All posts by raysofhope

November Construction Team

On October 30th, Rays of Hope International volunteers embarked on a 16 day mission trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Their goals were to institute various construction projects, minister to children, build relationships with several ministry partners, and bring hope to the hopeless.
Our first stop was in Rousseau, about 60 miles north of Port au Prince on the rural, mountainous, north coast of Haiti. A little over 6 years ago, Dr. Jean-Gardy Marius formed a humanitarian group, called OSAPO. Their basic vision is to improve the living conditions of fellow Haitians by providing education, agricultural assistance, medical care, access to latrines, and healthy drinking water.
Although pediatrician, Aimee Tow was able to provide comprehensive health care, the rest of the team worked building benches, shelving, and cabinetry. Highlights included participating in the safe delivery of a precious baby boy, driving an ambulance in the middle of the night to nearby St. Marcs for an emergency C-section, and hiking treacherous mountain paths to visit the agricultural projects and nearby towns.
The remainder of our time in Haiti was spent working at the Children of Jesus Orphanage and School just outside of Port au Prince interacting with the children, building school benches, digging trenches for a water system, and doing roof repair. The temps ranged in the high 90’s almost everyday, but despite the heat, much was accomplished.
After serving10 days in the country, the team flew to the Dominican Republic to work at Lighthouse Ministries located in Los Alcarrizos and enjoy the cooler temps and it’s beautiful garden setting. Lighthouse Ministries has been working in the country for almost 20 years. Their main focus is a ministry of education. Through the Russel Van Vleet School and Vocational center they serve over 1,000 children and youth from preschool-12th grade. More than 300 youth and adults participate in training programs in the areas of computers, electricity, auto mechanics, all areas of beauty treatments and massage, marketing and ESL. In addition, they serve the community through a water purification plant and a variety of building programs from paving streets and sides walks, to building homes and churches.
Lighthouse is a very impressive center of ministry and a true model for other non profit organizations. Despite the short time we spent with this partner, we were able to do some painting, masonry work, and assist with a breakfast feeding program for the neediest of their student population. Experiencing an up close and personal encounter with a very large, black, hairy tarantula will be ranked up on our list of truly memorable moments…
I believe that I can speak for everyone on the team that our adventures in both countries were impactful and life changing not only for those we served, but for each one of us. A verse that I find inspiring as I serve in these impoverished countries is Psalm 83:2a “defend the weak and the orphan.”Won’t you join us on our next trip? To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world…

Thank You, Give Camp!

Welcome to our new website! Rays of Hope had the pleasure of participating in Give Camp 2013 and received a brand new website, courtesy of a handful of technology professionals in Grand Rapids. This year, over 100 volunteers helped 17 non-profits develop new websites, establish databases, improve marketing initiatives, and more, through Grand Rapids Give Camp. The annual event connects local-area non-profits to the community. Technology professionals donate their time to providing much-needed technology assistance to the non-profits in the form of new websites, databases, etc. This year, volunteers provided an estimated $250,000 in services.

Volunteers were hard at work all weekend.

Volunteers were hard at work all weekend.

The event started Friday evening with volunteers meeting their non-profits and other team members for the first time. After some initial plans and discussion, many groups got right to work. While there are often large visions for the projects, the event organizers emphasized setting goals which could be accomplished within the weekend. Energized and excited to get started, some attendees even stayed the night on Friday so they could work longer on their projects.

Getting down to business was the focus on Saturday. Flush with locally-catered food and plenty of caffeine, the teams began knocking out their various goals for the weekend. The Factory was abuzz with activity as volunteers quickly worked their way down their to-do lists. With the 2:00pm Sunday deadline approaching quickly, many volunteers decided to stay the night on Saturday to continue to get more work done.

On Sunday, teams worked quickly to finish up the last details on their projects. Many of these non-profits will start to use these projects as soon as the weekend is over. With that in mind, many teams spent Sunday working on training and documentation. The goal of the weekend is not only to have working projects, but sustainable projects as well. Thank you to our devoted team of volunteers for creating, designing, and following up on our new website. We are so excited for this launch and look forward to increasing our presence on the web and connecting individuals with our mission!