Sunday, July 9, 2017

Kenya Travel Update

Praise be to God!

Our Kenyan Medical Team has returned home safely. The group has many stories to tell about their successful mission, but now all they wish is a shower and the assurance of sleeping in their own beds! Thanks to all Church of the Nativity parishioners, the mission home team, and family members who have kept our team in their daily prayers. God listened.

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord.
~ Jeremiah 30:17

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Haiti Travel Update

After a long day of travel, our Haiti missionaries are home! They arrived on schedule at BWI around 12:30 am and were welcomed by family and friends with lots of hugs. The team is weary, but full of joy as they look back on their amazing week. On Monday evening, the travelers will reunite with the Home Team for a mission debrief, and then later to celebrate all of the wonderful things God has done through them. We could not be more proud of this team, and their amazing work alongside our brothers and sisters in Monarch! 


Thank you for following their journey, for all of your love and prayers, and for your support of NativityMissions!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Haiti Travel Update

On Thursday, the team had their last day in Monarch. Once again, they started early and enthusiastically. When the afternoon came, and they had to say their goodbyes, there were many hugs and lots of tears. This was made more difficult because our current missionaries don't know yet when (or if) they will be able to return again. Monarch can be assured, though, that Nativity will be back in October with a whole new team of missionaries, and that our long-term partnership with them is strong.

After their final dinner in Bohoc, they had another night of reflection, with many emotions about their last day and their good-byes. Their 410 Bridge guide, Major, helped them to process their feelings.


Here is another wonderful reflection from Adeola:

Saturday, I felt a keen sense of disappointment. I had spent a whole day in Monarch, met amazing people, listened to a diverse leadership council, and observed children at play; all things that should have made me extremely happy and possibly excited, but instead I was deep - down borderline depressed and extremely disappointed. It has taken four long days for me to have a surface understanding of the source of these feelings, I realized that even though I had worked really hard to have no expectations except to witness love, I had somehow "drunk the koolaid". I had allowed the stories of hardship, struggle, need, destitution, sponsorship etc. to poison my thoughts and pervade my being, I came to Monarch consciously thinking "I will help them however they desire", but subconsciously thinking "I'm going to help them because they need me to help". The reality floored me. What a blow to my ego, when I discovered that they didn't need me, not even to help. I was witnessing a society flourishing on faith, hope and charity.
Faith that God will provide all their needs.
Hope that if it doesn't happen in their lifetimes, it will happen for their children.
And Love of a God who in turn loves them unconditionally and love of each other. 

It's funny (not ha ha), ALL of us missionaries have commented on at least one thing we love about Monarch and then compared it to the US using the statement, "that's not what happens in the US". I was so surprised by Monarch, and truthfully still in awe that I forgot for a moment that they were monetary poor, that healthcare (by American standards) is non existent, they lived in huts with dirt floors and often had to share the space with many people.
 
No one prepared me for children playing together, or families walking to the pump for water, or a praying and thankful community, or the amazing amount of love that could be shared between people. I knew I would learn a lot from the community of Monarch but I couldn't begin to imagine how much...

Monarch needs help because their goals for the village far exceed their resources. But rather than waiting for someone to do something, they pray and they work and they love. Monarch survives because no matter how little they have, they are always thankful. 

As I get ready to return to the US, I am thinking :

• The U.S. would probably benefit from some Haitian missionaries
• I probably need my whole summer break to process this trip
• What is one thing I've learned in Monarch that I can use now either in my personal or professional life?
---

The team hit the road at 9:00 this morning for the long drive back to Port-au-Prince to make their 3:48 pm flight. They will stop again in Atlanta, and then on to BWI, arriving at 12:31 am. Please pray for their long day of travel, and for Nativity's partnership with Monarch!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Haiti Travel Update

Our next reflection is from Sarah DeVan, one of our wonderful teachers who stepped out in faith to take this journey. Here are her thoughts on teaching the Haitian students during their language exchange lesson:

[Monday] we taught the Haitian children the English colors and numbers. It was an amazing experience to teach the more than 50 students we had gathered. Halfway through reviewing the colors, we noticed one diligent student in the back of the room who had brought his coloring page back from the day before, and he was resourcefully using the back to write down the names of the English colors we taught. His thirst for knowledge and perseverance was so admirable.

In the United States, students and teachers can sometimes take for granted the vast ability of resources and access to education. But, in Haiti, their quest for knowledge is so inspiring. I know I will be a better teacher in the United Stats for having experienced education in Haiti.

--

Returning Nativity missionary Kelsey Brown also has some words to share on why she keeps going back to Haiti - this is her third trip, and we are so blessed to have her strength and dedication on our team!

Kelsey says:

I keep returning to Haiti because I feel at home here. It is my happy place, my home away from home. When I rounded the corner and I saw that the new school had been built, it was unbelievable. I was filled with joy, amazement, and proud of the people of Monarch for having the perseverance to continue and see this project through to completion.

One of the things that I have appreciated most on this trip is their willingness to never give up when trying to share about their way of life. Yesterday, a few girls from the town taught me how to play their own version of a game. We didn't speak the same language, but we were still able to play and laugh, and the excitement on their faces as I caught on was priceless. Through coming to Haiti, I have learned so much about the universality of the human spirit.

--

Thank you for the wonderful reflections, ladies! Stay tuned for more!!

Haiti Travel Update

As our missionaries are wrapping up the week and processing everything they have seen and experienced, they have sent us some wonderful reflections of special moments they had during the week. We're happy to share them with all of you!

Our first two reflections highlight their Sunday Mass experience:

From Will Kelly:

I was really engaged in the whole mass, even though I didn't understand what was said. The passion of the people was very inspiring and moving. When we were able to sing and I played guitar, it was very special to see the smiles on their faces. The Pastor told Major that he would like for us to play another song, and the congregation all said "Again!" and wanted another song too.

I have led worship for the teens and congregation at Nativity, but now to have the same experience in Haiti was a dream come true. It was an intimate environment, and I was able to feel the passion of each individual person in the church.

Then I was blessed to be joined by two Haitian drummers, and that really showed how music is truly universal in that you don't have to speak the same language, yet there is a beat inside all of us.

This was a powerful experience, and one that our whole team will remember for a long time.


From Brian Phebus:


I really enjoyed being able to experience a Catholic service in another country. Due to limited resources, they were not able to have Eucharist, and it gave me a new appreciation, and I feel so grateful for the blessing to have Eucharist each week. The service was led by a Deacon, and that also made me realize how grateful I am to have a priest to lead mass each week at our church.












Check back throughout the day and evening for some more reflections from our fabulous team!