Friday, May 25, 2012

Celebrating the Good Times

Celebrate:  To observe a day, or commemorate an event with ceremonies or festivities.

Two large CELEBRATIONS took place at BHM and in the country of Haiti this week.

First:  The country of Haiti celebrated Flag Day last Friday May 18.  Flag Day is a national holiday celebrated with great fanfare and festivities held throughout the country.

Schools were cancelled and businesses were closed as people celebrated all day long.  Children participated in parades, and friends and family gathered together on this special day.  The Haitian flag is one of the primary symbols of freedom for the country.  The flag is a symbol of pride, unity, and personal liberty in Haiti.  Flag Day was not the only day celebrations were taking place this past week.

Second:  First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach, FL sent a team of 12 adults to work alongside BHM and build houses throughout the mountains of Haiti.  This fun-loving team worked extremely hard and built 3 houses!
The means of travel and the journey to each house was far from easy.  However, the reward of seeing a home finished for a precious family and knowing their lives are changed forever was worth every minute of labor.

The team from Delray Beach enjoyed interacting with the families of whom they were building the houses for as well as learning a lot about the country of Haiti.

"I was encouraged to hear the story of the family I was able to build a house for," said Patricia.  "They told me about the earthquake of 2010 and how they watched their house collapse yet, they were not injured at all.  It was refreshing to hear the stories of those who the Lord saved from this horrific event, and not just all the negative stories we hear from the news."

Wednesday afternoon the team gathered with the new homeowners and spent time thanking God for His faithfulness, and celebrating the completion of these new homes!

Thank you God, for a week of celebration!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"We're Talking Kingdom Impact..."

Receiving a graduation invitation in the mail may be a common occurance for many of you.  That small enveleope that begins to show its face in your home towards the end of a school year is a vivid reminder that a "Congratulations" is in order.  Would you believe us if we told you graduation invitations were sent out this year in Haiti as well?

Saturday, May 12, 2012, 48 students and more than 300 family members and friends gathered in Fermathe Church, to celebrate the graduating class of 2012.  Over the past 6 years Baptist Haiti Mission has been home to one of the only Master's of Education programs in the country of Haiti.  The program is fully accredited by Laurel University, in Highpoint North Carolina.

As BHM seeks to assist the church of Haiti by training and equipping leaders, we were honored to have the opportunity to host our first Master's graduation ceremony.  Professors, families, and friends watched as 48 students walked the aisle with their heads held high as they celebrated their graduation after countless hours of hard work and sacrifice.

Above, Pasteur Jean Claude Smith received his disploma from Dr. Larry McCullough, President of Laurel University.  Behind, Dr. Bob Brumley Dean of Education smiles at the accomplishments of the students.

"The graduation ceremony was a combination of a lot of hard work, vision, and dreams that BHM and the Christian leaders in Haiti have had for many years.  The Master's of Education program is completely grounded in a Biblical Worldview.  We know that this ceremony is only the beginning for the impact these graduates will have in the schools, churches, and communities of Haiti," said Dr. Brumley.

Saturday's graduation was not only for the students but for the families as well.  "The families have sacrificed time with their loved ones as they allowed them to spend time away in their studies.  The families deserved the graduation ceremony as well. It was a great reminder of what a huge impact their loved ones are making in Haiti, we're talking Kingdom Impact," Brumley said.

A reception was given in the conference center on the mission immediately following the graduation ceremony.  Smiles, hugs, and pictures were shared all around as the celebration carried on throughout the afternoon.

Several of the students expressed the fact that they felt completely overwhelmed throughout the ceremony.  The Lord's presence was truly evident as students were encouraged to reflect on His faithfulness in their lives over the years, and anticipate His plans for their future.

Some students are now making plans to work towards their Doctorate.  For others the ceremony marked the end of an academic journey.  Although the specific direction for each student will vary, those of us here at BHM and Laurel University are incredibly proud of the work that has taken place in the lives of these students over the past few years.  We would like to invite you to join as as we say...

Congratulations to the Haiti Graduating Class of Laurel University, 2012!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Smiles

A week of change is in store for a lot of children this week in Haiti.

Smile Train, an organization that specializes in cleft lips and palate surgeries, arrived at BHM Friday afternoon for a week of surgeries for children throughout Haiti.

This unique organization, seeks to provide free cleft surgery to hundreds of thousands of poor children in developing countries.

BHM has hosted Smile Train in the past.  The average cost of the surgery is $250.  These costs are covered through donations and financial support that Smile Train receives.

Children who are born with a cleft struggle in a variety of ways, including eating and speaking.  Those who have a cleft live difficult lives of shame and isolation, though the surgery is relatively simple and offers life changing restorations.  Cleft surgery has been around for decades, but has not been available for those who live in poor countries.

Pray for the many children and families who will be at BHM this week.  Surgery can be a scary and uncertain time for children, as well as family members.  We are excited about the change that will take place for these precious children.