Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thank you…

We are grateful to our friends and family who support us.  We often reflect on the fact that we are only here in Haiti, because so many others are behind us supporting us.  We can’t be here, if people like you didn’t support us month in and month out.  Many of you have financially supported us for years!  There are no words to adequately say… THANK YOU. 

Each month we send these updates with stories, pictures, reports and reflections related to our lives and ministry from the field of ministry.  We do this, to remind you, that we are here as an extension of your arms.  We hope that these reflections will be a reminder of what God is doing through you, in another land.

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Rob

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There is no “I” in Team…

Actually, there is an “I” in the Creole word for team (ekip), but you pronounce it like an “ē”, so I think it still works… ;)


Left to Right: Pierre Rony, Naga, Manno, Rob (Me), Benjamin, Perguens, Frantz


Left to Right: Perguens, Benson, Amy, Benjamin, Naga, Daniel, Rob (Me)

I love the RMI Team. This is far from the whole team.  Pray for us, and the rest of the team who are here in Haiti making it happen.

Would you like to support the RMI team?  Click here and choose “Haitian Staff”.

We went to the tip of the Island…

Last week, Drew and I had the opportunity to go with Harper EFC, of Port Orchard, WA to visit their partnering church in Les Irois, Haiti.  It was a great week!  It is truly at far western tip of Haiti.  On a clear day, you would almost think you could see Cuba from there.

Right away, I could see that the team from Harper LOVED the people of Les Irois, but especially the children of Les Irois.  They have for many years been largely invested in RMI’s Hope for Kidz program.  It was evident.  They came prepared to love on those kids like I have not seen before.

While there, I watched as a long term partnership between these 2 churches further blossom and deepen.  It was a joy to listen to their prayers, to watch the way they did life together, to see the constant fellowship filled with laughter and sharing, to see the reunions upon their arrival, and even the moment of separation upon their departure.

While out there, we visited 3 satellite churches in the Les Irois district.  We visited Mandou, Carcasse, and Merise.  At each place, the team took careful time to encourage and be encouraged by the ministry of presence.  At Mandou, it was a joy for the team to see progress on the parsonage that Harper church has invested heavily in.  Soon there will be a roof so the pastor and his wife can move in.

There was a gathering for the ladies, a gathering for the youth, a gathering for the Hope for Kidz children. There were worship services.  There was an evangelistic service.  Each of these gatherings went so well.  All were encouraged in the faith.

This is only the second time I had the opportunity to take Drew with me on a partnership team visit.  Each time he goes, he gets better at figuring out how to do life in a village in the presence of a team.  To be honest, he struggles with so many eyes and so much attention on him.  He battles his desire to help translate and be involved, along with his fears and spirit of timidity.  With age and maturity, I totally expect him to grow into a strong leader.  He and I talk all the time about leadership.  My job is to be gentle, to remember he is only 8, and to not put too much pressure on him!  It’s fun to watch.  His latest 3 leadership lessons are that a leader must  (1.) know where they are going, (2.) know how to get there, and (3.) look back and make sure others are following.

Many more pictures can be seen here.

Rob

An AWESOME Visit to a very REMOTE Church…

We were really “out there” in Chardonette, Haiti.  Crossroads Community Church, of Doylestown, OH, came for their very first C3 Partnership visit a few weeks back.  I had the privilege of going with them.  We changed lives.  We were changed.

From the moment we arrived, the marriage between Crossroads Community Church, Chardonette Church, and RMI was real.  It is hard to put my finger on it, but there was something different, something special in the air.  There was such warmth and joy.  There was a true collaborative humble spirit.  There was an immediate mutual desire to reach out to the community with the Gospel.  There was a quick bond, only possible by the mutual love of Christ, and therefore a love of one another.  It was truly special to have experienced it.

Chardonette is a church that is stuck.  To be honest, they are on the bottom rung of the development ladder.  Injustices were everywhere.  Clean water is an issue.  There is no school building.  The parsonage walls are mud and the roof is rusted and full of holes.  The one room church is crumbling.  There is no electricity.  They are off the beaten path and therefore have little hope of external support.  They are full of the Spirit, but empty of resources. To be honest, they were only considered as a next Sister Church since RMI saw their situation, stepped in and added them.  This church is pretty much forgotten. No special treatment for them. We roughed it a bit.  But the people of Chardonette who hosted us, the 15 US team members, and the 8 RMI staff members all took it in stride since it was all for Jesus.

What did we do?  As we say so often, our partnership visits are much about presence.  When a friend or family member is sick in the hospital, what do you do?  You go and stand by their side.  Surely, you look for opportunities to do something tangible as those opportunities arise, but the visit is most about presence.  It is about standing together, encouraging and praying with one another.  Even being silent…. simply being present.  This was realized.

Having said that, Crossroads Community Church did some very tangible things that clearly made a difference.  Together, we walked far and visited homes of believers and unbelievers alike.  We visited the homes (each strategically chosen by the local church) of widows, of the desperately poor, the blind and broken, of the unsaved.  Each received a bucket of food, prayer, and the Gospel.  Out of about 25 homes that we visited, we saw about 5 people submit to the Lordship of Christ and pray to receive Him as their savior. We traveled to another even more remote church to encourage and bless them with some food, 1 hour UP a hand-made mountain road that was only accessible by low 4 wheel drive.  Truly, this is what God called us to do as believers.

We played games with kids and adults like I have never seen before.  We worshipped.  We prayed.  We ate.  We talked.  We dreamed.  We hiked.  We shared.  We cried.  We sweated. We laughed.  We lived the life that Jesus called us to.

Many more pictures are available here.

Rob

We get to walk in dark places…

Front Line n
1. military the most advanced military units or elements in a battle
2.the most advanced, exposed, or conspicuous element in any activity or situation

It is truly a unique privilege and blessing to be on the front lines of ministry. 

Pinch me, I get to do this every day! 

We are often blessed and treated almost like hero’s by those in supporting roles.  Believe me, that isn’t us.  We just strive (not always successfully) to be faithful to the task (the task of testifying the Gospel of God’s grace – Acts 20:24) in a different part of the world.  The greatest blessing, is being here.  We get to get our hands “dirty”.  We get to walk in dark places.  We get to unbind, loosen and free the oppressed.  We cut chains. We get to bring the justice of the Gospel to bear on disgustingly unjust circumstances.  We get to be the ambassadors that others have sent.  We get to feed the hungry.  We get to encourage and care for widows.  We get to transform lives. We watch out for orphans. We get to mobilize the lethargic.  We get to speak truth in the midst of untruth.  We get to train up and believe in those who have not been believed in.  We get to be a light in a very dark world.

SO. DO. YOU.

We are no different than you.  We aren’t special.  Together, we are equally loved and called by God.  We happen to be in “the uttermost parts of the world”.  Maybe you are in “Jerusalem”.  No matter, we are all reconcilers and “free’ers”.  Are you on the front lines of ministry right where you are?  Have you considered where your front line is?

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Rob

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Funeral, Unexpected Surgery and a Huge Amount of Thanks!

Many of you know that in June, I (Becky) made an unexpected trip to the US.  My maternal grandmother, Kay Kattman, passed away at the age of 93, just a few weeks shy of what would have been her and my grandfather’s 70th wedding anniversary.  We did not plan on coming to the US this year, but I was able to keep my eye on ticket prices and after 2 weeks found something reasonable to return for her memorial service. 

The plan was to come in on Tuesday June 18th and leave Tuesday June 25th.  It wasn’t the best timing as we had 2 teams in-country that week and many more coming this summer, but Rob and I agreed that it was important to go if the price of flights dropped.  They did go down, and I was off to NJ.

I stayed with my Mom during this visit and it was really fun because my grandfather and Uncle also were there.  It was really fun to hear stories I never heard before.  My grandmother served in the Army Air Corps during WWII.  It is where she met my grandfather and they were married 2 months after meeting!  Here is their wedding picture:

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Because she was in the service, she was honored with a military service at the local Veteran’s Cemetery.  My brother led the service and it was really cool at the end when they played taps and honored her service to our country by presenting my grandfather with a flag. 

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The day before I was to head back to Haiti, I had plans to go fishing out on my in-law’s boat.  I was really looking forward to this!  Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night in serious pain.  I knew what it was; I had had this a few times before.  It was pain from my gallbladder.  So instead of fishing, I called my doctor who said to head to the ER for testing.

I spent that Monday in hospital getting all the tests to diagnose gall stones.  While it didn’t need to come out right away, there was a top surgeon on call who consulted with me before any tests were back.  He said he was available to do the surgery that Wednesday, as long as all the tests confirmed the diagnosis.  These pain attacks had been reoccurring with more frequency.  I didn’t want it to get to a point where is was an emergency and be in Haiti!

All in all, I ended up staying an extra week in NJ.  I think it was harder on Rob and the kids!  It was hard for him to be both Dad and Mom for 2 weeks as well as keep up with his work here, especially since it wasn’t expected.  Many of you saw his running commentary on Facebook, which was pretty comical as times!  My Mom took good care of me! 

I was able to return home July 2nd.  There was no better feeling than to hug and kiss my family.  I’m recovering well and feeling pretty good.

What I want to say, Rob has already said here in a earlier post, but I want to say it again.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers, encouraging words and support!  We felt so loved!  So many people had words of encouragement for us and expressed they were praying.  You were the body of Christ in a tangible way.  Thank you!

~Becky