As I write this post, we are in-between having celebrated 32 years in Haiti (10 January) and remembering the earthquake of 2010 which took over 200,000 lives (12 January). Joy and sorrow are mingled together and we are ever thankful for the Lord’s preservation and for all of you who have made it possible for us to remain at our post all these years. We could never have done it without you!
We had a 2-day MFI conference this past Thursday and Friday. Over 100 pastors and leaders came together to glean from the ministry of Pastor Dennis Lacheney of Colonial Heights, Virginia, and Andrew Clark of Richmond, Virginia. Dennis pastors Christian Life Center and is President of MFI’s Southeast Region of which we are a part. Andrew spent close to ten years as a missionary near Port-au-Prince and is now president of Equipping the Nations Ministry. Their teaching on leadership and how to transform our communities greatly impacted our pastors and stirred them up to bring positive change to their regions. We were tremendously blessed by their visit and the spiritual deposit they left behind. Needless to say, we always enjoy the fellowship our visitors have to offer as well.
We are still celebrating Christmas! Our daughter, Deb, outdid herself and loaded us down with gifts this year. From DVDs, candy, and clothes to face wash and a crock pot for me, we are still enjoying the Christmas joy. With all the cargo that Agape Flights had to bring over during the Christmas season, these gifts didn’t make it until after the holiday. Thanks, Deb!
We are the typical grandparents who revel in every single picture posted of our grandson. There can never be too many! Here’s a picture of Sam enjoying his first snow. Prit and I sent him a toy telephone for Christmas. I told Deb that now he can call Haiti anytime he wants.
This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reached over $50 billion, with each shopper spending an average of $380 in-store and $160 online. At the same time, statistics indicate that most people in the U.S. — six out of seven — do not give away even 2% of their incomes. All of this in a world in which 13% of people do not have enough to eat. While I love to shop as much as the next person and I look forward to celebrating Christmas, I have to say that where we put our money greatly reveals what is important to us and what is not.
Why not do Christmas differently this year? Why not take the “Christmas Challenge” and give all or even part of what you plan to spend this year on travel, food, decorations, and gifts to change lives in Haiti? Or, if that isn’t really an option, why not choose to give less expensive or even homemade gifts this year–click here for a few nifty ideas–and then invest the money you saved into the Kingdom of God?
Christmas is a time of celebration. It is good to rejoice and spend time with our loved ones. It is fun to exchange gifts and bless others. In fact, I can’t wait to see the pictures of our first grandchild enjoying his first Christmas. There is no greater joy, however, than giving a gift that will truly endure. On Christmas Day, when you’re picking up wrapping paper and taking down the tree, wouldn’t you like the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference? Take the Christmas Challenge!
“Ayiti Cheri” is a land of two extremes. For 23 months, everyone here has been desperately praying for rain. Due to no rainfall, the heat was absolutely intolerable and gardens yielded very little precious fruit and vegetables. The depleted soil and shriveled up roots continued the domino effect of driving up the prices of everything in the market.
Finally, after longing for precious drops of water to fall from the sky, the rains came. Everyone rejoiced in the tropical breezes and the relief from the heat. It may as well have been liquid gold coming down as far as we were concerned. But then it kept raining. Due to Haiti’s massive erosion problem, the little makeshift shanties perched precariously on the mountainside were washed away. The rivers swelled and many people drowned. At least ten people died, but there were probably more that we didn’t know about. Anyone who had a home located by the riverside was sure to have everything inside drenched. Our cook, Marie, came to work one morning looking tired and haggard. “Everything in my house is wet. The bed, my clothes….everything is wet.” I found her later on our front porch sleeping on a bench. At least she had a dry spot to lay her head.
The definition of “wealthy” varies from country to country. As I sat in the living room of our mission house, I realized that I was indeed very rich. The ceiling doesn’t leak, our beds are dry, and there is food in the kitchen. These things alone make me extremely thankful. Meanwhile, we ask you to remember our Haitian friends who are still clearing out the mud from their homes and yards and praying that the rains will not start back up for a little while.
Ten boxes have been shipped to Haiti and last-minute details are being taken care of before we fly out on Friday. We have truly missed Prit’s mom and dad during this time. They were always involved in helping us with the packing and shipping part. We are so grateful for all the years of service they rendered to Rehoboth Ministries. No one was more devoted to our ministry than Prit’s folks.
We have lots of visitors coming in October. We will be just as busy there as we have been here. We covet your prayers for safe travels. It will be good to reunite with all our leaders and friends in Haiti. This will be our first trip back to Haiti since Prit’s dad and mom went to be with the Lord.
Many thanks to those special friends who wish to remain anonymous for helping us with the plumbing costs for the smaller mission house. A dear friend sent a sacrificial offering as well to help us begin the construction of the cabinets for the larger house. There is still much work to be done on both houses and if you’d like to help us lay tile, paint, continue to build cabinets, plus a host of other possibilities, we would be very appreciative of your help.
It’s the beginning of the school year and our kids are looking forward to hot meals once again. Many thanks to all of you who have opened up your hearts and pocketbooks to help us fill empty stomachs. If others would like to help us with this project, we still need your help.
Prit and I are winding down our time in the States. John flew out yesterday morning and is now visiting friends of ours in the Dominican Republic. Today, he’ll take a bus over to Haiti and resume his teaching in our Bible institute. Yesterday afternoon, Prit and I dropped Gabe off at the airport and as I type he is en route to Portland, Oregon. Prit, John, Gabe, and I drove to Richmond on Thursday where we met our daughter, Deb, her husband, Ben, and our incredible grandson, Sam. They drove down from West Virginia and we all relished in a one-day family vacation. Very reluctantly, we parted with Deb’s family since we don’t know when we will see them again. Such is missionary life, but we are so thankful for the time we had together.
While our children resume their normal activities in various places, Prit and I will be returning to Haiti at the end of the month. We’re looking forward to seeing the cabinets that are being built for our small mission house as well as the laying of tile for one of the bedrooms. When our team from Tacoma arrives in October, they’ll lay the remaining tile for the kitchen/den area. Work will also commence on the kitchen in our larger mission house. The concrete breakfast bar will be demolished, thus creating a larger space for working.
For those of you who wish to come visit us this year, we look forward to entertaining you in our renovated homes. Although, the renovation is a long way from being over, one must start somewhere!
Many thanks to our generous friends for helping us to move these projects along. Funds are still needed for completing the kitchen, so if you’d like to make a donation, we would love to have your help. Just earmark your check “kitchen renovation” or leave a note through PayPal if you wish to give online. Even though they are mission houses, they are “home” to us.
“Mom, the cheapest ticket I can find from Portland to Fayetteville is $600.” I sighed for the umpteenth time as I wondered how we could scrape that much money together to get Gabe here to spend some vacation time with our family before we head back to Haiti. “Lord, it would be so much simpler if he lived here on the East Coast,” I silently prayed. But, even as I prayed, I knew he was right where he was supposed to be.
Our family seems so spread out at times. All of us coming together in one locale requires time, effort, and of course, money. But, the memories produced are well worth the effort. Our sons are anxious to meet their new nephew, Sam. So, the next few weeks will be a blur of us scurrying back and forth to destinations to spend precious moments together with loved ones before we head back to Haiti.
On a more positive note, Monday we received some of the best news we’ve received in a long time. According to the Miami Herald, it’s official. American Airlines will begin making flights from Miami into Cap-Haitian in October. This will remove a tremendous financial burden off us. For years, we have paid a hefty price just for a round trip ticket from Cap-Haitian to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami because there was so little competition among the smaller airlines. That didn’t even include our connecting flight to North Carolina. With the debut of American Airlines’ flights, we will save a pretty penny on our airfare. Having said that, if you want to plan a mission trip to come visit our work in Haiti, here’s a great reason for you to come!
For the last several days we have been cleaning out Prit’s parents’ home and going through their house with Prit’s sister (Mary) and her husband deciding what to keep and what to give away. Box after box of books and clothes have been hauled off to the Salvation Army. Cabinets and closets are being emptied and cleaned out. It’s been both an incredibly busy and bittersweet time.
Our bedroom, which was our home for over twenty years in Fayetteville, is now empty, dusted, and vacuumed. What remains has to go in storage until we know where our next home will be. We ask for your prayers in this regard for the Lord’s direction in all these things. P.G. and Lucy’s dining room table was the nerve center for Rehoboth Ministries. It’s amazing that so much was accomplished in so little space. What’s more amazing is how generous Prit’s parents were in sharing the space that they had. We have lost two of the most committed supporters of our ministry in Haiti. Going through their home and gathering up their items is a constant reminder of them and all for which they stood.
Speaking of Haiti, we’ll be returning there around mid-August. There is much to do before we buy those tickets to Cap-Haitian. If you would like for us to come minister in your church or fellowship, please check out our schedule. There are still some open dates. Our time is running down and we have to plan wisely.
We are so grateful to all of you who have sent memorial gifts to Rehoboth Ministries in Lucy’s memory. Others of you have brought food and still others have prayed earnestly for our family. We are truly rich when it comes to our friends.