The Family

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

Friday, July 23, 2010


Jean Patrick's (JP) mother died when he was a year old. He was raised by his father and his father's family. His father had a baby with another woman in the village. That woman sold bananas in market. The woman beside her consistently sold more bananas and that became a strife point. One day Jean Patrick's step mother decided to eliminate the competition. She had JP's father buy some "powder" from the local houngan- witch doctor. The powder is made from the corpse of dead people and is used to curse someone that you want to kill. JP's dad bought the powder and the jealous banana peddler used it to kill her competition - believe what you want- it is the reality of life in Haiti- true or not- science or religion- people end up dead- and that's the ultimate reality for them...

When the woman died it was known that JP's step mom had put the curse on her. So she fled to an island off of the coast to get away from the vengeful family of the dead woman. Since the vigilanty mob could not find the murderess, they decided that the husband that provided the powder would be a good scapegoat. So at age 7, JP had his father dragged into the streets, hands tied, a tire placed around his neck, and burned alive.

So now the 7 year old, traumatized orphan was left to basically fend for himself. He found a suitable home in the shelter of a dirt floor hut that was home to his elderly great grandmother. Unable to provide for most basic needs, JP found food and help where ever he could.

One day we received a phone call about a 9 year old boy that needed a home and a family. We were told the story of JP's past and how he did not have family that could take him in. We went to visit little JP and his great grandmother. She just cried as we talked about our mission and how we could provide for him. With nearly blinded eyes and no teeth, she pulled Jean Patrick close to her chest and wept over him. She kept saying how he had no mother or father and she had prayed and prayed for God to somehow deliver him. She kept telling him that he must be a good boy. He must not do anything to lose this opportunity. She told him this was his only chance to make it. It broke our hearts. She was so happy for him but she was putting so much pressure on him at the same time. We were just ready to get JP home and show him the love that Jesus had placed in our hearts for him. We were ready to help him heal from the trauma of a murdered father and the stigma he had received by the local villagers.

Since coming into our home little JP has flourished. He loves our kids and especially Joy. He just sits in her lap and lets her hug him. He is constantly looking for her to grab him and and brag on him with her broken creole. It is amazing how little verbal language is needed to convey love. He still has issues. He is plagued by the fear of the voodoo that took his father's life. I caught an octopus this week to show Sidney Robinson that was visiting. She wanted me to throw it back. Jamoy wanted to eat it. But Jean Patrick wanted me to just kill it so it would not go and bring a "devil" to curse our home. He believed that since we had caught it that it would now go in anger and tell the demons and they would come and curse our home and kill the children. He has been so afraid to sleep near the window. Although it is barred, he believes the witch doctor can turn into a rat or other animal and enter through the window to take him away.

He can't swim but we have gotten him to get into the water. He has never learned to swim due to his fear of what lives in the water. You can see by his gear that he is not taking any chances on sinking!

Keep JP in your prayers. He is a special kid and God has a special plan for his life. Pray God will let us help him over come the fears that plague him. Unchurched and unsaved, we know God wants to take over his life and lead him to a place of peace and victory. We are so thankful we get to be a small part of that process.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

General Update

I just wanted to take a minute to update everyone on how things are going in general. God is really allowing us to see some pretty awesome things happen. By that I do not mean blind people healed or sweeping revival. But we are seeing individual lives changed and a hand full of precious Haitian people really beginning to understand the depth of God's love for them.

Eye Clinics: We have one clinic in a hospital in St. Ard that is going great. We regularly find patients that have glaucoma, cataracts, pterygiums, and inflamatory eye disease that would have other wise gone untreated. Our staff of guys- Wesner, Paul, Robbins, Bazelais, and Dago all received a week of training by Dr. Lori Geddes and her team a few weeks ago and it is really paying off in our clinic. We also have a full office of equipment waiting in the container that is stuck in PAP right now. That office will go in a hospital in Pierre Pyan where we will also see patients each week. We regularly do screenings in churches and schools and that is often our most effective way of finding patients that need care. Peter is a 10 year old boy with just such a need. He was found during a screening in one of our mountain churches. He has an eye tumor and we are currently trying to find the best way to have the intensive surgery he needs and follow up care. Be praying for him.

Schools and Churches: Our schools are out for the summer right now. We are in the process of trying to get food shipments in so we will be able to feed the kids next year. The churches are doing well. All of our pastors are working hard and we will be holding a pastor training seminar again in the fall.

Celebration Children's Home: That is the name of our "crech". A crech in Haiti is a home that aids in the adoption of children. We have recieved 5 children into our crech so far. (Three of which we are adopting...) Wilna is the little 10 year old almost blind girl. She is doing great. Adelson is a 14 year old boy that was living in the streets in Montrouis and he has found a new home at Celebration. Jamoy lives with us. So does 9 year old Jean Patrick. His father was burned in the streets for practicing voodoo. And little 5 month old Justice is the pride of us all. She is doing great as well.

We have a local Haitian artist that is helping us decorate the mission and the children's home. He is a good guy and we are praying for him to realize his need for a real relationship with Jesus. He has an amazing talent and can paint anything. He has one drawback. He likes to surprise us! So he decides what he thinks we would like and does it. Even if we have totally other plans. One day I told him I wanted a logo painted on our wall in front of the mission. Joy mentioned a rainbow and kids playing on it with the name of the home. I had in mind a small logo under our New Vision Ministries logo. This is what we came in to find even before we confirmed the plans. So Celebration Children's Home became Celebration Home Chidren (no 'l').

We also have 3 moms and their babies living at the mission. They are doing well too. We are blessed to be able to invest in lives each and every day.

Fisherman's Ministry: God is really working in the lives of our fisherman. We have had many chances to minister to them lately. A friend from Hickory came to visit and brought me a roll of donated fishing line. We were able to give it to the guys for them to make jugs with. We are in the process of developing a plan where we help the fisherman catch more fish and then we buy them at a good price to give to the local schools to make sauce to feed the children. We are trying to get all of the logistics worked out but we believe it will be a great way to help the fishing community and at the same time feed children a healthy protein food that they love.

Biker Ministry: Many of you know we lost a good friend in a motorcycle accident. He was a driver of a moto -motorcycle taxi- here in Montrouis. As a result of that we are trying to reach out to the moto drivers in our community. We are planning a weekly meeting where we are able to minister to the moto drivers. I want to help them have proper equipment and then pray over them and their motos for safety and protection. Most of these guys are unchurched and now that the road has been built here in Montrouis, they have a very dangerous job. We had our first meeting scheduled Sunday but it go rained out. We will be meeting with them next Sunday.
We are looking for partners to help us know what all we might could do to reach these young guys and make their jobs safer. If you want to be involved, just let us know.

Earthquake Relief: Life is still very difficult for many here since the quake. Things are slowly getting back to normal- except for the fact that there are still lots of white people in PAP. We spend time in some of the tent villages doing distributions and helping with the transition. Tons of broken concrete are trucked to the outskirts of PAP and dumped everyday. Not much permanent rebuilding is taking place yet but many groups are building temporary housing for displaced victims. It will be a long long time before things are back to normal... whatever that is!

School Sponsorships: We are gearing up for our next year of school sponsorships. It costs us about $150 to put a child in school and buy their books and uniforms and everything they need for a year. We sponsored 27 kids last year ourselves but we are looking to open things up to allow others to sponsor kids this year so we are hoping to sponsor about 50 Montrouis kids to go to school. We are going to partner with a local group of young Haitians to help us identify the kids with the most need and let them help us with the logistics of the program. It is one of the ministry programs we enjoy the most. We are impacting children and families and they are so grateful for it.

Celebration Kids Club: Joy's Friday Kids club is doing great. She has about 40 kids that come to our house for a time of fun and Bible study. She always has a fun program lined up and the kids love her. Our only problem is that about half of them come everyday!

Monster Bus Worship: We had our first Monster Bus Worship service last Wednesday night with a team from Hickory. It did not go as well as hoped and the weather was not ideal but it got us started. We have a short school bus that is our main mode of transportation. I up fitted it to be a mobile worship center. We have a sheet of white plywood with hooks that hang it onto the back of the bus. Then we extend a boom with a projector to project worship videos with words back onto the screen. We have videos in English, French, and Creole. We use the laptop inside of the bus and run amplified speakers outside. We have an inverter hooked up to the 2 bus batteries to power everything. Our goal is to develop a service that we can take anywhere and draw people with sound and video. We also have the Jesus video DVD in creole that we plan to start showing in different communities.

Mission Teams: What a huge blessing teams have been in the last few months. It has been a lot of work but so much work has been done by teams from all over the US coming to Montrouis to work. I wish I could give proper credit to all of the ones that have been here. We can't believe so many people are willing to sacrifice to come and help us. We have had crusades, medical clinics, eye clinics, sports outreaches, pastor trainings, construction projects, shoe distributions, food distributions, clothes distributions, baby health programs, staff seminars, and much more through teams that have been here. I can't say how thankful we are!

Family Update: Jacy Klaire is in the states visiting family and friends. Joy is leaving in the next week to go get her. She will be going with Josie and leaving me here with the rest of crew. We are all doing great. God healed me of my ongoing illness and we are all doing well. We miss everyone back home but we are enjoying the life God is affording us here. We have a great place to live by the water and our kids can play and run. There is often a breeze and in the moments when we sit down we get to enjoy it. Thank you for your prayers for us personally!

Current Events: We had a flood in Montrouis 2 days ago. The river could not be contained by its banks and many homes were swept away. It was quite a sight to see the power of the raging river. Many people lost everything. The river came down our road to within a few hundred yards of our house. The deforestation and subsequent silting in of rivers has made flooding a deadly way of life here for many. One of my fisherman's mom lost her house and everything she owned. We moved her into the mission today for a few weeks until we can help them decide what we need to do to help her relocate. We also saw a tornado in the distance last night as it formed and touched down from a storm cloud. It was too far from us to be a hazard for Montrouis but it was a reminder of the fact that flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tempests, are part of our new life. But on a good note, the weather has been much cooler lately with all of the storms and rain. Every cloud has a silver lining.

The boys from HOB came over to swim in the ocean today. That was a great surprise for us. We enjoyed the time of playing with them and letting them play here. They asked about many of you that have been here to visit in the past.

So there is an update of how things are going here. We have not seen the sweeping revival and change in the superficial religious culture of our community but we are seeing God work. We stand amazed!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Catch of the Day

I have been working with a group of fisherman that fish off of the coast here in Montrouis, Haiti where we live. They fish for a living and it is usually pretty tough going. One project I have been working on is trying to develop a light that they can use at night in their wooden canoes for catching bait. Currently they put a fuel burning lamp on a paddle over the water and that draws in the fish for them to catch to use as bait. The lamps are not very effective and the smoke they put off burn the eyes of the fisherman and they must buy oil to use them. Many nights they do not catch any bait. That means they can't go fishing for the big fish the next morning.

I have been meeting with the fisherman every week. I have began to develop some relationships but they have just seen me as just a "blanc" - the term for white people in Haiti- that wants to help but not as a fisherman. This past Monday after our meeting, I started talking about how we fished with jugs and trot lines when I was growing up. They started asking questions and testing me on fishing stuff. By the end of the evening- which invlolved me showing them a shark week episode- they were beginning to talk to me more like a fisherman. Then one of the guys invited me fishing to test out the light I have been working on.

I took a little radio that the US Army was giving out that you can turn a handle to charge it or set it in the sun. I attached a wire that leads to three LCD lights sealed inside a small bottle inside a green bottle- attracts more fish- and then weighted to sink the bottle. I have about 20 more of the radios left that we could use for the lights. And I have given one to all of the fisherman right after the earthquake.

So at 8:00 Thursday night I went out fishing to test the light. Roger showed up in a borrowed aluminum boat. He did not want me to have to go out in his wooden canoe. I think he was scared the blanc would tip him over in the middle of the night!

So me and Jeanmoy went with him and spent from 8:00pm until 1:00 am catching bait fish using a line with about 20 hooks on it and pieces of styrofoam for bait. You just let the line sink under the light and shake it up and down and wait for the bait fish to come. The same way we catch bait fish off the coast in Florida. The difference is the line is rolled around a piece of styrofoam block and each time you pull up the 50 to 60 feet of line with a fish on it- it ends up getting tangled up. We shared stories and some potted meat and caught about 2 dozen bait fish. Most of our time was spent bailing water out of the leaky boat.

The light worked but I have several things that I need to redo to make it better. I was more concerned about making it able to be submersed in the water but we need to just make it brighter and using a rechargable power source.

Yesterday Roger went out with the bait and returned around lunch...with nothing. I told him I wanted to go with him to fish for the big fish...wahoo, sail fish, dauphin, etc. He told me he did not want me to go today because he did not see anyone catch any fish and he did not want me to go and not catch anything. I told him that I would be fine with not catching anything that I wanted to see how he did everything. So he called me later and told me he had arranged to borrow the same rickety boat and even a motor if I could buy some gas. So I did and he told me he would see me at 5 am.

So that is where the fun began. Right on time at 5:30 Roger showed up to get me. We took the leaky boat with a load of styrofoam blocks and gallon bleach jugs wrapped with line and hooks along with our little bait fish and headed out. It took us about 40 minutes to get to the spot where we were going to put out the jugs. The same place takes 3 hours to paddle.

We spent about 45 minutes baiting and putting out the jugs. The jugs have about 100 feet of 90 pound test line tied to a steel wire leader and hook. After we placed all the jugs we went and sat to watch them. The waves were getting rough so it was hard to see the jugs but we just sat and waited.

We talked about Roger's childhood and his current family. We have helped him with his 5 kids several times when no fish could be found. He does not talk much but we had some good conversation about his religious beliefs and I got to share with him the love Jesus has for him.

He was very careful to not lose any of the bait fish. Even the dead ones. I knew that the big game fish we were after rarely eat dead fish so I figured he used them for cut bait or something. When I asked he gave me the "dumb blanc" look and told me that his family would be eating those bait fish tonight if we did not catch anything. That is definitely motivation for fishing. I also asked how long he waited before he collected the jugs and went home. He said until he caught a fish or the day was over. I forgot he was not there for sport.

About 9:00 - when I had used up all of my creole and sunscreen- Roger calmly said "pwason" - fish. I looked and a six foot sail fish was walking on his tail across the water about 300 yards away. After that another one leaped about 5 feet out of the water. Roger started the motor and I put down my water bailing bucket. When we reached the first line I plucked the styrofoam block out of the water and handed it to Roger as he passed me in the boat heading towards the bow. He stood and began letting the big fish pull the boat around. I looked and saw that in all we had 4 fish on lines at the same time.

Roger starting pulling in the line slowly and I wrapped it around the styrofoam block as he retrieved it. Then the fish would leap out of the water and make a run and pull the line back off of the block once again. Pull, wrap, unwrap, pull, wrap, unwrap...for almost an hour we let the fish pull us around like a tug boat. Finally he fatigued and after a few precarious trips around the boat I handed Roger the 8 foot mango stick with the rusted harpoon nailed to the end. I took the line and Roger plunged the iron hook into the side of the fish just behind the gills. He then grabbed the fish in the gills and heaved it into my lap! Then, without celebration, or photo ops, Roger started the boat again and we went in search of the other fish. By time we got back to where they were one was already off the hook. We tracked down another one and I told Roger that this one was mine.

I had decided that any fish we caught I would buy from Roger at the normal price since if I was not there he would be able to catch them and sell them. So then I was afraid that if I lost the fish I would be losing Roger's money. So I told him before I grabbed the line that I would pay him either way. Even if I lost it. So I stood up in the unstable little boat that was being rocked by the waves. As soon as I grabbed the line I knew it was going to be a fight. The fish took off before I could even start pulling. Dragging our little boat about as easily as he pulled the jug. Slowly I began to retrieve the line in a hand over fist fashion. I knew not to get my hand or fingers tangled in the line or it could be ugly when the fish went for a run. My fish was less fatigued than Roger's. It constantly took all of the line I retrieved. After a powerful leap out of the water followed by a graceful tail dance, the trophy size sail fish dove deep. I tugged, and pulled, and tugged, and pulled. Once I was knocked onto floor and almost out of the boat into the sea. A usually compassionate Roger could not help but laugh. Back onto my feet I braced myself better and continued the epic battle. After just over an hour the fish was visible as it ascended towards the boat. I told Roger to spear it for me and he helped me get dinner into the boat.

By time I finished my fight the other fish was gone. It had been on a smaller of the pieces of styrofoam and it just left with it. So we ended up with two fish. We spent the next hour collecting all of the other jugs. I could not imagine doing that in a wooden canoe. It blows my mind. The fish pulled us so far away from where we had to go to get the jugs. I would die before being able to paddle that much. Then after all that was done you have to paddle back home three hours. I was so happy to be in a boat with a motor!

So at the end of the day Roger cleaned and weighed the fish. He only let me pay for one. I tried to give him one of the chunks of filet but he refused. He said fisherman always have fish...even if they are just bitesized!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Giving Hope

There are some days when God says "sit back and let me show you how I work". We had one of those days this week.

We have had a team here from NC this week helping us. We were able to do eye clinics and distributions, and lots of painting at The Mission. We painted the two girls rooms pink and purple and the two boys rooms blue and green. We want to thank all of you that had a part in that trip!

Joy and I were sitting on our porch getting ready to leave when a little young women came walking down the path through our yard carrying a baby. You could tell by the mother's body language that she was not doing very well. She came to me and I immediately saw that the little baby she was carrying had a severely scarred cornea in her left eye. They were both in tattered clothes and malnourished. Joy got the mom some food and I took the baby to check her eyes. We found out that the mother was a single mom- as always- and really struggling to care for her baby. We asked her to spend the morning with us and we listened to her story- as much as she was willing to share.

She says she is 20 years old but I am doubtful she is older than 15 or 16. She was living with a man that kicked her out when he found out she was pregnant. The baby was born with normal vision but 3 days after birth the eye became infected and she was unable to pay to take her to the doctor. Now 6 months later the eye is severely scarred. This young lady was one of the most heartbreaking we have encountered. I have never seen someone so beaten down. She would not look at us. She just sat there expressionless. Jaxon kept giving her crackers the entire morning. It was as though he could even tell she was hurting deeply.

I finally sent her to have an HIV and syphilis test for the baby to see if we could determine the cause of the eye disease. Then I was having her meet us at The Mission to check the baby's eyes in the clinic. I then left for a walk to see one of our projects at Dago's business where some steps were being built. On the way I bought 2 dozen freshly roasted conch to give to the workers once I arrived at the work site. After a visit there I began to walk home. I passed Jeanmoy on the street on his way to school...late. Then I had another encounter with a young mother.

This young lady we have helped in the past. We have given her bottles and formula and rice at times before. The last time she came to see Joy she tried to get Joy to take her 8 month old baby. Joy did not feel like that was the best option and felt like we should just continue to help the mother. But when she came to me she was desperate for help and again trying to get me to take the baby. I told her to meet us at the mission and let us sit down and see what we could do.

She showed up about the same time as the mother with the eye problem. Joy and I sat down and talked to her as she told us her story. At 17 she was married with a one month old baby and living in Port Au Prince at the time of the earth quake. Her husband was killed during the quake and they escaped and moved to Montrouis to live with an aunt. The aunt is unable to help with the her needs and the baby and she has no one else. She wanted to keep her baby but the baby is malnourished and she has no way of providing for her.

So there we were. Two teenage moms at their wits end ready to give away their babies out of desperation. So instead of taking the babies and raising them for the mothers to let them go back out and make the same mistakes and end up in the same situation again, we decided to take in the mothers and the babies. For a specified period of time they will live at The Mission and help with the daily tasks there. We will help them with their basic needs and disciple them in being good mothers and how to find God's plan for their lives. So Joy fixed up the purple girl's room with beds and a place for the babies and it was...right...and good. We loaded them in the bus and went to their houses to get their things. One of the mothers was sleeping in a mud hut on the dirt floor with her baby. Just seeing how she was living broke our hearts even more. We are so thankful for the chance to impact these young ladies and their babies. Please keep them in your prayers.

The same day...we had a call about a 14 year old boy that we had met the week before that is an orphan locally. His mother and father both died and he was living with an uncle. The uncle was beating him and now we found out the uncle accused him of stealing some money and kicked him out into the street. So the next day he came over and we let him spend the night. Then yesterday he went to PAP with us and we spent the day talking and sharing. So today we moved him into The Mission and moved one of the guys into a room with him. His nick name was Ti Kabrit which means little goat in kreole. He hates it but that is what everyone calls him. The people he was living with after his uncle kicked him out did not even know his real name. We call him Aldilson...his real name. He is so happy to have a place to live and a bed to call his own. Baz- one of our staff guys- is his room mate and mentor at The Mission. Keep them in your prayers too.