The Osklaoosa CRC Senior High Youth Group team feel God’s presence through a day of worship, fellowship, and an emotional dedication in honor of Steve Van Maanen.

Today started off on a good note with us getting to sleep in. We enjoyed an American breakfast of FRENCH TOAST before heading off to church. We pulled onto a dirt/mud road and drove up to an open building which was peacefully placed in an open field.

The church we attended belonged to our new friend Jasmine. He works for MH4H and is very helpful in accompanying and translating for us on our many adventures. The church service began at 9 and finished around 11:45!!! (Don’t get any ideas Pastor Jon!) Time schedules in Haiti are much different than in the US. You do not have to be on time, just join in once you arrive. Some of us would fit in very well.


Yesterday our group was asked to learn the song “No Longer Slaves” in Creole. We performed it during the church service and I must say we rocked it! The congregation enjoyed and even understood us. Another song that we recognized was “Power in the Blood” sang in Creole. One of the interns here at MH4H is the granddaughter of Grace Binns. Christi went to the front and let the congregation know that she had passed away and asked for them to pray for the family of Grace. It was amazing to be miles away from our home church but yet still connected through prayer.

Lunch today was enjoyed at one of the restaurants in Pignon. It is not an order off the menu establishment but rather our food order was placed early and ready when we arrived. We enjoyed chicken legs, rice & beans, and macaroni pasta. It was delicious! The place was BARELY big enough to fit our group.

Restaurant Lunch at the local restaurant

Once we arrived back at the MH4H compound we had an amazing dedication ceremony for Steve Van Maanen. When Steve passed away his memorial went toward our youth group trip to Haiti. We presented 3 ideas for the memorial to Steve’s family. They decided that donating for a classroom in the new school here on campus was the most immediate need. This classroom will be used for the 4 year olds that will graduate from the Thrive for 5 program here. Heidi, who is the education coordinator, led the ceremony. We started by singing “To Our God” by Bethel, “Forever Reign” and “Sing to the King” as a group. It was beautiful hearing only our voices and a guitar.

Dedication service for classroom Dedication service

She talked about Philippians 2:12-18. In these verses Paul is talking to the church at Philippi. The passage gave advice for us when we are apart and also advice for the next generation. Heidi’s words were perfect for the moment. We ended in prayer with tears in our eyes. Everyone felt God’s presence. Steve’s legacy will continue on and will touch so many lives through this classroom. We are so excited to see how God will work.

Dedication and MH Haiti Staff

Dedication and MH Haiti Staff

Dedication of classroom

We had some free time after the dedication. Some took naps and others went out to the road to interact with the neighborhood kids. The atmosphere was beautiful with guitar and singing from our youth group kids in the background while others painted nails and held beautiful babies.

Worship Nails with Music Nail painting Liz and nails

Next on the agenda was a trip to the neighborhood soccer field. When we arrived, it was empty but the longer we were there, kids continued to come. Word of mouth travels quickly here in Haiti. More nails were painted while an intense game of soccer was being played, which must have been due to the fabulous cheerleading squad, complete with cheerleading stunts.

Lotsa friends Intense game Sideline cheerleaders for Futbol More futbol Even more friends

The night ended with spaghetti, garlic toast, dominoes, more guitar, more singing and another fabulous night of devotions.

Hat Crew Evening Devotions

Our nightly devotions clearly laid out that we can not say we are Christians on the outside if the inside doesn’t match. We cannot be hypocrites. It’s good to go to church and youth group, but we must put in the work through the week as well. If we truly love God, we will follow his word.