Support a Missionary!

World_Missions_by_CharisAlexandraI was talking with a dear friend this week and she related an interesting story to me. It is definitely food for thought.

My friend shared that her pastor was praying about an electric bill that his church didn’t have the funds to pay. As he was reminding the Lord of their need, he heard the Lord emphatically tell him, “Support a missionary.” “Lord,” the pastor replied, we can’t even pay our electric bill. How are we going to support a missionary?” The Lord simply spoke to him again, saying, “Support a missionary.”

The pastor didn’t know any missionaries at the time and had to search for someone he felt was worthy of support. As the church began to help fund their missionary on the foreign field, sure enough, money for the electric bill was supplied as well. But that’s not the end of the story. Today, this church supports more missionaries than any other church within their entire organization. They began to see the importance of being a part of something greater than themselves.

World missions are at the very center and focus of our Lord’s attention. His eyes are on the nations and he is intimately involved with the incoming harvest. (Matthew 9:38) I want to encourage you to get aligned with God’s supreme purpose, the Great Commission. Lift up your heart to the Lord and ask him how you can get in the flow of what he is doing in the earth. Maybe you’ll hear a still, small voice saying to you as well, “Support a missionary.”

Forward Movement

DownloadedFileMoving Ahead

It’s a busy time in the Kingdom of God! Since our return from the States, we’ve shifted gears to adapt ourselves once again to Haitian life. It seems every day has its own busyness and there’s a steady stream of people entering or leaving our house for one reason or another. Our Bible institute has been back in full swing since August. John is finding his niche and loves his classes. When he’s not in class, he can be found in the study room with his head buried in a book. Both he and Prit are busily involved with their classes and the task of molding future leaders.

September seems to have been construction month. Our new depot is almost completed and we finally have somewhere to put our belongings … well, most of them. Our house has been running over with everything from boxes to books. What a relief to have somewhere to put the ironing board other than on our front porch!

Back to School

October is just around the corner and will bring its own joys and frustrations. The Haitian schools will start back up and many people are already showing up at our door asking for help with their children’s tuition costs. Our feeding program for over 1,300 students, staff, and cooks will recommence as well and some wide-eyed kids will be looking for a decent meal to carry them through the day. We still have a long way to go. Will you please pray with us that this goal will be met? We know that all things are possible with the Lord’s help. (Click on the Projects tab at the top of this page.) Thanks to all of you who have been giving faithfully. Heaven bears witness to your generosity.

Trinity Church Work Team

On October 25, we’ll be hosting a work team from Trinity Church in Tacoma, Washington, for 10 days. The team be laying the tile for our future conference room as well as other various projects. We are very excited that they are coming. For some of them, this will be their first mission trip. For others, this will be a real sacrifice budget-wise. Yet, they have felt very stirred to come and we will be very grateful for their help, not to mention their fellowship. Our construction has continued from our depot to the little mission house next door where our team will be staying. There is much work that needs to be accomplished before they touch ground exactly a month from today. We are working furiously to get the house in a livable state, i.e., putting in electricity, replacing the old dilapidated ceiling, adding three new doors and renovating the back porch. Again, we ask your prayers for us as we tackle these tasks.

MFI East Coast Conference

Before the team flies in from Tacoma, we will have already returned to the States for our annual MFI Conference. This time, however, we’ll be traveling to Reston, Virginia, instead of Portland, Oregon. MFI is now hosting two separate conferences on both the East and West coasts. This will be much more cost-effective for us to not have to fly across the country. Our only regret was that we would not be able to see our son, Gabriel, in Portland this year. But our disappointment has turned to joy after learning that Gabriel will be traveling with the worship team from City Bible Church in Portland. What a treat to be able to see our son again for a whole week!

We’ll arrive back in Haiti just a few days before the work team arrives.

Thank You

No forward movement would be made in this part of the Lord’s vineyard without the generous support of our wonderful supporters. Thank you again for enabling us to be God’s messengers in a land that has been full of darkness for centuries, but upon which a great light is beginning to shine forth. This is definitely not the same Haiti that we came to thirty years ago.

Goodbye, Pattie

pattieA few days ago, Prit and I received word that a dear friend of ours had slipped away from life during the early morning hours. After a progressive decline in her health and after fighting dementia, Pattie Simpson was now on the other side of the mysterious veil that separates us from the afterlife. Part of me felt the sorrow of knowing I’d never see my friend again on this side on that veil. Yet another part of me rejoiced that she was now free from all the things that encumbered her in this life. I imagined Pattie waking up to her new life and wondered, as I have countless times, what she was seeing and experiencing for the first time.

I met Pattie at Rock Christian School in Tarboro, N.C. She was the head supervisor and I had just been hired as the elementary supervisor. I treasure the friendship we had, not to mention the patience she bore with me as I became acclimated to my first teaching job, just having graduated from East Carolina University. Pattie was greatly devoted to the Lord, to her work, and to the students who loved her.

After marrying Prit and moving to the mission field, our friendship did not cease. Pattie became a faithful supporter of Rehoboth Ministries and wrote often to encourage us. For a young wife who had left family and the comforts of home, it was so nice not to be forgotten. Pattie’s giving was sacrificial for, by then, she was a widow. Pattie was so frugal that, if she burned a piece of toast, she would just go ahead and eat it rather than “wasting” another piece of bread.

Pattie painstakingly wrote beautiful letters and took precious time out of her schedule to write passages from the Scriptures, prayers from the Episcopal Book of Prayer, and quotes that she thought would be helpful. Her letters were one of the things I missed the most when her health began to fail, followed by her memory. I can still envision those carefully crafted letters with her perfect handwriting.

Many people called Pattie a saint. I’m sure she would have blushed at the term, but I believe the description fits. Pattie never said a mean word about anyone and somehow brought out the best in everyone. She was a devout woman of prayer and an excellent Bible teacher. Before leaving for Haiti, we spent many hours together in conversation and pivotal times of prayer. I’m so grateful that Prit and I had the privilege of knowing Pattie Simpson as a fellow worker, a prayer partner, a faithful supporter, but most of all, as a friend. If anyone exemplified the Proverbs 31 woman, Pattie did. The law of kindness was in her mouth and she has left behind an incredible heritage for her loving family.

Pattie, it’s my turn. I write one final letter to you until I get to see your beautiful face again. I know that it shines now with the glory of God.

Change the World

world-missions-background“Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

What a question! Steve Jobs, CEO and owner of Apple Computer put this question bluntly to John Sculley, at the time the President of the Pepsi company. Never one for mincing words, Jobs got right to the point. His question was brilliant and got to the heart of the matter–either represent something superficial or be part of something that’s not only great, but will leave a legacy. Jobs’ point was well taken and Sculley came aboard with Apple, making his job with Pepsi a thing of the past.

Apple has gone on to become the avant-garde company of the computer world. Who today hasn’t heard of the iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Apple products are considered by many to be the best information technology products in the world. I’m in that crowd. I’m typing this post on my Mac. Even though Steve Jobs has now departed this earth, I still admire his high standard of excellence in everything he did. I’m not sure if he had any peer who was his equal.

I also love this story for a different reason, however. Jobs’ statement went to the core of what he believed in. He wanted to leave his mark on this world. However, there is a much higher purpose to life than being remembered as a world changer in the computer arena, or any other for that matter. Have you considered God’s purpose? What is it that moves the very heart of God? What is the very pulse and heartthrob of the Gospel? It is found in the Gospel of Mark.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Jesus’ last instructions before his ascension were to invade the world with the Gospel message. His eyes are on the harvest of souls to be brought in so that every tongue and tribe will worship before his throne. He eagerly waits for there to be a witness of the Kingdom message in all the earth in order for him to return.

What drives you? Are you aligned with God’s purpose for world missions? Does your passion lie where His does? If so, come help us change the world for Christ!

Living in Limbo

IMG_0416Limbo (n.): a place or state of restraint or confinement

Living in limbo is the best way I can think of to describe our tiny kitchen in its present state. It is so small that two people cannot stand side-by-side together, let alone try to work in the same space. As you can see in the picture, one of our Bible school graduates (Jean-Philippe) is touching our stove with one hand and the kitchen counter with the other. This gives you a clear idea of how tiny our kitchen is. Marie (our cook) and I do a sort of dance when we’re trying to work together. Frustrating? Beyond words! What would normally take 20 min. prep. time to make a batch of muffins extends to 40-50 because we’re working around each other searching for all the items we need.

Our goal is to knock out the counter and extend the kitchen. We also need to lay tile over the concrete floor which will cover both the kitchen and the den area. Later, we intend to close in our front porch and use it as a den, turning the present den into a dining area.

We are very blessed to have work teams coming down to labor with our ministry. In fact, we have a team coming in October. We desperately need to make more room so we can have a place for everyone to sit when it’s time to eat. Therefore, we hope to be done with this goal BEFORE they arrive. We have a great work team of Haitians here that are willing to do the job for us.

The initial phase of removing the counter and laying tile will cost $1,500. Can you help?

Let It Rain, Let It Rain, Let It Rain!

rainSome of you must have taken my request to pray for rain to heart. I am happy to tell you that we have had two nights of beautiful rainfall. I can hear it pouring down outside as I type, a welcome relief from the exhausting heat we’ve been experiencing.

Two nights ago, I was so hot that I finally took one of the plastic chairs off our front porch and plopped it down in the middle of our yard. I could feel raindrops on my arms every now and then and prayed earnestly for more rain. Finally, too hot and tired to care anymore, I went inside and trusted that some of you were praying too.

Yesterday, I went to Petite-Anse for our youth choir rehearsal. Imagine my delight when I saw raindrops falling on the windshield! I rolled down the window, held my arm outside and thought to myself, “It’s coming, it’s finally coming!” By the time I reached the church, it was beginning to rain harder. Normally, I wouldn’t want to be caught in the rain. (You know how fussy women can be about their hair!) But, I welcomed the coolness of the shower that had begun to soak me. I laughed as I entered the church and noted that the choir, having already begun their practice, were not distracted by the beautiful sound outside. Their voices began to blend in with what was becoming a great downpour, so they began to sing louder. I wasn’t sure which one was the sweeter sound: their singing or the rain.

By the time the choir practice was over, the church yard was flooded and I had to wade through the water in my flip-flops to get back into the jeep. I didn’t care, though. I wasn’t going to complain about a little discomfort after longing for the relief that had finally come my way. Our young singers would have to walk home in the rain and the mud, but everyone was too happy to think about being soaked by the time they got home.

Thank you, Lord, for the rain and thanks to all of you who prayed.

Prayers All Around

My last post included a vital prayer request for rain. Yesterday morning, we looked outside and the rain was lightly falling. We were so excited, we ran outside only to discover it had already stopped. The light shower only lasted for 5 minutes! It didn’t take long for the merciless heat to catch back up. Fortunately, our AC was installed in our bedroom yesterday. Now, we’re pricing AC’s in town, hoping we can get a few more installed. On that note, we continue to ask for your prayers for more rainfall.

John’s first few days in Haiti were rough. For some reason, he couldn’t keep his food down. Fortunately, he’s feeling much better today. We’re thankful for that, especially since it’s his first day teaching in the Bible institute. Perhaps adapting to the heat, the stress of preparing his first 3-hour class in French and Creole, and eating foreign food conspired together to break him down. Happily, he’s teaching as I type and I know he would appreciate your prayers for him.

Our house has been a bustle of activity since we returned. Desperately needing room for storage, we have a team of 8 behind our house constructing a much-needed depot. One of our Bible school teachers is on the front porch using the photocopier to make books for Bible school classes. There’s just no room inside for him to work. Anuz is outside plucking the poor, unfortunate chicken she just killed. This will be tomorrow’s lunch.

Next door, part of the construction team has gone ahead and started tearing down the back porch of the smaller mission house. In time, they will reconstruct a beautiful place where our teams can gather together to pray, strategize, fellowship, and eat. In the meantime, it will be a sort of “holding tank” for many of our belongings we brought with us from our previous house. After the needed work is done on the inside, we can begin to move furniture and other items inside.

Do you have a work team that would like to come to Haiti and help our ministry? We have many projects that need attention, both on this compound and on the other church plant sites. If you’re not able to come to Haiti, perhaps you would like to help fund one of the projects. This would serve the two-fold purpose of keeping the work going as well as providing people with jobs. There is nothing like seeing the face of an eager dad showing up for work, knowing he’s going to have something in his pocket at the end of the day to take home to his family.

I’m continually amazed at the willingness of our brethren to work hard for their pay. The Haitian people are not lazy and only want a chance to put their hand to the task. You have probably figured out by now that it is our passion to provide them with employment.

Thank you for your continued prayers for us and, of course, for rain!

Waiting for the Rain

images-1“They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain.” Job 29:23

One cold shower and two tall glasses of ice water later and I am finally beginning to cool down. I’ve changed into the paper-thin African robe that was a gift from a friend and moved out to the porch. Looking towards the distance, I was sure I saw rain falling on the mountain. John saw it too, so I know I’m not hallucinating because of the heat. Maybe, oh maybe, it’ll rain tonight.

Friday, we returned to Cap-Haitian to discover that rain had not fallen in our area since May and we’ve been praying for rain ever since. Last night, I heard thunder in the distance and we were sure a downpour was on the way, but… still no rain. The odd fact in all of this is that this IS the rainy season in Haiti. The plantain bushes that Cola (our guard) planted before we left in May are all dried up.

I greeted our church members yesterday morning and told them I had written friends abroad and asked them to pray. Now I’m asking you too. In spite of the stifling heat in the church, they all sat patiently and listened as Prit preached the Word. They were just glad to have their pastor back and thrilled that John had returned with us as well. In spite of dwelling in a dry and thirsty land, perhaps they have a good handle on the verse above.

Sometimes, we wait for answers to prayer in the same way we long for the rain to come and cool us off. Often, it seems our longings will never be fulfilled and we grow weary from the heat and pressure of the seemingly interminable season that we’re in. Nevertheless, we find assurance from Job that the Lord knows those who wait for him and he longs to rain on us. May the Lord bring you rain, both natural and spiritual!

I also hope that the next time I post an update, it will be with the news that the gentle rain has fallen and that the rain of his Spirit has come down to refresh us all as well.