How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on?
Two so far. I was part of a medical trip in 2014, and then spent a week in Thomazeau in 2015 where I participated in the last half of a medical trip and the first half of an ESL/Kè Pou Timoun trip.
Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond.
Several members of my Sunday morning class had been on LiveBeyond trips - Dr. Taylor Tidmore, Dr. Whitney Mascorro, Zach & Michelle Percival, Ed & Jana Emerson - and they strongly encouraged me to go (and to bring my camera). When they told stories of their experiences, it was clear that something special was happening in Thomazeau, and that they had encountered Christ in a significant way there. My first trip I brought my video equipment and was able to put together a few useable videos for LiveBeyond. I was then asked to return the following year and produced several more videos to help share the LiveBeyond story.
What's your favorite part(s) of the mission week?
More than any other aspect, I’ve loved connecting with wonderful Haitian people. When I think back on my weeks in Thomazeau, I think of LiveBeyond staff members like Wilner, Mackendy, TKP and Sophie. I think of children like Stevenson, Chinyelo, Fanold, Daphne, Yvenson and Lancy. And I think of the hundreds of faces I saw in clinics, community visits, Kè Pou Timoun, Johnny’s Kids, and all the activities in and around the LiveBeyond base.
Over the past two years that you've been involved with LiveBeyond, how have you seen our work expand?
My first trip to work with LiveBeyond in 2014 happened to be the week the new medical clinic opened. (Prior to that, doctors saw patients in an overflowing open-air pavilion.) It was a great joy to see the gorgeous, functional, spacious clinic opened and used to serve the people of Thomazeau.
The following year when I returned, I was amazed at how God had opened up new opportunities for LiveBeyond - much of it related to that new building. I’ll never forget the first day of clinic I filmed on that second trip. There were several hundred Haitians in a waiting area on one side of the clinic as doctors treated the sick inside. On another side of the clinic, three dozen pregnant Haitian women sat in the maternal health program, eating protein-rich hard boiled eggs (courtesy of the chickens in the LiveBeyond chicken farm) and receiving education that would help them deliver and raise healthy babies. On the longest side of the clinic, under a shaded porch sat 50 children in the Kè Pou Timoun program, each of them receiving a nutritious meal and a vitamin, then singing songs and learning Bible stories and participating in arts and crafts. On the fourth side of the clinic, five precious Haitian children with different disabilities were playing games, receiving physical therapy, and experiencing great love and care. The ministry is expanding exponentially in meaningful and life-giving ways.
LiveBeyond has captured the hearts of a growing number of people in my church - mine included. I love the holistic ministry it provides the people of Thomazeau. Much like Jesus did on earth 2,000 years ago, LiveBeyond heals sick people, feeds hungry people, lifts up oppressed people, and connects lost people to a God of love, hope and peace. It’s a sincere honor and a blessing for me to be associated with LiveBeyond.
What keeps you coming back to Haiti with LiveBeyond?
I want to return to Haiti because the Kingdom of God is present in Thomazeau through LiveBeyond. It’s been said that God’s grace is like water - it flows downhill and pools in the low places. God’s grace has pooled up in a big way in Thomazeau through LiveBeyond, and his presence there is unmistakable. It is holy ground.
How have the people of Thomazeau have changed your life?
I’ve lived such a comfortable and sheltered life (you might even say self-centered), oblivious to much of the suffering and injustice that are in the world. My eyes are more open now, and my heart is more disturbed and unsettled. I long to see and be part of God’s Kingdom coming to earth. I also have a growing understanding of the love and grace of God, whose attention bends toward the widow, the orphan the poor and the oppressed. And I hear his call in my life to share his concern, and to be moved to action.
Share one of your most memorable experiences or encounters in Haiti.
My second trip to Haiti was structured so that I could film several days of an ESL/Ke Pou Timoun trip, and then stay to film several days of a medical trip the following week. The two days in between those two trips I found myself on the LiveBeyond base - and occasionally venturing into Thomazeau to interview people and capture footage - with nobody but members of the Vanderpool family, several interns, and members of the LiveBeyond staff. I was struck by what I experienced on those two quiet days: the genuine faith of the Vanderpools, who came together on the porch of the Hamilton House to pray and worship and read scripture, even with no visiting groups present; and the deep relationship LiveBeyond has with the community, which was evident as I filmed and visited with those whose lives have been forever changed by LiveBeyond.
One of our amazing LiveBeyonders, Stephen Corbett, uses his epic skills to produce all of LiveBeyond's amazing videos. He is married to Tiffani and has two sons - Kyal (12) and Kolby (turns 10 on December 20). Stephen is the Communications Minister at the Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, where he has served for 16 years. He graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1996.