Haiti

Pennies, Haiti Awake, & Jungle Sludge

Pennies, Haiti Awake, & Jungle Sludge

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

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.

Stories We Have Heard and Known

I am in Arkansas for a couple weeks, helping my son and his soon-to-be bride prepare for their big day. Being here brings a pause from the normal and extra time for morning reflection.

This morning’s readings took me to Psalm 78:

I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
— verses 3 and 4
A fun time for Handy at his 9th birthday party yesterday. Oh, how God is redeeming his story.

A fun time for Handy at his 9th birthday party yesterday. Oh, how God is redeeming his story.

May we always remember what God has done at Haiti Awake through the years, and may we never fail to remind the next generation of all we ourselves have seen and experienced.

So the next generation might know them—
even the children not yet born—
and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.
— verses 6 and 7





All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.


Thomas Chisholm

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

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!

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 . . . 

Selflessly Sewing

The following is a guest post, shared by our friend, Dori Nason.

For the past four summers, I have had the opportunity to teach 9-13 year olds how to sew with a group of talented ladies in my church. Power Camp is a ministry of Myrtle Grove Presbyterian that shares the gospel of Christ with kids (rising 1st -8th grade) as they are extremely active in various sports and arts activities. During the sewing specialty week, we teach the basics of sewing, and then tackle a project to take home, whether it is a pair of pajama pants, a wall hanging, or something equally challenging. It is amazing how much these kids learn over the course of 15 hours!

Historically, only girls have signed up for sewing camp. However, this past summer I was personally contacted by a homeschool mom who said her 11 year old son wanted to learn how to sew. Surprised by this, I wanted to learn why he wanted to sew. She responded that her son, “wanted to learn how to make clothes for his little brother and to make dresses for little girls in Haiti.” His answer touched my heart and I knew that we needed to add a new element to our week of sewing. 

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16

We were going to make something for someone else. God helped us move quickly into making this boy’s idea into a reality. Approvals were given, fabric and notions were donated, and a dress pattern was designed. We were blessed to be able to partner with Haiti Awake and teach our 11 students not only to make a backpack they could take home for themselves, but also a beautiful dress for a girl in Haiti. Decorating the room with the Haitian flag and a world map, we showed them pictures of Haiti and Haiti Awake’s ministry there.

Over the course of the week, 11 precious dresses were lovingly handcrafted and prayed over. We taught the kids that even though they didn’t know who would receive their dresses, they could pray for that person’s safety and that they would also come to know the Lord with each stitch that they made. As a final touch, we had labels attached in the dresses telling the recipient who made each dress. When I packaged everything up to take to Becky, I had no idea how our prayers would be directed later that summer as hurricane season started brewing.

Early in September, Becky started sending me pictures of the recipients of our dresses. These pictures brought so much joy to us! The first picture was of a girl named Phoebe holding the dress made by our inspirational young man. Next was of a little girl who lives near the ministry wearing her dress. It was their beautiful faces we visualized as we prayed that Hurricane Irma would turn before it reached Haiti. Those precious smiles will be forever etched in my memory. Stateside, we rejoiced as the hurricane turned and we received word that all at Haiti Awake were safe. Our prayers and stitches made a difference, not only for the recipients, but also for each boy, girl, and sewing instructor involved in the project.

Hope that's hard to find

Let me first say, I’m not an author. I’m not a blogger. I do not pride myself on my ability to write, but I was asked to write something about the day I visited Centre de Reeducation des Mineurs en Conflit avec le Loi (CERMICOL), a boy’s prison in Haiti. I will attempt to do that.

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I was taught from a young age, just like many American boys, that men don’t cry.  I’m not in any way saying my parents raised me wrong, but I deal with emotions like many other American men - I bottle them up.

The night that followed my trip to the boy’s prison, I cried,  and then I cried some more. I wept in a way I haven’t wept in a very long time. I cried at the position these boys were in, the hopelessness of the situation, how their entire life is altered. Forever. I cried because if I had been born into poverty, I could have faced a situation that some of these young men faced, made a similar decision, and ended up in a boys prison at age 14.

This could have been me.  

 

I have an 11 year old son. He’s a good kid, but he’s done things that are, well, regrettable. Just like every other kid. I could not help but picture him when I was at the prison. I don’t know the kid's ages, but some were young. Probably 12 or 13 years old.

The boys are locked up for various reasons, I don’t know what each one did, I didn’t care.

I saw children. I saw my son. In a green jump suit with CERMICOL on his back. Hopeless.

Now, I’m far from saying that these boys should not be held responsible. But to see a kid that has been locked up for a crime, and find out some go 2 years before they ever see a judge, that’s heartbreaking. Some of them committed crimes, some terrible crimes, stuff we spoiled Americans only see in TV shows. They do not need to be told that’s ok. They need tough love. They need to be educated. And they need hope.

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.
— Jeremiah 29:11

When we arrived, we unloaded the supplies we brought - rice, sodas, toiletries, a hand written scripture for each boy. Each item was inspected by guards and then loaded into a wheelbarrow. There were 3 prisoners that were pushing the loaded wheelbarrows into the prison. Quite obvious this was their reward for good behavior. Once it was all in, there were a few conversations between guards, some more waiting, and then we got to enter. They escorted us to a room, set up similar to a classroom, with a chalkboard, seating for 30 or so, one door.

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There was a large window that opened to the common area. The cells with bars were across from this. We could see the boys. They looked at us, they didn’t look angry, or threatening, they looked like my son. Some were a few years older, but they were young men, trying to find their place in life. While in a holding cell with 125 other prisoners. Hopeless.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
— Deuteronomy 31:6

The guards ushered in about 40 at a time, 3 groups. The groups came in, we spoke to them. Told them God loved each one of them, that we at Haiti Awake loved each one of them. We prayed. Then they left, back to their cells.

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We left, empty handed, sad with the situation, angry thinking the boys may not get a fair shake, disappointed that decisions were made to put them here, but hopeful that some of these young men heard our words. Hopeful they heard us pray for them. Hopeful they heard the message we had for them. Heard that it’s not over. They have decisions to make every day going forward. Maybe as they make one of these decisions, they will think back and remember the Haiti Awake team, and remember some words we shared, or a prayer, or a verse written to them.

Maybe this will be what they need to get through a rough day. Maybe it’ll help them make a good decision in the future.

Maybe it will give them hope.

That Day When Your Dream Comes True

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
— Ephesians 3:20

In January when we asked the children, "What is your dream?", most responded with traditional jobs like "block layer," "translator," "nurse" . . . and as I looked at their responses, it was easy to envision how they could grow up to be these things.  

When I saw Kiki's card, however, I knew that it would have to be a God thing.

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Today, however, Kiki had his first experience toward fulfilling his dream.  He had the opportunity to be the "co-pilot" on a Mission Aviation Fellowship flight.  

The very fact that this little 6 year old with big dreams was up in an airplane today, able to see the amazing beauty of his country, confirms for us at Haiti Awake that God has BIG plans for our Kiki . . . and that Jesus will complete the work He has started in Kiki's life (Phil. 1:6).... as He will for all of the children in our care.

To all the children, we say, "Dream big!'  

The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
— Psalm 138:8

Oh, and we did realize today that Kiki's not quite ready for flight school.   Nap time called during the flight, and even though he was so excited to be flying . . . he couldn't fight off the need for some zzzz's.

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Thank you MAF Haiti for making a little boy's dream become reality.