A few weeks ago, Pastor Victor Chen, Frank Murakami, and I went on an exploratory missions trip to Haiti. The purpose was two-fold: to encourage and bless Joanna Hodges, a former Evergreen member and missionary who founded a hospital in Haiti with her late husband, William, and to explore and discover future opportunities for Evergreen SGV to serve in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
We spent a week at Joanna Hodges' hospital located in the town of Limbe which is 100 miles north from the earthquake rattled capital city, Port-Au-Prince. The hospital serves its purpose in providing wonderful medical care to the people in its community. It also attempts to serve the spiritual needs in providing a short devotional, hymnals, and prayer to the patients just prior to the opening of its outpatient clinics.
An area of the hospital that is close to the hearts of Evergreen is the orphanage ward. It is here where children with mental and physical disabilities reside---many of whom were abandoned at birth on the doorsteps of the hospital. We were given the opportunity to interact with the children, putting smiles on their faces with a gentle touch or hug.
The Lord had us in Haiti for a much higher purpose: to encourage our fellow missionary, Joanna Hodges. She joyfully shared her many stories as a missionary as well as her fond memories of Evergreen. Near the end of our short stay, we prayed and blessed Mrs. Hodges for all the good works she has done for the country of Haiti--this was likened to the Apostle Paul who returned to former church plants to strengthen, encourage and comfort fellow Christians.
The Lord showed us a very poor country with widespread hunger, malnutrition, suffering, and poverty. In spite of this, the Haitian people are still jovial, content, and happy with their lives--I am sure many survive simply through their Christian faith. At the same time, many Haitians are lacking the Lord as superstition and voodoo are rampant. "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few" Luke 10:2
Upon returning from Haiti, I realized how blessed we are to belong to a missions focused church. Joanna Hodges summed it best, "Missions is worldwide without boundaries. Evergreen Baptist Church truly supports this idea --- it is a Japanese church that sent a Caucasian couple [the Hodges] into an African inhabited country [Haiti]!”
Photo caption: Frank Murakami, Joanna Hodges, Pastor Victor Chen & Allen Yee