The Family

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

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!