My brother, Bryant Thompson serves as Missions Director at Eastern Shore Baptist Church. Through the years, he has led ten trips to Children’s Hope. This time I was fortunate to be a part of the team.
We had three separate assignments: Dr. Scott Clements attended to patients at the medical clinic and also gave instruction and encouragement to the Haitian physician. Dr. Clements was able to care for several children who were connected to Children’s Hope as well as those who came from the community.
Bryant and Josh Raybun taught ESL classes at Pastor Claudy’s church. The ladies on the team (Katy Bridges, Lauren Butler, Emily Carlson, Ashleigh Deese, Laurel Griffith, and Kim Dees Phillippi) led a women’s conference at Pastor Paul’s church.
47 young Haitians crowded into Pastor Claudy’s church. Josh and Bryant emphasized Scripture and taught with humor and enthusiasm. The teenagers were like sponges, soaking up information. It was easy to recognize that the students viewed their instructors with genuine affection. Class was over at 5 pm and each day it took longer and longer for them to leave — everyone was having too much fun.
Throughout the week I felt like the little boy with the loaves and fish. I offered my small lunch to Jesus and had a front row seat at a miracle.
The ladies of our team formed friendships with five women previously selected as small group leaders by Pastor Paul. Each morning they came to the Alabama House where we enjoyed several hours of discipleship and discussion. Our goal was to equip and empower them so they were prepared to lead the women of their church. When we explained our vision, these newly identified leaders seized the opportunity with passion
The conference was held each afternoon at Pastor Paul’s church. We met as a large group first and then the ladies scattered throughout the room and shared with one another, guided and taught by the women we trained in the morning. When we assembled again as a large group we invited the women to stand and share what they had learned.
In the process of leading a women’s conference, the ladies on our team discovered how much we have in common. Haitian wives want to be loved and valued by their husbands. Haitian mothers want their children to know and follow Jesus. Haitian women long to have successful families.
On Monday we discussed how each of us are created in the image of God, for relationship with God. Each of us is a masterpiece —original and valuable and we are designed to find meaning as we serve others in the name of Jesus.
None of our team was prepared for the Haitian women’s response. They listened intently as if they had heard this for the very first time and then celebrated the news with great emotion.
We continued the discussion throughout the week, also emphasizing parenting and marriage and prayer. On our last day together w discussed the importance of unity and the responsibility we have to support and care for one another.
Without prompting, one of the small group leaders, an older woman who has experienced a great deal of emotional and physical pain, vehemently declared, “This message of love is like medicine and we much share what we have learned with the women of other churches.”
Throughout the week, the Spirit moved in our midst. God used simple Bible verse cards and coloring sheets as discipleship tools. We saw Haitian women blossom as they were loved, taught, and empowered to lead. We watched women embrace their identity in Christ and commit to love one another as they faced the difficulties of their lives together.
Allison and Scott made us feel welcome and offered valuable input and assistance as well as practical support. We could not have navigated the cultural waters without their insight, (nor the Jacmel roads without Junior.)
Our team is grateful for the opportunity to serve through Children’s Hope. It is our prayer that God will continue to bless our small offering and spread the “medicine of God’s love” throughout the city of Jacmel.