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Supporter Spotlight: Saint Paul’s Church, Conway

Our friends at St. Paul’s Church in Conway, SC, have been champions for the work of our partners, the Valdemas, for over fifteen years. Their enduring support and commitment to walking alongside Light from Light and Lespwa Timoun have been crucial to the growth and success of Carmel Valdema’s Nutrition Program and the Lespwa Timoun Clinic. We’re so grateful to St. Paul’s Youth Director, Sean Richardson, for sharing the history of this relationship and its impact on the church’s youth. Read Sean’s post below to learn more and hear the story of how God turned the disappointment of last year’s canceled mission trip into a life-changing blessing for one Haitian family.

Haiti is a land of hospitality and generosity with much potential, but it also has a very serious need. The people need resources, both natural and monetary. They need food. They need medicine. They need hope. Light from Light is an organization that is helping to meet these needs with help from churches and generous donors.

St. Paul’s Church in Conway, SC is one of those churches that has partnered with Light from Light and is helping to support Haiti. In 2004 we sent Ginny Biddle to Haiti to establish a partnership with Pere Val and Carmel Valdema. The next year, we sent our first team to Haiti, and afterwards began sending medical teams until the earthquake hit in 2010.

In May 2011, Kelsie Pharr (now Kelsie Helton) and I, Sean, went to stay with the Valdemas to research the feasibility of bringing a group of high school students and their parents for a trip to Haiti. A year later, that first high school trip happened. Four students and six adults ventured to Haiti for ten days, staying at the school at Croix des Bouquets. Since then, the St. Paul’s youth group has returned to Haiti several times, in 2014, 2016, and 2017. These trips have been beneficial for the people of Haiti whom we serve, but our own participants have gained so much love and insight during their time spent in Haiti.

The May 2011 scouting trip was Kelsie’s first overseas trip, and it opened up a door in her heart for international missions. Since then, she has returned to Haiti two other times and has also been to Uganda. One of the students who participated in our first youth trip back in 2012 fell in love with the people of Haiti so much that he returned to spend two consecutive summers working with the Valdemas. Another student, inspired by the nutrition work that Carmel had started, chose to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Health with an emphasis on women and children. This same student has also returned to Haiti and participated in another international trip to Togo.

St. Paul’s has also found some creative ways to generate funds for Haiti. Our men’s group has an annual golf tournament, and some of the funds raised during this tournament are sent to Light from Light to be distributed as they see fit. During Lent, Deacon Dawn Rider, who has participated in a Haiti trip, sponsors ‘Hogs for Haiti.’ Members of the church get piggy banks to collect spare change during the season of Lent. This money is also sent to Light from Light. More recently, we have begun buying Haitian artwork while in the country, which we bring back to the United States to sell at local festivals. Church members volunteer to sell the work, and this is one way that they are able to participate in helping out Haiti even if they aren’t able to physically go to the country themselves. The money generated from the artwork goes to sponsoring more trips to Haiti.

The most recent trip to Haiti that the St. Paul’s youth group scheduled was set for 2019, but we were unable to go because of the civil unrest. We had budgeted $2000 for this trip, and after canceling our plans we asked Carmel about how the funds should be used. She knew of a family who lived outside the Lespwa Timoun gates who could use the money. They were a family of seven (five children and two parents), though they lost one child to malnutrition. The money we sent was used to enroll three of the remaining four children in the Lespwa nutrition program. We were also able to send three of the children to school, reducing the risk of them becoming delinquents and gang members. With the children in school, the parents can focus on growing their business, and we were able to help them by providing them with supplies to rebuild their small shop.

St. Paul’s has been actively involved with Haiti for over 15 years now, and Pere Val, Carmel Valdema and Lespwa Timoun have a very special place in our hearts. By sending people and resources to Haiti and Light from Light, we hope to provide the Haitian people with hope and resources that they might not otherwise have.

Hope to see you in Haiti!

Sean Richardson, Youth Pastor

St. Paul’s Church, Conway, SC


A Lespwa Timoun Love Story

During the month of February, we’ve been taking some to think about love. One love story that is near and dear to our hearts is that of Emilio and Lynnhelda Alexis Joseph.
Emilio has been the Administrator for our partner, the Lespwa Timoun Clinic, since April 2010. That’s nearly ten years of making sure everything runs smoothly and ​of overseeing the clinic’s employees, which today includes 47 people! Emilio is passionate about his work and the opportunities it gives him to help others, but long hours meant he was missing out on family time, so when a position opened up for a nurse at the clinic, Emilio’s wife, Lynnhelda, applied.
Lynnhelda was a great match and has been working at the clinic as a nurse for the past two years! If you’ve been on a mission trip recently, you may have had the pleasure of meeting and working with Lynnhelda since she often uses her gifts as a nurse to care for patients during mobile clinics.
Emilio shared with us that being able to work with his ​wife has been “a gift because [they] can understand the work of the other person.” Helping the clinic grow and supporting its founders, Carmel & Pere Valdema, in achieving their vision for a healthier, brighter future for Haiti is Emilio’s favorite part of his work and he loves that he and his wife now get to share in that work every day!
We’re so grateful for the way these two love those ​whom they serve through the Lespwa Timoun Clinic, and ​we celebrate ​with them that this shared passion for helping others has strengthened their love for each other.

Haiti Shipping Container

The Container has Arrived!


Nearly a month after setting out on its journey to Haiti on June 1, the container was finally delivered to the Lespwa Timoun Clinic late last Thursday, June 28! The next day, the container was placed between two mango trees on the clinic grounds, where it will stay and serve as much needed storage for Lespwa Timoun once it has been emptied. 

After the 4,000 lbs of donations were unloaded from the container, Lespwa TImoun founder, Carmel Valdema, reported that all the items inside were well placed and undamaged by the trip, and passed along her thanks to those involved. 

“Thank you very much to all who contributed to send this container,” Carmel wrote. “Everything in the container will be used to benefit and bless our community. May God bless you all.”


Inaugural A Brighter Haiti-Missouri

THANK YOU to everyone who attended A Brighter Haiti – Missouri and donated to Light from Light! Thanks to your radical generosity before, during and even after the event, we met and then exceeded our fundraising goals and in total raised over $86,000 for Light from Light! God is good! That money will go a long way to help our Haitian partners at the Lespwa Timoun Clinic create sustainable, positive change in their community through their Nutrition, Child Sponsorship, and Midwife Programs, and much more. 

Staff Spotlights

Staff Spotlight: Dr. Delva

Staff Spotlight: Dr. Donald Delva

Dr. Donald Delva celebrated his first anniversary as Lespwa Timoun Clinic’s Medical Director in February. Dr. Delva has spent the last year working with our partner clinic’s administration team to develop, implement and evaluate the medical practice at Lespwa Timoun.

So far, Dr. Delva’s favorite memory of working at the clinic was when he was able to help save the life of a young boy living in Crochu. Lespwa Timoun was hosting a mobile clinic in the remote mountain region when the boy’s mother brought him to see Dr. Delva, who diagnosed the child with an inguinal hernia. He soon realized the hernia was about to become strangulated and cut off the blood flow to the trapped tissue, a potentially life threatening complication if left untreated. “Luckily, I saw him in time,” Dr. Delva shared, “so I accompanied his mother and him to Bernard Mevs Hospital to be operated on quickly. On the way back, his mother did not know what to do to thank us because we had saved the life of her son.”

Dr. Delva examining a patient at the Lespwa Timoun clinic in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.

Dr. Delva told us that he’s inspired and motivated by the challenge of his position at Lespwa Timoun, and that he likes to experiment and loves being with the patients to help them.

When he’s not working at the clinic, Dr. Delva enjoys playing sports, dancing, listening to music and traveling. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Marie Judith Chaperin, and their three children.

Dr. Delva is a ray of sunshine at the clinic, and always has a smile for his coworkers and patients, but he also cares deeply for the people he serves and understands their struggles. When asked what one thing he wishes people would ask or know about him, Dr. Delva replied, “I am a sensitive man, even if I don’t cry.”

We are so grateful for Dr. Delva’s empathy and compassion, and for his commitment to furthering the great work of the Lespwa Timoun Clinic.  In a recent report on Lespwa Timoun’s activities in 2018, Dr. Delva described the clinic’s mission as providing quality healthcare with respect for human dignity. We have seen Dr. Delva’s commitment to that mission over the last year, and look forward to seeing how his leadership and ingenuity will bless Lespwa Timoun and the communities it serves in the years to come. 

Staff Spotlights

Staff Spotlight: Roudy


Staff Spotlight: Jean Roudy Abellard

For the past year, Jean Roudy Abellard has been serving as the Coordinator for Light from Light’s Child Sponsorship Program. Roudy is the eyes, ears, and hands of the Child Sponsorship Program in Haiti, and works very closely with our U.S. based team to ensure the program is running smoothly. In his role as Child Sponsorship Program Coordinator, Roudy is responsible for making face-to-face contact with the heads of the schools we partner with in Bouzi and Boucan Boyer in order to make sure the children in the program are attending school and have what they need to succeed. He’s also in charge of helping over 160 children write letters to their sponsors. If you’ve ever received a letter from the child you sponsor through our program, you can be sure Roudy took the time to sit down with that child, read them your letter, and help them craft a response.

Roudy’s impressive grasp of the English language has been a huge asset to the Child Sponsorship Program, both in translating sponsor letters and serving as a liaison between Light from Light’s U.S. team and the Haitians we partner with and serve. But this isn’t the first time Roudy has used his language skills to serve Light from Light. If you’ve ever been on a mission trip with us, you may have met Roudy when he was interpreting for your team. Roudy has been working as an interpreter for Light from Light’s mission teams since 2014, and has been a huge help in ensuring patients at mobile medical and dental clinics are able to communicate their needs to the doctors, nurses and dentists who come to Haiti to help them.

Roudy grew up in Haiti and is the youngest of 6 children, with four half-sisters and one half-brother. When he’s not hard at work with the Child Sponsorship Program or studying to receive his Bachelors Degree in Political Science, Roudy enjoys reading, singing, and listening to music.

When asked about what inspires him to do this job, Roudy shared, “I have always loved and wanted to work with the mission and the communities. I strongly believe that education is the best way to help the community grow in dignity.” We couldn’t agree more, and in a country where around 20% of children aren’t enrolled in school, and 59% of those who do attend don’t graduate primary school, the work Roudy is doing through the Child Sponsorship Program is crucial to building up these impoverished communities and creating a firm foundation for Haiti’s next generation.

Roudy has been an incredible asset, a hard worker, and a great friend. We’re so grateful to have him as a part of our Light from Light team, and for all his does for the children in our Child Sponsorship Program.

If you’re interested in sponsoring a child, visit https://lightfromlight.childsponsorshipservices.org/home to learn more about how you can be a light for the future for a child in Haiti.

Staff Spotlights

Staff Spotlight: Emilio


Staff Spotlight: Emilio Alexis

For nearly nine years, Emilio Alexis has been making sure things run smoothly at the Lespwa Timoun Clinic in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. As our partner’s Administrator, Emilio has his hands full managing Lespwa Timoun’s financial, physical, and human resources. He also played a crucial role in the clinic earning NGO status in November 2016, and since has worked hard to ensure Lespwa Timoun is in full compliance with the Directorate General’s guidelines for NGOs and that related reports required by the Haitian government are accurate.

Emilio shared with us that his favorite story from his time working at Lespwa Timoun occurred during a mobile medical clinic in the remote mountain village of Crochu. A woman had brought her very sick twins to the clinic to seek help. The children were so malnourished that they needed to be hospitalized. When Emilio asked the mother to take her children to Lespwa Timoun, so that she could get a reference for the hospital, she told him that she wasn’t able to. Hospitals in Haiti are expensive and require patients and their families to bring their own food and medicine. “You will with us,” Emilio recalls telling the mother, “and Lespwa Timoun will help you take care of your children.” Emilio and the other Lespwa Timoun staff at the mobile clinic brought the mother and her children down the mountain with them and ensured the twins received the medical care they needed, first at the hospital and later through the clinic’s Nutrition Program.  “Right now she has two beautiful children,” Emilio said. Now, each time he sees these children, he is reminded of this experience and why the work that the clinic does and the help it provides is so important.

Emilio shared that he is inspired to serve as Administrator of Lespwa Timoun because he has the “opportunity to participate in excellent work to help everyone who needs the help. It’s wonderful for me to do this job.” Emilio’s wife, Lynnhelda, shares his passion for helping others and works at the clinic as a nurse. They two have two sons, Carlenz and Rolney, who was born last August.  In his free time, Emilio enjoys watching soccer, listening to music, and going to the beach with his family.

Emilio’s love for people, and his commitment to excellence in himself and our partner clinic, Lespwa Timoun, are an incredible asset to Light from Light. He’s a joy to work with, and we’re so grateful to have him!

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