The Family

The Family
Justice, Logan, Jacy Klaire, Joy, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, Judah, Kerry, Jaxon

Welcome

Welcome to our blog and to our family. We have been involved with working in Haiti since 2005. In 2009 we moved with our family to Haiti to serve as full time missionaries. Three years later we unexpectedly had to move back to the US. We are now doing our part to continue to impact the Haitian people from our home in Albany, GA. Our story is recorded on this blog as a reminder to us and hopefully an inspiration to others to take the leap and do whatever it is you feel God has for you to do. Leave the results up to God. It probably will not go as planned, but the ride is worth it when it is for His glory. Thanks for visiting and we hope to get to know you.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Faith Sometimes Equals Incomprehensible


When I first met Joy's grandmother, Mimi, she was in her mid 90's.  We sat and talked and she told me her life verse was Proverbs 3:5-6.  Many of you know that passage.  The part that gets me is "lean not on your own understanding".  In 95 years, Mimi had learned the meaning of that.  She understood that not understanding is understandingly difficult to understand- but, it is a necessary and integral part of faith.

All too often we want to understand where, why, and how about our situation when we should just settle for what.  God will show us what to do in most situations but the other things require faith.

Going to Haiti as full time missionaries was easier than us coming home.  God graciously made it clear what we were supposed to do.
What = Stay in the U.S. to handle family needs. Not what we wanted but at least we knew it was God's plan.
Where = "I'll show you".
Why = "I'll show you".
How = "I'll show you".

Come on God.  Can't I get just a little more than that?  Why make it so difficult?

We ended up having to live in south Florida... no family... no friends... no ministry partners... no optometry license... no church...no job... no network... no connections...

"God, why not let us move back to NC?  I can do optometry there.  Our home church is there.  All of our family and friends are there.  The people that helped us go to Haiti are there.  Our kids have friends there. God, can't I just "lean on my own understanding" this one time?"

I tried to get a job in a church as missions pastor or something...dead end - Why?
We sent our kids to what we thought was the right choice for Christian school...had to move them - Why?
We had some retirement savings we took out to live on...it ran out- Why?
Joy had no friends there, no support network, no one to talk to about our feelings about leaving Haiti...depression- Why?

How...Do we pay our bills?
          Do we get the kids the help they needed?
          Minister since we are no longer in Haiti?
          Deal with depression?

Where do we go to church, to school, to work, to fellowship, to minister, to heal, to cry, to grow?

God I just don't UNDERSTAND!...
"Good...now I can do what I had planned all along..."- God

Jacy and I spent hours together getting her caught up on school she had missed by being in Haiti- our relationship grew in ways I know will be impacting to her for her entire life...

I eventually took a job as a tech in a doctors office since I could not practice optometry- It humbled me and helped me see things about myself that I had overlooked- I will always be a better doctor now...

All of our kids spent time with just us as a family getting to know America and the cool things it offers without outside influence- we share a special bond because of it...

I learned more about being for Joy what she needs when no one else is there.- I did a pretty crumby job most of the time but it drew us closer together...

I was offered a job in GA that I never would have been offered if we were in NC- It led us to a church with a pastor that let me preach a few times and then when he moved they called me to be the interim- God is moving in the church and we are getting to be a part of it...

Joy is ministering to a community of believers in a way that she never has before.- She is going to Haiti next week to visit with a healed heart...

There are still lots of things about our circumstances that I don't understand...How long will we be in GA?....How long will we be in the US?... What does our ministry future hold?...How will our kids continue to progress?...Will I ever figure out how to be what Joy needs?...

But I have learned that the first of that verse in Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord" and that is becoming a sweeter and sweeter ride as I learn to do it!  Help me "lean not on my own understanding"!



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Loving Gnatville

Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington, possibly even Myrtle Beach or St. Simons Island.  That was our shortlist of places we would move to where I had a license to practice optometry and we could find what God had in store for us as we transitioned out of Haiti and back to the U.S. for as long as God has planned.  Somewhere near the coast with schools to meet our special needs and optometry jobs enough to provide for our family as we found where we could serve ministry wise.

Southwest GA- aka Gnatville- was not on our list of choices.  If you are unfamiliar with gnats, they are the third plague God sent on Egypt and their descendants found their way to SW Georgia.  You know if God used them as a plague AFTER turning a river to blood and a frog infestation, they can't be enjoyable.  They are little bitty demonic flies that get in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and anywhere else by the hundreds from June until God sends cold enough weather to mercifully murder them all in the fall.  When we received the call about a clinic wanting me to come and talk to them about a job in Albany, GA I told Joy there was NO WAY!

Sound familiar?
"Do you think they will let us adopt this little foster baby?"....No Way
"Can you take this child with issues and raise him as your own?"...No Way
"Can you become full time missionaries and get rid of your every possession to live in Haiti?" ...No Way
"Can you take a one day old baby addicted to cocaine right before you move to Haiti?"... No Way
"You have to raise them somewhere they can get the help they need or they will never be able to function in a normal classroom."  ...No Way

You would think I would learn my lesson and never say No Way.  But, not yet so here we are...in Gnatville.
It is great.  We have our kids in a great school system and they are doing better than we would have ever imagined.  Jacy is completely caught up and excelling.  Josie is doing great as is Judah, Jaxon, and little Justice.  Luke is still at Hillsong Austrailia school of Ministry and will probably finish there in December.  Logan and Megan are in NC and doing well.

For a long time I could not figure out why we had to move to here though.  I did not feel it was just for work. It turns out I was right.  God has opened a door for me to get to preach each Sunday in a church while they search for their new pastor.  It is a huge blessing for me and Joy as we get to minister to a congregation with our family.  If you get really bored you can listen to a sermon or if you just want to see me in a bowtie and boots click here: Byne Memorial Baptist, Albany, GA.

We have learned so much from circumstances in the months that have passed.  From the fear of an autism diagnosis.  From the frustration of a learning disorder.  From letting Luke go to pursue the ministry.  From the joy of an unexpected pregnancy to the pain of losing the baby.  From unemployment and disappointment in searching for a position, to the joy of getting to use our gifts in a church.  The thing we have been reminded of is the theme of one of our favorite songs to sing loudly around the house..."MY God's not dead, He's surely alive and He's living on the inside roaring like a lion"...Praise God for restoration!




Dago Visits America






It has taken years of applying but Dago finally got a visitation visa to come to the U.S. I picked him up at the airport in Atlanta on Saturday as he flew in by himself. It has been a bit overwhelming as you can imagine, but it is great. He preached at our church Sunday night and we have a few other opportunities for him to share. We are going to Birmingham, AL for a men's conference this weekend and then to Florida to meet with some of the young men he has discipled through the years that now are in FL.

Dago helped in clinics for me and Dr. Dennis for years but I did an exam on him yesterday and found he has an aggressive form of Glaucoma that was previously undetected.  Pray for him that we can get him the medicine that he will need to control it or a surgery in the future.  

Having Dago here has really helped Joy and I too.  Things have really changed in New Vision Ministries.  Dr. Dennis and Dr. Tom both came to New Vision with the plan to work with me and Joy and support us in what we were doing.  When we felt God was keeping us from going back it changed everything. Dennis and Tom were thrown into positions they had not prepared for.  I spent the year dealing with my own sense of failure and didn't know exactly how I was supposed to be a part of the ministry.  Going back on trips would have made it hard for the other missionaries to be seen as the ones making the decisions instead of me.

Now all that has changed.  Dr. Tom and Dr. Dennis have both moved on to other areas of ministry and New Vision does not have a full time missionary on the ground in Haiti.  We do still have work being done there though.  The kids from the orphanage have been taken in by Stephen and Autumn Byxbe at Agape House, http://togetherwecaninc.org/twc-haiti-the-agape-house/ .  They worked with us before we left and are taking care of the 15 kids from Celebration Children's Home.  Dago is the director of the orphanage.


We also continue to support pastor Cesar and the other pastors we have worked with in the past and their schools.  There is still much work to be done in that area of finishing pastor Lucien's church and helping pastor Remy rebuild on the top of the mountain.

Many of you have continued to take trips. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  Some have already connected with the Byxbe's and others have continued to work with pastor Cesar.  That is awesome!  Thank you for picking up the slack and continuing the work during our down time.  Tracy Robinson, NVM board member from NC, is headed down next week to work with Pastor Cesar and just visit to see what can be done.


Now that there are no NVM missionaries there, I plan to resume taking trips as well.  I have a group from the church where I am preaching that wants to go in the fall to see what needs there are and how we can help.  I know others have trips planned as well.

Julie, Sandy, Pastor Jonathan, Dr. Thomas, Brad, Stan, Pastor Bill, and others are still integrally plugged in and working to reach the Haitian people.  Dago, Pastor Cesar, Simeon, Wesner, Carrenard, Roger, and others are still in Haiti ready to continue working as we support them.  Stephen and Autumn are diligently striving to provide for the kids in the orphanage on a daily basis.  

Current opportunities:  
Monthly help for Agape House expenses
Resume support for Pastor Cesar's Pastors and churches
Teacher support for the schools
Support for Dago and his family as he serves as a local missionary to his people
Donations to pay for Dago's travel expenses on this trip

There are so many ways for us to impact the people.  If you want to give just let me know or send a check to:
New Vision Ministries
PO Box 2009
Hickory, NC 28603
If you want to be on a team to go let me know and we will let you know what is planned.  

Thank you for your patience during these huge changes as God directs.  The board of New Vision has been working diligently with all the changes to try to know God's will even when I was sulking on the sidelines.  Thank you guys for never giving up.  

Thanks for your support,
Kerry and Joy Reeves

​​

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Vision Ministries is still making a difference in Haiti.  I spent the last hour on the phone with the kids at the orphanage and Madame Raymonde and Dago and the other workers there.  It is such a bitter sweet conversation to hear their voices and realize how much we miss them.  Jacy Klaire just cried as she talked to JP and Wilna and the other kids.  She misses being there but is also very happy to know she will be in school in a couple of weeks here in America.  Joy also cried as the kids begged her to come and visit.  We plan to make a quick trip down for a weekend in October to see everyone.  Dr. Dennis and Sara as well as the Hattens are working hard to make sure the kids are taken care of.  They are preparing to start the English school there at the mission for the kids in the orphanage as well as some of the other children associated with the ministry.  It has been a tough adjustment for them over the last year too but they are amazing and continue to help the ministry improve as we work towards long term sustainability.

After a full year of confusion and frustration, we have finally settled into what we believe is our family's lot for the foreseeable future.  We are living in Leesburg, GA and trying to get adjusted as the kids will start school in two weeks.  I am doing optometry and speaking in churches etc. whenever opportunities arise to continue to share the vision of making a difference in Haiti through New Vision.  I spoke at TCBC and my dad's church in NC this past weekend and it was a great blessing getting to see friends and family.  I hate we were only there a couple of days and did not get to do much visiting.  Joy has become a rep for a company that lets her give 10% of all sales to the mission.  We pray that becomes a way to help build the new orphanage we so badly need.  The kids all start school soon and we continue to search for resources to help us take care of their special needs and fulfill their potential.

It seems at times we are able to emotionally shut out Haiti and all that it entails as we become enthralled in all that life throws at us here.  It is a blessing from God that he continually draws us back into awareness of the world's needs through us praying for the missionaries and friends in Montrouis, or by an unexpected phone call or email, or just seeing something that sends a rush of memories of the people and friends we don't get to see everyday now.  I just pray we are able to continue to be used by God to impact His kingdom by ministering to the people of Haiti.  Please continue to pray and support the ministry as we serve together.

(You can see Joy's product lines by visiting www.stelladot.com/joyreeves )



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Only Constant is Change

Have you ever felt like you just knew you had God's plan for your life all figured out and you were pretty happy with it and proud of yourself for figuring it out?  It turns out that many times when we get to that place we are blindsided by a new revelation that God is not so easy to figure out!  That is what happened to us. 

We were in Haiti serving full time as missionaries and even though it was the toughest thing we had ever imagined, we loved the people and loved the ministry and thought we would be there for a long, long time.  Then last summer we came home for a few weeks and to get Megan married off, when we discovered one of our other children had a significant learning disability to go along with some other issues.  As we looked into it, we really began to feel that we could not take care of that in Haiti.  Then our youngest son who we were also having tested due to some suspected problems was diagnosed with autism.  Through all of that and other issues we were working through in our family, we felt God was closing the door on us continuing to serve as full time missionaries in Haiti right now.  But we had no idea what that meant.  Joy and I both had to battle being depressed and discouraged.  I felt I was letting everyone down.  I thought about all the fishermen and people we love in Haiti and how they had not yet come to know the love of Jesus as a reality in their lives.  I thought about all of the people here that supported us in Haiti and helped make it possible for us to go.  I really thought about the 2 missionary families that God had sent to serve with us in Haiti.  How could I let all of them down?  How could I disappoint everyone and give up?

I spent several months battling all of those feelings in South Florida where we put our kids into school and programs to start to address their issues.  I tried to figure out why it had to work out this way and what I would do now.  I had no backup plan.  We did not go to Haiti with a plan B.  I tried to find where I could get a job in ministry in Florida.  I thought for sure that had to be God's plan.  I could be a missions pastor.  I could serve for an association as  a missions coordinator.  Anything God!  Just open a door.  Nothing.  For 6 months we had no job and no direction.  God was doing other things.  He was refreshing the relationships in my family.  He was causing us to depend on Him even more.  It was not fun though.  It was confusing, disappointing, frustrating, and scary.  I could not do optometry in FL because of their licensing laws.  I did not think I wanted to do optometry anyway.  I never felt as alive and fulfilled as when I walked through the fishing village in Haiti.  When we fed the kids in schools, and held the ones at the children's home.  How could I go back to optometry and feel that way.  All of these thoughts and emotions tormented me and all the while Joy was trying to figure out how to take care of the kids in a new state.

But God is always faithful.  He is always good.  He led me to a place where I could work part time at an eye care practice in a position other than an optometrist.  It let me get back into the practice and God used that to rekindle the desire to minister to people in that capacity.  I got my optometry license in GA and tried to get a job in places that I decided I wanted to live.  But God never opened a door.  Then a couple of months ago I got a call from a doctor about 2 hours from my home town in GA to come and visit his practice.  He invited the whole family to come and stay at his house for the weekend.  We went and really felt it was the leading of God.  Joy was sold before I was.  I decided long ago I never wanted to live in southwest GA.  All I remembered was football camp and it was HOT and gnats.  But then again we were living in Haiti.  It was definitely not HAITI!  

So right now I am sitting in my office in Albany, GA where I have joined an amazing practice where I can serve.  The kids and Joy are in south Florida.  I drive up every Monday night and back home after work on Thursday night until the kids finish school.  In June we will all move to Albany full time to begin the next phase of our family's journey.  We are still active in Haiti.  New Vision is still serving under the leadership of our board and the missionaries on the field in Haiti.  We have more needs than ever to take care of the kids and people there.  I hope to get chances to share about the ministry and help people get involved here in the U.S.  I will also be leading trips down and helping in any way I can.  We have Justice here with us and are meeting with immigration attorneys to get her status secure.  We are still believing God for JP to be able to come here with us.  He is living with Dago at the moment and doing great. 

Keep us in your prayers and pray for Haiti.  I can't say that I have reached the place where I am fully accepting of our new plight but I am fully accepting of the goodness of my God and His total love for me and my family.  I am so happy to see our kids getting the care they need.  Thank you to everyone who has continued to support the ministry through this transition.  We believe that New Vision is going to be more impacting than ever in 2013 and beyond with the help of friends.  Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing in your journey as well. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Busy Waiting

My devotion this morning was on Proverbs 3:5-6.  The whole trusting in the Lord and leaning not on MY understanding is hard medicine to swallow at times.  I am all for trusting in the Lord as long as I can intellectually connect with what God wants me to trust Him for.  That is not where we are right now.  We are in a place of trusting God for what He is doing in our family. 

We are in Florida where the kids are in school.  They are all doing well.  The issues that we discovered are being addressed and all the kids are really working hard to get caught up.  Justice is at home with Joy and we have extended her visa until June.  By then, we hope to have her status changed to a more permanant designation.

Luke left this past weekend for Australia.  He arrived safely and is trying to get settled in to the new culture and not having mom around.  He is living in college housing with 3 room mates and starts classes at Hillsong Leadership College in two weeks.  Joy is handling the transition fairly well but misses her baby Luke.

I am working part time and trying to find a job.  We thought we would be doing something ministry oriented by now but God has not opened that door.  I am continuing to search for a position with an optometry practice somewhere that I have a license to practice...which is not in FL.

Joy is doing better too.  She has had issues with a herniated nerve in her back but she is getting around better. 

New Vision Ministries is being handled in Haiti by two missionary families.  Dr. Dennis and Sara Cowley are back in Haiti and working with the eye clinics and the daily operations of the ministry.  Dr. Tom and Carolyn Hatten are handling all the medical clinics as well as the orphanage.  It is amazing how God has sent those families to take over the operations in Haiti.  We feel that the future of the ministry is bright but it is definitely not easy times.  There are always obstacles that come up and the finances are never enough.  I hope to get the chance to help raise awareness for needs on this side while the missionaries there handle things on the Haiti side. 

We are trying to make things more efficient and effective too.  We have a team coordinator, Pastor Will Hatten, that is working to get all trips organized and effective.   The board of New Vision had the chance to meet with Dr. Tom and Carolyn at our annual board meeting and feel that they will be able to help Dr. Dennis and Sara advance the ministry with the type of Godly leadership the ministry needs. 

We want to thank you all for  your prayers and support of our family and the ministry.  We continue to need your prayers and Haiti continues to need your support as we try to continue to impact the people there and advance God's kingdom. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shiftin' and settlin'



Things have been crazy for us the last few months.  I don't think I have ever been so sure about what needed to be done yet so unsure how it needed to be done.  When we got to the U.S. this summer, Joy and I knew we had some things we needed to do this summer in our family but we did not realize how much help was needed.

God is always moving to direct His children to where they need to be.  Through some routine appointments some questions were raised about our boys and some issues they need to deal with.  We had some more testing done and it was determined that we needed to get them into a school where they can get into classes to help them.  It turns out, those schools are unavailable in Haiti.  Once we learned of the results and took into account our previous concerns and reservations we already, we decided that at this point we need to take some time off the mission field and focus on our family.

We tried to go back to NC but felt God was calling us to settle in Ft. Pierce, FL.  We are closer to Haiti and able to send supplies and goods more easily.  We are also urrounded by 16,000 Haitians in our county here.

God in His providence had these things figured out in advance.  Dr. Dennis and Sara are there along with Dr. Tom and his family to continue the work of New Vision.  We still have everything going on that we had before.  Only the American school will be discontinued.  What a huge blessing how God worked that all out.

I want to thank everyone who has sent money in the last few months as we continue to work to reach the Haitians in Montrouis through serving their needs and being Jesus to them.  Joy and I will continue to send all donations to Haiti to maintain the work.  We are waiting on God to see what He has in store for us this year.  I hope to be able to find some speaking opportunities and in the mean time we are getting by on borrowed retirement.

The kids are enrolled in school and doing great.  Our biggest obstacle is Justice.  Her adoption is not finished and is here on a short term visa.  We have applied for an extension but we will see.  JP is still in Haiti and living with Dago.  Luke and I went down two weeks ago to get some things done and JP is loving living there.  We are working on papers for him too but things changed a lot with the new laws on Haitian adoptions.  Pray God works that out too.

I will keep you updated as things move forward and as things happen in Haiti.  School sponsorship is our big project for the moment as we try to get kids into school.  We are also still trying to figure out the details of the move next year as our lease ends.  We thought we had the perfect piece of land but the deal fell through last week due to me not moving on it quicker.  We will be keeping everyone updated on that in the weeks to come.  We still have a few teams going down over the next couple of months too so be praying for the team there. 



We are not disappointed with how things are turning out.  Instead we are excited to see God work and expand New Vision into much more than just me and Joy.  Now we have self supported missionaries living in Haiti continuing the work that God let us start and now we can work on this side of the water to support those missionaries as we get our lives figured out once again.