The Family

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

From the Mountains to the Valley

I spent the morning in the mountains praying this morning. It has been so tough lately with all of the decisions about the ministry and moving our family and the aftermath of the quake. I took a moto- local taxi motorcycle- and had the guy take me up to a local spot where people gather to pray. I went with a guy we met years ago when we first started coming to Haiti that has now become a Christian and has been asking me to go for months. With all we have going on, I really needed to go today.

I arrived at the summit of this mountain range and you can see the ocean on three sides. It is so beautiful. I spent the morning crying out to God to help us understand what all we are supposed to be doing and the best way to do it. Basically just asking God to not let me foul up the work He is doing here among the people.

I was given the chance to preach Saturday night in a street revival but it was tough going. My interpreter called about 30 minutes before the service and said he was stuck in PAP and could not get a tap tap to Montrouis. So I started looking for someone to interpret. I have preached a couple of times in Creole but I am still not fluent enough to really make illustrations and stuff so I still like using an interpreter. But that is not always good either. I preached two weeks ago and the sermon topic was on being desperate for God. After the service the interpreter asked me what desperate meant... I knew the people probably missed a thing or two. So Saturday I called all my normal interpreters and no luck. I finally called this young man that we have recently met that we have been pretty impressed by. He did not understand what I was trying to ask him but he finally agreed to come. I knew things were going to be tough when my interpreter could not understand that I was asking him to interpret for me. After much struggling we made it through the service. I could feel a terrible oppression but thought it was just all the stress or something. Then as we were leaving the service to walk home just a block away they were having a big voodoo service as well. People everywhere dancing in the streets and everything. Such a spiritual battle in this place.

Then Sunday I preached in St. Marc at Pastor Lucien's church. It was a great service and I got to see so many friends. They gave me 2 bunches of bananas, a watermellon, and some ground coffee. It was a good time.

So after those two opportunities I really wanted to pray that God would continue to allow me to share the truth of Jesus and the freedom He offers to the captives of fear and lies that the people here believe. I had a good time of prayer for a couple of hours then decided to make the 3 mile walk down on foot and got sunburned.

When I got home though Joy was totally heart broken. A young lady named Jordan that we know and another young lady that is an albino haitian came by because they needed to talk to Joy. Joy had taken Jennifer, a nurse, to remove a skin tag from Jordan's little boy's finger a couple of weeks ago and check on them. They were doing fine. But Jordan came today to tell Joy her baby boy had died. She woke up in the morning with his head split open in the back. They all claim it is the work of a local sorceror that killed him in the night. They told us why they do it but it is too morbid to talk about here. Joy can't figure out if she is more angry or sad. What do you say to a mother struggling with that? We just say God is good all the time. We encourage them to seek refuge and peace in the Lord and help them any way we can. The other girl today came too to tell Joy the father of her baby had taken the baby. This girl was the mistress in an affair- more the norm than the exception here- and the father of the baby took the baby and gave it to his wife because she could not have children. The mother has no real recourse. We are trying to see what we can do to help her. I know the father and so pray I can know what to do in the situation. All of this helped to solidify in Joy that she needs to start the women's Bible study she has been planning. Now that we have a mission location, she is planning to begin that with the young women and mother's that live such a tough life here.

And all of that is on top of the earthquake survivors living down the road and the mother and two twin babies we still have sleeping here with us. God is so good. He never leaves us wondering what we could do today to advance His Kingdom. He always gives us plenty of opportunity. We acknowledge that it is tough at times, but we love it. We would not want it any other way. God is blessing and we are getting to be a part of it. God is ministering to people here and we get to see it first hand. What more could we ask for in life.

Thank you all for your prayers. We are so blessed to have so many people back home that love us and pray for us. All of your encouraging emails keep us going on those tough days... like today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Go Army!

The U.S. Army has been a huge help to us in the last 2 weeks. We are so behind on updating everyone but God has really been at work here! We wanted to send a quick update to tell everyone that thanks to Captain Perry of the U.S. Army and the prayers of everyone back home, we got the food off of the bus in customs yesterday! It was a long ordeal but tomorrow we will start distributing the 500 boxes of food to the children in the 8 areas where we work.

We will be going to one of the churches in the distant provinces tomorrow to drop off some food. While we are there we will also be taking formula and food to the set of Joy's twins that we relocated. They are doing fine and it will be good to check on them. We will also be stopping by the hospital to pick up the other set of twins. They have been there all week receiving IV fluids after a downturn fighting diarrhea. They are probably going to have to come and stay with us for a while to help the mother care for them during this critical time. We appreciate everyone's prayers for them. We will keep you updated on their progress.

We just want everyone to know that God has opened so many doors since the quake. Everything is different now. We are no longer living at House of Bread. God put in our hearts to take in some children that were orphaned by the quake. In order to do that, we had to look for a new place to live and a place for the ministry. God moved so amazingly! He opened a door for us to be able to find a small rental property that is perfect for our family. It is open and the kids have plenty of room to roam. It is right by the water so it is such a retreat from the stress of our normal day. Our God is so GOOD! We are still in contact with everyone at House of Bread and they are doing good too. We will miss seeing the boys everyday but we are just around the corner and they are doing great too.

We also were able to secure a perfect place for the ministry. It will serve as the headquarters for everything that we do. We will temporarily house some displaced families from PAP during their transition time. We will have a place for the kids we take in as well as rooms for teams to come down to work. It is right here in Montrouis and we are already beginning the process of getting it ready. I can't wait for you all to get to come down and stay with us and help us get it ready to care for the children and babies. We have no furniture, appliances, or even an eating area or kitchen but we know God has a great plan for it and we are so excited. Pray for the families that we will minister too and the children that will come to live there. We are not going to go out looking for them we are praying for God to send the right ones to us. We can't do this on our own. We need your prayers more than ever. An orphanage in Haiti is a huge undertaking but we are proceeding with much prayer and advice from others involved in the ministry here.

We still have to post pictures and updates about the teams that have been here since the quake. Some of our family members have even been able to visit and be a part of the work. Philip has returned to the states to prepare for full time ministry with YWAM in California. He is praying for the transition and needs your prayers and support. We are so excited and proud of him. He helped us so much here and everyone here misses him so much. I have Haitians ask me everyday where Philip is! You can click on his facebook link on the right of this page to find out how to support him. We LOVE you Philip.

Thank you all for your support, prayers, and encouragement. It is exciting for all of us to be a part of God doing a fresh work in the wake of such a tragedy. Keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. Thousands are sleeping in tent villages and the rainy season is quickly approaching. We have several hundred refugees right here in Montrouis and it is not going to be easy for them for a long time to come. Pray we know how to reach out to them and help them start over with their lives. The supplies you sent with Tracy, Toby, Mike, Jennifer, and Dad. They were so much needed. Our kids are still enjoying their gummie bears!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Bus Woes

God is so Good to us. We are seeing doors opened that are just amazing. But there are always obstacles. We had a group of U.S. soldiers that are responsible for civilian affairs issues come by and want to help us. So we went to the customs office to try to get out our bus with 500 boxes of food. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Then the customs officials starting telling us that they wanted to be in charge of distributing OUR food that a group back in the states sent here months before the quake as it sat in customs waiting to be cleared. Now they wanted to decide who gets it.

So I spent the afternoon today in the mayor's office in St. Marc discussing how we feel that "might" not be conducive with our plans. After much debate... stiff arming from armed soldiers.... it looks like we might actually get the food at some point but maybe not the least not without paying a bunch of customs fees. But all is good. The family is good. The guys in the ministry are good. The team that was here got back to the states and are already hard at work securing supplies for us to continue the work here.

God has redefined the scope of our ministry here with the quake. We will continue to provide eye care. I saw many patients today and will continue to do so through our 2 eye clinics and remote screenings. We also have all of the work with Pastor Cesar and the 1500 children in his schools. We are still working on getting a feeding program going to feed them everyday. We also have the school sponsorship program and community health. But since the quake we have so many babies and children that have been orphaned and living in the refugee camps that we feel God would have us start a small orphanage and take some of them in. We will also take in some of the people that were displaced by the quake and give them a place to live and work to help us with the kids. We have secured a beautiful location for the orphanage and are excited about this expansion of our ministry here. God has given us a tremendous support staff here and with the help of pastor Cesar and his family we are looking forward to receiving babies and giving them a place to grow up in the love of Christ. We will give you more updates on that in the days to come as things unfold. Pray God sends us the babies we are supposed to have.

Philip may be leaving on Friday on a military transport plane. We will miss him tremendously but we know God has huge plans for him and he will continue to seek God's perfect plan.

We will post some photos soon.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Child Trafficking, Dying Babies, and Gifts that Make Me Cry

We have been so busy lately that I have not had a chance to blog. I wish I could write more about each of the opportunities God has brought our way lately. We have an awesome team here right now and had a great team leave recently. We will post updates from those trips in the next few days...Lord willing!

Things are different here after the quake as you can imagine. The focus of everything is different and everything is harder. In some ways things are better but mostly everything is a worse right now.

Child Trafficking- a Rude AwakeningJoy cried herself to sleep more than once this week. Many of you have asked about her little twins that she rescued and has been feeding and everything. We know many of you have been praying for them. It turned out that we have not been able to update everyone but there are actually two sets of twins. The second set that she discovered the very next day were actually smaller than the first set because the mom also could not breast feed and was trying to feed her one month old twins spaghetti noodles because that was all she had. As Joy taught both sets of mothers to use the formula and feed them regularly all of them have begun to gain weight. But then we were introduced to the dark side of Haiti...another dark side I guess I should say.

Earlier this week we were going for our routine visit to check on them and two white men and two armed Canandian police officers came out of the house where the mother and the babies had moved to. As we approached the man, whom we had never met, the first thing he asked us was "do you want to adopt some babies". Of course Joy immediately felt uncomfortable and the man began telling us all the great things he had been doing in Haiti. He left and we went to see the babies.

The mother told us the man had moved her from where she was to this new one room house and told her she could live there. As Joy worked with the babies the man came back carrying a bag of rice. He gave it to the mother and told Joy that one of the babies was sick and that he had a couple in Pennsylvania that wanted twin babies. He had plans to take the babies to have them adopted by the family in the U.S. Joy asked what about the mother. He said he had talked to her and it was fine. After he left we asked the mom and she said through terrified eyes that he had never said he wanted to take the babies. He only told her that he was going to help her. The man owns an orphanage here that has always been suspicious but we had no idea. After the encounter we talked to some other local people that said he had been doing that here for a long time. It broke Joy's heart. She loves those little babies. That little mother loves her babies too.

We had a long talk with the mom and she has family in another area of the country near where we have a church. Tomorrow morning we are relocating the family. We have enough formula to last her several weeks and we will be making trips to check on them regularly. Please keep the little family in your prayers. We knew those evil things happened where babies are bought for a bag of rice but we did not think it would happen to kids we love. Praise God we were there at the exact time we were and that we found out what was happening. We know God has a plan these babies so keep them in your prayers.

Dying Babies
I told you about the little girl that we saw the day after the quake that was dying with a head injury and I had to tell the family that they just needed to keep her comfortable. This week I received a call that there was a little girl at the clinic in St. Ard where we have one of our eye clinics. They were told the little girl had been hit in the eye during the quake and wanted me to take a look.

I did not even get out of the bus when we arrived before I knew the little girl had not been hit in the eye. She had a horrible malignant tumor where her eye once was and the cancer had gone into her brain. She was barely responsive and dying quickly. Once again I was faced with the reality that another baby was going to die and that the family had to be told there was nothing I could do.

Why does God keep breaking our hearts?

An Uplifting Orphanage Visit
We visited an orphanage that was full of kids that were rescued after the hurricanes of 2008. It was a blessing to give some much needed food and treats to the kids.

We are working now with over 200 refugees here in Montrouis. They are located at two schools. The people come with absolutely nothing. I was there yesterday and as I sat talking to some of the families I heard one lady tell another that I was the husband of that white woman that took the clothes off of her babies and gave them to her baby the last time she came. The little kids were naked so Joy took off Jaxon and Judah's clothes and gave them to the babies. We are planning to go tomorrow to buy used clothes here in the market and give them to the families.

Jacy Klaire went straight home and came out of her room with an arm load of clothes that she felt she needed to give to the little girls at the camp.

A Humbling Gift
Many of you that have been to Haiti have met Pastor Remy. He lives in the distant mountains and pastors a small church there. He is the father of 7 children and lives in the two room house that I stayed in with Tracy Robinson, Tracy White, and Mark Ikerd the one trip we managed to make that far into the mountains. He fell and broke his shoulder recently and at about the same time their donkey died. They have a 3 hour trip to get water and without the donkey it was very tough for them. So we were able to buy them a new horse to replace the donkey. He wanted to come down and thank us and bring us a gift.

When they arrived they very formally told us they had a gift to give Joy and I as a thank you from their family. They first took out of their bag a large papaya. Next she pulled out a beat up cannister with ground coffee in it. Finally she opened a container that she had carried the four hours to meet us and began to pull out eggs that her chickens had laid. She gave us 10 eggs. I came up with the excuse that I would go and get a box. I actually had to go because I could not help but cry. To think that these humble people would bring us their best. They wanted to bless us so badly. I immediately was reminded how selfish and proud I am. God used this encounter to remind me what true love and humility looks like. Thank you pastor Remy. I know you will never read this because you lives miles from electricity and have never used a computer. But Thank you for being used to humble me and remind me why we left all the entanglements of the life of prosperity to come here to be loved by people that give us eggs.