News and Updates

Haiti July 2016 Trip

Final Update

Our last day in Haiti was a blast. Mike and Missy took the Haitians and the entire team to the beach. A couple of tires blew out but it was really a minor issue. At the beach we were able to enjoy a really laid back atmosphere. We used this opportunity to have gospel-centered conversations with the Haitians.

Part of the team went on a boat ride. The boat looked like something that may have been used on the Sea of Galilee. Everything went well with the exception of a few jellyfish stings. The jellyfish were everywhere!

That night, the Haitians crowded into the main hall and we had a massive talent show. Each team performed their skit. We all agreed that Scott's cartwheel was the highlight of the night. The crowd went wild! After that, we said our goodbyes to our new Haitian friends.

God's glory has been so visibly evident this week. He continually revealed His love for all people. It was such a delight to watch Him transform the hearts and souls of the Haitians and ours as well. We have such an awesome and glorious God! As we worshipped together this week, it truly developed a yearning in our souls for the day we will worship our Father without tears or pain but with great love and joy.

Written By: Brandon Taylor


Thursday Update

Today, we woke up around 7:45 and headed down to breakfast. There were Pancakes, Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Bananas that were prepared for us to eat. After breakfast, we all met at our team tables and waited for our families. 

When everyone arrived, we had our team Bible study. We were asked questions about what it meant for our bodies to be temples and how we can glorify God with them. 

We went back inside and received our task for the day. My group played with the house kids and other groups cleaned the myLIFEspeaks store. Everyone bonded while we held the kids and drew on the walls with chalk. It is absolutely amazing to watch all the kids show so much love to the Special Needs children. 

We went back to campus for worship, and Mike talked about our “Identity in Christ”. Then we ate lunch: PB & J's and Churritos! After lunch, the kids had Science class, and then we came back inside to help with a Science project. We gathered with our families and got to work.

We had to come up with a way to protect the egg from not breaking when it hit the ground. So we starting building and wrapped the egg in bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and tape. Some had plastic bags and used them as "parachutes". Then two representatives from each team went to the roof and drop the eggs one by one. Each team’s egg survived the fall! Everyone cheered and we took a giant group photo. 

Then we moved on to the feeding program. The Black team and White team stayed inside with the kids who were eating, while the other teams went outside and played in the courtyard or with kids in the street. 

Since the soccer game was canceled, we got to go the Haitian shops. We all walked down together and shopped in the rain. We came back to campus for fried night! We had Fried Chicken, Rice, Shrimp, Sweet Potatoes, Hush Puppies, Fried Dough, and so much more!  

The kids came back to myLIFEspeaks at 6:30. We all went to our team tables and practiced for the talent show that will be held tomorrow. I cannot wait to see every team perform! When we were done practicing, some of us went outside and played until 9.

Today was such a fun day and I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings! 

Written by: Anna Leigh Campbell


Wednesday Update

We had a delicious breakfast this morning consisting of eggs, muffins, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, we gathered for prayer under the trees and prepared for our family groups to arrive at 9 o'clock.

During our family group time, we read Psalm 27:10. We were asked, "Who do you trust?" A couple of kids in our group said that they trust their moms, and a couple of them said they trust their best friends. The rest said that they trust no one. This broke my heart. We told them about how much God loves them, and that they can trust him completely!

After group time, we headed to the clinic to scrape paint off the concrete walls to prepare it for new paint. While the work was tedious and seemed impossible to complete, it was a great time of bonding for our team. One of our interns brought a speaker, and we sang and danced while we worked.

Today, it was our turn to have lunch cooked by a street vendor. We had Patte, Fried Plantains, and bottled soft drinks. It was delicious! After lunch, our group helped with the feeding program where we served children lunch and washed dishes.

The afternoon was filled with team building activities. We rotated through different stations and had to complete the task as a team. We were successful at some and failed at others, but we did it as a team. Each family group competed for points in a week-long competition. You received points not only for success but for attitude and how well you worked together and encouraged one another. We must have done well, because our team moved from last place to third. The teenagers were thrilled!

After dinner, we sang and worshipped together, and Mike shared 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. He explained that those who have chosen to commit their lives to Christ were purchased with a price - Le San de Jezi, the blood of Jesus. Our bodies are no longer our own, and our lives should look different from the world.

Our evening with our family groups ended with a big announcement - we were ALL going to the beach together on Friday! What an exciting end to an action packed day with our "families". I am so glad that God brought me to Neply. He is not only changing lives in Neply, but He is changing my life through the people of Neply!

Written By: Lisa Acklen


Tuesday Update

We woke up at 7 this morning and by 8, we were all ready and ate oatmeal for breakfast. After breakfast, we prayed under the Almond tree and got ready for our families to arrive. Then we went to our designated Bible study area and talked about our lesson. 

The lesson was about finding our identity in Christ. We had a great discussion and everyone was very open. Around 10, we headed out into the village to complete our service projects. Today, all the families went to different houses and helped wash clothes for people. Then we walked back to the myLIFEspeaks campus.

We sang a few songs and a person from each family participated in a competition. Each kid had to put 4 straws in a cup of pudding, and the first one to finish was the winner.

After that, Pastor Mike preached about how God accepts us for who we are and he loves us unconditionally. All the families ate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch and then the kids went home.

Then the kids came back and met at the clinic for a science class. They talked about identifying objects by color. They put Lima Beans in a bag so they could watch them grow over the next few days. The kids also learned how to check their own pulse. Next, we walked to a pavilion and each family had to go through an obstacle course. It was so much fun. At the end, everyone checked his or her pulse again. Our pulses were super high from all the running we did. The kids left around 2 pm.

Everyone was planning on going to watch the Neply soccer game, but it rained a lot, so the fields were too wet to play on. We had free time, so we walked around the village and took pictures and then we walked back to campus.

We went to the myLIFEspeaks store and several people bought shirts and bracelets. We got back just in time for dinner which consisted of Mac & Cheese and Hot Dogs. After dinner, we walked around the village again.

We debriefed as a team. The leaders asked us questions about what difficulties we have faced this week. They also talked about the Humanities program. Afterwards, the interns surprised us with Brownies. In conclusion, what we thought would be an extremely jam-packed day ended up being pretty relaxing.

Written By: Caroline Acklen


Monday Update

We woke up in the morning around 7 and had Pancakes and fresh Pineapple. After breakfast, we prayed by the tree. Then we broke into our family groups and waited for the at-risk Haitian teenagers. Once the teenagers arrived, we had a church discussion where we talked about what it means to be chosen by God.

We went inside the community center and talked about how we could help the area of Neply by picking up trash. Each group had a certain area where they had trash duty.

We walked by the river to pick up trash. Every child was very eager to help. Some people in the village even helped us. Then we came back and ate lunch.

The kids went home for a while. When they came back, we did team bonding activities. They consisted of: a trust fall, a human knot, and climbing onto a balcony by using your team members. The kids went back home and we had time to ourselves in the village.

During the day, myLIFEspeaks held a feeding program for the children.

We had Chicken, Watermelon, Rice, and Bread for dinner. We debriefed as a group, and then the at-risk teens came back to us. We sang worship songs and prayed together.

Pastor Mike gave a lesson on how everyone has something that is valuable to them. If they lost that item, they would look very hard to find it. He tied this into how we need to look for God as much as we would for something that is very dear to us.

We announced to the at-risk teens that we would be watching the opening game of the Neply soccer team. They were very excited about this news. They then left and we debriefed with the ClearView team at night.

Written By: Gracie Phillips


Sunday Update

Our morning began with a time of Bible study, games, music, and crafts with the local children. Later, we had a church service in both Creole and English under the mango tree. After presenting the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, Pastor Mike asked both the Haitians and Americans the following questions:

What are you living for? 

What are you trusting in? 

What are you walking towards? 

After church and a village tour, we ventured out to the newly purchased land for the future site of myLIFEspeaks. We spread out over 3+ acres, each praying individually and then corporately that He would be exalted and His name would be glorified through this new opportunity. 

As we made our way back to campus, the life verse painted on the outside wall caught my attention once again… “Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

Such a beautiful reminder of why we are here and what we are called to do back home as well. It wasn't until my last trip here that I really began to grasp this concept of commUNITY that is lived out so well here in Neply. I was convicted to bring this home with me. We have been challenged already in the first 24 hours of serving and doing life in this village. When asked this afternoon for one word to describe what we have experienced so far, the answers ranged from broken to overwhelmed to excited. The oppression truly is overwhelming and somewhat surreal for us Americans. But what is so obvious is the pure joy and contentment that radiates here in the ones who know who they are in Christ. It’s a joy that we so often leave behind in pursuit of worldly desires. 

This week, we will be split up into eight family groups consisting of teens from the 72:14 program (those in extreme hardship and those exposed to child slavery), interns, and Americans. We will be completing different service projects within the village, competing in games and activities, and working to build a family bond within each group with the sole purpose of lifting up the name of Jezi.

Our focus is Ephesians 1:4: “For He chose us in Him before creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”

He doesn't need us. He wants us. We are chosen, set apart, and want to be known for something bigger than ourselves.

Written By: Kathy Koon


Saturday Update:

Today has been absolutely fabulous! Returning back to a place that I love, bringing back the joy of reconnecting with the people in Haiti, and showing the new members of our team the people that we love dearly has made today an incredible day.

After a relatively short flight, we took a long, hot bus ride to the village with 39 people. After arriving and getting settled in our rooms, we got to walk around the village and see some of the people that we saw in December. It was so sweet to see their smiles as they recognized us. The sweet babies may not have remembered us, but after a short time, they warmed up to us.

Tonight, we found out that two of the boys who are local neighbors of myLIFEspeaks have birthdays this week. All of our teenagers are currently having a dance party outside with the kids. We will be calling it a night soon to begin a busy day of work tomorrow. 

Written By: Rachel Powell