27. April 2011 01:45
One of the joys of being the director of sponsorship for NVM is
the interaction I have with the kids. They all know my name and
gather around quickly when I arrive on the campus. The first
words out of their mouths is pretty always the same, "Kevins, un
kado pou mwen?" (translated: Kevin did you bring me a present?)
In fact, some of the kids refer to me as "Papa Noel" probably
due to the resemblence, with my white beard and big belly (like a
bowl full of jelly) and, of course, I bring lots of presents from the sponsors
to the kids each time I travel to Chambrun. In April, I had the pleasure of
delivering 27 packages and 23 more back in January. Anyway, I am sure I get
many more blessings from this interaction than almost anything else in my life.
It is no secret that I love kids, and the children of Chambrun hold a special place
in my heart.
I get a lot of questions from sponsors about sponsorship packs. What
should I put in the pack? What size does my child wear? What is his/her shoe
size? I rely on many friends on campus to help me get this information, Kacie,
Aubree, Anna, and others. I thought it would be neat to ask the kids what they would
like in a "kado" from their sponsor.
I recently had a chance to sit down with 10 kids in Chambrun.
We talked about sponsor packs and what the kids really want
to find in one... It didn't take the kids long to develop the list below.
They were slow at first thinking that I was playing a trick on them, but
once they got the idea that this was a serious question, they really started
naming items quickly.
This represents the common items that each of the six boys and four girls
on my "panel" came up with. They are in no particular order and after I had
to explain that a bicycle just won't fit in my carry on luggage...
hot wheels/matchbox cars
barettes/hair ties/hair ribbons
necklace/ ear rings
12. April 2011 17:17
Today, we leave Haiti, in many ways different than when we arrived a week ago. Six of us experienced Haiti for the very first time, gaining valuable insight into the people of Chambrun. For the eight returnees, we made new memories and rediscovered the magic that is Haiti. We found the villagers to be warm and open, and their children to be incredibly loving. The Pastor's Conference was a huge success as were the food distribution and warehouse organization projects. Our construction team put up the trusses we built back home in Indiana on the hospital.
Despite school not being in session the entire time we were in Haiti, children still came to campus to meet and play with our team. We made 2 visits to the village of Chambrun and 13 members of the team got to experience a beach day for the first time. All in all, God blessed us immensely.
Isn't it remarkable how God blesses us when we are blessing others with our works? Just like the slogan on the back of our team shirts - our team was "Blessed 2 Bless."
11. April 2011 23:36
Today marked the dedication of the new side of our campus with a celebration which included representatives from many of our partners, without whom such as day would not be possible. Duane Zook, CEO of GAiN USA, explained how GAiN had become involved with NVM by sending food in preparation for a hurricane that ended up being used after the earthquake of January 12, 2010. He also told of how the warehouse came into existance after the first warehouse, which is now the old dining hall, was built by Extreme Missionary Adventures.
Phil Schissler followed from Vineyard Mercy Response, a christian organization that only worked in the US prior to the earthquake in Haiti. Phil praised his work crew for "putting the shoulders into it and getting the job done." Chris, Diane, Luke were recognized and have worked thousands of man hours and were assisted along the way by countless other VMR volunteers. "You could see God's touch in that we always had just the right people with the necessary skills all through the project."
Gary LeBlanc followed Phil and talked briefly about how Mercy Chefs had become involved in Haiti and at NVM in particular.
Jay Schulz spoke about the ongoing projects on campus, namely the hospital and the new 72 bed children's home currently under constructed on campus. Espérandieu Pierre closed the festivities by saying that so many people were responsible for making this day possible that only God could have orchestrated it.
Following lunch in the new dining hall, everyone was invited on a grand tour of the campus including a look inside the new hospital.
The tour included a surprise at the entrance to the campus which will welcome visitors and teams for years to come.
11. April 2011 15:01
Sunday after a wonderful, joy-filled worship service and a successful food distribution complements of GAiN USA, a group of us headed to the village. When visiting the village of Chambrun, it is easy to see why the Bible talks about entering the Kingdom of God like children. In Chambrun, children will hold your hand and love on you. It doesn't matter whether you are black or white. It doesn't matter to them at all. They just welcome you. The children want your love and attention just like God wants us to love Him and pay attention to His word. In the last part of John 17:17, the Bible tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. That truth is also very evident in these children.
In my time with NVM, I have made many trips to Chambrun, but my favorite times are always with people who have never been there before. Today, I led 4 people through the village for their first time, one of whom was a photo journalist working with GAiN USA. I loved to witness the awe in her face as we entered the western edge of the village. I could see her mind working overtime as she tried to capture everything she was experiencing with her camera. It cannot be adequately captured no matter how many pictures are taken. I know because I have tried. I have videotaped it, I have taken hundreds of pictures, but without the smells, sounds of giggling kids, and the heat of the day, it just isn't the same. It is something that must be experienced.
Arriving in the village, kids will run up to you and want to hold both of your hands, which makes picture taking a challenge to say the least. Before long, you have an entourage of kids following you as you snake your way around the dirt streets of Chambrun. Yet, there are so many wonderful opportunities to capture the childrens' smiles. Whether they are posing for the camera or carrying water home from the village well, their faces always seem happy and content.
The children of Chambrun are God's creation and He must delight in them daily. They are beautiful despite their surroundings and poverty. They are joyous in their worship of the Lord. They are an example for us all.
9. April 2011 23:49
The Pastor's Conference wrapped up today and each participating Pastor was given a certificate of completion at the conclusion. An evaluation form was filled out by each Pastor attending that overwhelmingly showed that they would return for another conference in the future. The Pastors in attendence also expressed a great appreciation that the EastPointe team would travel to Haiti to help them better serve their congregations. Below is a photo of the instructors and translators for the three day event.
The Grace team left campus this morning and several new arrivals made it to Haiti today. A team from GAiN USA including President Duane Zook arrived before dinner this evening. More VIPs are coming in the next day or so for Monday's big dedication of the east side of the campus. The new generator is now installed and is powering the campus. Trees are being planted and fences are going up, the campus seems to be changing on a daily basis! Since the student dining hall was emptied out on Saturday, we are looking forward to having church inside it on Sunday.
9. April 2011 18:54
Today was our last day in Haiti. There were a lot of moving
parts going on today. First we want to say thank you to the Mercy Response
team. They have been at NVM constructing the new dorms, dining hall, kitchen,
residence, pump house and showers. After a tough week of setbacks for all kinds
of Haitian reasons, they completed the final pieces of the pump house and
dining hall. We moved the kitchen from the old location in the afternoon and
they turned on all the water and power. Speaking of power the new 250 KW
generator arrived today and was installed. We can now run the dining hall,
dorms and residences at the same time with plenty of reserve power. The team
took their showers in the new facilities and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Aaron took the team to the top of a hill which overlooked
several of the villages including Chambrun and an IDP Camp which is full of
displaced families. We could see for miles. Aaron asked us a series of
questions to reflect on. How can we be effective in helping when the problem is
so vast? Why was Jesus sent to earth? What can we learn from Jesus to help with
the problems in Haiti? The answers to those questions made the mission we are
on seem more daunting but also comforted us at the same time. We have been well
prepared to engage with the community and get plugged in. This team will never forget
these people and I am sure that greatness will come of it in a way which none
of us realize at this moment.
We then went to the mass burial site of the earthquake
victims. It is an area off the road where they filled in a valley with 100’s of
1000’s of victims with rock covering the grave and wooden crosses marking the
dead. Alongside the road a little girl about 7 had two donkeys. She was dressed
in ragged clothes made from a bathing suit and a tank top for a dress. She was
taking water jugs back to her family. She stood there silent and unassuming as the team walked around the
site. I am not sure what that message is, but I feel we are to learn something
After we were back in camp for a while we finished putting
the fence up. The team from Eastpoint finished the warehouse and I finally got
the tires off the cargo truck. It was very rewarding to see finality to the
physical efforts of the week. Aaron piled us in the truck and drove us to the
top of the mountain to watch the sunset. He then told us that his favorite
thing to do is to roll boulders off the side of the mountain. So we did. It was
The day ended as we were able to shower in the new
facilities and eat in the new dining hall. Jay’s son showed a movie (Second
Hand Lions) on the wall. A perfect end to the adventure.
9. April 2011 13:07
On campus yesterday prayers were answered in many ways. Day 2 of the Pastor's conference brought renewed vigor and prayer for our team of 4 men, who are challenging the local Haitian Pastors with Biblical truths. Using a systematic approach, our teachers instructed the Haitian men on bibllical terms such as justification, sanctification, and inspiration, backing up each definition with references from God's word.
Think about the impact that these men can have on their Haitian congregations. If each of these 63 men lead a flock of 100 people, we have helped spread Biblical truth to over 6,300.
Countries around the world have sent millions of dollars to Haiti with the hope that it will help Haiti solve its own problems. In reality, the only real answer for Haiti is praising, loving, and worshipping our Lord and Savior. Watching these men's passion for the Word and how eagerly they drink it up, only cements in my mind how important it is to bring Christ to thepeople of Haiti. Yes, 63 men are just a start, but if those 63 men pass on their fervor for the Word to their congregations and raise up Godly men from within and those men raise up their our congregation and so on, within a generation or two Haiti may be back on track spiritually and economically, for as the Bible tells us, If God is with us then who can stand against us.
Vineyard Mercy Response workers have been working very hard to get the east side of our campus ready for Monday morning's dedication. Today the kitchen was moved from the student dining hall to the new dining hall. Members of all three teams worked together to get the tables, chairs, appliances, and food moved after lunch. The new dining hall was ready in time to prepare and serve dinner. Another answer to prayer was the arrival just before dinner of the new generator that will supply power to the entire campus. God answers prayer in His perfect timing!
The members of the Vineyard Mercy Response team pose with
the new generator.
8. April 2011 21:39
This day was a blessing all around. It started off as usual with breakfast and several things which needed to get done. More fence, warehouse sorting, hospital truss hanging and anything else which came up. We then spent half a day in Chambrun where we were met with our kids (Daniel, Ronaldo, Mackenzie and a host of others). There was a little boy about 12 which walked up with ragged clothes on. We were told his parents both recently died and he and his 6 year old brother live from house to house with no one to watch out for them. He would like to go to Church but does not have proper clothes. The team was very touched by the story. We found out his name then set off on trying to sponsor him so he could attend Church, school and go to the clinic. Kevin is in camp so we can speed up the process. The team is going to the warehouse to get him some clothes. There is so much good done here and the incredible resources continue to pour in. We had a meeting with Gary from Mercy Ships ( www.mercyships.org ) where he informed us that they would be supplying the majority of our needs for medical equipment and medicines for the ministry. Truly a gift from God. After an emotionally stressful day it is good to reflect. We sat on the rooftop and gave everyone time to express where they were at and what has been affecting them. The stories are touching. We talked about the Haitian people being rich in faith, community and love and the Americans visiting can live there lives without any of those because of what we have around us every day which clouds our need for them, but the Haitians depend on those values to exists. It is a sobering experience when you have to come to grips with that. Our team is doing great and will take those thoughts to form a very tight connection with this place.
BY Ted Weaver, Grace Community Church Team Leader
p.s. Gary Thompson should know that Ted spent more time running the bobcat today than you did in your entire trip...
8. April 2011 12:07
The EastPointe team opened a busy day in prayer for the first day of the 2nd annual Pastor's Conference led by Pastor Jim Butler and three other Godly men from the EastPointe Bible Church in Peru, Indiana.
The conference brings Pastors from all over Haiti to campus to learn more about the Bible and doctrine. Many pastors leading congregations in Haiti have no formal training or base their ministries on the misinterpretation of vital doctrine. That's where these conferences come into play. Starting with Biblology, Pastor Butler is leading these men through a basic understanding of the foundations of scripture. Day one saw 49 pastors come from all over Haiti to participate. There was a morning lecture and the afternoon was filled with questions and answers. Eternal security was a very lively topic today.
Meanwhile, the other members of the EastPointe team continued installing the trusses on the hospital roof.
Behind the scenes, several women from our team assisted Jolina in the kitchen to fix lunch for all the pastors on campus as well as the volunteer workers. They also did all the post-meal dishes.
At the conclusion of day one of the three day conference, our team received a big surprise, Bill Martin, a member of our congregation, arrived on campus!
We then made a journey up to the village of Chambrun so our new team members would have an opportunity to experience Chambrun.
All in all it was a very good day filled with many blessings for our team! We can hardly wait for what tomorrow will bring and what God has in store for us.
7. April 2011 08:14
The team from EastPointe started their first full day in Haiti with a team photo and then were broken up into small teams to tackleseveral projects on campus.
Several team members worked in the wearhouse sorting clothing donations into different categories. They discovered some interesting things lurking in the boxes.
Meanwhile, as the NVM sponsorship leader, I handed out 23 sponsor packs that were brought down with our team.
Our Pastor and teachers for tomorrow's Pastor's Conference set up the school for the 3 day event. There is no school this week on campus due to the uncertainty surrounding the election results which were finally announced on Monday. The people's popular candidate Martelly was announced as the winner so there were none of the expected riots. The final three members of our team worked on the hospital roof.