Haiti at Night

We drove up the mountain last night for a meal in the cool breezes. For some odd reason power was on–I’ve never seen Port-au-Prince like this before. Was beautiful.

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Almost Home

Haiti, Thursday Night June 28, 2019

It feels weird to be packing up to go home already. Here is a short list of what I can remember that we did or took part in during English Camp Leadership Training. But first…

There are two big needs here.

  1. Sue’s 2003 Rav4 is done for. The head gasket has started to leak, the rats have made a mess of the wiring, and the suspension is metal on metal painful to hear. She REALLY needs a new vehical, and probably one with a truck chassy for these roads.
  2. Both ovens are toast. One doesn’t work at all, the other messed up an otherwise perfect batch of Cooley Chocolate Chip Cookies. They could use a commercial oven, especially when English Camp is in full swing.

If you want to help contact Maranatha Ministries. Now for our week…

  • Sue wrote the Science curriculum for the next 6 weeks. Then Sue got to teach adults for the first time in Haiti. This week she taught four 1-hour classes in Science each day to the leaders who hope to be junior counselors or translators for the Science class for the next 5 weeks.
  • Jenn wrote the Bible curriculum for the next 6 weeks. Then Jenn spent Monday following a group through all four classes. On Tuesday Jenn started teaching four 1-hour classes in Bible each day to the leaders who hope to be junior counselors or translators for the Science class for the next 5 weeks. She got a LOT of really difficult questions, everything from election to details about Isaac’s birth through his elderly parents. They are terrific students.
  • Dan (I) did some evening devotions the first week, and the Opening Assembly Bible story each day on the second week. Each story was accompanied by a skit, and introduced the Bible lesson coming later in the day. I was also the handy-man removing and repairing toilets, attempting the RAV4 resurrection which is still on-going as I write, fan repairs, hanging shade cloth, building a little table, fixing screens, some errands, that kind of thing. I may have also talked to a few folks along the way. OH—and I made Cooley Cookies last night. But the oven here lies. My “10-minutes at 350 degrees” took about 25 minutes set at 400 degrees. It made some excellent biscotti.
  • Connections: We were able to go to church on Sunday, which was a nice break. I met a guy and his daughter who had just moved here from the States. He is a pilot with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, retired from the Air Force. We also met Jabez from India and his family, who plan to start a Children’s Home in Haiti. We met Britney who recently moved here from the States, and I think is working fill-time now with Maranatha. She was here a few years ago—when Micah stayed here for a couple months. Of course, reconnecting with Byron, Shelley and family is always a joy.

So much for 2019 at Maranatha Children’s Home.

Back to the Cooley Home,

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10 Things that Only Happen in Haiti

IMG_20190626_091637-001(mostly) Only in Haiti…

  1. Do people dance in the heat. I get dancing in the rain, but around here, when anyone is singing dancing is the norm. Maybe it isn’t the heat that stops me joining in, maybe I was Baptist too long.
  2. Are car horns more necessary than mirrors.

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3. Do the dogs love to play on the trampoline.

4. Does the “bad part of town” change daily.

5. Is it impossible to completely put on a pair of latex gloves. Buy them 3 sizes too big and blow them up a thousand times, they still won’t go over your sweat-sticky palms. If you get your fingers half way in, call it victory.

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6. Do you have to look up while working on a car. I was working on the Rav4 when I realized I had parked it under a 40ft coconut tree heavy with ripe fruit. Hail damage has nothing on coconuts and how do you explain a concussion while changing oil?

7. Do people look so mean, and then with a wave or a smile look back so friendly.

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8. Do the best artists use taxis for their canvas (tap-taps).

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9. Do you have the best mangos, avocados, bananas, and pineapple on the planet.

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10. Can you so quickly realize what is important in life—and what isn’t.

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Voodoo Caesarian

HAITI TRIP, June 24, 2019

What a fun day! I got to tell an opening assembly Bible story—chose the one about King David’s 3 friends sneaking into Bethlehem to get him a glass of water while others acted it out. We added some xtra-biblical events like crawling backwards and falling into the pool. Good fun.

Sue from our church taught four Science classes today, while Jenn rotated through them all to see how things run. I believe Jenn is teaching the Bible class for the rest of the week. One of the new folks, don’t know if she is an interpreter or junior counselor, accepted Christ during training!

Not to be out done by a simple salvation, I did a quick supply errand and then went to Sue Spinny’s house, the crèche, to put the brain back in her car.

I forgot about the stares when a white guy is driving around here. I keep thinking I blend in, but maybe not.

I also forgot just how frustrating it can be living here. The car has sat since the brain was stolen (again) back in January. So, there was also a tire to fix, a dead battery, stuff they broke when taking the brain, and side mirrors they stole to replace. Of course they cut the wires when taking the mirrors rather than simply unplugging them, so replacing is taking longer. And they took the running lights. And of course stuff is busted, including a window, to get inside and get the brain. Anyway…

I got the tire, battery, and brain done, car running, and thought I’d drive over here to Maranatha to finish things. All went well till I turned on the main road. It’s the width a desert two-track, with deep cement trenches of death cut in the sides of the road to total cars and kill people who aren’t paying attention, filled with cars and trucks and tap-taps, as motorcycles weave in between at 40mph. I hit the road and floored it.

Nothing.

I crept down the road at 12mph idle speed.

Thankfully I didn’t have far to go—and thankfully I don’t know Creole. I imagine the motorcycle riders leaning on their horns were yelling, “Sorry I can’t help, but my wife is getting an emergency caesarian at home by the voodoo doctor at 3.”

We may need to find a way to raise some $ to help to make the crèche safer. Losing a Toyota brain is one thing. Losing your own is another.

So much for Monday!

Pictures are:

Top is just a fun homemade see-saw we use for camp. Bottom is the Bible class, Science class, driving through town (yes, it is a two-way road. Aren’t they all?), and the final is stolen from the Babylon Bee. It seems Lot’s wife was actually taking a selfie. Even Haitians need humor.

Dan

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Sunday in Haiti

IMG_7551Haiti June 23, 2019

Today is Sunday. I suppose you knew that. It’s about 8am here–something you didn’t know. We don’t know yet if we will be going to church. The roads may be safe, or not, in that part of town today. We’ll wait for reports to come in before traveling.

Yesterday was a good day of final repairs around here. We got two toilets removed and re-installed, another one repaired, and a dozen or so fans working so that there will be enough for the team coming after we leave. If someone thinks what we are doing here is unimportant, have them turn off their AC and hold things in for a day. It helps me feel essential.

Jenn and Sue have pretty much finished up the curriculum, mostly just a lot of printing left to do. The pool is refilled, more shade cloth installed, and Clorox tabs put in the water tanks for good luck.

Tomorrow begins training so things will get lively. Living here is a lot like camping. Water is limited, electricity is on-and-off, and your fan is your AC. In the same way, food tastes better, you spend more time together than in front of a screen, and time moves more slowly.

Monday I hope to put the brain (ECU Computer], side mirrors, filters, and an alarm in Sue Spinney’s RAV4. Sue was at AnchorPoint a year ago, lives about a mile from here with five kids in her house as a small Cresh. All the houses in this area have tall walls around them, most with razor wire. Hers has no wire, and someone has been jumping the wall at night to help themselves to her car’s parts like it is their private junk yard. Both front running light assemblies are also gone. We brought one of those a few years ago—it didn’t last 24 hours after we put it on her car before someone took it off as their own. But the brain, that costs around $300 used, and leaves you stranded. Hopefully the alarm will help. I suggested she keep a python in the car. Or a ferel cat.

WENT TO CHURCH, BACK, PICTURES ARE…

Top pic is Ben, one of Byron and Shelley’s kids, in a shirt some AnchorPointers may remember.

Bottom is me and the pastor I met from India, and the family and staff here at supper time. Then Byron and Shelley who direct this place, then Sue whose RAV4 I get to work on tomorrow. Chef Jeff, a young man who came to live here due to circumstances after the earthquake is at the bottom. He is a good kid, much fun, often asking me how Micah Cooley is doing. That makes me like him more.

Thanks for your prayers. It was good to be able to go to church today. No issues and a nice break. I met a guy and his daughter who just moved here from the states. He is working with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, and is a retired US Air force pilot. His wife is in the states for a bit longer, selling the house or something, I can’t remember.

OK, enough rambling.

Dan

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Missionaries Lie

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Haiti June 22, 2019

Missionaries Lie.

That or I’m a bit slow in understanding. It did take me 8 years to get that 4-year-degree.

THE GOOD

When the missionaries say “English Camp,” they are referring to the entire camp, from training of leaders through the end of camp. I didn’t realize that. So this coming week is…

Training for the junior counselors and interpreters. That means there will just be 100 or so of us here at the house, rather than the 400 campers plus the rest of us. During the training they will go through some “normal” camp days, so everything does need to be up and running. But it is way less stress knowing all classes and meals will be smaller. At the end of next week, they will pick which interpreters and junior counselors will be used for the next 5-weeks of English Camp.

Our little team has been trying to do what we can. Sue and Jennifer are about finished with the Science and Bible curriculum. Today will hopefully wrap it up—pretty much has to as they or someone will be teaching it on Monday. Sue was able to give a grand devotional to the staff last night. I’ve been able to give a few also, one to the national staff yesterday morning. I hope to record them singing hymns one day, and will try to upload. Mercy it is beautiful. Otherwise I’ve kept busy repairing and installing all the trampoline stuff, putting up shade cloth, getting the tool room organized, a bit of small electrical repairs, and totally enjoying talking with the staff and missionary family. They have some amazing kids!

But, there is still an opportunity, as I see it.

THE BAD

Once we leave they have a team coming in, and are pretty well covered for the first couple weeks of the real, not training, English Camp. And, wisely, they have shortened Camp to just 5 weeks, 6 with training. But there is a major issue with so few teams coming in this year.

Stuff.

Each team that comes brings 2-50lb bags of stuff with them that the missions team then doesn’t have to buy for Camp. Everything from crayons to peanut butter to back packs normally comes in those bags. A team of 10 brings 1000lbs of stuff. Also, because teams are invested here, they tend to also bring money. So, there is a double issue. Less stuff and less money to buy the stuff here.

Help?

 So, if you would like to help, their website is www.mcmhaiti.org, for the giving page click here. You have to scroll down past the sponsorship stuff and then there is a place for one-time gifts.

THE UGLY

I believe the dogs have taken a liking to me. They have three dogs here, and a little white curly-haired thing that I have yet to identify. Some call it a dog; I have my doubts. The dogs, it seems, are quite good hunters. Yesterday I thought they had forgotten me, but then, late in the day working on the trampoline, they showed up, rat in mouth. If they do to intruders what they do to other unwelcome animals, they are good guard dogs indeed.

OH – the pool was also a bit ugly. But, it is now empty, cleaned, and being refilled with wonderful generator power and well water. We will shock the typhoid out of it and have a grand time swimming before doing it all over again in another week. Blessings!!

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Haiti, June 20

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Haiti, June20

The Exit: We met at the office at 8:30 to put our last minute items in the luggage, do our final weigh ins, and go to the airport. We left around midnight to NYC where we had a 2.5 hour eating rest around 4:30 NM time, 6.30 NY time. Then we had a 3.5 hour flight to Port-au-Prince. We got in around 1pm. The airport went smoothly, but here at the house/compound we are way behind.

Today is Thursday. On Monday we have over 400 kids—I’ll get the exact count later—invading us for English Camp. We came with 4 people. With the family and friends here we have maybe another dozen or so to help us. That makes 16 of us to run English Camp for 400—including 2 meals and 4 classes. I am probably missing some, but it seems mightly lean. When we leave on the 29th, there is a large team coming in for a couple weeks. That will get them half way through EC. After that I believe they are on their own.

The Bad News: is that because of the US travel restrictions due to Haiti unrest, most of the teams that come to help out for the summer are not coming this year. Also Andrew, the son of the missionaries here who has run English Camp for the last five years or so is working on his Doctorate in the States, and could not make it either.

The Good News: we should have a number of Interpreters and Junior Counselors to help us. They are national kids, Junior and Senior High age, and can help control the chaos.

English Camp: is rather like VBS, if your are familiar with Vacation Bible School—only longer and with breakfast and lunch served. The kids come in and are served a breakfast of a boiled egg and banana, that kind of thing. Without it they are too weak to concentrate. We then have a big open assembly of songs and a Bible Story before breaking up into age groups. Generally around 40+ in each of the age-groups, led by one of us and a junior counselor and usually an interpreter. They then rotate between 4 classes: English, PE, Science, and Bible. There is a lunch time also. It all begins at 9 I think, but they start arriving MUCH earlier, and ends around 3, but many leave MUCH later.

Getting Ready: Sue and Jenn who came with us will be going over the curriculum for EC today. Some may just need to have an update. Others will need a re-write so as not to repeat for the kids from last year.

I have a mess of broken benches, trampoline, vehicles, it’s just not ready for the EC invasion. Last night we had an electrical issue, looks like we need a breaker as half the house lost outlets till we swapped a breaker out. You want outlets, as sleeping without a fan in this heat and with mosquitoes is most unpleasant. Everywhere you look there is something else to be done. The pool is half full of green water—we will have to bucket it out and refill it, and it is a BIG pool–ot unusual, but more difficult with fewer workers. Hopefully we will wait till we have junior counselors/interperters! Vines and trees have  will need to be trimmed and clean before kids arrive. The ECU brain was stolen out of a vehicle we need for camp. We brought one, but I need to get it and a car alarm installed—it is the second brain stolen, plus the turn signal lamps and the side mirrors. So frustrating. Another commode is busted, and the list goes on.

But it is WAY better than being bored!

The generator is currently out of diesel, so we have no internet now, but I’ll send this when I can. I’m working on laptop battery power.

Blessings!

Dan

The Man Named Jabez

image1170x530croppedHaiti June 21, 2019

Yesterday I had the most amazing conversation. I met Jabez, a man from India living in Haiti.

Jabez came to Christ in India. From there he immigrated to the States for higher education. While in Bible School for his undergrad, he married a Haitian gal—apologies I forget her name. Jabez went on to get his Masters and PhD degrees, and became a pastor.

He and his wife have… 4 kids I think. The oldest works for YWAM in Texas, the youngest was with them.

Anyway, they believe God is calling them to start a school here in the Port-au-Prince area. They met our missionarys, Byron and Shelley and family at church. So, yesterday, they were here visiting to learn how things can be done. I really learned a lot just listening to him, it’s amazing what some folks have done for the Lord.

It is good to see things taking shape here to prepare for next week. Yesterday the pool got bailed out, cleaned, painted, and re-filled with water. Sue and Jenn got much of the Bible and Science curriculum completed. Today I hope to repair the trampoline and install the pads and net, and re-install two toilets, among other misc. jobs that keep coming up. There was a long meeting yesterday with nationals who will be hired to help with the meals and kids ext week. Lord willing, we will be up and running by Monday!

Blessings,

Dan

Believe Me

71cNUikXk9L._AC_UL436_BELIEVE ME: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I bought this book on the belief that it was a balanced approach to help evangelicals like me deal with the bi-polar Trump presidency. I think many of us have questions like…

“How can I reject President Trump’s Junior High name calling, and yet support his Supreme Court picks?” Or, “How can I reject Trump’s exaggerations and past womanizing and yet support his economic policies?” It seems if you say anything positive about Trump, half the world goes nuts believing you are now a flat-earther—and if you say anything negative, the other side of the world now knows you are a socialist.

This book was absolutely no help.

If I understand author John Fea correctly, he sees the evangelical road to helping to elect Donald Trump as paved with fear—fear of the media, of Hillary, of a nation that evangelicals no longer recognize. Fair enough. But, when Trump was elected Fea says, “I was shocked. I was saddened. I was angry.” P. 6 Fea seems to be writing from and having voted from a fear as great as any he is describing in others. That didn’t help either.

 

THE GOOD:

The warnings and examples of the seductiveness of political power was well done, especially on page 149.  I loved his quote from Henri Nouwen, “The temptation to consider power an apt instrument for the proclamation of the gospel is the greatest temptation of all.” The emphasis that Jesus is the Messiah, not Washington comes through wonderfully—as does the church’s poor witness when we look to Washington as our Savior.

 

THE BAD:

Fea becomes Trump.

One of my problems with President Trump is his overstatements, exaggerations, even lies, whatever you want to call them. I believe Fea is guilty of the same. Here are some examples.

1: Trump Bad. Hillary Good.

Fea spends plenty of time describing Trump’s failings. Of course, there are plenty, his immorality, crude talk, lies, exaggerations, even his lack of biblical knowledge or credibility. But when he finally gets to describing the other choice in the election, He describes Hillary Clinton as, “a devout mainline Methodist,” with “far more experience than Trump,” with a, “position of paid leave that would have strengthened families,” with “a humane immigration policy,” someone who has, “defended the rights of women, children, the poor and people of color.”

Say what? And this is supposed to be a balanced book, written by a historian? Can’t we at least admit that both candidates were flawed and neither choice was easy for any Christian?

I don’t think the women kidnapped and/or killed by Boko Haram as she worked to keep them off the U.S. terrorist watch list would see Hillary as defending their rights. I don’t think the unborn children being killed in the womb would see Hillary as defending their rights either. I just returned from my annual trip to Haiti, and rightly or wrongly, they see the Clintons as stealing much of what was given to them after the earthquake (so far the have received around 13cents on the dollar). Last I checked, Haitians were, “people of color”

I’m not trying to be anti-Hillary here, I’m just saying the author gave her strong points while leaving out her weak ones, and visa-versa for Trump. I bought the book to know how to deal as a Christian with this weird Trump presidency, not to be sold Democratic talking points about how Hillary was the Messiah and we Christians missed the boat.

2: Name Calling

Chapter three is called, “A Short History of Evangelical Fear.” Fea lied. It’s NOT short. And when his conclusion on page 112 lists the likes of Reuben Torrey, Arno Gaebelein, and C.I. Scofield, among others as “fear-mongers” building ‘fundamentalist empires,” with the “iron hand of biblical truth,” I believe Fea is guilty of the same type of name-calling as is Trump. At least Fea didn’t tweet it.

On p.123 Fea states that, “Robert Jeffress, Richard Land, Gary Bauer, and James Dobson have devoted their careers to endorsing political candidates and Supreme Court justices…”

Robert James Jeffress Jr. is an American Southern Baptist pastor, author, Trump supporter, radio and television host. I don’t know much about Robert Jeffress except that he is first known as being the pastor of the 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas. I’m guessing he has devoted his career to teaching and encouraging those who come to his church through the Word of God. James Dobson was president of Focus on the Family. I was on their website just this week, and they still focus on the family. There were tons of issues are there and I didn’t see one about picking people for the next presidential election. Again, this is Fea becoming like Trump. Did they endorse presidents? Absolutely. Did they devote their careers to it? Absolutely not.

I currently volunteer for a pregnancy center. The center I volunteer for has an ultra-sound machine that was paid for, in large part, by James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. And it didn’t help get anyone elected.

3: Abortion

  1. 39 “Conservative evangelicals and other pro-life advocates spend billions of dollars to get the right candidates elected because they believe that the Supreme Court is the only way to solve the problem of abortion in our society.”

Not true. This is another Trump-style exaggeration.

I have no idea how much evangelicals give to candidates or to help in court elections. I wouldn’t even know how to do the latter. For me, I’ve never given anything to a candidate. I don’t know if Fae knows either, as he didn’t give ANY proof for his “billions of dollars” estimate. So, that I can’t prove or disprove, but I know of NO conservative evangelical, and I know of plenty, that believes candidates or courts are the only way to solve the abortion problem. Every evangelical I know believes that this is a problem of the heart, not the government. The belief in total depravity and redemption through Christ alone is what makes us evangelical.

On pages 139 – 140 Fea quotes theologians Stanley Hauerwas and Jonathan Trian who offer another approach to the pro-life cause. They suggest, “servicing at abuse centers or teaching students at local high schools or sharing wealth with under-resourced families or apprenticing men into fatherhood”—and the list goes on. But, we ARE doing just that. The Church I am a part of works alongside our Care Net center and others. We share our wealth, I have spoken at local junior highs, high schools, and community colleges, we provide Christmas gifts for under-resourced families, prenatal care, and meals for new mothers in the Care Net center. We have an earn-while-you-learn program for new moms and dads, and we continue to help up to 3 years after the baby is born or adopted. Wake up Fae, Haurwas and Trian, the church has been and continues to be on this offensive in the battle for the unborn. Maybe it’s time you joined us.

But we must also play defense, and that happens in the court.

Change the focus to another crime, for illustration. Let’s say rape became legal in the United States. Should the church then serve abused women, and teach students and share our wealth and apprentice men into fatherhood? Of course, and as that results in people coming to Christ, that is the offensive arm of the church. But, would it not also be right before God, for the good of women, society, and our country, to vote for people who wanted to outlaw rape?

4: Make America Great Again

Chapter 5: Make America Great Again, was a bizarre waste of a chapter. I felt like Fea took a campaign motto and made it into a manifesto, creating a straw-man he could blow down.

It starts by spending half the chapter trying to show that we are not now nor have we ever been a Christian Nation (of course that depends on your definition), but then admits this isn’t something Trump talks about anyway. So, why was it in the book?

But the big question in the chapter to Fea seems to be, “what time is Trump referring to when he says he wants to ‘Make America Great Again?’” He then picks different times loosely derived from different Trump speeches (the time of Andrew Jackson, Richard Nixon, etc) to show that bad things happened during those times.

News flash: Make America Great Again is a MOTTO. That is why Trump doesn’t say what time he is referring to—so that people will look back at what they believe to be a better time and hope that Trump will bring it back. For one person it may be when Detroit made cars, for another when taxes were lower, for another when abortion was illegal.

Fea could have done the same thing with Obama’s motto, “Yes We Can.” Yes we can… what? Fix health care or murder the unborn? Reduce racism or increase violence against police? Yes We Can was an excellent motto, with a similar appeal as Make America Great Again. One looks forward and one looks back, but both are ambiguous and appeal to the desire within us to make our country better—and either one can be torn down as a straw man proving nothing.

 

THE UGLY

The last chapter starts with this sentence. “The evangelical road to Donald Trump has been marked by the politics of fear, power, and nostalgia.” Of course, every campaign has, but that is only part of the story.

It’s also true that the evangelical road to Donald Trump was much the same as the rest of America’s road to Donald Trump. The road was paved by an American distaste for politics as usual in DC, and a democratic candidate so tarnished by past scandals she needed insider help to beat Bernie Sanders. That’s what elected Trump.

But I still don’t know what to do about it.

Believe me.