Women In Service Everywhere in Haiti - Nov. 2 - 9, 2013
On Saturday, November 2, 2013, Women in Service Everywhere (WISE) team members arrived in Haiti. Under the leadership of Mrs. Debra Garner, WISE President, the short-term mission (STM) team of eight (8) women are leading in a 5-day Women's Empowerment program at Lambi Sustainable Village in Gressier Haiti.
Using Bible studies, the WISE STM team is engaging in interactive and conversational discussions with the women of Lambi Village on the 'The Godly Women', 'The Godly Wife', 'The Godly Mother' and Life Lessons for Women'. The women of Lambi have asked WISE team members to visit their homes and help them through practical lessons such as: organizing their homes, teaching them how to set a table, showing them how to create a budget, giving them practical ways to manage, discipline and supervise their children, working through issues, and etc. Additionally, the WISE team is painting and decorating the interior of the Lanbi Village 'Community Center'.
Here are some of the comments and highlights shared by several of the WISE STM team members:
Day 1: The Godly Women:
The first session of the seminar was on 'The Godly Women' - The scripture support used was Galatians 5:22, 'the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness and self-control. After the teaching on what each fruit meant, methods were used to interact with the ladies. Their participation was amazing. They were attentive and excited about learning. We were all blessed. God was surely in our midst. Submitted by: Sisters Velma Bullock and Dianne Jinwright.
Day 2: The Godly Wife:
The second session of the seminar was on “The Godly Wife”. The backdrop consisted of many photos; beginning with the center- the Godly Wife with her husband; around them were photos of many descriptions of Godly Wives (prayerful, faithful, happy, rejoicing, different families, teaching, etc.); surrounding the photos were words describing Godly Wives (humble, faithful, honest, sincere, perseveres, loving, kind, Godly, spirit-filled, etc.).
For the presentation, we focused on what it means to be Godly Wives, are we Godly Wives and what it takes to be a Godly Wife. We drew on four women of the Bible who shared three distinct characteristics: 1.They whole-hearted loved the Lord; 2.With deservingly trusts, they loved their husbands; and 3.They were child barren; could not conceive. Each of these women was extremely loyal to their husbands, but due to their circumstances, their husbands could not do anything to help. They desired children so much and in God’s time, He miraculously allowed them to conceived, but each in their own distinct way and according to God’s plan. The women were Hannah - her husband was Elkanah; Elizabeth – her husband was Zechariah; Rebekah - her husband was Issac; and Sarai - her husband was Abraham.
I. I Samuel 1 and in 2: 1-10. Hannah was a devout, humble woman, and God finally answered her prayers. Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing". That's exactly what Hannah did. Hannah teaches us to never give up, to honor our promises to God, and to praise God for his wisdom and kindness.
2. Luke 1. Elizabeth and Zechariah were holy people: "Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commands and decrees blamelessly." (Luke 1:6, NIV). We should never underestimate God's tremendous love for us. Even though Elizabeth had been barren and her time for having a baby was over, God caused her to conceive. Our God is a God of surprises. Sometimes, when we least expect it, he touches us with a miracle and our life is changed forever.
3. Genesis 25: 19 – 34 Rebekah was assertive and fought for what she believed was right. She married Isaac, one of the founders of the Jewish nation. Like her mother-in-law Sarah, Rebekah was also barren. She bore two sons who became leaders of great nations. "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." (Genesis 25:24, NIV). Impatience and lack of trust made Rebekah interfere with God's plan. She did not consider the consequences of her action. When we step out of God's timing, we can sometimes cause a disaster that we have to live with.
4. Genesis 11 – 25. Sarah had given up hope of ever seeing her dream of motherhood. But the Lord used her life to unfold an extraordinary plan, proving that he is never limited by what usually happens. Sometimes we feel like God has placed our lives in a permanent holding pattern. Rather than taking matters into our own hands, we can let Sarah's story remind us that a time of waiting may be God's precise plan for us. Waiting for God to act in our lives may be the hardest task we ever face. It's also true that we can become dissatisfied when God's solution does not match our expectations. Sarah's life teaches us that when we feel doubtful or afraid, we should remember what God said to Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14, NIV)
The women were divided into four groups and each chose the group that they wanted to be a part of (Hannah, Elizabeth, Rebeka, Sarah. The women spoke out on how they fit the characteristics of the women of their group. The dialog between them and us and them with one another was “wonderful”. They learned so much from each other and we felt that they became closer as women of this community. As Godly Wives, they shared that we should be committed to God before anyone and our husbands are to be next. They are strongly committed to family and hold tight to their children. The WISE Women learned from them as well. The Women of the Lambi Village enriched our lives by giving us the feeling that Godly Wives are committed, faithful, holy, spirit-filled, and honest; and with God for us, we persevere, have hope and pray continually.
Day 3: The Godly Mother:
On Wednesday, our session was on the 'Godley Mother' and some of the key things a godly mother does. In an interactive session we reviewed the characteristics of a 'godly mother': 1) she will choose to live a godly life before her children; 2) she is loving, caring, and compassionate; and, 3) she will set the godly example for her children to follow. Submitted by: Sheila Smith and Mary Howerton.
Day 4: Life Lessons for Women:
Thursday, 7-Nov-2013, Debra Garner and Doretha Leak summarized the lessons of the previous days. The Women had fun playing a version of the game show “Family Feud”. The ladies answered questions taken from the lessons learned during the week. In small group sessions, the women discussed how God is working in their life. God was praised and glorified for all He and done and all they knew was in His plan for their lives.
In the afternoons, part of the WISE Team did home visits to many of the women attending the seminar. The ladies were thankful for their homes and all that God had provided for them. We prayed with them and asked for God’s continued blessings upon their homes and families. The remaining WISE Team members helped to paint and prepare pictures for hanging in the community center. Some of the men in the community helped us to paint and we were grateful for their assistance.
Day 5: Saying Goodbye to Lambi
On Day 5, Friday, 8-Nov-2013, the WISE Team helped to prepare and serve lunch to 120 members of the community. We prepared Barbecue Sauce for the chicken and added homemade Rice Krispy treats to the lunch.
The lives of the WISE Team has been forever changed by the experience with Lambi Community. We will continue to process our experiences as we go back to our daily lives in the United States. We will never forget the smiles, the hugs, the prayers, and the connections made with the Women of Lambi. God blessed each of us to be able to share a part of our lives with someone. Women of Lambi were empowered to continue in their faith and trust in God to provide for them daily. Women of WISE Team Haiti were empowered to continue to have faith and trust God to provide us what we need to be able to share our experiences so others
Mrs. Velma Bullock, First Baptist Church (Rev. Dumas Harshaw, Pastor), Raleigh, North Carolina writes:
"The Women of Lambi Village have a beautiful spirit. It is a joy that God allowed them to touch our lives and for us to touch their lives. God is indeed blessing us on this mission. To God be all the glory!"
Deacon Crisaundra King, Providence Baptist Church (Dr. Marcus Wood & Rev. Dr. Douglas Summers, Co-Pastors), Baltimore, Maryland writes:
"I am finding Haiti to be the most fascinating place I have ever been.
The people are resourceful, grateful, and in spite of all the devestation, they can still smile. Praise God for all He has done.
The women we meet are spirit-filled and pray without ceasing. They look out for one anotehr and share in their file experiences. They are receptive to our teaching and express their gratitude. They have been enlighted, encouraged, and uplifted by our presence and sharing."
Mrs. Mary Howerton, North New Hope Baptist Church (Rev. W.D. Smith, Pastor), Danville, Virginia writes:
"It's overwhelming how receptive the women are. Today they invited us into their new homes, expressing how grateful to God they were. Haiti is more than I'd expected after the earthquakes and other storms that hit PAP. Thank you God for the experience."
On 20 November, Mary Howerton writes: "Since I returned home, I have had no use of my email service. I have been thinking of the women in Haiti since being back home. The joy they shared even in poverty. They invite us into their homes just like they were mansions. They were so happy and grateful to have a home. During each visit we prayed blessings over the homes, as well as prayed for the children and the sick members of the family.. The sessions on a godly woman, a godly wife, and a godly mother were inspiring to them."
Mrs. Debra Garner, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church (Dr. Clifford A. Jones, Jr.), Charlotte, North Carolina writes:
"WISE Team Haiti has presented 2 days of Womens Empowerment Seminar at Lambi Village. The 50 women of Lambi Village in attendance have welcomed us warmly. Sessions on The Godly Woman and The Godly Wife have been well received. The ladies have been attentive and engaged as we shared our common experiences. Doing home visits allowed us to have one on one time with our sisters. We have found that language is not a barrier when it comes to prayer and praise. Prayers prayed in concert are a wonderful sound heard by God. "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" sung in Kreyol and English at the same time will evoke the same joyful response at "no turning back". So far it has been an "amazing experience", no turning back!"
Ms. Dianne Jinwright, Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church (Rev. Dr. Harry L. White, Pastor), Raleigh, North Carolina writes:
"The Haitian women want to learn more about Jesus and how the gospel can be applied to their "life situations." They are enthusiastic and attentive. They are also open and candid about their life struggles. The Haitian women and the Lott Carey WISE team are both being blessed."
Mrs. Cynthia Bentley, Providence Baptist Church (Co-Pastors: Dr. Marcus Wood and Rev. Dr. Douglas Summer), Baltimore, Maryland writes:
"Praise God from who all blessings flow is how I feel about the women of Lambi Village. In spite of their circumstances, in spite of their lack of understanding of their situations, they have come to be true to God, to love God and to be committed to preservere through their struggles. They are learning to be strong in their faith and strong to the will to pray; to pray continuously and to pray sincerely. In the works of one of the ladies, "Mèsi Jezi, mèsi Jezi, mèsi Jezi pou tout moun nan benediksyon ou" (Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus for all of your blessings)."
Ms. Sheila Smith, Siloam Missionary Baptist Church (Rev. Wayne Johnson, Pastor), Rougemont, North Carolina
This has been my first foreign mission experience to Haiti and prayerfully it will not be my last. It has been an awesome experience in which the Lord has commanded us to go into all the work to reach the lost and this is what we strived to do. It was a wonderful experience to go into the 'Community Center' each daya nd hear the ladies praise and worship service. We also had an opportunity to go into the homes to meet and talk to the ladies one-on-one.