Mark and Melissa Kauk serve in Haiti full-time, working with Many Hands’ Love in Action programs. Mark serves as the U.S. Lead for Leadership and Melissa is the U.S. Lead for the First 1,000 Days Program. You can read their previous updates here.

Celebrations are an important part of life, and in Haiti, they are no less important! As Christians, we joyfully celebrate God’s work in our lives through prayer, praise, and outward expression of mutual fellowship, singing, thanksgiving, and testimony! This past December was the culmination of many months of study and learning and an opportunity to give thanks for new leaders trained through the Lead Like Jesus training and new hope for those in the literacy class.

Above: Graduation Ceremony in the Pignon Guesthouse

Celebrations for the three Lead Like Jesus level 1 classes for the PMJ ( Premye Mil Jou or First 1,000 Days) staff were held in the guesthouse on consecutive afternoons, followed by a meal prepared for the graduates and their guests. Graduates were each recognized and received a certificate of completion and a beautiful journal personalized with calligraphy by Christi Gabhart, which they can use for reflection, study, and planning. We are excited to see these being used by these graduates at Many Hands every day!

Above: Jean Boule graduates arrive and leave on a three-wheeler.

Above: Graduating class of First 1,000 Days staff from Maliarette.

Above: Graduating class of First 1,000 Days staff from Jean Boule.

Above: Graduating class of First 1,000 Days staff from Sylvain.

The pictures above show the joy of completion from each center. PMJ Assistants clean and set the center to be ready to greet the mamas and babies daily. Before serving lunch they lead a time of worship, read God’s word, and say a prayer. These ladies also keep attendance charts and service points, pass out vitamins, and do home visits. The cooking staff pictured arrive at each center by 6:30 am to begin the day’s meal. They are ready to serve anywhere between 60-100 caregivers at the 3 centers. Security Guards know each participant who passes through the gate and help serve the program in many ways. The drivers are also pictured above. They transport nurses to different centers each day. They bring over all supplies and food. Drivers are often in the ‘kizin’, kitchen, helping to cut or wash vegetables!

Many Action Plans were written to serve the mamas better. Each center works together daily to provide hospitality to each caregiver. Our goal is to make each center as welcoming as a second home. With this amazing staff, we have achieved this goal!

Graduates of the level 1 course of 17 weeks focus on a right-heart relationship with God as a follower of Christ and a leader of others. They then work on cultivating five spiritual disciplines into their life and develop a personal mission, vision, and values statement for themselves. Finally, they work individually or with others to come up with a strategy called an Action Plan whereby they can better serve others they are leading or working with.

Jean Boule First 1,000 Days assistants and Maliarette assistants from the two different centers shared their common action plan, proposing to have a project to make soap as an economic way to help families supply this important family and community need. Research will be done on the process, materials, costs, training, and funding necessary for such a project to see if it is feasible.

Above: First 1,000 Days assistants from Jean Boule present their action plan.

Above: First 1,000 Days assistants from Jean Boule present their action plan.

Literacy class ( Lekòl Alfa )

What do you do when you can’t read or write due to the difficult circumstances of your earlier life? One leadership action plan made a difference for these adults by offering a literacy class, which just concluded with eight months of classes, meeting two times a week. The class finished with 15 graduates who humbly persevered to reach a basic level of reading and writing. What a joyous day it was to celebrate!

Ely and Tania, one of the two couples enrolled, were exemplary in their hard work to excel. Walking more than a mile to the center for the PMJ program, noon meals and activities, and then attending the class while having their child fuss or fall asleep on their lap during the class was typical of the challenges that they had to overcome. Tania amazingly attended 61 consecutive classes in a row to have perfect attendance! What an example to us of their perseverance!

Above: Ely practicing his writing skills.

Above: Tania reading asimple science book about the power of magnets! 

Final activities included reading a children’s book out loud to a partner, writing a thank you note to a staff member, writing out the names of their family members, making a list of items that could be purchased in the market, reading together John 3:16, and learning and reading together at the celebration a Haitian prayer of a Christian when they rise in the morning.

We praise God for the marvelous gift of the mind to comprehend the written word and spoken language. We pray that this is just the beginning of continued progress in a lifetime of learning. The t-shirt expresses the mission of the class: Learning to adore God through reading and writing Kreyòl!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *