“Yeah, right … “

Sarah shares how her life has been transformed by her time in Haiti, what a blessing she is to so many!

If you would have told me 4 years ago that I would have the passion and love for Haiti that I do today, I would have laughed and said “yeah right”. But thanks to the short term missions trips I have been on with CWO, my passion for Haiti is immense. My first trip to Haiti was a very rough experience. I had panic attacks every single night and was convinced I was not going to make it back to America. After that trip I had come to the conclusion that I would never go back to Haiti.  One year later I had the realization that my panic attacks were caused by spiritual warfare and I did not want the devil to win. So, I decided to go back to Haiti and my life hasn’t been the same since. I have gone every summer after that and loved every second of it. God has shown me a love and passion for Haiti that has grown into me wanting to eventually move there and work with kids who are deaf.

This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at the Pignon Christian Center for the Deaf in LeJeune, a small village close to Pignon. The deaf community is not very accepted in Haiti and rarely get an education. The school is a place that provides the children with language and a community where they are loved and accepted. To be a part of that was one of the greatest blessings of my life. God really moved me during my time at the school. He showed me a lot about His character and His love for those who are so often forgotten. One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was getting to watch the kids pray and going to church with them. They do not pray in their heads like we so often do rather they visually express their prayers through sign language. Getting to see their hearts and their faith through their prayers never failed to make me cry. Going to church with them was also a great experience. They could not hear the service yet they were so excited to be in a place where they could praise God. There really is no valley too low, no distance too far, nor any hearing impairment that can separate us from God.

If I hadn’t had the support and encouragement from Greg Yoder, the President of CWO, my family, and CWO to go back to Haiti after such a hard first trip I would have never gotten to experience the true beauty of Haiti. God knew that He had something special planned for me in Haiti. He pursued me and guided me to a place that has captured my heart. The way that I feel God’s presence in Haiti is incredible and my heart finds joy when I’m there. I am so excited to continue going on trips to Haiti with CWO and hopefully move there in the future. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16

   

An Art-full Way to Give!

CWO friend Jay Norris shares her heart for CWO –

My husband and I have known Greg (CWO President) and Laura Yoder for nearly 15 years and we couldn’t be more supportive of the CWO ministry.  We attended the same church for several years and two of our sons went to Haiti with CWO along with some of our friends.  We love how CWO not only meet the physical needs of men, women and children around the world, but how they make it a priority to share the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is presented from the Bible. We also appreciate the Feminine Training Center that teaches women skills that can help them support their families. One way we have chosen to help out with CWO is to donate a percentage of some of the acrylic paintings that I have for sale.  I specialize in paintings of Colorado and Castle Rock, but also paint other beautiful places as well.

One of my greatest joys in life has been learning how to paint with acrylics. I began painting 14 years ago, and after hanging paintings on my walls and giving some to friends and family, I realized I could also use my art skills to help raise funds for missionary friends and organizations. Each year I donate a few paintings to fundraisers.  Recently my husband suggested that when I participate in art festivals I could designate a painting to a specific ministry and if it sells donate the money earned to that organization. Presently I have several paintings for sale at the Miyo Café in Happy Canyon Shopping Center in Castle Rock.  I chose a few paintings to donate to some mission organizations if sold.  We put the names of all my paintings in a hat and did the same with some mission groups and matched them up.

It’s an honor to support CWO in this way!

It’s Not All About Going

 

Many of us feel God’s nudging to GO on a short-term mission’s trip. Seeing ministry in action, engaging with a new culture of people, learning how God is working and sharing Jesus with others can be incredibly exciting. Sign me up! But, what about those of us who don’t get that nudge, who don’t feel the need to go? Is a short-terms mission’s trip out of the question? Absolutely not.

It takes more than the go’ers for short-term mission’s trips to be successful.

TELL – Advocating for a team or team member is vital to gathering a community of supporters to send a team. Family members, pastors, church mission’s committees and friends are often more than willing to tell others about your trip and surround you with prayer and financial support. Those who share the message of missions help extend the great commission while being a huge blessing to the team.

SEND – The senders mobilize the team by giving financially and helping to raise funds beyond even their own contributions. They think-outside-the-box for ideas to raise financial support for the team and see a vision to send and support.

PRAY – Arguably the most important part of any team is ongoing prayer. An army of prayer warriors around your team plays a vital role in asking God to prepare the team, keep the team safe, further the mission and share the joy of Jesus.

We can all do our part to open up God’s Kingdom to people around the world by going, telling, sending and praying!

If you would like to be part of a short-term mission team in any capacity, contact us at information@cwomissions.org.

 

Joys & Challenges of Serving in Zimbabwe

Our National Director in Zimbabwe, Onias Tapera, recently shared with us the joys and challenges of serving in Zimbabwe. We’re thankful for his heart for ministry, devotion, hard work and desire to do God’s work every day with all who he meets! 

The Joys:

Serving in Zimbabwe is very exciting and fulfilling, knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of pastors, children and communities in general.   The joy comes from knowing that we are touching lives for eternity.  The pastors are open, ready and hungry to learn God’s word.  They have a genuine desire to grow in their own faith and leadership journey and also to disciple their congregations.  In our follow-up seminars pastors have testified that they seek to implement the teachings we provide in their communities.

The children we serve are a group of those who are vulnerable and marginalized.  We feel our ministry is serving as the hands and feet of Jesus, serving these least ones.  It is joy to see the children come to Christ, grow in their self-esteem and learn some life skills from the negativity they’ve seen in their journey of life.  Some children who have graduated from college would not even have completed primary school if it were not for the help we have provided.  We are so overjoyed that these children have been empowered for life.

Another component of joy comes from serving in a country that allows us the freedom to witness for Christ without religious persecution.

Challenges:

Some challenges we face in serving in Zimbabwe could be turned into opportunities to reach out to more people as the demand always exceeds our capacity and resources.  There is always a demand to provide more training for pastors and to reach more needy children.  However, our financial resources and our capacity are limited. Thus, I feel like we have to do more with less.  Second, another challenge we face is the unpredictable political situation in the country, which affects the political stability in our environment.   Third, although it is joy to serve the children, this part of ministry tends to go unappreciated by the beneficiaries.  Forth, the ministry is very demanding, and because of that we tend to have no time for self-care and spiritual renewal.

            

 

“God allowed me to be here.”

Would you have the time or the desire to take on a full-time job in addition to your current job? It would require passion, stamina, devotion and support. That’s exactly what pastors and leaders in Haiti are doing, working full-time jobs to support their families while pastoring their churches without pay.  Most churches in Haiti don’t have the money to pay their pastors. Yet, these pastors continue to honor God’s calling for this important work!

The CWO annual Leadership Training took place earlier this month. Pastors and leaders from the eight CWO churches gathered on January 2-6 for Bible teaching, encouragement and sharing.

Pastors and leaders took time from their busy schedules to attend and many had to ask for this time off from their employer. They traveled to the camp in Pignon on very rough roads, through rivers and over mountains. After an exhausting day of travel, they were still excited to gather together for a time of learning, good food, encouragement and rest.

Pastor Harlan from Texas and Pastor Telfort from Port-au-Prince taught. on spiritual healthiness and Revelation. They did a great job of using God’s Word to help the leaders understand that to be a healthy church you need healthy people and to have healthy people you need a healthy leader.

Here are some of the comments shared by some of the pastors and leaders —

“As a leader we are always giving of ourselves and the conference is a place where we can receive as a river receives water from its source.”

“The conference is a time for me to grow so that we can have a healthy church. The teaching we receive is something that we can take back to our churches and pass along what we have learned.”

“God allowed me to be here. It was not until January 1 did my boss give me permission to have the time off.  The teaching I receive complements and reassures us that what we have taught is correct. It gives us confidence in sharing the Gospel and influencing others.”

“I almost gave up my ministry this past year. We as pastors and leaders in the church carry a heavy burden.  People come to pastors for all their needs – spiritual, social, economic, etc. This conference is a time where we can refresh and receive what we need to continue ministry.”

Some spoke of the challenges of this past year with some feeling attacked even from within their church, not unlike some pastors in the US.  These pastors and leaders work hard to follow through on God’s calling for them to teach their churches, but they also must work full time jobs to provide for their families.

We are grateful for this ministry that benefits pastors, leaders and churches by providing a time for refreshment, encouragement and healing.

Pray that these pastors continue to work toward the greater goal of leading people in Haiti to Christ with stamina, passion and leadership!

Dreaming of a “White Christmas”

Here are the reflections of an American missionary who served in Haiti and how he learned the real meaning of a “White Christmas.”

“In 1980 Christmas music filled the streets as my fourteen-year-old daughter and I sat quietly on our motorcycle.  We were waiting for a fellow missionary to keep a scheduled appointment.  As we waited, above the street sounds came the clear voice of Bing Crosby. Big black loudspeakers kept playing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”

People thronged the downtown street. More than one million black people live in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Except for the voice of Bing Crosby, the sights and sounds of the street were strange to us since we had lived in this culture for only nine months.

While waiting for our friends to arrive, a Haitian woman took a complete bath in a two foot round pothole in the busy street stepping aside when cars and motor cycles passed by. She finished bathing by cupping her hands and taking a mount full of water. She then cleaned her teeth with her index finger and walked to a parked truck and fixed her hair while looking in the outside rear-view mirror. 

I felt helpless and homesick for Oregon as we sat in the middle of such poverty. Very few people spoke English. So why were they playing Bing Crosby and this American Christmas song? These sights and sounds did not seem to be connected, yet they were!

December in Haiti is hot and toward the end of the dry season. The busy road in front of our rented house was gravel and dust. In our home we also often sang, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”, but it never referred to snow. White dust covered our trees, bushes and the inside of our home. You see, two sides of our house were open concrete blocks without screens or windows.  Every night the neighbor’s cats would leave foot prints on our tables, counter tops and bookshelves – white, dusty paw prints. You could write your name in the white Christmas dust twenty minutes after cleaning a table. Even with a full-time housekeeper it was impossible to keep the house free of this white dust.

Every December, we heard Haitian radio stations play Bing’s hit, “White Christmas”. We listened as Creole-speaking people attempted to sing along. Finally, after six years living in Haiti, we learned the reason for the great popularity of “White Christmas.”

A street fellow was washing the car of our American friend.  As he worked, he sang along with Bing. Our friend asked a series of simple questions but good questions.

“Do you understand the words to that song?”

“Oh, yes!” was his reply.

“When did you see snow?” my friend asked.

“Sir, I don’t know about snow but I do understand the song.”

“So, what does the song mean to you?”

“It means that I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.  A Christmas with a house, food, a bed and presents to give to my family. I’m dreaming of a Christmas like white people have. Everyone in Haiti understands the words of this song.”

When I heard his explanation, my mind began to race back over the preceding six years. Dozens of times I had heard Bing Crosby and observed Haitians enjoying his music, we sang along with Bing too. Now I knew what the 25-year-old woman was thinking as she took a bath and sang in the middle of a street. She was singing of a Christmas most white people enjoy.”

Why Not?!

Dick Dill — Pastor, Past CWO Board Member, Traveler to Haiti, Short-term Team Member, Advocate for CWO, Teacher for Leadership Development in Haiti, Feeder of Children — reflects on his involvement with CWO over the last 40 years. CWO is grateful for people like Dick who continually help CWO make a difference!

In 1979 I was putting together a short-term mission team for a Project Serve trip to Lima, Peru. The team wasn’t coming together when Dean Yoder, my Youth for Christ Regional Field Director and friend, invited us to join his team headed for Haiti. Having never been out of the country, I thought “why not?” That trip changed my perspective on the world and my life.

It was July 16th when we arrived (my birthday) and 120 degrees on the airport tarmac. The heat percolated the aromas of tar, charcoal and rotting trash. My first reaction was “what have I gotten into?” Then I met the beautiful, gracious and welcoming people of Haiti, who immediately and forever found their way into my heart and life. We worked, we worshipped, we prayed and we experienced God’s great grace together. After our final service at a church where we had done a VBS and painted the interior, a tiny Haitian woman, probably a deaconess, gently but firmly led each member of our team into a small room where they had COLD Coke and some cookies for us. Here we had come to serve and now we were being served!

Over the years, with some breaks, I have returned to Haiti more than 20 times, most recently as part of pastor teaching teams. In that time, my heart was knit to that of Papa Dean, Mama Ellen and their Haitian, African & American families. I was also privileged to serve on the CWO Board for many years. I was inspired by CWO to establish a satellite of Kids Against Hunger, now working with Harvest Pack, to feed starving people in the third world.

I have not met finer, more loving, dedicated people in all my years as a pastor. Christian World Outreach intentionally and lovingly continues to make a difference for the Kingdom of Christ. I have full confidence that the next 40 years will bring more and more of the same, should Christ tarry.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of those who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

In Christ,

Dick Dill

Never a dull moment in the life of a missionary in Haiti

Karen Pasquariello continues sharing her journey of her life as a CWO missionary in Haiti in the early 1980’s. 

It’s been a busy summer.  The ministry of CWO reaches throughout the entire country of Haiti.

We had our youth camp and leadership training in Montrouis at a primitive camp on the ocean.  After the camp I will continue working with the leadership and disciple the 6 women from various Haitian churches.

In Croix Des Bouquets, CWO had a medical team work at a village clinic in the isolated countryside.

In Cazeau we sent a CWO team to paint and put a roof on a mission house.

We opened our beautiful office in Port Au Prince where we can hold leadership meetings, rallies, educational seminars, develop youth programs and follow up on the literacy program.

I had the opportunity to visit a friend’s wedding on the Isla of Gonaive.  The 2 hour boat trip over the deep blue ocean on a rickety, local sail boat was a bit exciting. I visited a hospital in Bonne Fin and observed major surgery.

We worked at an orphanage in Carrefour.

The eye of hurricane Allen reached 180 mph winds and it passed 70 miles south from where I lived.  We did hurricane relief work in the mountains of Fermathe and transported a very sick Haitian woman to the hospital.

I was attacked by the only monkey on the entire island.  So far, no problems, just a bite on my leg and some bruises.

Never a dull moment in the life of a missionary in Haiti.

              

Lessons from the Lord

CWO’s first missionary, Karen Pasquariello, continues with this post from her journal writings from July 1980.

This month marks my first year in Haiti.  When I reflect on this last year, I realize two of the major lessons I have learned are reliance on God and the importance of having a positive attitude.

During the last few months I have experienced physical tiredness as never before.  Living in a rather primitive culture, it is impossible to accomplish much by phone or letter as in the states, therefore, my days are often spent going from place to place and person to person. Going alone may mean several hours a day in the Jeep, driving on rugged roads or hiking over the mountains to visit our Haitian youth in their primitive homes.

I have experienced the truth of Isaiah 40:31 “yet, they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will mount up with wings of Eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” I am thankful to the Lord for His strength.

Living in a culture that is surrounded by disease, poverty, despair, it is easy to feel hopeless and to sink into a complaining trap.  Then one day I realized the more I complained, the easier it was to find more to complain about, which led to a negative attitude. Luke 7:45b says, “whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.”  That truth helped me to tackle one problem, one day at a time, changing my attitude.

I am grateful to the Lord for the life lessons He teaches me.

      

What are you waiting for?

The Geremia family traveled to LaVictoire, Haiti in July to help with VBS at the local CWO church. Here Laura Geremia shares her thoughts about the trip that changed her family’s lives forever. 

LaVictoire, Haiti: Summer 2017

What are you waiting for?  Upon our return this past July from LaVictoire Haiti, that is the question I asked myself.   One of my lifelong dreams came true this summer through Christian World Outreach as my husband and three teenage boys left from Orlando, Florida for LaVictoire, Haiti.  A team of 5, plus a man name Greg Yoder, and his daughter Sarah, both of whom we had never met were embarking on a mission to lead and teach Vacation Bible School and feed over 500 children every day for a week.  What would you guess was the theme for the week?  FAITH!  But, of course!  In fact, Greg almost cancelled the trip a couple of times due to our inexperience and the size of our team.  Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t question HIS “team” of little size and little experience that he commissioned to preach the Gospel to the entire world. Thankfully, Greg exercised his Faith in his Heavenly Father to accomplish this feat with us.

I can still hear all of the children singing to the top of their lungs the “Hallelujah – Praise Ye the Lord” song as well as “The Lord’s Army”.  Each day there was a memory verse that all 500 kids would memorize before we broke out into classrooms for the lesson on faith.  Simply amazing was their love and appreciation for the scriptures!  As the children rushed and crammed into the small, dirty little rooms, we wiped the sweat from our brow and began teaching the scriptures to kids who were like sponges soaking it all in and cherishing every word as if it were the disciples speaking to the crowds 2,000 years ago.

Feeding the children after the Bible lesson was both an invaluable and humbling experience for our family.  As my sons served the plates of food and grabbed the little hands of those that were too small to carry their own; I held back the tears as my children were learning lessons on compassion, servanthood and love that are priceless.  For most of the children, that was their only meal for the day.  Did we leave the afternoon feeling defeated and sad?  Absolutely not!  Now, who was teaching who about faith?  What is faith?  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  I thought I had faith.  I thought I was going to teach the Haitian children what faith was and how to have it.  They taught me.  You see, as American Christians, we always want to be saved from trials, tribulations and turmoil and we treat our Heavenly Father like a cosmic fairy godfather waiting for HIM to wave his wand to get us out of trouble. The people of Haiti, who don’t even know what they are “missing out on” are not waiting to be saved FROM something but are confidently and patiently waiting to be saved TO someone!  LaVictoire is a small, poor, forgotten mountain village full of hope, faith and confidence in what is YET TO COME!

Our lives are forever changed because of this trip over an ocean and into the mountains with a young pilot and a prop plane landing in a grass field to see eyes full of FAITH and HOPE.

So, I’ll ask again:  What are you waiting for?  Are you waiting to be saved from your life that isn’t what you want it to be or thought you deserved or are you waiting to be saved to Jesus?