One of the joys of my weekly schedule is meeting with the Jr. Youth group. The group has grown from about 10 regular members to over 20 regular members. They are 9 to 14 year-old kids.
Our mission together is to study the Bible, and then prepare plays and songs that transmit what we learn together. We prepared a song for Christmas based on what we learned from Luke's account of the birth of Jesus. In February we presented a program that taught about the 39 books of the Old Testament. The kids presented a script that covered the categories of the books and their solitary message of Christ. They then performed a 'rap' that I wrote in which they recite the 39 books. They did a fabulous job.
I remarked that the congregation was silent during the presentation. I take that as a powerful sign that they anticipate good things from this group and don't want to miss anything. I'm thankful that we've created that atmosphere.
In December we ceremonially sent five members of the group 'up' to be members of the official youth group. Next Sunday, two more kids will 'graduate' into the youth group. When kids move up, I present them with a copy of the New Testament and a couple of other books plus a personal letter where I encourage them to stay on course during the older teen years. It's all part of ASAPH Teaching Ministry.
After the holidays, I got back to my regular teaching schedule with hopes of seeing several music students succeed in passing a test. Weekly lessons led to some real, measurable progress and four students did complete an ASAPH exam.
Jordany passed exam #1 for reading music (lines and spaces). Steephenson and Herold both passed exam #1 for playing drums. Guillaume passed keyboard skills test #1. Wilcene came very close to passing exam #3 for solfege, and Jordany A. came very close to passing the keyboard skills exam #1.
ASAPH students who successly pass a test get their exam on the Wall of Honor. In a country where 50% is a passing score, ASAPH students need to score 90% in order to pass an exam. (Two or three errors, and you need to re-take the test.) I want my students to be able to teach what they were taught...to pass it on, as they say.
Dom Sciortino, Paul Liephart, and pastor Larry Cunnings made the leap of faith to come and live in the community of Pasbwadom at the end of 2013. They arrived two days before the end of the year and stayed until January 5th, I think.
They did an amazing job of immediately blending in to the ASAPH community. It was really an impressive and blessed thing to see. One of our goals for the trip was for the 3 foreigners to get to know 10 Haitians because I believe Haitian people are more people than Haitian. We see pictures of people and feel so different, but we're really so much the same. Cultural differences often create walls, and our goal was to remove those walls so that people could minister to each other in the name of Jesus.
The guys at my house immediately got attached to the humble Americans. The day after they flew home, we gathered around the kitchen table and laughed over the many fun and 'real' moments we had shared together. They said the visit ended way too soon, and they look forward to another.
Dom, Paul and Pastor shined the light of Jesus into the community where ASAPH ministers. That is ministry. That is our mission on this planet. That is the focus of ASAPH Teaching Ministry...presenting Christ in a rural Haitian community one lesson at a time.
Back in December, ASAPH Teaching Ministry played a concert in the Evangelical Chapel in Pasbwadom, Haiti. (We've had a few fundraising concerts for the ministry of ASAPH here in the US.) This concert was a first. My ASAPH students prepared Christmas songs...solos, duets, and small groups. On December 15th, we sold tickets for the big concert. Tickets were $5 Haitian. We raised about $480 Haitian for the local church's musical instrument fund. I want my music students to use their talent to the glory of God...being servants with their skill.
The first part of the concert was the premier performance of an American jazz group. A bassist, drummer, keyboardist, and guitarist played three songs in typical jazz styles full of improvisation. I played sax. It was a new idea for the musicians and the audience. It was a good start, though we have room for improvement. Then we had a variety of solos, duets, and small groups playing classic Christmas melodies. Highlights were: a group of beginners from a congregation east of our town who played their first song in public, the premier performance of our ASAPH brass band, trumpet and trombone solos, and a song that features two -- count them -- TWO drum sets and a tin whistle. That went pretty well, if I may say so. The concert also featured two invited groups: a young people's choir from the Baptist church in our community, and a Christian band made up of musicians from several churches. Our big closer was JINGLE BELLS with all kinds of musicians playing together.
We got a standing ovation! I was proud of the players, and happy for the community that received this new idea very positively. I plan to have ASAPH concerts regularly in Pasbwadom providing a venue for Christian musicians to express their faith while raising money for the local Haitian church.
Well! It has been a few months since I've had an internet connection that allows me to access this website. My apologies for the complete lack of information recently. I have diligently recorded my activities and thoughts the old fashioned way and will be adding some of them in the weeks ahead.
BACK HOME AGAIN. I'm headed home for two months. It works out to be be the season of Lent. Without realizing it, I'm giving up something I love for the days leading up to Easter...I'm giving up Haiti and the people I see every day there. It's hard to leave these days. Things are going so well at the ASAPH Teaching Center. I've got a great schedule and a lot of positive activities. So it's hard to wrap it all up for a couple of months.
Somewhere along the way last Fall the connection I was using became lethargic. Here at the airport I've 'repaired', and downloaded, and updated. Now I hope to regularly share ideas from the ministry.
Daily activities will be updated soon as well as great new photos.
Missionary in Haiti.