Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Few Videos…

The last 2 Sunday’s, we’ve visited two different churches that we haven’t been to before and had the opportunity to minister at both locations with a special song.  Rob took some short video on his phone each time, that I thought we should share with you! Some of you have seen these videos on Facebook, but I’m posting them here for those not on FB or those who might have missed seeing them. 

This past Sunday, we visited Marfond Baptist Church.  Some of you might remember Pastor Jean Chery who worked for RMI for many years.  He was installed as their pastor this past Sunday and we were invited to be a part of the service (more on that in another post.)  Drew decided he wanted to sing a song he knows well in Creole, “Our God is an Awesome God.”  He planned to sing it twice in Creole, but nerves got the best of him and he reverted to how he knows it best:  Creole version followed by the German version!  It encourages me to see his increased maturity (a year ago, he was too shy to greet the church with a ‘Bonjou’) and willingness to get up front and minister.  Here is the video of him singing:

Drew singing "Our God is an Awesome God"












Two weeks ago, we visited a church plant in Laval.  This church doesn’t have a building yet, so they meet outside under tarps.  We were invited to come that Sunday by TiJean, one of our long time Haitian employees.  TiJean is one of the key people planting this church.  They were having a celebration Sunday with baptisms and 4 weddings.  I’ve learned “How Great Thou Art” in Creole pretty well and it’s become my ‘go to’ song anytime I’m asked to share a song in church.  I always have to be prepared with something;  often, I’m asked that morning and don’t have much time to prepare ahead of time.  Here is a short video of part of the song:

Hope you enjoy the videos!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Manifestations vs. Strikes

Manifestations are a way of life here in Haiti.  When the people aren’t happy, they protest, usually in the form of a manifestation.  It is a way to have their voice heard. They usually are violent or include some kind of property destruction:  road blocks, burning tires, people on the road not letting you pass.  Just last week, I learned of a pump at a gas station being set on fire by an angry group of protesters, allegedly because the owner was not selling gas to the public, only to specific people who would sell the gas at a hiked up price.  Often manifestations are political in nature.  We had a lot during election time over a year ago, but on the whole the number of manifestations is down. 

Today the city of Cayes is having a strike.  Strikes are usually a peaceful form of protest.  You usually hear about it in advance.  All the businesses are closed today in protest.  I’m told that at noon, everyone is going to bang pots and pans and that there will be a march in the city, with signs, etc., similar to what protesters do in the US.  Just like a manifestation, you don’t always know the reason for the strike.  I’ve heard different reasons for today’s strike:  protest the high cost of food and/or to protest that 2 of the top government security guys were transferred somewhere else.   I’m not sure the real reason.

As missionaries, we are instructed to hang low when these events are happening.  This is great advice!  We are not here to get involved in politics—we are here to advance the gospel of Christ!  It’s not too hard to avoid them.  We often hear of them on the radio or in advance, like we do when they strike. 

Today I won’t be heading into town.  What I will do is continue to pray that the government leaders will think of their people first, before they think of themselves.  Haiti has a long history of of government corruption and leaders who think only of themselves.  Would you pray with me?


Home Assignment Report

We left Haiti on May 28th for our first Home Assignment and returned home to Haiti 12 weeks later.  Our goal was threefold:  to get some much needed rest and family time, to say thank you in person to as  many supporters as we could, and to raise the additional support we needed to return to the field.

To say our summer was packed with activity is an understatement!  I don’t even know where to start describing all that we did, all the people we saw, and all the places we travelled.  We put over 8,000 miles in the the vehicle we borrowed (thanks Greg and Star Harvie!), travelled to 19 states, slept in 22 different places, shared at 8 different churches and with over 14 different church groups.  If I’m counting correctly, Rob and I shared our hour long photo presentation 36 times!  We were able to visit with the majority of our support team.  If we missed you on our journey, either because we weren’t visiting your region or because we couldn’t make a meeting work while we were in your area, know we missed you and are very grateful for your support of our ministry!

We started out with 2 weeks in SW Florida, visiting with supporters, seeing doctor’s for annual check-ups, and working in RMI’s FL office.  A special shout-out to Eddie and Kelly Reynolds (and Kasey and Shane) for opening your home to us!  The kids really enjoyed their time there: especially the swimming pool and trampoline!  In 2 weeks time, Tessa went from a timid swimmer to a confident swimmer!  The kids were able to attend a week of VBS at our church in SWFL.

After that we took a week to travel north with overnight stops in GA, NC and MD.  We enjoyed catching up with friends, supporters and family!  We arrived in NJ on June 22nd and spent just short of 6 weeks there (2 weeks being vacation.)  We continued to meet with churches, supporters, potential supporters and see more doctors!  It was nice to stay with our parents and enjoy the time with family when we didn’t have other commitments.











We were thrilled to take some vacation time as well:  both as a family unit and with our extended families.  We enjoyed 3 days on Sanibel Island in Florida in June, just the 5 of us!  We swam in the pool, had fun at the beach, played mini-golf and explored the nature preserve there. 



In July, we spent one week of vacation with my side of the family and one with Rob’s side of the family.  I wouldn’t call those weeks relaxing!  The time we had with them was very full of activities—and just being together!  The kids really enjoyed the time with their grandparents and cousins and we were thrilled to see almost everyone (we missed seeing the Nebraska Thompsons.)  IMG_5453








IMG_6583 IMG_4548

While we enjoyed that time with our family, many things happened outside of our control that made it disappointing for us and our extended families.  During the “Brower Week” a huge storm with 100+ MPH winds blew through one night, leaving us with no power for 5 days.  It took down over 20 trees on my Mom’s property including a 100 year old oak tree that landed on the house.  It took a huge crane and 6 hours of work to remove that one tree from the house.  My Mom is still working with the insurance company and hopes that repairs to the house can start in the next week or two.  Many of the kids cousins were sick with various illnesses over those two weeks.  So while we enjoyed the time spent with them, many different circumstances prevented us and our family from enjoying that time to the fullest. 



Rob and I also enjoyed a one-night getaway to Lewes, DE to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary!  Thanks to our parents for taking good care of the kids!

From NJ, we travelled west to central IL, stopping one night in PA to visit friends.  We attended the wedding of Drew’s 1st grade teacher (who is Tessa’s teacher this year!).  Our final destination was the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.  Thanks to Cal and RaeAnn Stuart for opening your home to us for 10 days!  Our time in Chicago was packed: every night and many days we had meetings with supporters.  And we sadly didn’t get to see everyone!  We also had a fun day taking the kids downtown on the subway and visiting the Shedd Aquarium.





IMG_6976 IMG_7043

After we left Chicago, it was lots and lots more driving and many more visits with supporters.  We spent 2 nights in Tennessee, one night in Arkansas, a few nights in Louisiana,  one night in central FL, and then back to SWFL. Our 4 days there was busy as we used the time to finish shopping, work in the FL office, squeeze in 3 eye exams, and visit with more supporters. By the time we were done it all, we were SO READY to come home!  One thing I think we will do different next time is take a short vacation at the end—after all that travel and meetings, we really needed it!



We had a really great summer:  we saw so many people, had some fun times, gave updates on our ministry and said thank you, and worked on raising new supporters.  At the end of it all, we accomplished most of our goals!  While we were able to raise a significant amount of support during our visit, we still find ourselves $381/per month short of our need.  We are praying God raises up those individuals or churches for us in the next few months.  Would you pray for us to meet this goal?  If you feel led to join our financial support team you can do so here.

We are so thankful for each and every one of you!  We couldn’t serve here with out your prayers and support!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A New Sister in Christ!

Believers, you have a new sister in Christ!  This past Sunday night, Tessa prayed and asked Jesus into her heart!  As a parent, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)


Rob has a screensaver on his computer that pulls pics from our albums on Picasa.  That night, the pics randomly flashing up on the screen were from Drew’s Baptism last summer.  Tessa was looking at them and asked me, “Mommy, when am I going to be baptized?”  So we got Daddy and the three of us talked about what the Bible says about baptism.  Rob explained to Tessa that baptism is actually “step 2”, and she needed to understand that first she needed to ask Jesus to come into her heart.  We talked about her need to confess her sins and believe that Jesus is the son of God who died for our sins and rose from the dead in victory over sin.  She said, “when can I do that?”  “Right now if you want!”  We talked to her about a few more things to make sure she understood her decision and she prayed to accept Jesus :)  She was so excited about her decision, she had to tell everyone she saw the next day!

It was a joy to tell Drew that his example was instrumental in bringing Tessa to a saving relationship with Jesus!  What a neat teaching opportunity and hopefully an encouragement to Drew in his own faith.

This is the beginning of her journey of faith.  Rob and I pray that she will love God with all her heart and soul and serve Him her whole life.  We can’t wait to see how God will use her.  We pray that as she grows in her faith, her heart for God and His people will grow exponentially.  Rob said it well on Facebook, “May she love Him, trust Him, and honor Him more and more everyday, and do more for the kingdom than I ever hope to.”

We love you Tessa and are so proud of who you are becoming in Christ!