His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


1 Comment

Haiti Prison Visit

Many, many totes full of clothing, flip flops, and personal care items!

Many, many totes full of clothing, flip flops, and personal care items!

Thanks to the generosity of our sending church in Smithville, Ohio, we were recently able to bless about 350 local prisoners with a gift of clothing and personal care items, as well as donating a simple meal of rice and beans. We had to pay to get in, but then we were able to share the gospel! It was worth every penny.

Jesus said we should visit those in prison. Why? Some are ready and waiting for the gospel because God finally has their full attention! Haven’t we all sinned and come short of the glory of God? Those in prison are just the ones who have gotten caught…we haven’t!

Figuens is a young father that has a heart for going to prisons and hospitals!

Figuens is a young father that has a heart for going to prisons and hospitals! He was so excited!

Figuens and his wife spent two evenings to divide the items into care packs!

Figuens and his wife spent two evenings dividing all the items into care packs!

Arriving at the prison with everything!

Arriving at the prison with everything!

Prisoners in Haiti have nothing unless they have family to bring them food or clothes. There are over 800 prisoners in the Les Cayes jail. They are jammed in large cells full of inmates, living worse than animals. Some of the Haitians that went with us cried when they saw the living conditions. Could hell be worse than this? Imagine living in prison for your lifetime and then going to hell afterward? They need to know they were not created for hell, but for heaven! Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved! (John 3:17)

We had an opportunity to share the gospel in the men's prison.

A few of us had a chance to share the great gospel message that brings true freedom!

When we entered into the room, the male prisoners were calling out and wanting attention. We were overwhelmed by the scene, the living conditions, and the crowded prison cells. We stood in the middle of a courtroom, surrounded on both sides. The prisoners wrote little notes with requests for food and money that were passed to us. The notes were very sad to read. If they were true, many didn’t have any visitors or anyone helping them. Some were not from the area. If we would have had more time, we would have liked to shared the gospel personally with each cell.

The guards handing the bags through the cell doors!

The guards handing the bags through the cell doors of the men’s area!

They were very thankful for the gifts!

They were very thankful for the gifts!

These guys are hoping there will be enough left for them!

These guys are hoping there will be enough left for them!

The residents in cell 5!

The residents of cell number 3! Each one is a soul that Christ died for!!

We also had an opportunity to go to the ladies prison, which was a room close by. Many of those ladies were allowed to come out and sit. They formed a circle while we stood in the middle, sharing the plan of salvation with them. They were good listeners and we prayed for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction on their souls to bring them to a true repentance and a faith in Jesus Christ. We were all touched and knew only Christ could be their “all in all,” even in prison. Our desire would be to go back and continue to disciple the ones that received the gift of Jesus. We pray that the Lord will guide our step in reaching out to those desperate souls in prison.

Getting in the women's area was a much more personal experience!

Getting in the women’s area was a much more personal experience!

We pray hearts are open to the call of Jesus!

We pray hearts were open to the call of Jesus!

When we returned home, we sat around the table and debriefed about the outreach. It was overwhelming for all of us to process! We sat and read the notes we received, and prayed for those souls that we had an opportunity to share Jesus with. Our God is mighty to save!

Over 20 notes were handed through the bars!

Over 20 notes were handed through the bars!

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:37-40

 


2 Comments

School Visits Reveal A Lot

They were all waiting for their report cards (and some prizes) when we arrived!

This whole school was waiting for their report cards (and some prizes) when we arrived!

Every month we travel to sponsored MEBSH schools to make update reports, and we also visit new schools to assess the level of need. Every school has a situation or a challenge that is unique. We often find pastors and teachers out in the mountains faithfully working with very little resources. We see tough situations, but we also see kids glad to have a school to attend!

As the program grows we find it a challenge to visit each school every two years. Most schools are closed by noon or 1 p.m. so if we have to walk any distance we can only visit one a day. There are 125 sponsored schools (and growing) since it is now possible to easily select available new schools on the HarvestCall website: www.harvestcall.org/school-sponsorship

This poster is a teaching aid on salvation and the Ten Commandments that bring the knowledge of sin!

This poster is a teaching aid on salvation (a large gospel tract) since the Ten Commandments bring the knowledge of sin!

Marie Lucie is reviewing the poster with a pastor!

Marie Lucie is reviewing the poster with a pastor so he can teach salvation to others!

As gifts to each school we take along our Ten Commandment posters, smaller gospel tracts, New Testament Bibles for the 5th graders, and 101 Bible storybooks for the 3rd graders and for all the teachers to teach from. Sometimes we are able to take shoes or clothing when we have them, which is a great blessing! Since the hurricane it has been especially important to have gifts when we visit.

We also receive gifts from them! Sometimes we get a coconut to drink, sometimes a full meal of chicken or goat, root vegetables and rice is served. Recently we were at a school that the hurricane destroyed and the pastor and his wife apologized over and over that they had nothing to share, not even one egg. She said she only had three cups left from the hurricane, all her dishes were broken. Then the pastor’s wife remembered something and she gave Marie Lucie the chicken! It rode in the back seat with us all the way home! It is not culturally acceptable to refuse a gift.

This is the current state of many of our Child Care schools and churches!

Unfortunately, this is the condition of many of the MEBSH Child Care churches after the hurricane!

The school was all but blown away!

This school was all but blown away!

The school and church use this rough building as their temporary shelter.

The school and church use this as their temporary shelter. They just keep going despite the odds!

We have many dedicated and long-term school sponsors. We want to thank each of you for your monthly support to these struggling schools. Your sponsorship means that the teachers get paid monthly and the families are required to pay a lot less tuition, which they can never afford anyway. They always express their thankfulness for the love and support they feel from their sponsors!

A favorite "school days" photo captures on a recent visit!

A favorite “school days” photo captured on a recent visit!

A few schools are fortunate to have a simple lunch a few days a week. A very few!

A few schools are fortunate to have a simple lunch a few days a week. A very few!

They don't always sit down...kids are kids everywhere!

They don’t always sit down…kids are kids everywhere!

We just can't resist them!

We just can’t resist the kids!

Jesus said, "Let the children come unto me."

Jesus said, “Let the children come unto me.”

It is estimated only 25% of kids in Haiti get to attend school...mostly with help.

It is estimated only 25% of kids in Haiti get to attend school…mostly with help.

Everyone needs to learn to read the Bible for themselves!

Everyone needs to learn to read the Bible for themselves!

We have encouraged these kids with a simple visit!

We have encouraged these kids simply with a visit!

 

 


1 Comment

Holiday Highlights

Time for a pre-holiday dinner with Mandy's parents who were visiting, Rob and Gina!

Time for a pre-holiday dinner with Mandy’s parents, Rob and Gina, who were visiting!

The candy making crew takes a quick break!

The Cayes candy crew were serious candy makers!

Is the smell a little too intense girls?!

Is the cinnamon a little too intense girls?!

Getting ready for the school Christmas program!

Getting ready for the school Christmas program!

Grace's class sharing some Bible verses!

Grace’s class sharing some Bible verses during the program!

Our first Christmas dinner for our workers and their children!

Our first Christmas dinner for our workers and their children!

Madam Mavia was very surprised to get her gifts!

Madam Mavia was very surprised to get her gifts!

Madam Yadley seemed to really like her gift!

Madam Yadley seemed to really like her gift!

A holiday party for the weekly group that attends a Bible study one day and shares the gospel another!

A holiday party for those we are discipling weekly with a Bible study one day and sharing the gospel with us on another!

Baking cookies with Ricardine and Malaika!

Baking cookies with Ricardine and Malaika!

Arriving at the Christmas party for David Brown's weekly Bible school class. This is the house where he will live with 12 kids soon!

Arriving at the Christmas program for David Brown’s weekly Bible school class. This is the house where he will live with 12 kids soon!

The kids were dresses in their best for the program!

The kids were dressed in their best for the program!

The kids participated for hours to get lunch and a present at the end!

The kids participated for hours to get lunch and a present at the end!

Here was David and friends sorting through donations beforehand to prepare the children's gifts!

David and friends sorting through donations beforehand to prepare the children’s gifts!

We were blessed by the gifts many prepared and mailed down!

We were also blessed by the gifts many wrapped and mailed down to us!

Trinity hand-made this one!

Trinity hand-made this one for us!

Mike's brother, Steve, visited us a week over Christmas! He enjoyed meeting kids he sponsors!

Mike’s brother, Steve, visited us a week over Christmas! He enjoyed meeting kids he sponsors (they really liked him too)!

Visiting widows for an afternoon was interesting!

Visiting widows for an afternoon was interesting!

Someone is in awe!

Someone is in awe!

A dinner at the beach in Port Salut!

Lunch at the beach in Port Salut! Enjoying Haitian seafood!

A short boat trip to an island made for a nice afternoon!

A short boat trip to an island made for a nice afternoon!

One of the biggest lobsters we had ever seen alive!

One of the biggest lobsters we had ever seen alive! (Grace is almost ready to run!)

You didn’t see Evan and Grant in any of the photos as usual. We miss them beyond words! They were making their own Christmas memories together with extended family and friends in Ohio this year! Grant got to travel to Indiana to be with many of his cousins while Evan was working. We really look forward to them coming in the Spring, Lord willing.

Happy New Year 2017! Thanks for your support and prayers all through 2016. We felt them and can’t thank each of you enough. May God bless you through the year ahead! We serve a great and awesome God who also cares for us so tenderly.

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
– John Wesley

“But to do good and to communicate forget not:
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
Hebrews 13:16

 


3 Comments

Traveling in Haiti

We drive through many rivers here. There are bridges on the "highways" usually!

We drive through many rivers here. There are bridges only on the “highways!”

U.S. Travel: Traveling in the U.S. this past summer we remarked how predictable everything was, even from State to State. There were a few exceptions, but by and large there was a McDonalds and a Holiday Inn Express every thirty miles or so!

Haiti Travel: We took a road trip through Haiti before our U.S. trip and we had the opposite experience. Here, we usually try to pack food to eat since fast food is a rarity…unless you want to take a chance with something being cooked along the street. On this trip we discovered that new gas stations can be an option for “fast food” or restrooms, but that you can also drive for hours and hours before finding one of those.

Five hours into our trip to northern Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we found a place by a gas station that would heat up frozen pizzas. It ended up being a very long wait as the oven heated very unevenly! But back on our way, we counted our blessings as we devoured pizza! On the return trip we had visions of pizza in our heads again, but when we finally arrived at the same place, it was closed for inventory!

This is going to be a problem!

This is going to be a problem! (taken in the Dominican Republic)

Since we were traveling through unfamiliar territory and there are few road signs, we needed our GPS. The highways pass through every town and we found out that the main route can turn abruptly without signs to alert you. Consequently, when we were driving through Gonaives, without warning we suddenly found ourselves buried right in the middle of a market! It took a few tight turns and a review of GPS (We were feeling very disoriented) to get our bearings and get back on the right route!

Typical city streets!

Typical city streets! You always have to watch for those motorcycles and bikes!

We have counted up to seven people on a bike! (that would be mostly little kids!)

We have counted up to seven people on a bike! (that would be mostly little kids!)

You never usually see the taxis empty here! They are called "tap-taps" because people tap the sides to get off!

Taxis are called “tap-taps” because people tap the sides to get off!

Tap-taps usually don't pull onto the highway until they are jammed full!

Tap-taps usually don’t pull onto the highway until they are jammed full!

Very few Haitians can afford a car, so they do about anything to get a ride!

Very few Haitians can afford a car, so they do about anything to get a ride!

The next thing is the amount of unpaved and unrepaired roads one has to endure. After eleven hours of bouncing around in the back, one of our kids actually jumped out screaming! Luckily, at that point we were home… Riding in the front seat is the lap of luxury as far as bumps and air conditioning go. We tried to take turns because sitting in the front is much better than the back.

Finally, there is the element of surprise that comes with traveling in Haiti. (We know it is like this in other parts of the world too.) Roadblocks occur in and nearby major cities. Coming through Port-au-Prince on the way back we could see up ahead that the road is totally filled with people, and now the people are running in our direction as tear gas starts flying! We have to quickly turn around and back-track with the fleeing mob…

Crossing the country in any directions means crossing the mountains! Landslides are common!

Crossing the country in any direction means crossing mountains! Rock slides and lots of construction are common!

Market Day is a favorite activity in Haiti. Each town has a certain day of the week and you just take your time getting through!

Market Day is a favorite activity in every town in Haiti. You just take your time getting through!

Most towns have Market Day on Saturday as well as one other day of the week. You have to learn which towns to avoid on which day! Once we were in the mountains and came upon a small village Market Day. We knew what was coming because for a long ways we first passed all the donkeys “parallel parked” on each side of the road! Since they were not expecting a vehicle to come through their town, they had to move tables and produce piled on the ground for us to drive through!

These are bamboo boats that float one way downstream with goods to market!

These are bamboo boats one sees floating downstream with goods (and animals) to market! There is a suspension foot bridge crossing the river at the top!

These amazing boats are disassembled and sold at their destination!

These amazing boats are only good for a one-way trip…they are disassembled and sold at their destination!

They tell us if you want to understand the Haitian culture, it is somewhat like Haitian driving. You never stop, you just maneuver your way around everything and everybody. There are no hard and fast rules; you take it as it comes and everything is negotiable. If there is a will, there is a way! That must be why they keep coming back up each time they get knocked down.

We are going out on the road again to visit some new schools. This is truck we take...always a full load on the way back...including livestock!

This is the truck we use to visit schools…always a full load on the way back, including livestock!

 

 

 


2 Comments

Lots of Updates and Group Photos!

It was great to see Evan and Grant in their new home!

It was great to see Evan and Grant in their new home!

Updates! It’s been a while since we have given personal updates. We traveled back to the U.S. for a week in November to share two topics at the Proclaim/Serve meeting in Bluffton, Indiana. We presented Child Sponsorship and also Practical Ways to Share Your Faith. We got to stay at Stan & Gloria Hartzler’s home in Orrville, Ohio most of the week and we hung out with Evan & Grant as much as we could! They are renting a house together in Rittman, Ohio with their friend, Joe Smith! It is an older, homey three-bedroom house. In Bluffton, we were blessed to stay with Tom & Sue Neuenschwander and attend the Bluffton Apostolic Christian country church with them.

Evan and Grant live with Joe Smith. Joe is holding one of his birthday presents...a pillow!

Evan and Grant live with Joe Smith. Joe is holding one of his birthday presents…a dog pillow!

The boys invited us and Susan Rufener to a Thanksgiving Dinner one night!

The boys invited us and Susan Rufener to a Thanksgiving Dinner one night! That was fun!

Enjoying special moments as a family!

Enjoying special moments as a family!

The missionary from India that Susie met on the plane!

The very excited missionary from India that Susie sat by on the plane! What an interesting flight!

We recently went on a short retreat to Coby Beach with lots of HarvestCall board members that were here for a week of work, meetings, research or support. We enjoyed getting to know each of them better! The kids were blessed by the Eric & Jami Hartzler family returning to share a short Bible school with them at the retreat!

Group photo of the current Haiti missionaries!

Group photo of the current Haiti HarvestCall missionaries!

Eric & Jami Hartzler came down to lead a Bible school for the kids!

Eric & Jami Hartzler came down to lead a Bible school for the kids!

The missionary kids in Haiti (including the Hartzlers)!

The missionary kids in Haiti (including the Hartzlers)!

Game time fun!

Game time fun!

Grace and Gracie!

Grace and Gracie! Double the Grace!

Trinity is diving into her senior year of school. She has Creole down pretty well, so she has chosen to take French this year! This is Grace’s least favorite subject and it is mandatory at her school. Maybe they can get together? Grace loves it when her mom comes in for devotion time or subbing her class. Susie is glad for the opportunity to step into Grace’s class and enjoys teaching the kids.

Trinity's senior year is already here! Beautiful photography by Patti Indermuhle.

Trinity’s senior year is already here! Beautiful photography by Patti Indermuhle.

A wonderful lunch with "Mrs. Tim" and daughters!

A wonderful lunch with “Mrs. Tim” and daughters! A lot to share in a short time.

South Haiti Missionaries, Thanksgiving Day 2016!

South Haiti Missionaries and visitors, Thanksgiving Day 2016!

Thankful for so many friends in Haiti to support us!

Thankful for so many friends in Haiti to support us!

Josette, from the Child Care office, recently got married!

Josette, from the Child Care office, recently got married!

Lazarre is looking a little worried here! (He didn't ask for haircut money again either!)

Lazarre is looking a little worried here! (He hasn’t asked for haircut money again since!)

A recent visitor of the unwanted type!

A recent visitor of the unwanted type! (He’s a goner!) He’s kinda cute?

Then and now, quite a contrast!

The view “then” and “now” from the back porch. The green has returned!


Leave a comment

Damage Assessment

As we visit we see the efforts to save what they can!

As we visit schools, we see their effort to save what they can!

It has been difficult to do much at the office without the internet. So we have made some trips into a few areas to survey the damage to schools and churches we support through Child Sponsorship. Then two weeks after the hurricane we had massive flooding following a huge rain, which caused even further damage (and even worse internet problems).

With many buildings lacking roofs, everything keeps getting wet from either rain coming down or flood waters rising! Desks, books and supplies are all ruined. The picture was bleak already in Haiti before the disasters, now they have literally nothing left. Haitian schools traditionally have been little more than crude shelters. Now, they don’t even have that!

Marie Lucie has been busy surveying the damage and taking down information!

Marie Lucie has been busy surveying the damage and taking down information!

Near the coasts, the damage is greater.

Near the coasts, the damage is greater.

This pastor has a problem with every roof!

This pastor has a problem with every roof!

The church roof came in!

The church roof came all the way down!

Trying out the new space!

Trying out the new space!

We are still gathering information and it comes in slowly by word of mouth. So far, we estimate that there is damage to roofs and school contents to at least 75% of the schools. Student’s homes are in the same condition; many have lost everything, many are sleeping in other homes and have lost their  livestock, gardens and fruit trees. We are amazed at the determination we see here to keep going in spite of difficulty. We learn a lot from people who have little, but find appreciation for what they still do have.

Within a few short weeks, greenery has reappeared across the storm damaged parts of Haiti! There are many things springing back in a hurry. Life has a way of continuing on even though it may never be quite the same. Circumstances change, but God hasn’t! The work here isn’t so much about the physical and material (although everyone wants that), but much more about our right relationship with God and each other. We continue to warn men of sin and judgment, knowing God is giving them another chance to repent for their sins and seek their Savior. God is waiting for each one to humble themselves before Him!

Many church roofs are completely gone!

Many church roofs are nearly gone and some are totally gone!

The schools are in great disrepair!

Many schools are in great disrepair!

Drying everything out...a typical scene that has been repeated often!

Drying everything out…a typical scene that has been repeated often!

With all the calls from sponsors wanting to know about their students, we see your caring and concern. It would be appropriate to send a gift of money with your subsequent payment(s). The students and their families would be most appreciative as they continue to have many needs. Thanks to all of you that already have done so! Thanks for all your support and prayers. They mean a lot!

We signs of new life springing up all over!

We see signs of new life springing up all over!

“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

 

 

 

 

 

 


5 Comments

Hurricane Matthew

It is impossible to describe the power of 140 mph winds!

It is impossible to describe the power of 140 mph winds!

We didn’t see it coming. We couldn’t believe it was coming right our way. We had only been back to Haiti for a month and we were just settling in. Then it came to the point there was no longer any question we were in the line of fire and we all started really moving to prepare! In all that time the Haitians were in even more denial…such a thing had never happened in any of their lifetimes…and God wouldn’t do that to them. So they never prepared. Then it was too late!

Experiencing the hurricane is indescribable. The increasing roar, the plywood banging on the windows, the sound of tin roofs being destroyed all around us; only the arrival of dawn seemed to help since we could finally peer out. We could already see a new world out there as everything appeared flattened. We had no idea.

This is the group that stayed with us a few days...and Jersey the dog!

This is the group that stayed with us a few days…and Jersey the dog!

We were blessed to keep three single missionary ladies, Janae, Courtney, and Judith (as well as Jersey the dog), for a few days as they had tin roofs on their homes. During the storm we all spent the long night camped in our living room trying to sleep between mopping water and the tin banging. We shared many meals and many encouraging words that week.

Cleanup started immediately after the storm as several missionary families lost their roofs and we had to quickly move their belongings to other homes. We hardly had time to look around, but it was amazing to realize that every leaf was gone, every tree was either down or shredded. We noticed a very odd thing: many white buildings had turned shades of green or yellow! Someone figured out that the leaves had smashed against the buildings so hard that they had splashed their chlorophyll all over them!

It was like emerging on a new planet!

It was like emerging on a new planet!

Lots of beautiful trees laying across the road!

Lots of beautiful trees now lying across the road!

The main road out in front of child care!

The main road out in front of child care!

The morning after the hurricane, all the missionaries are making recovery plans!

The morning after the hurricane, all the missionaries are making recovery plans!

No one had even a scratch, thanks to many prayers!

No one had even a scratch, thanks to many prayers!

Our closest neighbor's home!

Our closest neighbor’s home!

Many, many tin roofs were simply gone!

Many, many tin roofs were simply gone!

Only a few palm trees are left standing!

The trees were stripped of all their leaves! This cloud looks like judgement to come!

Many Haitian homes, churches and school lost their flimsy tin roofs. Some had walls collapse as well. Many streets and buildings were flooded and were left with lots of mud. Everything was
wet and stinking. The aftermath was overwhelming. Everyone had their normal life suddenly turned upside down.

Everyone was needed to help clean up homes, roads, and the school!

Everyone was needed to help clean up homes, roads, and the school!

You really appreciate running water, showers, electricity and gas when you are suddenly without all of them at once! These conveniences can easily be taken for granted. A real adjustment has been poor internet and phone service, and in the weeks since the storm there have been days on end without anything working!

Lots or wet towels and laundry had to be dealt with!

No running water for a week. Lots of wet towels and laundry had to be dealt with! We had stored water before the hurricane so we did laundry the Haitian way.

A post-hurricane yard sale!

A post-hurricane yard sale!

Since the hurricane we have had even more of a platform to share the gospel, warning Haitians that God has given them another chance to repent, turn from sin and find the Savior! God is rich in mercy towards any that fear him!

We experienced the might and power of God through a storm, and it was enough to put the fear of God back in our lives. How about you? Do you fear the one that the heaven of heavens cannot contain or do you need a storm in your life to wake you up?

We found this worker with this shirt the day following the hurricane!

We found this worker with this shirt the day following the hurricane! Keep praying for 2 Chronicles 7:14.