Our assurance is in the One who is always faithful.
Because He lives, today we grieve with hope at the passing of Steeve's beloved mother, Nann, who was 75 years young.
Wife of Anora for 54 years, she was the matriarch of a beautiful family with a legacy of faith and good works.
We believe her passing is precious in the sight of the Lord. Psalm 116:15
Virginia Joseph 3/27/1944 - 9/20/19
I journal every single day. Sometimes my journal entries are simply a quote, a Bible verse, or a single thought. Other days, I might write a page or two or more.
Today I was looking back and found this message from 2014. How true it rings still - and how appropriate to share it with you now.
You see, when I first started going to Haiti in 2012, personal interaction in the community was not encouraged by the organization with whom I worked. In fact, in many ways it was actively discouraged. In those brief times when I was free to leave the compound walls, I found myself face to face with people in Tabarre 14 who I quickly came to love and know by name.
One of the first children I came to know was Kenny. There are so many children in our community. But she has always stood out because of her big personality. She may actually be the first child I came to know outside of the family members of adults I knew.
When we started Haiti Awake in 2014, she and her sisters began coming faithfully to our neighborhood Bible schools. And we have over time gotten to know more of them and their story.
Kenny’s family was one of the families who you blessed through Christmas for our Community two years ago.
And now, it seems appropriate to make Kenny our first sponsored child in our neighborhood. Our vision is to stand with her family, support their parenting, encourage Kenny in her schooling and her walk with God, and make her part of our extended family. Though she will continue to live with her family, she will very much be part of our Haiti Awake family, as well.
Kenny needs a sponsor who will believe in her, who will be faithful in financial and prayer support - a sponsor who sees himself or herself in relationship with this precious young lady. Is that someone you?
Sunday we invited Kenny to the monthly Haiti Awake birthday party for our children and staff. We did this in faith, knowing that someone will step up to be her sponsor.
Yesterday Steeve wrote this in the Bible Haiti Awake gifted her for her birthday:
Kenny, we want you to know God loves you. You are a beautiful girl. Always allow the Word of God to light your way like Psalm 119:105 says.
Haiti Awake loves you so very, very much.
God bless you.
We are so thankful that God has led us to include Kenny in our greater vision for our community. If you would like to sponsor Kenny, please contact Kelsey Stott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for caring about the people we love.
Becky Graves, Executive Director
A Life That Is Planned Is Not Life At All Because A Life That Is Planned Cannot Be Lived
If you know me, you know I’m a planner and organizer. I have my moments of being cool as a cucumber and not planning and organizing. But honestly it takes a lot of talking with God to get there.
While in Haiti this summer, I was co-leading our team. One of our goals was to paint the Tap-Tap. And again if you know me when I plan out art or pretty much anything, I’ve envisioned how I EXPECT or WANT it to be. And I EXPECT what I WANT to be the end result.
How self centered and selfish does that sound! Wow! You’re probably wondering if there is any redeeming to this story.
But GOD!! I talked with God pretty much every minute of the two evenings we spent painting the Tap-Tap. Asking him to give me patience, ability to let go, be okay with not controlling the painting technique.
I was afraid of running out of our base color. I was afraid the lettering wouldn’t look perfect & clean if I wasn’t the one painting it. I was focused on what had to get done so we could get to the fun part where I’d been promising myself that’s when I can let go & allow the kids to do what they want.
But GOD!! In all that talking to God through out those two evenings He showed me the beauty of not planning. Well planning to an extent haha…
The older boys finished painting the inside even when I told them we were done for the night and to save paint. Did we run out of paint? Nope! Did the inside look okay? It was more than okay. The boys had it gleaming white!
Could I do the lettering on my own? Nope! Bradley held stencils while I traced, Lizzie and the older kids asking to paint the letters. Did the letters come out prefect? Well close enough! Was one of the letters technically upside down? Yep, but hey that’s okay (if you can find it, you get a gold star). I honestly forgot about this part until writing this post haha
Did amazing designs get painted without it being part of my plan? Yep! And they are beautiful and glorified God through the skills He has given Wesly and Hudson.
Did everyone have fun. Were we LIVING?? Yep! That’s all that matters!
God doesn’t want us to not plan. Nor does He want us to plan so much that we miss out on living in His presence, in His glory, in His beauty, in His grace, and in His joy.
Remember to LIVE today and everyday!
VBS has ended but many lives have been touched and many more will be touched. At CBF children heard about Jesus and learned about another country where other boys and girls are also learning about Jesus. Adults at CBF learned about Haiti Awake and in turn opened their hearts and donated. The theme was The Incredible Race: One Family, One Race, One Savior.
The story is finished at CBF. But it will continue with our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Only God knows how many more lives will be touched through the fun of raising pennies for Haiti Awake and dumping Jungle Sludge.
- Anne Atkinson
While hiking in Furcy this summer, our Director of Economic Development, Vorb Charles, took this beautiful photo which highlights the beauty of his homeland. The following are his personal reflections:
Dèyè mòn, gen mòn!
This is an Haitian Creole proverb that could be literally translated: “Behind mountains, there are mountains.” Haiti has a lot of hills and mountains. Sometimes, you see a high one and you think there is no other behind but when you past it, you see many others and sometimes higher and stronger.
It expresses the idea of humility and challenge. For those who think they are all powerful, they are the smartest, the wealthiest, the strongest, the most beautiful… they should remember that there is someone bigger, even more powerful, smarter, stronger, wealthier, more beautiful than them. Maybe you do not see him/her yet, but he/she can challenge and defeat you.
It is the same idea for David and Goliath. Goliath thought he was the strongest, the most talented for war. But he was defeated and put to death by someone nobody could imagine being stronger and more talented for war than him.
Let’s be humble and thankful for what God has given us. Let’s use our wealth, talent, knowledge, and faith to serve others and not to oppress them because
Dèyè mòn, gen mòn
I think it’s easy to look at our social media and believe that somehow life at Kay Timoun is a fairy tale, that the children have been “rescued” and somehow they’ll just live happily ever after.
That is not real life.
The children have suffered immeasurable loss in their lives. Issues of abuse, neglect, abandonment are not easily overcome, and in many ways this is a daily struggle for all of us. The deep wounds and scars they bear are unique to each child, but they are there. And they are real.
This summer God impressed on my heart the need for us to find some familial connection for Idelmy, in particular. Idelmy and I talked a lot last summer about his family. We had similar conversations this summer. One of those conversations including him trying to explain himself by saying, “When a person loses his mom and dad, he loses a part of himself.”
It has been 7 years since Idelmy was abandoned, 7 years since he has seen a blood relative. And his heart has yearned to find that connection again.
We knew Idelmy was from Cap Haitian. We were going to Cap Haitian for Leadership Retreat. It made sense to see if we could find Idelmy’s extended family while we were there. And by God’s grace and in His Divine providence, we did.
Reconnecting with family for two days filled a void in Idelmy’s heart, and left him asking if he could possibly visit them next summer for an extended period of time. By God’s grace, we want to see that happen.
Please continue to pray with us as we seek to bridge gaps between the children and their families, bridges that will bring emotional healing and restoration.
As I sit here this morning thinking back over 40 days in Haiti, all I can say is “Thank you, Jesus.” My heart is full. The blessings of God, the favor He showed - “if I should declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” (Psalm 40:5)
The teams we hosted blessed us. They served us. They refreshed us. They came alongside us with unity of vision and purpose.
Words are inadequate to describe how God used these amazing young people to point so many people to Jesus this summer - myself included. These young people are the real deal. They love people. They love Jesus. They are self-sacrificing. And they are pursuing what it means to Seek Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. (Micah 6:8)
I thought I would pour into their lives this summer. Instead, they did that for me and helped heal some of the parts of my heart that had been hurting for so long.
Steeve, Vorb, Polo, Wesly, Big, Dieussait, Manoucheka, Alantah, Makendy and Donalson, you are dear to my heart. You are more than friends. You are family.
Our leadership retreat was far more productive than we could have anticipated, producing good memories and renewed focus for the days ahead.
Looking forward with great anticipation to the days ahead.
Disclaimer: This is not my usual, upbeat share. But this is reality.
“This is the promise that empowers us to take risks for the sake of Christ. It is not the impulse of heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s favor.
It is simple trust in Christ—that in him God will do everything necessary so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. Every good poised to bless us, and every evil arrayed against us, will in the end help us boast only in the cross, magnify Christ, and glorify our Creator. Faith in these promises frees us to risk and to find in our own experience that it is better to lose our life than to waste it.
— John Piper
On May 16, 2019, the dream that in essence birthed the ministry of Haiti Awake came to fruition. Steeve Derard graduated from seminary.
We praise God for His work in Steeve’s life, and we wanted to share what Steeve wrote on the morning of his graduation:
I want to start by expressing my gratitude towards God for His faithfulness, His abundant grace and His unending love.
This is a dream that God had put in my heart 6 years ago, and it becomes a reality today.
And, yes, after 4 years God has done it. I do not complete it with my own strength, but "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"(Phil 4:13).
This is the end of a short journey, and a longer one will begin. But I have no doubt that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).
I want to thank all of you, friends and family, who have been praying for me.
I am so thankful for Haiti Awake and my family who supported me in this hard journey.
Thank you very much!
- Steeve Derard
We are anticipating great things in the days ahead, as Steeve is able to fully devote his time and energy to being the Director of Church Ministry Development at Haiti Awake.
Glwa pou Bondye.
Carine Robert is currently a junior at Madonna University, where she is completing her bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Leadership.
As a community service learner at Haiti Awake, she has been offering her time and talents as volunteer hours the last several weeks.
According to Carine, she has felt welcomed and supported at Haiti Awake.
Recognizing that our children’s home gives our children access to education and better living conditions, she has assisted in a number of tasks, as indicated by Saturday photos, including but not limited to, helping the children improve their French pronunciation, gardening, and assisting the children (especially the girls) in other activities.
This experience has made her aware of volunteering and the love of serving others.
As a service-learner, she is now part of the Haiti Awake family.
We at Haiti Awake are thankful for the diversity of viewpoint and experience Carine has brought to Haiti Awake.
Very unexpectedly on Monday, April 8, Davensky and Widecherline's mother, Benita Etienne ("Pauline"), passed away. We are all shocked and so very sad.
When we gained custody of the children in January 2017, Pauline came to us and asked if she could do laundry for the children each week. It was such a sweet, sincere request, and out of it grew a beautiful relationship and time of reconciliation and healing for their family.
Each Friday and Saturday, she has faithfully come to the children's home and done so much more than laundry. She has been a mother figure to all of the children - loving them well, doing little things for each of them that endeared her to all of us in the Haiti Awake family.
One of my sweetest memories of Pauline is watching her take candies and other treats from her bag to give to each of the children. On a personal level, she touched my heart in November when she made fresh juice at home and brought some to share with me. I also remember how well she welcomed Steeve and me to her Cite Soleil home the first time we went to visit - offering us chicken, rice, and bags of water. She had a heart of generosity.
There were so many good qualities I saw in Pauline. I had always hoped that one day she would be able to care for the children and take them back into her own home.
Of course, Kiki and Widecherline are incredibly sad as they have lost the only biological parent they know, but truly all of the children are suffering as she was a stable figure in their lives - someone they could depend on. The children have suffered so much loss. Sometimes it is hard to comprehend the heartbreaks they have already endured in their young lives.
Please pray for everyone in the days ahead. We are currently trying to coordinate funeral arrangements with extended family and hoping to be as involved as possible.
In Haiti people often say, "Lavi pa fasil" (Life's not easy.) With the losses to our extended Haiti Awake family in recent weeks, as well as the political unrest and other disappointments, this proverb seems even more true than before.
Please pray for hearts to find peace and healing as we trust the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:3, "God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort."
- Becky Graves, Executive Director
Friends and all of you who knew our dear friend " Antony", I want to let you know that he is with the Lord right now.
Antony was a good friend to us, a good friend to Haiti Awake's staff members.
Antony is the young man who used to come by and selling artisan products at Haiti Awake's yard when we have a team.
Antony is the one, where the last Haiti Awake team members who were in Haiti went to pray with at his house.
Antony was the one the Haiti Awake's team members went to pray with when he was at the hospital last year.
Antony was the one who always come by and make maintenance for Haiti Awake's generators.
Antony was the one who knew very well how to struggle with life after he had lost one leg about 11 years ago in a motorcycle accident.
Antony was the one who loved the Lord, his family, and his friends.
Please keep his family in your prayers.
We are going to miss you, Brother.
May your soul rest in peace! - written by Steeve Derard