Friday, January 27, 2012

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Surprise - To strike or to occur with a sudden feeling of wonder or astonishment, as through unexpectedness.

Over the course of the next several weeks BHM teachers and students in Haiti will be struck by surprise!  Thanks to the generous donations of ACSI Eastern Canada, around 750 bags of school supplies will be delivered by BHM to poverty stricken schools.

"Project Hope for Haiti, has been in operation over the past few years and seeks to assist schools, churches and individuals," said Connie Mycroft, long-term BHM volunteer associated with ACSI.

BHM is pleased to be in partnership with Project Hope for Haiti.  The bags for teachers and students will be delivered to BHM schools and other non BHM schools in different parts of Haiti. 

Acts 20:35 reminds the believer to remember the words of Jesus Christ when He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  At times, this can be a difficult concept to grasp.  It is a joy to receive gifts; could it truly be more rewarding to give gifts?  The excitement behind seeing these packages being delivered to the schools is a clear example that it is truly better to give than to receive.

It is incredibly important to have the necessary materials for school.  School supplies are quite expensive and difficult to obtain in Haiti as well as other parts of the world.  The education for students in Haiti is often hindered due to a lack of proper supplies for their schooling.  Teacher bags are included within the 750 bags that have been collected for the schools.  In rural Haitian schools, teachers have as little as their students.  This problem makes it difficult for the teachers to be appropriately prepared.

BHM places great value on education.  Equipping teachers with the proper training and materials as well as providing students with the opportunity to receive a proper education can truly change the nation.  The packets that are going to be sent out contain markers, paper, stickers, rulers, pencils, etc.  Not only are they filled with the basic school materials, but they also have a Creole New Testament and two Creole story books with Bible stories, provided by BHM.

BHM places great importance on equipping the schools to teach from a Biblical worldview.  Thank you ACSI and Project Hope for Haiti for your generous contribution to the education of the children of Haiti.  Pray for BHM as we deliver the many boxes in the weeks to come.  Pray for the teachers and students who are in store for a great surprise! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Full Speed Ahead for 2012!

Psalm 90:12- So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

The past several days have been quite eventful here at Baptist Haiti Mission.  It is safe to say there is hardly a dull moment on the mission.  We wanted to share with you some updates and pictures.  To begin, last week several of our guys at BHM received their nightly work out by unloading lumber trucks.  For safety purposes large trucks are not allowed to drive up the mountain roads during the day when schools are in session and when families and markets are out on the street.  For this reason our workers served late into the evening when the lumber trucks were able to drive up the mountain.

BHM works diligently to come alongside the local church and assist the communities of Haiti in a variety of ways.  A large way this is done is through construction projects.  Some of these projects include helping to build roofs on churches, schools, and homes.  We are always in need of lumber for the variety of projects that are to be done on a regular basis.  BHM does not only seek to meet the physical needs of families in Haiti but the educational needs as well.

We have had almost 60 students in attendance for this week's Master of Education course.  The topic of this week's class is educational research.  For many of the students this is their final course before they receive their Master of Education degree.  The students in this class have taken 10 courses already and completed their thesis/project or they have taken 12 courses and are now able to finish the program.  The students have worked very diligently over the past four years and we are proud of their achievements.  We look forward to seeing all the Lord has in store for these educational leaders of Haiti.

Yesterday BHM was able to meet with another group of leaders in Haiti.

Overseeing Pastors from the different regions of Haiti traveled to BHM for a meeting.  This gathering allowed Pastors to share needs and provide updates to the National Church Office and BHM.  It was a very informative time and the Pastors left in high spirits.  Many of the Pastors shared about events their churches held last Thursday in memory of the earthquake of 2010.  We love walking alongside the church of Haiti.

We have had the opportunity to welcome several visitors from the U.S. to the mission over the past several days as well.  Cliff VanKoevering, a board member of BHM along with John Bredeweg came and did a great deal of mechanical work on several of our vehicles on the mission.  We are so thankful for their hard work this week.  They repaired a number of vehicles and we know we will continue to have a need for them in the future.

As you can see everything is in full swing here at BHM.  We eagerly anticipate all that is in store in the upcoming months of 2012.  Pray for strength and endurance over the next several months as we continue to have visitors, conferences, and variety of tasks.  It is a joy to be a part of the work of our great God.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

January 12, 2010

 January 12, 2010 a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused the mountains of Haiti to tremble.  More than 300,000 deaths were a result of this horrific quake.  The earthquake hit at 4:53 p.m.  Only an hour later darkness fell on the country of Haiti leaving the people injured, scared, and separated from their families.  Following the earthquake there were 52 recorded aftershocks that measured above 4.5.  After the events of this terrible earthquake 2 years ago today, it is safe to say the country of Haiti will never be the same.

My husband and I are new missionaries here with BHM.  Two years ago when the earthquake hit we were nestled in our homes in America.  Now, living each day in Haiti there is not a week that passes that we do not hear someone refer to the earthquake.  What was once an event we watched briefly on the news is now a very present reality for our neighbors.  We sit side by side the many faces we saw in pictures crying in the streets 2 years ago after this catastrophic event.  Over the past few months I have heard numerous stories about the day the earthquake hit.

One afternoon I was chatting with a friend of mine from church who was helping me learn Creole when she began to tell me about the earthquake.  She had gone down the road a little ways to go shopping for the afternoon.  She described the sound of the earthquake to be like a huge truck passing by - then everything began to shake.  Cell phone services crashed, darkness fell, and fear struck to the core.  

It took her two days to even make it back to her house to be reunited with her family.  As she  reflected on this terrible event tears rolled down her cheeks.  She told me her entire family stayed in their house for 3 months after the quake.  She was very fortunate to still have a home.  In spite of the pain she felt reflecting on this awful day, she did not speak with a sense of hopelessness.  Throughout every detail she shared she sat unwavering while starring forward.

We were sitting outside as she talked to me about the earthquake.  When the recounting of the many events became too much, she would gaze up at the huge mountains beside her house and tell me she trusted completely in BonDye (God).  She knows firsthand that He can move the very foundations of the earth and it is in Him alone we can completely trust.

This is one of thousands of stories that can be told about this day in history.  Today, schools and businesses are closed and most families remain at home.  This is a day to remember, to mourn, and to continue to trust in the One who can move the mountains.  Many articles and stories you will read today about this event will tend to focus on the destruction of this horrific day.  The damage from this huge quake was indescribable.

2 years later many buildings, homes, and churches have been rebuilt.  Outside aid is still being received and is of great need to the people of Haiti.  I would like to challenge you on this day to go deeper than thinking about the "stuff" that was lost or damaged.  Allow yourself to think about the families who lost loved ones.  Husbands who lost their wives, mothers who lost their children.  A sense of uneasiness still plagues many of the people of Haiti.  

Just a few weeks ago there was an incident at a local elementary school.  Two large water trucks drove by Kenscoff school and caused the school to tremble a little bit.  The children instantly began to panic thinking it was another earthquake.  They began to flee out of the school.  Several children were injured and had to be brought to the hospital at the mission due to the chaos that was brought on as a result of fear.  This recent occasion is a very clear example that the earthquake of January 12, 2010 will never be forgotten by the people of Haiti.  Pray for the people of Haiti today, pray that they will receive an incredible peace on this day of reflecting that can only come from the Lord.

The missionaries here at BHM have so many miraculous stories as a result of the earthquake.  There have been thousands of people who have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ due to the events of that day.  The churches of Haiti are strengthening daily and the hand of the Lord is truly on his people here.

Lucy Dunn, 86, was visiting her family who are missionaries with BHM when the earthquake hit.  A few nights ago as we were talking about the earthquake she said, "I am so happy the Lord allowed me to be here when the earthquake hit.  I have loved getting to see Him at work!  He is changing the hearts of the people of Haiti."

Remember Haiti today.  Remember the works of our great God and trust in His ways for great is His faithfulness!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Day To Remember

At the start of a new year many people have high hopes and expectations for change and new beginnings.  For 17 families in the area of Muraille Lacee they entered this new year with a weddin celebration!  After weeks of planning, hours of travel, and several days spent out in the rural areas of Haiti, the wedding at Muraille Lacee led by Pastor Jean-Claude Smith of the Williamson Church was a success!  This wedding started with hopes of seeing 91 couples exchange vows.  There are a variety of cultural reasons why many of the couples were not prepared to have a wedding ceremony.   The area was full of excitement over the 17 couples that made the final commitment to follow through with the wedding plans.

The wedding was planned to begin at 8 a.m. on December 31st.  The church of Muraille Lacee was decorated and ready on the morning of the 31st as they waited for the couples and families to arrive at the church.

Two hours after the planned start time the brides began to arrive.  After all, it's good to be fashionably late.  If you arrive first at the wedding who will be there to see your entry?  The wedding day is a special occasion for all who are a part of it.  The couples and the attendees dressed in their best as they made the difficult walk through the mountainous trails to arrive at the church.

As the couples and families began to arrive at the church it became the perfect time for some pre-wedding photo's.  Each couple had their own story and were a variety of ages.  Some young.

Some a little bit older. 
It is so special to know young and old were able to enter into a covenental marriage before their Lord and Savior. What an incredible witness to family and friends!  The wedding ceremonies were a true testimony of God's work through the church in that community.

Pastor Smith (below,right) worked at the church the morning of the 31st to put the finishing touches on the wedding program before the ceremony.

The ceremony was a time of celebration for families and friends.  It lasted a little over two hours.  Throughout the time Pastor Smith shared a message to the couples and the community about the importance of marriage.  He also spoke very highly of Baptist Haiti Mission and expressed his gratitude for the assistance BHM gave in making this wedding a success.

The ceremony consisted of a variety of traditional elements.  All of the couples stood up and exchanged their vows simultaneously.  Pastor Smith addressed the men and women seperately and they responded in unison with "Wi".  The women received wedding bands as a sign of this special commitment.

The crowd of more than 180 people grew quite restless in the heat and cramped space.  However, all attention was captured when it was time for THE KISS!

December 31, 2011 will be a day to remember for the community of Murialle Lacee.  This was the first time the people in this area had ever had a gathering of this size.  After the ceremony there was cake, crackers, and drinks for a fun filled reception outside the church.  Thank you our friends and supporters for making this wedding a success.  Continue to pray for Pastor Smith and Williamson Church as they seek to reach the community of Murialle Lacee with the gospel of Christ!