Saturday, 29 May 2021

We have a date

 Normally when we are home whether that's Canada or Northern Ireland we get an opportunity to speak in churches and share what has been going on in Haiti, obviously with COVID we have been unable to do that and we haven't been in Canada since 2019. 

So we have put together this video to share with you a bit more about what's going on in Haiti and what our plans are.  I hope you enjoy it 😀

In other news we have booked flights! We got Jacob's passport a couple of weeks ago and have been waiting to see if  the US border is going to open.  So far this has not happened and doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon so we have booked our flights to leave the UK on 29th July where we will fly to Nassau in the Bahamas - I know one of the downsides to Haiti being in the Caribbean 😀 from there we will fly to Haiti. 

We are looking forward to going back but at the same time it will be hard to leave. Some of the things we are looking forward to are, teaching in person for Bill, seeing our friends who we didn't even get to say goodbye to, going back to our house, getting back to the clinic and the never ending sunshine.  The boys are looking forward to seeing Bello Bello - our cat who has miraculously survived all this time with us away, playing outside in barefeet all day everyday, going to the beach and getting back to school to see their friends. 

Some of the things we are going to miss are our family, our friends, playgrounds, forests, rockpools, smooth roads, and availability of certain foods! It's definitely going to take some time to get used to life in Haiti again - it is just so different from life here in Northern Ireland and with most of our OMS team gone it is going to be different from when we were there before. 

The next two months will be spent getting our house ready to rent out, packing up our stuff, buying stuff we need for Haiti - the boys have grown a lot in the last year and spending time with family and friends and saying goodbye!

Although this time at home was completely unplanned and even with all the restrictions it has been good.  We are thankful that Bill was able to continue his job at Emmaus and Julie has still been involved at Bethesda.  Jacob has made so much improvement in the last year and having access to speech therapy which we don't have in Haiti has come at exactly the right time for him.  We have been able to get done all the things we needed to get done which are impossible from afar.  So although this was not our plan the Lord has worked everything out and let's be honest - whose life ever goes according to the plan anyway? Ours certainly haven't! 😂

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Think about it....


From 1-30th June you can join us as we travel virtually  around the perimeter of Haiti,  moving however you like to move which could be walking, cycling, swimming, running, I mean the possibilities are endless really!  

The journey around Haiti is 1323 miles and of course we don't expect you to do that whole journey on your own.  You can set your own goal and we will collectively 'move' around Haiti.  Or you can get a team together, this could be your own family, or small group or anyone really, then set a collective goal. 

We are using a great platform called Race Roster where you can register and keep track of your miles.  Once you have registered with Race Roster you will be able to create your personal fundraising page which you can share with friends and family to sponsor you. 

The event will take place from 1-30th June and throughout the month of June you can post pictures and we will take you on the journey around Haiti through the facebook group.  You will get to see more about Haiti, learn a bit of the culture and maybe even pick up some Creole along the way.  

I would love you to get involved. 

I know that I ask a lot of you (whoever you are, I really have no idea who reads this).  I ask for your prayers, your money,  for goodness sake, I have even asked you to come and live beside us in Haiti! 

But if you take part in Move for the Move don't think about doing it for me. 

Think about doing it for Yvelinda, who comes for physiotherapy because she has cerebral palsy. 

Think about doing it for the twins, whose lives were saved (if you haven't read the story you can read it here) by coming to Bethesda and who still come for formula and food. 

Think about doing it for Christine* (not her real name) who was close to death when she first came in 2019.  After completing her treatment for TB she now attends our HIV clinic and is doing great! Read her story.

Think about doing it for Nurse Ketlye who desperately needs a new consultation room which is clean, up to date and fit for purpose. 

Think about doing it for the new moms who often don't even have a place to sit with their babies when they bring them to well baby day for check ups and vaccines because of the lack of space.  In a new Bethesda we will be building a women's center where these moms and caregivers can come with their babies. 

Think about doing it for our director, Dr Rodney, who left a job and a life in the Dominican Republic to come back to Haiti to serve his own people.  Whose vision has always been to have a clinic where the care and facilities are the best for the people of Haiti. 

We have an opportunity to do just that, but we can't do it alone, we need your help.  

Friday, 7 May 2021

Five years at Emmaus

 Last Friday was the last day of finals at Emmaus and it means Bill has officially been teaching at Emmaus for 5 years.  When we moved to Haiti Bill had visited three times (I think) he didn't know any Creole, any French and had only taught one two week intensive at Emmaus. 

This was not 2013 - I am guessing Bill never even took a camera on that trip! 

The past five years have been stretching, now Bill can speak, read and write in Creole, mark papers in French (with a little help from google translate 😀!) and He understands much more about Haitian culture which helps him to apply what he is teaching to his students. 

I asked him to summarize the past five years at Emmaus here is what he said 

' In the past 5 years I have learned a lot more about the bible than I had before because when you have to teach it you have to understand it at a deeper level.  Living and working in Haiti has been very stretching and hard. But it has given me a little bit of an insight into how difficult life is in Haiti.  

Poverty is such a overwhelming problem which affects all areas of life and society and if Christians are going to deal with poverty then it has to be addressed in all kinds of different ways.  I have come to understand the simple preaching the gospel is not enough to change a country.  The preaching of the gospel needs to be backed up with real Christian action. 

The last thing living in Haiti has shown me is the limitations on what a foreign missionary can do.  Missionaries need to be empowering national people to do the work because they can understand language and culture much better.  I have seen this first hand.  I was in a Masters class on finances for non profits and the professor was Haitian. He was describing how in his church the pastor did not have the power to sign cheques for the church.  The idea was for the church to be financially responsible so the power was not all with one person.  The students said ' That's just not how it works in Haiti.' which is a typical response when someone says something different. But the professor responded ' I am Haitian, my church is in Haiti and this is how we do it.'  And the students had no response.  Whereas in my classes when I am teaching the students have said to me 'That's not how we do things in Haiti.'  and I, as a foreigner cannot respond in the same way. 

To summarize through these last five years I have come to understand the bible and Haitian culture in a deeper way and I've seen that the role of a foreign missionary, in Haiti, is to empower Haitians to do the work of ministry and Christian service themselves instead of trying to do everything for them.' 

On a different note, Bill does love to write and has started his own blog, if your interested in sci fi, politics and theology then check it out

This time last year Emmaus was closed, the staff were trying to figure out how to finish the school year given that our students don't have the option of online classes, and Matt, the president was finishing up his time at Emmaus.  The possibility of completing the 19/20 school year did not look good never mind moving into a new school year! 

But they did! And the 20/21 school year has even been a record year! The total enrollment was 210 students which was made up of 118 undergraduate students and 92 masters students. 

Pastor Guenson Charlot took over from Matt in the summer and the school year began in September.  Donations were down, there were no visiting professors but with God's help and faithfulness the school year has now been completed. 

Bill is very much looking forward to being back teaching in the classroom and not over a screen! I know I don't talk too much about Emmaus on here (I will change that!) but there really are some wonderful things happening and we have some amazing students.  Stacey is really good at keeping their website of student testimonies up to date and you can read about them on the  Emmaus website or facebook page


 One of the things I was able to do on during my time at home in Northern Ireland during covid was some more training, specifically in paedi...