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Mission brings water, hope to Haiti

January 26, 2018 – Melissa Bartlett, Excelsior Springs High School graduate and local realtor with the Bill Hightower Real Estate Team, went to Haiti on a mission, led by Vibbard Christian Union in partnership with Orrick Christian Union. The team was led by Bartlett, along with another ES alum, Travis Veverka. Dee Oden, Jessica Lyon, Rebecca Pope, Brad Marriott, Jean Ann Thompson, Erika Nail, and Brook Nail also travelled to Haiti.

The mission group, with the guidance of Pastor Pierrot Avenant of Haiti, visited the schools and communities of Limonade, Biley, Milot, and Bas Aviation in Haiti from Jan. 12 to Jan. 19. Their effort was for New Hope Missions International.

“Our church has partnered with New Hope for many years. Our church sends in a group at least once a year. Our youth group goes every other year. The people of our church and community sponsor children at the New Hope Schools,” Bartlett stated. “For just a dollar a day, a person can send a student to school where they are fed one meal a day. Twelve dollars a month goes to the family to help with food and shelter. When you sponsor a child, you get updates twice a year with pictures and letters from your child. At Christmas, you can send a shoebox to your child with special gifts. Surrounding churches also send generic Christmas boxes down to students who are not sponsored.”

During the mission, Bartlett and the mission team delivered Missouri shoeboxes to children.

“We sat with the child, gave them the box, and talked about their sponsor family. We took pics and sent them back home to those people. It is amazing to have that personal connection with the student you send your money to. Those of us who were there were able to hand deliver our boxes to our children as well as go to their home and meet and pray with their families,” Bartlett said.

The mission team took pictures of the students and classes, to update the people who sponsor the children. The team also delivered and demonstrated water filtration systems.

“We brought in 150 water filtration systems,” Bartlett said. “Paired with a simple five-gallon bucket, these systems make the drinking water safe to drink. These systems were assembled and demonstrated to the families they were given to. Our hope is to continue to raise money to purchase these systems and deliver them to all New Hope Families in Haiti.”

Melissa Bartlett in Haiti

“It is the spirit of loving your neighbor as God has commanded,” Bartlett said of Haiti and the communities she visited.

The team also created and distributed food packets to Haitian elderly. Bags of beans and rice were assembled with the help of a New Hope member. Lawson students also collected jars of peanut butter through a service project for FCCLA. Over 300 pounds were collected, some of which went to Haiti.

For Bartlett, one of the more humbling aspect of the trip was that although she and the team went to Haiti to take care of them, the people of Haiti found it important to take care of the team.

“Here we were there to help them, and yet they found it important to take care of us,” Bartlett stated.

Bartlett and the others saw a deep sense of community as well.
“For me, it was amazing to see people looking out for their neighbors. They truly are a community. They get food and they worry about their neighbor getting food too. The kids get candy and they share with their friends and siblings. Kids run through the streets of town, laughing and playing. It is the spirit of loving your neighbor as God has commanded.”

Vibbard Christian Union has been sending mission teams to Haiti for years, but this was Bartlett’s first time. It won’t be her last, however. She also says that people don’t have to go far to find mission work, either.

“Mission work can be done in your home town, your state, your country, or in countries like Haiti. I feel very strong about helping locally with the school and community, and although I am a busy working mom of three kids, I try hard to be a part of local committees and organizations. I support the local agencies such as the Good Samaritan and Meet the Need,” Bartlett explained.

Bartlett brought home many memories, and hopes for the future of missions, Haiti, and countries like it.

Melissa Bartlett

“I loved being able to love on the kids.”

“I loved being able to love on the kids. I loved talking with the teachers and, just like our teachers at home, letting them know how much I appreciate them and the hard work they do each day. Hiking the hills of Haiti and delivering food to the elderly was the experience that hit me the hardest. These people were so thankful that we brought beans and rice. One lady was literally dancing in the street,” Bartlett said. “Another lady we visited had lost her husband and buried him that day. We were able to give food, pray with her, and even help pay for the burial. We knew that God had led us to her that day. God works out the details small or large, and we saw this over and over throughout the week.”

“I hope that we can spread the word and encourage other churches and individuals to join our mission of helping the people of Haiti, who are the poorest in the western hemisphere. I believe in the mission of New Hope and have seen firsthand the organization in the field,” Bartlett concluded.

For more information on New Hope International, visit newhopehaiti.com.

By Samantha Kilgore • kimeberely@leaderpress.com

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