They Are Waiting for You

By: David Johnston, LiveBeyond's Base Manager
Reposted from his blog on August 9, 2017


As I came around the corner of the house I felt the sun hit the back of my neck. It was probably burning more than it already has been while I've been in Haiti. 

It was hot. It's always hot. Not only is the sun hot and burning, but the wind is also hot. It sucks the energy right out of you. 

As I walked I could barely open my eyes because of the white reflection off of the gravel, but I could hear it crunching under my feet. It's days like that when it's tempting to turn around go back inside and into the shade. 

Just as I was feeling that temptation I heard the voice of Stevenson, a boy from the local village running up to meet me with a grin on his face.

"They're waiting for you!" he said. 

THEY are a group of men that I lead in Bible study every day at 12:30 pm. THEY are a group of men that come ready to learn something new about scripture. 

I walked about one hundred more yards and saw them all sitting on the hard wooden benches under the squeaking corrugated metal roof. 

I'm so honored to be able to share conversation and experience life with this group of men.

I'm so honored to be able to share conversation and experience life with this group of men.

This was one of the most humbling moments I've had here in Haiti, but it rejuvenated my soul. Why would God choose me to speak to them every day?

Who knows? But there they were ready to hear whatever I had prepared.

The reason I share this story (as simple as it is) is that we all have people waiting on us. God prepares people for us to reach for His glory. Somehow He aligned circumstances in my life and in their lives to the minute detail that we would meet in this moment to talk about the Creator of the universe. 

God had a plan to use me to teach them about Himself. I was so honored to be in that moment and experience what God had planned for that meeting.

ACU Today Feature

ACU Today is featuring Dr. and Mrs. Vanderpool (class of '82 and '81, respectively) and LiveBeyond on their website!

Vanderpools

For the Vanderpools' story, click here.
To see the ACU's Many|One YouTube video about the Vanderpools and LiveBeyond, click here.

To read the incredible stories of some of our Haitian friends, click here.

Hearts Lost to Haiti

For a photo journey from one of our LiveBeyond team members, ACU '06 graduate Brandi Jo Delony, owner of Kaleidescope Media Ministries, click here.

Acelhomme Amilka, affectionately known as "Tikepi" or "Little Hat"

Acelhomme Amilka, affectionately known as "Tikepi" or "Little Hat"

Kè Pou Timoun Summer Camp Week 3

Camp photo 2017

Camp photo 2017

Kate and Stevenson

Week 3 of camp was just as fun as weeks one and two! There was another team in Haiti that week, and even though it was technically a medical trip, several volunteers jumped at the chance to work with our campers. Several nurses and nursing students helped Mama Laurie check the general health of the kiddos by conducting hemoglobin tests, measuring height and weight, and determining dental and skin care needs. We got some good data on the kids that will allow us to formulate plans for how to bolster our program even more.

Med station

On Thursday, we had the pleasure of having a shoe giveaway! Due to the generous donation of shoes by various groups and individuals, we collected enough shoes to let the campers "shop" for their tennis shoes for this year. Here's a look at camp during week 3:

Monday:
-Salvation bracelets
-Music station
-Science experiment: lava lamps
-Name fingerpainting
-Soccer
-Board games/medical station

salvation bracelet
lava lamp 2
IMG_4895.JPG

Tuesday: 
-Handprint fish painting
-ESL station (verbs)
-Water painting
-Relay races
-Clothespin caterpillars
-Board games/medical station

watercolor
girl with handprint
handprint paint

Wednesday:
-Parts of the body education
-Active games (Red Light, Green Light & Duck, Duck, Goose)
-The Lord is my Rock Bible lesson
-Let Your Light Shine lesson
-Music station
-Board games/medical station

Lancy
older boys
Bible lesson

Thursday:
-Popsicle Stick Sword Craft
-ESL/Math station
-Soccer
-The Good Samaritan Bible lesson
-Board games/Medical station
-Shoe giveaway

IMG_4835.JPG
Math
Dabins
shoe giveaway
court and stevo

During home visits, the counselors gave out awards to each child based on Christian characteristics they had shown over the course of camp. It was a blessing for team members and children alike. 

Kensly Paul
F022C500-D5D5-4895-AA59-4EA2B13366B8.JPG

At the end of camp, the kids had the counselors sit in the middle of the pavilion so that they could pray for them before they left for the United States. It was a beautiful way to end a fun year of camp.

praying

Kè Pou Timoun Summer Camp Week 2

Week 2 of summer camp was just as exciting as the first. There was not a team this week, so the counselors did more large group activities involving races and water to keep the kids moving. They finished the week with THE AMAZING RACE! And two teams tied for first! Check out everything they did:

Tchi tchi

Monday: 
-Bible story charades
-Science experiment: make bouncy balls
-Soccer (of course!)

Bible story

Tuesday:
- Flag football
-Popsicles
-Watercolor activity
-Water tag

IMG_4867.JPG
run!

Wednesday:
- 6 corners game
-Headband giveaway
-Science experiment: make slime

food

Thursday:
-Obstacle course
-Popsicles
-Over-under sponge pass race

socer 1
sponge

Friday - THE AMAZING RACE:
1. Wheelbarrow race
2. Three-legged race
3. Sack race
4. Human knot
5. Name all New Testament book
6. Water aim game
7. Sing-along-by-memory
8. Blind obstacle course
9. Innertube toss
They ended the Amazing Race with a WATER BALLOON FIGHT!

human knot
blind obstacle course
water fun

LiveBeyond Spotlight | Timothy Howes, M.D.

Tim

When you look around your house, would you truly say it is ready for a king to visit?
Friends and family, I just returned from Thomazeau, Haiti where I served for five days with an organization called Live Beyond. While I was there, I experienced some of the most disturbing things I have ever seen. I saw people living in conditions we don't even consider suitable for animals. I saw the thinnest, hungriest, and thirstiest group of people I have ever seen. I heard the stories of how the women don't have value and are raped on a regular basis. I heard the stories of a voodoo priest poisoning her own infant granddaughter because the mother was going to church. I learned it is considered good luck to rape those who are mentally retarded. I served with humble servants who have given up the wealth and comfort they can easily have in the U.S. and now live full time in Haiti, providing medical care, education, and the gospel to many. I listened to a man tell me that I need to get ticked off when I hear about starving kids and women being raped. I was admonished to be a man that stands between the oppressed and the oppressor.
Beyond the poverty I saw and the atrocities I learned about, I saw firsthand that this place, this land, this house, and this kingdom is not in any suitable condition to welcome a king.
Again, I ask, is your house ready for a king? More importantly, is it ready for the KING of Kings?
Ponder this for a moment, for a king, what honor is due when he arrives in your home? You would absolutely without question focus your time, your thoughts, and your attention to his presence. Because of the king's place of honor, you would stop everything and give him your respect while he was with you. Now, when this king does come, would you be incredibly disappointed if you did not have time to prepare? Without question, you would want to get your house ready so it is fit for the presence of a king. You would undoubtedly spend days if not weeks getting your house ready, cleaning it up, taking out the trash, replacing old and worn furniture, decorating with flowers, and preparing a feast. You would want the king to know he came to the right place when he arrived, that a lookout was waiting, and when he came into your house, he was welcomed and praised. What if there was a king who even kings bowed to in reverence? A king who made all the other kings want to prepare for months in advance to give the welcome he deserved?
What if the king sent you a message well before he arrived and said, "Be ready, I am coming home, I can't wait to see you, and what you have done to prepare for my return ."
Would you be prepared for the king? If the king were to pop in for a surprise visit, what would you be doing? How would you want to be found? Would it be just as well for you if you were laying back, watching TV with a sink full of dishes, weeds growing in the yard, piles of dirty clothes all around and a complete disaster for the king to see? Would it even matter?
It does matter, and there is a king like that, the KING of kings. He is coming; he has proclaimed that he will. Matthew 24:36-51 tells us the exact time that Jesus returns is unknown, and it will not look good for any of his servants who are relaxing and being lazy when he does come back. It will be a surprise visit and let me just tell you, WE ARE NOT READY. Oh how I want to see Jesus' face, Oh how I want him to end the suffering people are facing, it will be the most joyful, glorious, and epic sight to see the return of the King. How awful will it be for us if when he gets back, we are not doing anything more than we are doing now?
God forgive us and have mercy on us who call ourselves believers if he does come today because we have been standing by doing little to nothing for far too long.
Friends, we can make a change and make a difference. If all the Christians in the U.S. alone were to give 10% of our income to eradicate hunger, everyone on this earth would have a meal each day.
When you are obedient to God's instruction to feed and clothe those in need and give your tithe, you stand between the oppressed and the oppressor. All of you who are Christians reading this I challenge you right now to get angry about people starving, about sex trafficking of women and children, about the oppression the majority of people face. Get angry and do something about it. You were entrusted with resources to make a difference in the world, give a minimum of 10% back to God. Pray, pray, pray. Your prayers are necessary. And lastly, go. You do not need to ask God if you should give, pray or go; the Bible is very clear on what we should do. Go and do something. No more excuses.
I ask you not to congratulate me for doing good work while I was in Haiti, I already have been blessed. What I do ask is for you not to turn a blind eye to this message. Join with me in solving this problem. You may join with me by giving to LiveBeyond or other fiscally responsible organizations and praying for strength and provision for their ministry there. Please do not forget the people that are suffering or the people that are there full time serving.
When the King comes back, I hope you and I can be found working to end hunger, stop oppression, and make this kingdom fit for a King.

Tim 2

Kè Pou Timoun Summer Camp Week 1

By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications

I have been so impressed with all of the wonderful things the Kè Pou Timoun Summer Camp counselors have planned for the children. They obviously put a lot of loving thought into each activity. Each station is designed to help the children grow in wisdom and stature with God and men, including activities for educational learning, leadership skills, team building exercises, and, of course, several opportunities to learn the gospel. So many of these activities made me think about my own days in VBS and church camp. One girl, Sornita Bruny, decided to give her life to Christ last week! Here is a glimpse into all that they did that first week:

small group

Monday:
-Bible Study
-Books of the Bible Hopscotch and "Jak Di" (the Haitian version of "Simon Says")
-Skittles Math and English
-Coffee Filter Butterflies
-Music Time
-Soccer

Tuesday:
-"I can do all things with Christ" Bible Study
-Jonah and the Whale
-Ninja and Human Knot Team Building
-Freeze Dance
-Musical Chairs
-Connect Four and Dominoes

human chain
connect four

Wednesday:
-"God is over EVERYTHING" Bible Study
-Painting the Camp Flag
-Mega Jenga
-Kickball
-Team Tower Building
-Soccer

jenga

Thursday:
-"Jesus + You = Friends" Bible Study
-Sheep on a stick arts and crafts
-Team Writing
-Paper Plate Crowns and Lesson
-Balloon Tag
-Soccer

craft

Friday:
-Joseph's Coat Bible Study
-Fruit of the Spirit Necklace Craft
-Washing Other's Feet
-Team Building Hula Hoop and Wheelbarrow Races
-Connect Four and Dominoes
-Soccer

chichi

LiveBeyond Spotlight | Haley Ogburn

Haley1

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I spend every day working with children with disabilities. My whole career is based on helping children find their independence and confidence with in their disability. During my time in Haiti, I was able to spend time with Johnny’s Kids. The joy, love, hope, passion, and drive that these kids had was tangible. You could see it in their eyes, the potential, and they knew it. Getting to know Lancey, Lerisa, Daphne, Badi, Nadia, Pierre Richard, and Chinyelo was a breath of fresh air. I have been wrestling with the idea that in Haiti disabilities are seen as a cursed in Voodoo culture and how I, a young and new-to-the-field occupational therapist, can make a difference. How can I help these beautiful, smart, playful children know that they are loved not only by God but everyone who meets them?

A form of an answer presented itself in an unexpected (typical of God) way. The 5th and 6th-grade Bible class I help teach is spending the summer studying characters in the Bible chosen by God to fulfill his promises. On this Wednesday, they were reviewing previous characters and started telling the story of Moses. Moses had quite a story and relationship with God. The aspect of the story I want to focus on is when God chose Moses to save his people, “and now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:9-10). The detail that caught my attention was when Moses questioned the Lord because he was uncomfortable with his speaking ability. “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since I have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).  The Lord, of course, responds that he will help Moses speak and teach him what to say. Moses, still unsure, (typical of any patient) questions the Lord again, and the Lord provides Moses with the very first communication device for speech, his brother Aaron. God is the ultimate therapist; he was doing it long before anyone else, and he is the best that is for sure.

Moses, the first man in recorded history chosen by God to free his oppressed people, had a DISABILITY! How cool is that? How great is this message for Lancey, Lerisa, Daphne, Badi, Nadia, Pierre Richard, and Chinyelo that not only are they loved by God, but they are CHOSEN to do something great? It is an inspiring story for those of us that have the ability to teach them this, and it could help them discover their confidence and independence within their disability to fulfill God’s promises.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Haley 2

LiveBeyond Farm Facts

By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications

“Two-fifths of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, which remains vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters. Poverty, corruption, vulnerability to natural disasters, and low levels of education for much of the population represent some of the most serious impediments to Haiti’s economic growth. Remittances are the primary source of foreign exchange, equivalent to more than one quarter of GDP, and nearly double the combined value of Haitian exports and foreign direct investment. [Haiti is] currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with close to 60% of the population living under the national poverty line...” – CIA World Factbook on Haiti

bananas

Agriculture is not the flashy, exciting part of development, but it just might be the most important, particularly when we consider that at least 40% of Haitians depend on subsistence farming for their food. My husband saw this when he was doing mission work with his parents in Africa and Honduras. His response was to go into International Agriculture Development and to serve as LiveBeyond’s Director of Agriculture.

Many Americans love the concept of farmer’s markets. And it’s a lot of fun to spend a weekend picking fruit and vegetables from a nearby vegetable stand, but most Americans still purchase the majority of their food from supermarkets. Gardening is a hobby, an enjoyable pastime. For most of us, it hasn’t been a serious source of family food security since World War II era victory gardens. We, as a civilization, are disconnected from agriculture because we can afford to be, myself included.

That’s why I love listening to David talk with his farm workers about the LiveBeyond farm during their weekly Skype conferences. It thrills me when team members start to share the vision after they have heard David give his speeches on how he developed the farm and how it will impact the community. So, for those of you who are interested in agriculture, this is what’s happening on the LiveBeyond farm.

papaya

·      Hundreds of “trees” of bananas and plantains are planted on the farm to provide food for our teams, the Maternal Health program, Kè Pou Timoun, and staff lunches. We also have about one hundred papaya trees currently producing fruit.
·      About 80 chickens are pumping out an average of 6 eggs per week per chicken to supply the women in the Maternal Health program with protein. If you know anything about chickens, you know this is far above average production rates. I like to joke that this is a miracle, but we all know who causes miracles to happen.
·      We have about 12 goats and 9 sheep roaming one section of the farm. Our herd was unfortunately hit by a terrible disease earlier in the year, but many of the does are pregnant, so we are working on rebuilding what we lost.
·      You would not believe the production we have had this year! We have gathered onions, cassava, melons, pigeon peas, eggplants, cabbage, okra, peppers, black beans, tomatoes, corn, and even peanuts from our vegetable garden. Our next plan is to intercrop beans with some of our others plants to restore nitrogen to the soil and provide a good source of protein.

onions


·      David and I were astounded by the growth of the moringa trees that we planted throughout the base while we lived there. Moringa leaves are highly nutritious, and the trees are fast growing, meaning they will be an excellent plant to use for reforesting our desert-like region. If we continue to plant these trees through Thomazeau as planned, we could prevent soil erosion, and eventually even change weather patterns! Learn more about that here.
·      Plans are in the works to create a small production factory to dehydrate mangos for export. This would create even more jobs for locals and would improve the sustainability of LiveBeyond’s services.
·      The crew is putting the finishing touches on a sprinkler irrigation system that supplies water to the banana/plantain grove and the garden. This will improve the efficiency of irrigation and significantly advance the methodologies used to water these areas.

peanuts

Maizie's Story - A Road to Recovery and Redemption

By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications

I still remember the first day Maizie (Marie Therese) came into the clinic. I was a team leader for an ACU spring break group of pre-med students in 2011. The LiveBeyond base wasn’t even a dream at this point. We were operating a mobile clinic out of the orphanage that LiveBeyond supports. I was working on organizing supplies when I heard the rumor that was spreading like wildfire through clinic: a voodoo priestess had just come in for treatment. 

What does a voodoo priestess look like? Act like? My mind raced with questions. Curiosity took over, and I dropped what I was doing to make my way over to Mama Laurie’s station where I knew the woman was. I passed several other volunteers who had already gotten the message that she was here. An electric buzz of excitement charged through all of us. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but I was concerned that this interaction could be far from pleasant. I expected to see a woman clothed in red, boisterously cursing those around her. 

What I saw was a quiet woman thankfully accepting treatment for her severely burned legs. A thin red cloth wrapped around her head was all that proclaimed her background. Her legs were horrific. Years of walking on fire during voodoo ceremonies had taken their toll. Fourth-degree burns ran from her feet to her knees, bones and charred muscle completely exposed. The bottoms of her feet were so thick with callouses that we couldn’t find any shoes to fit her. Mama Laurie, a woman who has treated many horrific injuries in clinics all over the world, was visibly perturbed at how extensive the burns were. After consulting with Dr. Vanderpool, she was using anything and everything she could to debride the wounds and set them on the path to healing. 

Maizie's feet

Maizie came back a few times that week to be treated. After that, she became a regular in LiveBeyond clinics throughout Thomazeau. Each month Mama Laurie spent several hours treating Maizie’s legs. Dr. Vanderpool made sure the supplies used to treat her were stocked each trip. 
We are still always on the lookout for Maizie slowly and quietly making her way into the clinic. When she was pregnant with her seventh child, Angelou, she became part of our Maternal Health program. 

Maizie and Angelou

Mama Laurie has spearheaded the effort in evangelizing to Maizie. Since that very first meeting, Maizie has heard so much about the healing power of Jesus. She has been prayed over and loved on by hundreds of people. Her house has been visited by everyone who felt they were able to make the treacherous climb. The incredible view and Maizie’s welcoming nature makes it a favorite At Risk visit among team members. 

A few years ago, when Maizie decided to give up voodoo in pursuit of Jesus, many did not realize how difficult a decision this was for her. The CIA estimates that 50% of Haitians practice voodoo, but most believe this rating is very low. So not only was she ostracized by practicing Christians because of her previous status as a priestess, but she was also shunned by her fellow voodoo worshippers. Giving up voodoo left her with almost no community support or interaction. I can’t even imagine what it felt like for her to be so immediately isolated from everyone around her. It is another testament to the strength of her character that she was able to take that step. 

Maizie

On July 9, 2017, Maizie accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior through baptism. When David and I got the text from his parents celebrating the news (during a sermon about turning off technology to pursue a relationship with God, I might add - guilty), tears shot from my eyes and a smile spread across my face. I can’t imagine how it must have looked to those around me, but I didn’t care. I was rejoicing the fact that I will see my sister Maizie in the Kingdom of God. 

Her injuries are still extensive. It was about five years of consistent, monthly treatment before the wounds on her legs ever closed, and it is a battle to keep them that way. I still wonder how she will be treated by those in her community? Will the Christians welcome her? Will she and her family be the target of attacks from voodoo priests? I don’t know. But I do know that people across the world rejoiced when she entered the Kingdom, and we will continue to rejoice as we share the story of her redemption. 

Maizie Baptism

"Greater Works Than These..."

Jacklyn Blog Photo.jpeg

By: Jacklyn Vanderpool, LiveBeyond Evangelism & Discipleship Training Director

Originally published June 29, 2017

 

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is from John 5:2-15.

By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades. Within these lay a large number of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed [—waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had. One man was there who had been sick for 38 years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the sick man answered, “I don’t have a man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I’m coming, someone goes down ahead of me.” “Get up,” Jesus told him, “pick up your mat and walk!”  Instantly the man got well, picked up his mat, and started to walk. Now that day was the Sabbath,  so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “This is the Sabbath! It’s illegal for you to pick up your mat.” He replied, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.'” “Who is this man who told you, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’?” they asked.  But the man who was cured did not know who it was because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there. After this, Jesus found him in the temple complex and said to him, “See, you are well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” The man went and reported to the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Jesus said seven words and the man was set free from his sickness. “Get up, take your bed, and walk.” Several weeks ago, I was gathering my fifty spoons and plates, filling my big Orange Gatorade cooler with water, and thinking about the places we could go that day. Typically pastor Sargesse and Mackendy chose where we go, but we like to have several options. When I had everything loaded in the back of the truck and a truckload of Americans sandwiched tightly in the back seat, we started bouncing down the road.

Pastor Sargesse mentioned that we should go to the village of Fodosh. I’m always hesitant to go to this village because frankly, it’s not much of a village, it’s more of a long road. It makes it difficult for us to set up and gather people around us. When we have tried it in the past, few people walked by and even fewer came to get food and listen to the gospel. As we were driving Pastor Sargesse had an idea to keep driving down the road and to go to Tet Sus. Tet Sus in Creole means the “head of the spring” and this area is a natural oasis with lots of trees, shade, and cooler air. They have built up a low wall to keep the water in to make a little pool. It is busy filled with animals drinking, people bathing, and a good place to hang out. It was the perfect spot to evangelize.

As we drove up, people began to gather, coming to get hot, nutritious food, and cold crisp water, all while having their spirits watered with the Gospel. Halfway through, Pastor Sargesse grabbed me and said there was a sick man. We walked up and this man in his 30s was sitting on a little mat under a tree watching everything around him. He said his name was Franceau and he had been paralyzed his entire life. Immediately the story of paralyzed man from John 5 came into my mind. A paralyzed man, sitting on a mat, next to a natural pool. It was uncanny, and I now I know the Lord was weaving together a lesson for me. We talked, shared the gospel, ate some food, and prayed for his healing. We prayed that he would get up, pick up his mat, and walk. That day I was struck at the purpose that we all have as Christians. We are all called to look like Jesus. We are called to step out in faith and proclaim healing. It is not that we are called to merely be associated with Jesus by wearing a cross around our necks or going to church. We are called to look like Jesus in word and deed. Just as Jesus healed, we too are called to heal. We have the same Spirit as Jesus. It is not in our own power, skill, or ability but rather we are proclaiming the healing power found in the name of Jesus Christ.

That day Franceau did not stand up and pick up his mat, but I refuse to be discouraged. Instead, I’m inviting each one of you to join me in praying for the healing of Franceau. Join me in praying that the Holy Spirit will rain down on Thomazeau. That people will be filled with the Spirit. That many signs and wonders will be performed. Pray with me that the glory of God will be on display and that none can deny the power of Jesus Christ. I want to step into the person that the Lord created me to be and the Spirit enables me to become. No longer will I sit on the sidelines and read about the power of Jesus Christ. I want to stand in awe of the might of God and see it with my own eyes.

“I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

Plunder hell and populate Heaven,

Jacklyn