I agreed to provide lighting for the annual evening soccer games in the street. I met with the planners and we shared ideas about how the activity should be a family friendly one that involves all kinds of people in town.
On the first night, I set up the lights and waited. Things started about an hour late. I was upset, because it was a school night, and we were keeping kids from studying. Not a good start.
By the third night, things were happening on time. Members of the ASAPH Brass Band had decided to open a temporary restaurant during the soccer games. We bought supplies and delegated responsibilities. On Saturday December 21st we started selling food...fried bananas, sausages, chicken, etc. I sat and watched this group of young people in their ASAPH shirts being great hosts. They were happy together and worked together. I sat and thought about the beginnings of the group six years ago or so. They were children then. Many are finishing high school this year. A good number have finished already. Changes are coming as more and more members will leave town to pursue their life paths. I am so proud of them as a group. They have developed relationships that I believe will last.
I love my job. More and more I get chances to sit back and watch things. It is a rewarding experience for me. I am encouraged by the growth, the maturity, the stability that I see in young people I have had the pleasure to be around as they grew and learned.
Right now I am getting involved with a group of kids in our church. Many are in 4th grade. They are exciting, motivated, and funny. I can only imagine what they will be in ten or twenty years!
To God be the glory!!
Music exams here at ASAPH happen from time to time. I have printed two levels of exams for trumpet, trombone, tuba, drums, plus other instruments and some music theory. It's kind of a way to measure who has made it past the 'beginner' stage and is able to play with other musicians. Kids work at varying rates, and we don't really teach the test, and so, from time to time a student will ask about the exam.
This week a young man asked to take the glockenspiel test. He's been playing the instrumetn off and on for some time. He drifts between drums, keyboard, and the glockenspiel. I have often encouraged him to concentrate on one. It's funny how you can hear kids play, and you think to yourself : "There isn't much hope here. This won't go far." Then weeks go by, or months, and the same kid seems to blossom. That is what happened to this young man.
He did great on the glockenspiel test. He has also begun playing for worship services on certain songs on Children's Sundays.
A great part of my job is being witness to that kind of development. I have learned over and over to allow students to be weak, but to offer advice and encouragement while they are struggling.
Another young man was struggling with trombone. The sound was...not pleasant. He seemed to have musical ability, but the sound made it hard to listen to him. We switched him to tuba. The sound isn't great, but much more acceptable, and his sense of musicianship has blossomed. He loves playing blues bass lines on his tuba. He has found a place to blossom.
This week several of my beginner trumpet players made it to that step where they can play songs on trumpet. While we were working, a young drummer was there. He said, "I'll play for them." That made it more fun. Then the glockenspiel player showed up and said he could play chords on piano for the young trumpeters. Soon about seven young people were making real music together. It's a beautiful thing to see happen. That is what we do here...here at Asaph Teaching Ministry.
Translating is the art of taking information in one language and transferring it into another language. I translate for two groups...Christian Aid Ministries and Agriplus.
Projects with C.A.M. are pretty straight Biblical topics. There is a periodical or two and some other projects from time to time. I've also written 6 books with CAM...Bible books for grades 1 to 6. That major project is now finished.
I have enjoyed getting into agricultural subjects with Agriplus. The things I have translated have convicted me that farming is an essential area of work for any missionary, which is to say we can't neglect agriculture if we minister in an agricultural community. It is a fascinating subject. There are Biblical ways of farming, and non-Biblical. There are techniques that prepare for a better tomorrow, and techniques that squander tomorrow. I am glad to be addressing those ideas, though I am not out in a field doing anything. I hope these documents will clearly bring better techniques into use all of the island.
I consider each document I translate to be one way that I teach. I can teach people all over Haiti through one 4th grade book, or one magazine article. I am grateful to CAM and Agriplus for investing in Haitian literature. It is neat how God can use a guy with no 'backing' to translate a document for a mission with great reach in order to get messages into tiny corners of an island. God is good.
Every mission has a budget. ASAPH's budget has grown a bit from the very first years until now. This year we didn't maintain growth or even stay level. SO, we are making plans to adapt to that reality.
It's always hard to eliminate. We've added some great projects these last few years. The most recent additions are obviously the first to go. In this case, we are looking at eliminating our annual summer band camp which is a significant amount of money. The band members are able to cover a portion, but the major part falls to ASAPH. We are looking at being unable to swing it this year.
The soccer camp we've had twice now is also at risk of not happening. As well, ASAPH has been able to help many students cover some education costs lately...from preschool students to college students. We've had to cut that budget in half almost.
ASAPH is already frugal with expenses. Our monthly food bill will remain the same in spite of pretty drastic inflation. By God's grace our transportation costs will go down a bit since we have a place in town to transfer funds now....no motorcycle trips to the highway each month.
SO, we trust God. He has provided, and we know He will provide. We aren't going to force any one project to happen no matter what. We share this info with all of our supporters, and invite you to share it as well.
Thanks for your support of this ministry!
I translate. I receive documents in English and I translate them into Haitian Creole. I do that for Christian Aid Ministries and other groups that contact me with projects. They distribute. They do what they choose to do with the documents. One of the things I did a few years ago was translate a neat book about being a soldier of Christ. Each lesson had some teaching about a Biblical point, and then a story about an imaginary family that dealt with the very issue of the lesson. Good stuff. We made the family into a typical Haitian family, and I really enjoyed translating the lessons. While I do that, I always image people reading the texts. I do all I can to take the beautiful meanings and teachings in the original English and deliver them to any Haitian who would pick up the document to read. It takes some doing. I remember translating a lesson about a bird that dives into the ocean and has to judge the angle in order to not miss the fish...refraction. The fish isn't where he appears to be, but God created the bird with the ability to figure that all out and get the fish anyway. It takes some work to get those kinds of ideas into a Haitian reader's mind. I remember working on that lesson.
Now, probably five years later, I am involved in a Jr. Youth activity where a gentleman from out-of-town comes to teach our kids every week. He is using the book I translated! On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day (just a regular Thursday here), I sat and watched him teach the lesson. It worked! The translation allowed him to successfully teach the points that were in the English lesson! It was a brand new experience for me as a translator.
I was left to think of teachers all over Haiti holding books, magazines, and documents that I have translated while they teach a group of people. I have always loved translating. I do so even more now that I have witnessed a translation in action.
I am glad Christian Aid Ministries, Agri-plus, and other organizations interested in education people in Haiti.
I am thankful to be able to be part of a chain that delivers quality teaching materials into the hands of real people here in Haiti.
Missionary in Haiti.