summer.
We're so thankful her mom and dad are allowing her to be part of our family this summer!
In her free time, Alexandria enjoys karate (and teaching it!), reading, and baking. While she is majoring in mathematics at UNC Wilmington, missions holds a special place in her heart and she is ready to follow God’s plan wherever it may lead her.
And this summer, He has led her to the summer internship at Haiti Awake. For this we are abundantly thankful!
Exchange in the Atlanta airport last night.
Immigration agent: "Where are you returning from?"
Me: "Port au Prince, Haiti."
Agent: "Why were you there?"
Me: "To celebrate a 3 year old's birthday."
Agent: "Excuse me?"
Me: "To celebrate a child's birthday. He's 3 years old now."
Agent: "You went to Haiti to celebrate a child's birthday?'
Me: "Yes. That's right."
Agent: "That's an unusual reason to visit Haiti. But a good one. Have a nice evening."
Yes, it was an unusual reason, but such a good one! Going to Haiti this week was all about celebrating the goodness of God in the life of Caleb Steven Derard, my favorite 3-year-old. Caleb's birthday is something I hope to be able to celebrate with him each year because his life is a miracle.
In case you've never read his birth story, you can find it here:
The short time in Hait this week was very productive, however, beyond just sharing a meal and cake with Caleb on Wednesday.
To answer the question, "How was your week in Haiti?" I decided to share the schedule that we at Haiti Awake followed day-by-day. I know sometimes people wonder what we do when there's not a team. Well, this should give you some idea . . . at least of what we did April 16 - 20.
As I always say, no matter how long I am in Haiti, it's never enough time. This short trip was definitely no exception. Friday afternoon found us rushing to get to the airport and squeezing every last minute out of my time there.
Arrive on Delta 685
3:30 p.m. Meet with the children
Spend evening unpacking
8 p.m. Meeting with Polo re: economic development and more
9:30 p.m. Meeting with Steeve
Work out details of sewing project
Look at new places to take summer teams
Afternoon with the children
9:30 Meeting with Steeve
Shop for the children's home
Go to the market to get supplies for Caleb's party
Visit other missionaries
11 am. Caleb’s birthday
Gifts for friends in neighborhood
9:30 meeting with Steeve
8:30 Go to immigration to finish application for my permis
Noon Meeting at hospital with medical staff
Pack bracelets and other Mission Made Jewelry items. Pay everyone for a job well done.
3 pm April birthday party for children and staff
Meeting with the wash ladies
After dinner, rooftop meeting to close out the week
8:00 Meet with ladies again
9:30 Meet with Steeve and Polo re: children's home
11:00 Staff meeting
Noon Finish last minute packing, eat lunch, grab a shower and dress for airport
1 p.m. Say goodbye to kids
1:15 Leave for airport
Leave on Delta Flight 684 3:30. p.m.
The summer is coming up quickly. We plan to host 6 separate teams in June and July. Much of the next two months will be in preparation for hosting our friends and sharing more of what we believe God has called us to in Haiti - Community Development, Economic Development and Church Ministry Development based in Relationships, Gospel, and Hope.
Until next time . . .
At the same time, I came home with my heart once again tender toward so many things. Tears haven't been too far from my eyes on any given day. I often pray that as I continue to see and experience more of Haiti and her people that I will not become jaded, that I won't become callous, that the things that once broke me won't become routine and common. Like so many, I pray the prayer Bob Pierce once prayed, "Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."
It's been another year. We have another opportunity to look back and see God's providence, His faithful hand, His leading...and to see that once again, we never walked alone.
The first four months of the year were marked by change as the children came under our care. We also began to discuss the idea of expanding Haiti Awake outside of Port au Prince, hosted teams in the new upstairs guesthouse, launched our child sponsorship program, and added stateside coordinators - Hannah Telman, Liz Kyle, and Alicia Mercer.
Glwa pou Bondye.
The middle four months were characterized by teams - five of them to be exact . . . in addition to the four we had already hosted in the first four months of 2017. Fun times. Busy times. Times of growth. Many of this summer's team members became sponsors to our children, and for that we are grateful.
The latter part of 2017 brought great joy, as well as some hard times. The children returned to school for their 3rd year of schooling since Haiti Awake began providing for their tuition, and we rejoiced. Haiti Awake was also able to open the copy center and begin its first chicken project during this same period. We are thankful that God continues to expand our resonsibilities. We also were forced to think about the brevity of life when Wesly and Idelmy were involved in a serious accident. And we finished out the year with a wonderful Christmas celebration provided by friends and sponsors.
We look forward with great anticipation to where God will providentially lead in 2018. We anticipate growth through new business opportunities as well as outreach and expansion of responsibility outside of Port au Prince. But we recognize and affirm the truth found in Proverbs 16:9:
Tout glwa pou Bondye. Toutan.