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Haiti

VIM HAITI MISSION TRIP

ATLANTIC UMC – OCEAN CITY

NOVEMBER 12-19, 2011

After months of planning, fundraising and preparation the Atlantic UMC Haiti Team began its adventure in the wee hours of Saturday, November 12th. We left the church at 12:30 AM with eight members of Atlantic, and on our way to Reagan Airport, picked up Benita Harris (Associate Pastor, Asbury UMC, Salisbury) and Eric Bowman (Member, Asbury UMC, Arnold). Our travel to Port Au Prince was relatively uneventful.

 

Our team knew, in advance, that were assigned to a rural project in Arcahaie (ark-eye-aye) which is about an hour north of Port Au Prince. We were forewarned that we would be living with the extended family of the local pastor and that we should expect very basic accommodations. I am not sure we fully understood the ramifications of words like “latrine” and “bucket shower” but we quickly learned and adapted to our somewhat rustic lifestyle. The family we met were wonderful and kept us well fed and taken care of throughout our five days in Arcahaie. We came to very much appreciate being in this very real environment versus staying at a guest house as we experienced the true Haitian situation and culture.

 

Our work assignments involved both construction and a Vacation Bible School setting. The local Methodist Church had been rebuilt but they were adding a kitchen, storage and generator rooms in order to better serve the church and local community. The team members who worked in this spent most of our time moving cement blocks, carrying cement, moving boulders for foundations and digging where needed and assisting the Haitian work crew as much as we could. Each day the temperature exceeded ninety degrees, with heat indexes near one hundred, so we had to be cautious and stay hydrated. We were very gratified, that after our time there, we left with the walls of all of the buildings up

 

Inside the church several team members interacted with about fifty children, ages six months to sixteen years, doing games, crafts, sing-alongs, and providing lots of love to the kids. It was a difficult task because most of the children have very little and we found a definite “survival of the fittest” mentality. By the end of the week we were able to get most of them to share their toys and the overall experience was wonderful.

 

A highlight of our week was a church service on Thursday evening, during which team member Benita was asked to deliver the sermon, and the church was filled with the families and children we interacted with during the week. We found it very difficult to say goodbye to many of our new friends in Arcahaie when we departed on Friday but we felt gratified that God sent us there and that we were able to help.

 

As we traveled through Port Au Prince and the countryside we became aware that some rebuilding is definitely taking place. However, the plight of the average Haitian remains difficult. We have come to admire the strength and courage of the Haitian people who do everything they can to provide for their families. Their hope in the future certainly was an encouragement to our team to work hard and to potentially return again.

 

Bill Jones

Team Leader

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Nicaragua 2011

Nicaragua 2011

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Costa Rica Feb. 2011

Gil Hoffman is leading another Costa Rica Team. Here is a message from Gil and some pictures. Two of the pictures are included above. They are before and after.

Here are photos of the house in Los Chiles that we worked on this past week. The first bunch are of the house being replaced, mother, six children and one grandchild 3 weeks old living in the old house. The foundation was done by a team from Pennsylvania in January and we were able to frame, paint and finish the house.

We just thought that we would share some before and after photos. The photos really don’t show the impact on the family, the community, the church, nor the people that participated in the construction.

There are four more shelters that are #1 priority, we return on July 14th.

Gil

Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words

St Francis of Assisi

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Conference Trip to Haiti

When one is blessed with the opportunity to serve on a mission team there are typically a great many memories that you live with for a long time if not a lifetime. My memory of several Haitian children, staring at our team with great amounts of inquisitiveness and wonder, while we moved gravel, mixed concrete and generally tried to survive several days with heat indexes of up to 105 degrees, will always be with me. It is especially engrained in my thoughts that many of them would rub their tummies, put their hands to their mouths, or point at near empty water bottles to indicate they were hungry or thirsty and we had little to share with them. But the happy memory will be that they laughed when we tried to be funny, or poked them in the belly, showed them digital pictures of themselves and just simply smiled at them or gave them a hug.

This is one of the memories of the eight members of the Peninsula-Haiti Mission Team that went to Haiti on October 9, 2010 for several days reconstructing a church that had been destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake. The eight team members: Mike Bockart, Pastor Beth Mallozzi, Calvin Peacock, Stephanie Manos, Penny MacLennan, Marie Van Der Wall, Pastor Benita Harris and me represented six separate churches in the Conference. Four from Delaware and four from Maryland we were a team with significant amounts of past mission experience trying to do a small part in helping the Haitian people and also to gain specific Haiti experience so we could take later teams there to help.

We flew into Port Au Prince and stayed one night in the Methodist Guest House before traveling two hours southwest to another guest house in Pettit Goave. From here we went daily to the church site at Fond Daux and spent our hours moving gravel and sand, mixing concrete, and generally functioning as “go-fers” for a couple of skilled Haitian masons and their helpers who laid block. It was a joy to see the walls of the church going up, to see the walls of the cistern completed and to be able to interact with the Haitian construction crew that was being paid partially by the $3500 contribution that was raised through various conference sources and matched by UMCOR. While our team had to be very careful in the extreme heat I believe I can say we all came away from this project feeling confident that later teams will finish the job and that soon the community would once again be able to worship in their church.

For those that might wonder the situation in Haiti is certainly bad. It will take years for the houses to be repaired so people can move out of their tent cities. There is almost no infrastructure so trash collection and sanitation is non-existent and the recent Cholera outbreak reflects the desperation of this condition. But we did see a ray of hope in that the people seem resilient, hopeful and faithful for the most part. Perhaps because they had so little to lose they seem to have recovered as well as can be expected and are certainly surviving. Because of the great need I am personally hopeful that many churches in this conference will sponsor teams to go to Haiti in the next year. There are certainly many places in our country and world that need help but I personally can’t imagine any need being greater than in Haiti.

Blessings,

Bill Jones
Team Leader
Pen-Del Haiti Conference Team

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Linda’s Poem

Today is Friday and it is our Sabbath day. The work is done, and today we rest and enjoy the area. Tomorrow we travel home.

At our final devotions this morning, Linda shared this poem she wrote:

You Church People

You people left home as a team on a mission

You people who God teaches what is best for you

You people filled with joy and peace as you trust Him

You people who dumped your love of Jesus on a tiny town

You people that know the testing of faith develops perseverance

You people that painted a widow’s house from top to bottom with the face of Jesus

You people the righteous and the wise knowing what they do and what they are is in the hands of God

You people who shared stitches of joy

You people who built a deck that leads to a river of love

You people who know that there is a time for everything and a season for everything under heaven

You people who came as a team, the hands and feet of Jesus, who will return home a family touched by God!

Thank you God.

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Ashley Reflects on VIM in Kingfield Maine

I have learned so much on this trip. I remember last year everyone was all excited and different and happy after the trip, so I thought that I would come and see what happens. I cam to Kingfield, Maine expecting to have a good time, but instead I had a life-altering experience.

I watched what God does in this world. I have noticed that less “thing” bring out more care in this area. People don’t have all of the material things, but they have huge hearts. Everyone here is so welcoming and I was surprised at the amount of smiles and waves I got from people. I never get that at home. At least not real smiles and real waves.

Being here has made me appreciate the small things in life that make it wonderful. I love this area and I have learned to love God even more than I thought possible. This is an absolutely wonderful and life changing experience.

I am so happy I came. I have formed a bond that did not exist before with 19 people that I now love and trust. Being here and finding God in a new way has changed me.

God bless
Ashley Lacilla July 2010

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God Moments from Kingfield Maine July 2010

I recorded several days of the God moments we shared during devotions… enjoy..Pastor Amy

God moments:
Monday: …saw God at the job site, watching everybody working.
…felt God’s power when I had the huge hammer in hand while tearing out the old porch….
…finding peace by listening to God and doing it…
…after working all day, going swimming in the river and finding peace sitting in the river letting it flow by and over me…
…saw God in Thelma’s face coming back from lunch and seeing Thelma and Mikki and Sonya sitting and happy…
…the simplicity of the town and the people, reminiscent of Chesapeake City and Cecilton 40-50 years ago. Feeling God in the simplicity, the stores without air conditioning are like days gone by…
…this town makes you feel at home…
…see amazing people all around- who else but God could bring this all together?…
…can see the Holy Spirit in the people…can feel it…
…being out of the rat race…which we all long for…
…met a man who goes to Florida every year and we stood and talked a while… this evening I talked to neighbors on his porch and he said “it sure is nice to see you folks come here on a regular basis”…
…work well done..pain scraped, caulked, limbs and brush cleared out, primer painted on, roof over doorway worked on…
…Doug volunteering to lead a second project to replace a front porch…
…11 year old Dakota coming out to join in the work of the front porch of his home all geared up and excited to work…
…feel God in the warm welcome of the team- didn’t know most folks before coming…
….discovered miracle water in the river that washed paint off of skin and clothes…
Tuesday
Scripture Romans 15:13 and Romans 5:3
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit
…joy in good friends today…
…rain falling on us was joyful…
…dancing in the rain…
..praise from Sue for painting made me fell like I had accomplished something…
…felt joy in Dakota helping al day, showing his furs and bee bee gun…
…at Thelma’s when she said “I missed you today” because I was at the other site- felt welcomed…
…could see joy in Thelma’s face…
…felt like in the sewing project we passed a torch to Ashley…not many people know how to sew…Mikki and Barb K. showed her how to sew curtains…
…delightful day of groups working all over the site…
…meeting Simone, Leslie, and Dakota and second site, enjoyed talking with them…
…calling Doug to lead the porch building team in Strong…good leader…
…got a lot of work done despite taking breaks…
…Thelma prayed this team from our church would come again and God answered her prayer…
Wednesday
Scripture James 1:2-5
…finding joy in life by serving…
…lost wedding ring 3 weeks ago…today while folding clothes when I reached the final garment I looked down and it was sitting on my knee….
…Thelma sitting smiling during music time after the pot luck supper. She enjoyed Danny and Sue leading music and it showed on her face…
…Linda went with Sonya to the dump and began talking with a man who recognized them as you church people..said “its so great that you come up here”…Linda asked if they could pray for him..he shared he has prostate cancer and hasn’t told anyone yet…he raised his hands as they prayed with him… as he walked away from them he said aloud “wow!”… they returned later to give him a cross and he was thrilled they were back…
…woman at the dump who is very impressed with all the people who come up here to work…
…they stopped at the store and met a woman collecting pictures of military personnel and learned her husband is deployed…they prayed with her for her husband and she had tears in her eyes
…we’ve gained a lot family in Thelma, Dakota, Simone, and Leslie…really awesome…
…amazing how quickly we can make friends family…
Thursday
Eccl 9:1-4
…Jess celebrating her birthday with us…feeling grateful that we made it a special day…
…seeing Thelma in her chair, looking at her finished house with tears of joy saying how she is so proud of her house…
…seeing Bridgette come down off of the ladder for the last time…
…getting the pick up stuck in the soft shoulder and getting out again…
…seeing Peter and his daughter at dinner, what a joy to have them with us…
…watching relationships grow among us..
…voluntary suffering of our team members, following the cross of Christ, and pouring out selves completely to finish a job, especially Rick…
…laughing deeply and crying deeply together this week…
…the clearest water I’ve ever swam in that wasn’t a swimming pool … in Strong with Dakota he was proud to have his friends there…
…went out for lunch with Dakota and Simone to the White Elephant..they said it was the best place in town…nice to eat together like a family… Dakota and Simone shared an Elephant burger: 2 pound burger…
Friday
Scripture Eccl 3:1
…relationships have their seasons…
…you can go back again!…this was just as good as last year…
…you can get by with a little help from your friends…
…image of grace in the river… can walk beside a river or let it carry you…
…Sue, Gina, and Andrew going out and buying perennials for Thelma and planting them in her garden…tried to find a replacement cement Jesus statue without success…seeing them on their Sabbath day continue to give of themselves…and to hear how pleased Thelma was by their gift

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