What Gertie Knew

photo_2Gertie’s house stands abandoned today on Highway 701, just five miles outside of Clinton, North Carolina. As I stood in front of it, my mind traveled back over fifty-two years to when I was only five years old and living on Kimbrough Road. We would move the next year from Clinton to the countryside and life, as I knew it, would change. I would start my first year of school and I’d leave behind Gertie.

My mother was a teacher. While she taught school, Gertie would watch me, clean house, and have supper waiting when Mama got home. I’ll never forget the morning that Mama had to leave for school and I begged her not to leave. I cried and cried, all the while clinging to her skirt, but of course, she had to go. As I sat on my bed sobbing, Gertie brought me some grapes. Soothing me with comforting words, I finally forgot my sorrow and skipped off to play. The only other memory I have is of her cooking in the kitchen, yet Gertie was a mainstay in my life during my formative years. I wish I could have told her “Goodbye.” Maybe I did and just don’t remember it. A five-year-old only makes so many memories.

My mother told me a story about Gertie that I have often repeated over the years. Mama had five children. I was the caboose. My father had become mentally ill after his service in the Army Air Corps during World War Two and was only at home off and on, not providing a strong presence in the home. Truth be told, it was Mama who raised us and provided for our family on a teacher’s meager salary. Thanks to the kindness of friends who let her buy groceries and other needs on credit, somehow Mama managed to provide for us. Life was very hard for her.

One day, my mom was tired and frustrated at having to be the sole provider for my brothers, sisters, and me. Worn thin, she poured out her complaints to Gertie. I have a feeling this was just one of many times. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, Gertie. I have all these children to take care of and I just don’t know how I can make ends meet. How am I going to pay all these bills?” Gertie replied, “Miz Raynor, God’ll make a way where there AIN’T no way!” I guess there was an UMPH! behind Gertie’s answer for my mother to have repeated that story to me so many times. It seemed to be the fuel she had needed at the time to keep the Raynor-mobile moving.

While in Clinton this week visiting my sister, my thoughts wandered back toward Highway 701 where Gertie used to live and then to Kimbrough Road. I began to wonder if any of Gertie’s relatives still lived around Clinton and whether they’d like to hear the advice Gertie gave to my mom. There were only four names in the phone book with the last name of Grice. I called two of the names and no one picked up. After calling the third number, BINGO! Gertie’s daughter answered. After wading through a maze of confusion as to who this stranger was who was calling her out of the blue, she finally realized who I was. She even remembered our family. I told her that I was going to write an article about Gertie and wanted her to be able to read it. She didn’t really want her mother’s picture on the Internet so, of course, I respected her wishes. But she said she didn’t mind if I took a picture of that white brick house that has come to my mind time and time again over the years.

Throughout our thirty-one years in Haiti, time and time again, we have faced impossible situations. What Gertie knew we have also come to know. Truly, “God will make a way where there AIN’T no way.”

When It Rains, It Pours

Many thanks to our son, John, Pastor Lefort, and other helpers for taking care of a big job for us while we’re away from Haiti. Due to a very heavy rainstorm and a clogged up canal which runs alongside the wall separating our house from the property next door, our house flooded with water. It took three hours for John and the other workers to mop the inside of our house so it could dry out. Fortunately, only a few books in the library got wet. Thanks to a drainage gate that our neighbors closed off, the canal became so clogged the rainwater would not drain away. We say a big THANK YOU to all our helpers.

Thanks to Robert and Gail Faircloth of Fayetteville, NC, we have several new Haitian Bibles to distribute. Our security guard, Toussaint, is the first recipient and is elated to have a copy of God’s Word. Since Haitians rarely receive a brand new gift, this is considered a priceless treasure.

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Would you like for us to come to your church, group, fellowship, or meeting and share about World Missions and the great things God has done in Haiti? Contact us and we will get back with you!

Prayers & Congratulations

graduation-cap-in-airWe are asking for your continued prayers for Prit’s mom. Last week Lucy started complaining about not being able to breathe. A chest x-ray revealed that she had pneumonia. She was rushed to the Cape Fear Hospital and is presently in the Cardiac Ward. We will keep you updated concerning her progress.

Our Bible institute in Haiti has wound down for the summer. Needless to say, we have some very relieved students who are looking forward to a great vacation. There is a class graduating this year. Unfortunately, the graduation has been pushed back to the month of August. Due to the many responsibilities we are facing on the home front, we will not be able to return to Haiti until then. But, in the meantime, we send a great big “Congratulations” to the class of 2014!

Wreck Off Haiti May Be Columbus’ Flagship Santa Maria

World news is happening in our backyard this week! This is just a few miles from where we live.

More than five centuries after Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked in the Caribbean, archaeological investigators think they may have discovered the vessel’s long-lost remains – lying at the bottom of the sea off the north coast of Haiti. It’s likely to be one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological discoveries.

Click here to read more.

Prayer at Home and Abroad

  • 10246743_745983485442262_9169053273424571389_nHaiti has been suffering from a terrible drought in the Northwest. This has affected the overall supply of food as well as prices. Please click here to read more about it — “Drought, poor harvest to worsen Haiti food crisis.” Also, we ask for your prayers for Haiti and to be able to continue the feeding program for our students.
  • Prit’s mom is still in rehab. She was making great progress until Sunday afternoon. As she was trying to arrange the covers on her bed, she slipped out of the bed onto the floor. Unfortunately, she fractured her rib. This is a setback, but we’re asking for your prayers for her to be able to mend quickly.
  • 551We salute Keith Starkey for the legacy he has left behind. Keith and his wife, Clara, were the founders of Agape Flights, Int. This ministry to the missionaries in Haiti was started in 1980. We have benefited from it from the time we arrived there thirty-one years ago until today. Thursday is one of the highlights of our week, for this is when the Agape plane flies in letters and cargo. The Agape workers in Venice, Florida, work tirelessly buying supplies which range anywhere from batteries for a radio to huge tractor tires. Agape is literally our lifeline to the States and it’s all because Keith and Clara Starkey had a vision from God and obeyed it. Keith passed away on April 23 at the ripe old age of 87. If you wish to know more about the Starkeys or Agape Flights, visit agapeflights.com. They provide such a wonderful and vital ministry!

Kids We Love

kidsThank you again for your generous and cherished donations to our children’s feeding program. Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of happy children scraping their plates as they finish off a nourishing meal that’s been set before them. Pastor Délinx (Petite-Anse), Pastor Lefort (Sainte-Philomène), and Pastor Gallant (Belle-Hôtesse) asked us to send a great big “thank you” from them as well.

The school year is beginning to wind down. Can you help us continue to feed the kids from our three schools and finish this year’s course? You can help keep the smiles on these children’s faces and stave off the hunger in their stomachs.

Here are the latest pictures of our adorable, incredible, and sweet grandson. Samuel is growing so quickly and we wish we could be there to see all the changes. He’s actually beginning to keep his eyes open instead of sleep all the time. We miss you Sam! There’s a picture of his proud Mom in there too.

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