Bonswa!! I hope this post finds you all doing well and loving life wherever you may be. I apologize for the time since my last post – we have been very busy and all kinds of new challenges have arisen of late. A couple of days ago I took some time to write a different blog post for this week, but in light of everything else going on, the updates I write for you all tonight are just too exciting to hold off announcing any longer. The other post, which was more of a personal reflection on the nature of ministry in Haiti and the foundations of poverty in the developing world will be posted sometime in the future when I am in need of a post . I am sure you will all probably find these deaf community specific updates to be more interesting and exciting.
The month of June has been extremely busy with several teams (including several members of my family). My father, sister, aunt, and mother traveled to Haiti in the beginning of June to work on a service trip and check out what we have been doing for the last 11 months together here in Haiti. It was wonderful sharing all of this with my family and stepping back to watch them as they interacted with my new deaf family. Many of the deaf even remarked to my mother and sister that we are all now family – my mom found that on many occasions she was quite famous and greeted with an extra hug or kiss on the cheek. She teared up a couple of times when she realized that for most of the community she is forever referred to as “mama Kyle.” We were all quite emotional as we shared in this experience together, and once again it was amazing to share this life with my family. My family has always been supportive of this work, even when they did not quite understand why I kept passing up good jobs and other opportunities in the US – for them to see my heart and to see this work in Haiti provided a lot of clarity and understanding. For my parents, who obviously worry for their oldest child, it was great seeing the community that surrounds me, and how well everyone looks out for me. My mother has gone back to the US and tracked down a group of people who meet for coffee once a month at a local Starbucks to practice sign language – like I have written so many times before on this blog, that is what this work is for. . .To empower communities around the world towards a biblical worldview and a worldview that can break cycles of poverty as well as show all of us that love transcends all cultures and languages and glorifies God with the realization of His vision for His children around the world.
I could write so much more on the joy of having family and friends here – suffice it to say here that the Frazer UMC trips in June, the Frazer Youth Group trip in mid-june, and the recent trip from SeaCoast Church in Charleston have been a true blessing to me and to the community . . . Let’s keep it going!!! Sign up for trips . . . .
The biggest news of this week is that we have finally broken ground on the new church at Leveque!! We have been eagerly awaiting this day alongside of the deaf leaders who are excited not only for the jobs that church construction provides, but more importantly for the new opportunities to worship alongside their new deaf and hearing neighbors. Please be in prayer for the land, for the local leadership, for the workers, and for the residents of Leveque. Please pray that as the community worships together, they also use that time of worship as a foundation for fellowship, friendship, the true Biblical view of church and community, and the foundation of strength for the trials ahead.
I include here the text message I received from Mackenson as the heavy machinery rolled into Leveque to clear the land on Tuesday – “Brother now we see big car come for clean land for add church we very excised.” PRAISE THE LORD – I arrived at the community 5 minutes later to find William dancing on the hilltop as he waved us to walk up and check it out! We spent time up there with the team and with residents as we prayed over the land, worshipped together, and prayed once again for the Lord’s continued blessing and favor on the community at Leveque. Once again, keep these items in your prayers.
Ok – now check this out. In the same fashion of the Lord’s past beautiful provision in this project, a friend of ours named Dee Mathes who runs Mission Hearts ministry visited us in Leveque on Saturday with a special presentation. Dee showed us all a video from a service at her church with an incredible artist named Mark Eckel – I highly recommend you check out any videos you can find on YouTube with Mark Eckel SPLAT. ( http://thegrablegroup.com/other-clients/splat-experience-marc-eckel/ ) SERIOUSLY – check out this site and all of the other videos you can find – they are well worth your few minutes in watching them.
Eckel’s work is an absolutely amazing visual artistry that left the deaf leaders and myself on our knees and in tears. To be honest, I thought this was the big surprise Dee had told me about and was thankful for the worship experience . . . but then Dee informed us that she had a gift for the community to grace a wall of the new church in Leveque. You can see here a Mark Eckel original that Dee has been holding onto for years, for the right time, for the right people to give it to. When Dee learned of the new church construction at Leveque, she was given total clarity that this was the place for the beautiful art. The deaf community and I were so overcome by such a generous a beautiful gift. I can’t wait to hang this up with the deaf leaders in a few months for the opening service of the new church on the hill. BOO-YEAH!!
Also in big news over the last couple of weeks, our new education programs have been started and are going well. We have almost 3 dozen hearing children attending sign language classes 3 times a week with a young deaf leader named Alexis Ganesly. We also have English and Literacy classes meeting three times a week taught by a Haitian man we hired named Wisky. Wisky covers the majority of the classes and is a very good man and a very good teacher. I teach every Wednesday evening for several hours and was pleased to find that the community overloaded the school house with a standing room only crowd and a line out the door for my class last Wednesday. I will need to write another post with the details of our exciting new education programs, but for now, they are truly one more source of possible unity between everyone in the area. The more opportunities for deaf and hearing people at Leveque to work and learn together, the more chances there will be for people to start friendships, to engage in life together, or at the very least, to begin learning about one another. When we take the time to learn about one another, we know that the beautiful truth of the inherent worth of all human life is undeniable. Please keep these programs in your prayers – that the Lord would use them mightily to bring people together and change this nation forever!
I promise to post again within one week – truly . . . I promise . . . I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. We get caught up in a lot and sometimes lose track of how well we are doing in keeping everyone informed and in requesting your specific prayers and support – I will do better. Thank you all for your prayers, for your encouragement, and for your support of this work.
grace and peace,