A heartfelt thank you for helping to support a Harvest trip to Haiti this past month! We wanted to share some of the updates with you.
Clint Benesh and I just returned home March 21. We had the privilege of leading music for each class at Cowman School, lead a chapel service, a Creole church service, a service at the English Bible Church, a student ministry bonfire, and a few songs in an orphanage. We witnessed beautiful community and friendships first hand, even while the unemployment rate is at 66% for the nation, a average daily wage is $5 and trash and sewage spill into city streets. We met forty loving kids at an orphanage who gave us hugs and sang songs for us. We met Haitian ministry leaders, with dreams way bigger than available resources, living in houses the size of my walk-in closet, yet doing what they could to help those in their neighborhoods. We met missionaries filled with faith and hope, banking on small things to make big differences in this nation.
Our week long visit with Steve Gross and his family was incredible. Steve was a great friend from Asbury Seminary days when we roomed together. He and his wife (and their four kids) are currently serving in Haiti through One Mission Society. Their hospitality was awesome and the projects and opportunities they planned filled up the days and filled up our hearts.
Steve and his wife both serve at Cowman School, which is growing tremendously. Melissa is the principle (as of this year) and Steve teaches English and Bible to upper level grades. Their kids all attend school there. Steve and his wife believe that Christian Education is one key to helping the people there. Haitians take education seriously, especially English education. The quality teaching, with a Christian environment, has kids coming from far and wide.
Teachers at Cowman consist of American missionaries and Haitians. I was inspired to see that a handful of young Haitian adults who are currently on staff as teacher assistants at the school, were kids hanging out when Steve begin the ministry there. Their lives have been influenced in tremendous ways by the ministry of Steve, his family and the school.
The OMS Mission staff stay on the “compound.” Though many of the Haitian homes we visited didn’t have water, electricity or plumbing, the homes on the compound, which would be modest by USA standards, were like mansions. Electricity is generated through solar power and generators, they have indoor plumbing and water. They do purchase purified drinking water, but buy their groceries from the street market.
Each of the OMS missionaries, who serve the school, the seminary, and the radio station, all three separate missions under the OMS umbrella, meet for prayer each Wednesday. We enjoyed leading a few songs and praying with them. Following the prayer meeting, we had dinner in one of their homes and sat around afterwards to visit—for about two and half hours. Wonderful times!
We also took most of one day to help some others paint and organize the Cowman School Library. It was fun to help out in that tangible way.
As we lived life with the Grosses for the week, we were blessed by the hospitality and great food—it was awesome. I could tell mission life in Haiti isn’t always easy. Figuring out schedules, helping people, having plenty of food and water, dealing with electricity, roads, traffic, markets, and details took some skill.
But one big impact for me was the natural flow for their family as they served the Lord. They worked with what they had. They smiled and lived seemingly low-stress lives. The kids took initiative, helped with little things, never complained too loudly and were happy with a pretty simple life. The whole family had deep relationships with people in the community. They shared in meals, worship and rides.
It was definitely the product of being faithful to where God calls and leads. It was a powerful inspiration for me. I’m thankful for ministry leaders and missionaries. And I’m thankful for the witness of true joy and faith in the Steve Gross Family.
They are making a difference believing that a Christian education can really turn around the lives of young Haitian kids and help change the nation. I saw the impact firsthand.
This trip helped me form a couple thoughts: every family ought to be praying for and supporting missionaries. I know how difficult it is to raise support in ministry and missionaries, being away, even have more of a time. Get a picture of the missionary, get it on your fridge and send them a contribution every month.
Secondly, every family ought to be striving to put God first in their homes and lives and living with the joy of full surrender and sacrifice. This is much more difficult in our world, at least for me. There are so many other things I can so easily trust in, or the very least, so many things that can take my attention away. But as I lived on the mission field for a week, I noticed the focus on prayer, faith, and Christian hospitality. I’m more committed to God in all circumstances and invite others to do the same.
A huge thanks to each person who prayed for us and helped support the trip financially! We are so grateful for you.
Your Servant in Christ,
Steve and Melissa Gross and their four children, Caleb, Hannah, Samuel, and Sarah, are in their fourth year of serving the Lord at Cowman International School on the edge of Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city. Cowman is a Christ-centered school, seeking to strengthen the minds and spirits of students and their families in the hope of lifetimes of service to the Lord across Haiti. Small and faithful over the last 50 years, Cowman has grown exponentially in recent years, from 23 students in 2010 to its current enrollment of 160. In the same time span, the Haitian faculty has grown from 2 to more than 20. Traditionally limited to the grade school years, Cowman now anticipates its first class of high school graduates in 2019.
Melissa serves Cowman as principal, overseeing weekly planning, teacher training, and curriculum development for the preschool and grade school classrooms. Steve serves as the junior and high school Bible and English teacher. He also teaches adult English classes twice weekly as part of an OMS community outreach ministry.
Steve and Melissa thoroughly enjoy teaching God’s Word and ministering to and with students and coworkers at Cowman. Having spent years in youth ministry and public education in their home state of Indiana, the Grosses consider it a great blessing to now live and serve in Haiti.
If you would like to follow their ministry, they invite you to visit their blog at stevegrossfamily.blogspot.com or follow them on Facebook.
FROM TIM PRICE
I’m grateful for the work of so many misionaries around the globe, but one guy that our family supports is Steve Gross! We give financially each month to the Steve Gross Family (through OMS) because it’s so fun to be part of the work they are doing. I’m really thrilled to be able to visit and experience their ministry firsthand.
Thanks to each person who has contributed toward this trip! Grateful that Clint is able to join me in traveling and helping to provide music, encouragement and leadership.
As a great preacher once said, “If you’re not financially supporting a missionary, you can’t really say you believe in missions.”
I encourage you to be a part of Steve’s work. You can give here.