This is the final day for our Haiti team. As we travel back to the states, we are anxious to share our Neply experiences and photos with our families and loved ones. There is also a feeling of sadness though as we are leaving behind many new friends which we made in Neply. Neply is a very tightly knit community of about 2800 people who appear to really love and care for each other. It was truly a privilege and a blessing to be welcomed into their village this week.
Reflecting back on the week… Our days were absolutely packed full from sunup to sundown! Together with our Haitian friends, we worshipped the Lord, studied scripture in our small groups, washed clothes, spread gravel, picked up trash, worked with special needs children, helped with a feeding ministry for younger kids, sorted, folded, cleaned the buses, painted, prayer walked, and taught the Haitians American flag football.
We bring back many precious moments from this week. A few of my favorites are: the smile on the face of the single mom as we washed her laundry, the sweet sweet faces of the children during the 5 day a week hot meal program. Their prayers, songs and praises before the meal just melted your heart. The cheers and excitement of the Haitian teens as they learned to throw, catch and block in flag football. The girls were especially cute and very skilled at pulling flags. Holding hands and praying with an elderly lady, Paulina, who had lost her husband and had health issues. Hearing the voices of the Haitians as sang worship songs in creole.
My Life Speaks is an wonderful ministry and is doing amazing things in the name of Jesus in the town of Neply. Our lives back in Tennessee will be permanently impacted from our mission week, as we have each brought a little piece of Neply home in our hearts. Please continue to pray for each of us on the team to utilize the spiritual growth from this week to further glorify God in our own communities. Please also pray for growth of the spiritual seeds that have been planted in the hearts of the Neply teens.
Written by Tammi Ogle
Today was our last full day in Haiti. We spent the morning eating our typical breakfast of pancakes with peanut butter, mangoes and pineapple. We then loaded a school bus for a 1 hour trip to the beach. The team ate fresh grilled lobster, lambi (conch), fried banan (plantains), and more mangoes. After lunch we loaded the bus and headed back to the myLIFEspeaks campus for the 1st annual flag football championship! Orange team (with ClearView's own Anna Leigh Campbell) faced off against Green team (with the equally intimidating Dotty John). It was a hard fought contest and it came down to the last drive with orange squeaking by with a 8-5 victory (if that looks like a strange score for a football game, scoring is different in Haiti).
The other 6 teams also played in runner up games. It was amazing to see how much progress the Haitian kids (and some Americans) made during the week. They were so full of joy! In fact, the kids enjoyed it so much that the myLIFEspeaks team is planning a flag football league to keep this going on in Neply!
After the football tournament we had a great dinner of BBQ chicken, rice and shepherds pie. The food here is amazing and the kitchen staff work very hard. After dinner it was then time for us to say our goodbyes to the Haitian kids that we've come to love so much this week. During our debrief time, Mike shared how rough of a life many of these kids really have. Many of them are essentially hired slaves and had to do all their chores every day before they were allowed to come to the camp. For some of them, this meant waking up as early as 4:30 or 5am. You would never know it based on the huge smiles on their faces every morning. God is moving in Neply and this village is a special place. Mike said something last night that stuck with our team. Don't believe it when you hear people say that Haiti is too far gone or not worth the time. This is not a place without hope. We saw that clearly this week and our entire team was touched far beyond what we could have ever expected.
Written by Scott Koon
Today was Day 4 of I Love Neply week. We all went to breakfast and then waited outside for our teams. When everyone in our team had arrived, we then went to small group. It's amazing to see the responses now compared to the responses on Day 1.
After that we all headed to the football field. Today was the first day of the tournament! All the teams did great. Every team has really grown closer and become a true family.
We came back for lunch and then went straight back to playing. After the games were over, we came back to myLIFEspeaks and had a couple hours of free time before dinner. Some of the team members went to Haitian shops which are little shops run by the people who live in Neply.
Now it was time for dinner. After dinner, our teams came back for worship. We de-briefed with the Haitians and we're able to hear about their favorite parts of this week. Two of our Haitian friends accepted Christ!!! Brenden and Colby led worship and Mike gave the message. It was another amazing day in Neply.
Written by Anna Leigh Campbell
Today is day three of I Love Neply week. In the morning we did various jobs/community work around the village. Today my group, Piman Pike, washed clothes outside one of the Haitian's houses. The Americans in my groups got to learn how to wash clothes by hand.
After our community project we came back to myLIFEspeaks for lunch with all the other teams. Then we went to the myLIFEspeaks soccer field to go practice flag football. The flag football tournament starts tomorrow so we will start playing the other teams.
Then we had debrief and worship. It was amazing getting to hear the songs that Americans know sung by Haitians in creole.
Pray for us that we will be safe and grow closer to God. Also pray for the Haitians that do not have a relationship with God so that they will come and know Him.
Written by Carson Koon
We continued our second day of "I love Neply" week. The teams are divided into different colors, Green, red, orange, black, yellow, blue, purple, and pink. Since my team (green) was tied for last place, we had to do a better job of working together, building each other up, cheering and showing good sportsmanship.
This morning small groups divided up and talked about the Bible verse Matthew 14:29 " Come" Jesus said. "Then Peter got down out of the boat and walked on water and came towards Jesus." How we should get out of our comfort zones and go out and do things that we wouldn't normally do.
Our service project was cleaning out the closet and sorting through each item and counting and tagging cloths, shoes, basketballs, and misc items into suitcases. Our enthusiasm today was a lot better as we worked together to get the job done.
We broke for lunch, and after that we headed to the fields to play and learn more about The American Football. It was another scorcher of a day but we pushed through the heat. I'd say the green team really put more effort cheering each other on.
After dinner was followed by worship service led by Brenden Koon and Kolby, our Haitian worship leader. Mike Wilson's message was a continuation of Matthew 14:22-29. He spoke of how God made us all unique and different. None of us are alike and have qualities that are only made for us. Some of us are leaders, some of us are athletics, others are quiet and reserved but we are all Gods creation. And we must use our special skills to "get out of the boat" our comfort zones and do things that we may not otherwise do.
Lastly, we tallied up the scores for each team. So the black team (Scott Koon's team) as of today is in first place. But my team (green) came back from last to 5th place.
Written by Dotty John
Matye 14:29. Jezi di li: — Vini non. Pyè sòti nan kannòt la, li konmanse mache sou dlo a pou l'al jwenn Jezi.
Today was the first full day of I Love Neply week. The kids and teens that come to this are a mix of at-risk teens and children involved in child slavery. This week of camp is a great way for these kids to learn about God and experience a loving family setting for what may be their first time. Once the kids arrived, we started the day with small group discussions within our families and then did service tasks around the village. These ranged from trash pickup to cleaning the myLIFEspeaks buses to painting the well. We then ran our first lesson teaching the Haitians (and some of the Americans) how to play American football. It was very funny and a little difficult, but it was all worth it to see their faces light up as they catch a football for the first time. We ended the day with worship and a message. Josh spoke about how small our plans for our lives are and how we need to give up those plans to pursue God's big plans for us.
Today, a girl named Mia was brought to myLIFEspeaks for medical help. She had been kicked by a horse and had been found face down in the creek. We have been praying for her here and quickly brought her to a hospital in Port-au-Prince. Please join us in praying for her. Continue to pray for health and energy for the team as well.
Written by Brenden Koon
Sunday in Neply.
We arrived safely after one and a half days of traveling. We are settled in and taking in the beauty of Haiti. We started today off with children's worship with stations for the little children, ranging from crafts to music and even dance. After those rotations, we met under a pavilion for worship with the Haitians. Brenden and Colby, one of the Haitians, led worship. And the pastor spoke about the story of the two blind men in Matthew and essentially how we can do nothing without Christ. Following the church service, we ate and headed on a walk throughout the village. We visited the host families of the foster children, the new garden, and the beach. We finished our day with a tour of the land for the new My Life Speaks facility. We prayed individually and as an entire group. Please pray for us this week as we continue to form relationships with the Haitians and grow on our walk with Christ.
Team members do not have individual internet or phone access this week. Our team leader, Kathy Koon, has limited access. Please feel free to contact her if you need to pass along any important information.
Written by Rachael John