I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. Psalm 143:5
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.
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!
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.
Thanks to the generous donations of so many of you, Christmas for our Community was a blessed time on Sunday afternoon, December 17th. All of the families and individuals we had featured were sponsored, and God multiplied your gifts in such a way that we were able to not only provide the items listed in the original announcement, but each family got two bags of beans and $150 in Haitian money, as well.
Steeve prayed with everyone and shared the truth of I John 3:16 - "This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down His life for us." God loved us so much that He sent His son, Jesus Christ, in the flesh, as a baby, to be our Redeemer.
Steeve shared that we at Haiti Awake and those of you who support our ministry are motivated by love, true love, love found only in Jesus Christ. He explained that the gifts were not from the staff but from others - most of whom have never been to Haiti and have never met anyone in our community.
Steeve went on to explain that our community is important to Haiti Awake, and how the gifts being distributed were not benefiting anyone associated with Haiti Awake. Instead, we are looking outward, to care for people in our community. We want our community to know that they matter to Jesus; and because they matter to Jesus, they matter to us.
Thank you to all who showed love by financially giving to this initiative. We pray that it will be an annual event that God will continue to grow for His glory.
Glwa pou Bondye.
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.
From our first meeting . . .
Until today . . .
You are loved, Handy Oge.
Happy 8th birthday!
I often get a different perspective on a familiar passage of Scripture when I attempt to put aside my American interpretation and try to see things the way a Haitian would see them.
For example, "Give us this day our daily bread" means something completely different when a person is actually depending on God each day to provide sustenance . . . in absence of a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
While I was in Haiti this week, I was asked to read Matthew 25:31-46 at The Bridge tomorrow morning. Reading that passage in Haiti as we were back and forth to the hospital, it took on a whole new meaning . . . especially because we now have a new friend, Herby Joseph.
Herby Joseph is from St. Marc, a town about 2 hours north of Tabarre. While in Port-au-Prince over two weeks ago, he had a moto accident and severely injured his leg. And he's been at Medecins San Frontiers since that time. With no one to visit him. Day after day. His family is too far away to come to see him.
Herby's bed was next to Wesly's, so as we visited Wesly day-by-day, Herby became our friend. His face would light up when we'd come into the room, and he was more than eager to play a hand of cards with Steeve or Polo to pass the time. (There were 9 men in the room with nothing to do all day.) He, along with the other men, were very happy when we brought snacks for them each day (snacks that many of you donated this summer).
This is what ministry often looks like - just loving the people God puts in front of us each day. There's not a big plan or agenda. It's just opening our eyes to the people around us who are in need. It's loving our neighbor . . . and that neighbor might be the person in the hospital bed next to our loved one.
On Tuesday when Polo and I went to the hospital for my last visit before Wesly would be discharged and I would return to the United States, Herby asked to take a photo with me. It was so hard to say goodbye knowing that Herby would be without visitors and because we don't know if or when we'll see each other again. He doesn't have a telephone, but he has Steeve and Wesly's phone numbers, and we're hopeful he'll call when he is released from the hospital.
There are many Herby Josephs in Haitian hospitals tonight. Some of them, like Herby, do not have family nearby who can visit. Some of their families do not have the money necessary to hire a moto or take a tap tap to the hospital. Some of them actually don't have anyone that cares. (There was a man like this in Wesly's room).
These people need someone to visit them, to encourage them, to show them Jesus' love. Will you pray with us that God will allow Haiti Awake to have an outreach to the hospitals in Haiti?