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He is the Author of Our Story

He is the Author of Our Story

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

Happy Graduation!

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

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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.

A new friend and partner

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.

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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.

Doko through Hudson's Lens

Doko through Hudson's Lens

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

“When are you going back to Haiti?”

“When are you going back to 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.

Ansanm pou Ayiti (Together for Haiti)

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.

And introducing our 2nd summer intern

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.

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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.

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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!

Introducing a new member of the Haiti Awake Family

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 .

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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!

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96 hours in Haiti

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."

Caleb's last day as a two-year-old.

Caleb's last day as a two-year-old.

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.


Monday

  • 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

Tuesday

  • Work out details of sewing project

  • Look at new places to take summer teams

  • Afternoon with the children

  • 9:30 Meeting with Steeve

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Wednesday

  • 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

  • Visit children

  • 9:30 meeting with Steeve

 


Thursday

  • 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

 

Friday

  • 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 . . . 

Thoughts on a quiet Friday evening

Thoughts on a quiet Friday evening

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."

Knowing what you know, what will you do?

Knowing what you know, what will you do?

And because he saw himself in relationship to a people in a place, he saw himself as responsible for the way their world turned out, for the way it was and the way it ought to be.    Steven Garber

2017 in Review

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.

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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.

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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.  

Relationships. 

Gospel. 

Hope.

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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:

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.

Tout glwa pou Bondye. Toutan.

Happy birthday, Wesly!

Although we praise God for you every year on your birthday, Wesly, today we are praising Him in a special way for giving you an another year of life.  Your accident this summer reminded us just how precious life is . . . and how quickly it can be taken away.

You are an important part of Haiti Awake.  We are thankful for the opportunity to continue to walk out this journey as friends together.  May the Lord continue to keep you and sustain you.   

Enjoy these pictures of a few of the moments we've shared together.

 

You are loved.

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An Emotional Week.

Last Friday night, Steeve and I talked by telephone.  He was still in Doko with Fre Jacques and Maken, but they were finished working there and had plans to travel back to Port the next morning.   We were rejoicing, praising God for everything that had transpired in Doko during the week.

Roughly an hour later Steeve sent me a text: "I just heard that Wesly and Idelmy had an accident.  They are at the hospital."

That text led to a restless night followed by several busy days filled with texts, phone calls, and requests on our part for favors from people in Port-au-Prince as we tried to ascertain the severity of Wesly and Idelmy's injuries.   Getting medical information about loved ones in Haiti is not always an easy thing. 

Idelmy had surgery on his foot on Sunday and was discharged on Monday.  Wesly had surgery twice (hand and foot), and he is still hospitalized.

I arrived in Haiti Wednesday afternoon and was able to see them both.

Seeing Wesly at the hospital is not an easy thing, but Steeve and I have been able to see him each day since I arrived.  

Visiting hours are twice a day (noon to 1:30 - but they seem to cut the line off about 1) and (5-6:30 - but again, the line isn't open that long). Each patient can only receive one visitor at a time, so for the last 3 days Steeve and I have arrived about 30 minutes before the scheduled visiting time in order to wait for the gate to open where we can pass through, wash our hands, give our ID, and then be given permission to spend a little time with Wesly while trading time with other people who care about him like his mother, his brother, and other friends.

Idelmy is recovering at home.  He can't do much yet because of his foot, so he has been the happy (and exclusive) user of a Kindle tablet to help him pass the time.

The privacy of both Idelmy and Wesly is important to us, and we ask you to please respect that.  We also ask that you pray with us that God will allow them to fully recover.  We are specifically praying that Wesly will be able to come home before I return to the States on September 7.

Thank you for loving the people we love and caring about them.