LiveBeyond In the News: Hurricane Harvey

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Over the past few weeks, LiveBeyond has responded to Hurricane Harvey in several ways. We have sent three shipments of supplies to various churches in the area. We have organized clean up crews to help muck houses. We have raised over $35,000 for disaster relief. This outreach has led to some news coverage. Here is the most recent news content for LiveBeyond:
 

Radio Interview with David Vanderpool of LiveBeyond
Missions Radio, with Kenneth Mitchell, September 6, 2017
On LiveBeyond's relief response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Haiti.

Listen to the interview
 

Congregation in Haiti Raises $600 for Texas Disaster Relief
The World View, August 31, 2017
THE ESTIMATE OF 400,000 people needing some kind of relief in the Houston area is staggering, but Houston residents have not been left alone. The World View spoke to Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a Christian disaster relief ministry, about what they are doing to help.

Read more

(Story update: Haitian congregation has raised over $1,000 for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.)

If you would like to donate to our disaster relief fund to support our response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, click the button below.

What Does a Missionary Look Like?

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By: Taylor Westbrook, Johnny's Kids Coordinator

I had just escorted one of our kids up to the front gate and was coming back to the guest house when this view stopped me. The view is better in the picture than it was with the sun shining brightly in my eyes. I had seen it enough times to know what I was looking at. Thomazeau is beyond the wall, beyond the valley, and up to the foothills. I felt completely alone. It seemed that I was alone.

I took note of the juxtaposition of the high walls with razor wire and the beautiful landscape beyond them. I thought back to the dusty dirt roads I grew up on and looked down at the rocky one crunching with each step beneath me. I laughed at the openness beyond the walls because of the absolute concrete jungle I've grown accustomed to these past 18 years. I stopped and asked, “what am I doing here?” 

It has lead me to think about who a missionary is, what a missionary looks like. Does he look like a 40-year old widower who is more comfortable designing million-dollar homes? Does he look like a former drug addict that was always looking for his next high? Does he look like a high school sports star who landed in rehab? Does she look like an accomplished Harvard graduate who can lead an entire state in setting new standards in education? Does she look like a successful lawyer with her own firm? Does she look like a mother of 2 that juggles marriage, parenting, work, and the PTA? Does she look like a child in grade school?

You see, I didn’t think so. None of those images are people that fit the mold of who I imagined as a missionary. I never imagined myself leading a special needs program in the third world. That ex-addict is desperate to take the love of Christ to some of the most hated people on the planet. The sports star has used his experiences to help countless Asian men find Christ as they come off highly addictive drugs…cold turkey. The Harvard graduate uses all her spare time to teach ESL to the Haitians. She strategically uses scripture and worship songs to do so. The lawyer lives modestly and is showing her two sons that investment in people is far more valuable than things. She frequents Haiti, Africa, and multiple causes that arise close to home. The wife and mother uses every platform she has at her disposal to encourage more people to join the call. She tirelessly champions the cause of the Haitians and returns as often as she can. The child successfully headed a campaign to collect shoes for kids here in Haiti. She cares for kids she has never met because she is too young to travel to meet them.

What am I doing here? Can you see the awe in the statement rather than the what in the question? I was struck yesterday by the thought we are all missionaries. The statement is cliché because we don’t believe it. We are never alone. Just beyond the wall that towered over me there are thousands of people crowding the valley and foothills. I could have turned in any direction and there would not have been any fewer. No fewer starving children, no fewer homeless women, no fewer sick people, no fewer souls needing to be rescued from the tyranny of Voodoo. I am not alone, nor are you. 

I encourage you to stop living in the questions. I encourage you to start living in the awe. Go into all the world is a journey that can lead to another land or your neighbor's yard. All we must do is be willing to change our perspective on who a missionary is.

None are worthless,

Taylor

Mwen sonje ou (I remember you) | Learning from the Haitians

By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications

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Hurricane Harvey has devastated the lives of millions across the Texas coast. I read one statistic that says it has affected about 46% of Texas’ population. Floodwaters are still high in some places. People have lost lives, homes, pets, vehicles, everything. “Normal” for so many will never be the same. My heart breaks for those who have been negatively affected by this hurricane.

And yet…I see GOD at work. I saw GOD working in LiveBeyond team member, Marguerite Allen as she unloaded her car full of supplies to donate. I saw Him in the backbreaking work of LiveBeyonder David Hayes as he helped get the trucks loaded with food and water. I saw Him working in the woman who ran over to give us the $9 she had scraped together with her friend to help us with gas for the U-Hauls headed to Houston. I saw Him in the 15 volunteers who stayed up late in Houston to help us unload the goods after we had two blowouts on tires (we might have been a little over weight). I saw Him in our friends at Oliver & Otis, who are donating t-shirt sale proceeds to the disaster relief effort.

But the most obvious time I saw Him at work was when I heard about my friends in Haiti. The American staff talked with the Haitians about just how devastating Harvey had been to so many. The Haitians remembered their own trials: the 2010 earthquake, the cholera epidemic, Hurricane Matthew (2016). They also remembered the friends they made from the Houston area that have served on mission trips to Haiti.

And they jumped at the chance to help.

Though they cannot physically make the trip, they are sending funds. Yes, that’s right. People in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere are sending funds to the United States for disaster relief. From a place where the minimum wage is $2.25, Haitians are sending money to one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever known. So far, they have raised over 1000 USD. Our beloved Indian construction manager, Solomon, and his friends have donated about $650 themselves to this cause. And they are still going. Many of them are volunteering to work extra days for LiveBeyond without pay so that they can continue to give.

When I heard about their sacrificial giving, I was reminded of the famine that affected Jerusalem in the time after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Macedonian churches gathered funds to send to the churches in Jerusalem.

“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (ESV, emphasis mine)

And they have the perfect example of sacrificial giving in Jesus: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor so that you by His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus gave up all the wealth of Heaven to come to earth, live as a poor man, and die a horrible death just to save us. For your sake, He became poor. So that you by His poverty might become rich. I don’t know if I fully realize that statement, but I know that my Haitian friends do because of their generosity.

Let me explain the gravity of this act a bit further: The Haitian people that are giving aren’t just writing a check to handle the problem. They are going without things so that they are able to give. They may miss meals without that income. They may have to put something off just a little longer until they can afford it. They may need to work out a second job for a while to make ends meet. Some of them are cutting into their weekends to put in another 8 hours to provide for their friends on the Texas coast. They are spending valuable time away from their families to care for people they don’t know. 

And yet they are still willing, no, OVERJOYED to give. Because they know that they are caring for their brothers and sisters.

The way that you say “I miss you” in Haitian Creole is “Mwen sonje ou.” It literally translates to “I remember you.” Every time I hear a Haitian tell me this, I am reminded of just how thoughtful my friends are because the phrase implies a continuous remembering. It is evident that they are true to their word. May we all follow their Christ-like example.

Partners: Convoy of Hope

By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications

Partnerships aren't always the easiest things to come by, especially since we work so far away from others in Thomazeau. So connecting with a non-profit as generous as Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri might be a bit of a surprise, but it is one we thank the Lord for every day. Convoy of Hope's mission statement states that they "are a faith-based, nonprofit organization with a passion to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community events & disaster response." Convoy of Hope's feeding initiative has connected them with non-profits all over the world, and we are so blessed that they are now one of our partners as well. Convoy of Hope has committed to sending us hundreds of thousands of meals each quarter to use for our different feeding outreaches. Our most recent shipment was 285,120 meals! Thank you, Convoy of Hope, for your incredible generosity!

Our food shipment from Convoy of Hope being loaded onto a truck for delivery to the LiveBeyond base.

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Because our workers were so thankful for this food coming to our area, these guys stayed up late to unload it into our storage containers.

Because our workers were so thankful for this food coming to our area, these guys stayed up late to unload it into our storage containers.

Education for All

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By: Devin Vanderpool, Director of Communications


"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." - Proverbs 2:6

LiveBeyond seeks to relieve oppression through a variety of methods. We provide food and clean water; we care for the injured and the sick; we bind up wounds and provide medicine. But would any of that matter if the people we minister to did not have the knowledge to use clean water? Would the nutritional support we provide in the Maternal Health program be as meaningful if we did not teach expectant mothers that drinking alcohol and smoking could harm their unborn children? Would healing injuries mean as much if our friends did not get the opportunity to learn about the Great Physician?

Education comes in many forms at LiveBeyond: 

- LiveBeyond offers weekly teleconferences for locals in personal finance, pastoral training, and agricultural development. We are so thankful for the volunteers that devote an hour of their time each week to uplift those who would otherwise not have access to this knowledge or support.

- Jacklyn Vanderpool and David Johnston offer discipleship training classes to our Haitian staff so that they can learn more about evangelizing to others. Jacklyn is also faithful to evangelizing outside of our typical sphere of influence through the Beans and Rice Evangelism program. (Learn more about that here.) And these labors are not in vain. Americans evangelizing to Haitians is great; but how much more powerful it is to see Haitians evangelizing to Haitians! Our friend Harold continues to set an example for all of us as he makes disciples among his friends and family despite the persecution he faces. (Read about that here.)

- The women in the Maternal Health program learn about caring for themselves and their children during and after their pregnancies. Dr. Vanderpool took great pains to begin this program years ago as one of our first major outreach projects, and it has only grown from there. No longer 60 women meeting each week in a garage, it now provides nutritional support, education, and regular check ups for 275 women each week in the comfort of the LiveBeyond clinic. Tayler Johnston, WHNP, CNM, Director of the Maternal Health program, has expanded the program this year by regularizing postpartum home visits, instituting a hotline for the expectant mothers, and even providing delivery services. I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible leadership of our Haitian staff member, Gertrude Telus. I love watching her work because you can tell how much the women in the program respect and admire her. (The best is when a mom comes in claiming that her breast milk is spoiled. The fire comes of out Gertrude then as she does everything in her power to convince that momma otherwise - and it always works.)

- The Kè Pou Timoun program offers tutoring opportunities, Bible lessons,  ESL classes, and literacy education to over 110 children. Volunteers can show these kids extra attention when they serve on a general mission. These kids all started the program 40% underweight. It has been amazing to watch the transformation in those that have been in the program the longest. (Some of them are even a little chubby!) LiveBeyond's vision includes incorporating our Kè Pou Timoun participants into LiveBeyond's primary school and eventually the secondary school (funding pending).  Construction of the primary school began in June of 2017. It will be an American style school, taught in English by Haitian and American teachers to provide the children with the capacity to study for higher degrees. We know the future leaders of Haiti are in the Kè Pou Timoun program! (Everyone who has met Stevenson is sure of that.)

Each of these education efforts is instrumental in raising the quality of life in Thomazeau. And LiveBeyond won't stop there. We are constantly searching for ways to expand our education efforts. We believe that education is a vessel to end the poverty cycle in Thomazeau and all of Haiti. 

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

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

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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

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Math
Dabins
shoe giveaway
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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. 

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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.

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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

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run!

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

food

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

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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