Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Things have been crazy for us the last few months. I don't think I have ever been so sure about what needed to be done yet so unsure how it needed to be done. When we got to the U.S. this summer, Joy and I knew we had some things we needed to do this summer in our family but we did not realize how much help was needed.
God is always moving to direct His children to where they need to be. Through some routine appointments some questions were raised about our boys and some issues they need to deal with. We had some more testing done and it was determined that we needed to get them into a school where they can get into classes to help them. It turns out, those schools are unavailable in Haiti. Once we learned of the results and took into account our previous concerns and reservations we already, we decided that at this point we need to take some time off the mission field and focus on our family.
We tried to go back to NC but felt God was calling us to settle in Ft. Pierce, FL. We are closer to Haiti and able to send supplies and goods more easily. We are also urrounded by 16,000 Haitians in our county here.
God in His providence had these things figured out in advance. Dr. Dennis and Sara are there along with Dr. Tom and his family to continue the work of New Vision. We still have everything going on that we had before. Only the American school will be discontinued. What a huge blessing how God worked that all out.
I want to thank everyone who has sent money in the last few months as we continue to work to reach the Haitians in Montrouis through serving their needs and being Jesus to them. Joy and I will continue to send all donations to Haiti to maintain the work. We are waiting on God to see what He has in store for us this year. I hope to be able to find some speaking opportunities and in the mean time we are getting by on borrowed retirement.
The kids are enrolled in school and doing great. Our biggest obstacle is Justice. Her adoption is not finished and is here on a short term visa. We have applied for an extension but we will see. JP is still in Haiti and living with Dago. Luke and I went down two weeks ago to get some things done and JP is loving living there. We are working on papers for him too but things changed a lot with the new laws on Haitian adoptions. Pray God works that out too.
We are not disappointed with how things are turning out. Instead we are excited to see God work and expand New Vision into much more than just me and Joy. Now we have self supported missionaries living in Haiti continuing the work that God let us start and now we can work on this side of the water to support those missionaries as we get our lives figured out once again.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Dr. Tom and Carolyn Hatten are with us in Florida as they get ready to make the transition to full time service in Haiti. Dr. Tom is a family practice doctor that will be taking over responsibilities of our medical clinics and Carolyn is an educator and will be helping to run Liberty Academy. Their two youngest children that were adopted from Russia as babies will be moving with them to Montrouis on Friday. They will be leaving three adult children here so we have lots in common with their family.
We hope you will join us in praying for them and their family as they make this huge transition into full time service in Haitian culture. They were missionaries in Haiti over 20 years ago and now are returning for another tour of duty. I look forward to many of you getting to know them as you come down and visit and serve with us over the next year.
Joy and I have been in the U.S. with our kids for several weeks now doing family stuff and ministry work on this side of the water. We had gotten to a place where we were really struggling with life in Haiti as it pertains to our family and needs that we felt we were doing a poor job of meeting concerning our kids. We came to the states for the summer to try to get refreshed and renewed and ready to continue the work God lets us do in Haiti.
We have had a great time with family and friends while we have been home getting ready for Megan's wedding next month. We have been able to spend time with our kids individually and get some testing done for developemental issues along with doctor visits and everything and that has been needed. We have also gotten to spend a little time with our parents and getting some things done for them. But we are still struggling. We feel torn between the need to effectively raise our kids and the opportunity to serve God and the Haitian people full time. We will be heading back to Haiti on September 16th and greatly appreciate and covet your prayers for us as we deal with these internal issues.
Even as I type this blog I feel like maybe I should not be sharing so much about our personal struggle. But I think many times people think that the decision we made to go to Haiti in the beginning was this great act of valor and faith and that we don't deal with the same fears and doubts that everyone else deals with. The fact of the matter is that we do struggle. This is our first time feeling this torn but it is always a battle when you are trying to know God's plan and wanting to find that place that you know God wants you to be.
I will NEVER regret making the decision to go to Haiti and making the sacrifices that were necessary for us to be able to go in 2009. I have grown more in my faith in the last 3 years than I did the first 20 years of being a Christian. I have learned how many ways I viewed life through a skewed perspective because of the society in which we are raised. I am SO thankful to God for that opportunity. I love serving God in full time ministry. I love the fact that we know people's lives are being changed because of the things that we are doing and will continue to do. I just know that at times hard decisions have to be made to make sure that the long term effectiveness of our ministries is not jeapordized by frustration, fatigue, and discouragement.
So that is where we are today. Deadlines are looming as school is getting ready to start in Haiti and here in the U.S. If we were to stay in the U.S. it would have to be for a whole school year for the kids. That would mean I would be going back and forth and Joy would be staying here with the kids in school. I would be working on getting JP his papers so he could come here too. God has been so good to send helpers that could take over and keep everything going on the times when I am here in the states with the family. Dr. Dennis and Dr. Tom are already better missionaries that I am so they could handle the day to day operations and I would be working on getting the new orphanage built and coordinating teams and material shipments.
But, that is if we get confirmation that we are supposed to stay. I want to do what is best for my wife and kids as we serve as a family. If a break is needed, I want to take it before we get too burned out. If we are to keep our reservations on Sept. 16 and fight through the feelings of despair, then God is big enough to get us through. We are His and He is ours. His plan is perfect and His glory is deserved. But we cherish the prayers and support of Godly friends...so there you go!
Friday, July 27, 2012
22 year old Natalie was too proud to come ask me for help. Unlike most people in the village she did not want to ask for a handout. Although she was young, she had become a leader among the women living down by the river doing whatever it took to get food to feed her two kids. But then when her father, a fisherman and leader in the community, died unexpectedly, she sought help and we were there. We were able to help her rent a house with a couple of the other women in our program and she started working in the feeding program preparing food for the elderly. Her little frame betrayed the size of her spunk. Her big smile and forthright nature endeared her to all of the Americans who came to visit. She was ambitious and constantly wanting to meet to talk about possible ways for her to provide for her family. She became the spokes person for the ladies group and often confronted me when they felt there was a problem. I had much time with her to share the truth of the gospel and her need for Jesus. We had a good relationship. As other programs began to pull me away from spending everyday in the fish village, God sent Kelsea, an intern from Colorado, who took over much of the work with the women. She became close friends with Natalie and kept me updated on things in the program. We were eventually able to start a house for Natalie and her family. But then she began to be sick. She missed many days of working. Many trips to the local government hospital did nothing to help her ailing condition. Then she started refusing to go back to the hospital and started losing weight. Against the prodding of friends she refused to go for AIDS testing. By the time she finally did, she was down to a shocking 67 pounds and barely able to walk. The tests came back positive and treatment was started but it was too late. She was dying. As we were visiting her the last time before our trip to the US, Joy and I were heart broken. She was lying on a mat on her little concrete porch. As we shooed away the flies she just smiled up at me and held my hand as tight as she could as we prayed with her and talked. She smiled as we told her we would bring her back a treat from America, all the time knowing she would never hold out that long. Just a week after we arrived home in late June she passed away. I pray she truly understand the commitment she made to Jesus and repented and gave her life to him. We pray her death will soften the hard hearts of the other ladies in the group and they will receive the gift of life. Natalie's two orphans tested HIV positive as well and we are working to figure out their future. Can there be a more "least of these" than an AIDS orphan in a slum of Haiti?
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
We all made it safely to FL where we will start a time of refreshing and stateside work that will last until September. We will be in FL until July 11th at which time we go to NC. Before we leave FL, we will be helping Dr. Dennis get their car loaded onto he boat in Miami and shipped to Haiti. He will be returning to Haiti with his wife Sara on July 12th and will be working with Stephen and Autumn to handle hints while we are gone. I will be going back to Haiti at the end of July and then returning in August and staying until my daughter's wedding in September. We are really enjoying sharing time together with just our family while here in FL. We are working on getting Luke into college here starting in the fall. What a tough thing for Joy but we know Luke is ready and plans to go to Bible college to pursue a degree in Biblical studies as he seeks God for direction in ministry full time. He is a great missionary! Jacy, Josie, and Judah are in Bible school this week which has been great. Me and Joy have had Jaxon and Justice. We are trying to get supplies as well as make contacts here in FL for shipping into St. Marc. It has already been a successful trip. We can't wait to get to NC to see friends and family. We hope to get to a few churches to share and in a few cottage prayer meetings in friends' homes to give updates on the progress of God's work through New Vision Ministries Haiti. As always too, we do not use any ministry money to support our family while stateside so that all donations go directly to Haiti, so I may be finding a few days of work to help cover our expenses. Joy still needs teachers for Liberty Academy in the fall and need a Ford diesel mechanic willing to take a trip to Haiti to help me fix our truck. Walike also in the process of getting ready to build a new orphanage starting in the fall and need to schedule teams for all phases of building. We just had someone donate the funds for the well and are looking to start building the security walls as soon as we start getting donations. Finally, school sponsorship is starting again. We want to send 200 kids to school this coming year in Montrouis. We are doing it differently this year and need $225 per child to cover the year's expenses. I hope to work on those websites too in the coming days. Thank you for our support and we look forward to seeing many of you soon.
Friday, June 1, 2012
31 teachers 13 feeding program workers 13 domestic workers 9 pastors 3 translators 2 drivers 2 cooks 2 yard workers These are a few of the lives we get to invest in every month as we pay them to work in the schools, orphanage, fishing village, boys home, depot and other aspects of the mission. There are many others that we get to pay to do projects but these 75 people are like family. We get to invest in these people financially, personally, and spiritually. What a blessing for me each month! I am so thankful to God for the chance to see God work in changing me. In the past I got excited about payday because of what it put in my hand. Now I get excited on payday for what it puts in my heart. Thank you to everyone who gives to make it possible to support these families. I hope many more of you take the chance to come down and get to know some of the people whose lives you are changing. We need teachers for our American school next year. The main criterion is loving Jesus. Certified teachers are great but anyone willing to serve as a Jesus loving, gospel advancing, kingdom building missionary is qualified. Send me an email if interested. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
It has been so long since I posted here I almost decided to just forget it. But instead I decided to start fresh and get back into the habit. When we moved here in 2009 we lived in a little apartment above a boy's home. Our kids did not get to have a pet. So when we moved into the house at the ocean after the earthquake we went through several pets. We had a dog that was taken back because the person that gave it to us had stolen it. We had a wild cat that nearly ate Joy and then we suspect was eaten by the neighbors. We had two Haitian parrots that did not get their wings clipped often enough and one glorious day found freedom. Hundreds of crabs, hermit crabs, a baby mouse, fish thrown into the saltwater pool, even an octopus, and then Bella. Bella was a typical little Haitian mutt that became Josie's best friend. Anyone who knows Josie already knows that she is a fearless animal loving fanatic! You could hear the bellowing of the baby goat long before you could hear Josie's ecstatic laugh as she came around the corner at the mission one afternoon carrying a terrified baby goat and screaming "I got me a goat...I got me a goat!". Now she had Bella. She would carry Bella around the yard by the head. Bella would just hang there with a mixed grimace/smile on her face. But then the word came we had to move. The hotel we were moving into did not allow dogs and the mission already had a dog so Bella was doomed to living at the fish house in Calulan. A poor dog in an even poorer community. Broke Josie's heart. She would cry at night and get mad at me for not letting her see Bella. Then to top it all off, Bella was hit by a car and broke her rear hip. That made her not want to eat. She became the thinnest, ugliest, limping dog you have ever seen. One day Josie found a red ribbon and made me promise to take it and tie it around Bella's neck and because Josie loved her so much the fishermen and women at the fish house took an uncommon interest in Bella. They fed her and cared for her and only kicked her when she needed it. Bella became like the New Vision mascot in the fish village. Then after a year at the hotel, we moved out last week into a house. Yes a full blown house with doors and rooms and everything. We even have a kitchen with a stove. The house is closer to St. Marc so Joy and the kids are closer to the school. It is in a pretty safe and peaceful area. We are thankful for our time at Indigo and all the friends we made but we are glad God opened this new door. I am sitting on the front porch right now waiting on the tanks to fill on the roof so I can stop the pump. With new freedom comes old responsibilities but it is worth it. The biggest blessing is that Bella is back with us and all the kids love it. Little Justice keeps kissing her on the mouth but we are getting beyond that soon. I will post a blog with pics of the house soon. We spent today doing typical new home stuff like installing over 2000 feet of rolled razor wire on top of the wall around the house and running electrical wire high enough from one mango tree to the next that no one can easily steal it. We poured the roof on the clinic we are building in the fish village today. We have motor boats for the fishermen now and will be using them next week to go to the island of Lagonave for a week of clinics. Feeding programs, building programs, school sponsorship, fishing ministry, Liberty Academy, Celebration Children's Home, eye clinics, small business development, and our family and friends here are all doing well. We have some new friends, Dr. Dennis and Sarah Cowley from Indiana here making a huge difference with us now. Stephen and Autumn are starting a guest house for helping host some of the teams. And we are looking for a piece of property to buy to build the mission before our lease expires next year. More updates to come as I have a renewed desire to digitally vent and share.