The Family

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

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brief History

I had to write a biographical sketch of our family and ministry for a newspaper and so I thought I would post it here for the people that are not familiar with our history. Sorry for it being so long.

September 1st, 2007 we moved into our new home. What a wonderful day. Our dream home. A miniature horse farm with the barns and pastures. Joy had her pool for the kids and I had my tractor and 3 car detached garage. We were on the side of the mountain and so grateful to God for His abundant blessings.

We moved in with Logan and Megan both seniors in high school, Luke in the 8th grade, Jacy Klaire in kindergarten, and Josie Kate one year old. We moved in on Josie’s first birthday, one day after her adoption was completed.

Nine months earlier I had been teaching Sunday School when one of our friends came in carrying a baby. Joy quickly took possession of the 3 month old foster child and held her through Sunday school and church. By the end of the service she looked me in the eyes and said “I believe God is calling us to adopt this baby”.

Long story short, I had doubts but was willing to pursue it and trust God for the outcome. Joy never doubted for a minute. She had heard from God. In the face of total opposition she knew in her heart God had called her to be this little baby’s mommy. By the age of 6 months we were getting her for official visits, by nine months she lived in our home, and by one year she was a Reeves: A true testament to God fulfilling His plan if we allow it.

One month after we moved into our new home we received a call that would change our lives. We were asked by Social Services if we could keep a little two year old boy for five days later in the month. We had not felt led to do foster care but we could keep a little guy for a week. Joy felt she wanted to meet the young fellow before he was just dropped off because we were told he had been through some very difficult circumstances and had emotional and psychological issues. So she called the foster mom to ask about meeting for lunch. The foster mom offered to just bring him over later in that same day and leave him all weekend. When he walked in the door, Joy sensed in her spirit he would never leave. She was right. We were in for quite a ride.

It did not take more than a few hours to learn little ‘Judah’ as he would later be named, did indeed have issues. But we knew we served a big God -Jehovah Rapha- the God of healing- and that He could heal this precious child, and He would allow us to be a part of his healing if we would allow Him to use us. God used that experience over the next year to grow us and teach us more than anything in our lives. But as with all things God uses to grow us, it has been well worth it and we would not have it any other way. Although it took over 18 months of court and hearings, Judah Kerry Reeves is now a vital, thriving part of our growing family.

I never would have imagined we would adopt 2 children and I would consider us the most blessed family in the world if God had stopped there. But…He didn’t. I received a phone call from social services in May 2008. It was 8 months after we received Judah. His birth mother had signed her parental rights over to us, but the birth father had appealed the ruling that he was an unfit parent, and so the case was in appeals court. On May 22nd, a Thursday morning, I received a call from social services. Judah’s birth mom had a baby with the same birth father and it was positive for cocaine at birth. The social worker wanted to call to see if we could take him since we had the big brother. I thanked the social worker for calling and for thinking of us, but we were not able to do that. We were “full”. I hung up the phone hoping someone would be able to help them.

About an hour later I felt the convicting spirit of God asking me in my spirit how I knew the answer was no for this little guy. I had initially thought the answer was no for our other two precious, God-given gifts through adoption and later realized I was wrong. How could I say no to this calling without even seeking God with Joy on the issue? So Joy and I spent the night in prayer and we did feel God was leading us to accept this child as a gift to our family. We had seen what issues could arise through the system by the manifestations in Judah. We also knew that it would be healthier for both of the brothers if they could be adopted together instead of apart.

So at 5:00 in the afternoon we picked up a one day old, cocaine addicted bundle of Puerto Rican joy from the hospital. That night we attended our daughter’s high school graduation. God truly has a sense of humor.

Little ‘Jaxon Kooper’ as he was later named, healed slowly from the effects of the drug exposure, but his healing was total and complete. A good and gracious God had once again chosen to show Himself strong on our behalf and answer our prayers. At nine months of age little Jaxon was officially adopted along with his big brother on March 13th, 2009.

So now Logan and Megan are in community college in North Carolina. Luke is finishing the 9th grade and will be going with us in June to Haiti. He will return in the fall to continue high school unless God changes those plans. Jacy Klaire is 7 and will be home schooling in the 2nd grade in Haiti. Josie Kate is 2 ½ and still wears 12 months clothes but growing and hops everywhere she goes. Judah is almost 4 and full speed ahead. And little Jaxon will be a year old in May. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full!

The Ministry and Our Calling:

In 1987 Pastor Gerrard Cesar accepted the call to the ministry in Montrouis Haiti and became the pastor of a small church meeting in a brush arbor (palm branches woven together to form a roof and walls with a dirt floor). With the help of missionaries from Florida that church was able to build a building and establish a school. In the 20 years since that time, Pastor Cesar has partnered with or started 7 more churches and established a school to be supported by each church. With over 1500 in attendance in the churches and 1200 children in the schools, God is really doing a great work in and around St. Marc where the ministry has its headquarters.

In 2005 Joy and I met pastor Cesar and were exposed to his ministry. We were able to go to Haiti and see the work first hand. God allowed us to see that He was truly at work in this ministry. Henry Blackaby teaches in his Experiencing God series that the goal of every Christian should be to find where God is working and “get in on it”. That is exactly what Joy and I felt that God was calling us to do.

We came back to the U.S. and shared our experience with some of our closest friends and they agreed to go with me to explore how God would have us to be involved. It was as clear to them as it had been to us that we could really be used by God to impact hundreds of people if we would allow Him to use us.

We were broken hearted that the 8 schools we were working with did not have funding for a feeding program. The children are privileged to get to go to school but they do not get to eat while there. If the child is not the oldest in the family, it is very likely they do not get fed at home either. Many children as young as 3 or 4 years old are forced to scavenge for whatever food they can find. Many have even resorted to eating ‘dirt cookies’. Haitian women take clay mixed with a pinch of salt and form cookies. The cookies are dried in the sun and then sold to the children for 3 or 4 cents each. The cookies take away the hunger pangs but cause severe gastrointestinal problems for the children. Many children find themselves needing surgery or even dying from the consumption of the toxin and parasite infested clay. In light of these horrible conditions we have been working to develop a feeding program for each school so that the children will be fed a healthy meal every day. It will cost approximately $.40-.50 per child per day to feed them.

We are also trying to develop a way to pay the teachers in the schools a small monthly salary. By paying the teachers, we will be able to raise the quality of the schools to a level that is pleasing to God and brings credibility to the ministry. We are also in the process of purchasing land for each school and building sound concrete structures instead of the brush arbors that many of them are still using.

The ministry has made a trip down every few months since 2005. With false teachings and Voodoo influencing even the evangelical teaching, we felt that holding quarterly 3 day pastor training seminars would help the pastors understand Biblical doctrine.

In the spring of each year we also have a convention that brings all 8 churches together to train pastors, train teachers, disciple youth, minister to children, have an eye and medical clinic, and hold crusade services each night for a week. Hundreds of church members come from the churches and sleep there on the church grounds for the 5 nights of the meetings. We feed 500-700 people twice per day for five days.

On the last crusade trip in April, Joy and I felt that God was calling us to make the move to full time ministry. We have things that we feel God would have us to do that we can not do without being there on a full time basis. I saw patients in the eye clinic going blind with diseases that I could help prevent if we were there to catch the disease earlier and follow it regularly. Young girls are taught that AIDS is spread through sitting on a hot table and not through promiscuity. Pastors believe in voodoo curses and are not always grounded in doctrine and foundational Christian beliefs. We were impressed by God that if we were there full time we could make a difference in the lives of the people. My patients here can see another eye doctor in the same building. But the patients I will see in Montrouis, Haiti will probably never see an eye doctor their entire lives. So after much prayer and seeking our Lord’s direction, we surrendered to full time missions.

We are currently in the process of selling our home and personal belongings. I am getting out of my optometry practices and dissolving my partnerships. It appears that God is going to allow us to pay off all of our debt and be able to move to Haiti debt free. Our living expenses will be provided by support and donations to New Vision Ministries. The board of directors from the ministry and other volunteers will continue normal operations of the ministry on this end and we will begin the work in country.

God has opened a door for us to rent a small apartment on top of an orphanage that is currently being operated by an older couple from Missouri. In addition to opening the eye clinic, we will be working with pastor Cesar by developing outreach programs for the churches, feeding the schools, training the pastors, building churches, and having evangelistic crusades. We will also be helping at the orphanage and the other ministries of House of Bread Ministries in Montrouis, Haiti, West Indies.

We will be taking our 4 small children and leaving our older children here to finish school. We are in need of much prayer. Haiti is a very dark place and the people are steeped in much religion. True adult conversions are difficult but the children are teachable. Through the orphanage and Christian education, we will attempt to train the children up in a way that Christ is the center of their lives.

No comments: