The Family

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Headed Home

We have had a great trip to the U.S. for our first return trip as full time missionaries. We are ready to get back and resume the things we had to put a hold on over a month ago.

We learned so much and made some great new friends on this trip. We also took a bus full of food and dropped it off at the port in West Palm Beach, Florida. Now we are preparing to leave tomorrow morning and head back on Missionary Flights International.

As an update, Jaxon Kooper who severely burned his hands on a gas log fireplace is doing much better. After several weeks of working on it we were able to leave it unbandaged for several hours today. We just have to keep praying it does not get infected once we return to Haiti.

Here are a couple of pictures from our trip.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hard to Leave

We left Haiti a couple of weeks ago with mixed emotions. We wanted to get to the states to visit our older kids and family as well as the churches and friends that make our ministry possible, but we that meant we had to leave the boys and the people we minister to every day. The boys just cried as we left and several of the kids in our sponsorship program were out by our gate to say goodbye as we left at 5:30 am.

Getting ready to board the plane at the Port Au Prince Airport. Shelley Benfield and Missy Morgan were with us and that made it much easier! What a blessing to have committed friends!

Here is a picture from our outdoor worship service where we project onto the side of our well house and meet with youth to do worship in Creole, French, and English. We will miss that while we are gone.

I spent a week in classes in Florida learning about community health and how to battle malnutrition and other diseases of poverty. It really helped me to spend the week with other medical missionaries as well getting their perspectives and plans.

Mary Rose that works at House of Bread holding a Bible and song book we bought for 10 youth that were saved at a crusade and started going to her church. We bought them a Bible and song book and look forward to meeting each one and encouraging them to be involved in our youth worship and prayer times on Wednesday evenings.

Joy giving a bracelet to our little blind friend John Luk at the orphanage next door.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


One thing that has surprised since we arrived in Haiti full time is how often people are sick. Pretty much everyone we know here has been sick at least once since we arrived. We have people come constantly asking for medication for fever. Colds and flu-like illnesses are constant for many people.

The poor nutrition of most people along with the dust and smoke everywhere are enough to get many people sick. Then when you add in dirty water and poor sanitation you have a great recipe for constant sickness.

In some areas where typhoid is rampant, people can be sick with a fever for months at a time. One young lady that we have grown to love, Mirlande, lives in such an area. She was very sick and we had a chance to travel to her home to visit. She is recovering from typhoid and malaria. At just 17 years old she stays sick very often because her family's source of drinking water and cooking water is a nearby river with very unclean water. She has become like one of our family. She calls Joy her Montrouis Mother. Pray for her as we have helped her get back into school but we also want to help her family be able to have access to better water. Below is a photo of our visit to her little house.

Bus Update:

We finally got our bus out of customs. It took almost 2 months but we got it. The only had a broken mirror- which resulted in an accident on the way home- but everything else was intact. We we so grateful to get into the packages of food stuff and school supplies our church in NC had packed for us before we left. We have also been able to really bless a lot of people by giving things away.

We now have all of the clinic equipment and are preparing the clinic. We should be able to start seeing patients soon after we return from the U.S. in November.

Joy cut Josie's hair for the first time the other day too.

It was heart wrenching in a way that a dad can not understand I guess.
Joy tormented herself over whether to do it or not and then whether she did it right or not and then whether she should have done it or not and then whether she will ever do it again. But all in all it was a sweet time.

We will be back in the U.S. in two weeks for some mission conferences and visits. We look forward to seeing everyone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sea Shells for School

I met him doing our water distribution. He came up to me with some other little boys I have been trying to get to know. I asked his name and he told me that he had just told me the day before. I asked him to give me one more chance at remembering it. He told me it was Gregory.

The next day Gregory showed up at our fence with a handful of seashells. He said he wanted to give them to my wife. I thanked him and accepted them. I gave him a few gourdes (Haitian money) for them and before he got out of the alley his mother came along and took the money. The next day Gregory showed up again with more seashells. I told him that he did not have to keep looking for seashells. He asked if I had any left over food he could have. How do you say no. He is by far one of the thinnest kids in our area. So I gave him an apple.

Gregory, Gaele, Lormite, and Daphne with their school supplies

When school started Gregory was still coming to our fence to hang out every morning. I asked him why he was not in school. He gave the answer I already knew. Cob- money. He has older brothers and sisters so his family can not pay for him to go to school. God broke my heart for him and we felt we should help him with going to school. I told him to have his mother come when I turned on the water that afternoon so I could talk to her.

Prayer time with the kids for their school year

The next morning I walked with Gregory and his mom to his little school. A series of concrete block buildings with tin roofs and make shift benches. I sat in the hot office of the director as we got Gregory registered. He is 12 years old and entering the second grade. He has not been able to go to school most of the past years due to money. We paid for the school. Then we bought the books. Then we bought the material and hired someone to make the uniform. Then we bought him some shoes. Then we bought a backpack. All these things are NON optional for you to be able to go to school. All in all it was about $100 USD for the year. We are just waiting now for his uniform to be made and he should start next Monday.

Everyday Gregory shows up at our house with seashells. Most days he does not ask for anything or want anything. He just smiles a huge smile as I take them and tell him I will give them to Joy.

Gaele and Lormite (2 of Joy's girls) in their new school uniforms and shoes and backpacks- They showed up at our house the first day for Joy to dress them and get them ready

Gregory is just one of the 13 kids that we have sponsored in the past 2 weeks for school. It started with Joy's little band of 3 girls from church that live with a little widow behind the bakery in one hot little room with a dirt floor. They are 11-13 years old and have absolutely nothing and were not going to be able to go to school so Joy felt we should help them.

Then there is the son and daughter of Pastor Andre's yard man. They also were not going to be able to go because of how hard things are right now since the hurricane.

Joy and Jacy spoiling the girls by doing their nails in preparation for school

Today Joy is in the market as I write this buying uniform material and shoes for Mirlande. She is an 18 year old sweetie that works part time here at House of Bread. She comes from a very poor family and thought one more year was going to pass that she would have to sit out and not get the education she longs for.

This morning Mirlande showed up early to help Joy with some house work. As she worked I asked her about her schooling. She told me that if God wanted her to go to school, He would make it happen. I told her that Joy had been wanting to see if we could help her. She began to cry. She said for the last 2 weeks she has cried often as she knew her parents could not help her go back to school. She hugged Joy and would not let go as she cried and thanked her for being an answer to her prayers. So Joy took her to the school and registered her and now she is helping her get what she needs. She is going to be 18 next month and entering the 8th grade. She is very smart but just comes from a very rural area and has had to spend more time collecting water and working in the fields than in school.

Kisnel (aka Paul)- our creole tutor- is going to Port Au Prince to a technical school to learn computer repair. We are sponsoring him as well as his wife to go to cosmotology school. Mr. and Mrs. Exam both work here at House of Bread and we are also helping them with 3 of their children to go to school because Madam Exam's mother is very sick and they are responsible for buying the medications and helping with Dr. bills.

Just today I have been asked by 4 others if I could possibly help them be able to go to school too. It is so hard to tell them no but we are drained of school money at the moment. Please pray God gives us wisdom on how to help and when to help. Education is so important and we had no idea how hard it is for the average Haitian to educate their children. We are grateful we are able to help the ones God opened the door, for but we have more that we have had to turn away than we have been able to help.

On top of that type of ministry I had a little mother show up this morning with a 18 month old baby covered in sores from head to toe. She had been to the free clinic but did not have the money for the medicine. She also said that she thinks one of the reasons he won't quit crying is that she has not been able to feed him. We got the little guy some mayi farine- corn flour- that the ladies had prepared for breakfast and then helped her get the medicine. Joy and I had a prayer time with mom and the little guy and she was grateful but still very concerned about her baby's health. She is supposed to bring him back Thursday for me to see him again.

We are looking forward to being back in the states in October but we are also hating having to leave for awhile right when we are starting to get settled in.

Doing make shift eye exams on the director and 3 teachers from a local school

Monday, August 31, 2009

What a Blessed Week!

Mark and Jackie Ikerd arrived last Tuesday with bags full of goodies from our friends and family back home. It was everything from Cheeze-Its to Diet Sundrop! God is so good! Thank you everyone for spoiling us so much! The kids thought it was Christmas.

After such a good start we thought there was no way the week could get any better but it did. We have a well that has not worked since it was installed months before we ever got here. For over a year it has sat unused. The plan is for it to be used as a backup for our current well at the compound but also provide water for Pastor Andre's school once it is complete and the thing we were the most excited about is being able to provide water in the alley to the people of the community. Right now people pass our house everyday to go down to another hand pumped well to pay money to get water. Some have to travel over a mile and carry the water back in buckets. This new fountain in the side street will help many families and give us the chance to get to know them personally and share our faith with them.

God saw fit to help us get the pump working and get the fountain built. I plan to test it this evening and begin giving water tomorrow morning if everything works. God is SO good.

Here are some photos of that project we worked on this week. Mark turned out to be a master shovel pusher. I make a better observer!

We also were contacted on Tuesday and told of a baby in St. Ard which is where our other clinic is going to be located. The Haitian pediatrician there wanted us to come and look at a baby that showed up at the clinic and could not open his eyes. When we arrived we found out the baby was not at the clinic but at a house near by. After offroading for a while in the minibus we found the house where the baby was. He was lying on an old lounge chair under a bush. It turns out the baby was brought to the clinic and just dropped off. No one knows anything about him or his family. A girl from the clinic agreed to take him home and care for him.

When we arrived the baby had been on antibiotics for several days but still could not really even move. His eyes were horribly infected along with the surrounding tissues, he has a respiratory, GI, and genital infection as well. He is probably about a year old but can't sit up or anything because he is so sick. We got him started on other meds and will continue to monitor him over the next few days. He is being called Krislove so you can be praying for him.

Caring for the Widows and Orphans

We also had a chance to visit the orphanage next door this week. They have about 40 kids from 6 months to 16 years old. Jacy Klaire has fallen in love with the little 6 month old baby. She is a little doll named Molly and she loves for Jacy Klaire to hold her. We also have a little friend named Jonluke that is totally blind. He stayed right with Mark during the entire visit except when they pulled him away to go and change his clothes because they were embarrassed at his appearance when we took a picture of him with Mark. They were mad that he had on old clothes and did not change them before the "visitors" came.

Josie Kate loves the kids there too and tries to be mommy to all of the little ones.

I have been wanting to get to know some of the elderly and widows in the church across the street where we attend so I talked to Pastor Andre and one of the elders and lined up for me and Mark to be able to go and give them a care package of rice, beans, bouillon, and cooking oil. It was great. We got to visit 8 different widows and spend some time talking to them and hearing their stories. These were great women of faith that were living with absolutely nothing yet full of joy and fervor for the Lord. I was grateful to get to minister to them in a tangible way. Without a husband to provide they have to depend on others to help them have food. They were truly thankful and praised God for our visit and the food we brought them.

Jackie also spent one morning teaching the boys an art lesson. They loved it. They are still drawing butterflies. Our kids loved the time too. Mark and Jackie really ministered to our family this week as much as they ministered to the Haitian people. I am so grateful!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"I've never seen a racoon eat a hotdog"

I was bringing Josie Kate upstairs last night to get her ready for bed and we walked past the dog's bowl with a few onions in it. Josie pointed out the onions and I said I had never seen a dog eat onions. Her response was, "well...I've never seen a racoon eat a hotdog". It turns out, I haven't either. If any of you have let me know so I can tell Josie!

We have had a great weekend. I was up at 5:30 this morning getting pancakes and bacon going for everyone on the compound. The staff does not cook on Sunday so me and Joy will be doing that. We ate breakfast and then went to church. We used to be late for church because we had to get our four little ones ready. Today we had to get our four, and the ten boys, and walk to church by 8:30 and we made it on time. Church was good. The little bit we could understand.

When we got home I grilled hamburgers for everyone- it's American Day at the compound on Sunday- and Joy cooked some corn and we had a good time. Now we are trying to get everyone down for a rest time- especially us!

I went to PAP yesterday to work at AGAPE- our mail service. It is a ministry that delivers mail to missionaries. Each missionary has to work in their office every quarter to help out. Yesterday I went to fill in for Jim and Gayle since they were gone. I left home early so we could get some things done before I had to get to the office but everything was closed. It was a day of Fet for the Catholic church so many of the big businesses were closed. I needed to look for a little refrigerator for our apartment so we can keep snacks for the kids and cold water.We spent about 45 minutes at the beach late one afternoon this week. It was after we visited the family we want to build the house for. Robens, a young man who has been a friend of ours since our first trip here, and his mother take in children that need help or need a home long term or short term. They want to build a small house so they can move out of the grandmothers little house and have a bed for the boys to sleep in every night. We will be giving more details about that opportunity as it unfolds in the next few days. Many of you that have been here before know Robens and know how good a young man he is. We took the family some rice, beans, melons, zaboka and cooking's a huge blessing to know that family will eat this week and they will feed children around them.

At the beach you could easily pick out our kids. They were the ones with clothes on. Robens was surprised when we told him we were ready to leave because we had not bathed the kids yet. They could not understand why we would go down to the beach and not bathe while we were there.

It was a good outing. The kids got to drink their first coconut and I drove for the first time here. We made it back home without hitting anyone or anyone's pig so I was happy!

Last week was very busy with 2 trips to PAP and a trip to Desarmes along with our normal ministry duties but it was great. We all really had a chance to work on developing some relationships that will allow us to minister and be a part of the community here. God is really opening doors and giving us favor. We are so grateful and full of anticipation as we continue to seek the opportunities He has in store for us.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We feel safe and secure in the presence of your prayers and we know God has great things in store for our family.

You can call us on our cell phones anytime if you need to reach us. You can get a calling card or if you have an international plan you can just call us directly. Joy had a chance to talk to Shelly Benfield for a while the other night and it was a huge blessing.

My cell number is 011-509-3-638-7138
Joys cell number is 011-509-3-687-9458
We are still trying to sell our house and close out a few more things on that front. We look forward to seeing everyone in October. Thanks again for all your prayers!