The Haiti English Camp that began under the hot sun has now finally come to a close without us realizing it. The students were not used to things at first, but now everyone is singing together and becoming closer to the teachers. Those students who were reluctant to listen to the teachers in the beginning now answer “Yes!” with one voice. And those students who ran away from the hot classrooms are now enjoying classes more than anyone.
After the devastating earthquake in January of 2010, Haiti received much aid to get back on its feet. But the people of Haiti got used to receiving help from others and began to live without any hope. Many hoped to immigrate to neighboring countries but the reality was that they barely had enough to eat one meal a day. It has been a long time since they have lost the smiles on their faces. But to see those smiles again must have been the miracle of English Camp.
We were able to feel the hearts of these students become brighter through the four day English Camp. The students who only smiled in front of the cameras were now smiling regardless of the cameras, and actively participating in the camp. The “Stamp” reward system we introduced to motivate the students became really popular with the students. We were able to see more and more students pay attention during class.
The English Camp not only planted hope in the hearts of the students but also in the hearts of the people of Haiti. As in the words of missionary Jung Hoon Lee, “There is no hope in Haiti. The people’s sole concern is to make enough money to immigrate to another country. But as we started this camp, around 50 people from the neighborhood came up to me and asked how they could be part of the camp. Just like this, I believe that if more people are willing to sacrifice their lives for others then there is hope in Haiti. Although the camp only lasted a few days, I’m so thankful to see how the camp planted hope in the hearts of the people of Haiti.”
There is a notable student who attended the camp diligently and actively participated in class. She is Sarah Norvely Germain (18) from the school Centre D’etudes Classiques Hadassa. “It’s my first time attending the English Camp,” says Germain. “During the four days, all the classes were fun and beneficial. The teachers were very friendly and I’m so thankful that they were able to help us like this. I’m sad that the camp is ending so soon. I hope that next time the camp can be a little longer. I’ll see you again next year. Thank you.”
Christelle, (21) of the school Centre D’etudes Classiques Hadassa, says “I’m so happy to have gained the great gift of salvation through this English camp. Finally, the sin that was between me and God is now gone and I have become closer to God. I want to tell this precious gospel to the people of Haiti. I really hope that there will be an English Camp next year so that I could help the camp as a volunteer.”
Like this, many students were able to gain hope and happiness through receiving salvation during the English Camp. Not only this, but God also worked beautifully in the hearts of the volunteers who participated in the camp.
Of the volunteers, there was Eli Agbobli (31) from Ottawa, Canada. “It was the first time to see these many people receive salvation says, Agbobli. I interpreted for the gospel class. At first, it was difficult to interpret for 12 hours straight. Finally, I lost my voice. But the amazing thing is that when gospel class begun, my voice was fine. I gained strength when I saw that God uses those who cannot interpret. I was able to meet many students while interpreting for the gospel class. There were students who ridiculed the gospel and those who had questions about it.
Among them, the one who I remember most is this one student. This student always got ready to go to sleep once gospel class began. I woke that student up but I judged that student when I saw that the student will not receive salvation. But as the days passed, I was able to see that student’s attitude change. That student received salvation on the last day. Through this, I was able to feel that God is alive.
During the 2 weeks of English Camp, more than 600 students received salvation through the gospel class. I was able to experience the amazing works of God. These last two weeks were a living testimony for me. Before coming to the camp, my mind was filled with the concern of what I should become in the future. But after experiencing the God who worked inside the English Camp, the worries in my head all disappeared. This is because I gained the faith that God will work in my life and I was thankful. I thank God who allowed me to have such thoughts.”
Although water was scarce in Haiti and there was no electricity, the volunteers and the students were able to become one heart and share their happiness. The English camp has ended, however, I pray that the students could hold onto the hope they received through the camp.