A Heavy Yet Soaring Heart for Haiti

Becky was part of the June team that served in Haiti this summer. Here is her reflection from her time spent with the Haitian people. 

I left a piece of my heart in Haiti, yet my heart feels heavier. Heavy with the burden the Haitian people bear in poverty and neglect. Heavily burdened with the lack of jobs and food and the lack of funds provided to them so desperately needed, by their government. (True needs) My heart is heavy for the lost in Haiti. My heart is heavy because I can’t do more. Yet my heart truly soars at the inspiration they give me. My heart soars at the gentle kindness displayed and the genuine faith in Jesus exhibited, at the acceptance and love they showered us with. At the sacrifices they made just by having us there. Along with understanding the power of God and His love for them, they also understand the presence of evil that surrounds them, and it does not surprise them.

Oh, that we would be that mindful. Going to Haiti taught me many things about the needs of others and the needs in my own heart. It taught me about selfishness and not even recognizing it, about genuine laughter without hesitation, about giving sacrificially without second guessing. My biggest lesson is what do I do now? I take notice of my surroundings and see how I can further the gospel around me where I am right now. How I can build in to the lives of others with what God has taught me, without feeling unworthy and how I can be a loving example to all those around me.

My prayer life will be forever changed by the example of the Haitian people. My praises and thankfulness will be at the forefront of my mind, not forgetting what God has done, is doing now and will do in the future of Haiti, my life, my team’s life and our church. Thank you God, for loving me so much, you sent me to Haiti.

    

I will always look at things differently now

Pastor Ted Dudak from Lighthouse Bible Church in Palm Coast, Florida was part of the early June team that went to Haiti with CWO. He reflects here on the impact the trip had on him and his ministry.

So many things have changed since our trip to Haiti. Not sure where to begin, or even how to end. But one thing I do know, and that is I will always look at things differently now. Seeing what we witnessed in Haiti taught me a lot about myself, my heart, my priorities, my walk with Christ, my faith, my concern and love for others, and even my ministry. This trip was really never about us, or even about the Haitian people; it was all for His glory, and to make HIS love and power known. Did we get anything out of it? Of course, we did (Romans 8:28).

Getting to know these beautiful people taught me so many things. Things I will never forget, and also changes I need to make. Learning from someone who has nothing speaks volumes to me. And for that I’m forever grateful. They were extremely grateful and thankful because they said we were a blessing to them. I think it was the other way around. Thank you, Lord, for calling me to Haiti. Thank you for showing me things I never would have seen and witnessed if You had not called me there.

 

                

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.

 

   

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

   

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.

 

“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!

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.

              

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?