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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
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
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.
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
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 BergThursday, July 6
haiti - see you next year!
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 DeinhammerWednesday 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 Schramertuesday 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
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
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
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
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.
Nick and Jeannie Guden