Oklahoma Baptist University

Professor, Students Reach Out through Haiti Music Camp

During the summer break, Dr. Louima Lilite took OBU music majors to Haiti to conduct the North Haiti Music Camp in Limbé, Haiti. The camp was held at North Haiti Christian University July 14-26, giving Haitians a chance to step away from their everyday schedules and learn something new.

Lilite, OBU assistant professor of music, was born and raised in Haiti. He serves as the coordinator of the annual music camp.

Along with students from other universities, the OBU students who attended the camp included Kat Hunter, a junior musical arts-vocal emphasis major from Owasso, Okla.; Andre Jones, a junior instrumental music education PK-12 major from Lawton, Okla.; and Scott Croucher, a junior worship arts major from Shawnee, Okla.

OBU junior Kat Hunter pauses to hug Maxianne, a camper at the North Haiti Music Camp in Limbé, Haiti.

"Being able to watch the kids get up on their own and use what I taught was a satisfying moment," said Hunter, who taught dance during the camp.

Led by Lilite, the camp workers lived in missionary housing on the college campus. Despite the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, 2010, the area of the camp was spared the most extreme damage.

A day of camp consisted of Bible lessons, sign language classes, choir rehearsals, music lessons and dancing. Each student was assigned a duty in their expertise; for instance, Hunter gave instrumental lessons but also taught the dance class.

"My favorite part of North Haiti Music Camp 2010 was teaching the purity sessions every morning after breakfast," Lilite said. "We had a purity hour (8:15-9:15 a.m.), and I conducted sessions on pure worship, manhood, womanhood, mind, heart, eyes, hands, lips, relationships and modesty."

The camp leaders also help raise money to give the Haitians much-needed supplies. Students sold T-shirts to help raise money. They also participated in the Barnabus Project, which collected basic items for Haitian residents, which they bagged and passed out in the local village.

"This project was awesome because you got off campus and were able to pray with them and reach out to community," Hunter said.

During the camp, the residents shared personal testimonies about their recovery from the earthquake damage and how their lives have changed. Many people have lost family members and everything they owned.

"Listening to the testimonials made me realize how awesome our God is," Hunter said, noting the stories focused on how God brought people through their most difficult circumstances. Facilitating positive change goes hand-in-hand with the purpose of the camp.

"The mission of the camp is to identify and empower individuals to use music to reach out to others with the love of Jesus, and to equip leaders to bring about positive change in their communities, their churches and their own lives," Lilite said.

OBU junior Kat Hunter teaches children at the North Haiti Music Camp in Limbé, Haiti, lessons in music and dance during the "Kids & Kat" time.

Some nights the students performed choir concerts in the middle of the valley for the entire town to hear. Regardless of activities that went on around the camp, such as voodoo festivals being held in Limbé, the Haitian people could be entertained and focused on their camp activities.

"Being able to hear the sounds of the voodoo festival taught me the meaning of prayer and memorizing scriptures," Hunter said. "It made me remember that Satan is out there and in your face."

North Haiti Music Camp partners with the Haiti Hope Fund, started by former missionary Ivah Heneise. The fund was established to help those in underdeveloped countries receive education through Christ-centered instruction. North Haiti Music Camp uses the funds to supply scholarships to students as well as to maintain the facilities at the camp.

Not only did the camp teach the Haitian people about the Word of God and music, but it also strengthened the OBU students' personal relationships with God.

"Being at this camp, God has taught me about his grace and peace; he still is teaching me," Hunter said.

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