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Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our Haiti Scholarship drive. First Churches sent $4253.00 to Global Ministries to be used for scholarships for K-13 students at the CONASPEH school in Port-au-Prince. That is enough for 36 students to attend for free. Thank you for your generosity. Catherine Jordan and Pauline Bassett planned to visit Haiti in January with two members of First Church in Longmeadow.  We were especially looking forward to a trip to the artist colony of Jacmel with Miguelson Charles. Unfortunately, Patrick Villier, head of CONASPEH, advised us not to make the trip in January due to uncertainty surrounding the runoff elections scheduled for after Christmas. The First Church group is now going in February, but no one from First Churches is able to go at that time. The runoff Presidential elections in Haiti [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:03-05:00February 11th, 2016|Featured, Haiti, Mission & Outreach, Missions|0 Comments

Haiti Scholarship Drive

     In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons. . . To love God and neighbor is not something abstract, but profoundly concrete: it means seeing in every person the face of the Lord to be served, to serve him concretely.                                                                                                                                         [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:05-05:00October 8th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments

Haiti Trip 2015 ~ By Heidi Rademacher

I am still processing my experiences in Haiti. Instead of rehashing each day and activity, I would like to focus on four specific experiences or encounters – two that brought me joy and two that made me cry. Heidi with knitting students First, teaching people to knit makes me happy. I love to knit so why not share my passion with others?  However, what I enjoyed most was not teaching skills but connecting with the students via teaching. In fact, we did not get very far with knitting, partly due to the fact that I had about one hour. The hardest part of knitting for beginners can be casting on and then knitting the first row. I helped students cast on, but since the cast on stitches are so close to the needle, they had trouble practicing. Although [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:08-05:00March 19th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments

MARCH 2015 VISIT TO HAITI ~ BY DAVID ENTIN

This was my fifth trip to Haiti. Every trip to Haiti is different and special and touches your soul. Upon arriving I was again struck by the poverty and the desperation of most people's lives.  The many men standing outside the airport pedestrian exit vying to earn a dollar by carrying your bag drives home their situation. The three hour Sunday morning worship in a crowded and very poor “God’s Faith Church” was one of many examples during the visit of the deep faith of most Haitian people. This church was particularly interesting because of its charismatic worship style. The pastor often preached with his eyes closed and members would shout out phrases such as "praise the Lord." Many had their hands raised high with eyes closed as the Spirit seemed to seize them. The church has a tin roof [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:08-05:00March 17th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments

Haiti Trip 2015 Updates!

Pauline, David and Heidi are in Haiti this week, working with the various programs and churches of CONASPEH, our United Church of Christ partners in ministry and mission in Haiti.  Stay tuned for more, as regular updates will be added to the bottom of this post. Pauline and Heidi with Charleen who finished cooking school and wants to start her own restaurant. Part of small business development seminar we are offering at CONASPEH. At God's Faith Church Sunday morning in Port-au-Prince, First Churches Delegates offered warm wishes and prayers for the Haitian people. Arrived safely in 90 degree weather and will be going to church service here tomorrow. David Mark Pohlman, head of our MA delegation, addresses congregation of God's Faith Church at Sunday service (three plus hour service). Heidi and [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:09-05:00March 11th, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach, Missions|0 Comments

Miguelson Charles Visits First Churches

  Several First Churches members have been making annual visits to Haiti, along with the First Congregational Church of Longmeadow, to work with CONASPEH, an alliance of around 7,000 Protestant churches. CONASPEH operates a pre-school through 13th grade school, nursing program, and seminary, and is supported by the UCC-sponsored Global Ministries. In 2009 Pauline Bassett and David Entin met Miguelson Charles, an impressive CONASPEH high school graduate who translated for them. They stayed in contact with Miguelson, through the devastating earthquake and as he enrolled in the law program at a local University in Port-au-Prince. Pauline and David helped him apply successfully for admission to Trinity College in Hartford, which offered him a $50,000 a year scholarship, but the US State Department would not grant him a student visa to come to the US for his education. He is now [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:10-05:00February 2nd, 2015|Haiti, Mission & Outreach, Missions|0 Comments

OUR PARTNER IN HAITI – CONASPEH

    In a recent report for Global Ministries, the current missionaries working with CONASPEH (the National Spiritual Council of Churches in Haiti) described attending a graduation of nurses and seminarians. David Entin, Judy Sherman and I attended this graduation the previous year and were all deeply moved by the ceremony. Along with their diplomas the seminarians received either a gift of a Bible or a commentary or a book of church history. Our friends at the Longmeadow UCC church provided nursing bags for graduating nurses that included a blood pressure kit, a nurse’s watch with a sweep second hand, a digital thermometer, a penlight for examining pupillary response and a pair of bandage scissors. This gift bag is part of the church’s “alternative Christmas” program, which members have supported for the past four years. In past years, First Churches [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:17-05:00November 3rd, 2014|Haiti, Mission & Outreach|0 Comments

Haiti Journal Day 6: January 8,2013

This morning the First Churches delegation visited a small school in a poor neighborhood. The school was in a small church. There were five classrooms covering kindergarten and the elementary grades, each essentially separated by mobile blackboards, in what is a church on Sunday, with a pulpit up front. The students in their uniforms were delightful. They sang us a song upon our arrival. The youngest children were especially darling and sang several songs for us. We distributed all 119 education kits, one to each student. There were 100 students crowded into this small church and we left the remaining kits for absentees. The pastor claimed he had 200 students in his school. After returning, Judy and Pauline helped introduce high school and nursing students to the new computers. David taught the pastors from Gonaives, discussing the "political crisis" (their [...]

By |2017-01-18T20:15:42-05:00January 17th, 2013|Haiti|0 Comments

Haiti Journal: Day 7, Jan. 9, 2013

We headed out early heading northeast, climbing up and over a range of mountains. Outside Port-au-Prince we saw some mass produced new houses, not yet occupied, very small and sitting on a desolate piece of land with no trees. The country towns in the mountains were poor but somehow seemed better than the poverty in the city. We saw a number of domestic animals, donkeys, goals, cows, mules, horses and bananas, corn, and sugar cane production. By 10 am we arrived in Mirebalais at the brand new University Hospital. It is almost completed and is very impressive. We had a full tour. originally it was to be a community hospital of 80 beds but because of the earthquake and the destruction of medical facilities it was decided to expand the plans to make a 300 bed university teaching hospital. The tertiary [...]

By |2014-05-20T21:20:50-04:00January 17th, 2013|Haiti|0 Comments

Haiti Journal: Day 8, Jan. 10, 2013

We went to CONASPEH and had a closing/evaluation session with Patrick and Francoise Villier. They encouraged our questions and feedback. We discussed the education and computer programs. They very much appreciate our feedback and contributions. We both agree this is a relationship of mutual and deepening friendship. They told us more about the various CONASPEH educational programs and scholarships and feeding programs for the school. We exchanged gifts and were greeted with a wonderful lunch with wine. This event occassioned several toasts and increased the conviviality. In the afternoon the nursing director sat down with the AIC nursing instructor and students to discuss what is needed to obtain Haitian accreditation for the CONASPEH nusring program. Of immediate need is a nursing laboratory and library. Then we took off to visit a small orphanage. These are always very sad because they [...]

By |2014-05-20T21:20:50-04:00January 16th, 2013|Haiti|0 Comments