Not What I Expected – June Haiti Team Member

 A team from Florida and few from Colorado went to Haiti in June 2019 to serve at the Feminine Training Center and the Children’s Feeding Program. We will be sharing thoughts from various team members. 

This is a post from Tracey Golden. 

Haitian people are so loving and giving. I went to Haiti fully expecting poor people living on the ground eating unimaginable things just to survive. What I found was some of the nicest, sweetest and giving people. These wonderful people probably have not eaten in a few days, but they gladly would give up their last bit of food to help someone else. To me this makes them wealthy. Sure, they may have only a dress to wear to church, but you better believe they are going to the Lord’s house. They are going in there very best. After all, isn’t that what God deserves. Do we give our absolute best to God?

They hold fast to their faith and stand firm in that belief. These Christian Haitians know what is meant by pray without ceasing and they pray with a joyful heart. They know their answers are coming from God and they do not give up. I was amazed at these wonderful people. When they pray, they pray expecting God to work. They keep praying until they get their answer. And then they give God all the praise and thanks. You see them on their knees. And they stay kneeling before God. No five second prayer for them!

This trip put my life into perspective. I met people whose church meant being able to worship God, to know His splendor. People who were willing to give up what little they had to be a child of God. Often it meant giving up the family they depended on. They know the price of their belief and freely give that price. Having learned of just a few things that being a child of God meant for them made me look at my life differently.

What I expect from my life and what God expects of me, Him having given me this experience, we find in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Serve the Lord with a joyful heart. To love the Lord completely. And to study His word then follow where Jesus leads. Not to let this be the end of my experience but the beginning.

 

   

God has better plans for His ministry than I could ever dream up!

Marci and Bill Hoover are CWO missionaries working in Zambia. Here Marci tells of her passion and experiences working with the boys in the Deaf ministry.

We have now lived in Zambia for 17 years and we love the ministry the Lord has created here. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be working with Deaf boys in Zambia, I would have laughed heartily at the idea. I have never known a word of sign language, let alone a letter! Little did I know that God had already prepared the hearts of a group of Deaf boys that He would lead to us.

It all started when a sign language teacher approached us at a church in Wyoming during our furlough in November of 2017. He simply asked if we had any Deaf Nephews in our group. We stated that we did not and did not know any Deaf individuals in our area. He requested that we ask. So we did. All our Nephews quickly said they knew Edward, a 16-year-old Deaf boy in their area. We invited Edward to visit us along with a translator.

Edward came and said he and his Deaf friends from school would love to come to CWO. When I asked if the Deaf boys would be hesitant about interacting with us, he said, “No. They know Auntie Marci and Uncle Bill already!” When I asked how they could possibly know us, he replied, “For years we’ve watched the Nephews leave the township to go to CWO. We always felt left behind and wished we could come. But, we knew you couldn’t communicate with us.” I was in shock! They have literally been waiting to be invited!

Our Wyoming sign language teacher, Scott, then visited us and the boys and directed us on how to begin teaching them new English words and Zambian Sign Language. We have since hired a sign language translator and a teacher who is Deaf himself. Now the boys can participate in every program we run!

Most of the boys are malnourished and have therefore been added to our weekly nutrition program. The hearing Nephews have graciously included the Deaf in all of their activities and games and are even learning Zambian Sign Language themselves! This will help to create a more inclusive environment here and in the township for them.

I am learning so much from these young men and their teachers! I’m beginning to understand how very difficult it is to understand the Bible when your vocabulary is limited. As an example, all the boys learned to sign John 3:16 together. They were excited! When we could all sign it fluidly, I stopped and signed, “What does ‘believe’ mean?” They didn’t know. They knew the sign for believe, but not the meaning. “What does ‘eternal’ mean? Who is ‘the world’ referring to?” They did not know. After an hour of explaining the true meaning of the words, their eyes lit up as they suddenly understood why Jesus died for us! I cannot express the joy teacher Lombe, Mr. Chanda the translator, and I felt at that moment!

I am learning to trust that God has better plans for His ministry than I could ever dream up! Scott is now leading a team to work with us, the Deaf boys, and their school in August and we invite you to be a part of that or future annual teams. You do not need to know sign language to be effective! Just have a teachable heart and a desire to love….God takes care of the rest! For more information about our Deaf program, feel free to email us at cwozambia2@gmail.com.

Trip to Zambia – Working with the Nephews, Seeing God at Work

Julie Bohn reflects on her time in Zambia working with the Nephews.

My husband Steve got to know Bill and Marci Hoover when he was a Christian World Outreach (CWO) board member for six years. Ever since Marci found out I assess children’s learning needs, she has wanted me to come assess the Nephews. They started working with a new group of Nephews in January of 2018 so this seemed like the perfect year to go. The Lord provided the funds. Steve was able to come for the first week.

According to Marci, Steve and I provided her and Bill with a much-needed break from the day-to-day work and stress when we took them on a mini-vacation to Livingstone to go on safaris and see Victoria Falls. It gave them the opportunity to interact with someone from their home culture, which was refreshing and renewing; and allowed them to share their adoptive culture and family, which in turn renewed their joy and purpose in being in Zambia. We clicked with them as a couple right away. They would be people we would hang out with if they lived here. We had a blast together seeing the sights, laughing, and thanking the Lord for a very special time together.

I trained the staff with effective teaching skills. Here I am showing them how to lead the boys in cross body brain exercises to warm up the Nephew’s brains for learning prior to lessons. They are using the exercises with the boys.

I found the boys could read the English words but they did not know what they meant so I trained the staff in vocabulary development and how to develop comprehension questions for any reading passage. They have developed comprehension questions for this reading lesson.

We were able to bring over many teaching supplies including handwriting workbooks, magnetic letters, and math manipulatives and train the staff in how to use them. As a result, the staff was able to add a day of math lessons to their weekly schedule of growth opportunities. These activities encouraged them and expanded the work they are already doing.

I did learning assessments with the Nephews that helped the staff know the learning style and educational level of each young man, which, in turn, will help him learn more easily. The Nephews felt extremely important and of value to have someone work with them one-on-one, even if it was for testing! Two boys had ear issues diagnosed and treated that would have been overlooked. The parents felt truly grateful to have someone care this much about their sons and it connected them to CWO in Zambia on a deeper level than they had been in the past. The staff believes it caused the parents to take their son’s schooling more seriously.

Steve’s time playing board games with the boys spoke so much love to them and helped them practice their English and counting skills.

     

Steve’s time allowing them to read to him was also immeasurable – to have a MAN spend time with them teaches them that it is ok for men and fathers to interact with their children and to help boys read English.

  

The Lord provided the funds – some personal for the four-day trip for the four of us and the teaching supplies, some from donors – for the airfare to get to Zambia and back. The Lord provided the giftings – teaching for me and giving for my husband. We just followed Bill and Marci’s example of Deuteronomy 5:32, “So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left.” Bill and Marci have lived out this verse in the development of the ministry to the Nephews. Each step of the way they have sought the Lord and obeyed what He revealed to them. It was a joy and a blessing to spend time with them and their staff. It was very hard to leave the Nephews. We remain in contact with Bill and Marci and the staff.

We would love to see the impact of this trip continue and want to offer you an opportunity to be a part of it. In order for the lessons that the CWO Zambia team provides for the Nephews to have the greatest impact, the Nephews have to be in school. Each boy needs $150 to cover tuition fees, uniform, and all supplies. Our prayer is for each family to provide some amount towards the need, but it is typically very little due to their income being $2 per day. Would you consider helping one boy stay in school?  Click on the Donate button above and select Zambia, and then select Scholarships and School Fees. Thank you!

2018 Reflection

CWO Board Chair Larry Weeden shares a reflection on the many ways God worked through CWO in 2018. 

When we hear that Mary, a young graduate of CWO’s Village of Opportunity (VOO) training program in Burkina Faso, plans to move to Ivory Coast to set up a sewing shop and be a missionary, we know God is multiplying our efforts to spread hope, practical helps, and the Gospel throughout His world.

Mary’s story is just one example of the many ways God used the prayers and faithful giving of His people to enable Christian World Outreach to be His hands and feet in 2018. From the 25 graduates of the VOO program, to the new drip irrigation and chicken raising efforts in Burkina, to the 28 new brothers and sisters in the faith who decided to follow Christ at Haiti’s Great Discovery Camp in June, to the new work in Zambia educating deaf boys who might otherwise be outcasts in their society, and to the many orphans who are being raised and educated in their local communities in Zimbabwe, our Lord has been using CWO to meet practical needs and build His kingdom around the world.

As we continue to support this God-directed and God-blessed work, we can be confident that our gifts are put to use with the highest level of integrity. For the fourth consecutive year, CWO received the top four-star rating from Charity Navigator for strong financial health and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Even as we praise God for all that was accomplished in 2018, we know the needs continue to be great. There are more women to train in Haiti and Burkina Faso so they can contribute to the financial well-being of their families. There are more children to feed, clothe, and educate, and more orphans to care for in Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are more pastors to train in Haiti and Zimbabwe, too. And always, even as we provide these services and more, the Gospel is presented, the Bible is taught, and disciples of Jesus are made.

As we build on these successes and continue to meet these needs in 2019, we ask you to pray, to give, and to tell your friends about CWO. And if you feel the Lord prompting you to join in one of our short-term mission trips this year, listen! If He’s in it, He will provide the means, and you will enjoy one of the most-challenging but rewarding experiences of your life. See the website at cwomissions.org for dates and other details.

We look forward with excitement to what God will do through CWO in 2019, things that your support will make possible. Thank you for that support, and God bless you and those you love.

In Christ,

Larry Weeden
CWO Board Chair

“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.”