Summer Interns 2015

This summer, we had 35 incredible interns serving at MOH. These leaders grew, studied, prayed, laughed, built, painted, evangelized, discipled, and so much more. They ran hard & I truly believe the impact they had on people will last for generations & generations.

Below are some photos from our summer celebration party with our interns & our ti interns “junior interns”. Ti interns are young adults from our orphanage who were intentionally paired up with an intern for the summer. I have been so blessed to see the way these interns wonderfully filled the role of mentor, leader, & friend to these young adults. The Orphanage staff did an incredible job pioneering this program, & the growth & relationships that we’ve seen from it have been deeply encouraging.

Enjoy some photos from game night. It was a blast! The theme was “Boys vs. Girls” & the girls won! :)

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What fun memories with this incredible group of people! On their very last night, we had a huge ice cream party & it was awesome. Summer 2015 interns, you are all cherished & loved. Thank you for serving, loving, & laughing a lot! You have all made an eternal impact & represented Jesus well.

Ice Cream Party

 

An Unexpected Port Au Prince Adventure.

Going to Port Au Prince is always an adventure. One Friday this summer, my friend Elizabeth & I decided to run into town for some groceries & a quick lunch…or so we thought. Sometimes…a better adventure is just around the corner!

I always enjoy the sights on the drive to PAP. Turquoise staircases & hand painted signs everywhere are always lovely.

2-PAP daysand flowers…of course flowers.  3-PAP daysThen of course, there’s the grocery store itself. Below is [one of the] most expensive sections of the store. Imported fruits. See those beautiful strawberries up there? About $15-20 US. Blueberries too. Crazy expensive.  4-PAP daysAnd then there’s ice cream. The second most expensive section.   5-PAP daysFor lunch, we went to a lovely place tucked away in the middle of all these beautiful trees up in Petionville. 5b-PAP daysLook at this salad! Shrimp, tomato, avocado…delicious. 6-PAP daysAnd then on the drive home is where our unplanned adventure began. :) Our truck was overheating (because it’s Haiti & it’s hot & everything is overheated here) so our kind driver said we needed to pull over to be safe. So, we casually pull over next to a Salon/Repair Shop/Photocopy Center on the back streets of Delmas (PAP area).IMG_77229-PAP daysLaughing about it & embracing the unexpected adventure of the day, we documented with a selfie. 7-PAP daysWe then saw a shade tree & a bench directly across the street, so we hopped out of the car to sit in the shade. After sitting there a few minutes, we both started to faintly smell the divine scent of fresh bread. So in Creole, we started asking some women selling fruit beside us where the bread was made. Lucky for us, it was 3 buildings down from the place we broke down. So, we marched up to the little tucked away bakery, bought a loaf of freshly baked bread, & had a makeshift picnic under a shade tree while our replacement vehicle came to get us. 8-PAP days After we had eaten half of the bread, our driver said it would be better if we had it with avocado. We asked a few people walking by selling vegetables if they had any avocado & they didn’t. However, the precious women selling fruit beside us heard that we were looking for “zaboka” & they went and tracked some down! As soon as the woman arrived with the basket of avocados, the replacement vehicle showed up, & we had the second half of our picnic on the drive.


3 things I learned on our unexpected adventure:

  1. Freshly baked bread & avocado is a match made in heaven.
  2. I strongly suggest surrounding yourself with people who will search out the bakeries & have a picnic in the midst of the car breaking down. Take that lesson literally or figuratively…whatever you want. Find the fun in life…it’s there.
  3. Everyone needs more impromptu picnics. Don’t wait for your car to break down. Just pull the car over & enjoy!

Cheers to finding the joy in the daily adventures of life!

Summer 2015 Highlights.

Summer 2015 is officially my 3rd summer in Haiti! I’ve been here for the summers of 2012, 2014, & 2015 & can.i.just.say WOW. They’ve been FULL & they’ve been awesome. Below are some highlights & moments from this 2015 summer, enjoy!

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1-summer 2015There is talent abounding from my friends here at MOH.
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ove watching them glorify God with their skills! 2-summer 2015Brittany was in Haiti for a month! We were all really excited about it. :)3-summer 2015Intern development. These 35 people are awesome. Loved Tuesday nights with them & our leadership getting to pour into them.4-summer 2015Sunday nights: A couple hundred people worshiping, hearing the Gospel, & hearing about what God is doing in Haiti. 5-summer 201520-summer 201526-summer 2015Caribbean rainstorms || total beauty.  24-summer 2015girls day in Port Au Prince6-summer 2015joyful guesthouse team & their cute matching7-summer 20154th of July: Haiti style.8-summer 201516-summer 201523-summer 2015 quiet moments filled with artsy things.10-summer 2015 11-summer 201527-summer 20159-summer 2015 12-summer 2015the sweetest birthday thanks to really thoughtful friends that go above & beyond to make a girl feel loved. from sunrise coffee & photo adventures, to an apartment decorated with notes from loved ones all over the world, to Office jokes, lunch overlooking the ocean, birthday cake, & countless notes & kind words…I am very grateful to have these people in my life & in my tribe. 13-summer 201517-summer 2015Leveque visits with Debus & his family. 14-summer 2015my home church came to Haiti, & my mom send homemade sugar cookies with them! I’ll be posting another blog full of photos from GFC’s trip to Haiti. There’s just too many to put in this one.  15-summer 2015Ladies night with the MOH staff women at Rosie’s. I’m extra thankful for ice cream, laughter, & friendships that spur one another on.18-summer 2015Grace: the instigator of all “Office” jokes. The above one is the classic “stapler in jello” prank & we loved every second of it. Grace, you are missed around here! Best of luck in Grad school, sweet friend. 19-summer 2015  quiet coffee moments in the midst of the messes. 21-summer 2015A basket FULL of keneps (the most delicious local fruit) from Mr. Wantously.22-summer 2015sodas of Haiti   25-summer 2015
In the middle of a busy guesthouse one morning, I look over & see Jean Marc praying over Amanda. I’m thankful for friends that point each other to Jesus.

What a wonderful summer it has been. I’m looking forward to sharing more stories from the past few months. Thanks for reading,

Rachel

June 2015: Graduations in Haiti.

June has been filled with many great memories, but below are 2 specific moments that I will never forget.
I had the joy of going to 2 school graduations this month!

The first was the Leveque Kindergarten graduation, & it was extra special because Debus graduated! I could probably write about this for days, but I’ll keep it short: I am unbelievably proud of this kid & his family! It has been a joy to watch the Lord provide for him, & to see the community support him. I’m believing big things for this kid!

Kindergarten graduation is a HUGE celebration here in Haiti, & below are some fun photos from this joy-filled day!

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anxiously awaiting his turn!

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below: this kid is dressed like a carrot for a short play!

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Elizabeth & some friends!

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below: friends who attend graduation ceremonies stick together! ha.
Elizabeth with her sponsor child, Sonson & me with Debus. What a joy to sponsor these friends.

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Ozanna is proud of her boy. Look at that proud mama look!

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The second graduation was the High School Graduation at the School of Hope. 125 graduates walked the stage, & there was so much joy & excitement that filled the church. It was incredibly fun to see some of my friends included in those 125 faces. A local Village Champion, an employee’s daughter, friend’s nieces & nephews, & my beautiful friend Macline. Macline is no stranger to those of you who read my blog, & it was SO fun to celebrate this day with her. She is the first MOH orphanage child to graduate high school & she has dreams of becoming a lawyer to help the children of Haiti.

Below are some photos of this exciting time for these students & the Graduation Party for Macline!

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above: beautiful Macline
below: Rachel & Katie. These women have been constant in Macline’s life & you can see how they are so proud of her!

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above: Mackenlove loved the graduation cakes!
below: Mr. Marc encouraging Macline & making some jokes, too.

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above: a sweet time of prayer over Macline
below: lots of fun photos with friends!

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Thanks for reading!

glimpses of the past few months

Here are a few glimpses from the past few months of life & ministry in Haiti.

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Not a bad view.

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What a beautiful sight! I got to watch my friend Courtney sign for a sweet woman while her & her group watched the MOH Vision Video. Multiple times I was brought to tears as I was able to see the vision of life transformation through Jesus Christ clearly articulated in a way that specifically resonated with this woman.

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Chipotle in Haiti! It’s good to have connections on the outside (AKA Matt & Amanda) who got this to me all the way from Florida. Dream!

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Proud mama holding her beautiful 2-day-old baby at a recent Mobile Clinic.

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A recent restful day off filled with watercolors, yoga, & face-timing with friends. The earth is the Lord’s & everything in it. Psalm 24:1.

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“Let’s take a crazy photo, & then you can put it on Instagram.” – Jean Marc.

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Thankful for these sweet intern ladies that are full of laughter, love, & hard work! Girl’s Day was a success! Fortenak even joined in on a Girl’s Day photo!

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Tastes & colors of Haiti.

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Happy Birthday, Steeve!

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Baby Jorshky. Filled with smiles, flirting, & cheeks for days.

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Really love this family!

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glorious.

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The aftermath of an Easter egg hunt with 62 of the coolest kids.

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Day off at the beach!

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Madame Michel & I were matching with our braids! Love this sweet lady & the joy she brings to the office.

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morning necessities:

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Hanging gardens all along the streets of Port Au Prince.

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Grins, giggles, & smirks. These kids have got ’em all & I love it.

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A farmer in the field in Turpin.

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Those smiles & that light. Radiant.

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Little boys flirting with the little girls through the school house window. These boys have got game.

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Waterfall love.

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One evening, I walked outside of the kitchen to see 2 of our drivers talking, swinging, & laughing on the school playground. May your days be filled with finding joy in the little things.

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Someone brought strawberries & dipping chocolate! Bless. Their. Hearts.

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Holding beautiful baby Lidjina (my friend Constant’s new baby girl)!

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Amanda & Mydaline chatting in the prosthetics lab while Mydaline’s leg was being finished.

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laughter & pull-ups.

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Walkin’ hand in hand. Grace filled moments like these are something I never want to take for granted.

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Debus found a great hiding spot.

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My friendship with the sweet Tiffany started here in Haiti in 2012 when we were both interns, & it was so encouraging to hang with her again for a week in Haiti this spring. From laughing at my ridiculous jokes, to coming over for coffee at 6am, to bringing Trader Joe’s treats, & praying over me at the perfect moment, this dear friend is intentional. So grateful for you, Tiff. Thanks for loving & encouraging well. You radiate joy & Jesus! Love you!

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Sunday strollin’ in Leveque.

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What a beautiful gift this life is.

Surprise: Happy Birthday, Mr. Marc!

Monday, April 20, I had one of my favorite Haiti mornings. Sunday, April 19, was Mr. Marc’s Birthday. Mr. Marc is our Haitian Executive Director (AKA: total boss) & Monday morning we had a surprise party for him in the office! Marana, Mr. Marc’s lovely assistant, had been planning it all weekend & getting everything ready. I got to the office Monday morning & everyone was buzzing around in hushed tones so Mr. Marc wouldn’t know what was going on. I walked into the cafeteria to find tons of “Happy Birthday” balloons & beautiful pastries & cakes on the table. We were ready for this party! Marana then told me that I was given the task of tricking Mr. Marc to come into the cafeteria “because there was a problem & I needed his help.” Mr. Wantously ran up to me full of laughter & high-fives & like an excited kid said, “YOU have the job of getting him into the cafeteria!”

I felt the pressure. “Don’t mess this up, Durban,” I thought to myself.

I lightly knocked on Mr. Marc’s door, while everyone else (except 2 “decoy” employees) ran to the cafeteria to hide.

“Good morning Mr. Marc,” I said as I walked in.
Mr. Marc greeted me, “Oh, good morning Rachelle (read, “Rah-shell”). Thank you so much for calling me yesterday & telling me Happy Birthday.”
“You are welcome, Mr. Marc! I know I usually call you when there is a problem, so I was prepared for you to think that something was wrong when I called you yesterday.”
Mr. Marc laughed & we chatted a little bit more.

It was time to get this man to his party, so I said, “Mr. Marc, you know how over the weekend, a lot of the problems sleep? No one wants to create problems over the weekend. Well, as you know, it is Monday & all of the problems are back & I really need your help. Do you mind coming outside with me?”
Mr. Marc jumped up & said, “There are a lot of problems outside?”
And here, my friends, I lied. I lied to that sweet man. I said, “Yes. There are a lot of problems & people outside & I really need your help.”

So, like the total boss he is, he jumped up & began to speed-walk outside. We were right outside the cafeteria & he started to leave the building & I said, “Actually, can you come in here before you go outside?” That was my brilliant response to him trying to exit the building…”uhhh, come to the cafeteria.” Ha! But it worked. Thankfully Mr. Marc walked into the cafeteria & he saw the entire office crammed into that little space, & he just started laughing! He then told them all about how I told him there were a lot of people & problems outside, & then to go into the cafeteria.

After the laughter died down, Mr. Marc thanked everyone & spoke about how honored he was to be celebrating his 73rd Birthday & that it is a blessing to live that many years & to be able to work hard.

Then, Mr. Lookens, Mr. Wantously, & Mr. Peniel gave speeches & they asked if anyone else had anything to say. There was a lot of Creole & I kept hearing “Rachelle” & then it was silent with everyone looking at me. Mr. Lookens said, “Rachelle, I think you have something to say.” I warned them that I would cry, even though that is not a very common response in Haiti & they gave me a napkin & said “no problem!” I spoke about how much I respect Mr. Marc & how much I have learned about leadership from Him & the deep love he has for the Lord & for the people of Haiti. Austin (another North American staff member) spoke about how Mr. Marc is like a father to so many people in Haiti, & how he is an incredible leader. The mark of a leader is the ability to duplicate oneself, & Mr. Marc has done a wonderful job leading up others & teaching them. Pastor Kenol prayed, & then it was time for cake!

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It had all the ingredients of a perfect Haitian party: Speeches were given, laughs were had, tears were shed, songs were sang, cake was eaten, & prayers were prayed.

I am thankful to call these people family. I am thankful for Mr. Marc & his leadership. He is a role model in his love for the Lord & his love for the people of Haiti. Happy Birthday Mr. Marc! Here’s to many, many more!

Urgent Need: Transition Home

Valued reader & friend, I wanted to share with you about an urgent need that we have here at Mission of Hope: Haiti. We have until the beginning of July to provide a solution for the Government of Haiti regarding the 21 orphans who are 18 years old and must legally age out of our orphanage. We have developed an initiative that will allow them to continue to go to high school and maintain our commitment to our family.

21 is not just a number. These are 21 people who we get the opportunity to SHOW them that we believe in them and their future and dreams. These are 21 friends who have personally impacted me and I am eager to see how the Lord uses them in this nation for His glory.

My prayer is that you might be able to support this initiative, or be willing to share it with someone who could.

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God has given Mission of Hope the opportunity to raise up a generation of young Haitian men and women to faithfully serve and follow the Lord, who will play a critical role in continuing to bring life transformation to this beautiful country.

According to Haitian law, no one over the age of 18 is allowed to reside in an orphanage. Sadly, there is no current system of support for those that are aging out of orphanages across the country, and most often these young men and women have to stop attending school because they no longer have a stable home and meal. We do not see this as an option for the kids in our family.

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There are currently 21 transition age kids living on campus.  The Haitian government has graciously given us an extension for those 21 young adults to stay until July 1, 2015.  Sending these kids out to the streets is simply not an option for us. We are committed to loving and supporting them through this new season of life, but also need to honor the Haitian law in the process.

We are working to raise $310,000 by May 1, 2015 so that we can start construction immediately to build a transition home for these 21 kids. We have a plan to build a place for them to call home while they complete their high school education, which includes supporting them with any continued education and continuing to invest in their spiritual formation as they learn advanced life skills needed to be a mature adult.

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These kids have dreams of leading this nation for Christ! Some dream of being business owners so that they can provide jobs for orphans. Others want to be lawyers to advocate for orphans, and some want to be pastors, worship leaders, doctors and so many other things. The common denominator is that they want to use their futures to change Haiti and to help other orphans and abandoned children like themselves.

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Please pray about partnering with us in this initiative, and let me know if there are any questions you have.

Click HERE to read a bit more about this project or click HERE for the direct link to donate to this transition home.