Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mission Trips: Is this your year?

This year, we are offering 5 opportunities for you to step outside of your comfort zone, out side of the familiar and into Haiti.  

Why?  Because this is where life change happens.  This is where relationships- amazing, impossible, beautiful- are made.                                                                                                                               
Our mission partners with One Family Foundation, home to a church, school, and about 50 orphaned and abandoned children. We work alongside the Haitian leadership of One Family, not to control or dictate or even to finance, but to support, to encourage, to empower.                                                                                                               
Often, people feel driven to take a mission trip because they want to help.  And, we do help.  We bring projects, training, opportunity, fun, education and the love of Christ.  But, our primary goal when we step out onto mission is to listen and understand.   That may seem like a small 'mission' but, truly, it is the biggest mission.  How can we help if we don't know what is needed- really needed?  How can we know what is needed if we aren't willing to listen?  And how can we expect to hear the truth if we are unwilling to enter into relationship?  

Haiti is vibrant place with rich history and culture. It is a place, and a people worth listening to. You may be quite surprised at what you hear.                                                                                         Going on a mission trip begins with willingness:  willingness to answer that nagging call in the back of your mind, willingness to to be in the unknown, to be uncomfortable, to be vulnerable.  Once you are willing, the other obstacles become so much smaller.

So here is our question, our invitation:  are you willing to step out with us?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fighting poverty, one week at a time

On of the most exciting things to come out of the last year at One Family was the savings and loan program. The program is open to all members of the church. Each participant is required to pay about $2.25 per week into the program; once they have paid about $38 into the program they are eligible for a $125 no interest loan. 37 church members have taken advantage of this program and have used it to do repairs on their homes and pay for their children’s schooling, but the majority have used it to buy bulk goods and sell them at the market for a profit.
This is an amazing program, it encourages saving and investment while providing church members with an alternative to the predatory lending practices that are the norm in Haiti. The thing I love the most about this though is that the program is independent and interdependent at the same time. Independent in that it requires no outside help, no charity involved, just Biblical approach to money lending. Interdependent in that the program requires a loan applicant to be vouched for by two other Savings and Loan church members before they can borrow. Those two members cannot borrow money until the third has repaid their loan, therefore there is an added element of accountability to one another.

The picture here is from February 2013 and shows Pastor Kesnel explaining the Savings and Loan program to me.