Report by Jola Casey
With each trip to Haiti God has revealed something new. So many revelations on this particular trip. A whole new world has opened for me during this mission trip. We must be willing to allow God to use us however He wishes, always remembering that He doesn’t need us. But He wants us to be obedient to His plan.
I decided to make this trip to Haiti to be a support to Sandy Perez, who was doing the Teachers Conference solo this year. She was accompanied by her sister Cindy Moore, a dentist, who would be ministering to the people with her skills, and a high school student, Hannah Hinson. I was also somewhat willing to help Cindy as a dental assistant. God gave me the courage and the confidence to help in so many ways this week, including assisting Cindy as she extracted 58 teeth, relieving the people’s pain. I am so grateful to Sandy, Cindy and Hannah for allowing me to join their team and be part of what God is doing in the teachers and the people of Z’Orange.
We were aware of the violence going on in Port-au-Prince while we were safe on the mountain. We knew we would eventually need to make the trip down to the airport and face what was happening there. God granted us safe passage to the hotel, where we are staying for two days until our flight out.
Truth Ministries has been such an important part of my mission life. It is so exciting for my friend Jan Kraft and I to begin our ministry to the people of the mountains and we are currently watching our little missionary house, The Sonflower House, being built just down the path from TEM’s mission house. At the missionary house we will have a small classroom where we will be teaching a variety of life skills to give a hand up to many of the people there, including sewing, English, small engine repair, etc. We are so ready to see what God will do in this ministry.
Report by Dr. Cindy Moore
God has placed mission work on my heart for the 38+ years of practicing general dentistry in Panama City. He led me to work with a missionary (Buddy Thigpen of TransRussia Missions) in the orphanage system in Smolensk, Russia, from 1997 to 2013, where I was able to work in clinics for two weeks each summer. We did fillings, root canals, extractions and gum treatments with the children and adults. Other adults and many teens went each year to run VBS or AWANA and help with building and painting projects. That was such a blessing, and we were able to form lifelong relationships just as Bro. Chuck has been able to do in Haiti. Three years ago I went with the University of Florida College of Dentistry students to Dominican Republic for a week in the mountain villages.
It was such an honor and privilege to come here with my sister, Sandy Perez, this year. As you know she has been coming for several years. I was so impressed with her Teachers Conference and her gift for teaching teachers. I was able to help her, Jola, and Hannah with a day of the conference and then switch to a day of dental. We saw 23 adults who had toothaches and helped with as many of their extractions as we could. Jola was a “natural” assistant, and Hannah was invaluable in helping us clean and disinfect instruments. Pariton (Tony to me) was super as an interpreter as we worked and to give post-operative instructions.
This has been a wonderful, difficult, exciting, trusting experience and adventure that I hope God will open the door for me to do again another year. Every trip helps me grow in the Lord, and I learned so much about the Fruits of the Spirit that we used as a theme for the conference and trip.
Report by Sandy Perez
Teacher Conference 2018 is certainly different than any other year – but that’s what I’m learning I can say every year. So when a couple months ago I learned I was the only teacher able to go on this year’s trip, I assumed the conference wouldn’t happen. But I kept feeling God’s leading me to go. When my sister Cindy committed to going to lead the dental clinic, also without any help, we decided she could help me with the conference and I’d help her with the clinic. Then Hannah committed to go and help any way possible. Then only a week before the trip, Jola (a substitute teacher!!) jumped in and God brought together a team of four that was just right and just big enough to get His plans done!
This year’s conference started with lower attendance than usual because the riots in Port-au-Prince kept the teachers from Port from traveling up the mountain for fear of their personal safety. By Tuesday we had all the teachers we expected able to make it to the conference. We did end the conference about an hour early because tropical storm winds gave concern for the teachers getting home safely.
The conference itself was focused on how to bring Biblical teachings and prayer into every subject and classroom; not to rely on the Pastor’s Bible class alone. Although they had already been doing this to some extent, we used Galatians 5:22-23, the Fruits of the Spirit, as a structure for starting next school year. We discussed how we as teachers need to take what we learn in the Bible to become more Christ-like, then live that out in front of our students, teach them what these verses mean, then look for and encourage them to live these same characteristics out in their own lives. Cindy and Jola shared devotionals about each of the fruits of the spirit, and Hannah shared her testimony of how these are lived out and encouraged by her teachers at Cinco Christian School, as I shared how to bring them into everyday classroom teaching. My other teaching sessions included practical teaching strategies for student engagement, step-by-step long-term and short-term lesson planning, items to cover in pre-planning meetings, communication between colleagues, progressive steps in discipline issues, and many Q&A’s.
I was not sure what to expect from this trip, but God knew. With much flexibility, the wonderful help of this team and our interpreters, everything went so well! Pastor DeVey and I became friends years ago and I have always enjoyed having him as my interpreter when I come. He was with me for both days of the conference and did awesome job, as always. These men risked their own safety to make their way through the riots in Port to come help us. We never felt unsafe for a moment on the mountain, but we did fear for them in their travels. The relationships built with these teachers, interpreters and local families has been just an amazing thing, and they really feel like a “home-away-from-home” to me now. Although God proved He and I could “do this alone” – I would really love for some other teachers to join me next July in Haiti. Give me a call, I’d love to share how you can help.
Report by Hannah Hinson
Mrs. Sandy was driving me home in her car as she was telling me about the Teachers Conference she holds in Haiti each year, when God placed in me a desire to go. So when Mrs. Sandy asked if I’d be interested in helping her out at the next conference, I answered “yes.” I didn’t really give my answer a second thought since God’s call for me to go was so clear, and I didn’t really dwell on the decision I’d made. God told me where He wanted me to go, and I was going. It’s as simple as that, and the fact that my French wasn’t up to par or that I am terrified of spiders (praise the Lord I didn’t see any huge ones) didn’t stop me from going. There were also many difficulties that arose before we even stepped into Haiti, and one time Mrs. Sandy expressed that she was having doubts that we should even go this year, and I firmly told her, “We’re going,” and what a great experience I’ve had!
I rode in an airplane and traveled outside the country for the first time. I discovered that a “smoothed-out” mountain road felt like a roller coaster (and I love roller coasters). I met some wonderful people who helped to pull more than just their own weight for us. I realized that my French really wasn’t as good as I thought it was and learned a bunch of new words. I got a good night’s sleep (even if others didn’t) as I felt the Haitian heat (that’s wasn’t too hot). I tried a bunch of delicious food as I helped put a puzzle together with everyone and heard many of their stories. I became a teacher to help other teachers and learned how dental instruments are cleaned in the field. I played soccer with kids against a mural of mountains and witnessed a beautiful sunrise on one of the many walks I took around the village. And I grew closer to the Lord as I learned about the Fruit of the Spirit (the theme of the conference).
I could go on and on to try to describe it, but you have to go and experience it for yourself. It was like nothing else I’ve ever done before, and despite the adversity we faced every step of the way, the rag-tag team that God put together accomplished the mission He planned for us to do, and the only thing I regret is that we left the village a day early to go to a hotel. I will definitely come to Haiti again, but next time I’ll have to convince my family to come with me.