haiti: a personal perspective

the blogosphere is filled with reports, photos, and opinions of the devastation in haiti.  there are also countless opportunities to give.  i’m sure the vast majority of missions and relief organizations that are appealing for donations are completely above board.  if, however, you would like to get involved and would appreciate a more “personal” vehicle, let me introduce you to the mission of hope.

i visited haiti in 2000 with several other pastors and met brad and vanessa johnson.  this young couple from indiana had moved to haiti to live, serve the lord, and raise a family.  at that time, there were three permanent buildings (and an open-air tabernacle) and several hundred children walked from the neighboring villages to go to school. brad and vanessa lived in a small block building with a tin roof (in the oppressive heat with no air conditioning).  i was especially impressed with vanessa who cheerfully hosted us with hot dogs and contagious enthusiasm.  before we left, we took a collection and bought her a washing machine.  the mission of hope was a fledgling organization at that time, but the johnsons had a massive dream.

in the ensuing years, we’ve sent several teams from our church and, to a person, each life was profoundly affected.  of the pastors that accompanied me on that first trip, one has adopted two haitian children, one joined the mission of hope team, and all of them have partnered with brad and vanessa in some way.

today, mission of hope feeds and educates 1300 students (kindergarten through 12th grade) in “the school of hope,” nurtures 58 orphans in “the hope house,” provides basic medical care for the surrounding residents in their clinic called, “the hospital of hope,” and shares the good news of the gospel with more than 600 each weekend in “the church of hope.”  and they are growing like crazy.

below, i will attach several pictures that my daughter-in-law, katrina, brought back from her last trip to the mission of hope.  too, i am including a link to the mission of hope website where you can learn more about the mission of hope, and give to their on-the-ground efforts (and, if you love jesus, i know you will).  and here is brad johnson’s blog where he is posting news and relief updates.  and i trust that all my bloggy friends will be praying for the students, staff, and people at the mission of hope and all of haiti, and for god to make himself real in this time of unthinkable tragedy.

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