Friday, October 09, 2015

Our Haitian Team - the Gold Standard?

IMG_3562Our visiting short term teams are led by our Haitian team members with excellence.  As Field Director, will you allow me the opportunity to give a shout out to our Haitian staff?  I hope so, so here it goes…

We ask all of our visiting team members from the US to complete a survey once they return home.  On one of those surveys, a recent US team member, speaking specifically about our Haitian Team Leader and Partnership Facilitators that went with them to visit their Sister Church, wrote, “I would say this is the standard others should strive for. I couldn’t imagine anything better”.  Love it!

We like to say we are a “teaching mission”.  We want to raise up, empower and release our Haitian Team to lead and do big things for Christ.  I can say with all assurance, it’s happening and I couldn’t be more pleased.  But my opinion doesn’t matter.  I think God is pleased.

This post is a simple shout out to the deep integrity, commitment, hard work and leadership of our Haitian staff who are here on the ground making it happen. 

Thank you for what you do, for Jesus and the furthering of His kingdom.

We Plan, but God Decides our Steps…

God says, “Man plans his way, but God determines the path.” The original trip from Creekside Community Church, Gainesville, FL, to visit their Sister Church in Baradere Haiti, was planned for the last week of August.  But, since the team was flying directly to Les Cayes from Florida in a small, private plane, the trip was cancelled because of Tropical Storm Danny.  It was rescheduled for the next Monday, but had to be postponed another day because of Tropical Storm Erika!

This was a VERY unique visit.  The team had 2 purposes… First, they wanted to focus on Hope for Kidz child sponsorship initiatives by interviewing teachers, graduates and present sponsored children in the school.  The second purpose was to get things started and/or see progress on the new school building that is being funded. 


Except the pilot of the plane, all team members were veterans of C3P visits to Baradere.  It was extremely enriching to everyone as team members talked with the pastor, his wife, the deacons, the cook ladies, and those involved with the school. Laughter between the host church and team members characterized the ease of communication and friendship between them. Individual conversations were video taped to help the team remember information from the interviews and to imprint the experience upon them and those at Creekside.  Two of the team members hiked two hours one way up a mountain with the pastor and two RMI staff to experience what one sponsored child experiences each day as the child walks to and from school. Because they were walking, they were able to talk with several other children and families along the way.  All the interviews at the parsonage, school, and homes led each team member to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culture and of the school. All of the team members were impressed by the insight and qualifications of the teachers, as well as the complexity of questions asked by the recent graduates.

A statement (paraphrased) by the pilot, a first time visitor with RMI, summed up his impression of those families interviewed by the team. He said that he was amazed by the cleanliness and orderliness of the homes and the pride of the people even in the midst of such poverty. He wants to be included in future trips.

A C3 Partnership Visit to Camp Perrine…

A group from Schuylkill Valley Bible Chapel arrived in Haiti after a two year hiatus led by the veteran husband and wife team, Pastor Steve and Mary Buerer. In addition to the mutual encouragement of the sister churches, the specific mission of this team was to install water filters and distribute food to Camp Perrine Church and some of its satellite churches. The team actively participated in installing 14 filters, but also left 6 more with the church to use as they felt best. Ten boxes of food were also brought along to be distributed to some of the families. The ongoing need for food and clean water was the motivation for this emphasis. Other activities during the week included a Ladies Tea and a Youth Program, both of which were well attended and enjoyed by all! Pastor Steve and Christian Leinbach added the benefit of their years of experience and study to a leadership conference held at the church. Perguens, one of our Partnership Facilitators and the Team Leader, said he also learned a lot from being involved. The three satellite churches visited were Ferme de Blanc, Ashille, and Mont Casse.

All the team members were very impressed by the facilities provided by the church at Camp Perrine! The men slept in a new addition above the rear of the church building constructed as an office for Pastor Astrell, and included a nice bathroom. Pastor Steve, his wife, and Lauren stayed in the Pastor’s home, the bathroom of which had also been renovated. Brian and Lauren as first-timers, were very impressed by the hospitality and self sacrifices of all the church members in serving us. They both said they would be happy to return if God called them and provided the means. Everyone was moved by the abundance of love and fellowship from all the churches’ members. The team felt they had accomplished more on this trip than any previous ones.

To God be the glory!