Sunday, December 14, 2014

Silence

I’ve been pretty silent here over the past few months since we returned from the States.  I guess I’ve been in a weird place… a place where I don’t feel like I have much to say.  A place of busyness.  A place of much change.  A place of increased responsibilities (which glaringly show me my inadequacies.)  I haven’t had much motivation to sit down and write up a blog post.  And even though there have been plenty of times I should have written (I am a missionary after all and communication is expected) I just couldn’t get myself to actually do it. 

This place of silence has not necessarily been a bad thing.  I think we all go through times where we don’t feel like talking or don’t have much to say.  Times where the Lord is asking us to be silent.  Times where words just don’t cut it so it’s better not to say anything.

I don’t want to be silent any more. 

The Pastor at church today preached from Ecclesiastes 11-12.  Although I feel my Creole has really improved in the past year, I won’t pretend that I understood all that he had to say from this portion of God’s Word.  I still have a long way to go!  That being said, I read much of the context while he was preaching and came across a verse I hadn’t noticed before and it spoke to my soul.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”  Ecclesiastes 11:5 

I just love this!  How does God place a person’s soul in their body while she is in her mother’s womb?  I can’t even fathom it.  Yet that is the way God works in everything, in every circumstance.  I sat there in awe thinking about it.

I love the book of Ecclesiastes.  It’s one of those books that I have enjoyed reading from beginning to end at one sitting from time to time in my adult life. It’s such a poetic book, yet laid out so matter of fact and rationally.  Those of you who know me well… well, let’s say that’s just how God made me.  And if you’ve never read it from beginning to end in one sitting, I challenge you to do it. 

For what purpose is there to this life?  It is to just be busy, to work hard, to enjoy life or to suffer? 

“The end of the matter; all has been heard.  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13

It’s all meaningless without a Savior.

Over 2000 years ago, Father God placed the soul of his Son, Jesus  in his mother Mary’s womb and fulfilled the long-awaited promise of a Savior.  Fully God, fully man, this tiny baby was the hope of the world.  So many didn’t understand how God was working, yet he was fulfilling his perfect plan.

Salvation had come. 

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:11

Jesus makes this life worth living.  Jesus gives it purpose. And I can no longer be silent.  For just as the writer of Ecclesiastes can’t know just how God brings the soul to the body, I can’t even begin to understand all the ways God is working in my life, in my family, in this ministry, in this country, in my passport country, and in the world to fulfill his perfect plan.

~Becky

3rd Annual Hope for Kidz Deworming

Don’t be fooled: we may not have any teams in Haiti this December, but we have been very busy moving ahead with other programs and preparing for the busiest time of the team calendar that starts in January.

On December 2nd, we held our 3rd Annual Hope for Kidz (HFK) Deworming seminar.  This is the 3rd year we’ve included deworming in all of our HFKz schools.  We called all the school administrators in for a meeting to review the program protocols and distribute the meds for clinics at their schools.  We actually had a few administrators calling us earlier in the school year asking us to do the program again this year!

The last two years we’ve taught these school leaders how to administer and keep good records of deworming meds distributed at their schools as well as gave them educational materials and training on how to teach worm prevention to each of their classes.  RMI has provided the follow-up to keep them accountable to following through. 

This year, in addition to reviewing these things, I asked them for testimonies of how these treatments have had a positive impact on their students.  I received  overwhelming responses of gratitude!  I also heard quite a few stories that are a little too graphic to write here!  I can say that it was obvious to these school directors the impact this treatment has had on their students.

At the meeting, we distributed to 51 schools  deworming medication and cups for 12576 students and 508 teachers.  That’s right, we handed out over 13,000 doses of deworming meds. 

If you sponsor a child’s education through Hope for Kidz, don’t miss the impact you are making in this small area of the program!  A portion of your sponsorship goes toward deworming as a whole and has a big impact on not only your sponsored child, but that child’s school and community!  Remember, it’s not only your sponsored child receiving the medication and education, but every child in that school. The more people in one school and/or community who receive deworming treatment each year, the  less worm infections in that school and in the community.  Add to that the prevention teaching they receive at school through the deworming program (which includes important education on hygiene and cleaning of food)  and that leads to healthier kids all around.  It’s a win-win! 

Thanks for making it possible!

~Becky

Monday, December 1, 2014

Special Request...

Please Help Us Finish the Year Strong...

Check out our Special Update to learn more...  #givingtuesday


Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's Worth It: Beacon EFC Goes to Morency...

I had the great privilege of hosting a first time team from the church where I grew up, Beacon Evangelical Free Church, from Galloway, NJ. Not only was it the church where I grew up, but my Aunt and Uncle were on the team! We had 17 people respond to the Gospel wanting to follow Jesus, we built school benches, we handed out food for the hungry, we played lots of soccer, we encouraged the men/women/youth/kids in special gatherings for each, we worshiped, we received way more than we gave, we even danced! The week could not have been better.

The following comments represent a great reminder of why we do what we do... all the administration.... all the sweat and long hours... all the sacrifice, tears and hardship... all the traveling... all the prep and logistics... It's because we are having an impact...

To give you an idea of how things went, here is some feedback we received from Beacon EFC upon their arrival back home...

"Our team came back in awe of the experience that they had. God was at work! I just keep hearing story after story of how amazing and faithful our God was."

"Last night (team member) shared with the 30 women at my house for Bible Study . We had all been praying for her and the team. She shared, with tears in her eyes and holding back sobs, of the experience that she had. I knew that this was a totally-out of her comfort zone trip. Her life was changed by people who had nothing and gave so much. She witnessed to the fact that God is working on her about relationships being more important than the daily routines of life. The girls prayed for the church at Morency and for the 17 lives that were given to Jesus."

"Love you guys and believe in what you are doing for the Kingdom remembering that "time is short and Hell is hot". Keep up the good work."

"Thank you for your leadership with RMI. I see how you are delegating responsibilities and how your RMI team is taking the reins of leadership. Our team has a deeper connection with your family and a greater understanding of the ministry you are serving in. You are doing a great job!"

"Thank you to your team and the great job that they did. Our team felt safe and cared for the entire trip!"

"I have accepted the challenge to incorporate Jesus into my story of the trip."


"To see the joy that the Haitian people of the Morency Baptist Church have and to be so deeply moved by them giving up their beds and sleeping on floors for us, cooking for us, preparing songs for us, welcoming us in a parade of singing and waving of palm branches and leading us to their church with signs of "Welcome" and "We love you" while dancing and shouting greetings of "bonswa" it was so love filled that there wasn't a dry eye in our group."


RMI, Beacon EFC, and Morency building school
benches together.  We were able to provide an
additional 75 places for kids to learn.
Beacon EFC having fun with the kids.  There
was ALWAYS a ball being kicked around.
Beacon EFC out giving food to the hungry.  They
provided 5400 meals for the people of Morency.


Please Help Us!

If you currently do not financially support us, would you please consider helping us?  We are currently $938/month under supported in pledged giving.  We need as many new people as possible to come on board, to believe in us, to stand with us, and to financially support us.

If you are financially supporting us we truly appreciate you and your ongoing generous sacrifice. You are a like a member of our extended family!

We are 100% supported by donations from individuals and churches.  It may surprise some, but most of our financial support actually comes directly from individuals/families.  Many people have chosen $50/$75/$100 each month, some more some less.  Can you help us in this way?

Want to know HOW to join our financial support team?

Give online right now via your Credit Card or Bank Account.  You can set up monthly giving, or give special gifts at this secure site.  It's really easy.

Give via paper check.  Please make your check payable to RMI.  To designate it as a gift for us, please send a small note stating this gift is for  "Rob and Becky Thompson's Ministry Account".

All gifts are Tax Deductible.  You will receive receipts for each gift you give.

Thank you!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Are We Doing the Work of the Gospel?

Yes.  I answer an emphatic YES!  But, I think there is more...  Over on the RMI Blog, I posted additional thoughts about this, but to be clear, I think we are doing GREAT Gospel work, but I am encouraging us all to focus even more on discipleship, aka good Biblical teaching...

RMI wants our partners to focus on 5 Impact Points... Evangelism, Discipleship, Education, Social Compassion and Community Development.  The Gospel requires this.  This is RMI exists.

Recently I've had some unique experiences that have really caused me to deeply reflect upon the needs of the church here in Haiti.  Out of respect for the Haitian Church and people, I'm not going to share the details.  I sat in my office talking to one of our national RMI leaders, sharing my experiences and asking them to give me insight.  Their response was "Director, it's a problem of discipleship.  They simply don't know any different.  No one has told them what the Bible says about that."

Go and MAKE DISCIPLES, teaching them to observe all that He has commanded.  America is an educated society with LOTS to share.  We are blessed, so let's not be stingy.

BTW, some other day, I will share what I think the Haitian church can uniquely teach the American Church.  American Church, we have problems too!

"All Scripture is breathed out by God
and profitable for teaching..."
2 Timothy 3:16

Friday, October 31, 2014

I Want to Share Something Truly Life Changing...

The Lord has been impressing upon me the need to share the good news of Jesus Christ. This is for me. This is for RMI teams too. Seriously, I/we have the greatest news, we MUST share it with those who haven't made a decision to follow Jesus.  Let's respond to God's call upon us to share something truly life changing.

I have shared it twice in the last week. One individual responded that he is already a follower of Christ. The other I am honestly not sure. One thing I know, I was faithful and both heard the clear and simple good news. The rest is up to the Lord.

2 weeks ago we had a team here who had 17 people respond saying they wanted to follow Christ. The local church wrote those names down and will follow up. How COOL is that!

Do you struggle with sharing your faith? I totally get it. But, I want to encourage us all to not make it more difficult than it is. Seriously, the Gospel itself is simple. Maybe because we have found it so life changing we make the Gospel more difficult than it actually is? True, it is REALLY important. True, it may be DIFFICULT for someone to submit to it's reality. But, it is not a difficult message to deliver. Our job is to be courageous and get out there and share it and let the Spirit of God work in those who hear the message.

When you come to Haiti, be ready, because we want to give you an opportunity to share. I call it Yard2Yard evangelism. We go with you to homes with a leader of the local church, a home chosen by the church, because they believe the Gospel should be shared there. No matter what the person's response, the church WILL follow up. Among others, you will have an RMI Translator with you, but we want to encourage you to be ready to share! So, if you are coming to Haiti, this is for you. If you are not coming to Haiti, this is for you too! There are lots of ways to do this, but here is a simple 3 step process that anyone can use..

  1. Pray and Believe: Prayerfully consider in your own mind and heart Romans 1:16 and Joshua 1:9.
  2. Go and Share: Ask, would it be ok if I shared something from the Bible with you?  If they say no, ask if you can pray for them.  If they say no (not likely), move on.  Assuming they say yes, share Romans 3:23, 6:23 and 10:9 (and/or 1 John 1:9).  Recite these from memory, or read them from the Bible and ask if they understand.  If they don't understand, give a quick explanation.
  3. Boldly Ask: ...would you like to make a decision right now to follow Christ (this decision in itself requires belief and confession).

This is a team from McGregor Baptist Church having a
Gospel conversation during Yard2Yard evangelism.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We've Been Silent. Why?

Life can get busy.  I don't care if you are in the US or on a foreign mission field. Life gets busy.  You've been there.  We all have periods of extraordinarily intense responsibility, pressures, problems, etc.  For the purposes of personal preservation, these seasons will often force us to circle the wagons, go dark, and increase our focus on a decreased number of things.  The last month or so has been exactly that for us.

What have been our pressures?  Continued reentry struggles from furlough/home assignment.  Teams and lack of teams. Arrival of new missionaries and lack of missionaries as some were traveling.  Lack of rest and time with family.  Self imposed unrealistic expectations.  Start of school.  Sickness.  Lack of time in scripture.  RMI Projects. Internet Issues. Challenging goals. Broken stuff.  Changing the world.

Pray for us as we continue to walk through these days and be strategic about navigating our way out of this season.

Rob


Thursday, September 4, 2014

10 Years Serving with RMI!

The beginning of September marks our 10 year anniversary with RMI!  10 years ago we sold our house in the Chicago area and moved to an apartment in Miami.  We had spent the previous 9 months raising the financial support we needed to take this position.  I had just found out I was pregnant for the 7th time.  Rob started working in the RMI Home Office as the VP of Operations. 

We loved RMI, it’s ministries and the life-transformation that occurs when 2 churches from 2 different cultures come together to minister together and to one another.  God used our experiences with our sister churches in Haiti (Linwood Community/Anse-a-Veau and The Orchard/Astruc)  to be just that: life-transforming.  We were very excited to be a part of it!

Our first prayer card:

P-Card4

10 years ago I never truly thought this is where we’d be today.  Oh, the thought crossed my mind as a possibility, but that’s all it ever was.  I never thought we’d have 3 kids.  Never imagined this life we have in Haiti with those 3 kids!

Our current prayer card:

Prayer Card 2014

So much has changed these past 10 years!  We’ve had the responsibility of raising financial support for more than 10 years.  That alone is a daunting task. Halfway through, we heard the Lord  asking us to take a new direction and make the move to Haiti. Although these years have been hard, they have also been filled with joy and adventure!  We’ve had the confidence of knowing, each step of the way, that we have been right where God wanted us to be.  I can look back and see Him guiding us, preparing our hearts for the ministry He has us in at this very moment in Haiti. 

And I am humbled.  I am grateful.

So many of you have supported us from the very beginning with your prayers, your finances, and your support.  We’ve appreciated your continued friendship despite the distance.  For those of you who’ve supported us these past 10 years, I feel like it’s your anniversary too!  You are a partner in this ministry!  That’s true for all of you who support us, whether it’s been 10 years or 6 months.  

It may be cliché, but we couldn’t be here in this ministry without you.  We are humbled by your commitment, grateful for your partnership.  As we celebrate this milestone, we celebrate you!

Thank you!

~Becky

A New School Year

Monday, September 1st was the start of a new school year here at Cite Lumiere Christian School (CLCS.)  This year all 3 kids are in the same school!  Just the fact that there is a class for Braden and a teacher to teach it is a huge answer to prayer for us.

First Day of School September 2014

As of April 2014, we had no teacher and no leads until I mentioned to my Mom the need.  She thought of someone who might be interested.  Long story short, God worked in a big way.  Courtney Westcott was approved by the school board, approved to come with RMI and was able to raise the support she needed in only a few months.  She flew into Haiti with us on August 20th.  Pray for her as she adjusts to life in Haiti.  She seems to really enjoy teaching the first graders!

Braden: 1st Grade

First Day of School September 20141

This is Tessa’s 3rd year to have Mrs. Leger as her teacher.  She is one of 7 students in her class.  I’ve already had a few talks with her about how much more work 3rd grade is (while she was on the verge of a mini-meltdown!)  So far, she’s risen to the occasion.  Meanwhile, I’m feeling a sense of deja-vu thinking “Didn’t I just work with a child to memorize all the prepositions last year?  Why, yes I did!”

Tessa: 3rd Grade

First Day of School September 20142

This year is Drew’s 3rd year to have Mrs. Ferris.  His class is 4th and 6th grades combined and there are 9 students.  Mrs. Ferris really “gets” Drew and the way he thinks.  It makes for a good combination.

Drew: 4th grade

First Day of School September 20143

We are thankful for all the staff and teachers at CLCS, who really love the kids and love the Lord. 

~Becky

Summer in the States

If you asked me to describe our summer home assignment (furlough) in just a few words, I’d give you two: fun and family. 

I didn’t fully realize it as we were preparing to leave for the States, but we were exhausted: tired from the busyness of life and ministry in Haiti and feeling worn out from the lack of family time in our schedule.  We needed a break.

Two years ago we took our first furlough.  We spent 3 months in the States, travelled over 8,000 miles to 21 States and saw as many possible supporters as we could.  For the most part, we were excited and energized by our travels. 

Fast forward two years later.  As we were preparing for our furlough this year, we sensed God leading us in a different direction.  Some of the plans for travel that we thought were good, weren’t panning out as we expected.  But we were encouraged as we sensed God leading us to spend more time with extended family and alone together as a family unit. 

We left Haiti on June 13th and returned August 20th.  We spent time in Florida and New Jersey and did a quick PA road trip.  We made it a priority to visit with each of our supporters in those areas, as well as each of our supporting churches.  We were sad that we weren’t able to see all of you, especially those of you in the Chicago area, this time around. 

We wanted this furlough to be a little different.  In fact, we needed it to be.  For our family, for our hearts, for our sanity. And it was.  We set out to make our meetings with supporters more organic; more about mutual sharing and just spending time together.  We enjoyed sitting around, catching up with so many of you.   We spent time praying for each other. We laughed and had fun with your families.

McDonald Visit July 2014

When we were in NJ and not meeting with supporters, we were spending quality time with our families.  Leaving was harder this time around as the kids bonded at a deeper level with their cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Boardwalk with Thompsons July 2014

In FL, we had week of vacation all to ourselves.  We made tons of memories and grew closer as a family.  We just had fun together!

Sanibel Vacation August 2014

At the end of it all, we were very ready to come home.  Ready to get back to  our normal life. Ready to jump back into work and ministry with a renewed sense of purpose.  Our hearts and souls were refreshed.  We returned with a fresh commitment to make family time a priority amidst the busyness and chaos.

If we were able to see you this summer, thanks for making the time, thanks for making it fun, thanks for sharing your lives with us.  If we didn’t get to see you, please know we are really appreciative of your love and support.  We hope 2 years from now brings us your way.

~Becky

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Never Doing Family Devotions Again... (not really)

I hate love when the Bible leads/teaches me.  Last night, for family devotions, we read Ephesians 5:1-2...
"1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
After reading this, we went around and everyone gave an example of how they can apply this.  My example was that out of love, I need to be willing to sacrifice my own agenda to help others first.

So today, here it is, 10:45am, and I am just sitting down at my desk to look at my own task list.  I have been Mr. Technical Support all morning.  I have worked on one iPad, 3 laptops, and one very long troubleshoot and re-installation of a persnickety wireless printer.  I am glad I can serve, but Lord help me get to the long list of other things that I would like to get done.

Rob

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Daily Ice Bucket Challenge...


Warm Showers are NOT overrated... Will you allow me a moment to vent (aka whine)??? We have been back in Haiti now for 12 days, and I haven't yet had a hot shower. It's like my daily ice bucket challenge. Every morning I get up and fear the shower. Only after my first cup of coffee do I approach with great trepidation. I am never surprised at how un-cold the water is.

Now, to be fair, this is TOTALLY a first world problem. I admit it. I am spoiled. Having a hot water shower is not a requirement to the abundant life. It is truly insignificant when compared to the great needs we are regularly confronted with. I am almost embarrassed to admit it. Almost. I. HATE. COLD. SHOWERS.

If REAL missionaries don't require a hot shower, than I am not a REAL missionary...  Becky is apparently a REAL missionary because she seems to enter the shower lair like a hardened veteran with no care for personal comfort.  Or at least she doesn't whine like I do about it. I call her insensitive.

A new hot water heater is on order... please Lord, get it here quickly.  ;)

Rob

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Top 10 Ways to Know I am Back Home in Haiti...

10.  I have used a restroom while 2 ladies were cleaning it.
9.  I am sweating buckets
8.  Smiles are everywhere and everyone is giving me hugs.
7. The internet is really, really, really slow.  I have already been fighting for 2 hours to find a problem, that may or may not even be the cause.
6.  I am using Creole, and although I don't know why, I have a new sense of desire to use it more.  Cool.
5. Cockadoodle do, bark bark bark, cluck cluck cluck, and meeh meeh (goat) are constantly in the background.
4. I am drinking like a fish (water in case you were wondering)
3. I've taken a cold shower, not on purpose. (Propane tanks are empty so no hot water)  I don't care how hot it is, a cold shower first thing in the morning is about my least favorite thing in life.
2.  There is dust and smoke and more dust everywhere.
1.  I am TOTALLY at peace and have a real sense of hope, urgency, and excitement about the work we are doing.  If I haven't mentioned it yet, I am so excited!

Rob

Monday, June 2, 2014

U.S.-Bound… Furlough Here We Come!

It’s hard for us to believe that two years have gone by since our 2012 Furlough where we put 8,000 miles on our borrowed van, travelled to 19 states, slept in 22 different places, shared at 8 different churches and with over 14 different church groups: sharing our hour long photo presentation 36 times.  Whew… just remembering that full summer still makes me feel exhausted!  It was such a blessing to meet with and see almost everyone, yet at the same time it was was very exhausting. 

As we entered this calendar year, we knew we had a furlough to plan for this summer, but the task seemed daunting and for many reasons, what we thought were going to be our plans, just didn’t pan out.  We can see God’s hand at work through it all and have finally arrived at what we believe to be God’s plan for our furlough this time around. 

20131220_095151

We will be in the US from June 13th thru August 20th and will be visiting Florida and New Jersey.  Our time in the States this summer will be shorter, and we will be doing less physical travelling.  We are grateful for this, but also sad at the same time that we won’t be able to visit with all of you who support us so faithfully.  Our goal is to visit the Chicago area and, Lord-willing, the Pacific Northwest on our next furlough 2 years from now.

Here is an overall schedule of our time in the US this summer:

  • June 13-23:  Ft. Myers area: Appointments, RMI office work, etc.  Available to meet for lunch or evenings with friends/supporters.
    • Sunday, June 15th: at McGregor Baptist Church, Scott Anderson Life Group
    • Sunday, June 22nd: at MBC, available to speak at a life group
  • June 23-July 30:  South Jersey:
    • June 25-28: road trip to PA to visit a few supporters
    • Sunday, June 29th Morning:  at Wellspring Church
    • Sunday, June 29th Evening: at Linwood Community Church
    • June 30-July 6:  Vacation time with Thompson Family
    • July 7-12: Vacation time with Brower family
    • July 14-29: Free to meet with friends, supporters, anyone interested in hearing about our ministry
    • Sunday, July 13th Morning: Beacon Church
    • Sunday, July 20th Morning: Second Cape May Baptist Church
    • Sunday, July 27th Morning: Heavenward Christian Fellowship
  • July 30-August 20:  Ft. Myers Area:
    • Sunday, August 3rd Morning: at MBC, Ron Cook Life Group
    • August 3-10:  Family Vacation
    • August 11-18:  Free to meet with friends, supporters, anyone interested in hearing about our ministry
    • August 17th:  First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg (tentative)
    • August 19th: drive to Ft. Lauderdale
    • August 20th:  Fly home to Haiti

Please Pray:

  • For travel safety and smooth flights.
  • For patience with each other and our families:  it’s not easy living away from home for over 2 months.
  • For a fun, refreshing time for our family.
  • For spiritual renewal.
  • We are leaving the ministry here in good hands; pray for those whose hands it is left in, specifically Greg and Star Harvie, Benjamin Altema and Benson Joseph.
  • Pray for the success of the 5 teams that RMI will be hosting in Haiti during the time that we are in the States.

If you are in the Fort Myers area or the Southern New Jersey area during these times, we really want to see you!  We are working on contacting you to arrange this, but please, let us know when you want to meet.  Send me an email! Let’s get a visit on the calendar!  We really look forward to catching up and visiting with you.

~Becky

Waiting... for a Miracle...

Sometimes God just seems to shows up.  It wasn't as if he was absent. I truly believe we are walking with him and he with us.  "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13

His timing just isn't always our timing.  Sometimes he speaks softly like a gentle breeze, and sometimes his voice is as loud as the crack of thunder.  Recently God moved a mountain, when and where and how we did not expect.  We tried and tried to come up with our own options, but the way God moved, was far superior to any options we thought up.  


See the story on RMI's Blog here.

Teach me Lord to patiently stand in silence when I am perplexed, not as one paralyzed, but as one prostrate. Teach me Lord to jump/run/move only when God moves/speaks. 

“Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”
― J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Missionary Ladies Retreat

This is the 4th year I’ve been involved in planning and organizing a ladies retreat for the missionary ladies in southern Haiti.  It’s held each year at RMI’s Retreat Center in Zanglais.  It’s a great time of fellowship, relaxation, worship and teaching.  There is always something so special about being able to sit under strong Biblical teaching that is in my heart language—English!  Just that alone is relaxing and refreshing.

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This year, we were thrilled to welcome back Gale Kernitz and Sheila Clark, as our speakers for the weekend.  They were here two years ago and the ladies responded so well to what God had put on their hearts to teach us from His Word.  This year was no different.  Before they came, they asked if they could bring their daughters with them and we were so glad they did!  Gale’s daughter, Elle Tyler, is an accomplished pianist.  Before the retreat, she performed a classical piano concert for the missionary community; a real treat for us here.  She also took a lot of pressure off me by planning and leading our worship sessions during the retreat.  Sheila’s daughter, Meaghan, came as well.  She really helped with the decorations and craft.  It was fun to get to know them all better.

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Our theme for the weekend was “Sharpening the Tools in Your Toolbox.”  We dug into God’s Word and sharpened our relationship tools, gospel tools, discipleship tools and prayer tools.  They gave us some good visual tools to help us think through these areas, so our weekend was filled with shapes: circle, square, figure eight, triangle and hexagon.  For example, my favorite tool was the Lord’s Prayer Hexagon.  Looking at Matthew 6:9-13, we talked about the 6 areas that Christ modeled to us when he taught his disciples to pray:  The Father’s Character, His Kingdom, His Provision, His Forgiveness, His Protection and His Deliverance.  After spending some time talking about the different tools, they gave us time to put them into practice.  My prayer life has been revitalized using this tool.

The weekend also has some down time, which is always a highlight.  Some went to the beach, some went hiking, some took naps, some played games, some kept crafting…  Of course, a huge and very competitive game of catch phrase has become a tradition every year.  That is especially fun playing with some of the ladies whose native language is German!

I’m always thankful for this time away with other sisters in Christ.
~Becky

Monday, April 28, 2014

1st ARP Church/ Source Baptiste Medical Team

Every once in a while, a US church will decide to send a medical team out to their Haitian sister church.  This is a wonderful opportunity for a US church to care for the members of their sister church community in a physical and tangible way.  Many of these people have very little access to health care and lack of means to pay.

The First Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, NC had a number of clinicians  interested in coming to Haiti to serve their sister church community in Source Baptiste.  After a year of planning, and a little input on my part, they arrived in Haiti on March 28th.  Their purpose was to visit with and minister together with their sister church.  They planned two days of medical clinics during their time in the village. They also planned a program for the school kids, an open air evangelistic service, met with the Pastor and Deacons, and visited and prayed for many of the church shut-ins. It was a very full week.  I was privileged to join them for this trip!

Here is the team before church Sunday morning.  Monday and Tuesday the church was turned into the medical clinic.

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The team consisted of a doctor, a PA, a pharmacist, 3 nurses, 2 dentists, a pastor and a prayer warrior.  I don’t want to diminish the role of the pastor and Annabelle, the team’s prayer warrior!  After each person was seen in the clinic, they were prayed for and loved on by these two.  Their care and love for each person who came thru the clinic was evident.

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The team saw about 270 patients over those two days of clinics.  I had so much fun in the pharmacy, where we filled over 300 Rx’s each day (we lost count!).  It was refreshing to get back to my educational “roots.” It was really enjoyable to work with the team’s Pharmacist, Sabrina, and watch her joyfully using her training in this environment.  For me personally, it was a stretching and growing week as I served in the pharmacy mostly by counseling all the patients that came through the clinic on their prescriptions.  What a confidence booster to see that my Creole was understood!  I even had a few old people sitting around the pharmacy waiting area after they were done, just giggling, getting a kick out of listening to the blan explain everyone’s Rx’s in Creole.  I still have a long way to go in my language development, but time out with the team always gives me the opportunity to learn more and improve.

Sabrina and I in the “pharmacy”:

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Seeing patients in the clinic:

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We finished off our time in Source Baptiste by splitting into two teams and visiting and praying with the needy and shut-ins of the church.  This is always a humbling experience; a time I look forward to with every sister church visit.  Each home we visited, each person we prayed for, will be in my heart and mind for a long time to come. 

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Giving up my Pharmacy career to come serve the Lord in Haiti was a very difficult decision in 2009.  Yet I’ll never doubt it was the right decision.  I am so thankful that God called us here to serve in Haiti with RMI.  It makes me extra appreciative of the moments like these where I get to do both. 

~Becky

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 Years in Haiti!

4 years. We’ve lived here 4 years. It feels like a lifetime ago that we boarded a flight from Miami to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti with three kids ages 5, 3, and 1. They had never been to Haiti before and we were excited to show them their new home. Excited to explore, to show them their new rooms, to make new friends, to start learning the language.

Then:


I think the biggest contrast to then and now are the changes in our kids: how much they have changed and grown. They are now 9, 7 and 5. Their cheeks are no longer chubby. They’ve (almost) all graduated from Haitian Kindergarten (Braden graduates in June.) They are way more independent than when we arrived!

Now:


The other contrast is familiarity. We have made this place home. It was foreign when we arrived. We arrived knowing a phrase or two of Creole, and now we can communicate fairly well. I thought I’d never drive here (that thought was so scary!) but it didn’t take long for me to realize if I wanted to get out of the house I’d have to do just that.  I know my way around town (kind of), how to shop, how to bargain.

4 years.  4 years is not very long.  It’s certainly not long enough to say we speak Creole fluently or that we understand the culture.  It’s not long enough to say what we see, experience and deal with everyday is easy or comfortable or normal in any way.  We still remind ourselves “It’s not weird, it’s just different!”  I can say I learn something new every single day.

There have been many difficult times, difficult seasons, and difficult situations during these last 4 years.  Some seemed at the time to last forever and some now seem like a lifetime ago.  There has been much joy, too.  Many tender times.  Times that will remain in my memory for a lifetime.  Along the way God has confirmed our call, affirmed our commitment.  Shown us He wants us here no matter the circumstances. 

And I’m thankful.  This missionary life is a gift: a privilege.  So many of you are enabling us to serve the Lord here in Haiti through prayer, financial support and encouragement.  Raising support is a difficult task, but  it joins us together with the body of Christ in a special way that is a privilege.

We are thankful for you. 
~Becky

Sunday, March 30, 2014

64 Salvations in one week!!!

I am always saying it.  I love what we get to do.  We recently had a team come from McGregor Baptist Church in Fort Myers, FL.  I can't say I have met another church that is more ready, prepared, and unashamed of sharing the Gospel.  They came fired up and ready.  God showed up.

This team did several open air services.  To be honest, these didn't seem to be all that successful, although I am looking at it from an earthly perspective.  They shared clearly and firmly with the masses at these events and only God knows truly what was eternally accomplished.

Sharing the Gospel "Yard2Yard"
The harvesting almost exclusively came as they broke up into small teams and did what I like to call Yard2Yard Evangelism.  In the US, it's typically called Door to Door, but in Haiti, pretty much no one stays indoors, so we visit yards.  The team of 21 split into 3-4 teams through the week in 4-5 communities in conjunction with the local MEBSH church, each with a translator and each with a deacon representative with the local church.  (EVERYTHING we do is done with the local church).  Each yard was chosen by the local pastors and deacons, people who they deemed "needing to hear".  In these face to face Yard2Yard encounters, one by one people professed faith.  64 all together.  Wow.  Again, only God knows what was going on in the hearts of those 64 people, but I can tell you confidently that they each took a step, and now the local church has their names, knows that a profession was made, and they will follow up.

Praying before going out to share.  Church Plant in the
background.
Did I mention that I love what we get to do?


God Answered!!!

2 years ago, I visited a family in Astruc, so desperately poor, my heart was broken.  Truly. Broken.  I walked away in tears, wanting to do something significant to help.  I did a little, but I had no ability to do more.  Last year, again, I visited the same family and I was still broken.  I prayed, "Lord, please let me do something."  I did a little, but I had no ability to do more.  In January, I visited the family again.  Same. Exact. Prayer.  I did a little, but I had no ability to do more.

Then, my brother, a pastor in Nebraska, called me and said he was bringing a team and they wanted to help the Haitian people.   He asked "What can we do?" I had an idea!  My multi-year prayer was about to be answered.

Our Homes for Haiti program is for all intents and purpose on a break.  The metal homes have gotten so expensive, that it is very difficult to find donors to come along and help out.  So, we are looking into other options.  We have been considering trying to build a block home.  The time was right to do a Pilot house build, block instead of metal, to see if it might be an option for us.   (We learned a lot of great lessons this past week, but that discussion is for another time)

Once my brother's team was on board, we started making plans.  Much of the work was to be done on a volunteer basis by the local Haitian church.  We would supply the plans, materials, and bring a team to help out.  Last week, we did just that.

Here is a before picture of a team praying for this family at the home we just replaced.



Here is a current picture after the back breaking work of this last week.



I will be posting another picture once the home is complete.

Many, many, many more pictures of this house build are available here.

The Children of Haiti...

There is a soft spot in many of us for children. Maybe because they are most vulnerable?  Maybe because their long future leaves so much to be imagined.  I instinctively hope for a bright future.  Maybe because Jesus has a soft spot for children?
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:14b-16
Pray for the children of Haiti...  Want to help a child?

This picture was taken last week.


This picture, of the same boy, was taken in January.



A Kid's Life in Haiti...

If I was a kid, I would want to grow up in Haiti as an MK...

My kids are blessed.  They are free to play.  Free to climb trees.  Free to roam.  Jump off cliffs.  Ride motorcycles.  Swim in the Caribbean. They grow up slower, yet they grow up faster.  They are insulated from a lot of bad influence. They are learning a foreign language.  Exposed to culture.  Gaining broad perspective.  Involved in ministry.  They are learning leadership all the time being in front of people.  They travel all over.  They meet people from all over.  They are getting a great Christ centered education in so many ways.

Last week, Drew recited the whole first chapter of James to me.  Are you kidding me?  That's awesome.  Two weeks ago, Drew shared his testimony in a church to a large group of people for the first time.  Are you kidding me?  That's awesome.

This is NOT a "brag on my kids" post.  Please, don't think that I think our kids are even close to perfect.  I promise you, THEY. ARE. NOT.  Our kids struggle with disobedience, disrespect, selfishness, pride, etc, just like your kids.  This is a post to simply point out the blessings of being an MK.

Some think that going onto the mission field is a sacrifice.  Sure, in many ways it is, but so can be staying home in America.   Don't fear taking your kids to the mission field, fear staying home if God is calling you to go.

Here are a few pictures that I think represent some of the opportunities that my kids are having.  What do you think Drew is thinking, learning, observing?

Drew helping during a bucket brigade while building a home.
Drew Cliff Jumping
Drew Hanging on out the Beach
Drew's Graduation from Kindergarten
Drew carrying block to build a home.
Drew Hanging out with Alohse in Astruc
Drew Helping Build Benches
Drew Helping During a Deworming Clinic

RMI Curb Appeal, Before and After...

Sometimes teams come to Haiti and do exciting things.  Sometimes, they come and do the seemingly mundane.  I appreciate both!  Sometimes it's the mundane that most excites me.  A team of high school students came recently and wanted to come alongside of RMI itself and do a project.  They painted the wall to our depot giving it a little curb appeal.  It looks beautiful, doesn't it?

Before...



After...