Deaf Construction Crew – Hard at Work!

Posted on May 23, 2012 | By :

Bonjou!! I hope this post finds you doing well and loving life amidst grand adventures. I write to you all this morning from the front porch of Mackenson’s home – there are five of us here at the moment (Berthide, Mackenson, William, Melanie and I) and we have enjoyed some good quiet time as well as Bible study this morning . . . all the while drinking Berthide’s delicious coffee – I am a big coffee shop guy and while in the US I can often be found at the Tipping Point, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks or Caribou (or all four throughout a long day of reading :) . However, I must write today that the “coffee shop” atmosphere we have here on the front porch this morning rocks my world . . .
Whew – once again there is much to write about. I think the biggest joy of the last week is observing the progress of the deaf construction workers as they complete their first contract building two homes here in the new community. With this blog are a few pictures – check out the progress in only 5 work days from this crew!!!!! I stop by the site everyday when I am in Leveque and always find them hard at work and smiling while they do it. With progress and a work ethic like this I am confident they will easily procure more contracts this summer.

More deaf jobs are coming up as we break ground on the new church building and begin all of the woodwork for the church. At the moment our deaf carpenters are busy at work building a bookshelf for me and will possibly be contracted soon for some furniture and bedside tables for our new 410 Bridge guesthouse in Cabaret, Haiti. I enjoy observing these guys at work and marveling at the finished project – in this life down here in Haiti I think many missions find themselves giving work to communities like this mainly because the community needs the help and the work . . . we are in the very cool position of hiring the most skilled and hard-working people around, and they thankfully are the members of our community!!!

The deaf leaders and I are also hard at work in the coming weeks to begin developing micro-enterprise plans and a small business education plan that will support dozens of families in Leveque as they pursue sustainability and the dignity of receiving a loan that they must be disciplined in paying back as their business grows. This will be a long educational process and development of accountability with the community . . . this is also the area in which most organizations struggle in Haiti – As always, I have high hopes with this community.

In other news this week, the community at Leveque is enjoying time with several basketball players from a college in South Carolina – it has been funny the last couple of days, since I have been until this time one of the taller people that the community has seen . . . the people at Leveque constantly chuckle as we walk through the community and the three athletes dwarf me . . . in encouraging news, the kids are applying their biblical knowledge from recent VBS programming as they refer to one young man as “Goliath.” Check out the picture of William teaching two of these guys some basic sign language . . . :) .

The athletes tried their best in our community soccer game yesterday, but the Haitians definitely showed them that soccer is the National Sport down here. Today we turned  those tables as the basketball players ran basic drills for the children in the community!! Even Matala – “mama Haiti” fit in a couple of good tries at dribbling, giggling the entire time.

Water meetings for the community are progressing nicely – a full community meeting and education program will occur tomorrow for basic overall health and hygiene instruction. All of that will occur while our technicians from Water Missions International conduct their last site visit before installing the purification system and completing the training for the Haitian operators!! I think we just might make our ambitious starting date of June 1st for the community water project!!!

We have been engaging even more regularly over the last two weeks in our deaf life group Bible studies that occur each Sunday after the community church – (stay tuned for a full blog on those studies with my next post).

Prayer requests for this week – An interpreting student (and good friend of mine) named Elizabeth Beaird is traveling to Haiti this week to stay and serve for 3 months on an internship. Please pray for her as she takes this courageous leap to challenge herself in order to serve the deaf in Haiti.

Please pray for the water committee in Leveque as they complete their initial training and continue to work together – that they remain peaceful and that they grow in good friendship to lead this aspect of their community development.

Please pray for the deaf in Leveque as we start our new community wide education programs and spiritual development programs. Pray for the hearing residents at Leveque as well – worship, education and work together can be powerful unifying factors for this community – let’s pray mightily that worship and a vibrant community church will be the foundation of it all.

Thank you all for your prayers and constant encouragement. I look forward to seeing many of you down here in Haiti in the coming months.

grace and peace,

Kyle

Deaf Advocacy and Exciting New Possibilities!

Posted on May 15, 2012 | By :

Bonswa!! I hope this post finds you loving life in the pursuit of grand adventures. I write to you tonight after a beautiful sunset mountain bike ride over several rugged goat trails deep in the Haitian mountains. This week has been a good one, but I found myself craving some truly quiet and personal time – hence the long and rigorous mountain bike ride this evening.

About a month ago, Mackenson and I were sitting around the house with a few other deaf leaders. Our conversation turned to thoughts and plans for the future of not only this deaf community, but for all deaf people in Haiti. The leaders remarked that they would like to visit several of the schools currently offering at least some education for deaf children. There is a small school named Jubilee Christian Academy 2 hours away from Leveque that is run by a friend of ours named Franklyn. Last week we visited the school and I was honestly very impressed by the quality of education they are providing for young children in a very rough area of Haiti. My mind is immediately drawn to the possibilities of support and development of a school that has done so much with very little.

I look forward to many more meetings and brainstorming sessions with the deaf leaders surrounding the possibility of supporting them as they reach out to other deaf education programs in Haiti. My mind is also drawn to our need for an Interpreter Training Program and greater educational opportunities for many deaf adults who have never before gone to school. It is all exciting!!! This is also a sign to me that while the deaf at Leveque now there are many trials ahead, they have HOPE – a HUGE HOPE in what the future of this life has for them . . . In what the Lord has planned for them as a people who are even now redefining their culture.

After many hours in the car through horrendous traffic, several hours visiting schools, and other work projects throughout the day, I arrived back at Leveque to drop off Mackenson and Alexis. Upon entering Leveque we noticed a gathering of several deaf people. Mack informed me that William was leading deaf church and a time of prayer that the deaf community has been very disciplined in keeping every Tuesday and Thursday.

Well – of course we had to park and attend one of William’s first sermons ever as he is beginning to gain the confidence to be a spiritual leader of his community. I sat back feeling overwhelmed with emotion as I watched William passionately preaching in sign language. For him to come up to me afterwards and say, “I need even more time learning and time in the Bible” was humbling to me. We have been engaged regularly in study together, but this day William made the request for disciplined time together studying the Word with every visit I make to Leveque.

With every team and with every visit, William has his notebook handy in order to learn all he can. In this, William exhibits for me the very picture of a servant leader – something everyone of us, myself especially, needs to observe more regularly. In order to be a good leader we must always remain passionate and disciplined learners. It is from those who ask us to teach that we have a lot to learn from.

We see again the power of encouragement – the beauty in empowering people. William’s passion has come from the Lord, and the Lord has used several people as tools to further ignite that passion and provide needed encouragement and instruction. For those of you reading this blog, you know who you are and know that the Lord has used you mightily to raise up a spiritual leader in Haiti. AMEN!!!

To close today, I include a prayer from my journals:

Lord, we thank and praise you for reminders of our need for humility. For people who are crying out to learn as much as possible – as they remind us of the need to learn and to serve. Lord, today I lift up Pastor William, I lift up Franklyn, I lift up all of the leaders at Leveque . . . Lord, please grant them the strength and the humility to remain learners, and to share that passion with their countrymen. Lord, tonight we praise you for the joy of working together – the joy of life in the center of Your will as we pursue the callings you have placed on our hearts. Lord, in days like today that are filled with joy and hope we praise You. Lord, on days that seem more difficult, and in months and years that challenge us mightily we ask that you give us Your strength and Your courage so that we may see the infinite hope through everything. In Your name I pray today. AMEN.

I hope you all are having a great week. Your prayers for strength and for the experience of joy together are being answered.

grace and peace,

Kyle

People of the World – UNITE!!!!

Posted on May 4, 2012 | By :

Bonjou!!! Greetings from Haiti. I write to you this morning from the mountains of Haiti as I overlook the sunrise over the ocean. I hope this post finds you all loving life and in the midst of grand adventures or challenges that are stretching you.

As many of you know, I recently returned to Haiti from time in the US with family and catching up with many of our wonderful partners and friends. As I traveled around the US in mid-April I was often struck by how God is using this work in Haiti to unite and challenge many kindred and beautiful spirits around the world. This morning I want to write about how the Lord has provided so abundantly through all of you and the hundreds of people around the world who have fallen in love with “Deaf Haiti.”

At home in Naperville, IL I frequented many of my favorite coffee shops and restaurants with family and amazing friends. At each establishment the barristas, servers, and staff of my regular hangouts greeted me with warm embraces and genuine interest in the progress of our work in Haiti. They are all following this blog and my regular newspaper articles . . . often offering their words and prayers of encouragement from afar. My family and friends in Naperville always provide for times of rest, encouragement and refreshment after difficult times abroad.

Over the course of the spring semester I have spoken several times (via skype) with students at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is the largest and most renowned University for the deaf in the world. It has been an honor to speak with students from several classes who have worked very hard to raise funds for our work in Haiti. From bake sales, campus events, informational meetings, and the passion of students, funds are now on the way for more lights for the Haiti Deaf Community!! These students at Gallaudet have taken the initiative to dive in – to challenge themselves to serve the deaf in Haiti!! My heartfelt thanks goes out to those students for all of their work and for their passion for Haiti.

A few weeks ago I spoke at Ole Miss University to a gathering of college students from the Wesley Foundation. These students were AWESOME!! They are fired up for the Lord and are finding grand adventures on their hearts. It is my prayer that our conversations together possibly gave them one more nudge to DIVE IN!! These students energized me with their questions and their hearts for a population of people/culture they know very little about. The students also raised money for lights for deaf families in Haiti. This group spoke to me in a powerful way when I noticed that the envelope of money was a massive stack of single dollar bills, change, and essentially, everything these college students had available. I was reminded of the scripture that discusses people giving out of their poverty to bless others. It was evident to me that every student in that room simply emptied pockets, purses, and backpacks in order to support our work with the deaf in Haiti. WOW!!! Once again, my heartfelt thanks goes out to them for their passion.

I then returned to my wonderful church family at Frazer UMC in Montgomery, AL where I always am left speechless and in awe at how thousands of people in that church have rallied around the deaf community in Haiti. Time and time again after giving a short update in services, people at Frazer come up to me saying – “Hi Kyle – you don’t know me, but my family and I follow your blog and pray for you every night.” From Sunday school classes and life groups, to the pastoral staff and Missions Board, EVERYONE is excited to be involved in this incredible mission. Support in every form comes in droves from the Frazer Family. For additional safety and for possibilities in expanding our ministry, I have been in need of a reliable and large vehicle for many months. The Frazer family came through once again to ship down a Land Rover for my use and a large van for use with groups and teams. Such a generous donation allows me a much safer freedom and ability to support our deaf friends. Whenever I reflect on the nature of abundant provision, whether personally or collectively for the Haitian people, my mind is drawn to the Frazer UMC family. The Lord is providing mightily through them in many ways.

After Frazer I traveled to the Atlanta area for time with the staff at 410 Bridge – man I love those guys!! It has been a prayer of mine for many months that the Lord would place people before me who I can learn from and grow with not only in International Development work, but also personally. I have found answers to those prayers with The 410 Bridge. The 410 Bridge is an organization redefining work in Holistic development and the coordination of work to effectively and healthily pour our hearts, spirits and resources into those we are called to serve.

How cool it is that I can continue these thoughts with so many more incredible people and organizations who have rallied around our work in Haiti!! I think this post is titled well – let us UNITE for something far beyond ourselves. International Deaf Emergency and Friends of Deaf Haiti always provide insight, support, and remarkable expertise in our programming with the deaf in Haiti. The Foster Freiss Family Foundation has provided massive support and vision as we move forward. On the ground, Mission of Hope is a fantastic partner and our work with them has provided many opportunities for growth, learning, and articulation of how two missional NGOs of this size can flourish together.  For me, this work is a testament to how organizations can effectively work together in and out of country to healthily empower a community and MAKE HISTORY TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!

We are making history – part of that history surrounds the reasons why endeavors like this with similar populations have failed in the past. . . When the going got tough, people jumped ship and moved on to easier projects that could more quickly show progress. We have A LOT of work ahead – however, when we offer each other a little grace, and when we remain committed to fervent prayer and the spiritual empowerment of our communities, we can be successful. The Lord has blessed this work abundantly, and I have no doubts He will continue to do so, most likely by challenging us mightily along the way :) .

I think that is enough for this post. For everyone supporting us all over the world, I thank you and praise the Lord for you.

grace and peace,

Kyle

Kyle Reschke

About Kyle Reschke

Kyle is a missionary of Frazer United Methodist Church in Montgomery Alabama, in partnership with 410 Bridge and Mission Of Hope. He is the Project Coordinator for the Haiti Deaf Community.

Deaf Families Cultivate Beautiful Gardens

Posted on April 29, 2012 | By :

Greetings once again from Haiti!! I hope this post finds you all loving life and finding grand adventures.

I am happily back in Haiti feeling refreshed and energized after some time with family and friends back in the US. I returned to Haiti on Friday and of course stopped by the mission just long enough to drop off my bags and be on my way to visit the deaf. Many leaders and families waited for me in the community and I absolutely felt the love of the entire community as at least 15 kids started yelling out as soon as they saw me and raced towards me in order to be the first one to get our daily high five or “exploding fist bump.”

Bear hugs, warm embraces and kisses on the cheek ensued for many minutes as we were all overjoyed at being back together again. The deaf of course commented, as they always do, that I looked much bigger – they say this with big grins and giggles as they pat my belly.

I spent the next several hours being pulled by the hand to the homes of several dozen families who were proud and excited to show me the progress they have made on their home gardens. I was left speechless and just over and over repeated all of the signs I know for expressions such as “wow – amazing – wonderful – awesome – great – wow again . . . . and of course, boo-yeah!” With this post are a few of the homes that have cultivated beautiful gardens at the beginning of the rainy season.

Take a look at these pictures – what great evidence that the model we are employing is really working to empower people and call them into beautiful works together. The start of home gardens probably would have happened months ago if we had forced the issue or given free seed distributions. Instead, we continued in dialogue with the deaf families letting them know that we would support them, not direct them in these endeavors. The result was a much longer time frame to the start of planting and cultivation, but I can say with confidence that these gardens will be much more sustainable and a much greater source of healthy pride and empowerment for the community.

Instead of saying – “look, Kyle and the Americans helped us do this,” the deaf are now able to say “look, WE did this. This is beautiful and we worked hard to do this.” I again almost cried as deaf families finished showing me their gardens and said, “Kyle, now you have to go see Melanie’s garden, hers is beautiful too!” Individual family gardens have become a source of unity and of community pride. Praise the Lord!!

To remind everyone of a conversation that started this whole process years ago, a deaf leader shared that beyond the obvious material needs of someone living in a tent city, the deaf were crying out for dignity. For the opportunity to show their nation that they are capable. Here we stand once again, alongside a community that continues to find empowerment, pride and confidence in the works of their hands.

As we move forward, this confidence will spill over into every other aspect of development and work together. Please pray for the deaf as they learn about themselves in new ways – that their pride and confidence remain healthy and enriching for their neighbors. That they may advocate for themselves peacefully and teach the rest of the community to do the same.

As I close out this blog today I am reminded of how special this project is. This project is truly unique not only in the history of Haiti, but in the history of deaf culture anywhere. We are all blessed to walk beside these people who are seeking the heart of Luke 12:33-34 – “Moneybags that do not grow old. With a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”

Wishing you all the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King!!

Kyle

Learning About Servant Leadership

Posted on April 13, 2012 | By :

Bonswa!! I hope this post finds you well and loving life. I write to you all this afternoon from the second story cafe of a Barnes and Noble and in my hometown Naperville, IL. I am in the US for a couple of weeks for some rest and time with family, a chance to catch up with everyone at Frazer UMC, and a few speaking engagements at universities in the South to hopefully generate more interest and support for our work in Haiti.

 Solar lights have been installed and are functioning in the new community!! The deaf are enjoying their new gathering places opportunities to convene outdoors through the night! We are still seeking funding for the second half of the lighting solution but for now, it is a great start. The clean water solution is also underway and the community committee is receiving training in the management of water as a community asset. The deaf families have also installed gutters on their homes as we are entering into the rainy season. All families have an opportunity for clean water from multiple sources out in Leveque.

I want to take the majority of this post today to talk about some great strides and evidence of learning by the deaf community. Last week I visited the community several times and the day before I flew to the US came across a sight that honestly brought tears to my eyes – don’t worry. . . they were tears of joy!

After the events from my last post I spent a lot of time talking with the deaf leaders about how we can really encourage community members to work together in Christian love and in a way that honors the God who has so abundantly provided for all of the families in Leveque. The relationships in Leveque are developing well through challenges and triumphs, and we are catching visions of what is possible in this unique community.

For the last couple of weeks I have been praying and praying again for the Lord’s peace to reign and for people on either side of the conflicts to have the courage to be a bigger man/woman. To live Biblically – to make love stand out. I talked with Mackenson, William and Berthide about 1 Corinthians 4:12-13 which states “when reviled, we bless, when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat.” That is a difficult verse to discuss, especially with those who know what it means to be stepped on – but it is a beautiful verse to discuss with men and women I consider to be resilient, courageous, and true leaders of their community. I think living to allow this love to stand out and be manifested involves a fine balance. We do not counsel people to just be meek and to sit back and take whatever is thrown at them: rather, we counsel people to strongly stand up in the midst of those challenges and show the Love that is beyond all conflict.

A tally and scoreboard of perceived wrongs from either side of the community will never be a unifying factor for the community. However, a shared concept of blessings and work together as a redeemed people is the only possible foundation for future unity.

With that background, allow me to briefly describe the scene about a mile outside of Leveque. As usual I was riding my motorcycle along a rough road to visit the community. People were out with shovels, wheelbarrows and other implements to try repairing some of the larger chasms found all over the only road that leads to the community. Just as it happens everyday, people along the road stop to wave and give their greetings – as I honked the horn and gave my usual wave and smile, I recognized the several distinct voices of deaf men from the community. I stopped in surprise to find out what was happening.

Immediately, Geovany and Dieffe (two deaf leaders) signed to me saying – “Kyle, look – hearing and deaf working together as volunteers today!!” I looked around to find over a dozen more recognizable faces working side by side with community members from at least 3 surrounding villages working to repair the road. The deaf men beamed at me proudly as I fought back tears and attempted to comprehend the beauty of the scene before me. They all stopped their work to bless me with their bear hugs and warm embraces – obviously proud to show me how they are attempting to step alongside their neighbors. I have not written it in awhile . . . BOO-YEAH!!!! AND AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

I think it is awesome that these are the same people who say they need so much more Biblical training and are desiring courses, workshops, and seminars on Biblical leadership. What an honor it is to sit down with them at the end of the day and discuss how they have exhibited Biblical and God-honoring leadership in ways that will inspire church leaders and the credentialed “experts” around the world.

In challenges ahead I will be sure to remind the leaders often of where they have come from and to continue to encourage their beautiful approach to a community that is making history in Haiti. Years down the road, whether I am still in Haiti, or somewhere else around the world, I think the vision of deaf leaders flagging me down to say “Kyle, look – hearing people and deaf people working together as volunteers today” will remain a lifetime highlight and the source of many smiles and chuckles at the ways in which God grows us together.

Please continue to pray for courageous leadership at Leveque – that in the midst of strong advocacy and high emotions, people find the strength to compromise for the good of the community and the wisdom to move forward together.

Thank you for your continued support and passion for this project! Your comments and prayers are always encouraging.

Wishing you all grand adventures and the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our reigning King!!

grace and peace,

Kyle

Growing in Trust

Posted on March 31, 2012 | By :

Bonjou!! Greetings from Port au Prince, Haiti. I write to you this morning sitting next to a team of 20 people who traveled to Haiti on a family trip with Frazer UMC. We have had a wonderful week together and as always, teams of people from the US have come here and been obviously touched and changed by their interactions with the community at Leveque.

Rev. Patrick Quinn from Frazer UMC is leading the family team this week. On Sunday afternoon he preached on the hilltop that will be the location of the new church for the community. With dozens of deaf families we discussed the nature of worship using Mark 14 and followed Patrick’s thoughts with a prayer from William and the use of oil to bless the ground that will be the site for the community church. It was apparent from the beginning that the deaf community understood the significance of their involvement as community leaders both eternally and temporally. As the oil was poured out over the land by community members and team members together, we were reminded of the importance of our partnership together – that love, encouragement and fellowship are always meant to transcend culture, languages, and all challenges.

The deaf leaders and I in other ways have had a pretty stressful week that started with a bit of civil unrest in the community.  The situation has necessitated several long dialogues and challenging conversations this week, but in short, our prayers that the Lord’s peace would reign in Haiti have been abundantly and beautifully answered. With many of the right people in place who can keep perspective and lead their people towards peace, I am fully confident that discussions and the opening of new communication channels will allow for the community to grow together and become a beautiful and flourishing model for the rest of  Haiti (not to mention the importance of continued community recreation and educational programming!!!!) The situation in Leveque this week reminds us that while things are generally going very well, there will be some challenges ahead.

Growing pains will always be a part of community development. I trust that the majority of the people in Leveque truly desire to love their neighbor and to work together – but disagreements will arise and cultural mentalities will often manifest themselves in ways that the last several generations of Haitian leaders and community members have learned. With dictators, military coups, exiled leaders and the often violent exercise of control and power, most Haitian communities have never been welcomed to an open and peaceful dialogue for the sake of communicating grievances and resolving issues.

We find that people are almost always products of their environment and learning. Community growth and the ways in which people resolve conflicts are no different. As we recently resolved with community leaders and local government, and as we move forward together, we are stressing the importance of completely open and regular dialogue. At the moment I think trust is a large issue with much of the local government and leadership. They have been told time and again for a century that people will listen to their ideas, and time and again that promise has been broken. This is one more place where we need to work hard with community leaders to allow them to lead us, but also to continue developing the level of trust that allows them to comfortably and peacefully approach us with anything that may be on their hearts or minds. We are reminding them that in our relationship together we have always been men and women of our word – but a couple of years in building trust is only the beginning of a journey to repair centuries of broken trust.

We are entering the rainy season here in Haiti and the deaf leaders have approached me with many ideas surrounding the best use of their land for home gardens, and ideas for rain water collection that can provide water for drinking and food preparation. I am encouraged that the leaders are now approaching us with their plans for development and asking only for the bare minimum of support – sometimes even just saying, “Kyle, this is what we would like to do . . . we think we can take care of it ourselves and just want you to know everything that is going on.” My response is generally – “WOW – AWESOME WORK!”

Our deaf carpenters have blown away the competition within the community and are now receiving contracts for expanded work. The allocation of work and of resources however, is a very delicate situation. We are doing our best to keep this market competitive in order to encourage good work and ingenuity, but in Haitian communities the allocation of work must be balanced very carefully.

I end this post today with another prayer from my journal from last week:

“Lord, you continue to blow my mind in this work. That as I try to wrestle too much control and take things into my own hands you remind us that all of this is beyond my control and far beyond my own understanding. Lord, I thank you for challenging all of us, especially for challenging me to place all of this at Your feet. Lord, You know that my mind often goes to extreme places, and that I sometimes fear the unknown and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that are placed in my path. Lord, thank You for strength, for reminding us of Your control and for teaching us to let go of ourselves. For strengthening us in seasons, and growing in us through trials, we thank You for difficult reminders of our limitations. Lord, within this praise today I pray that you grant such strength to the community at Leveque. Lord, that Your peace would reign in their hearts. That as they engage in life together and encounter challenges, that they first seek Your peace and Your wisdom – Lord, that you grant them courage to be leaders after Your own heart. In Your most holy name I pray today. AMEN.

Wishing you all the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King!

Kyle

Community Soccer, Art Club and Learning

Posted on March 20, 2012 | By :

Bonjou! Greetings from Titanyen, Haiti. I write to you this morning in the predawn chill after a beautiful run through the mountains north of Port au Prince. With a hot cup of coffee and journal by my side I look forward to this day of work and fellowship with the deaf community in Leveque. As always, I hope this post finds you all passionate about your daily adventures and pursuits.

I once again have a lot to report and am excited to write these short paragraphs to share all of the excitement with you.

The community continues to do well and are overall happy and healthy. We are still working out the kinks with community leaders to make sure that clean water is being run as a community asset and not as a 410 Bridge or Mission of Hope project and we are moving forward slowly but surely. The leaders and newly elected water committee still have some training to undergo before they take complete charge of the water solution, but with the start of the rainy season we are also hooking up several water collection systems so that we may utilize that daily water source for drinking water and for irrigation in the new gardens.

The lighting solution is still rolling along. E-solar Haiti traveled to the community and hired several deaf residents to help them pour the foundations for the new lights. We are waiting until the 27th of March for those foundations to harden and all of the lights will be erected that day providing large solar lighting for the first time in the village of Leveque!

An open team from the 410 Bridge recently traveled to Haiti to focus on several projects within the community, including art workshops, bible studies, worship and singing together in sign language, and some painting. Attached you will find a picture of Martha who I affectionately refer to as “my Haiti mom.” Martha took part in the art workshops and will be painting scenes of Leveque with several others in the community to start an art gallery that will be open to all visitors to the community. I also would like to draw your attention to the bottom of Martha’s painting as last week she wrote her name for the first time!!!!! Martha grew up never able to attend school and has just recently begun her studies in basic literacy. Her smile and giggle after she finished her painting and writing her name was infectious for all who surrounded her. Martha has since flagged me down on multiple occasions to show me the new art projects she is working on, she always greets me with a huge embrace and her characteristic giggle and beautiful smile.

A team member who specializes in deaf education and deaf ministry was able to spend many hours with a few of the deaf leaders (William and Berthide) in an in depth study of the book of Genesis. I was able to sit in on some of those sessions and I have never seen William or Berthide so eager and excited to learn – praise the Lord for passionate people who can help others articulate and manifest their own passions. I include here a message I received from Mackenson after the course of study was completed:

We was have wonderful day!! .

We pretty well with deaf in leveque.

Taday I’m let you know

This afternoon,William , Berthide and Melanie

They was Begin teach some deaf learn bible word god. We very happy for this. Because they very encouragement deaf in leveque learn from bible for a new living.”

Also pictured at the beginning of this post is the deaf men’s soccer team. Last Tuesday we began the Leveque community soccer league that every week will involve multiple soccer games for the adults and a few games for the interested children with the community. At this game over 100 foreigners in Haiti on short term mission trips traveled to the community to line the sidelines and cheer everyone on. As we all celebrated together and prayed together around the community I was struck once again by the importance of recreation and festivity in community building. As it is Tuesday again, I will be traveling to Leveque to the afternoon to serve as a referee and to enjoy the festivities. Life can get extremely busy sometimes and I look forward to clearing the schedule every Tuesday afternoon in order to take part in the newly formed Leveque soccer league!! I include here another message I received from Mackenson the day of the first soccer matches:

“Wonderful day.

Today we was have group come in leveque. they coming play foot ball. We very happy together.

Sure we play together neat in leveque with group coming in haiti. and they was praying and chants together wow !!! God bless this group.

Too children they was play game foot ball.

Thank you son much

Jesus it is peace

We are also dealing with some political issues within the larger community that have caused problems for moving new families into the homes that are ready – however, those are now resolved and this Saturday we are finally moving in the next batch of deaf and hearing families – in total 32 new homes are ready and the families will move in starting very early Saturday morning. Please pray for these new families as they work hard to find work and find a flourishing life in their new homes.

Wishing you all the continued experience of the abundant grace and peace of our Reigning King!!

Kyle