It is November 1979. Living in a foreign country can be lonely, especially when special holidays are approaching. It is so encouraging when I have visitors. My sister, Sharon and two friends, Melaina and Laura came to visit. It was so fun to show them this country and her beautiful people.
Learning a different language is not easy. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever learn it. I spend countless hours studying, memorizing and practicing. I wasn’t expecting this learning process to be so frustrating.
An unexpected ministry opened up, teaching phys ed to the female students at Quisqueya Christian School. Some of the students are missionary kids, some are children of the elite class. CWO realizes the need to minister to all classes, the poor and the wealthy. I am excited to develop a relationship with these young women.
I continue visiting the youth from our camps, traveling through cities to the winding roads up the mountains. It is humbling to visit our youth in their homes, huts with thatched roofs and shacks with tin roofs. They are excited that I would spend time with them. It is always a blessed experience for me. I long to learn their language, Creole, so I can really communicate.
This blog post is the second in a series of reflections from Karen Pasquariello, CWO’s first missionary in Haiti.
It is Sept 1979. At times I am overwhelmed by the endless needs of those around me. Living in the poorest county in the Western Hemisphere, is not easy. The needs and the heat beat the strength out of me. Today an elderly Haitian woman walked up to me. She had tears streaming down her face and was obviously in pain. She lifted her shirt and showed me her open wound. Her insides were pushing out through the opening. I drove her to the hospital and provided the money for her to see the doctor and for treatment.
Now it is 2016, 37 years later. As I reflect on that experience, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to serve as a missionary with CWO and for God’s word, “in as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me”
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.
“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.
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!
Hurricane Matthew was a slow-moving, powerful storm that hit Haiti hard this past week. As has been the case so many times before in Haiti, there is no shortage of need. From medical attention, clean water and food to clearing roads and re-building, recovery will likely be long and complicated. We grieve with those affected by the storm and pray that God will show Himself to those in need.
CWO has ministered in Haiti for more than 35 years. It’s important to note that we are not solely a relief organization. God has given us opportunities to work alongside our Haitian friends and bring Christ to many. Sometimes that takes the form of providing medical attention or rebuilding following disasters. And sometimes it is by providing education or a hot meal for a child. Whatever form it takes, we’re grateful for God’s provision, the relationships we’ve developed and the partnerships that have come from our time working in Haiti.
CWO specializes in making a difference in the lives we touch and in making a difference for eternity. If that means helping a partner organization with immediate needs after the hurricane, we will be there. Our vision is to be in Haiti for the long haul, through recovery, as people need to hear the Good News and if Haiti faces yet another disaster. We are committed to serving in Haiti and recognizing the tremendous potential of this place and its people. If you want to help support recovery efforts, you can give to CWO by clicking the DONATE button above and selecting Disaster Relief under the Haiti menu option.
Thank you for recognizing and supporting CWO’s unique and necessary role in not only helping with the recovery effort but in building a future for Haiti for now and eternity!
This year’s banquet is centered around the theme of teamwork. Team CWO consists of not only our staff and missionaries, but also our donors, prayer partners and all those who volunteer and help us get the word out about CWO. Team CWO is you!
Alassane and Dina Compaore will give us a first-hand update on all the ministries in Burkina Faso. They will tell us about the new class of Village of Opportunity students and the Mobile Clinic. And find out about the upcoming short-term trip in January 2017.
Jerry Schemmel has an amazing faith story and understands what it means to be part of a team. Whether he’s calling the action at the Colorado Rockies baseball games, cycling to raise money for his numerous interests or coaching, Jerry knows all about teamwork!
The details –
Friday, November, 4, 2016
Denver Marriott South at Park Meadows
6:00pm – Social Hour
7:00pm – Dinner & Program
Enjoy a casual tailgate-like meal, time to connect with other CWO team members and much more! Watch for RSVP information coming soon!
The CWO Children’s Feeding Program is helping to raise healthy children into healthy adults! Located at Delmas 31, the program is in a suburb area of Port-au-Prince. Children receive a hot meal three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Most children come from the Delmas 31 neighborhood but others will walk 2-3 kilometers. In addition to the hot meal, children learn to pray, and sing songs and are taught a life skill.
The following young people, who were part of the program when they were younger, have shared how the program helped them during their childhood:
Stanley Ria shared, “I used to go to school on an empty stomach but I was waiting for the school day to end so that I could go and eat on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the CWO Feeding Program. Those days were different since I could find a decent and sustaining meal three days per week. I have completed my high school and I am grateful for what CWO had done for me through the Feeding Program.”
Junior Paul told us, “The food that CWO used to provide for me as a child was very useful. I could not wait to the end of the school day so that I could go and eat at the Feeding Program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I am now thanking the supporters of the program. The food was good for me so much so that I now complete my high school. I want other children to benefit from the program as well.”
Torbeck Widlèmson said, “The Feeding Program is doing a lot of good for the children in the community. Thank you for the food you provided for me when I was a child. The meals gave a great start. I just completed my high school. Such fulfillment would not be possible without the meals I received at the CWO Feeding Program during my childhood.”
Peterson Aristil told us, “My brother and I are twins. We quit school at the 7th grade because our mother did not have the means to keep us in school. We were fed three times a week at the CWO Feeding Program. Now we are young men and we are fending for ourselves. I am doing taxi moto, transporting people on a motorcycle for pay. The same way the Feeding Program was good to me, it is also good to others like me.”
Thank you for helping CWO make a difference in the lives of so many!