Rainy Season and update

In mid-April, we experienced our first sun halo.  fullsizeoutput_c19

A sun halo, according to wikipedia, is “an optical phenomenon that belongs to the family of ice crystal halos, in the form of a ring with a radius of approximately 22° around the Sun or Moon.”  To us, it looked like a rainbow around the sun. (The picture doesn’t truly capture its beauty.) It was truly magnificent, more evidence of our awesome Creator, displaying His beauty through His creation.  We asked different Haitian’s about the sun halo, and got varying responses anywhere from, “it is a sign of the end times,” to “we are going to get a lot of rain in the next month.”  It very well could be a sign of the end times, but the Haitian who predicted it meant a lot of rain, was right on!

For the the first time in almost 4 years of living in Haiti, we are experiencing our first real rainy season.  It has been characterized with regular, nightly rains, and a couple of 3-4 day stretches of all day and night rains.  Fields and roads are currently flooded, rivers are raging, and most everything in our house feels damp.  We have been praying for rain, for drought stricken Southern Haiti, for 4yrs.  And here it is, God has faithfully, in His time, provided rain to Haiti.  Through this rainy season, God revealed a verse in the Bible, that has brought on a whole new perspective……

Hosea 6:3 “….He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain watering the earth.”

What a promise!  As I write this, physically, it is pouring down rain outside, and has been for 24 hours!  It seems like the floodgates have been opened up!  Likewise spiritually, God promises that when we call upon the Lord, when we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him!  He will come to us, pouring out His healing, comfort, love, strength, grace, goodness, sending what He knows we need, and can’t get for ourselves.  Great is His faithfulness!

It has been awhile since my last post, so I thought it would be good to share updates on some of the blessings in our life.

I’d like to start with a thanks to everyone who has prayed for Bos Ezekiel!  He saw the Orthopedic Dr yesterday, and received great news.  His arm is completely healed, no restrictions.  His leg is well on its way, and he was released to start walking without his boot or walker!  Dr.Belding feels his leg will heal fully and he will be released without restrictions at his appointment in July!  We hope to see his smiling face back in the construction yard soon!  FullSizeRender

Renault Sunday school is going strong and we continue to see God’s hand at work!  Rod & Debbie had a construction team put an addition on the side of the pavilion!  Now, everyone has a seat, and a dry, covered area to praise the Lord in!  It is so neat to see first hand, how God continues to grow this ministry!  IMG_0088

Speaking of Renault, we recently helped with a distribution of shoes and clothes!  We want to thank our home church of Roanoke, for all the clothes and shoes that you gave at the VBS collection last year. We put those donations together with clothes and shoes that the Wray’s received, and had more than plenty to go around!  I also want to personally thank 2 ladies from Roanoke.  One, who bought, collected, cleaned up, and boxed hundreds of pairs of shoes, that she donated!  And the other, who cleaned out DG’s end of the season flip flops and sandals to donate!  I wish you both could have been here to see the smiles on the kids faces!

 

The shoe pile!

IMG_0100

The girls celebrated their day off school on May 1st, by making cookies and delivering baskets to our neighbors.

We celebrated Chloe’s 14th birthday!  She is such a blessing in our life!  It is such a privilege to see how God is shaping her heart and using her for His kingdom!fullsizeoutput_c18

Bri and I attended a weekend retreat with our fellow missionary ladies.  I’m thankful it was a time of spiritual refreshing, and for the time I was able to spend with Bri.  A few of us hiked a small mountain, and really enjoyed God’s beautiful creation from the top!  FullSizeRender

My teaching responsibility at the Cite Lumiere Christian School has officially ended!  I’m thankful for the opportunity I had to teach Science to these 8th graders, and to get to know these young adults a little bit better.

IMG_0138

The past 2 months, these three ladies have been getting together regularly, to praise the Lord!  It has been awesome to hear their music and laughter fill the house!

IMG_0039

Pickle ball is one of our families new hobbies!  We have a pickle ball court measured out in the depo! fullsizeoutput_704

Sharing popsicle’s with some of the orphanage girls! IMG_0012fullsizeoutput_c22

Thanks to all those that send encouragement via emails, mail, and packages!  It is definitely a highlight in our week, to hear from those that love us back “home.” IMG_0050

Lastly, I’m thankful for my HarvestCall family, here in Haiti!  In a recent tragedy,  Janella Zimmerman,  a wife and mother to 2 young children, was called home to be with the Lord.    Though we rejoice that Janella won her victory and is in heaven, we are heartbroken for David, Cassia, Orin.  We are reminded that each day is a gift and a blessing.  We should use each day to live and serve God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind.  Please continue to lift this dear family up in prayer, as well as our missionary family in Bonne Fin.15138340_1738600266463299_176130484978970140_o

May we all “Set our minds on things above, not on earthly things,” Colossians 3:2.

fullsizeoutput_c21

Health kits!

I want to take a little time to share about Health kits.  First of all, there are several different “kits” that are assembled at Apostolic Christian Churches across the United States.  Some of the different kits include health kits, school kits, sewing kits, first aid kits, and infant kits.   Once the kits are assembled by different churches, they are sent to HarvestCall distribution centers, to be shipped to countries such as Jamaica, Mexico, and Haiti.

At the construction department, we are thankful to receive and distribute the health kits and sewing kits.   For many, many years, the construction department has used the health and sewing kits to hand out as gifts to the local Haitian ladies that cook for our construction teams out in the villages.   The ladies are always so thankful for the gifts!  fullsizeoutput_5faThis past October, after Hurricane Matthew ravaged southern Haiti, we were so thankful to have a small stock of health kits in our depo, or storage building.  With the help of another mission organization, we were able to distribute the kits to Haitians in the villages that were the hardest hit.  Since the hurricane, we have received and distributed thousands of health kits to those in need.

Health kits include; soap, washcloth, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a hair comb.  Occasionally, we receive kits with shampoo.  img_0013.jpg

We feel it is necessary to pass on a huge “Thanks,” to those that organize, purchase supplies, assemble, pack, and ship the different kits!  We also thought you might enjoy a few pictures of some of the recipients.

20170318_13001820170311_13453120170324_133114

img_6492img_6485

 

Thanks again for all those that have invested time and effort into health kits!  Your efforts are not wasted!  The health kits have blessed many Haitians, and will continue to do so for many years! It’s our hope and prayer that God will continue to be glorified and that His love will be shared to those receiving health kits!   Matthew 25:40, “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  

Eureka Bible Team

We just finished a great week with a small team from Eureka Bible church!  We are so thankful that Scott’s mom, sister, and brother-in-law came to visit, and that they brought Pat, an awesome mechanic! They were a small, but mighty team, and got a lot of work accomplished!

We were blessed by Cory, Kim, & Edie’s organizing skills!  They spent 2 days cleaning and organizing plumbing and electric supplies, while Pat worked his magic on some of the vehicles.

IMG_0762

We at worshipped at Renault on Sunday morning, and helped with a distribution of clothes and health kits afterwards!!

The team spent 2 days working with Scott, Ed, and their Haitian bosses putting a roof on a church in a local deaf village.  The team really enjoyed getting to know Tony & Cilda, the missionary couple in charge of the project.  They also enjoyed interacting with the deaf children at the school.

Bri and Chloe were also thankful for Kim’s hair cutting skills!!  She did a great job!

We enjoyed many dinners together on the porch, as well as dinner at the Bistro, a local French restaurant!  (Thanks, Pat!). IMG_0763IMG_0781

We spent our last day together exploring one of our favorite little islands, and enjoying the natural beauty of this country!

Thanks so much for visiting us!  We had an awesome week with you!IMG_0793

Update on life!

Life continues to keep us on our toes!  Between our visiting construction teams, transition in the construction department, and everyday life, we are thankful for our “Rock,” the unchanging, Lord Jesus Christ!   He is our one and only “constant” not only here in Haiti, but in life.  We are so thankful that He is in control, and sovereign over all!  “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

We enjoyed a great week with the Peoria team!  They got a lot of work completed, and had a lot of fun doing it!  What a great group of guys!  fullsizeoutput_7d2

Next was the Pinetta team!  Another great, encouraging week!   I was deeply impacted by this team’s huge hearts and love for the Lord.  It was evident in all they said and did!  2017-03-11 07.44.46

2017-03-11 13.56.28 HDR

Serving with the Wray’s at Renault continues to be a highlight of our week!  img_6405

We celebrated Bri’s 17th Birthday this week! Can’t believe how fast 17 years has gone!  IMG_0750

Today, Brent, Alisha, & Silas Wagenbach, our partners in the Construction department returned to Indiana.  It was bittersweet for us.  We are happy and thankful for them that they are following the Lord’s direction on this new path in their life, but we will really miss working with them here in Haiti.  We are so thankful for the many memories we have shared with them in Haiti.  They have been such a blessing to our family!   Pray for their family, as they adjust to their new life in the states. IMG_0745

The construction department’s farewell gathering at the beach for the Wagenbach’s. fullsizeoutput_79c

We are so thankful that Ed & Julie Sanders have joined us in full-time ministry at the construction department.  They are also a blessing to our family! Pray for them as they continue to transition to living in Haiti full time.  fullsizeoutput_821

Boss Ezekiel continues to recover.  He now has all his casts off, and gets around with a walking boot and a walker.  He is gaining strength and movement in both his arm and leg, and hopes to be cleared to return to work in May.  His positive attitude continues to amaze me.IMG_0744

Thank you for your continued prayers and love!

A week of translating!

The week following the Roanoke team, Bri, Chloe, & I had the privilege to translate for Rod & Debbie Wray’s medical team from Missouri!  The team consisted of 7 providers/Physicians, along with Nurses, Pharmacists, Paramedics, and other miscellaneous helpers.  We have gotten to know several of the team members from their previous visits, and really looked forward to translating for them!  This week didn’t disappoint!

The first 2 clinic days were held at Renault, the area we go every Sunday morning!  We love to use our translating skills to help this area, because they otherwise do not have access to medical care.  The Haitians are thankful for the opportunity to see a physician, even if they just receive vitamins or Tylenol!  It is fun to see the children that we have come to know and recognize, with a parent or other family member!  The team arrived early Monday morning to transform the pavilion into a clinic!  There was an intake/waiting area, Physician benches (exam rooms are a luxury that is not available :)), pharmacy, scabies treatment area, nursing/wound care/ treatment area, and dental clinic.  Clinic was started each morning with a prayer.  Over 750 patients were seen each day at Renault!

Wednesday, we moved to a different slum in Cayes, La Savonne, and worked out of a church!

Friday, the clinic was held at the Wray’s camp, and the Dr’s saw the local village folks!

Overall, it was a great week, and the team saw over 2800 patients in 4 days!  We were blessed to be able to use our Kreyol to help out with the medical clinics!  It was a great experience for all of us!  The Dr’s were so kind, patient, and even took the time to explain many diseases/symptoms to the girls, as they translated.  Bri & Chloe listened to heart murmurs, learned some basic assessment skills, and even assisted with some simple procedures!   Bri also learned how to take a blood pressure!  It was awesome to be a part of this team, to work together, and share a glimpse into the medical world with Bri & Chloe!  In Chloe’s words, “I wish I could translate for this medical team every week!”

Side note…..  Gabby would could have joined us as well, but decided not to due to her tendency to pass out when she sees blood or other abnormalities.  Let’s just say, medical is not her thing ;).

Roanoke team

Two weeks ago, we welcomed our hometown church team from Roanoke!  Our family had been looking so forward to this week, and we had such a special time together!  The week flew by, and was over way too quickly, but we were left with some great memories!!

Our first day, we recovered a school roof that had lost its roof in the hurricane!  The men worked on the school roof, while the ladies built and painted 10 school desks!  The local village children were around all day, and eager to help!  Once the desks were finished, we had lots of time to play!

Sunday, we had the opportunity to take the team to Renault Sunday school! It was such a blessing to be able to share this part of our life with those we love!

Sunday afternoon, we took the team to explore one of our favorite places, the waterfalls.20170212_155932

Whats the Roanoke team, without a good tarantula hunt??

Monday was back to business, as we headed off into the mountains to the village of Thomaset.  We drove 2.5 hrs, where we parked our vehicles, and prepared for our 3 hour hike in back to the village!   fullsizeoutput_624

Thankfully, we didn’t have to worry about carrying the lumber and tin for the church and school roofs.  The material had been dropped off 1 week prior, and carried back to the church by the church members!  We were also thankful to see the mules, that we loaded up with generators, water, cots, and supplies for our 3 day stay.

The hike was challenging!  There were many little hills, and 1 large, steep mountain to climb!  Thankfully, the ladies of the village, came and helped us with some of our supplies and packs! The Haitian ladies were so inspiring, as they quickly maneuvered the rocky paths, in little plastic shoes, carrying our supplies on their heads and backs!  So many spiritual lessons were learned from the journey!

The view when we arrived at Thomaset, was incredible!  We were able to see the north shore of the island!  fullsizeoutput_613

The guys went right to work on the school roof, as the ladies started the church benches.

Many memories were made as we worked, ate, and shared life together.

Tuesday afternoon, just as the men were finishing the church roof, it started raining!  We stood inside the church as it rained, and thanked the Lord, that this small community now has a dry place to worship the Lord!  The afternoon was topped off with this beautiful reminder of God’s promises!fullsizeoutput_5f8

Wednesday, we packed up, ate a small breakfast, and headed back to our vehicles. I think everyone was thankful to arrive back at the guest house, to have a soft bed, American food, and a shower!

20170216_083938

A big thanks, to the guys, who despite wanting to rest and shower when we arrived back, continued working on projects for the Construction Dept.

Thursday, we enjoyed a meal and spending time together at the beach!fullsizeoutput_607

We want to thank the Lord for His protection, provision, and for the spiritual blessings on the week!  We also want to say thank you to each and every person on the team, for taking time from your schedules to come down and encourage not only our family, but the other missionaries and the Haitian believers.  We had a memorable week, spending time out in the “bush” together with you!  One we will not soon forget!  We are so thankful for the bonds that were formed this week!  Love to all!

Update

Wow, its been awhile since I updated our blog!   Life and ministry in Haiti has been keeping us on our toes!   I thought I would share a few things that have been happening since we returned to Haiti at the beginning of January.

I started teaching 8th grade Science everyday at the Missionary School.  It’s been a new and fun experience so far!  I have 6 students, one of them being Chloe!  This semester covers the human body, so it is a good fit for me with my nursing background.  Here are pics of my students with their simple DNA models.

2 weeks ago, one of Scott’s main Haitian workers, Bos Ezekial, was in a motorcycle accident.    After hearing the details of the accident, and seeing the motorcycle, there is no doubt in our mind, that the Lord intervened and spared his life.  He fractured his right leg in 3 places, as well as his left arm.   Thankfully, there was an American orthopedic surgeon at Bonne Fin.  Scott was able to very slowly drive Eze up the mountain to the hospital, where he had surgery on his arm fracture, and his leg casted.  He was discharged 2 days later, and is recovering at his home.  It has been a blessing to witness Bos Eze’s faith in the Lord, as well as his perseverance.  He was sharing the gospel with other Haitians in the emergency room, while in terrible pain!   Bos Eze is missed as the construction season continues without him.  Pray for continued healing.

img_0425

Bos Ezekial and his wife after being discharged

Renault Sunday school continues to be a highlight of our week!   Worshipping with the Haitian kids has blessed us in so many ways!  We continue to pray for God’s direction in the program, as the number of kids have increased since the hurricane, and there is a need for a bigger space.img_6405img_6412img_6410img_6432

 

I thought it would be good to show you an updated landscape picture of the area behind our house.  It has been a little over three and a half months since Hurricane Matthew hit southern Haiti.  All three of these pictures are from the exact same spot, looking over our back balcony.

img_6048

October 2nd, 2016

img_6324

October 5th, 2016

img_6497

January 24th, 2017

We appreciate your continued prayers, as team season is in full swing!

  • Our devotion to Christ would be first our priority.
  • Pray for safety and protection for our teams.
  • God would be glorified in all our actions and words.
  • We can prioritize the different demands on our time.
  • Bos Ezekial’s healing.
  • Smooth transition for the construction dept.  We are blessed to have Ed & Julie Sanders join us in full-time service.  But, we will miss working along side of Brent & Alisha Wagonbach. The Wagonbach’s return stateside mid-March.

Given with Love

Deaf and disabled children in Haiti have a hard life, compared to children without disabilities.  Often, they are abandoned or “cast off,” from their families and society, because they are seen as a burden.  Generally, they don’t get the opportunity to attend school, and are unreached with the gospel message.

There is a special school for deaf children in Cambry, about a 10 minute drive from our house.  It is being overseen by a Jamaican missionary couple, that moved to Haiti a couple of years ago, and have been ministering to deaf children for years.  (I could do an entire post on these special missionaries alone!)  Not only are the kids that attend deaf, but a few have other disabilities as well.  Materially speaking, these students don’t have much, but they are being loved and hearing about Jesus Christ!  It has been inspiring and faith-building to watch God bless this ministry and see the school grow!  The dorms where the children sleep, lost the roof, and was flooded during the recent hurricane.  The mattresses, bedding, and clothes the children had, was soaked or ruined.  The school structure stood (thanks to God’s protecting hand), but also sustained damage to the roof and walls.  Through HarvestCall hurricane Matthew disaster relief, both the dorms and the school were able to be repaired, and school is back in session!

2 weeks ago, my Mom, Chloe, and I had the opportunity to distribute hygiene kits to this school!  The kits consisted of toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth, soap, fingernail clippers, hand sanitizer, gum, and candy.  (All things that kids in the US take for granted each day, but that are a luxury to kids in Haiti!)  The bags for the kits were decorated, and supplies were purchased and assembled, during a special summer camp, that a set of Grandparents hosted for their Grandchildren.   When we were praying about where to distribute the kits, the verse in James 1:27 came to our mind, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…..”  God put on our hearts to distribute the kits to the deaf school, to the children who are in a sense, orphaned.

My only wish, is that the kids that made the bags, could have been there to distribute them, to experience the joy and thankfulness of these children!  The excitement was palpable in that little one-room school house!

 

img_0381

img_0403

Thanks so much for serving these precious children!

It’s been awhile!

Wow!!!   Sorry we have gotten behind in our communication with you!  Life continues to be busy, and God continues to be good!

Here are some of what has been happening since our last update…….

Bri, Chloe, and I were able to translate for 3 small medical clinics!  It has been a blessing to work together with Bri and Chloe to serve the Haitians!  Bri even had the opportunity to go out to a small rural village with the medical team.

We hosted our first scheduled construction team of this season in November!  We were thankful to have Ron & Linnea Shick here, with a team from Pennsylvania!  Their team enjoys ministering to the Haitians, and they do it well!  While the men put roofs on, the ladies hosted a women’s ministry, a children’s ministry, and an eye glass clinic!  They also purchased new mattresses for all the residents at Azile Dorcus, the local nursing home.  What a blessing it was to see the excitement of the old folks, when the new mattresses were placed on their beds!

We spent 2 days at a retreat with Haiti HarvestCall missionaries and our board.  It was a weekend full of spiritual encouragement mixed with relaxation and fellowship!img_0303

All HarvestCall Missionaries in HaitiGroup photo of the current Haiti missionaries!

HarvestCall Missionary Kids (minus Silas, plus Hartzler family!)

The missionary kids in Haiti (including the Hartzlers)!

Annual Thanksgiving dinnerSouth Haiti Missionaries, Thanksgiving Day 2016!

Renault Sunday School program is going strong, and continues to be one of our favorite weekly activities! These kids are just so precious!  We are privileged to share God’s word with them every Sunday!

We were blessed by a visit from my parents! It was special to have them here over Thanksgiving!  We particularly enjoyed taking Dad to Renault for the first time! It was awesome having Mom to help me with the little medical clinic too!

A sweet reunion with Phaniel, his mom, and sister!

We had lots of fun, played lots of games, and made some great memories!  (We even got some work done, especially my dad!  He wired the new kitchen addition at the guest house, and completed several other electrical projects with Scott!)

Thank you for your continued prayers for our family!  We really appreciate your love, support, and prayers!  We look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior with our family and friends in Roanoke.  May God continue to bless you, as you seek Him during this special Christmas season!

 

Carpenters & Electrians

To say that the last 5 weeks, since Matthew hit, has been challenging, would be an understatement.  But, God has provided for our every need!  I want to share part of how the construction department and our family has been blessed the past 2 weeks.  Scott communicated a need for 2 teams of skilled carpenters and electricians, to help with his 2 page list of post-hurricane repairs.  He had a limited time frame of 2 weeks that the work needed to be accomplished, due to our regularly scheduled work team season beginning November 4th.  Scott shared the need with our board, who in turn put the word out via email for our urgent need.  In less than 1 week, we had 1 team of 5 scheduled for the first week, and a team of 8 for the second week.  It was awesome to see and hear first hand, how God moved these mens hearts to respond to the call, how He brought these teams together, and how much work was accomplished!   Each team worked hard, long hours, to accomplish all that needed to be done.  They blessed many missionaries as well as Haitian’s lives, by sharing their time and talents!

One of the first projects, was to help make repairs to a local deaf school.  Although the school remained standing after the hurricane, the kids were unable to attend school due to missing tin on the roof!  The team worked hard, and finished the project in 1 day.  The deaf students were able to resume their schooling!

img_0184

Below is a thank you from the Jamaican Missionaries that run the school.

img_0259

The teams did many, many repairs on the roofs and houses of missionaries around Cite Lumiere

The team spend 3 days at the local nursing home, Azile Dorcus, making much needed roof and electrical repairs.  The pastor and residents residing at Azile were so thankful!

There were 3 men, that stayed and worked for the full 2 weeks.  We were happy that we could take them to Renault to worship with us on Sunday morning!

Unfortunately, while we were at Renault, Scott tripped on razor wire and cut his arm severely.  We were so thankful that there was a team of American Doctors here that could stitch him up!  His arm is healing nicely, and I can remove his stitches tomorrow! img_0228

With Scott being slowed down, he was so thankful for skilled men that did not need to be supervised.  The team worked well with Scott’s Haitian bosses and together they accomplished a lot of work.  The last job they worked on, was a MEBSH church and school that overlooked the ocean!img_0270

I am happy to say that by the end of the second week, the 2 page to-do list was completed!  It is such a blessing for Scott to have these repairs done, prior to us starting the team season. First, we want to thank the Lord for His care and provision for us.  We also want to give a big thanks to those who responded to the call to serve in Haiti on such short notice, as well as to those that arranged all the logistics and travel.  A big thanks also to those who prayed for the teams!  May God continued to be glorified through all we say and do!