Monday, May 21, 2012

2012 Missionary Ladies’ Retreat

Every year, RMI “puts on” a retreat for all the missionary ladies at our Retreat Center.  This was the second year in a row that RMI missionary, Amy Long and I, planned RMI’s Ladies Retreat.  This year was more special for both of us:  it felt more relaxed and we really got to enjoy the retreat a lot more.  I think it’s because it was the second time we’ve planned it, we had a better feel for how our responsibilities were going to be divided up in preparation.  Overall, it just went smoother!  And that made it a lot more enjoyable for both of us.  The weather was great and you can’t get a better location than the RMI Retreat Center!

This year we had 34 Missionary Ladies attend the retreat.  It was a great turnout and really encouraging as we had a good representation of many different ages, many different ministries, and  many different stages of life.  Here is our group all together!


Our speakers this year were Gale Kernitz and Sheila Clark.  I had not met either woman before the retreat, but they both attended our church in Arlington Heights, IL, The Orchard, when we lived there and  Rob was a pastor there.  They came highly recommended and they did not disappoint!  Our theme was “Running on Empty, Filled to the Full” and the key scripture for the weekend was Ephesians 3:19 “… that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” [ESV]  Gale spoke wonderful, timely messages from God’s Word on being filled with the Holy Spirit from Ephesians.  Sheila worked in some great application and we practiced finding God’s declarations of who we are in Christ before we explored His commands.  The whole weekend was food for my weary soul!

Here’s Gail and Sheila stuffing our folders for the retreat!IMG_3787






Amy worked really hard to plan an extra special menu.  The first night we had an extra special meal, with pretty table settings.  She and another girl, Alisha, made some pretty corsages.  Sheila organized a special craft that was a huge hit with the ladies: we decoupaged journals!  No retreat would be complete without games including the world’s largest game of “Catch Phrase.” (And nothing can bring more laughs than native Germans playing Catch Phrase in English!) Over all, it was a fun weekend of fellowship, fun, relaxation and deep time in God’s Word!

Here are some pictures of our fun!












Saturday, May 19, 2012

New Periodic E-Update Posted…

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2 New Potential Haitian Sister Churches…

150+/- miles on a dirt bike over mountain terrain might tire out out my body, but certainly not my spirit!  In fact, God uses a trip like this to revive my spirit.  It puts thing in perspective. it reminds me of opportunity for the body of Christ to come together, to serve one another, to learn from one another, to love be another, to edify one another.  It lets me see the big picture.

On Tuesday, Gary, Benjamin and I headed out to visit 2 more potential Sister Church sites.  Desriveaux (pronounced Dairy-vo) and Chardonette (pronounced Shardo-net) are both clearly off the beaten path.  To be fair, it's not hard to get off the beaten path here in Haiti. But nonetheless, these churches are certainly off the main roads, away from traffic, away from help... far away. 

Desriveaux pictures here.
Desriveaux Trip Track here.
Desriveaux Waypoint here.

Chardonette pictures here.
Chardonette Trip Track here.
Chardonette Waypoint here.

Maybe later I will share some stories from this trip.  Like... seeing hospitality in its most raw/pure form.  Like... taking a detour and being thrown off my dirt bike and rolling down a steep incline after unsuccessfully attempting to scale a 90 degree dirt/grass vertical wall. Ok, it clearly wasn't 90 degrees, but you get the idea.

One of these churches will be "assigned" this week.  The other, not sure when, but probably not too long.  We have a number of additional U.S. churches interested.  There will be more visits to potential sites to come.

I can't wait to get a U.S. Church team out there to these sites.  These are AWESOME churches with GREAT friendly people.  God is going to change lives, both in these communities, and in the U.S..  Come on down.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Lifestyle of Serving…

One of the things I love about serving as a missionary in Haiti, is that we get to do this as a family.  There is no bigger joy than to see our kids serving, loving, playing with the people of Haiti.

Every time we visit a church, we are guests and are expected to give a greeting.  Rob and I always have something in mind that we want to say.  We always encourage the kids to say “Bonjou” in the mic but never force them.  Usually Braden is the only one eager to talk in the mic, and he usually gets a great big laugh from the congregation.  Hearing a little white boy speak Creole is not an every day occurrence and it always brings much joy!



The last time we visited a sister church, I asked Drew if he wanted to sing a song.  He has learned how to sing “Our God is an Awesome God” in English, Creole and German at school.  He quickly said no.  A few Sundays ago, as my alarm was going off, Drew was at the side of my bed saying “Mommy, I am going to sing today.”  I was half asleep and it took me a few minutes to realize what he was talking about.  Seems he had been thinking about singing since the last time I asked him and decided that day was going to be the day.  He told me he was only going to sing in Creole because they don’t know English or German.  I thought that was a good approach!

When the time came, he didn’t get cold feet!  This isn’t the best picture, but it’s the one I’ve got of him singing.  I also am including a picture of the congregation.  He did a great job!




I remember my first solo in church very clearly.  I was the same age as Drew (7) and my Dad encouraged me to sing as well.  I still remember the look on his face every time I sang.  I knew my Daddy was proud of me.  I understand that pride now.  It’s not a sinful, selfish pride.  It’s a deep joy at seeing someone you love dearly using God-given talents and overcoming fear to serve the Lord and love His people.  Drew did that.  And this Momma was full of joy.  May God be glorified.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Tentative Schedule for our Furlough/Home Assignment…

furloughWe are sure things will change, but here is our schedule as it currently looks…

5616+ Miles = 98+ Hours of Driving…  Here we go!

May 28th-- arrive Miami 3:40 PM, Drive to Fort Myers, FL

May 28- June 10th--  Florida

  • Work in the RMI FL office
  • Dr. Appointments
  • Shopping
  • June 3 and10, Worship at McGregor Baptist Church
  • Meeting with supporters and potential supporters
  • June 4-8, VBS at McGregor Baptist Church for the kids

June 10-13--  After Church leave for Family Vacation

June 14--  Drive 11 hours to Canton, GA, Overnight with Supporter

June 15--  Drive 2 hours to Lookout Mountain, GA, Overnight with Supporter

June 16-18--  Drive 6 hours to Charlotte, NC, 3 Overnights with Supporters

  • June 17-- Worship at Hickory Grove Baptist Church (North Campus)

June 19-21--  Drive 7.5 Hours to Silver Spring, MD,  2 Overnights with Supporter

June 21-June 28-- Spend time with Supporters and Potential Supporters in NJ

  • June 24, AM Worship/Sharing at Second Cape May Baptist Church

June 29 - July 13-- Official Vacation with Extended Families in NJ

  • July 1-- Worship with Family at ?
  • July 8-- Worship at Grace Community Church

July 14-24-- Spend time with Supporters and Potential Supporters in NJ

  • 2 overnights with Supporters in Downingtown, PA
  • July 15-- Worship at ?
  • July 22-- AM Worship ?
  • July 22-- PM Worship/Sharing at Linwood Community Church

July 24--  Drive 3 hours to Stroudsburg, PA, Overnight with Supporter

July 25--  Drive to Quakertown, PA, Overnight with Supporter

July 26--  Drive 3 hours to Greencastle, PA, Overnight with Supporter

July 27--  Drive 12 hours to Bloomington, IL, Overnight with Supporter

July 28--  After wedding, drive 2.5 hours to Chicago

July 29-August 8--  In Chicago visiting with Supporters and Potential Supporters

  • July 29, Worship at The Orchard, Arlington Campus
  • August 5, Worship at The Orchard, Barrington Campus

August 8—Drive 10 hours to Crossville, TN, Overnight with Supporter

August 9--  Drive 2 hours to Franklin, TN, Overnight with Supporter

August 10--  Drive 6 hours to Little Rock, Arkansas, Overnight with Supporter

  • Haiti Gathering at The Summit Church

August 11-13--  Drive 7 hours to Lafayette, LA.

  • August 12, Worship at Trinity Bible Church
  • Haiti Gathering

August 14-- Drive 12 hours to Ocala, FL, Overnight with Supporter

August 15--  Drive 3 hours to Fort Myers, FL

August 16-19-- Work in RMI FL Office, Shopping

  • August 19, Worship at McGregor Baptist Church

Monday August 20--  10 am flight back Home to Haiti

(but Becky did all the work on the schedule!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Underneath the Mango Trees…

What we get to see transpire (often under the canopy of the mango trees) is truly unique.  We hear it all the time, often through tears of joy… “I have been on many mission trips, but what has happen here in Haiti in my life within this Sister Church partnerships, is truly different”.  There is something special that happens as brothers and sisters come together and apply the Gospel in one another’s lives.  Justice.  Concern. Edification.  Encouragement.  Love. Truth.  Heart change. 

Is it measureable?  Not always.  Is it real? Definitely.

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!t  It is like the precious sweet Mango juice on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!” Alternate version of Psalm 133:1-2

I say to people all the time.  What happens here in Haiti is not easy to explain.  It’s not easy to quantify.  It’s hard to describe.  You have to come and experience it.  It’s as sweet as a Mango. Come on down.


Friday, May 11, 2012

True Reciprocal Ministry…

Recently, I had the privilege of being out with The Summit Church as they visited their Sister Church in Cote de Fer, Haiti.  We had a great time!

Of the many memories I have of our time out there, was a special moment when The Summit Church Team prayed for the Cote de Fer Deacons and then the Cote de Fer Deacons turned around and prayed for The Summit Church Team.  I was privileged to experience the impassioned reciprocal prayers of brothers.  It was mutual love on display.  It was shared burdens.  It was empathetic.  It was sweet.  I believe God was listening.

The reciprocal application of the “one anothers” is mandated by Christ, but we often miss the opportunity to give/receive.  We are too busy, too rushed, too lazy, too unaware, too self-centered, too disengaged, too engaged, too self-righteous, too ambivalent, too … 

Here in Haiti, through RMI, I get to see it constantly.  The Body of Christ, the church is firing on all cylinders here as people come together from different cultures to minister to one another, and together to their communities. 

Are you applying the “one anothers” in your places of community?  Here is a list of the “one anothers”.  Go for it…


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Celebrating the RMI national team!

Haitian Proverb - "Men anpil, chay pa lou."
Many hands [make] the load light.  Maybe light-er is a better translation for us ;)

Today, I won’t mention any names, but those on the RMI national staff (Haitians) here in Haiti are doing an amazing job.   If you have been here, you know some of them well.  There are many you don’t know working behind the scenes.  They are all brothers and sisters.  They are leaders.  They are comrades. They are wise.  They are able.  I believe in them.

We currently have 29 national staff here working along side of us missionaries in RMI.  I love them. We are a team. We are a family. We are in this together.

Honestly, we have been overwhelmingly blitzed with activity over these first 4+ months of 2012.  We have already seen 12 church teams come and go.  We’ve had 8 additional other weeks of groups here for other ministry opportunities.   Yes, that’s 20 groups in 19 weeks. Plus a long list of other things (ex: travel to the US, lots of ongoing construction and ministry projects, HFK facilitation, hot lunch program, babies born, staff weddings, staff issues) all at the same time with a reduced missionary staff (Amy Long was in the US on Home Assignment- good to have her back now).  Wow… deep breath.

RMI would simply not exist without this national team.

Their sacrifice.  Their hard work.  Their character.  Their endurance.  These fellow workers are to be celebrated.  They are not simply employees.  They are called by God and on mission for Him – just like me.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Nice Reminder…

“Lion Chasers Manifesto” from “In the Pit of a Lion on a Snowy Day”.

I read this book back in March 2008, but today came across this timely quote/reminder…

“Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. Take a flying leap of faith. Chase the lion!”  Mark Batterson

That fires me up!