Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Scouting out the damage

Tomorrow, Aaron and Eralus are hiking up to Pays Pourri to check out the damage from Tropical Storm Issac. It sounds like these subsistence farmers have lost crops and farm animals. This means that someone will go hungry. Please pray that we would know best how to help. 

Pays Pouri is the mountain area to the south of the mission in Fond Parisien. Pays Pouri is only accessible by foot. IFM has been looking at working more with these poor of the poor. If your would like to help with the Tropical Storm Isaac Disaster, please mark your donations "Tropical Storm Isaac Relief"

God Bless,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tropical Storm Ivan; Michelle's email

 Picture above is the mission yard. Notice the downed power line.

 Above: The main paved road in Fond Parisien.

 Above: The road to Na Plezi.

Here is an email from Michelle and Sheila:

Greetings to you from the storm battered town of Fond Parisien, Haiti! How are you doing? I am sure that by now you have all heard about hurricane Isaac that hit our island. Thanks to God, we are all doing fine, we have trees down, electric lines broken, and some tin torn off our church, but it could be so much worse. On Thursday we had a very sudden storm, that gave us a good drenching, and we thought maybe Isaac had arrived early. But no, on Friday we all knew the hurricane was coming, so we all got our work done early, the laundry lady came early, the doc worked really fast so the 82 patients at the clinic could get home early, and there was just a sense of urgency in the air. Sure enough, us singles were at Matt's for supper and the winds picked up. By midnight it was very very windy, something like 70 mph winds whipping through our yard, our town, our mountains! I could hardly sleep, the wind was so vicious, and friends kept calling to see if we were ok, and it was pouring rain, by the buckets!! The next morning we went out to survey the damage, a tree over the pigpen, but all 3 pigs were alive, a tree on the picnic table, and leaves and branches littered the yard, it almost looked like we had grown grass overnight!! We took a drive through town, and there was water pouring in places where water never pours, houses and churches flooded, and tin off of lots of houses! Some of our good friends lost their roofs and everthing in their houses got soaked!! The people in the mountains of Pays Pourri fared even worse... their have been people killed, lots of houses damaged, houses totally blown apart, animals gone, gardens gone, and all they lived for, GONE!! The people up there are so poor as it is, and now the little they had is no more. School is supposed to open in October and now most of the children up there will not be able to go to school. There is NO way for the parents to send them. BUT... if we all pull together and support the children up there, they may have a chance. It may not seem like a big deal but the school has only been there for a few years and so it is the younger generation now that can read and write. Their parents can't. Even most of the pastors up there are illiterate. Education is the hope for those people. Imagine their children can read and write and even read the Bible to them. If they have one. Some of those children walk barefoot 3 hours to school on very steep and rough terrain in any kind of weather just to come learn. Education is the hope of the new generation. There are no roads to go to Pays Pourri, just foot trails and so life is very hard and difficult. Imagine if you had one donkey and your way to earn money was hauling vegetables down to market. Your donkey gets swept away in a hurricane. Gone is your life's earnings and your business. Never mind your gardens that were hopefully going to be your next few months supply of food. Now you have no food, no animal, and of course you can't begin to think of 38$ USD for a school year for your child. Why would you send your child to school when the babies are starving at home? I guess a hurricane and its damage is so much more personal when it hits people you know and love. Please, if you all have any ideas how we can help, let us know. But most importantly pray for the ones who have lost so much and the parents who are still looking for their children that simply went lost in the hurricane. Pray that they will regain courage to live. And please pray for us that God would show us all how we can help. Truly it is only by God's Grace that we are still here and alive.
Thank-you all for your love and support,
Michelle and Sheila

Tropical Storm Ivan; Julia's email

Here is an email I got from Julia.

"Well yes, we are all ok... still a little tired from the loss of sleep FRi. night but doing just fine. Our yard however , I fear has not fared so well, branches and trees strewn all over and the power line snapped too. We are very fortunate though compared to the people all around. In fact I feel guilty that we are so spoiled . So many people have lost house ro
ofs here . In Pays Pourri, the people I fear are thinking life is hopeless. There is a count of 5 people dead and many, many houses are lost. Plus that alot of people lost all the animals and gardens so their livelihood is gone. Eralus is very, very burdened about it all.
" We had an interesting time going around town checking out all the water pouring down from the mountain road. The yard by the Catholic church was like a raging river and of course so was the NanPlezi road! Later we went around checking on our friends to make sure they were safe and sound. Seems like when we got to your house to check on Miss Ermithe's family they were all sleeping. We brought them some extra blankets later so they could stay warm- the breeze is so chilly". (Renald opened our house up to Nurse Ermite and her family since their roof blew off. Our house is empty since we are in the states for a few months - Mike)
"We had a quiet day today with the the whole crew over for lunch and we enjoyed soup and bread rolls . It feels just like after a good snow storm in Canada!!
We shall see what tomorrow holds. I've heard that there is bridges out in the Dominican so Dr. Alexis couldn't get over to the capitol .I don't know if that means Dr. Cedeno won't be coming either. Aaron said something about doc telling him he could just work tomorrow then. We shall see!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Special Thank You:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."- Colossians 3-15:17

God blessed me with a year full of blessings. Sending me to Haiti and becoming a mother of two precious boys! But not just that I became part of the IFM family. Haiti was not always roses but I was very glad that I met my family that I will leave behind. 
God has told me to go back home so my ticket was purchased for Tuesday. I have mix feeling about getting back to the American lifestyle. But God knows best so I'm just following what He is telling me. 

So I wanted to thank you all this way,
Matt and Alicia: I want to thank you for letting me coming to the CH and be part of the children's life. At first when I came I didn't know how we were going to get along but I think we did pretty good! Thank You for been great parents to the children and  pouring you heart for the children of Haiti! God bless you as you serve on that area!

My dear friend and Sister and beautiful niece,Mary and Veronika: I could say a lot about you and I but then it wont be fair for the rest.. HA HA! Thank You for calling me to tell me to come to Haiti and be together on nanny-hood! The whole was fun and a tremendous blessing. I'm going home VERY sad but i leave with beautiful memories! Thank You and God bless you as you serve Him and also raise Nika to be a godly young girl!  
Tom and Laurie: Wow! Thank you for the hospitality you always offered! I really enjoyed staying with you both for 4 weeks and getting to know you. Thank you for all the advice's and the godly example of family as well! You inspire me to reach out to God even in the midst of trouble but always be thankful! Thank You. God bless you as you reach out to souls here in Jimany. 
Wismith and Rebecca- Sweet dear couple! Rebecca I loved the talks we had and just the good times we spent in your nice,cozy,beautiful home! Eating chocolate and sipping sweet tea! Thank you! Wismith thank you taking me places ive never been in Haiti. You are great tour guy. Thank You for all you do! May the Lord bless you as you are reaching out to you country and showing them that there is a God that can change them! God bless you both!
Ellen,Michelle,Julia,Me,Sheila,Mary Ann,Ruth,and Hannah(not on the picture :-((
Thank you girls for the fellowship and the fun time all the talks,laughs,praying together,eating together just all the fun stuff that girls love to do! I'm really going to miss you all! Shine the light to every person you meet!
The Lavys: Thank You for the sweet aroma of home. Every time I went down to the mission Wendy always welcomed me  with a bright smile. Aaron, thank you for the jokes and for portraying Jesus. Thank you for been there and for giving an example to the Haitians of a godly home! 

Last but not least Austen,Shea,Tibutson,Renald: Thank You for picking on me..I guess every girl has to have some guys around to toughen her up, right? Well it was fun to serve in the Lords mission together! God bless you for all you do around and for reaching out to souls that need God! 
If I forgot anybody well here a thank you once again!! 

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body"
Let us all work together in one body to reach the souls that need to hear about Jesus. Doesnt matter if you scrub floors, do laundry, take care of children,work at a clinic,like my fellow missionaries here,Do it all for the Glory and Honor of God! 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good-bye to the Bill Jones family

Last Sunday we gathered for lunch and fellowship in the cute little church in the Domincan.
We enjoyed "Pica Pollo" , salads and dessert as we spent our last day with the Jones family
before they left for the States.


These girls sure look like their enjoying themselves:) 
We are sad to see you leave, as you have blessed our lives in the time we spent with you.
But we pray Gods richest blessings on your family as you serve Him in wherever He calls you from here.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Dominican Experience..

This is an email I sent to my contact list a few days ago... Mike thought I should share it! May God be glorify!!!

To my Friends and Family,Hello to you all from hot weather Jimany,DR. It has been very hot the past few days that after doing things you sweat buckets of water! Yes it is HOT! But am thankful God has me here.
Since Saturday afternoon I've been living with Kiko and his family. It just reminds me of when I was younger. How they do things, the food they eat and some of the ways they are raising their children. But I'm facing the fact that now am 25 and it seems 
Kiko and Vicky are a sweet couple. They love the Lord and had made choices against their own culture to follow God. Last night Vicky and I were talking and we ended up both, sharing our lives and how difficult was to start wearing a head covering and start dressing more modest but both of us agreed that we are doing it for the Lord and want those around us to see Jesus in us. It was a sweet conversation and I'm so glad we did!
Kiko at IFM Republica Dominicana BBS 2012!
Kiko and I have talked about how Fathers are absent in children's life. In a Latino culture been a Macho takes place in a lot of homes. So if you beat your wife and children you are consider a man that has the control. Here in the Dominican that happens a lot, so Father figures are out of the picture in a lot of homes. It is sad because I believe God ordain man to portrait Jesus life in a family. As a lot of you know I didn’t have my father in my life but that did not stop me from searching for something bigger and I found it in Christ. When I was small for me God was like my earthly father.."He left me so why do I care? God doesn’t care about me” and that’s how in the Latino culture a lot of people see God. If they don’t have an earthly father then they wont believe on God that sent His only son to die for us.That is a sad reality that us Sons and Daughters of God need to change by giving our hearts and talking to those that are in deep pain and don’t know God; about His everlasting love and mercy! A lot of the children here in Jimany live with their moms only so around here everyone knows Kiko. He has a heart for children so his house is always full of them. They come in the morning and stay sometimes till evening! Is so sweet. They want to show them that there is more than just going to church. But a family that loves them as well!!Well maybe I should change the subject to something that happened to Cinthia(a friend from Blue Ridge that came to teach as well) and I one evening. So we came from somewhere ready to take a nice shower. Well for our surprise Kiko bought powder clorine and dumped it in the tank so we were almost burning with this water. It was hard on my skin. I had very dry skin after that! But all in all those are memories am going to remember!! 
Well this has been my week so far! I hope you all are having a great week and serving God where you all are!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mission Trip to Hinche

Everything goes along on a mission trip... suitcases, bedding, rice bags, charcoal,
 speakers and the whole sound system...
Climbing up, up, and up Goat Mountain... leaving Port au Prince below us.

Rich fertile soil producing beautiful gardens.

 Several main rivers flow through the central plateau. Some are very muddy...

...and the next ones are clear and deep. This river flows from the dam created to produce EDH, Haitian Hydro which supplies alot of electricity for Haiti.

This beautiful lake is created by the dam.

"We arrived missionaries, we arrived!" The song we sang in Creole as we rolled into town.

The entrance into the Baptist church and school yard where we unpacked our bags... 

 ...the kitchen where the cooks made huge pots of delicious food.

Mme Nacis serving up some yummy breakfast of spaghetti and hard boiled eggs!

Moise sharing the gospel on one of our street evangelizing trips.

Sunday morning local singing group in Hinche. The little church just got fuller and fuller and fuller! Nothing like a 4 hour service on backless benches!

Since the children didn't go out on street ministry trips, Sunday afternoon Deacon Gesner took them for a walk in town and we went to the hospital to sing and pray for the sick.

Giving the bus a little breather while we buy drinks and enjoy the scenery. We were also waiting on the other vehicles in our caravan that ran out of gas along the way!

Climbing up the mountains, and going around switchbacks and curves that lead to home sweet home!
After being gone from July 27-30 we were happy to be homeward bound!

Read the full story on previous post:)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Julia's Prayer Letter

Here is a prayer letter Julia sent to her home church. I got her permission to put it on the blog. Enjoy! 
Dear church family,
Therefore said he unto them, "The harvest truly is great but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways; behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes:and salute no man by the way. Luke 10 : 2&3
This passage somehow struck a new meaning in my heart once again as we prepeared to go on a mission trip this month. It was so good for me to have a special weekend for evangelization . Even tho this is important in our everyday lives, somehow it makes this race of eternal destinies become so much more real when all the other worries & work of life are left behind and our one group focus is to go out and seek the lost! I'll share some of the highlights of our trip a little later!
The month began once more with comings and goings! July 3, Mike & Joanna and the boys left to head stateside. The will be gone for several months as they wait the arrival of their new baby and have a nice furlough. They are sorely missed around here, especially the little guys who just brighten everyone's day! That same day we welcomed Shea back. He had spent 3 months at home visiting friends and family and doing a term at SMBI. It's great to have him back again. Along with him came this year's WATER students. Carolyn Ringler & Hannah Manhart were here with us for the month of July doing this World Awareness Training in Evangelistic Responsibilities program.
July 6th was the day Sulley, the nanny from the children's home, left. She spent a year here with us and is now returning to her home in PA. Sulley your cheery outlook on life is sorely missed but we wish you God's blessings as you serve him in your new field.
July 11th we all piled into the truck to go pick Hannah and Austin up at the airport. Austin is back after spending 6 weeks at home and our dear Hannah is back to join the mission family. She will be taking Ruth's place in domestics.
Then July 18th Dale left us to go back to ON. He had agreed to stay and help us until the guys came back from their furloughs etc. so I guess that time had come. Dale your willingness to do just anything is still missed around here but we pray that you will be blessed as you seek for further direction for what God has in store for you.
In last months' newsletter I mentioned of our dear, old granny friend, Md Pecwa, who was at death's door. Well, she passed away peacefully on July the 3rd and went on to be with her Saviour and eternal reward. I'm so glad she can be released from her suffering but it was hard for all of us to go thro the nights of the wake and then the funeral. Please pray especially for Pecwa who is left behind, now at 87 years old. He is having a hard time continuing with life and struggles with loneliness after so many precious years of being married to her. I am thankful for the one granddaughter who took it on herself as her duty to move in with him and take care of her grandfather.
I also had mentioned our lab girl, Eveline who's baby was born prematurely and was in the hospital ever since. Sadly the baby must have taken a turn for the worst and very suddenly died a week ago Tues. I know we will never understand but God does & I'm glad Eveline realizes that too. One evening we staff all went in to town after work to encourage her and show her our support. Pray for her and her husband as they face this journey of hurt, healing and forgiveness. They have a son who is three years old and this was their first baby girl so that makes it especially difficult for them.
July 21st, was the big day! Our 'brother' Fernard is gettting married! He & Thouslene are good friends of all of us so we all were excited for this day.We girls even all sewed new matching dresses for the occasion and sang a song together for them!
Please go to our IFM blog for photos of the wedding. http://www.internationalfaithmissions.blogspot.com/ .
Now for the mission's trip....it all began early on the morning of Fri. July 27 when one of our church friends called and wondered where Michelle & I were?! You see the bus was supposed to leave at 5 am sharp and this was now 5:20! Well, I had just crawled out of bed and wasn't in a great hurry. You see we girls knew that the bus driver still had to come down to the mission in the morning and finish welding a rack to go on top of the bus to hold our luggage. Sure enough at 5:30ish we heard the welder start up and we knew we would right on time! We finished packing our bags and arrived up at the church where everyone was having prayer service.After squashing all 45 of us church folks into the bus and tying the luggage securely on top we pulled out of the church yard at 6:45a.m. Right on time :) Everyone sang lustily as we started off & literally did not stop the whole way till we arrived in Hinche! Opposite of our trip to Maniche, this bus driver kept his bus in tip-top shape & knew the mountainous road like the back of his hand, so the miles sped away behind us. We climbed up steep mountain ranges with cliffs that dropped straight off the sides, around sharp curves, and thro endless lush greenery. By the time we got to the central plateau area I had nearly forgotten I was in Haiti. Such different scenery, hillsides of gardens, groves of mango trees, swaying palms and fast flowing rivers & a big lake.We also passed the huge hydro-electric dam where most of Haiti's electric is produced .Even the road was smoothly paved with lines painted in the center and on the sides. Thus in 4 short hours we safely entered the city of Hinche- our destination!
We stayed at a Baptist school/church compound that provided simple but pleasant accomadations for us. School rooms for us to sleep in, a cook shack for the kitchen ladies, shower rooms & clean outhouses :) We ladies set right to work at cleaning the school rooms, 3 for the ladies and 2 for the men. The cooks began fixing a scrumptious dinner of rice n beans and fish sauce. After we all were settled in and had our bellies full we all chatted or slept to try to pass the afternoon heat. It was HOT, very, hot!! With no puff of breeze!
But we all survived and at 5 p.m. Pastor split us all up in groups of 5 or 6 and we struck out on the streets to go door to door evangelizing. We quickly discovered that Hinche is definitely not a heathen town and many of the places we stopped were Christians, however they all wanted us to come pray with them and it was such a blessing! The one place in particular stuck out to me- we were walking down the street singing when a little girl, maybe 3 years old, took us by the hand and led us to her house. Inside was her mother with a new baby who quickly explained to us that this little girl loves to sing and pray and as soon as she heard us she asked her mother if we could come to their house? Her mom said she could come get us , so that's what she did & she was so pleased with herself. We discovered the dad is gone all day long in Port au Prince for work so they are by themselves alot. We encouraged the mom to keep her daughter's love for Jesus alive and she will grow up to be a faithful follower. Another situation that I remember was the 2 young boys we met on the street that said they wanted Jesus in their heart.Since they were close to their home we asked that they take us to their house & we could talk there. Once there we discovered that the whole family is not Christian and we talked to the father quite awhile.He said he doesn't want to be a Christian because then it would be much worse if he sins. This way I guess he thought he doesn't need to be held accountable for his sin. How sad! By this time the young boys had disappeared & we could do nothing but leave them with a Gospel of John tract & pray that God would work in their hearts.
We also went door to door ministering on Sat. morning & late Sat. afternoon. This time we passed more thro the main part of town and were shocked at what a large city Hinche actually is! It is a well developed city with booming business & a huge market. THe streets are paved with sidewalks along many of the main ones & most people live in nice cement block houses. The center city square was like a park, with flowering trees and benches, even basketball & volleyball courts with a team playing! We also discovered it has many churches, huge churches - definitely stronge Catholic influence but also alot of Baptist.
Sunday afternoon we took the children walking so they could see the town to, since they didn't come along when we did street ministry. We walked clear to the far end of town where we saw the big fancy municipal buildings etc. & their big hospital. We actually went inside the hospital - I couldn't stop marvelling over how big it was. It was neat & clean but very simple with many, patients. I couldn't help but think how overwhelmed I would feel if I was a nurse walking those halls eveyday! We stopped & sang and prayed in a few rooms and everyone seemed to enjoy that.
Each evening we had services at church. I think they were supposed to be kinda like street revivals but since the church was set back off the street not too many other people came. However we had a blessed time of singing and worshipping together. There was always opportunity given for volunteers to sing however Michelle & I never had a chance to this time as there was always so many people who couldn't wait to share!
This mssions trip was so different from the last one as there several families with children along. THere were probably 15 children in total so there was always something to do, whether it was running after the little girls or combing hair or picking up after them. Then there was water to pump & carry over for baths and for the kitchen use, dishes to wash & always, always floors to sweep . The school yard was fine sand which made everything grimy and dusty! I thoroughly enjoyed this experience to get to know my church friends & it strengthens relationships so much when we are willing to be a part of them.
Mon. morning everyone set to packing all our belongings back up to get ready to go home. Buckets, blankets, dishes, speaker system, big suitcases, why it was just like a camping trip!! In short order we were all ready to go, so we proceeded in a vigorous prayer to God for protection on our way home. Then we were off, out thro the church yard & past the moto drivers, past the proud blue pillars that said "Welcome to Hinche", past the friendly merchants who were selling avacodoes, mangoes & cold drinks. Down the road -away, away on the long, winding, mountainous road that led us off to our home sweet home! And as we climbed up one steep hill & swooshed down the other side we sang & chatted & laughed & we remembered- the good times, the new things, the strange things & the silly moments. Then we tucked the memories deep in our hearts & like a big happy family we pulled into the church yard here at 1p.m. tired, hot and oh,so blessed!!
I can't thank you enough for all your prayers and support. It means so much, especially on weekends like this past one. I know God's work is so much more effective with the prayers of the saints! Thankyou so much! (Keep watching our blog for pictures of the weekend mission trip. One of these days when I have time I'll post them!!)
Because of Jesus,
Love, Julia

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Film Jezi nan Bouzi

 We've been wanting to show the Jesus film In Pays Pourri for awhile and this past Sat. was the first of what we hope to be three showings.
 Pays Pourri is a large mountain area with over 34 churches of different denominations and as a mountain top area separated geographically from the towns that share its commune it can be difficult to get to.
 We hope to show the film in the front, back and center sections to best give ample opportunity for every area to see it.
The church of our fist showing was the Baptist Church of Bouzi directed by pastor Delijèune located in the center section.
 We arrived early and had prayer with pastor Delijèune and the other church leaders who already came and proceeded to set up for what at the time looked like a small group of people.
 When the film started there was maybe 40 people or so but it did not take long and the church was full. The deacon seating people started putting them behind the screen where they watched the film backwards.
 A rough count of over 250 came out to see the film.
 The ladies that were supposed to prepare refreshments did not want to leave the film
 We thank Shelia, Hannah and Adaline for forbearing green wood and a very smoky cook shack to make tea for everyone.
 And so a little after midnight the film ended and refreshments served. You cant beat ginger tea at this hour.
We thank y'all for your prayers and covet them always as we continue to minister.
And we praise our Father for His grace upon us as men.
We also thank Pastor Delijèune, deacon Delinwa and our dear friends Edmond and Jotas for all their hard work and sacrifice to help us make this possible.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fernard & Thouslene's Wedding

July 21st was an exciting day for all of us..... our dear friend
 Fernard is to be married to Thouslene.

                                                         The happy Bride & Groom!!

At Haitian weddings the bride and groom and 'bestman & maid of honor' sit facing each other. Here they are saying their vows and the pastor is offering marriage counselling
at the same time :)

                                                             Mr. & Mrs. Fernard Floriza

   The wedding party - the queen, the groom & bride, the paron (bestman) 
& the maron ( Maid of honour)

Austin, Keith & Shea take their turn to pose with the Mr & Mrs. Fernard.

 Ellen, Michelle, Julia, Sheila, Hannah in our matching outfits. We girls were delighted to sing together at our 'brother's' wedding!