Thursday, March 1, 2018

God's Hand at Work

Some of you may have seen the recent post on the RMI blog.  If so, I will let you know that this post was written with the thought that many of our family, friends, and supporters may not see that blog post, but read ours.  We wanted each of you to rejoice along with us in what God is doing in the lives of individuals that we have come in contact with over the past year. 

We realize that it has been another long wait for a blog update, we apologize for that, somehow, the blog posts always seem to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do lists...have you ever read Tyranny of the Urgent by Charles E. Hummel?  As much as I hate to admit it, I believe that book was written with me (Tina) in mind...

Since we arrived back in Haiti last summer, we have served alongside 21 teams as they have come to visit their sister church and/or spend time with RMI.  It is always a blessing to be able to spend with our brothers and sisters from the US as they serve alongside the churches here in Haiti.  

In this post, we want to share two different stories of lives that are changing because of the ministry of the Haitian church, in combination with the American churches that come alongside them.  

First of all, we want to introduce you to Markenson, who I (Tina) met a year ago when I visited Cote de Fer church with a team from Walloon Lake, MI.  On our last morning in Cote de Fer, we spent some time visiting individuals in their homes. We delivered food boxes and spent some time in prayer for individuals and their families.  One of the homes that we visited was Markenson's.  At that time, he was in a wheelchair after losing his left leg, below the knee.  The individuals from the team shared the gospel with him, his family, and friends; but no one was ready or willing to make a commitment to Christ at that time.  Following is a picture taken during that visit. 

In October, Lee and Josiah returned to Cote de Fer with a team from McGregor Baptist Church (FL) and participated in some home visits, once again.  Josiah visited Markenson with a group from the McGregor team, who again shared the gospel with him.  This time, Markenson accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.  After leaving the home, the team learned Markenson's story.  He had been a well known criminal in the Cote de Fer community and was shot by the police in February of 2017, at which time, he lost his leg.  Eight months later, after two contacts from RMI teams and the ongoing ministry from the church leadership in Cote de Fer, Markenson recognized the need for Christ in his life.  Our prayer is that God would continue to mold and shape Markenson into a man after God's own heart.  Following is a picture that was taken of Markenson with a team member from McGregor Baptist Church during our last visit with him.

Some of you have heard a portion of the second story from when we were in the States last summer.  Lee met Ti Mayi in January 2017 with a team from Lifehouse church in DE, who came for the first time to experience what RMI is doing in Haiti.  During their visit, Lee and some other RMI staff accompanied them as they went to visit the home of a young man and his family, who were faithful in their service to God.  Again, the team was delivering a box of food or a water filter (Lee isn't sure which one), but more importantly, they wanted to spend some time in prayer for this family.  After a brief conversation with this young man, they learned that his father, Saint Clair (nicknamed Ti Mayi - little corn - by the people of the community) was not a believer.  In fact, he was very involved in practicing voodoo.  He feels it is his responsibility to pay his debts to the evil spirits on behalf of his family.  The team shared the Truth with him and prayed for him.  It was breaking his son's heart that his father would not spend eternity with him, if something would happen.  Following is a picture of Ti Mayi and his son from that first visit.

In the spring of 2017, we had some seeds donated in our name that needed to be distributed.  Perguens (one of RMI's partnership facilitators) and Lee felt the need to take seeds to this family.  When they arrived at the home of Ti Mayi and his son, with the bag of seeds in hand, they shared the Gospel with Ti Mayi, once again.  Then they walked to see the fields where the seeds would be planted.  This is where God began to show his plan . . . Perguens and Lee noticed that the fields were already plowed.  When they inquired as to why, Ti Mayi and his son said they had plowed the fields, but did not have the money to plant them.  When asked how much of the field the seeds would plant, they opened the bag and said that it would be the perfect amount to plant the entire field.  The other amazing part of God's plan was that when our staff were loading the seeds, they felt led to give him the same type of seeds instead of giving them several different types and they added an additional "scoop" to the bag . . . God was leading.

Before leaving that day, Lee and Perguens reminded Ti Mayi that this God that his son serves knows our needs and provides for them in advance, just like he had in this instance.  They prayed for him, again, and he responded that he felt like God was tugging at his heart, but he wasn't ready to make a commitment to him, yet.  

In February of this year, the Lifehouse team returned, again, to minister alongside of their new sister church in another part of Haiti.  As they sat around the table reminiscing about their trip in January 2017, they looked back on the time that they had spent with Ti Mayi and caught up on what had happened last spring.  At that time, Perguens had yet another update; he had been informed that Ti Mayi had willingly attended special services at his son's church over the Christmas season and as of today, we understand that he has been attending church regularly for the last month or so! He still hasn't made the decision to follow Christ, but God is at work in his life!  We are confident that one day soon, Ti Mayi will come to know Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.  Following is the most recent picture that we have of Ti Mayi, his family, and Perguens. 

Although we may not have stories to share every day of the week, or even every month, we are thankful to see God's hand at work in the lives of the people around us.  Thank you for your role in this work that touches the lives of the people that we have the privilege to minister to; alongside our Haitian and American brothers and sisters.  God continues to do new things ... for this, we are thankful!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Nine Weeks in the States

You may be wondering what in the world our family did while we were in the States for nine weeks this summer. Afterall, nine weeks is a LONG vacation, right . . . We attended Josiah's high school graduation and party, spent time in eight different churches, renewed driver's licenses and a passport, Josiah passed his driver's permit and license tests, took care of our taxes, numerous doctor and dentist appointments, took a week and a half trip to Nebraska and Kansas with a stop at the Ark Encounter, multiple trips to the Apple store to have repairs and check-ups on our computers, a week long vacation with family by the bay in Delaware, Daniel found a job, and many, many other good, as well as difficult, times spent with family and friends. Although it sounded like a long time to be living out of suitcases, the time flew by very quickly.  Following, is a brief story of our summer in pictures . . .
Nathan and Isaac enjoyed a Froot Loops milkshake.

We were visited by an iguana by the pool at our hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

We returned just in time to attend Josiah's 
Mason-Dixon Homeschool Association Graduation on June 24. 

We stayed at the Orleans Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Orleans, Nebraska and spent some great times with our good friends, Greg, Star, and Jessica Harvie, as well as the sister church partnership of Loomis, Oxford, and Holcomb churches in a variety of activities.

We caught up on some precious time with cousins; 
in the everyday of reading a book together,

making a sandman together,

playing a game of taking Uncle Lee's hat, 

enjoying some crabbing and the feast afterwards with Pap,

and enjoying a beautiful sunset over the bay.

They even succeeded in giving Mom a good scare at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve when they informed her that there was an uncaged black snake in the pavilion above her head.  That was worth a few good laughs for everyone since she "adores" (lots of sarcasm here) snakes.

We had new family pictures taken for a new prayer card that should be coming out very soon.  Keep your eyes open for it. 

We also spent some precious time with some friends in the midst of difficult and sudden losses of loved ones. What a hard time for all of us, but at the same time, it was a blessing for us to be able to be there at that time because so often, we don't have the option of being with our friends and family in the midst of their life challenges and crises. 

We extended our stay by a week so that we could attend a cousin's, Nate and Tricia Eisenberger, wedding on August 19.  It was great to catch up with some more family that we hadn't had the opportunity to see earlier in the summer. 

So, although nine weeks sounds like a terribly long time to be away from our home in Haiti; the time flew by because it was so full of great times spent together with friends and family.  We appreciated spending time with each of you, no matter how little time we had; and for those that we missed this year, hopefully we can touch base the next time we make it back. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ministry snapshots

This winter and spring have been full of teams, rain, ministry opportunities, rain, computer/internet challenges, and some more rain.  We will spare you the pictures of the rain and computer problems... although, you may have seen a couple of pictures of the latter on Facebook recently (let's just say that a frog and a lizard lost their lives while taking up residence inside a computer).

However, we would like to share some pictures of a little bit of the ministry and preparations that happen here on a regular basis.

RMI's goat project has provided about 400 goats to children and their families since the beginning of the year.  Each goat given to a child provides him or her with the ability to attend school and purchase the supplies needed for education and other needs.

Lee learned very quickly that getting goats ready to go out to their new homes, isn't always as easy as it looks. Our Haitian staff make moving goats look much easier than it is.
One of our teams' favorite activities is spending time with their sponsorship children during their trips to Haiti. Monthly support from people in the States provides many children in Haiti with an education that they wouldn't have, otherwise.

Another favorite team activity involves home visitations with the people of their sister church community.  This gives team members the opportunity to minister to the hearts and lives of people who are not always involved in the church. When visiting homes we provide a family with food, hygiene kits, or water filters and spend time praying, sharing the gospel, and/or offering them some encouragement.  

Occasionally, our teams have the ability to offer a medical clinic at their sister church. These usually focus on education, but sometimes they are able to provide other resources, as well.                                                    

Each time a sister church comes to visit, there are many Haitian women and men who give their time and resources to provide meals and clean, safe places for our teams to rest. We cannot even begin to share our gratitude for the servant's hearts of our brothers and sisters here in Haiti.

It is such a joy for us to be able to share with our brothers and sisters, both Haitian and American, as they minister to one another during their time together.

This week we have two teams on the ground. Lee is out with Trinity EFC (LA) as they visit their sister church in Picot and Daniel, our teammate, Joel, and summer intern, Kendall are working with TFC Youth Team here in Cayes as they do some work projects for RMI and the missionary community. Your prayers are appreciated as we serve alongside of them.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

It’s been awhile…again…

Where does the time go? I can’t believe that we are quickly approaching the end of January 2017 already!!!

We apologize for being quiet for awhile, again….all is well, life has just kept us on our toes.

We just returned from our almost daily visit to the hospital to spend some time with Mikencia and her sisters. A few weeks ago, Lee and/or I (Tina) started going for a little bit most days to read to the girls to help break up their long days at the hospital. They actually teach us to read and understand Creole, most of the time. We also have Mikencia do some of her exercises for us. Today, she surprised us by asking her sisters for her sandals. She put them on, and took a number of steps around the hospital bed, with us cheering her on the whole way. She is still stooped over like an old person (according to her sisters), but this is some great progress. Following is a picture of Lee and the girls reading:

We had a two week break over the holidays and part of that was spent at a small resort about two hours from our home. It was a great opportunity for our family to get away and enjoy one another’s company.

We found the following beetle outside the boys’ room during our stay. That is Daniel’s hand next to it, not Isaac’s….

The remainder of the break was spent working on some projects around the house, visiting with some friends and preparing for the return of school and team schedules.

There are never a shortage of creatures for the boys to find and play with. Here, Isaac found himself a little tree frog:

The first week of January we all headed back to the office and school to get back to our normal routine. Our first team of the year arrived on Friday, January 6 from Nebraska. Upon their departure, a team from Delaware came to work with us for the first time. Before they left yesterday, a team from Florida arrived to visit their sister church, as well. The Florida team leaves tomorrow morning and we will have a few days to prepare for a fourth team from New Jersey.

This month, I (Tina) also finished my time of teaching with the fifth and sixth graders at Cite Lumiere Christian School. It was bittersweet to leave them last week. I really enjoyed the couple of hours a day that I spent with them every day over the last five months. I can certainly say that they were a bright spot in my day. I will still sub for them from time to time, however, with the busy team schedule ahead, I need to concentrate more of my time with preparations and team activities.

We appreciate your continued prayers for us as we prepare for and spend time with the teams that are on our schedule, as they minister alongside us and our brothers and sisters in Christ here in Haiti. The needs of the Haitian people continue to be great, but our God is greater.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Before and After . . .

Just to give you an idea of the change in our surroudings before and after the hurricane, following is a picture of our friends, the Christensons, on the day that they arrived to wait out Hurricane Matthew with us . . .

and a “remake” of that picture a few weeks after the hurricane . . .

and by the time the second picture was taken, there had already been a lot of regrowth of leaves on the trees.

Life Has Been Busy . . .

Wow, we have gotten way behind in our communication with you, again. Life continues to be busy for us, but God is good through the busy times of life. We have a few things to follow up with since it has been so long. Over a month ago, we asked you to pray for three specific prayer concerns and it is high time that we update you on those answers to prayer . . .

We asked for prayer for an RMI staff member, Vonel, who broke his arm in a motorcycle accident. Vonel was at the hospital for about two weeks until he was able to see American doctors who determined that he did not need surgery, but monitored him for a few days before sending him home with his arm set. Vonel continued to have some swelling in his arm this past week which caused some concern so please continue to pray for complete healing for him. Also, last week, Vonel’s family had another difficult circumstance to face as his father who has been in failing health passed on to his heavenly home. His funeral service was yesterday morning, so I am sure that Vonel’s family would appreciate continued prayers in this time of trial for them.

We also asked you to pray for our team members, Joel and Laura Sutton who traveled back to Pennsylvania to spend some time with Laura’s mother who was hospitalized after a couple of heart events. Before Joel and Laura returned a week later, they had helped to move her mother into an assisted living facility to better serve her needs and although her health is not what we would consider good, they are comfortable with where she is for this stage in her life. They would appreciate continued prayers for Laura’s mom and the rest of her family as they care for her, as well as Joel and Laura as they are so far away at this trying time for her mother.

Lastly, we wanted to thank you for your continued prayers for Mikencia, who is celebrating her 8th birthday today. She continues to be in the hospital, but this week we have seen some great accomplishments in her healing and recovery. Friday afternoon we saw Mikencia’s smile for the very first time in over five weeks. What a welcome sight for us. She also showed us how she can extend her legs most of the way without any tears. We left the hospital that day with hearts full of gratitude to the Lord for His healing power in her life. She still has a long road ahead of her, but seeing those little obstacles overcome provides great thanksgiving in each of our hearts. This afternoon, we were able to spend a little time with her when we visited and her smiles came much more easily and she seems to be more ready for some play than we have seen in a long time.

The list of praises that we share here could be extremely long, but I want to add just one more of the many that could be added here . . . a couple of weeks ago, one of RMI's Partnership Facilitators, Anderson, was also in a motorcycle accident as he was traveling out to visit one of our sister churches. He came back to the office with a slight limp, some skin scrapes, and some holes in his clothes, but no major injuries. We are so thankful for God’s protection for him; Anderson shared a day or two later at devotions, that a week or so before his accident, there was another motorcycle accident at the same spot and a woman was killed. He felt even more blessed that his accident wasn’t worse.

So, although life here continues to be more challenging after the hurricane . . . it is clear that God still provides and he still protects, even during the difficult times.