Thoughts from CWO’s First Missionary – Part 1

Karen Pasquariello was CWO’s first missionary living in Haiti from 1979 to 1981 and then again for a time in 1982. She recently shared her words and photos of that special time learning about Haiti and sharing about Jesus. We’re grateful to be able to share this multi-part blog post from Karen.

It was August 1979, I was sitting on a mountainside in Haiti. I could see the capital, Port-au-Prince, the azure blue Caribbean in the distance and miles of mountains.  Someone once said of Haiti, “behind mountains are more mountains.”  I went to the mountains to escape the hustle and bustle and blistering heat of the city. I took with me my Creole book so I could study the language.  Then they came. At first, they peeked around the bushes, one child after another, curious about this blonde, female blanc (white person).  Their clothes were torn, one little girl had a man’s shirt on, hanging in shreds.  One had the reddish hair of malnutrition. A little girl was scared, but she cautiously stepped closer and before long crawled onto my lap.  They laughed as I practiced my Creole with them.  It was a tender memory. I remember the wise words of Dean Yoder. He once told me when you look at the children and no longer feel compassion, it is time to leave.  I am thankful that compassion continues to dwell in me to this day.

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“Killer hurricane with 50 foot waves sweeps the island of Haiti … Worst hurricane in a century!” This was the news forecast in the U.S. My family and friends didn’t know if I was dead or alive.

Raised in PA, we didn’t have hurricanes. The Haitian house I lived in was very open so I stayed with friends. We listened to the radio, tracking the storm, huddled in one room surrounded by supplies of food, water, blankets, and mattresses for protection in case the roof was torn off.

In the midst of a raging storm, what thoughts go through one’s head? Will we be hit? What about the Haitians who live in thatched roof huts and houses on stilts? How will they survive?  I was surprised by the peace I felt.  My parents were back in PA praying for the survival of their daughter.  They couldn’t reach me by phone and feared the worse.  But then my mother, as she prayed, had the same peace I was feeling.  She said to my dad, “God sent her to Haiti, there is no safer place for her to be than in the center of Gods will.” Hurricane David steered away from our little island, we escaped the devastation of a direct hit.  Thank you Lord!

God, the giver of peace, even in the eye of the storm.

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Team CWO Scored Big at this Year’s Banquet!

This year’s banquet was filled with team spirit and excitement around ministry!  Guests enjoyed popcorn, lemonade and a fun game informing them about the four countries where CWO works. As has become our tradition, Haitian vanilla was available for purchase. Brand new CWO shirts were available for sale, all featuring the new CWO logo. (Go to our Current Campaigns page to shop for your CWO team shirt!)  A tasty tailgate-like buffet meal gave guests an opportunity to visit over dinner. Donated sports items, like a Broncos jacket and Rockies tickets, were given out during a drawing from guests who participated in the CWO game during the social hour. Following an invocation by Torrey House from Creekside Church, an introduction to the ministry in Burkina Faso kicked off the program. Alassane and Dina Compaore spoke about how both the Village of Opportunity and Mobile Clinic are growing and how grateful they are for Team CWO. Greg Yoder, CWO President, gave an update on ministries in Haiti, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The highlight of the evening was when Jerry Schemmel gave a powerful, mission-focused testimonial to end the evening. CWO is grateful for the approximate $60,000 in donations and pledges we received at the banquet.

Whether all-stars or game-changing rookies, everyone is a member of God’s team and a vital part of Team CWO!

As we enter into 2017 we look forward to more opportunities to win over others for God’s team and working together in ministry. Thank you for supporting CWO through prayer, volunteering, advocating and financially supporting our work. We look forward to making 2017 a championship year!