As I type this on the plane from Port Au Prince Haiti to Atlanta Georgia quite frankly I am overwhelmed. A little bit because our flight was delayed (it could be tight in catching our connecting flight to Grand Rapids), but mostly overwhelmed with joy from our recent trip to Haiti with the Cornerstone Women’s Soccer team.
For starters, our team was amazing. This was a challenging trip to organize due to the nature of our team being scattered throughout the country during the summer, only to arrive on campus at Cornerstone less than 24 hours before our flight! We met and packed late into the night and then left for the airport at 3am. Once we landed in Haiti, the challenge really began... We were hit by a massive rainstorm as we loaded the vans and ended up in a traffic jam just outside of downtown Port Au Prince, causing our team to stay in vans for hours--stretching a three hour drive to nearly nine hours. Quite frankly it was miserable conditions. That night once we arrived, the spirit of the group was still amazing. I knew then we were in for a great week.
Their willingness to be patient, adapt with change, support one another, embrace the mission and the Haitian people was genuine and inspiring. The growth our team made throughout the week both individually and collectively was powerful. Each night we shared and had a devotion led by 2002 CU Women’s Soccer alum Megan Willink. She really challenged and touched the girls in many ways. Our team led VBS activities each day, played soccer with the locals both at the church and at the stadium (which was a first for our Haitian friends). They visited the various aspects of the mission, toured the village of Cyvadier, ate dinner at the beach and went diving in the beautiful natural springs of Bassin Bleu in the mountains above Jacmel. But no doubt, what touched me the most is how they embraced the youth and the workers of Damou Mission. Our team truly showed the hands and feet of Jesus in service, as well as in the love and compassion of Jesus through relationships! Especially towards our missionaries, the Eugene family. On the last night we took time for the Haitians to share with us words of encouragement. It was touching and such a blessing to hear them encourage us. Then we reciprocated back praise to them. Many of the Haitian workers were in tears not wanting our team to leave and touched by their words. I am excited for the continued opportunity of discipleship with this soccer team. I am also excited to see how this trip impacts their season on and off the field. God is at work in all of them and challenging them all in many ways! We have many talking about a return trip, child sponsorship, internships, and mission fundraising. Not to mention the discipleship and spiritual growth taking place among the team.
Another major blessing to me was just seeing the health of the Damou Mission and the leadership of the Eugene’s. As someone who began traveling to Damou in 1998 when the founder, Tina Isenhower, was still building the mission house and other aspects of the school, it was great to see now twenty years later that many of the children she first poured into back then are now in leadership and are passionate for giving back and serving Christ in their community! Many students have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, and nurses throughout Haiti and we had the chance to meet a few of them. Others have remained in the community to work at the school and church! Many adults I recognized from when they were 11 and 12. And yes, every time we would talk with them, they would give thanks to Miss Tina! Especially Loubens, one of Tina’s first children to work with who is now one of the mission directors.
Yes this mission has seen hard times...earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, government overthrows, and so many other challenges locally, but today Damou is flourishing again and the Gospel is going forward in the village of Cyvadier. A medical clinic will be set up this fall with the lead Doctor, Dr. Wilbert, a Damou graduate. A church is being planted in the mountain area, a vision Tina started years ago. Loubens is leading the youth of the church through intentional discipleship as well as helping Jessica as co-director in various other aspects of the mission. Jessica continues to help manage the school, run the young women’s program and carry on the legacy of her Aunt! And let's not make light of the fact that they just hosted a group of thirty in their home for a week flawlessly!
I am excited to make you aware of two specific projects we will be working with in the very near future with Damou Mission. One is possible internships with students from Cornerstone. The second you can join in with us now! We are attempting to raise approximately $5500.00 specifically for solar power at the mission house. The total cost is around $9500.00 but they already have $4000.00 raised. Going solar would allow them to get off the grid and save them about $1000.00 dollars a month in diesel for their generators, and the $250-300 per month bill to the government for their 3-5 hours of electricity they receive. You can donate directly to this by going to the donate FSI-Wallace button on the homepage of our website or by going to https://donorbox.org/friendship-sports-international. Fill out your information and there is a drop down menu where you can designate to Damou Mission Solar Power Project. Checks can be sent to the address shared below. If you write a check, please ad a paper note in the envelope if you want the money to go towards the Damou solar power project.
Last fall we began our FSI ministry here in Grand Rapids focused on providing discipleship, service and missions opportunities for the students of Cornerstone University and it has even expanded into neighboring high schools. To all of you who have helped us make this a reality I want to say “thank you”! I hope you can see your investment at work for the kingdom both in the lives of the students we lead in Grand Rapids, and on the mission trips we are and will be taking! More Detroit trips and return trips to Haiti and Guatemala are all being planned for this upcoming year. Please pray to continue/begin the support of Friendship Sports in Grand Rapids! Your support helps us with travel, materials, food, and more as we invest in the lives of those we are working with!
We now have an account set up here in Grand Rapids. All donations can be made by mail to Friendship Sports International, 2310 Rothbury Court NE, Grand Rapids MI 49505, or online at www.Friendshipsports.net home page. Just click on the Donate-FSI-Wallace button.
If you would like to see the highlights from our recent trip in Haiti check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FriendshipSortsInternational/
If you are interested in being a part of future trips to Detroit, Haiti or some of our other possibilities let us know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for partnering with us at FSI,