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...


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!

Go and Make Disciples

As I sit and write this, I have my windows open listening to a night rain. I can’t help but think of the ways that the Lord’s mercies come like the rain. They pour down, clean, refresh, rejuvenate, and give life. That is exactly what I experienced today, the mercies of Jesus that come pouring down like rain. The past two days have been a little hectic preparing to drive to Les Cayes at four in the morning to bring medicine and five tons of food to those who were affected by Hurricane Matthew. The past several weeks have been difficult adjusting to a life that can be quite lonely. It can be easy to fall into a rut and feel like the work you do is not effective or even working in the least bit. There are days that I question if I am even making an eternal impact, days where I fall into bed at night utterly exhausted, alone, and desperately crying out to The Lord asking for proof that what I am doing is honoring Him and advancing the Kingdom of Heaven.

…Then He gives me days like today. This afternoon at 4:00 we had three baptisms, two of which are particularly important to me. Today, by the grace of God, was the first day that one of my students in my discipleship class, has made disciples. June 2015, before I started evangelizing in Haiti, one morning during church I felt a burning inside of me, the Holy Spirit telling me to stand up in front of our workers and share the gospel. I put it aside and dismissed it as a random thought, the burning intensified to the point of thinking I would explode if I did not stand up immediately and share the gospel. With my heart pounding and my creole shaky, I stood before the church and shared the beautiful story of Jesus and His sacrifice for His people. At the end, I asked if anyone wanted prayer or to accept Jesus and two men immediately jumped up and ran to the front. One of those men was Harold Leriche. Two days later Harold was baptized and since that day has had the biggest smile on his face. Fast forward to December, Harold asks me to be the god-mother to his new born baby girl, I some how even make it onto the birth certificate as a witness to the birth (which I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I witnessed a Haitian birth). Harold has been coming to my class learning about the gospel of Mark, how to share the gospel with others, and how to love people the way that Jesus loved people- sacrificially. Today two of the men who got baptized were the brothers of Harold. He told me that he has been preaching and sharing the gospel frequently. Today Harold made disciples! Today, I saw fruit! Today I saw right before me the parable from Mark 4 that when a seed falls on good soil, it will yield, thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.

Please pray with me that these disciples will yield a hundred fold! Pray with me that our Haitian brothers and sisters will share the gospel to their entire nation! Pray with me that the Holy Spirit gives them the words to say and that all will experience the love of Jesus!

God is so good and He loves His children so much so that He blesses us with an abundance of mercy that pours like the rain. “Praise the Lord oh my soul, all that is within me Praise His holy name.” (Psalm 103:1)


Plunder hell and populate Heaven,


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 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.

A Fire Ignited

On June 4, I set foot in one of the most oppressed countries in the world. My plane had just landed in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. That was my first glimpse of just a few of the things I would be facing for the next week. I would see hunger like I’d never seen hunger; I would see poverty like I’d never seen poverty; but most importantly, I would witness love unlike any love I had experienced before.

What stopped me in my tracks and changed my heart forever was something that will never fade in my memory. It was my first night in a third-world country. It was like I awoke straight into panic mode at 2:48 am. I could hear the eerie thuds of drums being played as voodoo was being practiced at a nearby peristyle. This meant that pigs were being sacrificed, Satan was being worshipped, and lost souls were burning themselves in the process. I laid in my bunk shaking more violently than I ever have. I was scared. I was scared for the Haitians. I was scared for myself. I was scared that my God could allow something so horrible in a place that was already so broken. I prayed and prayed and prayed so passionately that God would help these people and take them away from Satan’s grasp.

Throughout the next five days, I realized that my God is an incredible God. An unshakeable God. A God who uses average people like me to glorify Him in the most heartbreaking situations. In the midst of all this brokenness, I began to see those around me working as His hands and feet to show unconditional love, forgiveness, and selflessness to every soul we served. I saw my fellow volunteers love on 12-year-old children who were responsible for taking care of their six younger siblings because of their mother’s death. I saw them play and love on children with disabilities. I saw them pray over men and women who came into our clinic for treatment. I saw them bring joy to hopeless Haitians. Not only did these volunteers change Haitian lives, but they changed mine as well.

I have never experienced such pure and innocent love. The children wanted nothing more than my love. A back scratch. My arm around them. To sit in my lap. The littlest glimpse of love was all they desired. In these days, I learned to be more selfless than I ever imagined. I left a giant part of my heart with these kids. They’re not just faces on a commercial anymore. These are kids who I’ve held and kissed and loved. They’re my kids. These kids didn’t care about money or flashy toys or what I was wearing. They cared about me. The here, the now, the love that was right in front of them.

Throughout my week in Thomazeau, Haiti, I treated wormy bellies, scabies, and a variety of conditions that we hardly ever see in the United States. I treated third-degree burns all the way up to a woman’s knee that were caused by walking on fire while practicing voodoo. This woman, Maizie, walked all the way down a mountain, barefoot, just to receive medical treatment from our clinic once a week.

My week in Haiti wasn’t only seven days of my life. This week wasn’t simply a trip to make me feel better about living in the richest country in the world. This trip was something that changed my heart forever. A trip I will continue to return to as the years go on. I pray that others are inspired and the fire to serve our God is ignited, just as mine was. There are so many ways to support LiveBeyond. In the short time I’ve been supporting this organization, I have seen first-hand where the pennies and dollars go. Because of the generous donations to LiveBeyond, many villages now have a well with clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Because of LiveBeyond’s maternal health program, women and babies are stronger and healthier than ever. Because of LiveBeyond’s Kè Pou Timoun program (heart for children program) many children are attending school, dressed in clean clothes, following the Lord, and learning the English language. Because of LiveBeyond’s medical clinic, hundreds of individuals have received medical attention. Above all, because of these amazing donations and servant hearts, so many Haitians have heard the Gospel and come to know Jesus! These are just a handful of the incredible things I got to witness on my journey.

So as I barely scrape the surface of this unbelievable adventure, I ask you to not only pray for the people of Thomazeau, I ask you to pray about going! The work there is unending and the Lord is seeking servants to be His hands and feet; all He asks is for your willingness.

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:12)

The Lord provides y’all.

Marissa Gonz is attending Missouri State University where she will receive her RN, BSN in May 2017. She currently works as Nurse Technician at Mercy Hospital- Springfield and a Certified Medicine Technician at Riverview at the Park, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

Choosing a Side

My name is Robert Oglesby, and I am a professor in the bible department at Abilene Christian University. You are probably thinking I am about to share some insightful best practices of mission work in the words below, but if you came on the trip to Haiti, you would see I am not always comfortable doing mission work. I have decades of experience in ministry, but the best description of my mission style might best be described as inept and awkward.

When it comes to working outside the U.S.A, I do not pick up foreign languages easily. I start getting comfortable with a few commonly used phrases of a foreign language as I get back on the plane to go home. I don’t like to eat foods that I can’t identify. If I can’t call it by name in under three seconds, I  do not not eat it. I rarely try new menu at my favorite restaurant, Chili's, in good old West Texas.      

I know mission work demands some sacrifice, but I prefer to choose which ones. I like the air conditioning to be cool and the showers to be warm. I have found that the air is usually too hot and the showers too cold. Speaking of showers, my first trip to Haiti included walking up a mountain trail one hot afternoon to visit folks in the community and were interrupted with a rainstorm. This particular weather was not a little Texas sprinkle. Imagine horizontal sheets of water that were so cold that is takes your breath away. Halfway through the storm, I realize there was not one inch of my body that is dryDon’t even ask me about my iPhone.

Halfway through the walk, I am standing under a small tree for shelter with a fellow worker. I check the itinerary a little closer. Nope, they did not advertise this surprise experience on the written schedule.

We had a variety of medical clinic experiences that I felt inadequate performing, but I could at least predict and manage my discomfort there.  Some moments were sad and some were  absolutely beautiful.  The hug of a special needs child or the look of relief on a mother’s face when her child received treatment they so desperately needed.   

As I was feeling confident again, I went with a minister, an evangelist, and a security guard out into nearby communities. I know it sounds like the setup for a joke, but we walked through villages talking to people about Jesus. Toward the end of our afternoon, we wound up at the home of a Voodoo priest. My discomfort began to rise as we walked onto his turf to talk about Jesus. The translation was sketchy at times. I read the nonverbals of the priest and the front part of the conversation went well, but we reached the crux of our differences. The priest grew more animated in his gestures. I realized there was a gap in my ministry training at ACU about Voodoo. Maybe I slept through those lectures. Here came that feeling of ineptness again.

The discussion was actually summarized well by the voodoo priest. There is power in Light (God) and there is power in Darkness. The priest chose darkness, and we believe God is more powerful than darkness. As we sang praises on the rooftop of the LiveBeyond facilities, the silence between songs allowed us the hear the drumbeats of those who worshipped the darkness. Each side in desperate pursuit of the hearts of Haiti.

You chose one side or the other.  The people of Haiti make a choice each day. Voodoo or Christ. There is no gray. Sometimes in our country, we think there is another position in the middle. We could learn so much from a third-world country.

I am thankful for the Vanderpool’s and the LiveBeyond ministry as they push back the darkness as they preach Christ. I am thankful for their willingness to use inept missionaries like me to carry out the mission of God. It was a joy to join you in God’s mission. I hope the message is clear. If I can do it, you can too!   

Robert directs Abilene Christian University's Center for Youth and Family Ministry and teaches several of our youth and family ministry and general ministry courses. He works part time with the Southern Hills Church of Christ as a Family Minister in their Youth and Family Ministry program.

Robert graduated from Abilene Christian University with a bachelor's degree in 1981. He received his master's degree in Marriage and Family Studies from Abilene Christian University in 1982. Robert has served as youth minister in Temple, Texas and Abilene.

Robert and his wife, Jenny, have three children: Lauren, Gregory, and Leslie.

LiveBeyonder Spotlight | Dawn Overton

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How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on?
I have served on two Kè Pou Timoun mission weeks. My first was in April 2016, and I returned in July 2016.

Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond.
A friend of mine served on a mission week in October 2015. When she returned and began sharing about her experience, I was immediately interested. Serving the poor and oppressed has always been something that I have had a heart for, but I never knew exactly how to get set up on a mission trip. I went to the LiveBeyond website and loved what I saw. That week I registered for a mission trip, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What's your favorite part of the mission week?
This one is tough. There are so many things I love about the weeks spent in Haiti serving with LiveBeyond. From taking in an amazing sunrise from the rooftop to watching the sunset from the back of the Jack while heading back from community visits. The beauty in Haiti is absolutely breathtaking. At any point and time you can look around and find yourself so caught up in the natural beauty of God’s creation.

However, the beauty of the landscape is not what I love most about Haiti. It’s the beauty of the people that is most attractive to me. The smiles, the hugs, the love. So much love. Each person you encounter is just waiting to be acknowledged. To be smiled at, waved at, hugged, anything. Whether it is the staff, the children, or the people living in the villages, they long to be loved and they long to be acknowledged. My favorite part of Haiti is being able to show that love and see the smiles that follow. In each of those smiles you see Jesus. You see a person so beautifully created by our God. You see a child who may not have a parent to hug them or kiss them goodnight, you see a woman who feels broken, unworthy, you see a man who wishes he could offer more to his family. You see the pain but then, with one simple act of kindness, you see immediate joy. That is my favorite thing about Haiti.

Share one of your most memorable experiences or encounters in Haiti.
On my last mission week in Haiti we headed out on a community visit following a full day of summer camp. The sprinkles began to fall as we rode along, all piled in the back of the trucks. Very soon after the sprinkles began to fall, the skies opened up and the sprinkles very quickly turned to rain. Lots and lots of cold, hard rain. We made the walk to one of the homes in the village and as many people that could fit joined under the tin roof on the porch and presented the certificates to each child who lived in the village. The rest of us attempted shelter under a nearby tree which actually offered very little shelter at all. But in this moment, in the midst of the rain storm, I was given a quick reality check. As we stood there, in the rain, soaked to the bone, I looked around at all the small children. The children with very little meat on their bones, minimal clothes and bare feet. This rain was cold. They were cold. One small girl stood, wrapped in the arms of another member of our team and she shivered. Another young man stood next to me and he shivered. I looked around and so many children were wet and cold and here we were, also wet and cold, standing in the middle of a rainstorm in Thomazeau, Haiti, and I got a small (very small) taste of what life is like for them daily. As I put my arms around the young man next to me and made my best effort to warm him just a little, I was thankful to be there. I was thankful for that taste of their reality. The reality that they don’t always have protection from the rain or anyone to wrap their arms around them to help warm them up. Although I know we won’t be there in every rainstorm, I was thankful for the chance to be there in that one.

What keeps you coming back to Haiti with LiveBeyond?
The people. The love. The gratification. The opportunity to truly make a lasting impact on the life of someone who needs it. All things that took me back to Haiti only three months after serving on my first trip. All things that will keep me going back. There are very few greater feelings than that that you get when you are serving out the calling that God has put on your life.

I have been called to Haiti to make a difference in the life of someone there. Or to make a difference in multiple lives there. I am not a doctor or a nurse or a teacher. It would be easy for me to think I have nothing to offer to the people there in Haiti. But what I have found during my trips to Haiti is that I have the greatest gift that I can offer to them, and that is the love of Jesus Christ. I go back because they need that love. They need to know that they are worth coming back for. And, quite honestly, as much as I know they need me, I need them. I encourage anyone who truly wants to see Jesus and to share Jesus to find a mission trip that you can participate in and make the trip to Haiti. I know that it was not by accident that I was joined with LiveBeyond. I believe that we serve an intentional God and he purposefully and intentionally sent me to Thomazeau.

A quote I read on my trip home from Haiti says this “When God puts love and compassion in your heart toward someone, he’s offering you an opportunity to make a difference in that person’s life. You must learn to follow that love. Don’t ignore it. Act on it. Somebody needs what you have.” I will continue to go back because God has put love and compassion in my heart toward children like Luckson, who have been abandoned and walked out on and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to make a difference.   

Tell us how the people of Thomazeau have changed your life. 
My life was forever changed in Haiti. My heart was broken, my eyes were opened. It is such a humbling experience and I don’t see how anyone could go and not be changed. As a Christian I do not have the option to ignore what I know the reality is in Haiti. I must act on it. I must pray daily. I must be the voice for those people who can not share their own story. I have had my eyes opened to God’s true purpose for my life ,and I am forever grateful for that. I have learned to really talk to God. Not just to pray, but to hear his voice in return. I know that he will direct my paths. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I hear this voice daily now. I read so much more in this verse than I ever did before. I realize that this verse does not only apply to us in America. I understand that this verse is applicable to each and every person in Thomazeau, in Haiti, and around the world. I have heard God say to me that in order for the people in Haiti to receive the plans he has for them, I (and many others) must be obedient to the plans He has for us. If we do not follow our calling, then they miss out on what God has for them and their lives.

How have you seen LiveBeyond expand our work and impact since you got involved with our work?
My involvement with LiveBeyond has really just begun, so I haven’t seen a huge expansion in my time with the organization. However, I have seen some before and after pictures of the children. I have seen the children in the villages who are not part of the Kè Pou Timoun program. I have seen the homes of the children so I know where they come from. I can imagine what their lives were like before LiveBeyond. I know the difference that LiveBeyond has made for these children because I see it in their smile. I am certain that if I am asked this question again in 1-2 years I will have lots to say because God has great plans for the Vanderpools and LiveBeyond. I’m blessed to be a part of it.

Dawn lives in a small town in Kentucky with her husband, Jeremy and children, Ava (6) and Jaxten (4). She works as a Business Support Representative.

A Tums Ministry

By: Mark Steiner, LiveBeyond COO

Lerrison, one of our Haitian workers, came to me after worship saying his stomach and head hurt. Neither he nor I knew each other at that point. I must confess, I saw Lerrison as a hard man, yet had no basis for my perception of him. He would later share some of his past in church that would explain some of my previous impressions.

Although needing to do something other than take the time to help Lerrison, God revealed to me in that moment that Lerrison was the priority. We went to the clinic where I would provide relief in the form of a Tums and Tylenol.

This encounter began what I now call my “Tums Ministry”. You see, neither Lerrison nor I spoke the other’s language. Basic medication and a cup of water was given in the name of Jesus and through the love of Christ, a friendship began.

Lerrison would come frequently thereafter needing pain relief. What he and I thought was a clinical transaction was being used by God to build relationship.

Several weeks later, Lerrison came forward in church and proclaimed his love of the Lord. A denouncement of voodoo had occurred. Lerrison was laying claim to light over darkness; love over hate; hope over despair; and freedom over captivity.  Two weeks later, Lerrison was baptized.

Lesson learned:  Kindness and the love of Christ is a common language that can replace language, cultural, economic and all other barriers.

Lerrison now has a room prepared for him in heaven! Transforming Thomazeau for the Kingdom of God continues! Oh how we can rejoice in that!  

To Love Like He Loves

  By: Morgan Himango, LiveBeyond volunteer

By: Morgan Himango, LiveBeyond volunteer

Hey y’all.

My name is Morgan Himango, and I am a junior at Texas A&M University (whoop!) and am from Lubbock, Texas. I am going to school to get a degree in Allied Health with hopes to be a Physical Therapist down the road. I have always considered myself a Christian, but my faith and relationship with the Lord changed drastically because of my time in Haiti. I do not think I will ever be able to fully explain how life-changing my experiences with LiveBeyond have been, but I am going to give it a shot.

I found out about LiveBeyond in January 2015 and went on my first medical mission that August of that year. When I say that I was completely unprepared for what I was going to see I am absolutely not exaggerating. When I thought about countries such as Haiti, I thought that the pictures you see of how oppressed the people are were just taken of the worst areas of the nation. Wow, were my eyes opened. The fact that hours before arrival I was staying in a house that would be considered a slice of heaven to those people, and not thinking anything was special broke my heart. 

Before leaving for my first mission trip with LiveBeyond, I remember praying a prayer asking God to open my eyes to see people the way He sees them, to love like He loves, and to break my heart for what breaks His. Boy, did he answer my prayer. There were countless times during the trip where I felt my heartbreaking for His people; however, I have never felt more heartbroken than I did when I met Sheila. 

I remember stepping into the room with her and her half-shut eyes meeting mine, and I am pretty sure everybody in the room could hear my heartbreaking for her, His beloved 52-pound daughter. I got the privilege to sit down with her that day and feed her (as well as let her listen to what I assume is her favorite Christian song jams, considering how she reacted when she listened to them). When I look back and think about when I looked into her eyes and got to tell her how much she was loved by our Father, I know now that I was looking into the eyes of Jesus. 

Sheila changed my life that day, and she did not say a single word. Because of her I will never look at life the same, and I will not let myself be content with the fact that I live two hours away from extreme and all-consuming oppression. I promised myself the moment my plane took off headed back to the US that I would be back to see her. She passed away before I got the chance to see her again, but what joy I feel knowing that she is no longer suffering and can sing and dance to those same worship songs we listened to those days.

I got the opportunity to go back this past summer on a Kè Pou Timoun mission week, and I was absolutely amazed at the progress that has been made in Thomazeau, Haiti! Instead of hearing the beating of the voodoo drums at night we could hear the KPT children singing songs that we sang during the day, Johnny Kid's had made more improvements than I could count, and children that were merely skin and bones had been fed by the Holy Spirit and made improvements that could only be considered the works of the Lord being done.

I know the Lord is not done with the people of Thomazeau, and I encourage everybody to be a part of this change for good. I am anxiously awaiting the day that I hear that a girl like Tibeline is leading the country of Haiti, or that Kenlove has become a preacher and is spreading the love of Jesus. God has amazing plans for his children and for that He is so good! While there is still progress to be made in Thomazeau, I thank the Lord for the works that have been done so far! We serve a loving, fearful, and all-powerful God and He is SO good!