MNU Passion to Serve Project | Degage | MidAmerica Nazarene University

Dégagé Blog

The Power of One

March 14, 2014

Today, I am reminded of the power of one. So often, we are quick to believe that one doesn’t really matter-one vote, one person, one word of encouragement, one dollar or one minute to listen to another. If we pause to consider the moments in life when someone offered us a word of encouragement that changed the trajectory of our day, when a handful of votes altered the outcome of an election or when the way one person lived his/her life helped you write a different story with your own- then we would be reminded there is power in one. Within each of us, no matter our age, there is the capacity to share love, joy and generosity. And as I am reminded of the difference one person can make, I think of Ally Hansen. She is a junior high student in the Olathe District, who enjoys playing the cello and piano. Her hobbies include reading and cake decorating and spending time with her friends. This past November Ally, celebrated her birthday at Cosmic Jump. While making arrangements with her mother, Ally said “I’m already getting a nice party and I don’t need more ‘things,’ Mom. Could I ask my friends to donate money for a charity instead?” Since Ally’s mother, April Hansen works at MNU she recommended the Passion to Serve project. Ally immediately loved the idea of supporting the Passion to Serve project because of this year’s location in Haiti. Last year, her uncle participated in a Work & Witness trip to Haiti and she had seen all the photos and heard his stories. Because of that, the country felt near to her heart and she was excited to share with her uncle that she was doing more to assist Haiti.

The contribution from Ally’s birthday party will help lay the foundation for the first school in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. Because of the influence of one, boys and girls living in this community will have the opportunity to attend school.

Thank You Ally, for exhibiting servant leadership. You have inspired us!

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

When a trip becomes more than a trip

March 4, 2014

Last January I took a trip. I thought it would be a simple trip, where I worked hard and loved on some kids. While I did do both of these things, this trip meant more to me than I ever imagined. The country of Haiti is always portrayed in the news as a poor helpless country with no hope and no future; I found the complete opposite. Here I encountered countless people who are on fire and passionate about changing the course of history for their country. Being in their churches and communities I experienced a spirit of God I had never experienced before. The church service I attended was literally bursting at the seams with the sound of worship. This is the same church who has opened their arms to the gang members down the street. These are Kingdom people and these people are our neighbors. There is a beautiful village nestled in the mountainous countryside called Cascade Pichon. The children do their laundry in the waterfalls and play soccer in the dirt field. This village is comprised of a few small buildings. A clinic and soon, a school. This area is full of children; smart, funny, beautiful children. These children have dreams and the potential to fulfill them.

“A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labor exploitation and disease, and given them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential.”
—Audry Hepburn

Let us follow the example and be Kingdom people. This project is not a project. It is a partnership and relationship with people no different than us. It doesn’t end in May, it doesn’t end when all the money is raised. This a lifetime friendship with some of the richest and most beautiful people I have ever met. Join us in this friendship, for by giving you shall receive.

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

The Beauty of This Whole Thing…

February 24, 2014

In our opinion, the most beautiful aspect of this entire project is that it is not just a project. Americans tend to be project minded. We feel the need to place a deadline on everything, and tend to overlook the relationship side of most things. Our hope for the construction of this school is that it would not be viewed as a project but as two communities journeying together in relationship, and not just until the school finished. This school is paving the way for a two-way relationship between two very different communities, and hopefully this relationship journeys far into the years to come. As Robert D. Lupton says, "we are not DOING FOR, but we are DOING WITH!"

So please, enter this amazing relationship with us today!

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

Dream Big

September 18, 2013

Dreams are something that we all understand. We have the American Dream, our nights are characterized by dreaming, and one of the most influential speeches of all time started with the phrase, “I have a dream.” America has a culture that primarily says, “If you have a dream, you can achieve it.” We are taught that no matter what our dream is, we can always achieve it, if only we will work hard enough or long enough. We are passionate about our own dreams, but maybe as Christians we are called as a community to be passionate for others’ dreams as well.

Our passion this year—through Dégagé—is about the dreams of others. The children in Cascade Pichon, where we plan to fund the building of a school, have plenty of dreams. Many of these children dream of being a lawyer, or a doctor, or even an engineer. Their dreams are perfectly “normal” in our western mindset. The sad reality is these kids will never have an opportunity to realize their dreams without an education.

So what can YOU do? The reality is, through your help, we can find the money. We can. When we first look at the amount of money that we need to raise, it seems like a daunting task. Our responsibility is to become passionate about these kids who will be impacted by this school. If Dégagé really means “do the best you can with what you have”, then we have a responsibility to do something with what we’ve been given. Giving these kids the ability to pursue their dreams is something that we believe is truly worthy of being called “the best we can do with what we have.”

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

The story behind this whole thing...

September 10, 2013

Obviously, the idea for this whole project started somewhere, and it is crazy to see how God has mapped this out from the beginning. Last January, 10 students from MidAmerica Nazarene University journeyed to the community of Cascade Pichon to help Haitian workers finish constructing a medical clinic that had been build through Heart to Heart International. As we built relationships, our hearts were captured by the people of this extremely remote mountain village, and we knew we were going to come back.

From day one we recognized the lack of a functioning school building, and we began talking among ourselves about funding the construction of a school. Shockingly, we came to learn that this community had been promised a school for the last two years, yet no one had stepped up to fund it. The government approached Cascade Pichon and told them that they would provide free education as long as they found someone to provide the finances to construct the actual building. Heart to Heart International is the only non-profit organization that is present in this area of Haiti, so it was obvious that this school was going to be built through Heart to Heart's efforts.

As we heard this story we decided to take this on as our Passion to Serve Project. $70,000 is a lofty goal, but we are fully convinced that through the unity of the community at MNU—students, staff, alumni, and the surrounding community—this money can be raised, and this patiently deserving community can receive this school that they have been waiting for.

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team


August 30, 2013

Degage school site in Cascade Pichon, Haiti. | MidAmerica Nazarene University Passion to Serve Project 2013-14

The photo above was taken in the Hatian community of Cascade Pichon. The large white and green building is a clinic that was build by Olathe's very own College Church of the Nazarene and students from MNU. Our Dégagé school will go to the left of that clinic.

Thank you to all who have donated already. We have far to go...

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

Where it all Begins

August 23, 2013

Dégagé is not just a word… it is a lifestyle for the people of Haiti. Though, if you want to get literal, Dégagé means, “making the best out of what you have or out of a situation,” or even more simply, “make do.” We see this word lived out through an ever-consistent smile…a smile that perseveres through trial and truly sees the positive in any given situation, a smile that endures, a smile that hopes, a smile that loves.

This year, we are adopting a project to fund and build a $70,000 school in the mountains of Southeast Haiti. The greatest thing is that we are not just building a school…we are giving hope, changing futures, empowering, and showing the love of our Father. It is only by God’s grace will we accomplish this feat, and it is only by God’s grace will we live out Dégagé.

Dégagé is why this community deserves this school, because they will not waste it, they will make the best of it.

May the Glory be God’s,

The Dégagé Team

Degage Passion to Serve Project donations pledged.

Contact Us

Attn: MNU ServiceCorps

2030 E. College Way
Olathe, KS 66062

Phone: 913-971-3541
Fax: 913.971.3401