How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on? Two medical mission trips—November 2014 and May 2016.
Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond. Ben Bayles, a LiveBeyond veteran, introduced LiveBeyond to Memorial Church of Christ by giving a presentation to our Young Married Class about his experiences in Haiti following one of his earlier trips. Ben shared many photos and stories, and I was immediately interested. I told him the next time he planned to go to Haiti with LiveBeyond that I was in, and that discussion led to my initial trip October 2014 with several other members of Memorial Church of Christ and my best friend since the 8th grade.
What’s your favorite part of the mission week? There are so many things that I love about taking trips to Haiti. I love that the primary purpose of any trip is to attempt to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to bring as many Haitians to know the Lord as possible. I love morning devotionals led by Dr. V and Laurie because they are challenging and thought-provoking. I love clinic because it enables me to be able to interact with the Haitian staff and people of Thomazeau. I love going out into the villages and being able to bring Jesus to those Haitians who were not able to make it to clinic. Seeing their living conditions is heartbreaking, and it makes you want to do anything you can to change their circumstances. I love the singing that occurs during morning worship prior to clinic. The passion the Haitians show during this time is amazing—they are on fire for God. I love when songs are sung in English and Creole because I know that it sounds the same to God (i.e. one unified group of His people singing His praises). I love the singing and discussion that takes place in the evening following clinic. I am grateful for the baptisms, weddings, and baby dedications that I’ve witnessed. There is no doubt LiveBeyond’s purpose is to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, and they are doing that in a variety of ways (clinic, maternal health, church, Kè Pou Timoun, Johnny’s Kids, etc.)! I love the relationships that I’ve gained with other LiveBeyond team members, and the strengthening of relationships that I’ve experienced with members of my church and those that I work with who have decided to come to Haiti with LiveBeyond. I love working with the Vanderpool family—they inspire me to want build a family unit whose foundation is in the Lord as theirs obviously is.
Share one of your most memorable experiences or encounters in Haiti. My first day of clinic in November 2014, which was the last day clinic was conducted under the pavilion before we opened the doctor’s office, had a profound impact on me. I was working in scabies, but witnessed two heartbreaking medical issues in other areas of clinic that day. One was an elderly woman who had breast cancer that had metastasized itself outside her body and the other, which I am sorry to say happens more frequently than it should, was a newborn that was just a week or so old whose mother had passed away shortly after giving birth. His aunt was taking care of him, but she had nothing to feed him, so this child basically hadn’t eaten since he entered the world. As a result, the poor baby’s skin was peeling off in large shards because he was so dehydrated. Of course our team and the LiveBeyond staff did everything we could to help in both situations including many prayers for both of them, but those events coupled with being able to help all those that came through the scabies station that day set the tone for my trip. It also changed my heart to want to help mitigate the despair in Haiti and ensure that as many Haitians as possible know God!
What keeps you coming back to Haiti with LiveBeyond? All of the above! As Dr. V always says, 1.5 hours away from the richest country in the world exists this place that is so lost (spiritually, physically, etc.) and it’s not right. The Haitians do not deserve to live in the manner they are forced to live, and I would like to be a part of the team that helps change their present reality.
Tell us how the people of Thomazeau have changed your life. I think the primary way the people of Thomazeau have changed my life is that they have shown me that their JOY is not derived by stuff or comfortable living. Despite living below the poverty line, with few exceptions, these people are happy. The people from Thomazeau that already know God allow for His Spirit and peace to shine abundantly in nearly every encounter you have with them, and those in the area that do not know Christ are willing to listen to why we believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life!
How have you seen LiveBeyond expand our work and impact since you got involved with our work? There was roughly 17 months between my trips to Haiti, and in that timeframe, based on my experiences on my latest trip in March, it was evident that LiveBeyond has transformed Thomazeau greatly for the Kingdom of God. Spiritually, there is a church service every day for the Haitian staff and on Sundays for those in Thomazeau who do not work on the base. This service is led by a Haitian preacher and other Haitian staff members. I witnessed three baptisms, three weddings and a baby dedication. These events are significant because they involved Haitian staff members who are leaders at work and in their community. I believe that because they are willing to step out and get baptized and married, other Haitians will decide to do so as well. Medically, I didn’t really see any scabies or other radical cases on my latest trip, which I hope means the Haitians are benefitting from the treatment they receiving from LiveBeyond. As far as education is concerned, the Kè Pou Timoun program is wonderful because not only are the kids learning valuable information and skills in both English and Creole that will hopefully help them in life, they are learning about God daily. They are also being fed twice per day! Also, Johnny’s Kids is an amazing program because it gives kids who are outcasts in Haiti, the opportunity to be loved as children of God should, to learn, play, and eat. While Johnny’s Kids are at the LiveBeyond base, they get to be normal children! What a blessing! Anthony Squillante has been married to Courtney Squillante for nearly nine years, and they have three kids (Jay – 5, Charley Kate – 4, and Molly- 1.5) and another girl, Kelsey, due in June. The Squillantes live in Houston, Texas and attend Memorial Church of Christ. Anthony works at Stream Realty Partners, L.P. and leads their tenant representation practice in Houston.
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.