Thank You, MFI!

images-6We’ve been back for a whirlwind trip to the States and are already packing to leave tomorrow for Ft. Lauderdale. By Wednesday, we’ll be back in Cap-Haitian by early morning. This past week, we’ve been in Reston, Va., attending the East Coast MFI Conference. It would take a whole book to tell about all the services, workshops, reuniting with old friends, not to mention seeing all our kids at once! Suffice it to say, it was well worth the trip. We’re so grateful to be part of MFI and to rub shoulders with some great people.

We want to thank the MFI Leaders for providing the International Leaders with a free hotel stay for the week and $400 towards our air fare, not to mention the wonderful Welcome Basket that was awaiting us when we arrived.

Traveling Plans

MFI East Coast Conference

30There’s lots of movement going on here today as we are revving up for another departure for the States. Suitcases will be semi-packed by the end of the day with clothes for cooler weather (what is that?), and we’ll be tying up loose ends here in Haiti. The MFI East Coast Conference begins on Monday, October 14th in Reston, Virginia. We’re looking forward to hearing what the Lord has in store for us as well as enjoying the fellowship of many friends in the ministry.

Friday morning, we’ll take off from Cap-Haitian early and arrive in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in the late afternoon. We’ll have just enough time to visit with Prit’s folks, unpack and repack, then take off for our 8-hour trip to Reston, Virginia, on Saturday morning.

Ekklesia-USA

logo (1)Sunday morning, Prit and I are excited to be sharing at the Ekklesia-USA Church in Reston, Virginia. We visited Pastor Carlos and Miriam Peñaloza’s church the last time we were in Reston and were greatly impressed. What a beautiful congregation! If you get a chance to come and be a part of their service, you will not be disappointed. Get ready, however, for some lively and dynamic worship. Ekklesia-USA will host the MFI Conference-East as well.

We ask your prayers for us as we travel. I’m sure much intercession will be offered up during the conference for our nation’s capital. Reston is a suburb of Washington, D.C. We realize this will be a very pivotal time on many levels as we come together and implore God to break through this confusion over our country.

Back to School!

IMG_0459 Back to School

It’s “back to school” time here in Haiti! However, although our own three schools are now officially open, the students are returning at a snail’s pace. Our school in Sainte-Philomène boasted of 9 students this morning, even though it has an enrollment of over 100. Why? Because, on the average, Haitian families have to dig deep for anything beyond what constitutes their “daily bread.” Unfortunately, at times, even the daily bread isn’t daily. Tuition, uniforms and books put more than a pinch on their pocketbooks. A common prayer offered up during this time of the year is, “Lord, please help us send our kid(s) to school.” All over Haiti, schools have opened a month late due to the hardships that families bear.

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A few of our faculty.

Haitians put a great value on education. Our students love school. They know it’s a privilege to sit in a classroom when so many others miss out. From day one, their parents drill into their heads the privilege of learning. It’s not unlikely that, next semester, the money may not be available for them. I’m guessing by this photo that some of the children’s uniforms are not ready. Normally, they don’t come to school without their uniforms on.

Feeding Program

Rehoboth Ministries strives to lighten the load of these parents who love their children as much as we do. As many of you know, we have been providing two hot meals every week for the last two years in all three of our schools. With the help of generous supporters, we have been able to put a smile on a child’s face and subdue the gnawing hunger in their bellies, even if only temporarily. Our students come to school with high hopes they’ll find a hot meal waiting for them. Parents share that hope, knowing that, a meal at school removes a burden from off those at home.

We are still raising funds for this project that is so dear to our hearts. Would you like to help? Roughly $40 feeds a child two meals a week for the entire school year. We will have distributed approximately 93,600 meals this year alone for over 1,300 students, staff, and workers!

I (Dana) received this beautiful note from a friend in North Carolina that has pledged to help. I was so touched that I wanted you to read it too.

Tina says:

God gave me a job this past Thursday and just laid it in my lap. I did not even have an appointment for a job interview! I am working, so I need a way to get some money to you every month for the school feeding program.

Would you like to join Tina in helping to lighten our load? We can’t do this alone, but we can do it together!

Work in Progress

underConstructionPounding hammers and noisy drills are familiar sounds around here nowadays. There seems to be no end to the construction work that needs to take place on the compound, not to mention our other church/school sites. I was reminded today that much of the work being done here during the last few weeks is much like the necessary work that goes on in our lives: work that’s meant to build character.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned:

  • The work will take longer than you thought
  • The work will be more detailed than you thought
  • The work will be more expensive than you thought
  • The end results will be different than what you thought

A simple depot, right? A large room for storage with an adjoining bathroom for our workers was the plan. Everything was going great until the funds slowed down. Yet, every day we determined some progress would be made, even if it was hanging a door or installing the sink. A little progress is better than none. We discovered the old toilet tank we were going to use from our previous house was cracked. This was an added expense of having to send Rodelin (our boss) to town to buy another one as well as a delay.

“Madame Pasteur, this bathroom would look SO much nicer if we put tile down here, don’t you think? The space is so small, so it really won’t cost that much.” (Of course, that’s easy to say when you’re not the one paying for it!) Yet, Rodelin was right. I don’t regret the tile, even if it did cost extra. At his own expense, he bought some green paint and painted the shower wall. Who could say “no” to the pretty white tile after seeing initiative like that?

One day, as the work team was pouring concrete in front of the depot, I noticed the spigot of a water pipe sticking up from the ground. I asked, “Is that water pipe going to stay like that, jutting out of the ground?” (I’ve discovered men often look at functionality before they consider the aesthetic effect.) For some reason, due to the angle at which the pipe was laying, the water spout on the top would not be impaired if it was left above the ground. Yet, in my eyes, it was just plain ugly and would be easy to trip over in the dark. “Rodelin, is that the only option we have? Can’t we do something else about that pipe?”

“Yes, but I’ll have to break up the concrete right now before it hardens and lay another type of pipe in there.”

A matter of seconds passed in my mind as I weighed the added expense of having to buy another pipe, plus the extra time it was going to take to get it done.

“Let’s change it,” I said, knowing I didn’t want to see a pipe spigot every time I came around the corner of the house.

All in all, I’m very pleased with our team’s work. They work hard, plus at times have been very patient with us as they waited another day (or two) for their pay. They all have their own families to care for. They’ve since completed the depot and moved on to the little mission house next door.

Delays, mix-ups, expenses, and other unexpected “flies in the ointment” often serve as the hammer and drill God uses to forge our character. We can allow these things to make us more patient, loving, kind, and forgiving. Yet, without yielding to the tools he wishes to use on us, we can become a work of disappointment, bearing no resemblance at all to what he had intended us to be. Yet, if we allow him, he works to chisel and mold us into the image of his Son. This he does, even if it takes time, detail, and expense. In the end, the results will be much different than we ever thought.