With its high heat and humidity, Haiti is not an ideal place to visit during the summer months. But, for the sake of our spiritual ministry, a hardy intergenerational group from Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee and Town North Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Richardson, TX sacrificed their comfort for a week of work with us and some of the local churches near our clinic. The Eastbrook Church team consisted of Geri Koterman, team leader, and the Riebe family – Alan and Katherine and their teenage children Josh and Charis, all of whom visited here in 2016. They added newcomer Laura Meyer this year and she was a great addition to the team. Geri’s grandson, Josiah Rogers, had been with the team in 2016 and he came back this time with his father, David Rogers, who is the pastor of Town North Presbyterian Church in TX. They were accompanied by Joel Aguilar, who is an elder in their church.
The Eastbrook/Town North team poses in front of the clinic with FHH logo wear from the FHH store! From left to right are Katherine, Geri, David, Josh, Josiah, Alan, Joel, Laura and Charis.
Josiah was adopted from Haiti as a 2 year old and we were thrilled to see that he continues to be interested in visiting and helping the country of his birth.
Josiah and his father, Pastor David Rogers
One of the advantages of visiting in the summer is that the Eastbrook/Town North team could minister more to the young people in two churches near our clinic. With school out of session, there was more opportunity to involve children of all ages in VBS activities and leadership training discussions, which they did for two days in the Duchene church and for two days in Doudouche. Both churches had been destroyed in the hurricane, so the groups met under tarps amid the debris. They had ministered to the same two churches in January 2016 and the contrast between the visits was striking! But, the Lord’s word was studied and lessons were shared in spite of the stark surroundings. Activities for the children included Bible stories, music, crafts and discussion and, in the afternoons the group did Bible study and discussion with the adults. They even had crafts for the adults, which they all loved! Haitians and Americans felt blessed and we were very glad to have our spiritual ministry expanded in this way.
During VBS, the children made paper lanterns to illustrate that God is light in their lives. They each got to color designs on their lantern paper to make it unique.
The children proudly hold up their lanterns.
This colorful parachute made for some fun games!
The older children participated in small group discussions regarding teamwork and leadership, led by Pastor David.
The adults get serious about their crafts!
One of the highlights of the team’s visit was the showing of the “Jesus” film in Creole on the front porch of the clinic on Thursday evening. Over 100 people from the immediate area around the clinic attended, including many children. It was the first time we had shown the film in Gatineau and it was very well received.
The clinic benches are nearly full as local Haitians watch the “Jesus” film.
The following day, Friday, we hosted a 2 ½ hour long worship service to which we invited 11 of the churches in the area around our clinic. Each church came with 10 – 15 members and they each presented a musical number during the service. Local musicians were present to provide musical backup and they were joined by team members Laura Meyer, playing guitar, and Josh Riebe on the bongos.
Josh and Laura help out the keyboard player during the worship service.
There were congregational hymns in addition to the special music by the churches, Scripture readings and prayers by some of the pastors from the churches. The service was led by Adrien Jean Jacques, our clinic chaplain and registration clerk and the worship was led by Anderson Joseph, husband of our clinic nurse Vetelie Charles. Over 200 people attended, some of them standing for the entire service. It was considered to be a huge success and the pastors are already asking that we make it an annual event! Much thanks to the Eastbrook/Town North team for helping us out with the service and for Pastor David Rogers, who gave a wonderful message. Everyone felt truly blessed.
Anderson Joseph leads the congregation in songs of adoration during the worship service.
The front porch of the clinic was packed with people on benches and extra chairs were set up along the sidewalks. A tarp hangs down from the roof to block the sun.
One of the 11 church groups performs a song for the audience.
Pastor David preaches the sermon as Delice Dorvil translates. The theme was “Hope in the Lord” based on Lamentations 3: 1 – 24.
A white sheet and plastic table cloth made an impressive background for the speakers at the worship service. Here Cherlie gives thanks to everyone who attended and to the Lord for blessing the service.
The Eastbrook/Town North team poses for one last photo with the staff of Centre de Sante de Gatineau after the worship service. Top (from the left): Miller (driver), Josh, Gemi, Guy-Johns, Adrien, David, Viel, Alan, Joel. Bottom (from the left): Ti Madam, Katherine, Cherlie, Charis, Laura, Vetelie, Josiah, Katie and Geri.
It was a very blessed week and we thank our Milwaukee and Texas friends for supporting us in our ministry in such a vital way. Praise the Lord for all of you and for our Haitian brothers and sisters who were so appreciative of our time of fellowship together!