Feeding the Multitude

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Last week, while the Orphans Promise team was here, we gathered the whole school assembly for a service in our new building. This will give you a good perspective of how many children we are feeding – and that’s only the main school! Over 800 children gathered together to thank Richard and Linda Baker along with the staff of Orphans Promise which are responsible for this project. Over 800 children, plus teachers and cooks sang and shouted to celebrate this wonderful occasion. One of the young students spoke in their behalf and related that they now wake up in the morning and know they’ll find a hot meal waiting for them at school.    The whole school erupted with shouts of joy and applause.

Wouldn’t you like to be part of this miracle? Most of these children eat ONE meal a day – and that is at school. Here’s how:

Send Checks to: The Lord’s Table / PO Box 11049 / Goldsboro, NC 27532 / (919) 751-8188

OR

donate online at thelordstable.org. You can also use this link to give –  Haiti – https://pushpay.com/pay/tltglobalmissions/?f%5B0%5D=Haiti

** Please earmark your gifts HAITI

 

The House that God Built

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The tonnelle

I have yearned for the day when I could finally write this post. For 27 years, our mother church met in a brush arbor with a dirt floor. We suffered through season after season of insufferable heat and monsoon-style rains. I even remember the Sunday night service where the majority of our members had their umbrellas open INSIDE the church to keep the rain from leaking through the rafters on them. I can’t recount the number of times I watched our people search for a dry place on a bench to sit, all the while placing their feet  carefully on the muddy ground beneath them. Year after year passed as we prayed for a decent building. On several occasions,  chickens would strut through the church while Prit preached. On rainy nights, goats would huddle onto the back benches to stay warm. Well, now we can finally say that long season is over.

 

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–Our New Building

Sunday morning, we gathered together in our brand new, gorgeous building that surpasses anything we could have ever hoped for and worshipped the Lord with all our hearts. But, no one entered the new building without having to first pass through the tonnelle one last time so as not to forget the struggle, the shame, and the fervent prayers that had been offered up on that hallowed ground. I recalled earlier times when our people returned to that  little building, in the shape of Noah’s ark, and laid face down in the dirt to pray. They prayed for our deliverance from a gang which kidnapped us in 2006. I fought back the emotions as I thought of Pastor Délinx at the altar telling our congregation in 2010 that he felt strongly compelled to pray for Pastor Adams. He asked them to join him, not knowing that, far away in Alberta, Canada, Prit had already been  sent to the hospital with two back-to-back brain aneurysms. I remembered the glory that had come into that place countless times as we were all swept up in God’s Shekinah glory. I bowed my head and prayed that we would never lose that fervor which we had – when we had nothing. 

What can we say to those who lifted this huge burden off our shoulders? How can we begin to adequately thank all those who gave to make this miracle tangible – something built for the glory of God that will stand for generations? We begin by thanking Richard and Linda Baker, many other unnamed donors, Orphans Promise, and Lifeline Ministries for doing what we did not have the strength or the means to do. We thank Terry Meeuwsen for obeying the call to start Orphans Promise Ministry. We thank Beth Meadows, Abigail Anderson, and Yuri Khomyak for making several trips to Haiti and dealing with the on-the-ground logistics of bringing all this together. We thank, as well, Engineer Osmy Bozor and his crew members who erected the building. We thank our own people who wept for years, and chose to believe that God would bring us out of this desert to a life-giving oasis. They not only prayed, but they gave out of their poverty and the Lord turned their mourning into dancing. We thank our prayer partners like Myrtle Wickham and others who interceded for years that this building would be erected.

God built this house. He built it with the love and compassion of others who joined together with the tears and prayers of our people. May He be highly exalted and may the glory from His throne fill this temple!

Psalm 30: 11, 12

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

 

Remembering the Loss

images.jpeg“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”   Jeremiah 29.11

Last night, Manno called me to ask if I had the money I owed him for putting minutes on my phone. “Driving from Petite-Anse to Sainte-Philomène in the pouring rain on his motorcycle,” I wondered to myself, ”He must really need it to be coming here this late.” Sure enough, a few minutes later, Manno – soaked to the skin – stood before our door  with not even a jacket to cover himself. I invited him into the den to sit down and went to get his money. Manno just lost his wife a couple of months ago due to a botched mastectomy. He has been left alone to raise their two children. The sadness filled his eyes and was painful to watch. They revealed the sorrow that still weighs heavily  on his heart. Feeling a check in my spirit, I asked Manno if he was hungry. ”Yes, the children didn’t cook anything today.” I immediately took him into the kitchen and fed him some heated over beans and rice with the little creole sauce that was left in our fridge. After questioning him, Manno shared with me that he had been working in construction all day without a bite to eat. He didn’t stay long. Dashing back through sheets of rain, he jumped on his motorcycle to hurry home. My heart ached to think of him going back home to only a memory of his sweet wife.

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shook the south of Haiti. The death toll is estimated to be at least 230,000 but over 3,000,000 inhabitants were affected. The Haiti we see today has already made much recovery, yet she still limps along.

As we reached the outskirts of Port-au-Prince in our new pickup the other day, we saw whole new communities of people had sprung up on the mountainsides – people who had escaped the devastated city to start life again, but far from the home they knew. Haiti reminds me a little bit of Manno. She’s still mourning the losses she incurred and has only the memories to which she clings. So much loss. So much sadness. Yet, so many depending on her meager remaining resources.

Even though we have lots going on here in Cap-Haitian and are expecting a 17 member team to fly in tomorrow, we take this moment to reflect and to remember this horrendous loss. May the Lord wipe away Haiti’s tears. May the Lord do the same for Manno. May new life spring forth with the hope of a better tomorrow. We pray for Haiti’s future – and Manno’s.

 

35 Years & Counting

images.jpeg35 years ago today, Prit and I made the most monumental decision ever that would completely alter our future. We moved to Haiti to teach in a Christian day school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We lived in Port-au-Prince for five-and-a-half years, then moved north to the old colonial capital of Cap-Haitian where we have been ever since. Here, we planted our first church and started raising up disciples. We now have 5 churches, 3 schools, a Bible institute, and are feeding over 1,000 students, staff, and cooks. We have started the grassroots of a Professional School and have sewing classes in progress. We are also sending two young men to the university in Limbé to obtain a 4-year degree; one in Agronomy and the other in Music.

We give thanks to the Lord, first and foremost, for bringing us through some pretty heavy-duty trials and, secondly, our family and supporters who have believed in us all these years.

This is a pretty special week of remembrance! In addition to that, a group of 17 folks headed up by Orphans Promise, will be flying in to help us dedicate our brand new church building. We’ll have more pictures of that later. As we made our 8-hour journey from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitian on Saturday, I was reminded at several points of how the Lord had miraculously delivered us out of the hands of others who meant us harm. I will have to share that with you in another post, for they are many. Meanwhile, we know we didn’t walk this journey alone. The prayers of family, friends, and supporters sustained us all along the way.

We Got It!

I left you all hanging with my last post, but we have wonderful news! Prit and I returned to the airport on Friday morning, praying all the while that we would not be sent back home again due to bad weather. Fortunately, Sunrise was flying to Port-au-Prince and we arrived safely. As soon as we left the airport, we headed straight to the Isuzu Dealership. They had already told us they wanted a wire transfer. Before we left Cap, I had called our bank in North Carolina to talk to our bank representative. The bank was closed due to bad weather and I knew getting a transfer to the dealership quickly could turn into a huge headache. You can imagine the relief that poured into our spirits when they said they would accept a check. Whew!

We spent that night in a guesthouse and rose early to make the 8-hour trip back to Cap-Haitian. We have a beautiful new double-cab Isuzu pickup after waiting for 17 years to get another vehicle. The Trooper has served us well and the owner of the dealership told us we could bring it back and they would work on it. ”It’ll be just like a new vehicle when we’re done with it,” they said. The fact that the Trooper had served us so well is why we wanted to buy from Isuzu again.

One day, we hope to get a new vehicle for John as well. Meanwhile, he can drive the Trooper. In a country with indescribably bad roads, one needs a vehicle on which they can depend, especially if traveling a long distance. We are working on raising the money for that as well.

Orphans Promise

Buying a new vehicle was truly an answer to prayer and we are so grateful for those who were instrumental in helping us get it. It was just in time too because a 17-member team from Orphans Promise is flying in to Cap-Haitian on Saturday for the dedication of our new building. This way, John will be free to go to school each day while we have an extra vehicle to help transport team members and luggage to the hotel.

35 Years!

This Wednesday, 10 January, will make 35 years since we moved to Haiti. The Lord has truly been our Ebenezer in bringing us through many, many trials, toils, and snares. It is the Lord who has established us and made plenty of room for us in this land. With great humility and thankfulness we acknowledge the Lord and his lovingkindness towards us. Of course, we could not have accomplished anything here without the help of our supporters. We are deeply grateful for your prayers and financial giving through all the years.

Back to Square One

images-1.jpegThe weather outside has gone from a beautiful, tropical Paradise this week to a rainy, slushy, muggy gray. It sort of matches our mood here lately. It seems that everything we’ve attempted to accomplish results in a lot of pushing, persevering, and slushing through to get anything done. For over a week, Prit has been calling the Isuzu Dealership in Port-au-Prince to see if they have any pickups available for purchase. Day after day, he was told they were still in customs and hadn’t been released yet.  Finally, we got the go-ahead to fly to Port-au-Prince to buy a vehicle and then the rain started. We were due to make the 25 minute trip over Haiti’s countryside to the capital city this afternoon. Then, we would make the seven hour drive on horrible roads back home tomorrow. I called ahead right before we left just to make sure Sunrise was still flying. Oui, you can come. Be here by 3:00. After a good 45 minutes of fighting bumper-to-bumper traffic and praying we wouldn’t miss our flight, we hurried to the front desk to pay before boarding only to be told by the clerk, Vol la annulé! After slushing through the interminable traffic of Cap-Haitian, we resignedly gathered up our bags and left the airport to, once again, slug our way back home. Our flight is rescheduled for tomorrow morning at 8:00 and we will try – yet again – to fly out.

Sometimes I’m prone to believe that Murphy’s Law originated in Haiti. If it can go wrong, it will. Life here is full of starts and stops like some of those old cars we saw on the highway today. But, thankfully, the truth of the matter is that he knows our ways and our steps are ordered by the Lord. Delays and disappointments can actually be his way of keeping us right on path.

At any rate, would those of you who are reading this please pray for good weather tomorrow, a completed wire transaction for the vehicle purchase, and a safe flight in that little plane over Haiti’s mountains before the next team comes in? We only have one more week before Orphans Promise arrives for the dedication of our new building. Thanks!

Wrapping Up the New Year

 

IMG_0413.jpgBeautiful weather. Beautiful week. Beautiful company. Our son, Gabe, spent Christmas week with us and flew out today. Of course, the time went by way too fast, but we’re beyond thankful for this time with him. Since Gabe had not been here since 2010, our workers enjoyed fussing over him. Marie made him rice and beans with a creole sauce, banann pézé (fried plantain), and pumpkin soup. Cola brought him coconuts, fresh pineapple, bananas, and even made him a papaya milkshake minus the sugar. Elaide, not to be outdone, showed up with two avocados the other morning. They all got a big kick out of watching him eat. His appetite certainly hasn’t diminished! Today, he surprised many of our church members with his appearance and they all gathered around and greeted him.

Gabe will go on to spend a few days with our daughter, Deb, and her family. To say we’re a tad jealous is an understatement! It’s around 6 degrees in West Virginia and my daughter says that even her hair hurts! (That part we don’t miss.) We look forward to the whole family coming together this summer and celebrating the birth of new baby Edelen whose debut is expected on 2 June.

We wish you all a belated Joyeux Noel and a Bonne Année! We especially thank our supporters for making this a great year for Rehoboth Ministries. With you giving, you have fed the hungry, provided jobs for workers, enabled students to attend a university, sent the sick to the hospital, bought sewing machines to teach young women a trade and the list goes on and on. Thank you!