Cultivating a Love of Learning

Today, we reached a significant milestone by opening a computer lab for the Kè Pou Timoun program

We're embarking on a mission to use Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE) to develop children's independent learning styles, teach them new subjects, and give them the love of learning and curiosity they need to be successful in school and beyond.

To launch the program, the kids will study Math and English. We're excited to see how the power of technology motivates and furthers our children's education!

Empowering Thomazeau | Tikepi's Story

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

How long have you worked for LiveBeyond?
Since 2012.

What is your job at LiveBeyond?
I used to work on the construction team, but now I work on the farm.

What is your favorite part about working for LiveBeyond?
I like working in the garden. There were many things that I didn't know how to do on a farm before LiveBeyond taught me new things. I know how to grow onions now! 

How has your job transformed your life?
I am very happy about my job and how I'm helping LiveBeyond.

Anything else that you'd like to share?
I was baptized at LiveBeyond's church. I like going to church every day and starting the day with God.

Maternal Health Spotlight | Mita

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Almica Mita. I am 44 years old, and my husband works for LiveBeyond. I am in LiveBeyond's maternal health program because I am four months pregnant.

Is this your first pregnancy through LiveBeyond's maternal health program?
Yes. My youngest child is eight years old, so LiveBeyond was not here yet when he was born.

What have you learned through our maternal health program?
They [LiveBeyond's maternal health team] have taught me a lot of things that I didn't know before. I have learned not to eat dirt while I'm pregnant. In the past, I ate it because my baby craved it. But LiveBeyond has taught me that the vitamins they give me are better, so I don't have to do that. 

How many children do you have now? 
I have five children and am pregnant with my sixth child. Four of them are in Kè Pou Timoun—Wendy, Bermane, Mitchela and Estanley. 

What do you think about our Kè Pou Timoun program?
I thank God for LiveBeyond. It’s very good that all of that my children are in the program. Before LiveBeyond, my kids started school, but then my family did not have enough money to send them to school, so they had to drop out. 

Now LiveBeyond sends them to school, and they are learning so much. I think they will have a good future now.

Anything else that you'd like to share?
Yes, my family is happier because of LiveBeyond. Mama Laurie taught us that God wanted us to live better and get out of sin, so me and my husband got married and baptized [at LiveBeyond's church].

Johnny's Kids: The Best is Yet to Come

This month marks our third anniversary of the launch of Johnny's Kids.

There are six children with special needs who are enrolled in our Johnny's Kids program: Chinyelo, Daphne, Lancy, Lerisa, Nadia and Pierre Richard. Over the past two years, the Lord has worked in miraculous ways in each of their lives. 

Every day, we are witnesses of the truth that love speaks no language. It breaks through any boundary. The love of Jesus is truly the greatest of all—and it changes these children's identity and future by the day.

Countless people have been containers of Jesus' love to transform their lives. Dozens of physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists have provided therapy to improve their quality of life, and hundreds of volunteers travel to Haiti to spend the week loving on Johnny's Kids. 

When Pierre Richard joined Johnny's Kids, he was one of the most stoic boys you had ever met. Today, he is no longer defined by a physical disability. His smile is contagious, and he is incredibly bright and strong. And be prepared, Pierre Richard is undoubtedly ready to dominate you in a game of soccer at any time. 

Nadia couldn't walk or stand on her own when she was enrolled in Johnny's Kids in February 2015. She was paralyzed as a child due to a horrific punishment for a child-like mistake. But Nadia's story doesn't end there. Today, she is a testimony of God's divine healing and power. She can now walk and is no longer homebound. Her smile is a radiant reflection of God's glory.

Chineylo used to have eyes filled with hopelessness. Smiles were rare and there were deep scars from years of neglect and rejection. Today, his spirit has been healed and he overflows with joy. This boy knows that he is deeply loved and has an incredible future ahead of him.

Daphne, Lancy and Lerisa used to be viewed as "cocobai" which means "worthless" in Haitian Creole. They lived in hostile environments and face extraordinary challenges due to physical disabilities. Today, these sweet girls know and believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Their smiles will melt your heart, and their lives radiate the light of Jesus. 

This next year holds so much promise. Hundreds of people are signed up to serve on a LiveBeyond mission trip to work with Johnny's Kids, and construction of Johnny's House will be begin this year.

And the impact that has been made wouldn't be possible without our incredible volunteers. You are not only our heroes, but the heroes of Johnny's Kids. Together, we're making a difference in their lives in the name of Jesus. 

We're expectant to see how God continues to transform lives of children with special needs. There has been a shift in the hearts and attitudes of the Thomazeau community, and they are beginning to see the worth and potential of every individual with special needs.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. The best is yet to come!

 

A LOOK BACK AT THE TRANSFORMATION OF JOHNNY'S KIDS


On Being Warriors.

By: Jacklyn Vanderpool, LiveBeyond Evangelism & Discipleship Training Director

By: Jacklyn Vanderpool, LiveBeyond Evangelism & Discipleship Training Director

 

Over the last several weeks we have had three American soldiers staying at the LiveBeyond base. Every time they tell a story I can’t help but marvel at their lack of fear and their obvious strength. They exude confidence in their skills and just by their stature you know not to mess with these guys. It has been an honor to work along side of these men because just as iron sharpens iron, they are influencing the LiveBeyond staff and security to become fearless warriors. For those of you who have been to LiveBeyond over the last several months you have probably heard my dad’s morning devotional on how we are called to be warriors. I have heard this talk numerous times and every time without fail, he rallies the troops and prepares us for our daily spiritual battle. Every week day, I teach a class training Christians on how to make disciples. I was particularly excited about the study on Ephesians because after five incredible chapters, the final chapter focuses on how God prepares and equips us for battle. 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Ephesians 6:10-18

The first thing that strikes me about this passage is that it is not our strength that we are called to rely on. God does not throw us into the fray and then abandon us, instead, we are called to be strong in His strength and His might. What I may be able to accomplish through my own strength pales in comparison to the mountain moving, bread multiplying, life giving power found in God. As Paul continues he makes it clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood but the spiritual realm. There are battles that we face every day, cancer, relationships, and jobs, but these are not the battles Paul references. Instead, it is the battle between the enemy and God. As Christians, we have been enlisted into this battle but we do not walk into the fighting without proper preparations. We are given a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, a helmet, and a sword. The belt is the truth that we live and speak. Our breastplate is the righteousness that we walk in daily. In order to share the gospel we must go, therefore our shoes are the gospel of peace. Our shield is our faith in Jesus who is our firm foundation and protector against the tactics of the enemy. Our salvation is the gift of the blood of Jesus that was freely given to us. The sword of the Spirit is Jesus. Revelation 19:13 says that Jesus is the Word of God, meaning that when we wield our sword, we are wielding Jesus. 

If it is not our strength that we rely on, instead the strength of the Lord God Almighty and we are given the armor of God, then I ask, what do we have to fear? God is a warrior, He has called us to join into the fight but instead we cower and limit ourselves to our fears and weaknesses. He has called us to be champions for the oppressed, widowed, orphaned, and lost but we run in the opposite direction. We have been given all the necessary training and equipment to run into battle and take ground for the Kingdom of God. We cannot stand by and leave the dirty work to a select few. We have to be willing to step up into our full God-given potential to realize that we have the same Spirit that Jesus has. We have been given the strength, the armor, and the Spirit, it’s time that we put it on and charge into battle. 

No longer will we cower behind lies, excuses, and fear. No more will we let the children of God be destroyed by the enemy. Never again will we stand by while the enemy steals, kills, and destroys. From this day forth we stand in the strength that the Lord has promised us. Starting now we put on the armor that God has presented to us. We run head first into the battle cutting down evil and crying out the name of Jesus in victory. We have a job to do. We are called to be like Jesus and it’s time that we step into that role. 

Dig deep, find that passion, ignite that warrior spirit, and plunder hell and populate Heaven. 

Empowering Thomazeau | Benita's Story

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Some of the responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

How long have you worked for LiveBeyond?
Since 2013.

What is your job at LiveBeyond?
I make jewelry and clean the medical clinic. Before working here, I did not have a job. My brother, Joseph, translates and helped me get this job.

What is your favorite part about working for LiveBeyond?
I love church. I was baptized in September 2016. There was nothing serious going on in the way I was living, and when the Vanderpools talked to me, I chose to take God's way.

How has your job transformed your life?
My job gives me dignity. The father of my two children doesn't help provide for my family. I can now pay for my kids' school and feed my children because of my job at LiveBeyon. I also have more confidence in myself—I know I'm talented at making jewelry.

Anything else that you'd like to share?
I love my job and the Vanderpool family. They do beautiful things and have helped a lot of people. 

Finding Jesus

By: Robert Seaborn, LiveBeyond volunteer (Dec. '16)

By: Robert Seaborn, LiveBeyond volunteer (Dec. '16)

During December, we heard the Christmas story countless times—We heard it at church, we heard it on Charlie Brown Christmas, we saw it played out on church lawns all across the country. Maybe we see and hear it so often that it becomes a little desensitizing. Christmas is about power and impact and change coming into the world. But it is also instructional as to where to find Jesus, assuming you’re still looking for Him. Are you looking for Him? Nobody has the ability to shake up your life like Jesus. I really think a lot of people know that, either consciously or sub-consciously, which is why so many are afraid to look for Him. You can’t meet Jesus and be the same.

Last month, God sent me to Haiti. I say sent me, because as little as a week before I left I can honestly say I had zero intention of ever going to Haiti. To say it wasn’t on my radar would be a gigantic understatement. God had other plans, and I am forever grateful and forever changed because of His nudge. As I look back, I believe He felt I needed a fresher relationship with His Son. He wanted me to experience Christmas like never before. I couldn’t see that then, but I can see it now.

Let me go ahead and get this out of the way now. I am not saying Jesus is not in America, and I’m not saying we can’t find Him at work, church, school or in our homes. Jesus transcends all circumstances and places. I am just saying, sometimes – at least for me – the walls we build around our lives (even with the best of intentions) can serve to block and distort our vision. The very things God has given me and you that can be used for His Kingdom somehow get in the way of our relationship, and we stack them up for ourselves instead of investing them back into His work. As my friend Matt McGee says, "The American Dream gets in the way of the Kingdom of God."

So, on the night of December 3rd, I laid my head down on a hot bunk under mosquito netting in Thomazeau, Haiti and thought to myself “what in the world am I doing in Haiti, I must have lost my mind.” I’m pretty sure God had a nice chuckle at that comment. Seven nights later as I laid my head down on the same bunk, I said to myself “What in the world am I doing going home.” A lot can happen in a week. A lot can happen when you find Jesus.

With all my distractions from home out of the way my week began to become filled with worship and service. It seemed the more I focused on His work, the clearer my vision came. Kind of like spiritual LASIK. It got so good that by mid-week I looked over while I was in the medical clinic and saw my friend, Rachel, on her knees cleaning the feet of one of the ladies we were treating. The look on Rachel’s face was one of absolute joy as she carefully took her time to get every spec of dirt off of those feet. It was like watching Jesus with Peter as I looked at her face. I’m sure I’ve never seen a purer expression of love in my life as during that moment.

A short while later I was praying over a lady who needed several teeth pulled. It was obvious she was in a great deal of discomfort and all I knew to do was hold her hand, rest my other hand on her head and pray for comfort to come over her. As I was praying she turned slightly and looked right at me. It was right then, that I felt I was living Matthew 25. As Jesus tells us that as we minister to those who are oppressed, we are ministering to Him. Jesus was poor, homeless and persecuted by the powerful of His day. Yet He spent his time ministering to the poor, homeless and persecuted. I realized that to find Jesus, you go where He would go and you do the work that He would do. And when you get there, you make eye contact, because He is looking for you too. As the week went on, I got hungrier for Him. I wanted to see Him every day, and I did.  He was in the faces of my co-workers, in the eyes of the Haitian children in Kè Pou Timoun, and in the voices singing at church each morning. He seemed to be everywhere. Then I got my final surprise.

During the week I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time with the kids in Kè Pou Timoun as they went through their weekly routines. I made quite a few friends as the week went on.  One of the boys I met would stay late each night and go home after dinner with one of the cooks. At the end of the week we went to his village to deliver food to some of the families of kids in the program, and it was then I found out more about him. He is an orphan and was living in the street when Mona brought him to LiveBeyond and asked Mama Laurie to take him in. She said if they would let him come into the program, she (Mona) would find him a place to live and look after him. She has been true to her word. I got to see his home that day. Mona had converted an old animal pen and given it to this boy to live in. It had a door and lock and he carried a key to his home. As he smiled while he showed me where he lived, it dawned on me, his home used to be a manger. He now lives where Christ lived. The greatest gift I will ever receive is Jesus. To be invited into His home and to be blessed to care for those He cares for. “He has come to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to set the prisoners free.

May Jesus always be your gift. May your heart overflow with love for others and be filled with the love Jesus has for you. May your eyes be opened in such a way that you clearly see His looking back at you.

2016, a recap of transformation

Join us in celebrating the lives, relationships, and communities that God empowered LiveBeyond to impact in 2016!

Without your generosity and co-ownership of LiveBeyond’s vision and mission, we couldn’t fulfill our calling to transform Haiti for the Kingdom of God.

Your prayers, time, passion, resources and love made a tremendous impact in the Thomazeau community—It is truly a privilege and an honor to partner with you.

Here are a few highlights of what God accomplished through LiveBeyond in 2016...

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Thank you for making all of this work possible. See you in 2017!

Recovery of Sight for The Blind

By: Tara Bailey, LiveBeyond volunteer

By: Tara Bailey, LiveBeyond volunteer

From an early age, I have been fascinated by the eyes and wanted to be an eye doctor. As I got older, that desire grew into a passion to provide eye care to those who are less fortunate by going on regular medical mission trips. When shown God's grace to become an optometrist, I felt "the Spirit of the Lord on me to recover sight for the blind" (Luke 4:18). I wanted to use the opportunity He'd given me to use my skills to the fullest. However, the Lord recovered my own sight during my mission trip with LiveBeyond (Oct. '16) and gave me a much-needed change in focus, even though I had been to Haiti with LiveBeyond before.  

When someone asked me and my husband, Caleb, to consider going to Haiti, I wanted to go, but a part of my heart was still in Africa and Guatemala. I had seen many good works around the world but after our first trip in November '14, I had never seen anything like what the Lord is doing in Haiti.

He is truly changing a country by how and what is being done through LiveBeyond. LiveBeyond is striving to meet every single need of the Haitians on an ongoing basis. By having a Haitian and an American in charge of every program, it is empowering Haiti to eventually be a self-sustaining nation. By requiring a transaction for every resource, it is teaching the Haitians to be grateful for what they are given, rather than entitled or deserving of more.    

This second trip hit me like a crash of waves all over again. The Lord increased my faith and gave me an indescribable peace and desire to look for Jesus deep in their eyes and pour out His compassion to them. It was an absolute joy to get to provide eye care to the Haitians. 

Thanks to Drew and Duane Sommerville for bringing over 1,300 pairs of glass and the equipment that enabled us to check their prescriptions more accurately, we were able to distribute around 150 pairs of glasses. At first, I was disappointed that we weren't able to give out more, but my Spirit-filled husband helped me see that hopefully we distributed a lot more than 150 glasses last week. 

I pray that the Lord uses the glasses as an invitation for salvation to those that have never seen Him or known Him. I pray they create an excitement among the surrounding villages because a story is told of how they can now see more clearly, some for the very first time. I pray this in turn creates a desire for others to come to clinic or church and hear the Good News of Jesus, who is the One and Only who can truly make the blind see!

The Lord also renewed my hope on this trip. With a space of two years between my first and second trip, I saw progress—lots and lots of progress. I had a newborn baby with a double chin sit down next to me at worship on Sunday—I saw healthier looking people! I heard that Dr. Vanderpool had not seen a cholera case in two and a half years because they have clean water! I saw five people added to the Kingdom of God through baptism. There have now been over 200 people baptized this year. Wow! I saw God's children rejoicing and worshiping Him with their whole body and soul, celebrating their freedom from Satan and his darkness. I saw people persecuted for their decision to follow Jesus, but standing firm in their faith and not afraid to live next door to a voodoo peristyle. 

On my previous trip, I repeatedly heard the simple, foundational message that "God is Good. Voodoo is bad. God is good. Voodoo is bad." This time, I saw Pastor Sargesse and Markendy passionately leading a congregation in more deeply convicting messages about God's Truth.

I saw more people boldly proclaiming their faith in the Lord and asking us to join with them in prayer for complete healing for Lancy Belle, Daphne and others. How could I have ever been satisfied with just their ability to somewhat awkwardly walk with assistance? I now have courage to pray fervently for the Lord to show His power in every situation because anything is truly possible with Him.

I am now convicted to bring the stories back home and help unveil the curtain that Satan has put over our nation's eyes. Satan has us right where he wants us in the United States—arrogant in our self-sufficiency, overfed and wallowing in prosperous ease (Ezekiel 16:49)—and never acknowledging him for being the cause of every negative thought, complacent lifestyle or selfish desire.

I am tired of being complacent. Tired of being blinded by Satan's schemes. Tired of listening to Satan's lies. All I know is that I do not want to miss another opportunity to see Jesus or know God more deeply. I never want to miss an opportunity again to make sure we are ALL ready for the King's return! May He recover the sight of us all and give us the strength and zeal to serve Him wholeheartedly until He returns to take us home! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Jezi Pou Ayiti (Jesus for Haiti)

By: Tammy Marcelain, LiveBeyond volunteer

By: Tammy Marcelain, LiveBeyond volunteer

I was standing up, with my legs leaning back and the back of my knees pressing into the hard wood of a long bench, my eyes were closed and hands which were clapping now just rested against each other with my chin gently touching the tops of my fingers. A soft smile was what I felt through my being. My bare face and arms welcomed the wind that in West Texas seemed more of a nuisance, but in Haiti was an honored guest. I wanted to remember exactly what this moment felt like and sounded like to worship Jesus with my brothers and sisters in Christ who lived the harsh life up in the mountains of Thomazeau, Haiti. I wanted to hold on to the memories and the stories.

With Haitians seated all around singing praises to Jesus, I kept my eyes closed and thought through the days before… all I had seen and felt.

The very old, blind man led by his small grandson to the Sunday church service. Their walk was not easy, many hours over difficult terrain. After sitting in the back for a while they were escorted to the front. The man’s head rested on his walking stick, always making sure his grandson was close to his side. He listened to the songs, to the words of the evangelist. He wanted Jesus. He was dressed in a white robe, and he was baptized. He was completely dependent on the people around him to help him in every way. Jesus was there, it was in the hands of those who honored this man that Jesus shone so bright. Clothing him, lifting him into the water. Jesus was there. Now this man who walked so far, would always have Jesus in him. He has a place in my heart.

Mister Cartil who that same day chose to be baptized. He lives next door to a voodoo peristyle. He would have to be very brave and strong to give up voodoo when it is so close to him at his home. It took four years since he began to learn about Jesus, but this day, he said yes to Jesus and no to voodoo. He is a strong and brave man. He is also a man who works hard to give his family food. He is grateful and kind. He has a place in my heart.

I thought of the skin I cleaned and put creams on when I worked at the scabies area in the clinic. The smiles of the Haitians who looked at me to help them. Me. They would show me what was hurting, or itching or a wound that needed attention. I could have requested to not be assigned to the scabies area, but I left my assignments up to God and J’Lyn (the employee who made the assignments). I knew God’s grace would be sufficient. And it was. Mesi Jezi. As someone whose stomach turns when there is blood - God met me right where I was, and it was Him who treated those wounds. I just let Him use me. I would look into the eyes of the soul sitting across from me, an adult, a child, a baby being held by their mother. I saw Jesus looking back at me. They have a place in my heart.

I thought of the children who I sat next to during the Kè Pou Timoun classes. Their hands would reach out for mine. Their smiles were bright. Some took a while to warm up, but those were the ones that stayed close until it was time to leave for the day, the ones that would give two hugs to say goodbye instead of one. I would tell them, “Jezi renmen ou,” and they would smile. Jesus loves you. I would tell them, “Mwen renmen ou,” and they would tell me back, “I love you, too,” and they would smile and lean in for a hug. I had to wear sunglasses at times so my tears wouldn’t show. The poorest of the poor. The most in need. I love them, and it hurt to tell them so. It hurt because they live in places that were in worse shape than the shed in my backyard which needs to be torn down. My heart hurt because many of their “roofs” leak when it rains and these beautiful faces who look like skinny versions of the kids who live around me, are in fact getting wet on the floor as they are curled against each other trying to sleep, trying to survive. They have a place in my heart.

I open my eyes, the songs are still being sung, the clapping is still in rhythm around me. I wipe the tears that are pouring down my cheeks. My soft smile has turned into an ache. I have to remind myself to take a breath. Then I remember to look around. I see that in the faces of the poorest of the poor is a passion and joy for Jesus. There is hope in Haiti. Jesus is hope. It is an honor and not a burden to serve God. It is an honor, not a burden, to serve Haiti. Just like in the scabies station, I just have to show up… God will do the rest. Then I look at the friends who came to tend to Haiti, some doctors, some nurses, a dentist, some accountants, mom’s with young children at home, office workers, business owners,...every age represented – some older and some younger than me, some on their 17th trip, some on their first all of them willing to show up. My hands start to clap again, the ache becomes a smile which turns into a laugh as the sounds around me start to get louder, and the words, “MESI JEZI, MESI JEZI, MESI JEZI!” fill the air. Thank you, Jesus.

I just can not say enough about my experience with LiveBeyond. The Vanderpools have listened to God and shown up. Dr. Vanderpool left his successful practice as a doctor, they sold everything and moved to Haiti and that was the beginning of LiveBeyond. God has given them a vision for Haiti. If you haven’t gone on a trip I just could not recommend it enough. If you want to see all the ways LiveBeyond is helping the poorest of the poor (and there are many) you can find them at livebeyond.org. Info for trips is on the website. It truly is an honor to serve the least of these. The blessings abound when you join with God in His service anytime, but in amazing proportion when you join Him in his work for the most vulnerable. Here I am Lord, send me.