Category Archives: Trips In Haiti

West Michigan Missions Forum 2014

Saturday, March 29


Kim Sorrelle and I had the pleasure of attending the West Michigan Missions Forum last Saturday in Byron Center. This day conference was encouraging in every aspect. Working in missions is not easy. So often life happens and gets in the way of the dream. Despite the struggles of serving internationally, the joy that transforms lives on these trips is why we do what we do. Looking out at the gym full of participants and charities, we were reminded that we are not alone out there. The world can be a frustrating, scary place, but focusing on connecting people and resources produces incredible results.

There’s a reason why deep down we all dream of traveling abroad to discover more about our global community as well as ourselves.Serving on a short mission trip opens our eyes and hearts to new ideas, new friends, and worldviews. John 12:26 states, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”

Whoever serves me must follow me?

Follow where?

As the world’s 1%, are we really called to serve in the poorest place in the world? How do we act as the 1% in poverty?

The journey of service requires sacrifice. This sacrifice can be to donate money for the cause or volunteer time to support the organizations we care about. Is this how we serve because it is comfortable, or is this a creative solution? There are misconceptions about service. God is calling each of us to serve out of our comfort zone, but life changing experiences don’t need to be around the world. In our own communities, we have the potential to cultivate meaningful relationships and serve others.

We were made for a mission, rather than missions made for us. This isn’t your Grandpa’s world anymore. The major trend of missions in this day and age is evolving with each generation. Instead of focusing on church planting and process-oriented trips, new trends suggest that missions are highlighting project-oriented, holistic ministries.

Conference attendees where encouraged to pray about what part is God calling each person to. The home arena supports national workers and new paradigms for churches and agencies. The strategic arena works with urban missions, partnerships, and uses prayer as warfare. The overseas church arena is maturing of international missionary movements and globalization of the church. The global arena seeps into global culture.

These are the areas that Rays of Hope will be working towards. Our goals in missions include:

  • Human dignity is to be given to each individual. We are all created in God’s image. We are to treat others like how we would treat our own children. 

  • Be who we are in partnership.

  • Ask questions, but don’t use struggle as an excuse to drop support.

  • Capacity building of individuals.

  • Capacity building of the organization.

  • Business as a part of the solution.

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…