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HAITI 2018


July 29th Bulletin Cover with pictures

Post-trip Reflection

We have now been back for almost a week, which gives us an opportunity to reflect on our latest mission in Haiti.  The first thing that comes to mind for me is that mission work rarely goes exactly as you expect, but this may not be for the reason you think.  At the very beginning of our trip, our entire week was changed.  We were originally supposed to do all our work in a village called Minoterie (pronounced minnow tree).  Circumstances were such that we were unable to work in Minoterie and Mission of Hope had to reconfigure our week.  It also meant we were unable to work on the house we funded this year, the house will be built, we just didn’t get to do any of the work.  We ended up spending our mornings in Bercy planting trees, giving away goats and water filters and interacting with local villagers through strategic village time.  We spent our afternoons helping with sports camp for Haitian kids in Cabaret.  On Friday, some of our team worked on the MOH campus to help with some projects there.  The following are some of the notable items that I’ve been considering since coming home.

·        It was such a pleasure to spend a week with a team that rolls with the punches and unknowns.

·        Starting each day at sunrise with a stout cup of Haitian coffee and a team rosary is a perfect daily beginning.

·        A young man named William from another team joined us for our Sunday services and daily rosaries, very nice.

·        Planting trees in memory of Jeannette Yambings daughter Joan was a deeply inspirational moment and a true honor.

·        The camaraderie we develop with members of other teams always adds so much to the experience.

·        The sight of Tom Hannasch sitting in a rocking chair with an elderly Haitian woman at Grace House (a senior housing facility) quietly singing songs for her was very moving.

·        It was really fun to watch TJ Rome become an indispensable member of the basketball drills at sports camp.  On the second day, the Haitian leader wouldn’t start until he ‘found TJ.’

·        Many times during free time, we had team members helping with dishes or picking up garbage, it made us all proud.

·        We watched Haitian fisherman fishing with large nets out of their large row boats, basically fishing the exact same way the apostles did over 2000 years ago.

·        After giving out water filters, we got to spend a couple hours playing with kids from a local orphanage, the kids will latch onto you immediately and provide an endless supply of smiles and love.

·        We had a long chat with an elderly Haitian man who had been hired to remove overgrown weeds from someone’s yard using a knife to loosen the soil and pull the weeds.  He had obviously had a tough life, but was a happy joyful man.

·        Emily Udermann singing Justin Bieber songs with two of our translators on the way home from sports camp, that’s just fun to witness.

·        Be careful when you dig in Haiti, you never know when you’ll find the camp water line with a pick ax and be forced to do a Mcgyver fix with duct tape.  Yes, duct tape.

·        We are so thankful for the dedicated members of the Mission of Hope team and all they do to take care of us (during both regular times and more stressful times).

·        Celebrating a team member birthday (Joan Loesch) with a surprise cake made from miniature snickers at breakfast is fun way to begin a day.

·        Playing dominoes with residents at Grace House was a kick, pure and simple.

·        The trip was filled with laughter and tears, all of them good.

·        We knew we were in God’s hands and we could feel the prayers of everyone at home, thank you.

·        We left as a mission team, we returned as a mission family.

         Dave berg




















our last 9 team members landed safely in minneapolis at 1:30 this morning (thursday).  WE thank all the people who prayed for our safe return, we are blessed by your intervention on our behalf.  i will post more plus some pictures in the next couple days.  we'd love to tell you more about our incredible week of service in haiti.  dave berg


Monday update

I know lots of folks are worried and praying for us.  We appreciate that and can feel and see the impact of those prayers here.  4 of our team members will be getting back to Mpls late tonight.  They are already in Florida as I type this.  We have two more headed your way on Tuesday and the final 10 are scheduled for Wednesday.  We are safe at Mission of Hope and have not experienced any of the unrest you are all seeing on television.  MOH is very well connected down here and will not put us at risk.  God and MOH, we are in good hands.  We all long for a hot shower, a soft bed and AC.  We will also post more when we get home about the amazing week we had serving here last week.  We have had two trips in the last week and a half.  Last week was full of incredible touching moments with our Haitian brothers and sisters and the other mission teams.  That is the part of the trip we are focusing on.  The travel delays have been a frustration and of course has been stressful, but that is not the trip we will remember.  We will remember serving here and remember all the blessings bestowed on us by this country and its joyful people.   Dave Berg

 

Sunday update

It’s early Sunday morning, as you probably know we have been delayed in our journey home.  We are safe at the Mission of Hope compound.  We have not experienced any of the activity you are undoubtedly seeing on television.  We pray to return home today, but will not leave for the airport unless we know it is safe and the airport in Port au Prince is operating.  We thank everyone for their prayers for our safe return.  We also ask for prayers for the people of Haiti.  We have experienced nothing but love and joy from the beautiful people we have encountered.  Sitting alone in the still dark under the stars and moon here this morning, I can feel God’s presence and loving touch, we place ourselves in his hands.  Dave Berg

Friday

My first reaction when driving with the crazy speeding bus driver while looking out the dirty cracked windows was “wow I love this place”. The sun was setting; it was ginormous and just lovely. I think that was my sign that I knew this week was going to be amazing. I didn’t have any expectations going into this trip and didn’t know what to expect; even from hearing what my sister’s past experiences were here in Haiti. I wanted to have my own and to have an open mind about everything and that’s what I did.

One thing that stood out to me the most were the people; the Haitian people. They are something else. Before we left for this trip Dave would always say, “they have nothing but joy and Americans have everything but joy”. I didn’t clearly understand what he meant until I was experiencing it myself. These Haitian people literally have nothing but have so much love in their hearts its almost overwhelming. The joy each individual had was shared with an enormous smile. I started to realize the more I engaged and waved/smiled to them I was able to see that smile of theirs. This made me extremely happy I could not stop smiling myself the whole trip.

Another thing that I was touched with was the gospel and worship. Although the Haitian people and the other mission teams that were here weren’t all Catholic we all were able to celebrate the same God. Being able to come together as one with singing and gospel was amazing and I hope to bring more of that life back home. One thing that I took away from worship was to not close the door on God; let him in and let him do his works even if you see a different plan for yourself. He knows best.

I absolutely love looking at the moon back home.  I did the same here and I knew my mother was looking up at the same moon as I was. The connections I’ve made here in Haiti will always stay; the ocean cannot separate love just like the love I have for my mother. I told one of our Haitian interpreters that I became close with that whenever he is feeling lonely to look up at the moon and know that I will be there praying for him. He said back to me that he also will be praying for me and that he hopes I feel it everyday.   Emily Udermann 

 Thursday

Universal Language

While we speak different tongues, I have learned that there are many universal languages to communicate with the Haitian people that I could never have believed.

A Smile – In the morning we gave out nine water filters to families and taught them how to use them.  The smiles from those receiving the filters communicated the joy that they now had a life-saving tool that would help to keep them healthier.  I hope our smiles (which were even bigger) communicated the joy we had in providing them.

Laughter – After the water filters, we spent time on a playground with orphans.  We pushed kids on swings, slid down slides, climbed through and over the playset, and ran around after each other.  In all of it, the laughter of the children communicated a joy of having someone: play with them; cuddle them and give them the attention that every child needs and deserves.

Sports – Whether it is soccer or ‘football’, sports are a common way to create a bond with others.  Every afternoon, we have helped out with a sports camp that brought together kids of all ages.   While I do not know a word of Creole, I could talk to the kids via basketball.  I could teach how to shoot, dribble and do a layup all while not having to say a word.   In the end the bonds that were made with the kids (and the Haitian sports camp leaders) was incredibly strong.  At the end of today, Chris Markov and I discussed how hard it was having to saying goodbye to those incredible new friends we had made in just four afternoons as many hand-shakes, high-fives, and most of all hugs cemented a place in our hearts for each of them.

 Music – It started off in the morning as we sang happy birthday to Jasper our village champion (the representative from the town (Bercy) we were ministering in).  While the words were foreign to Jasper, the melody was one he knew as he smiled from ear to ear as we all belted it out.  While we were giving out filters, a young girl sang to Joan Loesch.  While we played with the orphans, 4 little girls sang at the top of their lungs, children’s songs as they were swinging.   Finally, on our trip back to the campus, Emily Udermann connected with our interpreters as they all sang popular songs together. 

Most importantly – JESUS – Christ’s message to us all is a universal language of his love that we witnessed throughout our final day in the villages.  TJ Rome





Wednesday

We have been rising early each morning to start our day with the rosary. What a beautiful way to reflect on what is instore for our day. It puts us in the right frame of mind—to be thankful, to be respectful and to be hopeful.

Today I am thankful for meeting some beautiful Haitian people. After we planted a tree for her, one woman led us in prayer. Usually we ask them if we can pray for them. She told us how the devil was very unhappy when she accepted Jesus into her life… that he had made problems for her, but now she has the Lord and her life is better.

For another family, after we planted their tree, we asked if they had water to give it, they said no. They needed to buy some water (2 gourdes for 5 gallons, about 8 U.S. cents) since the water from the village pump is too salty. When I think of all the water we have each drank since we have been here, it causes me great respect for the precious resource of water, generally something that I wouldn’t give a second thought to, but for the people of Haiti, it is a daily reality.

My hope for this mission trip, is that somewhere in these seven days, an action we’ve taken or words we have spoken—whether to a Haitian, an intern, another volunteer or member of our mission team—plants a seed of faith for their future and the future of our collective world.  Joan Loesch

Work. Play. Love. (Monday)

These simple but impactful words culminated the journey that we embarked on today in the village of Cabaret.  They reverberated with every dusty footstep we took, through the smiles of the Haitians we met, and the sweltering heat that made us long for the Minnesotan winters once more.

Work.  In the morning, we brought ten trees to those in need.  Haiti has cut down most of their trees and they are now seen as a precious commodity that not only offers respite from the heat but a sustainable food source.  With pickaxes and shovels in hand we worked while little ones ran around us, wanting to hold our hands or take part in planting trees.  At one point, a family was so gracious that they washed the mud-covered arms of our own Tom Schramer. 

Play.  What do you do when it is 98 degrees with high humidity in the middle of the day you ask?  We play.   Mission of Hope has begun to sponsor Haitian led sports camps. Whether jumping rope, playing frisbee, soccer or basketball we can be present together as one community; high-fiving and laughing despite the language barrier.  At the end they share the gospel of Christ and feed each child.

Love.   Throughout the day we are constantly reminded how much love there is in this beautiful country.  The love that they show to us at times leaves us breathless and tears in our eyes.  Haitians truly live and breathe the word “community”.  They support each other with what little means they have and never shy from sharing their abundant love to one another and all they meet. 

Being present here we are reminded to Let Go and Let God.  We have all come to Haiti with our own expectations of what this trip is to be, but once we let go of our own ideas and let God guide us, we are reminded what God has planned for us is far greater than anything we could plan for ourselves.  

-Christopher Markov

Thoughts on the travel to Haiti (Saturday)

As we travel to Port-Au-Prince on this 30th of June, it’s hard not to think of the blessings we have, family enjoying the 4th of July holiday back home next week and the lives we’ll encounter in the days ahead.  I am grateful for this opportunity to be a witness to our faith in Christ.  Earlier today, I was talking with Colleen, who is also on this trip, about her recent trip to Spain to walk 150 miles of the Camino de Santiago.

A couple things she mentioned struck me with the relevance to this trek.  The first was the discussion regarding the people you meet along the way.  As the Mission of Hope preparatory materials reminds us, each person has a story and that it’s important in our relationships to listen to their stories, to demonstrate how we value their lives, to meet them where they are.

The second was that while we may have the same destination in this life, each of our journeys is our own to make.  I am certain that each of us on this trip is likely at a different place in our own journeys.  And yet, for this trip, we are together to share the experience and to share our lives.  May we be faithful and joyful witnesses in the week ahead.  Tom Hannasch

Pretrip reflection
The St. Joe’s Adult Mission Team is preparing for our fifth
 team trip to Haiti.  During the week of June 30-July 7, we have a unique opportunity to serve and be served in this amazing country.  When most people think of Haiti, they likely think of poverty, disease, natural disasters, unemployment and other challenging living conditions.  And they are correct, all those things exist in abundance, but that is only half of the story.  Those of us who have been there have experienced the other half, a bounty of God given joy.

On my first trip there, I was amazed and a bit perplexed on seeing this joy on display for all to see.  Most of these folks have literally nothing, but they greet each other and us with big smiles, warm embraces, and a joy that is too genuine to ignore. 

Through my experiences there, I have concluded that this actually makes sense.  Haitians will not find happiness in money, fancy cars, big houses, elaborate vacations and other worldly possessions.  Those things are simply not attainable.  I believe this frees them to seek joy in things that really matter, relationships with others and with God.  Pope Francis recently said: ‘let us choose people over things, so that personal relationships may flourish.’ 

Our team of 16 is excited about this chance to do just that with our Haitian brothers and sisters.  We will bring the prayers and donations of the St. Joseph community with us.  Through the generosity of so many, we will again be funding the construction of a house, giving away 6 pairs of goats and 9 water filters, and planting 20 trees.  We will also be assisting with sports camp for Haitian kids. 

Thank you all for what you have done to make this possible, we will bring the love of St. Joes with us to Haiti, and we will bring the love of Haiti back with us to St. Joes.

Dave Berg

                    


Haiti 2018 Adult Mission Trip
5th trip to Haiti the week of June 30 - July 7, 2018
Application Due Date: January 2nd 2018

Are you ready to serve and be served?  Is this your year to experience God’s presence and mercy in a different way?  Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone?  The St. Joe’s adult mission team is making its fifth trip to Haiti the week of June 30 - July 7, 2018.    Come check it out.  Any questions – contact the church office or Dave Berg.

He who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard

Proverbs 21:13

2017 Haiti Mission Team
                     



we have now successfully loaded all our posts.  thank you for your patience.  the haiti adult mission team


Saturday, july 8, 2017

We are on the plane home from Miami to Minneapolis.  There are so many things I want to say about this week.  Very early this morning I was still lying in bed and I kept picturing pulling up to the Haiti Exxon station and telling the attendant – fill my heart with joy.  It seemed an appropriate description for my week. 

As we were leaving last Saturday I was searching the bible for a verse as a theme for our week, Ann was assisting me.  We decided on Proverbs 21:13 ‘He who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard’ – look for it on our team shirts next year.

Our mission work started last week before we got to Haiti.  We were sitting in the Miami airport during our layover and a young lady asked me if I could watch her bags while she did something, I said sure.  It turned out she was gone quite a while.  When she finally returned, I teased her that she had trusted me with her bags for quite a while.  She said the mission team t-shirts helped, but she wasn’t worried because she could see God in my eyes.  Wow.  Her name was Kate and she was also going to Haiti for a month to intern with another relief organization.  She was a bit apprehensive about her journey and we talked for a while.  Before we boarded the plane to Port au Prince she asked if our team would pray with her for her journey.  What a great start to our week.  Also in the Miami airport, I saw our dear friends from Hill Country Bible Church near Austin, TX.  We have shared this week with them each of our four years at Mission of Hope.  As I was approaching to say hi one of them commented – ‘I wonder if Dave will be there again?’  Perfect timing to announce I was there.  Not even in Haiti yet and things were looking good.

Matt, Cheryl, Tracy and rory from hcbc

When we got to Mission of Hope we learned that one of our interns would be our old friend Jean Marc.  If you check out the videos links below in the pre-trip blog, you can learn his story.  He grew up in the orphanage at MOH and is now attending college in Oklahoma.  He was back in Haiti for the summer as an intern.  Our other intern was Emilee, she is a hard-working delightful young woman.  Another friend from MOH included in the video link, Nacheline, is also attending college now and is an intern this summer.  I love talking to her every year and watching what an incredible young woman she has become.

              Jean marc                                            nacheline

Our special friend Dianne from St. Mary’s, Ontario joined us for a third year.  She is such a great addition to our team and we look forward to her coming again next year for a fourth time.

                         Dianne

Many of you have heard the story about how this trip was first conceived.  I was in the Minneapolis airport in the summer of 2013 and encountered a group from St. John’s Catholic Church in Ortonville, MN.  They were headed for Haiti.  A couple of weeks later I spoke with their team leader about their experience and our trip was born.  One of the interns we worked with this year, Jenny, was actually part of that team I met at the airport.  We spent a lot of time with her and she joined us for the rosary on Friday morning.  She left us a very touching note that included ‘your dedication to momma Mary by praying every morning inspires me and I decided to continue praying a rosary every week and one decade is going to be for you all and your journey with God and with your huge hearts for Haiti.’  Her home church team including many of her family members are coming down in a couple weeks, we pray for all of them and thank them for their contribution to our trip becoming a reality.

                       jenny

Every morning we had VBS with the kids.  Last year I had two boys who occupied most of my time, Sidney and Luden.  I ended up spending most of Monday and Tuesday this year with Sidney again and Wednesday and Thursday were dominated by Luden, that was great fun.  A special side note during VBS, one of the interns, Katrina, came to me with a small boy who looked so sad.  She said he was a special friend of hers and she needed just the right person to spend some time with him and wondered if I could do it.  He wouldn’t talk or smile and didn’t show any interest in playing with the other kids.  I started by just sitting with him and walking and holding his hand.  As he seemed to start to respond, I got him to play a bit on some of the playground equipment.  We then started a game where he pretended to be falling off a high bench and I would catch him.  Soon other kids joined in our game and the last I saw him he was walking across the playground hand-in-hand with another little boy and girl.  It warmed my heart.

                    sidney                                    luden                           Katrina's friend

We gave out goats again, the families made a special effort to explain to us what an incredible blessing it is for them to receive these animals.  They represent a sustainable source of badly needed income for a family.  We also distributed water filters again, the need is huge for clean water and many other families we talked to during the week commented that they wished they had gotten one.

We had numerous opportunities to go speak with people at their homes during Strategic Village Time.  We had many scheduled times when we did this and also some impromptu times when there wasn’t work to be done.  Many of the team members have very special stories about their encounters during these visits.  It’s really something to walk up to their home and have them welcome you into their yard and find places for you to sit and talk about their lives and their relationship with God and ask us questions about our lives.  We had two great interpreters, Johnny and George, and a super Village Champion, Higgins, that helped us with SVT.  On one of our work days, Johnny and George proudly wore the St. Joes team t-shirts that we gave them.

      johnny                                           george                                    higgins

Our house project had some of the usual schedule and material hiccups, but progress was made.  We lost about an hour on Friday to a flat tire on our truck, but i got to remember my days at Cals Texaco in 1976 and helped change the truck tire.  A special challenge when we realized our jack was broken.  At the house we helped unload a truck of cement mix bags and a truck of cement blocks.  We actually stored the cement in the corrugated metal house the women currently lives in.  We also helped finish digging out the foundation and wired some of the corner rebar support posts.  When we needed something for sawhorses, the neighboring house lent us two of their kitchen chairs.  I bent about 200 thick wire triangles to be used for the rebar posts.  They had an ingenious set-up with nails in a 2x4 attached to a tree and a small pipe to bend the wire.  After a bit of training from the Haitian foreman I was an expert.  Every time I thought I was done, they’d slap another pile of wire on my work station for me to bend.  On Friday, our regular interns were gone so we had Becca for a day.  Becca is a Texas Tech student, lots of Texans at MOH, majoring in Civil Engineering.  She wants to use her degree to work in missions to bring clean water to people.  MOH has so many impressive young people working for them.

        haitian woman's current home            unloading concrete and blocks

digging foundation            bending wire                            wire work station

A fun side trip was made Friday afternoon to visit the house we helped build last year.  The family was very gracious, but also pointed out that they could use a latrine.

                   last year's house

As we were waiting in the Port au Prince airport this morning, Mitch read us the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians.  It includes, ‘love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’  A fitting summary for the week.

A personal note – I made a conscious effort this year to try control less and experience more.  It really made the week all that much better.  God lead me to so many beautiful experiences.  As we gathered on Friday morning for our last sunrise rosary, I was overwhelmed by the experience of the week.  Only 51 weeks til we return.

Dave Berg

           haiti - see you next year!

Thursday, July 6

Over the years, I have come to realize a few of the ways that God has made me unique, and one of the gifts He has bestowed on me is my ability to identify and build relationships with people of the older generations. He has blessed me with an “old soul” and if I have the honor of getting to know you, it won’t take you long to come to the realization that this is true.

We were given a tour of the campus at Bercy on Sunday, and part of that tour took us to a small facility dubbed the Grace House, which is the senior care facility that Mission of Hope has created to serve the elderly in the area. As we stood outside this small group of buildings, which included an outdoor gathering space which resembled the type you might encounter in Lebanon Hills, our intern mentioned the visits to facility are encouraged.  Immediately a thought popped into my head, telling me to return and visit. But after a few days experiencing all that Haiti has to offer, these thoughts fell to the way side. Or so I thought.

We had just returned from an afternoon of delivering goats and strategic village time, I found myself walking toward the Pastoral Training Center after a quick, but much needed shower. I had made it all of half way when a familiar thought popped into my head. It was telling me to turn around, go to the Grace House. I did just that.

Walking past the male interns barracks I felt awkward, as if at any moment I would be approached and questioned as to my destination, which would have almost certainly convinced me to turn around and go back, but I kept walking. I turned the final corner and was in the home stretch. Then my humanity kicked in and the thought of approaching these strangers from another country frightened me and I turned around. I walked only a few paces before I told myself I wasn’t going to fall victim to my fears and I swiftly turned back around and keep marching on.

Finally I had arrived at their rec center and everyone had stopped what they were doing and decided to stare at this blau who had entered their domain. I felt uneasy. A very thin Haitian woman was sitting near a long table which ran parallel with a television that looked as if she had made a trip back to 2003. She greeted me with a smile and I muttered my best bonswa or good afternoon in creole for the rest of you. I motioned to sit to her left, but she motioned for me to move the chair to her right, so that I would be able to see the television. I asked her what her name was as I moved the chair, Monique she replied. I sat down and quickly realized that the very little creole I had picked up was suddenly missing from my vocabulary, and I was in trouble. Multiple attempts to visualize why questions with English were ineffective. Monique reached over and gently grabbed my arm saying creole, pointing to herself as to tell me she couldn’t understand.

The Lord doesn’t always work through words, sometimes he moves us through silence. So I sat back in my chair and began to watch this TV which had little to no reception. A Spanish soap opera was playing, the kind that rarely goes three minutes without an ooh- ahh moment. A peace fell over me, as if watching this overdramatic program with this frail older lady was exactly where I was supposed to be. Occasionally I would look over at Monique and we would lock eyes and a smile would spawn from her face. The kind that speaks in ways that words cannot.

Twenty minutes passed by in what seemed to be only a blink of an eye, and the time had come for me to leave. Dinner was beckoning and I had to go. Part of me wanted to stay, finish the program, even though I had no idea what was going on. But I stood up from my aluminum folding chair, turned to Monique and shook her hand with a bow. “Mesi” I said to her, thanking her for allowing me to sit and share this moment with her. And while it only lasted a short while, I couldn’t help but feel like the comfort I found through this brief encounter would last far longer for the both of us.

Mitch Deinhammer

Wednesday 7/5/2017

We started another hot day in Haiti with the Rosary.  After a breakfast of oatmeal and mango, we headed to Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Sous Matela.   The children were full of energy on this day of Salvation, on which they committed themselves to Jesus Christ.  Because of national testing this week, VBS was held in a gated open air park (which was shared with several goats).  Nonetheless, VBS continues to be a favorite activity for us here in Haiti.

After an interesting lunch of rice topped with ochre sauce, we traveled to our service village of Fovo.  As always in Haiti, plans are subject to change.  Instead of returning to work on the building of a house, we presented five pairs of goats to families in need selected by the village champion.  The rest of the afternoon was spent doing SVT (Strategic Village Time).  We visited with a large family of 10, the youngest being a six-week-old baby girl.  She was a beauty!  A couple lucky members of our team were allowed to hold her while we talked with the family.

As the beautiful Haitian sun began to set, we wrapped up the day with our evening debrief, at which members of the team shared how God touched their hearts.  We close the night eager to start another day in Haiti filled with even more blessings.

Tom & Judy Schramer


tuesday 7/4/2017

Greetings from sunny, warm Haiti!!!

Tuesday’s been a very good day. It started with a walk in the pre-dawn dark to the open air Pastoral Training Center on the ocean for our group rosary at 6:00 a.m. and a steaming mug of Haitian coffee. Today we had our second day of Vacation Bible School in the morning. Relationships with the children were enthusiastically renewed. And tonight at our wrap-up sharing session for the day there were many stories of touching experiences from our team members.

My story is one I’d like to share.

Last year was my first experience here. On our second night I had the opportunity to sign up for a child sponsorship program and I selected “my child” from a group of children enrolled at one of Mission of Hope schools. Her name was Whitline Alce and she was 15 years old. When we started helping in the Vacation Bible School the next day I asked the staff and children if they knew her and was she in attendance? I learned that many children knew her but she had not come to VBS. But, lo and behold, she came the next day and the children were excited about introducing us. Whitline is a very shy girl but she was at my side for the rest of the week, holding my hand and smiling whenever our eyes met. I was love struck to say the least. A monthly stipend would prove to be a small price to pay to help this girl with her education…her ticket out of the cycle of poverty. I could speak no Creole and she could speak no English but we had eyes for each other and the help of interpreters from Mission of Hope.

This year when we had our orientation meeting a staff member referred to the fact that finding your sponsored child was almost an impossibility because school was not in session and the children were scattered among numerous villages with no means of long distance communication.  With 300 volunteers spread over at least 3 Vacation Bible School sites, I pretty much gave up hope of connecting with Whitline this year. Besides, she was 16 now and too old for participation.

On the first day, however, as we gathered with over 400 children in a gated village “park” about 15 miles away from our mission, a small boy tugged on my arm and kept pointing off in the distance. When I looked over through the fence I saw Whitline looking at me. She was standing on a rock wall and clinging to the fence. And it was the beginning of another cherished opportunity for us to be together. Because of our special relationship, The Mission of Hope staff allowed Whitline to come into the park and she was even offered the meal of rice and beans that the enrolled children received.

We’ve spent the last 2 days joined at the hip. And her mother came both days to meet me and thank me for my sponsorship. We “talked” with the help of an interpreter through the fence. It has been an indescribable experience for me and tonight I look forward to being able to see her again for two more days of VBS. If nothing else touches my heart this week I am now filled to overflowing. And thank my God for the blessing He has given me in Whitline.

 Ann Buslee




monday 7/3/2017

Well,  it is Monday, July 3rd and we had an incredible day of playing with the Haitian kids at VBS and then going into families’ homes to deliver water filters in the afternoon.

Backing up to yesterday and having our first day in Haiti, we did expect to see poverty but when we got here and took the bus ride to our mission site, seeing the poverty live and in person really makes it real. Please pray for Haiti as they need a lot of help.

The children here are starving for love and when they saw us this morning, it was like they have known us for years, giving us high fives, with lots of smiles and hugs. Even though we are technically strangers to them, they treat us like family. What Haiti does not lack is the love radiating from the children. The simplest of things make them happy… sunglasses, photos, pen and paper and smooth blonde hair that they love to touch and braid. The love we received today from the children is an experience we will never forget.

This afternoon, along with another Church group we partnered with today, we built and gave away 11 water filter systems. These are very basic filter systems using a 5 gallon pail and a small filter on the outside of the pail. However, this filter system can provide a family up to ten years of clean filtered water so they do not have to purchase bottled water.

Even though we have only been here for two full days, I feel like this trip has already been life changing. Watching movies or reading about it simply cannot compare to experiencing it.

 Pete and Holly Herold




Sunday 7/2/2017

Greetings from Haiti,

We are new to the mission group this year and Dave Berg, our team leader, asked if new members to the group would give their first impressions of Haiti. The first reaction for both of us was the raw and natural beauty of the island itself. As we flew into Haiti, the beautiful water surrounding the island as well as the rolling mountains were unlike anything we had seen before. As we looked down on Haiti, we saw small shiny roofs of houses spaced across the mountains. It was surprising to see how high up and far away these houses were from the larger cities and smaller villages below. Once we landed in Port-au-Prince and left the airport, we loaded a bus to head to our Mission of Hope compound. As we entered the city, we were overwhelmed by the immense levels of poverty that surrounded us. Broken down and unfinished buildings lined the streets. Haitian men held up cold bottles of water towards our windows, trying to sell them to us to make some money. We witnessed children doing tasks that would typically be done by adults in the United States, but were necessary for survival in their impoverished state. It was difficult to imagine that such a physically beautiful country could be struck with such immense levels of poverty. After witnessing so much suffering around us, it was difficult to see how we could make any impact. Dave brought up the point that we are just a small part of a much bigger goal in creating better lives for the people of Haiti. As newcomers to this trip, we feel blessed to be on this spiritual journey with the other members of our team and all the other Christians called to serve here in Haiti. As we continue our journey this week, please keep the Haitian people and the mission workers in your prayers.

God bless,

Nick and Jeannie Guden









2017 - Thanks for Haiti Again

to get a sense of what mission of hope is all about, check out the videos about our friends jean marc and nacheline at the bottom of the page in the link below

Mission of Hope Videos


as the st. joe’s adult mission team makes final preparations for our trip to haiti this summer, i have been trying to find a way to summarize my many thoughts about this journey.  each time, my reflections reach the same conclusion – thanks.  i give thanks that:

·         God has led us on this journey

·         The Haitian kids will be, as always, accepting and loving

·         The St. Joseph’s community has been so prayerfully supportive

·         The beautiful Haitian sunrise is waiting to encourage our early morning rosary

·         My Haitian friends will be there to greet me

·         I have such a great team to share the experience

·         The Mission of Hope interns will be tirelessly helping us serve

·         Returning team members will again be there to embolden our efforts

·         New team members have answered the call to serve and be served

·         The St. Joseph’s community has been so generous

·         We will again be able to sponsor and work on a new house for a Haitian family

·         We will be able to donate life giving pairs of goats and water filters to families

·         I will be able to work myself to complete exhaustion in the Haitian sun

·         I will again experience the unlimited joy of the Haitian people

·         Each day in Haiti will begin with new hope

·         Each day in Haiti will end with a renewed faith

So many contribute in so many ways to make this trip possible.  Thanks to you all.

Dave berg





Mission archives

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The St. Joe's Adult Mission Team will be making its fourth trip to Haiti the week of July 1-8, 2017.

We are very excited and blessed to again work with the incredible people of Haiti and the staff and other volunteers at Mission of Hope.

A HUGE thank you for the financial blessings provided by the parishioners of St. Joe's through the Christmas Bake sale, the Summit Singers concert/KC pork shop feed and other donations.
This year we raised a total of
$7,575!!

Those donations will be utilized to build a house, give a pair of goats to 6 families and water filters to another 3 families. This is the second year we will be able to fund a new home for a Haitian family. The house means a family will be able to move out of a blue tarp tent home into a concrete block home. This is an incredible blessing to be able to provide a family. Pairs of goats provide sustainable resources of milk and baby goats to a family and water filters provide life-saving clean drinking water.

The team is proud to represent the generous St. Joe's parishioners during our week in Haiti. Updates on our work in Haiti will be posted to the church web site during our time there.












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