Report by Sandy Perez
Today we held our first-ever teachers conference for the teachers at the Jerusalem Christian school in Z’Orange. Last August when we came to begin our work with the school, the teachers made a list of their top priorities, many of which God has allowed us to accomplish over this past 10 months. Thanks to the hard work and generosity of so many who have given and have come to help, we raised the roof of the school to help alleviate the extreme high temperatures, created a couple of extra outdoor covered classroom spaces, and provided a copier, a printer, teacher supplies and curriculum materials. In this trip alone we brought over $1500 worth of supplies and books.
At today’s conference we had 23 teachers from Jerusalem schools who were very interested in learning how to improve their teaching. Ben started the conference with a discussion about the importance of integrating teaching the Bible into every lesson and every subject area – not just a stand-alone theology class. God should be an integral part of every aspect of our lives – not just something we “do” one day a week. He also gave specific examples of how the most basic principles of math can be seen in the intricacies of God’s creation.
Patty talked about how to teach classroom procedures, how to get and keep students’ attention, how to build character education into instruction, and how to use a daily calendar lesson to teach math and language arts principles. Her focus was on the primary teachers, but everyone benefitted.
After lunch Lisa E. covered classroom management and the challenges we face as teachers due to student attitudes. We had a great discussion about mentoring and discipleship, a reminder for us all to invest in the lives of the children/youth God puts in our path and the importance of leading by example – we should live our lives in a Christ-like manner. She closed with this question: “Each of us leaves our footprints for others to follow – where do yours lead?”
I covered the topics of challenging kids to higher order thinking and questioning, and the importance of using active learning strategies that keep students involved in the classroom discussion – not just all lecture, all the time. And, the best for last, throughout the day Lisa D. practiced ‘Brain Gym’ activities with the teachers that they can use to keep their kids alert and their brains focused on learning. We learned firsthand how difficult that is, as we tried our best to keep these teachers alert in the tremendous heat that was so difficult for us. Lisa also passed out door prizes throughout the day that kept everyone excited.
In this coming year we would appreciate your prayers for the students and teachers in Z’Orange. They have invited us back and would like us to do a couple more teacher conferences where we can work more in depth with individual grade level and subject area teachers. We also want to continue to provide quality curriculum materials, much needed teaching supplies, and student supplies, so please consider sending a special offering earmarked for the school. And we need even more sponsors for the children so they can continue in this Christian school. See the “Sponsor a Haitian Student” link on this website for more information.
Report by Tiffany Rowan
This is my first trip outside the southern United States, and it has proven to be nothing like I expected. I’ve seen all the commercials pertaining to third world countries; however, nothing prepares you for how it actually is. The children wear ratty clothing, and half of them don’t even wear pants. They were here at the mission house to greet us upon our arrival, and they have not left since.
At first, I was worried about the language barrier, but the love of Christ is a universal language. A simple smile, hug, greeting can make their day. I feel as though here time stands still. I am in no rush. The people are in no rush. Life simply happens. No words can begin to describe the true joy of these people. They have nothing, they think they need for nothing; but the bright smiles the Haitians get when they see us “blancs” (as they call us) is more precious and beautiful than any sight I have ever seen. I desire their joy. I crave their peace. I am humbled, and I am ashamed. We Americans act as if we need so much, yet we are so unhappy; how is it then that these Haitians, who have so little, think they need nothing? I have been able to learn many phrases and words in Creole; and it is definitely extremely helpful when interacting with the people. I was able to meet with our interpreter, Simon, and learn “We Prepare the Way” in Creole, and I was able to sing it at the teachers conference I attended today. They seemed to love it, and were extremely responsive.
Yesterday (Friday), I was sick. I think it might have something to do with the change of climate or the food. I slept in bed for about 13 hours, ill out of my mind, but the prayers of my team reached God and I am completely healed. I was able to play with the children today, help with the teachers conference, and help with several other mission works. God is my faithful healer! I love this experience – it has definitely impacted my life. But I definitely miss my family and friends very much! I love you Daddy, Momma, and Derek with all my heart! Can’t wait to see you Wednesday night! Xoxoxo
I am blessed to be able to have this experience and it definitely has changed my outlook and my world view. Nothing compares to the lessons I’ve learned already in these past few days; and nothing compares to the love I’ve been able to give and receive from these beautiful Haitian people. God save Haiti.
Report by Adam Downing
This is my 5th trip to Haiti with Truth Ministries, and I am thankful to say that I have seen many things in the past two days which I did not expect. During my first trip, the land was rather barren, the animal count was low, and birds were more of a rare sight. However, now I see much green growth all throughout the valley, I see a greater amount of livestock, and I hear birds often. Yet if you walk a ways up the path to a different valley, you can see more of what I described from my first trip. As I think about why things are this way, all the Bible passages that speak of God’s goodness to His people come to mind. He truly has this valley and these people in His hand, due to their willingness to change their ways and follow His will for their lives rather than their own personal interest. I am filled with joy to see God reward the Haitians’ loyalty and faith. Their example teaches me to remain humble before God and to keep my focus on His will for my life, instead of keeping my focus on building up money, spending my time wrapped up in social media, or wasting time on meaningless and unproductive activities. I look forward to the next few days working and experiencing what God has in store for our team!