Where are we going on this mission trip?
We will be flying into Port-au-Prince and traveling to the town of Bercy, Haiti. On our excursion day we will travel about an hour away to a tropical beach resort.
Will we be partnering with a reputable organization?
Yes! Cabaret Haiti Missions (CHM) has been serving the community of Bercy, Haiti since 1998. Mike and Bonnie Snider felt the Lord calling them to be full-time missionaries to Haiti and permanently moved there in August of 2010 and have been there since. In January 2010, Haiti suffered a 7.0 earthquake devastating the entire country, and killing over 300,000 thousand people. Properties and homes were completely destroyed leaving over a million people displaced, vulnerable, hopeless, grieving the loss of their loved ones and friends, and in an overall state of shock and grief. CBCH survived the earthquake and by the grace of God their community wasn’t as badly physically impacted. Mike and Bonnie opened their property and home up to many displaced families and took in as many orphans as possible. As hundreds of aid and medical teams made their way to Port-au-Prince to help, the Sniders partnered with many of them giving as much assistance and community resources as possible. Eight years later, CHM is still impacting their community for Jesus by caring for the practical and spiritual needs of their neighbors, planting churches and schools in surrounding areas, and raising their “children” to love and serve others. Once, a team member asked Mike and Bonnie if they were going to eventually put the orphaned and displaced children in their care up for adoption. Their conviction to their calling and answer still remains true to this day. They strongly believe that the Lord gave them a beautiful gift in the opportunity to shepherd these little one’s hearts. Along with the help of their staff who love and care for the children and generous sponsors who help pay for their education, Mike and Bonnie truly believe they have been called to raise up a generation of Godly Haitian leaders who will forever make an impact on their country from within.
Who are our Group Leaders?
Steven Dowling and Tiffany Hearn. Steven is the High School Pastor at Summit View’s Heritage Park Campus and has been in full-time ministry for five years. Tiffany is married to Summit View’s Lead Pastor, Michael Hearn, and serves on the church’s Global Outreach (Nations and Neighbors) team. She has been in leadership ministry for 20 years.
How many participants can go on this trip?
28 Total 2 Group Leaders (1 male/ 1 female) 6 Adult Leaders (3 male/ 3 female) 20 students (10 male/ 10 female).
Where will be staying in Haiti?
We will be staying at Cabaret Baptist Children’s Home (CBCH) in Bercy.
What are the guest house amenities?
The guest house is primarily powered by solar panels and they have a backup generator as well. Teams stay on the second level housing adjacent to the children’s area. The two bunk rooms are large enough to accommodate 14 team members each. The bunk rooms are open rafter style to allow air flow, and each bunk has its own battery operated fan and mosquito net. The guest house has a big open room with a kitchen where team members will eat, have devotions and team meetings, and play games with the children at night time. Our team members will take turns cooking our meals and cleaning up afterward. Separate male and female indoor restrooms and showers are provided as well. The guest house also has a water filtration system for drinking and cooking water only.
What will our team be doing while in Haiti?
Team members will learn the true meaning of “flexibility” and “on Haiti time”. While in Haiti, team members will have the opportunity to live amongst the children at the orphanage and hang out with the older children after school and play sports and games in the evening. They will get to know and serve alongside our wonderful missionaries Mike and Bonnie Snider. They will attend a Haitian church service at one of the ministry’s church campuses. While experiencing a culture vastly different than our own, we will share the love of Jesus with locals through evangelism, home visits, helping where needed (this could look like helping build a home, carrying a heavy water jug up a steep hill, sorting clothes at the orphanage, sweeping a dirt floor, etc.), and possibly playing a pick-up game of ‘football’ in the dusty graveled streets. More specific details will be given to team members closer to trip departure.
What should I expect?
Expect to have your world rocked… for the better. If you go into this trip with the mindset of, “God, what do you want to teach me through this experience? God, I want You to use me in anyway You see fit. God, open my eyes and heart to see and love like You do. God, protect my heart and emotions as I leave a piece of me in Haiti and return to my comfortable life in the US,”, then you will most likely walk away from this experience with a bigger burden for the lost, lonely, and forgotten and a sense of awe and wonder at how people who have so very little are full of joy and laughter. You will also have a better understanding of what it means to trust God by not only witnessing what you see in country, but also in the leap of faith physically and financially it will take you to get to Haiti. HOWEVER, if you go because you think it will be fun to hang out with your friends, gain a boyfriend or girlfriend in a teammate, or you want to be known as someone who can say, “Look at me! I served poor people for spring break.”, this is NOT the trip for you…and that’s perfectly okay.
What do my team fees include?
Non-refundable deposit, airfare, luggage fees, airport tips, Haiti visa entrance, international medical coverage, lodging, transportation, food, purified water, project supplies, excursion day to the beach and dinner at a Haitian restaurant, and team materials.
What do my team fees NOT include?
Passport, immunizations, travel day (airport) meals, and personal packing list items. Once our mission team is formed, if the team chooses to do a specialized event in Haiti (like a VBS) there is a possibility of needing to purchase additional materials in the states if all needed items are not donated. This would be agreed upon by the entire team and parents before moving forward.
Will we fundraise as a team?
Yes! We will talk about this in more detail at our team meetings.
What will be required of me “pre-trip” to Haiti?
Our desire as group leaders is to best train our students and leaders to be prepared to step into another cultural mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We will meet as a team one Sunday of every month starting in November until we leave in March. In our time together we will work through a group study about missions, practice sharing our faith and our stories with each other, and discuss ministry specific and project opportunities we will engage in while in Haiti. (Consistent failure to participate in monthly discipleship mission training could result in loss of spot on the Haiti mission team.) REFUGE and Summit View Nations and Neighbors ministry is requiring that ALL Haiti team members and leaders attend our fall service project weekend to Serve North West at Harrah, November 8-11, 2018. We realize this will be another financial commitment so we are offering a half price fee of $50 to Haiti team members. This service weekend will be invaluable training in flexibility, hands on ministry, and working together as a team. (Unless previously discussed and an excused absence is given by either Steven Dowling (HP) or Melissa Dembowski (WS), not participating in SNW could result in loss of spot on the Haiti mission team.)
Will I need immunizations?
Yes! An updated tetanus shot and malaria meds are required for all team members. A typhoid shot is highly recommended.
What about safety?
Once the team arrives at baggage claim in Port-au-Prince they will be greeted by an airport worker that also handles arriving teams for CHM. Mike and Bonnie will be waiting outside the airport doors for us and will take us to their drivers. As soon as the team is with Mike and Bonnie, they will be accompanied by employees of CHM that will serve as our translators, personal security detail, drivers, and helpers until we arrive back at the airport for our departure. CBCH sits inside a gated compound with 24-hour security guards. It is also the personal residence of our missionaries and home to many orphaned Haitian children and their staff. All team members will be registered with the state department prior to leaving the US. In the event of a natural disaster or political unrest, the US state department will come looking for all US citizens and get them to safety as soon as possible. Although there can be no absolute safety guarantees anytime one travels to a third world country, Summit View Church does trust the leadership of Cabaret Haiti Missions. Michael (SVC Lead Pastor) and Tiffany Hearn (group leader) have personally led and served on seven teams to Haiti, four specifically with CHM.
What will I eat while in Haiti?
Group leaders will purchase all team food in the US and check it on the plane in large army duffel bags. Each team member will be responsible for two checked bags. Because food is so limited in Haiti and quality, preparation, and proper storage ability is not only very expensive to purchase but can also be unsafe. In Haiti there is also NO such thing as gluten free or organic/allergy sensitive options; they feel blessed if they get one meal a day at all. As Americans, our diet regiment is much different that Haitians so things that wouldn’t make their stomach upset could cause us to become very sick and vice versa if they were to eat food prepared in the states. Fruits grown by our missionary farmers are safe to eat and will be available to team members on a limited basis. There will be a few opportunities that our missionaries will provide us with what they call “clean meals” that we can taste test to have a local experience. This is completely optional. However, we will eat at a local restaurant on our excursion day and the food there is safe.
Will we have access to clean drinking water?
Yes! The guesthouse has a water filtration system we will use to fill our water bottles before leaving the compound. Once out in the community we will have purified purchased 5-gallon water jugs for refills or personal sized water bottles on hand.
What if a team member becomes severely sick or injured? Is there access to medical care?
Each team member will have pre-trip purchased international medical coverage that is included in their team fees. Specific details from insurance provider will be given to team members and parents prior to departure out of the country. Our CHM missionaries have a great relationship with many Haitian and US mission doctors and nurses in the area. Depending on the medical need, there are several hospitals in Haiti. In the case of a medical emergency the group leader(s) would make every effort to get in immediate contact with the team member’s family back home all while moving forward with the wisdom of our missionaries in getting adequate care for our team member. In the event that a team member becomes too ill to travel back home with the team, an additional flight fee and added days to medical coverage plan may be required. This would be at the expense of the team member not Summit View Church. In addition, students would not be left in country without a group leader staying behind unless parent has already arrived in Haiti or other agreed upon arrangements have been made.
Will I be able to contact my family back home?
Wi-Fi is not a luxury in most areas of Haiti, so communication back home will be very limited. Group leaders will make contact back home to let parents know we have arrived safely and occasional ministry day updates will be posted to social media when Wi-Fi is available. We strongly encourage team members to NOT bring any valuables that they would be upset if they got stolen or damaged. We realize that everyone now uses their cell phones for cameras, flashlights, and alarms and we are okay with that. IF cell phones are used to hop on social media (granted we have Wi-Fi), have international data plans and students are using it to text their friends, or phones become a distraction, group leaders will take the phone away, store them in the guesthouse safe, and will return them once we land in the US.
What is the weather like in Haiti?
Hot and Humid – In April, average Haiti temperature highs are in the low-mid 90’s, average temp is mid 80’s, and nighttime lows are in the mid 70’s. It could rain occasionally although high humidity will always be present.
What is the language in Haiti?
A mixture of Creole and French although a lot of Haitians understand English very well and can speak a descent amount of English. Occasionally some know Spanish.