If you read our last blog (click here to read it if you missed it) then you know that the LaGrange team that came down from First Baptist spent their time in Haiti doing 2 things that we had never done with teams before: Prayer Walking and Pampering Our House Moms. We were curious to see how these things would go and planned to use this trip to see if it was something that we could continue to do with teams in the future. The short version of this blog is that, yes, we will continue to do these things. Both new initiatives were great successes and we believe will be important to our ministry for years to come.
Prayer walking has always been an important aspect of international missions and for good reason. When an American organization that strives to follow Christ ventures into different areas of the world and different cultures then there are always issues that follow. Prayer walking does a few things for organizations like ours, but most importantly it covers our mission and vision in prayer. The team from First Baptist went out each day and prayed specifically for the Discipleship Ministry that we are hoping to start sometime over the next couple of years and it is so important to bathe this new ministry in prayer. On top of that, the team went out into the community to pray over churches, homes, families, and individuals and this helped us to show that ATN loves, cares about, and prays for our community. Both of these things are huge for the future of All Things New and we believe a continued ministry like this one when teams come down will help to ensure that we continue to follow the will of Christ. Not only that, but the team got to go out and see the community that we serve, pray for them by name, and really begin to understand where we operate and do ministry. This is another important thing as team members go back and support and pray for our ministry back in their homes and churches because they can now do so from personal experience.
The other initiative we started with this team is a ministry that we call “House Mom Pampering” and it is exactly what it sounds like. This team did an amazing job making our house moms feel love and appreciated and it is vital that they feel this type of connection to us and to our ministry. Without our house moms, our ministry would suffer greatly. The truth is, Jess and I could never effectively care for 19 children and especially for 19 children who speak a different language, have a different background, and come from a different culture than we do. Our house moms are the ones who care for and love our children and take care of their needs on a daily basis. There are many jobs that you can do well regardless if you like your work or not, being a house mom is not one of those jobs. To be good at their jobs, they have to like their work and love our kids and we want to do whatever we can to foster a deeper love and appreciation than they already have. This team from LaGrange came down and served our house moms well. They learned how to wash clothes by hand so that the house moms could relax every day, they took them out to lunch at a local restaurant (and going out to lunch is far from commonplace in Gressier), they did a movie day with them where they all watched Grease together, and on the last day they did a spa day complete with manicures and pedicures as well as massages and gifts. When the team was finished, 2 things happened. First and most important for All Things New, our House Moms loved it! They couldn’t stop talking about how great it was and how much they wanted the team to come back and do it again. Secondly and almost of equal importance is that the team came away with a great love and respect for our house moms. They know their names, they will pray for them, and they really did love them. As we care for and love our kids, we must also do the same for the people who are in their lives every day…Our house moms.
We are so grateful that this team came down as sort of “guinea pigs” for these 2 areas of ministry and really helped us to know that they can and should be long-term fixtures on mission trips in the future. But I want to end by bragging on the youth that came down with this team. What I saw them do on Friday when they were down on their knees washing, massaging, and painting our house moms feet was an incredible picture of servanthood. I saw teenagers standing behind Haitian women and rubbing their shoulders and hands and making sure they got exactly what they wanted and did it with such grace and such joy, it was great to be a part of it. It was a great trip for us and I believe it was also life-changing for the team as they served All Things New and the community surrounding us. If you are reading this, thank you and we look forward to next year!