The Family

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Mom's Answered Prayer

Whenever anyone asks us what our biggest prayer request or concern is during this transition time there is no hesitation. The hardest part of our calling is the fact that our older children will not be going with us initially- so it seems at the moment. One night as Joy and I were getting ready for bed, we were praying and talking and God revealed to us that if we knew exactly how it was going to work out with the kids or if we thought WE could take care of it, we would not be trusting Him. We decided then that we would leave it in God's hands and believe by faith that by the time He had us leave here, the situation with each of our children would be EXACTLY what God wanted it to be and that it would be the very BEST for each of them. Faith is living like it's SO, when it ain't SO, because God said SO! That's not good grammar but it's good theology! We surrendered our expectations to the Lord and have had peace believing He would align things in His due time.

In the last week we have seen God really working to make that come to pass. A few weeks ago I started a Bible study with Logan (our 18 year old who has been struggling to find direction)and Phillip(a young guy that has joined our family during the last year as we try to help him find God's plan for his life) and several of their friends. The study is on God's purpose for our lives and why it is important to find it.

This past week God opened the door for a tremendous opportunity for Logan and Phillip both. They are applying to go to Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) International. If accepted, they will spend 3 months in California learning about how to hear from God and find His desire for their lives. They will also learn about missions worldwide and how they fit in to what God is doing. They will then spend 2 months abroad using what they have learned to minister on the mission field.

YWAM uses a young person's passions and interests to help draw them into a deeper walk with God and reach a specific people group or culture. Logan and Phillip are both into board sports (skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding) and YWAM uses those passions to reach others with the same passions. On their DTS they will learn how to reach surfers and the those in the surf culture around the world for Christ.

It is a great opportunity and something they are both very excited about. We are very excited as well because it will help them to see why we are so sold out to missions as they grow in an understanding of God's heart for the world. YWAM has one of the most effective ministries in all of Haiti and we will hopefully have many opportunities in the years to come to work with them. It is awesome how God works.

Joy is almost as excited as Logan and Phillip about the opportunity. There is nothing a Christian parent wants more than to see their children growing in Christ. There is really nothing we want more as missionaries than to see our children developing a heart for missions.

We ask that you please pray for their acceptance into the program. The classes start January 4th and so we would have to get them there and that is just around the corner. Also pray because they have to raise $3500 for the 3 months of school, which includes all living expenses, and then about $3000 for the 2 months on the mission field. That seems impossible in just 5 weeks but with prayer we know if it is God's plan for them to go it will not be an issue. We are all looking at what else we have to sell to go towards it too. If you need a Kabota tractor let me know LOL!

Thank you all so much for your love. Any of you that know Joy know that this is the most important issue in her heart at the moment. We believe God opened this door and will arrange all circumstances necessary to make it happen.

You can check out the school at the following sites. We will keep you updated.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Thanksgiving Thought

This is the picture of the day on USA Today's website. It is of a 4 year old little girl in Haiti that is being weighed at a Doctors Without Borders medical clinic. Click Here to read the entire story.

The article tells about the condition of many in Haiti since the flooding and now the food shortages in some areas. Doctors Without Borders says that in the clinic in PAP where this child is, they have had 2 dozen children die in the last 2 weeks of malnutrition.

In a season of Thanksgiving feasting it seems that somehow we should be more broken over the people that will eat less this month than most of us will eat on Thanksgiving Day alone. We really do have more to be thankful for than we could ever imagine. Maybe this Christmas some of you could choose to do what Joy and I did 2 years ago. In December of 2006 I took a trip to Haiti right before Christmas. We met with a family that has 4 children living in the home and the father had left to go to the DR to try to find work. That left the mom alone to try to provide for her family. The children were extremely malnourished and unhealthy. I could not come back and spend hundreds of dollars on stuff that we do not need and will probably seldom ever use. Joy and I decided to not give each other anything for Christmas and instead use the money we would have spent and support that family every month.

The next time I went to see the family, you could see a marked difference in the kids. Their hair was growing in better, their bellies were not as distended and misshapen. You could see the health in their eyes. The mother cried as she thanked me for saving their family and helping during that tough time. We have supported that family ever since and we plan to continue supporting them. There is nothing I need or even want that can compare to the food we are able to buy every month and the hope we are able to give through such a small gift.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bob Benfield Reports on Latest Trip

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I want to start by saying that this update to Kerry's BLOG has been a long time coming. I am just getting back to the routine of life as we know it in America. I still dream about the people in Haiti and how they are struggling to survive every single day. The sights, sounds, and smells are still fresh in my mind as I often close my eyes and am right back there. This was my first trip to Haiti, but I can promise you, just as I promised the men, women, and children in each church I spoke in, this will NOT be my last trip.
From 1979 to 1986 I had the opportunity to travel all over the world as a Medical Diver in the United States Navy. Prior to this trip, I had been to 32 foreign countries. Haiti made 33. I can honestly tell you, I have never seen poverty to the extent that I saw during this trip.
One thing that truly amazes me, is the love that I felt with the men I went with. Kerry, Tracy, and Toby constantly showed genuine Christ like love and compassion not only towards me but to everyone they came in contact with. When I look at Pastor Caesar, an awesome man of God, I think of 1 Chronicles 4:10, "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." As Pastor Caesar and Kerry stood in Kerry's living room watching the TV in horror, as the hurricanes ripped through Haiti leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, the Lord spoke to them in a mighty way. Again the faith of these two men astound me. 1 Chronicles 4:10 shows where Pastor Caesar's heart was. He was seeking Gods face in hopes that God would still bless him and bring more Haitian people to trust Him as their Lord and Savior, to enlarge his coast. To Pastor Caesar and Kerry, it wasn't a matter of asking God if they could help, it was a matter of getting out of Gods way so He could help and get the details worked out. It was awesome to watch God at work providing more than anyone could have ever expected or even imagined. To God be the glory because He is worthy.
When Kerry called me and asked if it was possible for me to take off from work and go with them, I can't tell you the honor and pride I felt when I asked my wife Shelly what she thought about me going to Haiti. She said "you mean your bags aren't packed yet?" I knew that work would not be a problem either. My boss, Clayton Todd is a wonderful man of God who loves the Lord in a way that makes me envious. His response was much like Shelly's. So it was set. I was on the list to go. Then through the endless giving of so many of you, God was evident once again.
After we had all of the bags packed, our human nature kicked in and Satan tried to tell us it couldn't be done... but we were bathed in prayer by people all over the world, and let me tell you about the power of prayer. We went through customs and had our bags checked without even so much as second glance from the authorities here in the US or in Haiti. Again. praise His holy name.
Getting off the plane in Miami to catch another plane to take us to Porta Prince, so many things could and probably should have gone wrong. But He had everything under control. Micah 7:7 tells us "Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me." It still blows my mind to see how we have blinders on and see tunnel vision when God see the big picture from the beginning. I love the last part of the verse, my God will hear me...
Once we arrived in Haiti, God was just getting warmed up. We met with our driver from the House of Bread who took us by there first and then on to Saint Marc to Pastor Caesar's house. We didn't waste any time... We started packing the bags for distribution because we were going to give food to two separate churches the next morning. I want to say to you reading this BLOG, I know that you yourself couldn't go, but you were there through us. We were able to provide TO them through your generous gifts and prayers. You were a huge part of this trip. In Matthew 6:19-20, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: Every life we touched was a prayer answered and YOU who gave by giving money or who gave by being on your knees and keeping us in continuous prayer, had just as much in this trip as we did.
The distributions went great and we were able to give the Haitian people food for their stomachs as well as spiritual food for their hearts. It was said that we provided a "Blessing from the Blesser" I just want to say for the record, I was the one who was Blessed. Words that I am typing now cannot express the true feeling of how I felt.
On the last day of our stay at Pastor Caesar's house, our bags were packed and we were just about ready to leave to go back to the House of Bread to spend the last night before going to the airport the next morning. As we were standing in the court yard at Pastor Caesar's, A young girl that works for Pastor, came over to where I was standing, she had a small bowel of water and a small brush. She got on her hands and knees and began scrubbing my tennis shoes. Shortly after that, she was joined by yet another girl who had some type powder that looked to be similar to AJAX or Comet. The second girl would sprinkle the powder over my shoes as the first girl would scrub them with a brush. How selfish am I? That was TRUE SERVANTHOOD
displayed before my very eyes. I am so unworthy. God truly broke my prideful heart that day in the courtyard of Pastor Caesar's', by working through two beautiful souls that had NO OTHER desire but to serve Him with all of their hearts. As I stood there with uncontrollable tears pouring down my face, while these two young ladies cleaned my dirty, worn out shoes, I thought of the parallel, isn't that just like Jesus Christ... only He can take an old dirty worn out soul and make it clean and new. Lesson learned...
If you have never had the opportunity to go on a mission trip, I urge you to get your passport ready. Your life will NEVER be the same.

In His grip,

Bob Benfield
Titus 3:5

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Boy Was I Wrong!

Have you ever thought you understood something or had a stance on an issue only to find out later that you were totally off base? Well that is what happened to me recently.

When Joy and I accepted the call to full time missions, I thought that we were making 'quite a sacrifice' and that because of that, we would be really pleasing to God. I thought that since I considered the house we had just moved into 'better' than the house we moved out of, that giving up this house to go to the mission field would be a more pleasing sacrifice to God than the house we had sold a year earlier. After all, this house had land and a pool and more bedrooms and we liked it more. So because of that, if we agreed to give it up, God would some how be even more blessed by the whole deal.

Boy was I wrong. Three times in the last couple of months God has brought I Samual 15 into my life. In that passage we learn that God does not want sacrifice. That sacrifice is not what pleases God. It turns out that I easily found 12 other passages that clearly state the same thing. That sacrifices are not what please God. I do not know how I missed it before. It all started even with Cain and Able. Why did Abel please God and not Cain? It was not the sacrifice of Abel that pleased God it was the OBEDIENCE. Abel had done what God had commanded and Cain had not.

In the passage in 1 Samuel God says that sacrifices do not please him. Obedience pleases him. The size of the sacrifice is a measurement for us to see our level of committment but it is not a leveraging tool to please God. God is only pleased by obedience.

God told us to go to Haiti and serve the Haitian people and we would be pleasing to Him. We will be pleasing because of obedience. Not because of the acts or ministry we perform. We will be pleasing because we will be obedient. If we go to Haiti and do everything in the world to help people and even preach the good news and see souls saved, we will still not be pleasing to God if we do not serve the people as servants because that is what God called us to do. He is pleased by obedience.

What is it in your life today that God has told you to do that will please Him. It does not matter how many good things you are doing, if you are not doing what God told you to do, you are not pleasing Him.

We don't like that. We want to call the shots and do what we want to for God and Him accept it and be pleased with us. So many Christians spend their entire lives burning themselves out in ministry that is UN-pleasing to God because it is not what God told them to do! Don't fall for it. Don't get caught in the cycle. Seek God. Pursue after Him and allow Him to tell you what it is that YOU can do to be pleasing to Him. He wants to show you. You just have to let him.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tracy Robinson Reports on Recent Trip

I had the honor of visiting Haiti for the 5th time in the past 2 ½ years last week. My decision to go on this particular trip was based on my discussions with Kerry about the condition of the country following the recent devastation, caused by four hurricanes in three weeks. Immediately, God spoke to me with these words, “If your biological brother’s house was destroyed by floods, how long would it take you to go help him? It should be no different when it is your spiritual brother.” Having formed real relationships with the Haitian people over the past few years, I have no doubt that they would rush to my aid if they could.

The main point of going is not feeding starving people. It is much more about bringing hope. The food we delivered will only meet physical needs for a couple weeks. However, the message that Jesus loves you so much that He is choosing people to come to your rescue, to meet your needs, and to answer your prayers, has an eternal effect on the people. Haiti is a place of hopelessness. It is a place where people truly believe that their condition cannot improve because things have always been this way, they seem to be getting worse, and no one seems to care. The simple fact that Americans would leave the greatest country on earth to travel to the least country on earth (which has recently gotten worse) blows the mind of the average Haitian. They want to know why we would do such a thing. So, we tell them. It’s not about us at all. Left to my own, I would much rather lay on the couch and watch football. But when I consider the grace of Jesus Christ that has been freely offered to me in spite of my sin and pride, how can I not get out of my comfort zone and share that grace with others? It is not even a choice. It is simple obedience to Christ’s command.

I cannot pinpoint one event from this trip to highlight. Instead, the week was another fresh reminder of how blessed we are in America, and how much we take our blessings for granted. I am convinced that it is almost impossible for the average American to love the Lord with all his heart because all the other things that we love so much get in the way. How much grief do we go through when our 401k loses money, or when our car stops running, or when the cable TV is out for a day, or if the A/C doesn’t work right, or the water faucet leaks? My frustration over these things is an indicator of my lack of complete reliance on my God. My typical attitude is usually, “I totally trust Jesus as long as my income level is stable, nothing needs to be fixed, and no one is sick.” We live in a money and comfort saturated society, and whether we admit it or not, money controls us.

But for a Haitian, life is completely opposite. The day begins with a search for water. Virtually no one has a well or city water supply. Around 5:00 am, you begin to see Haitian men and women walking with buckets on their heads to find the nearest water supply. Usually, this water comes from a contaminated creek or stream where clothes-washing, bathing, and animal-watering take place upstream. There is no way to sterilize this water, and therefore sickness abounds. Afterward, most people begin to make their way to the streets or markets to sell something. It may be fruit, bread, shoes, old tires, charcoal, contaminated goat meat, or whatever else they may have that could potentially produce some income. They use this meager amount of money to buy food for the family for the day, which typically amounts to one meal of rice and beans. Those who own land may use the rest of the day to cultivate the soil by hand. Then evening comes, and they start over again.

This endless routine of utter survival allows Satan to “steal, kill, and destroy”, eventually causing the people to just give up. I am so excited that Jesus has allowed me to be His hands and feet in Saint-Marc these few years, and has used me to partner with Kerry, Joy, and many others to share the truth that Jesus can bring abundant life even to the darkest corner of the earth. The more we go to Haiti, the more I see hope in the eyes of the pastors and teachers whom we encounter. They are beginning to actually believe that God is interested in providing their needs, and that there may really be hope for their children in Haiti. Most of all, the fact that Kerry and Joy are moving to Haiti brings assurance that we are in this for the long haul.

What they do not totally realize is that they are more of a blessing to us than we could ever be to them. I have learned the majority of what I know about joy, kindness, patience, worship, and faith in the past 2 ½ years. Americans really do not understand what it means to have faith. When I open the cabinet and discover that I have no food, I don’t pray about it. I simply leave my nice house, ride in my nice car, and go to the store to buy food. If a Haitian runs out of food, he typically has no option but to trust that God will sustain him for another day somehow, and then he waits to see the method which God will use, while patiently comforting his hungry family. Scripture tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen. In other words, it is absolute assurance that He will take care of all my needs when I cannot see any possible way out. I must admit that I struggle to open my clenched fist and to give God control.

The opposite of faith is stress. Which do you feel more of these days?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Upcoming Hurricane Relief Trip

We are planning to be in Haiti October 8-13 to deliver over 500 pounds of clothing and pots along with over 5 tons of rice and beans we will be buying once we arrive. Haiti is still in a state of emergency as they try to recover from the devastating flooding that took place there almost a month ago. We will be delivering rice and beans, clothing, soap, and household items to over 1000 families in and around the St. Marc area.

The 8 churches we work with were spared in the storms with only minimal damage but many members of the congregations and the schools lost everything. We will be working with the churches to evaluate the need and the possibilities to administer help for rebuilding over the months to come.

Please be in prayer for us. Many roads, including one of the main bridges between St. Marc and PAP, are still not passable. Be praying for our traveling as well as safety as we try to distribute food in desperate situations without any type of formal oversight from a police force or the like.

We will also be stopping by House of Bread to visit with the boys and the staff there. I am looking forward to the other guys on the team seeing our future home. Fortunately, pastor Jim and Mrs. Gayle Durham are here in the states and doing well. They will be returning to House of Bread in a few more weeks.

Thank you so much for all of you that have donated to make this trip and the distributions possible. It is always sweet to see people allowing God to use them to demonstrate His love.

I will post pictures and give a full report when we return.

Be praying for Joy as she continues to take care of the kids. Our 4 month old that we are trying to adopt spent a couple of days in the hospital this week with respiratory problems. He is doing better but needs your prayers. Joy also needs your prayers as she has not had a peaceful night of sleep in months due to his special needs. We also want everyone to pray that God will allow the adoptions to be completed quickly. We can see God's hand moving in that area so clearly.

Anyone that wants to donate for the upcoming trip can still do so by mailing a check to the address in the previous post or by donating online by clicking the link to the right.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Desperate Situation in Haiti

As most of you have heard, Haiti was hit really hard by 4 consecutive hurricanes. For a nation that is already desperate, the hit of extreme flooding and mudslides is catastrophic.

Haiti only has 10% of the rivers that it had just 20 years ago. The other 90% have been filled in by silt due to erosion from cutting down all of the trees on the mountains. That means that just a handfull of rivers have to drain the entire nation. So when the hurricanes continued to dump rain for weeks, the rivers became torrents ripping through villages and destroying everything in their paths.

There are reports from missionaries we know there of having to pull the bodies of babies and children from the mud of the rivers as the water receeds. These babies have been washed down from other villages and will have to have mass memorial services because they do not know who the children belong to. It is a very sad and tragic time. It is estimated that almost 1 million people's homes have been flooded.

We are planning a trip in 3 weeks to take clothes, pots and pans, and rice to distribute to the people in the St. Marc area. Anyone that wishes to contribute can send a donation to:

New Vision Ministries
6941 Bakers Mountain Rd.
Hickory, NC 28602

We leave on October 8 so any donations need to be recieved prior to that so they can be used for the materials. 100% of all money given will go directly to buy rice or pay for the transport of the clothes and utensils.

Thank you so much for your help in this urgent matter. We know God will bless you for your support.
(the pictures provided by a missionary from MAF of the village of Hinche)
Reeves family update:
We have had pastor Cesar with us this week from Haiti. It has been a huge blessing as always. He reported to us that the 8 churches and schools we work with have made it through the storms but he will not know the extent of the damage until he gets back to Haiti.
House of Bread orphanage made it through and all of the children as well as the workers are okay.
We are still waiting on the adoption process. We wish we were there to minister to the people during this tough time. I am grateful to get to make this trip in a few weeks to deliver aide and let the people know that we love them.
Please keep us and all of Haiti in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a Great Trip to Haiti

What a GREAT trip! We had a great trip to Haiti. It was just Joy and I. Bob and Shelley Benfield and their family split the time with my sister and her family house and baby sitting for us. THANKS a million you guys. We could not have made this trip without you! It is a shame too because they all looked forward to enjoying the kids playing in the pool but about an hour before we left to go we had a flood and it filled the pool with mud, debris, lawn furniture, mulch, and leaves. It was overflowing and looked like a pond. The flood caused the drainage ditch from the pasture to overflow and it is a total mess. Even after a week it is not very much better. So needless to say the house sitters did not get to even swim... so we doubled their pay!

It was great to get to the orphanage and meet the Durhams and the boys and Rochelle. The picture above is of the boys and Rochelle. The home is beautiful and a great set up. Our apartment which is the penthouse suite is perfect for our family. We are sectioning off the living room to make the girls a room and the boys will use our closet/storage room for their bedroom. It is going to be a perfect cozy setup for us. God has really opened up doors and blessed us already more than we would have imagined to begin with.

There are also 6 rooms with 2 twin beds each for missions teams to come down and stay in. We also have a place right there for the eye clinic and there is a fully equipped wood shop to train Haitians in woodworking. It is really going to be great. We will have the sheets turned down and a little mint on the pillow waiting for many of you to come down and work with us.

The boys and Rochelle (the only girl in the home) all speak English, French, and creole. That is perfect so teams can come down and minister to them and not even need translators.

Trip Details

When the Durham's picked us up at the airport they took us to a great little restaurant in Port au Prince. That was the first time we had been anywhere like that because we are usually in a hurry to get out of the city as soon as we land. The meal was great and it was the first time we had goat in a while. We actually got to have goat three times on this trip which really is great because it is usually just for special occasions. It was a great blessing to meet Pastor Jim and Madame pastor Jim (aka. Mrs. Gayle) in person. We had communicated through email but we had never met. They really made us feel right at home from the start.

Our first night back in Haiti! Summer time is really hot and humid there especially at night. No cuddling going on I can tell you that. But with the fan going it really was comfortable and we slept well.

When we got to Haiti the bag that contained our glasses along with the gifts for the boys and Pastor Jim's beef jerky did not make it. I made a return trip to Port au Prince the next morning and it still was not there. That meant we had to do the clinic on Saturday without the glasses...and without the beef jerky! The clinic went great and we saw about 95 people. I gave them cards with the power they needed in the glasses and Mrs. Gayle arranged for them to return today to get their glasses. I pray that went well! The clinic was for the members of Pastor Andre's church which House of Bread (the orphanage) partners with.

On Sunday we went to a great service at Pastor Andre's church in the morning and then to Pastor Cesar came and got us in the afternoon. We arrived at his house to the smell of a traditional Haitian meal with shallots, plantains, fish, rice, and bean sauce. It really was great. It was so good to see Pastor and his entire family. That night we went back to church for a hot 3 hour prayer meeting. The worship was great and Joy and I really got to do some praying and seeking God.

Pastor also showed us the progress being made on the church in St. Marc. It really is going to be a great place of worship, school, and ministry.

The next day we spent with pastor and his family before the big prayer service marking the end of 30 days of prayer. The service was 5 hours of prayer, worship, singing, and preaching. It was spirit filled and wonderful. We even had electricity so we could run the fans and that made a huge difference. The picture here is of a woman praying almost an hour BEFORE the service even began. We need to learn to be desperate for God!

The next morning (Tuesday) we returned to House of Bread and then to the airport in the afternoon for our return home. A short but blessed trip.

The Financial Need

We have several needs that we will need to fill before we go. Our biggest cost going in will be setting up electricity for our apartment. The system will consist of 12 deep cell batteries that are charged by solar panels and a generator. The system is controlled by an inverter that Pastor Jim is giving to us. The batteries, solar panels, rack, and generator will cost us about $3500-4000 USD to set up. The good thing is though that we will be totally self contained and not have a need for expensive but very intermittent and unreliable government electricity. We also have to build the wall to separate the girls' room and we do not have a bathroom vanity with sinks or any interior doors at the moment. That will cost us $1200-1500 to get ready. That will pretty much get our apartment ready for inhabiting. Not too bad considering any other alternative we considered going in would be much more costly. The picture is from our roof showing the Caribbean Sea in the distance. How great is our God!

We are also going to begin collecting donations for a shipping container. We found a Mennonite ministry that will ship a container for us for a fraction of what a commercial shipping company charges. For about $2500-3000 USD we will be able to ship a container with all of the equipment necessary for the eye clinic as well as our personal goods including beds and mattresses and everything.

The other costs to begin ministry will be for a vehicle, phone service, health insurance, and the cost to live at House of Bread including the skyrocketing price of food many of you have been reading about lately. So pray about how God would have you give and we will begin to tackle each of these projects as God supplies the money.

Email us anytime or leave a comment here with questions or suggestions. Don't forget to pray for us when God brings us to your mind. We are so grateful for the friends God has given us to make this opportunity possible in our lives.

The WHOLE family!

We finally got all of the family together for a picture. What a great God we serve! We are so blessed with how God is working in our family. Megan and Logan have both registered for college and are getting ready to start in a couple of weeks. Joy and I are studying James right now and it is encouraging to see what the epistle says about patience. We are waiting for God to accomplish the things necessary for us to be able to make the transition to Haiti full time. We know his timing is perfect and we do not want to rush it. We want to learn everything that God wants to teach us during this time in our lives.
God has already shown us so many things about searching for Him and allowing him to guide us along the path he has designed for us. He has taken away fears in our lives. He has given us peace about things that in the natural we know we could never have peace about. Even this past Sunday in church we sang "I Surrender All" and God spoke to us about some things and attitudes that we had not totally surrendered to him. We were still holding on to selfish desires and pridefull thoughts concerning our family and what we expected God to do. We want to simply trust him.
We have not had any serious leads on the house or the property we have to sell but we are not concerned. People have told me that there are not many people looking for houses right now and I just tell them that is okay because we only need one! So we are waiting for God to send that one.
The pool that experienced the flood and landslide that left it full of mud and looking like a fish pond is finally beginning to clear up. I have spent every evening working on it and I can finally see the bottom in the shallow end! I pray we can have that fixed by the weekend so if we have someone look at the house it will be ready.
There is nothing new in the foster care cases. We are simply in wait mode to see what happens. The little guy turned 2 months old today. He is such a sweetey. It is great how God delivered him from the obstacles of being born with cocaine in his system. You would never know it by seeing him today. God is so good!
Thank you for your prayers. The previous post listed some specific needs and prayer requests. Please email us anytime with comments or questions. We look forward to hearing from you all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Visiting "Home" for the 1st time

Joy and I leave Thursday for Haiti. We are excited about this trip because no kids are going :) Just kidding... well not really, but we are also excited because we will be visiting the orphanage where we plan to be living. We have never seen it in person and have never met the precious missionary couple that started it. We were led to them through the internet and found out about the opportunity for us to live there after we surrendered to full time following our last visit.

We will be doing eye exams on the kids in the home and having an eye clinic as an outreach for the church that they work with in Montrouis. We will also be looking at the feasability of opening the eye clinic there on the compound and I will be seeing what the wood working shop is equipped with. Lord willing, I will be doing some training in wood working for the boys in the home as they get older.

We will also spend a couple of days with pastor Cesar doing planning for the ministry. Monday night is the last night of a 30 day long prayer meeting at St. Marc church. We will get to go to that prayer meeting. The church there has been praying for money to complete the church and school before more problems arise with the Minister of Education over the setup of the school building. We also have acquired audio players that are preprogrammed with the New Testament in Creole. Since many of the people can't read, I wanted a way for them to hear the word. We have a player for each of the eight churches and we will be training the pastors how to use them and setting up a weekly meeting for them to come and hear the word and discuss it.

The reality of the opportunity and move have really set in and we are more ready than ever. Talking to the missionary couple that is there now has really helped us to understand even better what God is calling us to. I asked them what things we could bring them when we come and he simply asked for one pack of beef jerky and she wanted a pack of granola bars- peanut butter flavor. We take for granted that we go to the grocery store at least 4 times per week and can get whatever we have a craving for. We don't have things that we really want or look forward to but can't go and get. It really is a whole different world.

Family Update

Some of you may find it surprising but we have not added any new kids since the last post! We are holding strong at just 7!

Thank you to everyone that has continued to pray for us and the things that need to happen before we can move. The house still needs to sell as does the farm land I own with a partner. We also need to find out what is going to happen with our little guys.

Judah's case is caught up in appeals before we can proceed with the adoption. He is doing great though. We have really seen God work in his life as well as ours through him. I have never had such a need for patience as I have needed with this little guy. God has really helped Joy and I learn to love even through intense frustration and discouragement. Now he is really showing huge strides and although we still have bad days, we know God is doing a work. We were at the beach over the 4th and he could not believe it. He was so fun to watch and to play with. He really is a special child and we praise God for letting us get him.

The baby, Jaxon Kooper as he is known around our house, is simply a foster child at the moment. Things could change and he could be returned to the mother at any time. We are just waiting on social services and the courts to decide his little fate (but we know that God is in total control). If he becomes available for adoption, we want to adopt him so that he can grow up with Judah. We know that the Lord is in charge.

Jacy Klaire, Josie Kate, Luke, Megan, and Logan are all doing good. We are just seeking God's direction for Megan and Logan as far as school/work/whatever other options may be available! Luke is enjoying his summer and Jacy and Josie are as sweet and precious as ever. Jacy is looking forward to being home schooled. We will start that even before we make the move to Haiti.

We will be posting some pictures of the kids at the beach soon.

Prayer Needs

Keep us in your prayers. We will be in Haiti 7/10 - 7/16. Pray for our family while we are gone. The Benfield family (Bob and Shelley et al) will be covering the first couple of days and then my sister and her family are coming in from GA to house/baby/horse sit. Don't tell them but they have NO idea what they are getting into! Pray for hurricane Bertha to continue into the North Atlantic and not turn and hit Haiti. We don't do hurricanes yet.

Thank you all and we will have plenty of pictures and video when we get back from the beautiful caribbean islands!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Our Quiver is Filling Quickly!

Psalms 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Our son Logan graduated this weekend from Maiden High School. Our daughter Megan graduated 2 weeks ago and on the day before she graduated I recieved a phone call from social services.

As background, on Christmas Eve 2006 one of our best friends brought a 3 month old baby into the Sunday School class we were teaching. The baby was a foster child that had been rescued from a bad situation. Joy held the tiny baby through Sunday School and church, and by the end of the service she felt we were supposed to adopt the baby!

I had NOT heard from God at that point so I did not see that happening. I was very content with the 4 kids we already had! But...I told her that we would take the classes and if it was God's plan then we would get her...believing that there was no way!

In spite of all the obstacles, including social services saying that there was NO WAY we would ever get that baby...we completed her adoption the day before her 1st birthday in September of 2007.

One month later social services called and asked if we could keep a little 2 year old boy for 5 days while his foster family went out of town. Sure...what's 5 days...9 months later here we are with his case caught up in court but we intend to adopt him as well if court issues can be resolved.

That leads us to the phone call we recieved 3 weeks ago. Social services called me at work to tell me that our little boy's biological mother had a baby and it tested positive for drugs so it could not go home with the mother. They asked if we could take him until things were sorted out. With an open heart and full of compassion I said..."NO...thanks but we are full..."

Within an hour God convicted me and asked me how I knew the answer was no so easily without praying about it. How did I know the answer was no for this baby but it was not no for the other two he had given us as a blessing?

So I called Joy and told her the social worker had called. I told Joy to call her back and tell her we would pray about it and we would let her know the next morning. So we did pray and felt that God was leading us to take him in as a foster child since he was our little guys's full brother. We felt that if they must be away from their natural parents that it would be best if they could at least be together. So 3 weeks ago we went to the hospital and picked up a 1 day old baby boy.

He is a little cutie. He has had only minimal reaction to the withdrawal from the drugs and has not had to have any morphine through the process which is a blessing from God. Other than the fact that he does not like sleeping AT ALL in the night... he is doing great.

We have no idea what the future holds for him but he has a court date at the end of June. We will go from there. We do not know how all of this fits into the time frame for the move to Haiti but God does. We know that His timing is perfect and He could move us there immediately if he so chose to. Our current plan is to be there by the first of the year. I have to get everything closed out business wise and we have to get the adoption process completed. It could take longer than that but we know God is in control.

Please continue to pray. All we want is to be obedient and see God glorified. We admit that we do not have all of the answers and we can't always see how things are going to work out. But we trust God. I have learned that things do not have to make sense in my mind for it to be the will of God. How does it make sense to get small babies before we go to a poverty stricken country with minimal health care for the babies? I don't know, but God does. We are simply following His lead and trusting that He will make things clear to us in His time and not in ours.

We wish we were in Haiti today. We wish we could there with the people right now and sharing the love of Christ with them...But we are learning to be content in waiting on the Lord. It is so sweet to rest in his providence!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Not What I Thought it Would Be

If you're like me, you have always been a little afraid to just give in completely to God because you always just KNEW He would call you to do something like being a crazy missionary in some hostile, poverty stricken county! You always keep just enough distance so that you can stay comfortable with the life path you have chosen.

Three years ago Joy and I decided we were tired of mediocre Christianity and we wanted everything that God had for us. Mostly because we began to understand that our ultimate goal and objective in life is to glorify God. But the cool thing about it is that the more we did to bring Him glory, the more fulfilled we found ourselves. The more we surrendered, the more we could see God working around us. The more we allowed Him to work, the greater the satisfaction we found in Him and a desire to bring Him even more glory.

That led us to the mission trip to the Philippines and then to Haiti. The more we surrendered and allowed God to direct us, the more complete we felt and the more meaning our lives seemed to have.

Then came little Josie Kate. She was a miracle baby that God brought into our lives. We thought we were through raising babies. But we had no idea how much sweeter God's plan was than our plan! I will let Joy share that whole story another day but suffice it to say that although our lives are not easier with Josie, our lives are much greater! Things are often times more complicated and more hectic, but at the same time they are more joyful and impacting. As God showed us that, we began to ask what other areas could we submit to him that we were currently following our own plan instead of His plan.

The key is understanding that God loves us so much that He only wants the best, most awesome, most fulfilling, most satisfying, most impacting, and most eternally preparing life possible. The more satisfied and overjoyed we are in Him, the more glorified He is in us. As we began to realize that, we saw that we did not have to 'fear' or dread anything that God would bring our way. We could look forward to it with excitement and peace. If God that created the world is willing to reveal 'The Perfect Plan' for my life (Jer. 29:11) to me instead of me trying to find my own route, I find that exciting. It turns out, God is smarter than me! He sees a little different perspective than I do. I want to live the life that He says is the most awesome life for me, not the plan that my little mind thinks is best.

So that gets us to here. The ironic thing is that for US, full surrender does mean a life in a deprived land with few amenities and extra perils. But it also means we have the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people that are hungry to hear. We can also minister to pastors that labor faithfully for the Lord as they watch their own children suffer from starvation and disease.

God is giving us the desire of our hearts! God is not calling us to something we do not want to do! God is calling us to the one thing in life we are longing to do right now! I know it seems unreasonable, but that is how God works. I just cry every time I sit and think about how He is opening this door to allow us to do this. God is so good!

You don't have to worry. Full surrender to God means he will make it possible to do exactly what it is you want to do! As you surrender, God changes your heart to where what He made you for is exactly what you want! It does not mean He is going to drag you into the jungle where you dread going. He is going to allow you to experience the life you were made for. The life He created you for from the beginning of time. Don't let it slip away. Don't let fear and misconceptions of God rob you of what you could experience and also steal away the opportunity for you to bring God ultimate glory with your life. The fully surrendered life is best you can have now, and for all of eternity.

For us, things are moving right along. Several people have looked at the house. Here is the link for that.

We have also had several people look at the land we are selling. We are just waiting on God's perfect time.

In the mean time, we are continuing our Creole lessons with Ti Tant. She is coming over tonight for a lesson and to fry us up some plantains- creole style. The railing is being added to our little apartment on the orphanage there in Haiti. Joy and I are planning to take a trip down in July to continue the planning process. We can't wait!

Please feel free to leave comments here and ask any questions.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Future Home

Bondieu Bon, Li Bon Tout Tan!...God is good all of the time! God has opened the door for us to be able to live on top of a beautiful orphanage that was started by a precious, God sent couple from Missouri. Jim and Gayle Durham, known by the kids in the orphanage as Papi and Mami, have served the Lord faithfully in Haiti for over 20 years. We will have a secure place to raise our kids and invest in the lives of the haitian children living in the orphanage at the same time. This will be our base for ministry. We will continue to work with the churches and continue the work we are currently doing with Pastor Cesar. We will also be able to start an eye clinic right there on the compound with the orphanage. How cool is that!

In the picture, our apartment is the top floor. A railing is currently being added for safety. The second floor houses the Durham's and rooms to house 12 short term missionaries. That is also where Julie will live. The bottom floor is the orphanage.

This is one of the nicest buildings I have ever seen in all of my trips to Haiti. I can't believe God is blessing us that way. My mom was so happy to see these pictures. She was in Haiti last month and could only imagine where we would be living. She is so excited to see how nice the Durhams have made this place. Merci Jezi! (Thank you Jesus!)

You can get more information about House of Bread ministries where we will be living by visiting

Our Recent Calling

Matthew 25 says that God will know the sheep because… “For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me”.

After our last trip to Haiti, Joy and I both felt that God was calling us to surrender everything here to move there to minister to those people full time. We labored in prayer and after a period of time received confirmation from God that He had a perfect plan for our lives and that we had to trust Him to find it.

So as many of you have already heard, we are selling out…literally! We are in the process of selling our house and all of our possessions here in order to move there. Josie, Judah, and Jacy will be going with us. Megan and Logan are starting college next year, and Luke will be with his dad to start High School. He has been to Haiti with me twice and he will be coming down whenever possible.

We really need prayers. We are going to be going to a dark place spiritually to shed light and the evil one does not like that. We are asking for several people to agree to join with us in prayer for the next few months as we go through the process of ending everything here and beginning there. We do not know God exact timing but we just say yes. In a slow housing market and with other obstacles we face, it could be a slow process but we are surrendered to God's timetable. We are anxious and ready. God has put a burden in our hearts for the Haitian people and we are ready to be among them to serve the Lord.

We will be selling everything and only taking 2 suitcases each. We will be living in an orphanage with another older missionary couple. Julie Wirries, a former missionary to Haiti and one of my heroes will be moving back as well. She is also our Creole tutor right now. God has really opened doors for us there already. We will be working with the orphanage, opening an eye clinic, working with the 8 churches and schools with Pastor Cesar, and training pastors.

More Family Pictures

Here are a few more family pictures so no one feels left out! For those of you that do not know, when Kerry and Joy were married 8 years ago, Joy had Logan and Luke and Kerry had Megan. They had Jacy Klaire together. Then last year Josie Kate was adopted...we'll share that story later. And now Judah is in the process of being adopted...Lord willing.

The Family

Here is most of our family. You have Logan 18, Luke 14, Jacy 6, Judah 3, Josie 19 months, and Joy- age unpublishable at this time...Megan our 17 year old daughter and Kerry are in some of the pictures below. Mama Joy hopes to have a full family portrait before we end up in Haiti.
Thank you for visiting our blog. We want you to be able to be a part of what God is doing in our lives. We need you. We need friends and fellow believers to join with us in prayer as we embarq on this quest to be what God has called us to be.