Missions

Big Things in Carrefour Poy

There are few big things to report that have happened recently in Carrefour Poy.

This first one brings me so much joy!

Claudel emailed me recently to tell me that the mother of two of our sponsored children has accepted Christ as her Savior!  Here is the story as told to me by Claudel:

It is a obligation for all the children of The Bridge to come to Church every Sunday. But some of them refuse to come. I [will] go to talk to them and their families. It is the case for Michelet and Michelda. I explain how it is important and who is Jesus and Michelet, Michelda and their mom all began to come. A month ago she became Christian.

On our About Us page, I wrote

Our prayer is that God will provide the increase through these children to reach their families, friends, and neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is so exciting to hear about one way that prayer has been answered.  Thank you so much to our sponsors who have believed with me that God is working through this ministry.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

The second big thing to report is another answered prayer:

When Claudel told me about the new regulations requiring that the school in Carrefour Poy open a seventh grade class, I was so overwhelmed by the thought of the extra money we would need for that to happen, that I couldn’t even think about the space needed to house the extra classes.  I prayed about it and felt that in light of everything I was dealing with, God was not calling me to try to raise funds to build the extra classrooms.  With some trepidation, I determined to trust that God would provide another way.

At one point Claudel emailed me to ask if I had been able to raise money to build more classroms & I wrote him back saying that I was not able to raise the money, but that I was looking forward to seeing how God would answer that prayer.

Construction began when the school received a small amount of money from the Haitian government, but when that money was gone, construction stopped.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

In August, with the construction at a stand still and new school year approaching, Pastor Gilbert came to the states and spent a Sunday with us at Grace Fellowship.  After leaving Amador County he spent the next few days with a friend who is also one of our sponsors.  A few hours after Gilbert left here, I got a phone call from him telling me that this gentleman wanted to pay to finish the construction!  Praise God!

When Gilbert arrived back in Haiti, the construction began again, and there are now 3 new classrooms on the 2nd floor of the school!

New classrooms ready for the new seventh grade class.

Construction is complete on three new classrooms which were built to accomodate the seventh grade class.

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Ready for higher education with new upstairs classrooms!

The last thing to report is a big prayer request.

Over the last month there has been widespread, violent rioting in the city of Arcahaie as the citizens are protesting the government.

Claudel sent me this picture of the riots in Arcahaie.

Claudel sent me this picture of some of the rioting in Arcahaie.

Since Carrefour Poy is on the outskirts of Arcahaie, it has been too dangerous for the children to go to school so far this year.  Please join me in praying that this rebellion will come to a quick and peaceful resolution and that the leaders of our school will use wisdom as they balance the safety of the children with the importance of their education.

Oh Lord, God of our Fathers, are You not God in the Heavens? Are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand…

2 Chronicles 20:6

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Categories: Children, Education, Haiti, Missions, Salvation, Sponsors | 1 Comment

Enough

I am very hesitant to post something so personal as this blog is supposed to be about Haiti and the work that God is accomplishing in Carrefour Poy.  My purpose is to point to God, and His all sufficient grace, not to talk about me.

A year ago today, I woke up in my own bed for the first time after 10 days in Haiti. As I reflect on the past year on a personal level, it has been one of tiredness and sickness, but more importantly, one of being reminded that God is enough.

Six months ago, as the calender was turned to 2015, I was dealing with pain, exhaustion & other unusual & ongoing symptoms. Through the various doctor visits, tests & procedures I kept hearing a word whispered to my soul:

“Enough”

During those hectic, stressful months, I wanted to shout “Enough!!!“, but the word whispered to me was soft and gentle, reassuring and comforting:

“Enough. I AM enough.”

I heard the word when I was told it was probably cancer and then later when I was told there was only a small chance it was cancer. I heard it through the very busy weeks before the Mission’s Conference when we didn’t know if Claudel’s visa would be approved and then when it was approved, as I scrambled to get my house ready for company and to prepare for the conference. During the conference weekend, I not only heard it, but felt it, like a presence when God showed up big time in every detail of that blessed weekend, big and small. And I heard it when I went into surgery a week after Claudel returned to Haiti. I even heard it during the long, anxiety-ridden month after surgery that it took to get the final biopsy report on whether or not it actually was cancer.

“Enough.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Although the nodule on my thyroid was cancerous, I am praising God that it had not spread beyond the nodule and it was completely removed during my surgery. I will not need further treatment for the foreseeable future.

When I sat down this morning to write this post, this is not at all what I had intended on writing about. I’m not even sure why I am continuing to type not knowing if I will post this. We all have trials. We have stress. It is part of the human experience. I look around me at the troubles of this world and get overwhelmed. Whether it is financial difficulties, health difficulties or the heartbreak of a family member walking a rebellious path. Then there are the world-wide problems: poverty, starvation, sex trafficking, ISIS. How can we NOT be overwhelmed?

So what does this have to do with Haiti and this blog?

For one thing, I have felt completely insufficient to run this ministry over the last year.  And yet, God has provided. Through people who have prayed for me and encouraged me.  Through the many cards & notes I received.  Through my friend Ashley who has been doing some of the regular monthly & quarterly tasks.  Through quite a few new sponsors who have joined us.  And even through other ministries who have provided for some of the needs in Carrefour Poy.

God has shown Himself to be faithful.  I have been reminded of His sovereignty and goodness time and again over this past year.

As we approach the new school year in Haiti, plans are being made to comply with the rule requiring schools to offer seventh grade.

They have begun building classrooms above the existing classrooms to accomodate more classes and students.

They have begun building classrooms above the existing classrooms to accommodate more classes and students. We are praying that God will provide the resources to finish construction before the new year begins.

I have a tendency to carry this sort of burden as if it is my job to provide everything necessary to accomplish this.  But again, I hear my Savior whisper,

“Enough. I am enough.”

By my own effort, I am not enough.  I don’t have the time, energy or finances to accomplish much of anything on my own.  So I am praying and trusting God for His provision for the school in Carrefour Poy as I have seen Him provide for me over this past year.

His grace IS enough.

 

Categories: Child sponsorship, Education, Haiti, Missions | 4 Comments

Missions Weekend at Grace

Despite my failure to regularly post updates here on The Bridge website, God continues to provide for the children of Carrefour Poy.

I am excited that The Bridge will be featured, along with several other missionaries, next weekend at Grace Fellowship‘s annual Missions Conference.

Decorations from Grace's Missions Conference 2013

Decorations from Grace’s Missions Conference 2013

And even more exciting?

Claudel will be here!

After several attempts to obtain a visa, the government has granted him permission to spend a week in the States, and he will arrive here in just a few days! I hope that all of our sponsors are able to take advantage of this opportunity to meet Claudel and ask him any questions you may have about The Bridge Sponsorship Program and the school in Carrefour Poy.

Claudel in Carrefour Poy

Claudel in Carrefour Poy

I would especially like to invite all of our sponsors to a special lunch right after church on Sunday, March 8th in Barrett Hall at Grace Fellowship.

I hope you can join us for this Haitian inspired meal as token of our appreciation for you, our faithful sponsors, and to have a chance to get to know Claudel a bit better.  I know he is excited to meet all of you.

Here is the weekend schedule for the Missions Conference:

Friday, March 6

Banquet at 6:00pm (doors open at 5:30)

Saturday, March 7

Men’s Breakfast at 8:00am

Women’s Luncheon at 11:30

Sunday, March 8

Sunday School Missionary panel Q&A at 9:00am

Worship Service at 10:30am

The Bridge Sponsor Lunch at 12:15

Claudel will be present at each of these activities (except for the Women’s Luncheon), along with Pastor Dale Barrett of TLC Haiti, Kay Fox of Handclasp, and Luke Voight of SIM.  The weekend promises to be an uplifting, encouraging, God-glorifying time.  We hope to see you there!

Replica of a Haitian Tap Tap made by our youth for this year's conference!

Replica of a Haitian Tap Tap made by our youth for this year’s conference!

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Hoop Dreams

Life is just rushing by and I haven’t had a chance to finish updating our sponsors and friends about all of the exciting things that happened while we were in Haiti this summer.  To finally continue, in this post, my son Brennan will share with you the story of the basketball hoop.

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I really like basketball and since other people do sports ministries, like our friends Luke & Becca who have a soccor ministry in Malawi, that got me wanting to do something with basketball.  I was able to raise money by collecting donations and doing jobs to earn money.  Most of that money went toward the cost of the trip, but I also earned some extra to pay for the hoop.  Then I found out that someone donated it!

When we got it there I couldn’t wait to put it up, but we had to wait until Tuesday because that’s when the rest of the team would be there to hang it.

When we got to Carrefour Poy, we saw that the wall wasn’t high enough for a basketball hoop and the ground was muddy and rocky with roots sticking up from a nearby mango tree. We talked to Claudel and Pastor Gilbert who made some phone calls that we couldn’t understand.

Discussing the placement of the court.

Discussing the placement of the court.

After a while, the man who lives next door to the school came with an ax and began chopping up the roots.

Monsier Lebreton chopping out the tree root.

Monsier Lebreton chopping out the tree root.

Then he skillfully climbed the tree and chopped down a branch that was in the way.

Chopping down a branch from the mango tree to make space for the basketball court.

Chopping down a branch from the mango tree to make space for the basketball court.

While he was doing that, someone drove away in Gilbert’s car and came back with a trunk load of bricks.

Some of the school boys unloading bricks from the back of Gilbert's car.

Some of the school boys unloading bricks from the back of Gilbert’s car.

After the bricks were unloaded, some men from the village started building the wall.

Then, one of the kids who goes to the school started bringing wheelbarrows full of gravel to use for the cement for the court.  Thankfully, the money I had raised for the basketball hoop was available for all the supplies and to pay the people who did the work!

By then it was late and we had to go back to Gilbert’s house, so unfortunately we weren’t able to see the cement being poured.

The next day the rest of the team arrived in Haiti and  I was very glad to see other kids who spoke English!  While collecting all the luggage at the airport, we found out it had been quite an adventure getting the basketball hoop there.   The airline workers said that they can’t transport that big of a box.  After a long discussion trying to come up with solution, Christian, the leader of the team, asked if it could be transported out of the box.  The lady said “Yes, of course that will work.” So they took it out and put all the bolts and brackets in separate suitcases.  Thankfully, it all got there safely!

All ready for the hoop to be hung!

All ready for the hoop to be hung!

On Tuesday when we got to Carrefour Poy to teach VBS the wall and cement was all finished and ready for the hoop to be hung!  After the VBS was over, several of the team members and I put the basketball hoop up.  While we were working, we discovered that the battery powered drill that Gilbert had wasn’t strong enough to drill through the cement wall.  We had to get another drill and plug it into the generator that they have at the school.

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Brian securing the brackets to the wall.

After all the bolts and the framing were installed, I got to attach the backboard.  I also got to put the netting on the hoop before it was attached to the backboard.

group

Kyle, Brian Sr., Brian Jr., Brennan and Christian on the court with a group of kids in Carrefour Poy.

All the kids were so happy that once the basketballs were pumped up, we immediately started playing. Even though the Haitians didn’t know all the rules, they knew the gist of the game, and we had a lot of fun!

A group of kids enjoying the basketball court!

A group of kids enjoying the basketball court!

*Special thanks to Mike Stromberg, Brian Whaling Sr and Jr, and Kyle Catto for helping with this project, as well as the whole team for making sure the hoop made it to Haiti!

 

Categories: basketball, Children, Haiti, Missions | 1 Comment

The Children and their Families

So much was accomplished in my 10 days in Haiti.  In my last post, I was unable to figure out which details to share and which to leave out and so I ended up just writing a brief overview.  Now I am going to attempt to share the main points of interest in a few posts without turning this into a 47 part series!  So many things happened that I want to share with you all, that it will be an exercise in restraint.

My first priority for the trip was to meet with every child who is sponsored through The Bridge.  I had asked our sponsors to provide me with a note of encouragement for their child, a picture of themselves and if possible, a small gift of some sort.

Ronaldina loved her doll!

Ronaldina loves her new doll!

I know our sponsors truly care about the children they sponsor and I wanted the children to be able to connect with them; to understand that they are a real person who not only is paying for their education, but also thinks about them, prays for them and truly cares for them.

So, my first two days in Haiti consisted of meeting with the children and delivering those gifts to them.   It was a joy to watch the children open their gifts and to see their smiles!

Monel was excited to have his own flashlight.

Monel was excited to have his own flashlight.

However, this was also one of the parts of my trip that I struggled with.  I never intended to become Santa Claus to these children, but I am afraid that that is exactly what I set myself up for.  As fun as it was to actually deliver the gifts, throughout the time that I spent in Carrefour Poy, children were asking me for things- a “machin” (toy car), “poupe” (doll), or “one dollar”.  I felt like I was causing greed and selfishness to come out in their little hearts.  And it was heartbreaking not to be able to give a little something to each and every child. In the interest of luggage space, I had only brought gifts to the sponsored children.  (We actually brought another gift for the whole school, but I will write about that in another post.)

I am keenly aware of the fact that what these precious souls truly need is food, water, an education and most importantly the Gospel of Christ.  These are the reasons The Bridge exists.  I guess my hope and prayer is that somehow the love of Christ will shine through the generosity of our sponsors in the gifts they sent.

Claudel, Sander and Alix helped the children write thank you notes after they received their gifts.

Claudel, Sander and Alix helped the children write thank you notes after they received their gifts.

After meeting with all the children who were available in those first two days (there were just a few who were away or sick), I visited a few of the families at their homes to invite them to a meeting for the families of The Bridge kids. As I didn’t have time to go to everyones’ house, (well, really I quickly became worn out from walking around the village in the heat and humidity), Claudel invited the rest of the families.

This family consists of a father, daughter and 3 brothers who are either cousins or friends of the family.

This household consists of a father, daughter and 3 brothers who are either cousins or friends of the family.

Several months ago, I was praying over this trip & asking the Lord to clarify the things He wanted me to do. During that prayer, I had the thought to invite the families of our sponsored kids to a meeting to talk to them about The Bridge program.  Along with that thought came a very brief outline of four points to share with them.  Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE to speak in front of people!  I wasn’t sure if this was really what God wanted me to do, but besides that, I wasn’t even sure it was something I could do! Nonetheless, I wrote down the four point outline & kept it to pray over.  Eventually I asked a couple other people to pray about it also and I mentioned it to Gilbert and Claudel as something we could do if we had time while I was there.

As the time drew near, we scheduled the family meeting into the trip, but I still didn’t know what I was going to say about the 4 points that God had originally given me.  Finally, 3 days before I left for Haiti, I sat down at my computer & filled in some details about those points.

I woke up the morning of the family meeting feeling paralyzed with fear.  I emailed a few friends to ask for prayer and then I prayed, read scriptures, and reviewed the message I would be giving, but my nerves would not calm down. During the whole long drive to Carrefour Poy that day I felt sick with anxiety.  The youth group team prayed for me also before I left them in Bellanger where they were teaching VBS that day.

Claudel helped to serve the meal after the meeting.

Claudel helped to serve the meal after the meeting.

And then, when I got out of the car in Carrefour Poy, I had a minute to check on the cook who was preparing the meal we were serving the families before I was taken into the main church building and it was time.  In that moment, my nerves calmed, and I was able to share the message I believe the Lord wanted me to share.

It wasn’t a long or particularly deep message. It was all about the fact that we, as sponsors, love their children because of Christ’s love for us.  I talked about the importance of the children for the future of their community & the beautiful country of Haiti.  I talked about the importance of their role of influence in their children’s lives, the importance of education, and that we all- the children, their families, the teachers and the sponsors are all a team working together toward the goal of helping each child reach his or her potential.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to snap this picture of my audience right before I started speaking.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to snap this picture of my audience right before I started speaking.

Then I reminded them that we do this because Christ first loved us and I shared a short and simple Gospel message. I had just finished sharing the Gospel and was about to finish my message when one of the fathers who was there stood up and began talking loudly while flailing his arms around.

I have met this man a few times before and he is one of the local voodoo priests.  I don’t know if he had ever been in a church before, so I was so glad to see that he had come.  I don’t really know what he was saying, perhaps he was just talking nonsense, because pretty quickly after he stood up the rest of the audience was trying to shush him and get him to sit back down.  As I watched him, I thought for a moment that maybe he was calling curses down on me, and yet I felt completely safe and at peace, knowing that God was protecting me.

I ask that you join me in prayer for this man and his family.  Specifically, that the Gospel message would take seed in his heart and that he would respond to God’s call.

The voodoo priest with two of his children, both of whom are sponsored through The Bridge.

The voodoo priest with two of his children, both of whom are sponsored through The Bridge.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.     John 1:5

After the voodoo priest settled down and I finished my talk, I asked the families if they had any questions for me about The Bridge program.  Several people raised their hands, and although there were a couple questions, most people simply wanted to express their thankfulness to those who are sponsoring their children. I wish you all could have been there with me to see the gratefulness in their eyes as they told stories of not being able to afford books or uniforms or even tuition, and the hope that they now have for their children’s future thanks to your generosity.

From the children and their families, from Claudel, the teachers, Pastor Gilbert, and from me… Thank you.

We love, because He first loved us.     1 John 4:19

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 2 Comments

Joy & Blessings in Haiti

The first time I went to Haiti, I was on a spiritual and emotional high the whole time.  I was not sure what to expect this time, but I had a feeling it might not be the same mountain top experience it had been the first time.  I struggled a lot during this trip with discouragement- questioning whether this little program is really doing any good.  I was very tired during most of the trip and I  just plain missed my family.  Ten days was a long time to be away from my husband & youngest son.   I also saw many things that just broke my heart.  I witnessed and experienced the spiritual battle in Haiti.  I was and am abundantly thankful for all those who prayed for me and for this trip.  I felt God’s protection surrounding me.

Despite the struggles I experienced, it was really a great trip, filled with many moments of joy!

Loving being surrounded by these beautiful kids!

Loving being surrounded by these beautiful kids!

I loved having the opportunity to spend some “down time” in Carrefour Poy, which I did not get on my last trip.  I had time to watch the children play, to talk with them, to hold them.  These are some of my favorite memories!

It was a huge blessing to meet with all of the sponsored children as well as some of their families and hear a little about how The Bridge is making a difference in their lives.

The family of some of our kids in front of their home.

The family of some of our kids in front of their home.

I loved sharing this experience with my middle son, Brennan.  I loved watching him communicate and make friends with all the children in spite of the language barrier.

Brennan with some of his new friends. :)

Brennan with some of his new friends. 🙂

Seeing all the people I met on my last trip was a treat.  So many friendly faces, and I count it a privilege to get to work with some of them.

It was great driving around with Gilbert.  I received the benefit of his wisdom and learned a lot about Haitian culture & ministry in general.  It was also exciting to brainstorm new ideas of how we can continue to help the school in Carrefour Poy with him & dream about even bigger things for the future of this ministry!  I will be writing a little about some of those things in a future blog post.

In the car with Gilbert... and this time I got to drive!

In the car with Gilbert… and this time I got to drive!

What a blessing it was to watch our youth group & the leaders ministering to the children of Carrefour Poy.  There were so many little difficulties on this trip (and a few big ones), but I rarely heard complaining but instead witnessed a lot of smiles and the love & joy of Christ pouring through our team to the children they were ministering to.  And in a few of the team, I had the privilege of witnessing the spark of God’s call in their hearts to do more.  I can hardly wait to see the outcome of those sparks!

These are just a few of the great team of youth that ministered in Haiti last week.

These are just a few of the great team of youth that ministered in Haiti last week.

So many wonderful and exciting things happened on this trip… too many for this one blog post.   I will be sharing more about those exciting things in the near future.

Stay tuned!

Read more about my trip in this post about The Children and their Families.

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Teachers | 3 Comments

Anticipation

15, 14, 13, 12….

Every day for the last week one of these numbers has been announced to me by my middle son, Brennan, who will be traveling to Haiti with me.  Today he announced:

9 days till we leave for Haiti!

And my heart did a little somersault in my chest.

I have been very busy preparing all the little details for this trip, but in quiet moments, I take time to remember some of my favorite moments from my last trip and allowing myself to feel the excitement, anticipation and privilege of getting to go to Haiti a second time.

There are so many things I am looking forward to.

Seeing the children…

A few of the sweet faces I will get to see!

A few of the sweet faces I will get to see!

delivering gifts from our sponsors to “their” kids,

Clothes, toothbrushes, dolls, hot wheels, notepads and pens, a soccer ball and even a life straw! I am blown away at the generosity of our sponsors!

meeting the kids’ families,

Family members of one of our sponsored girls.

Family members of one of our sponsored girls.

seeing friends,

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My oldest son, Jason, with Claudel, Alix and Sander in January 2012

and sharing some of these experiences with my two oldest kids and  a great group of youth and adults from our church!

Desiree from That None Shall Perish training our youth team on teaching VBS.

Desiree from That None Shall Perish training our youth team on teaching VBS.

This trip is mainly a Youth Group trip with the purpose of teaching VBS to children at Pastor Gilbert‘s 4 different churches.  We have a great group of kids going on this trip who will be sharing the Gospel message with over 1000 Haitian children!  What a life-changing experience! Hopefully… prayerfully…  life-changing for both our American team as well as all the Haitian kids we will get to meet!

My son Brennan and I will be leaving for Haiti a few days ahead of the rest of the team so I will have time to meet with all of our sponsored children.

I will also have the opportunity to meet with the families of our sponsored kids to discuss the Bridge program with them, answer any questions they might have and discuss with them the importance of their role and influence in the lives of the children in their care and the importance of the children themselves- and their education- for the future of Haiti.

I also plan to deliver a curriculum which was written as a follow-up to the VBS which our youth will be teaching. This is a great curriculum which has been translated into Haitian Creole so it can be taught to the children of Carrefour Poy by the teachers at the school after we leave.  It is called The Colors of Salvation and reinforces the message which will be taught by our youth, going into more detail about the Gospel.  We will be delivering 5 teacher’s manuals plus all the coloring books, craft materials and supplies needed to teach the curriculum.  At the end, each child will get to make 2 bracelets with colored beads representing different parts of the gospel story. One bracelet is for them to keep and one is to give away and share the message!

As I deliver the materials and curriculum, I will have the opportunity to walk through the curriculum with the teachers to make sure they understand how to use it & share some teaching ideas with them.  Claudel is planning to use it as a summer school program after our team leaves and before the next school year begins in October.

The Colors of Salvation in Haitian Creole!

The Colors of Salvation in Haitian Creole!

I am also very excited to get to help out the youth team with VBS in Carrefour Poy.  I am really looking forward to having that time to spend with the children of Carrefour Poy watching them learn, seeing more of their personalities and just playing with them!

As you can see, I have a very full trip planned.  And so many things to finish preparing before I leave in just 9 days!

I know that God will bring all the little details together as He always does.  I am so amazed at all the ways He has provided for this trip so far.

So many people have invested in this trip in so many ways.  People who have been praying, or spoken words of encouragement to me.  Our sponsors, who are sending gifts to their children.  The many people who have been involved with getting The Colors of Salvation ready– from my friend Debbie King, the author of the curriculum, to the men who worked to translate it, to Mandaly of the Sweet Coconuts blog who is graciously editing it.  So many people who have donated money, materials or time preparing materials. The youth who are going out of their comfort zones to bless all these children and will also be preparing baggies of the materials to make the salvation bracelets and helping me pack everything!  And my family who has been so patient with me as I pile supplies and sponsor gifts and suitcases around the house.

I feel so blessed by each you.  So blessed to have the privilege of going to Haiti.  So blessed to be a part of the worldwide Body of Christ.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

9 more days…

Jason & I with Madocher in January 2013... Looking so forward to seeing him again!

Jason & I with Madocher in January 2013… Looking so forward to seeing him again!

I can’t wait!!!

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Teachers | 4 Comments

Grateful

This is one of those things that has been on my heart for a long time, but I don’t express nearly often enough.

When I started working on this ministry 3 years ago, I had no idea what I was doing.  I started out with nothing but a vision, a passion and a whole lot of prayer.  And yet, a total of 15 families came along side me immediately becoming sponsors and about 10 more families joined us within the next few months.  Every quarter, as I go through my records to send out quarterly reports, I am reminded of these families and their willingness to join with me from the very beginning and I am grateful.

Happy Haitian kids getting food and an education through The Bridge!

Happy Haitian kids getting food and an education through The Bridge!

In the time since then, many others have joined us in sponsoring children, some of our original sponsors have chosen to sponsor a second child (or even more!).  We’ve also had some whose financial situation has changed and have had to stop their sponsorship.  But for each and every person who has participated in this ministry, I am grateful.

There have been several people who have donated money to The Bridge for the food program or other needs the children of Carrefour Poy have.  Some are sponsors and some do not have the means to send money every month, but have donated out of an unexpected abundance.  These people have done much to fill the tummies of hungry children in Carrefour Poy and I am grateful for them.

Sweet girls, grateful for food.

Sweet girls, grateful for food.

I am currently preparing to go to Haiti in July with two of my children as part of a youth group trip.  I have been blown away at the generosity of people who have helped us financially prepare for this trip.  At one point, I had been quite concerned  that we would not have the means to pay for all of our expenses: airfare, room and board, transportation, translators, supplies, etc.  I am truly grateful for the many friends and family who have contributed to help make this happen.

I know there are many people who pray for me and for this ministry.  Some are sponsors and some are not, but all have blessed me by sharing the burden of this ministry through prayer.  For each of you, for each and every prayer prayed on my behalf or on behalf of the children of Carrefour Poy, I am grateful.

Through this ministry, I have had the opportunity to meet friends I never would have otherwise.  People who, though they may be of a different generation than me,  share with me a passion for Haiti.  People who have a passion for following God, no matter where He leads.  People from a completely different culture, who I never would have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  Haitian friends such as Gilbert and Claudel who have taught me so much about faith and joy in all circumstances.  I am grateful for each of these people in my life.

I am grateful for my family.  For my husband who is my partner and encourager in life and ministry and for my children who share my excitement about serving in Haiti.

Two of my three boys, finding Haiti on the world map.

Two of my three boys, finding Haiti on the world map.

Three years ago, I had no way of knowing what would become of this little idea.  I just felt a burning desire to follow God where He was leading, so I did.  I did not think much about the future at the time.  Would we help out this little village school in Haiti for a year and be done?  Would it grow into something bigger?  I didn’t know.

When I think of all the people who have joined forces with me, proving their confidence in this ministry with their checkbooks, I am humbled.  This is truly not a work of Wendy.  Really, who would sign up to support that??  I don’t even think I would!  Sometimes I question, can I do this?  Am I good enough, organized enough, confident enough, to run a ministry?  Let me be honest.  The answer to all of the above is no.

I am reminded that the confidence these generous people are displaying is not in me, but in God.

"Created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand..." Ephesians 2:8-10.  One of my favorites.

“Created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand…” Ephesians 2:8-10. One of my favorites.

I have said it before and I will say it again.  This little ministry is God’s from beginning to end.  He has allowed me to play a part in it, he has brought new friends into my life through it.  He has brought people alongside me to pray and to join in this vision.  He has taught me many lessons of faith and trust through it.  He has blessed me abundantly by allowing me to participate in His kingdom work.  For all of these things I am grateful.

But this ministry is His.  And to Him I am abundantly grateful.

 

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 4 Comments

Claudel

Claudel joyfully learning about the book of Romans in November 2011

Claudel eagerly learning about the book of Romans in November 2011

I would like to introduce to you my dear friend Claudel Romulus.

Claudel is the administrator of The Bridge Sponsorship Program in Carrefour Poy, Haiti. He is a very dedicated young man with a passion for affecting the future of Haiti through the spreading of the gospel of Christ and by the promotion of quality education.

Claudel accepted Christ as a child at the age of 10 and was baptized at age 15. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching in the children’s Sunday school classes and later the adult classes. He is currently serving as the principal of Sunday School at the church in Carrefour Poy.

Claudel lives in a small cement house with his father in Carrefour Poy. He also has a mother, two sisters and one brother who he does not live with. He tells me that his family is unable to live together because his father does not have the money to feed everyone in their family. This is one example of how poverty affects families in Haiti.

In my last blog post, I discussed the disparity between the dreams these children have for their future and the reality of the poverty they live in.  Having grown up in Carrefour Poy, Claudel experienced that same poverty. His father tries to earn money by farming his little garden plot so he will have produce to sell in the market.  

And what are Claudel’s dreams? God has gifted and called Claudel to become a pastor. However, because pastors in Haiti do not earn a salary, he also wants to become a lawyer so he will be able to support himself.

Thanks to God’s provision, both of these dreams are coming true for Claudel!  Through the ministry of Pastor Dale Barrett of TLC Haiti, Claudel is studying theology and will graduate as a pastor next year.  He was able to complete his first year of law school with some financial help from an American donor.  He is now in his second year and is praying and trusting God to provide the funds to continue to pay for his schooling.

This remarkable young man is a pleasure to work with. He is eager to serve the Lord however He leads. He is a beautiful example to me of glorifying God by walking in faith no matter what the circumstances.

His story is also a great example of how we as Americans can be a part of God’s work in poverty stricken countries by investing in the education of one individual for the glory of God!

Wendy and Claudel in front of his house in Carrefour Poy, January 2013

Wendy and Claudel in front of his house in Carrefour Poy, January 2013

Categories: Child sponsorship, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Dreams & Disparity

DREAM– something that you have very much wanted to do, be, or have for a long time, a strongly desired goal or purpose.

Meet Michelet.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

Michelet hopes to become a doctor when he grows up.

He is an 11 year old cutie who dreams of becoming a doctor one day.  He lives with his mom who crushes rocks to earn money.

These women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

These Haitian women spend their days crushing rocks to earn money.

This is Philomene.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

Philomene would like to be an engineer when she grows up.

At nine years old, her dream is to become an engineer.  Her mom, who she lives with, is a trader in the market.

People trading at a Haitian market

People trading at a Haitian market

DISPARITY– different from each other, containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements

Do you see the disparity?

These children, like all children, have big dreams.  Just like my children. Just like your children.  Many of these Haitian children dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers or nurses when they grow up.

Yet  the family members or friends that these kids live with all do very different things for a living.  Many of them are traders in the market. Some wash clothes. Or crush rocks. Some attempt to farm the depleted Haitian soil.

Sometimes I look at a situation that is so big, and it feels hopeless.  I see disparity in the fact that these children have HOPE that their big dreams will be realized in the midst of the poverty that surrounds them. But who am I to say that their dreams are too big for them?  How am I to say that the problem is too big for God to work in?

I love this quote from Katie Davis so much that it appears on every page of this blog:

“I believe that we were each created to change the world for someone. To serve someone. To love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. ”

How do we change the world? How do we change Haiti?  How can we change just one little village? We serve one person.  We love one child.

This morning I read this statement by Ann Voskamp:

“You are changing the world – when you are changing one person’s world.”

My prayer is that God will use this ministry to enable us to each change one child’s world.  May God use us to help make those big dreams a reality!

You can see more of our children & their big dreams at this link.

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This was a favorite saying of Pastor Ward Willoughby, who spent his life sharing the gospel of Christ. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” December 3,1928-March 31,2014. (The picture was taken in Haiti in January of 2013)

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Haiti, Missions, Sponsors | 2 Comments

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