His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


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God Gives the Greatest Gifts!

God surprised us with the unexpected blessing of a new son-in-law, Joab!

1 Corinthians 13 concludes by saying that love is the greatest gift of all. We have seen first-hand through the summer months that God’s ways are wonderful and God’s gives perfect gifts!

In early June we moved Trinity down to Cayes as her teaching responsibilities had ended in Bonne Fin. We were amazed at how ready she was to move back to the U.S. and on to the next (and then unknown) chapter of her life. It was only a short time before she was fully aware that she would not be leaving Haiti anytime soon. God provided a totally unexpected, new direction! Although friends for years with Joab Télusma, a wonderful Christian man, God opened their eyes to see his plans for their future together.

Trinity moving back to Ohio!

Joab meeting Grandpa for the first time. When asked for advice, Grandpa said, “Live it up!”

Love was growing! We returned to Ohio in June and Joab went to Indiana for a summer job. Trinity and Joab announced their engagement in July. It didn’t take long to realize a wedding needed to happen soon. Because of his visa, Joab had to return to Haiti by the end of September! So we dove in and set a wedding date of Sept. 12.

Time to celebrate the newly engaged couple!
And celebrating a wedding license!

Then the 7.2 earthquake struck southern Haiti. We were so affected by the calls we got and the images we were seeing the first days and weeks. It was going to be another long road to recovery; probably longer than the hurricane five years ago. So many churches and schools were flattened or nearly destroyed. It seems impossible that school can start in October this year. It seems like there are unending challenges for the Haitian people.

September arrived and Covid was increasing! Were we going to be able to have a wedding? But God again opened the way and we were able to celebrate on Sept. 12 with friends from Maine to California, from the Carolinas to Florida! It was a beautiful day and many wonderful memories were made. We praise God! He is so good! Trinity and Joab chose John 17 for their wedding message:

“The glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as we are one: I in them and You in me; that they may be perfect in one, and the world may know that you have sent me and you have loved them and you have loved me.” John 17:22-23

Trinity had picked “TJ” (Trinity/Joab) as their nickname as a couple before we decided that the rehearsal dinner would be at TJ’s! Coincidence?

L to R: Sidney Rupp, Katelyn Kaehr, Bri Yordy, Trin, Grace, Rachel Walder, Ava Lovell & Lana Kaeb.
L to R: Ben Folia, Peter Rudenberg, Joey & Ian Christensen, Joab, Erik Christensen, Grant Walder & Mitch Bertsch.
The Sean Christensen family filled in the place of Joab’s parents, who could not come.

We also enjoyed a trip to Tennessee in late July with Evan, Leah and Eugene! We stayed in a cabin on Signal Mountain and took same day trips to Chattanooga. On the way home we stayed a few days in the Smokey Mountains too.

In front of the Tennessee Aquarium!


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First GCCD Team Visit and Furlough

Dale Koch, Tom Neuenschwander, Pastor Peterson, Dan Leman, and Andy Getz enjoyed their week together.

Gospel-Centered Community Development in Haiti (GCCD)
It has been a year since HarvestCall started its new community development program! We have really enjoyed mentoring and working closely with Pastor Peterson Benjamin who is contracted as the administrator. He is a faithful and motivated young MEBSH pastor with a heart for teaching and training. Pastor Peterson handles the material translations, scheduling and leading trainings, visits, follow-up and reports.

The Truth Centered Transformation program (tctprogram.org) has ten training modules that are spread over five years and the training includes the entire church. First the pastors are taught the material, then they in turn teach their congregations. The ten trainings cover many life applications from evangelism to money management and stewardship, agronomy practices to church and family relationships. The churches have the opportunity to learn and pray together to come out of poverty, whether spiritually or materially, with no financial assistance provided. At this time, 25 churches have started the training and several are ready for Module 3.

The program directly confronts some of these lies Satan feeds to the poor:
• We were born poor and we will die poor.
• We are so poor that we don’t need to give. Other people should give to us.
• God only cares about spiritual things.
• Work is a heavy burden. It is good to work as little as possible.
• We can’t change our lives without finances from someone else.
• Some people are better than other people. We are not important.
• The gospel only affects our spiritual lives.

A break during a training session!

After each training the churches decide on an Act of Love that they must do together. Some have started outreaches into their communities for the first time, visiting the sick and helping with medical needs. Some have taken food to local prisons and several have put their money together for various outcomes. In any case they are now thinking of their neighbors and it makes quite an impact within and without the church. We are hearing good reports and some have come to Christ because of it.

The committee in the U.S. was finally able come see the initial progress first-hand. They enjoyed a meet and greet session with many pastors, and then we drove them to visit some of the pastors at their church location to learn more about their individual challenges and opportunities.

Training session at the Child Care office!
Each training session for the pastors (or other facilitator) is several days in length!
Pastor Peterson often helps teach at the church level!
A church training in progress at the church by the dairy!
A church visit to review the progress to date.
Sharing encouragement with a pastor in the program!
Pastor Peterson preaching at the MEBSH Dexia church.
The team being introduced after church!
Sunday afternoon meal at the beach!
Important relationships could bring long-term results!
Encouraging visits will go a long way!
Lots of time to connect at a deeper level!
A special evening meal before we parted!
Sharing a Bible study on a Sunday afternoon at Bonne Fin!
A birthday party fit for a queen!
Kharis turns one!
Teaching English at the MEBSH Bible school!
Madam Yadley (our cook) stands in front of her newly painted house after the fire damage she suffered.

With special thanks to many friends in Ohio, we have been able to assist Madam Yadley in totally restoring her home (she lives on the second floor with her three children)! She was so happy and thankful to God that she had a huge celebration with all her family and neighbors!

The newly painted living room!
Sunrise is the new half-hour flight we take to Port-au-Prince!
Finally reunited with Evan & Leah and Eugene!
Meeting Eugene for the first time!
Being a Grandma is special!

After teaching in Bonne Fin for two years, Trinity packed up the school as the remaining missionaries at the hospital will be leaving by the end of the year. She moved back to Ohio as we returned in June.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10


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Finding a Way!

Every intersection can be a challenge, but the biggest vehicle usually goes through first!
I love this porch floor outside our office. All the left-over tiles were turned into this piece of art!
Here is another example where broken pieces are now sitting in style!

We love the Haitian spirit of making do with what they have. Degaje is the creole word we often use that means “making do.” Where there is a will there is a way! Whether it’s how they drive, lay ceramic tile, or alter clothes, it all reflects the way they have to live with flexibility and making do with less.

In a similar way God takes the broken pieces and the ugly parts about us and puts them back together in Christ. He sees our potential! He puts us in the church to be better together. He makes something beautiful out of our life!

Trees are another example…you just build around them!

The Easter sunrise service this year was a success…the rain held off long enough to gather on the Child Care roof!

Breakfast and fellowship in the Child Care main room!
It was great to get visitors again!
Hosting Ladies Tea on a Tuesday afternoon!
The recent week-long MEBSH church convention with thousands sitting inside and out!
The lilies in the lower yard were outstanding this spring!
It was finally time to say goodbye to Sheila Moser after all her years in Haiti!
Susie gets to teach Grace and Annie’s Bible class this year!
Each week the produce that comes from the market is washed in a bit of clorox!


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Seeking New Sponsors!

Starbucks coffee for a month or sending a needy child to school for a month? It’s probably the same price.

Buying something you don’t really need or giving a child great hope instead? There is no price tag!

HarvestCall Child Sponsorship exists to provide a way for open hearts to share with another the privilege we likely take for granted…a basic education. Many children in the world cannot go to school for the simple reason that their family lacks the funds to pay for tuition, books, uniform and a backpack.

  • The enrollment rate for primary school in Haiti is 57%, and fewer than 30% of the students reach 6th grade.
  • Secondary schools enroll 20% of eligible-age children.
  • Haiti’s literacy rate is 52.9%

Those that don’t go to school are never able to read a Bible or story book themselves. They are not able to write their names and they lack basic math skills through life. We know some of those people. They work in our homes, they work in our offices at the most menial of jobs. They don’t want their own children to live like that!

Sponsorships through HarvestCall are available from preschool age up to trade school or university. You can also choose to sponsor entire schools in Haiti. Your funds will go to help pay the teachers so that the families can pay less and so the schools will stay open. It is a huge opportunity because we are already affecting over 10,000 students this way!

You can either contact us directly about kids we know that need help, select a child on the HarvestCall website, or through the Child Sponsorship office (all contact info at the end!).

Students come to the office to check in and write letters to their sponsors!
The spiritual curriculum that we provide to every school in the program will expand to 6th grade this year!
The free gift books that all the students receive at designated ages, and we are working on more!
Many times it is possible to meet your sponsored child if you come on a work team!
We can even arrange for you to visit your sponsored school!
Handing out health kits and gift books!
Every child appreciates a new toothbrush, soap and other hygiene items!
To have a book of your own is a rare treat!
One of my favorite photos of a typical rural Haitian school!
Morning flag raising and devotion time!
Schools in the mountains are often simple shelters for sun and rain!
A large school along the coast!
One of my favorite photos of a school visit. The director’s office looked just like a stage set!

We encourage you today to start sponsoring a child or an entire school; and if you already do, consider sponsoring another!

For more information or to select a child or school visit: harvestcall.org/child-sponsorship or write: ACHC Child Sponsorship, P.O. Box 36, Morton, IL 61550.


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God’s Ways are Higher

We just celebrated 30 years together…but separated. There are many surprises in life but God helps us face them one at a time by his grace. After over three months apart, we are looking forward to being together again as Susie plans to return to Haiti next week with a team!

While missionary life involves many blessings and you really see God at work, there are sacrifices and surprises around every corner. Our favorite word to describe all of that is “flexibility,” meaning the greatest work God is doing is probably in us. It’s awesome to know we have a God that walks with us on the mountains and in the valleys too!

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

A memory of a past anniversary we were together!
Trinity comes to visit some weekends! When Mom is away this makes for some experimenting.

We are entering a very beautiful time of year in Haiti. The drier, dustier season is giving way to the rainy season. While the kreyol language has spring, summer, fall and winter in it, there are really only two seasons, dry and wet! It is always beautiful here, but now the fruit trees, fields and flowers really produce. But it makes sense…it’s a jungle!

Our view towards the adjoining back yard!

Pastor Peterson continues to train several groups of pastors with the Truth Centered Transformation program!
Peterson has a real heart to teach and train! He is currently the second pastor at the Dexia MEBSH church.
A group of missionaries and visitors a few months ago at Bonne Fin!
The new crew of kids at Wed. evening Bible study!

Most of the missionary houses here are on solar at this point. We were very thankful to receive the former solar panels from the guest house so we could also profit from the nearly constant rays. Child Care is positioned to be next!

Ed Sanders created the solar plan and installed the concrete mounts before they moved!
Shane Shaw has been doing a nice job with the system install.


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Merry Christmas! And a new baby!

Merry Christmas to each one!

This year we are separated for the holidays. Mike, Trinity and Grace are together in Haiti as Susie went back to Ohio to stay with Grant, help out with her dad, and eventually go see…our new grandson in Illinois!!

Welcome to the world Eugene Richard Walder, born to Evan and Leah December 23!

A perfect Christmas gift, don’t you think?

Backing up a bit now…we returned to Haiti the end of September and almost immediately were able to move to another missionary residence at Cite Lumiere. It was a lot of work but we really like it at the “new” place!

Another move…another adventure!
Back yard view!
In full bloom!
Interior view!

Soon after we moved we had a few waves of visitors! First, Grant came for about three weeks! We had him fly to Jeremie and picked him up there. It was a lot safer and way less traffic than driving in to Port-au-Prince. We sure had some fun times with him!

At our favorite, Rainbow Beach!
Our second favorite place, Sunset Cove!
It was a spectacular day!

Next, Rich Pfister and Rob Lehman came for a week to support Child Sponsorship in a list of ways. We enjoyed these guys, their generous time and great encouragement to our ministry here!

Rich and Rob saved the day in many ways!
Enjoying lunch on the beach!
And meals at our house!
Rich visited his sponsored child at his home!

Most importantly, we are thankful to God for His provision through seven years in Haiti. We moved here December 17, 2013! There are so many stories but the bottom line is God is always faithful!

Birthdays have a way of creeping up on us!
Meanwhile in Bonne Fin, Trinity has two new students, Summer and Sawyer Bertsch!
Anticipating Christmas gifts!
The high school students sang beautifully for us!
Our recent Salvation Seminar was well attended!
It is a blessing to share the gospel!
Things you only see at the beach!
Grace made several fun little gardens like this!


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Summer in Ohio!

All together again!

How can she be 14?

Freshman year is over!

Family, friends, summer jobs and summer activities! We were blessed with a home in the country to stay in this summer. We call it “the big cabin” as it is an original 1950’s ranch that has been furnished with love by several friends. We enjoy the yard, fire pit and sunset views! We often think of Stan and Gloria Hartzler who welcomed us into their home the last five summers. That was such a blessing for us, but now they have retired as our church advocates. Paul and Kristen Klotzle have picked up that role and were the ones to find this home for us.

The living room of our “big cabin” with donated furniture!

Trinity returned from Haiti in June and was a bridesmaid in the wedding for her friend Sidney (Schar) Rupp! She and Grace have been making lots of fruit boxes at Bauman Orchards while Mike has also been working at their busy Corner Market. Susie takes special care of her dad in his apartment nearby the Rittman nursing home and also taking him often to see her mom through the window at the Home.

The wedding day of Andrew and Sidney!

Having fun on the job!

That’s a lot of boxes!

Inside the market!

Evan and Leah have traveled twice to spend time with us and we went to Illinois over the fourth of July as well! We had good times being together whether at the lake, touring in Holmes County, or waiting for a seat at a restaurant. The best Father’s Day gift was finding out we will be grandparents at the end of the year! Grant has been working overtime at Schaeffler in Wooster after going back to work in June. He works second shift so we have to catch him either in the morning or on a Sunday!

Favorite people and favorite food!

Some good times with Evan!

Perfect summer days!

Visiting Grandpa!

Wonderful surprise!

The happy parents-to-be!

We have all also enjoyed quality time with friends; whether to sit by a fire, having a breakfast or dinner together, or catching up at church. Many helped donate food for our summer shipment to Haiti. Thank you for all your love and encouragement! 

Lots of campfires!

Passport renewals! It had to be this summer of all years that we would need to renew our passports. It is a real dilemma with longer wait times for getting them back in the mail. We are trying to patiently wait for God’s timing so we can return to Haiti. You are a big God with complete control, but could you just expedite them for us please?

Meanwhile, things march on in Haiti! Many schools were only open three or four months all of last year between the rioting and Covid. Now the schools have reopened early to finish the 2019-2020 year from August to October.  In October the 2020-21 school year will start. We are thankful all the kids won’t lose a year of school!

School resumes in Haiti!

GCCD training has started! God’s Word is what will change lives and communities in Haiti and around the world! Pastor Peterson Benjamin taught the first module for the Gospel Centered Community Discipleship (GCCD) initiative we are working on for HarvestCall with selected pastors, their churches and communities. He trained the facilitators but he is also going on location to support and help them teach. This is crucial so we can make adjustments as needed to improve the training in the future for the Haitian context. 

The first group of pastors that received training!

Pastor Peterson in attendance at the church training level!

Prayers are needed! The situation that the country of Haiti finds itself in is complex. Satan is actively working at the political level and otherwise. But God is working even more! We need to ask God what he is doing in Haiti today and join Him. God is not finished until every heart is reconciled and all wrongs are made right. Satan is already defeated so we must not give him any territory, including the beautiful country of Haiti!

“And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

All things are possible! (not our photo)

 

 


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Covid-19 Updates!

Recently God provided lots of rainbows to remind us He is faithful!

God knows! That is something Haitians say all the time. This describes well the last few months. “God knows” just covers it better than anything else…because it is so true!

Because of Covid-19 Susie and Grace had flights to return to Haiti that never materialized. So they moved into Grant’s new apartment and made the best of it while we waited. As the months continued on it became very obvious that I had to return to the U.S. if we were to be together again anytime soon.

Pastor Peterson explaining the Community Development program to pastors!

Because of Covid-19 the new Community Development program we are helping with has slowed down. Pastor Peterson recently qualified and met with pastors about the program, but we are not able to begin the training until larger groups are allowed to get together. In retrospect it has been a blessing to have lots of time for he and I to work together and be positioned to start the program well.

Being dropped off at the Cayes airport to begin a long day of travel!

God provides! Last week I was able to fly back to Indiana with missionary Jan Gutwein on his personal plane. Once the day was worked out things moved along quickly, and we were soon airborne! We dropped off two other missionaries in Florida, Sheila Moser and Diane Vrooman. The flights from Haiti to the U.S. and from Florida to Indiana were long and interesting, but our reunion with our wives was the perfect ending to the day!

Jan Gutwein’s plane that brought us safely back!

The all-day flight has ended!

God cares! After Susie picked me up in Indiana last week we began a two-week quarantine (and late anniversary get-away) together in Holmes County, Ohio. I was exhausted and we were thankful for these days to catch up, pray and reassess. How long until we can return to Haiti? God knows that too.

Together again!

Trinity continues to teach at her little school in Bonne Fin. She will be busy moving into the new school once the school year is over soon! She is hoping to come back during the summer but that isn’t certain. Grace has her eyes on the goal of finishing her freshman year soon. She is thankful that her teachers in Haiti have been working with her almost daily by internet. She has been enjoying her Ohio friends a lot since her stay here has been extended again!

An entire year of learning together!

Lots of fun art projects!

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The new Bonne Fin school is coming along!

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New murals are popping up inside!

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The Child Care library is slowly gaining momentum!

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The sweet family we are helping my brother build a house for!

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It now has a roof just in time for the rainy season!

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The small original stone and mud hut is directly in front of the new house!

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We can’t do everything, but we all can do something that’s in our power to do!


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HVAC Work Team and Other Updates!

It was great to have visitors for lunch again!

It was a great boost to have a team of four come from Ohio this month to install the office air conditioning units! The team worked together so well and so quickly we had time to explore Haiti a little bit too! A special thanks goes out to Ethan Schar, Ben Schar, John Rufener and Brandon Luginbuhl who served us here.

Saying goodbye to the kids Sunday morning at the massive Renault Sunday School!

Around 1,500 kids!

Thanks for your visit!

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Sunday afternoon visit to St. Louis Island with two other work teams and the Steiner family!

Visiting Eric and Melanie Stoller at the dairy farm!

Time for a little farm tour!

Meeting a few cows!

Leave it to the experts!

Flying right along!

Drilling hole number ten in the sun!

The office workers even had a little cake party to say thanks!

We were able to visit Hospital Lumiere, the Cancer Redemption Center, Centre Lumiere (Domestic Center) and David Brown’s school. We also took some gifts and supplies to the homes of two older sick ladies.

We drove to a waterfall but the water was sort of at flood stage!

They found the beach to be much more relaxing!

A new community discipleship program is starting! It is a huge blessing to get to assist with a new HarvestCall program in Haiti called GCCD (Gospel centered community discipleship). We are training a Haitian who will then teach communities across the south with God’s Word so they can rise out of spiritual and physical poverty. It is a huge visionary five-year program with the goal to transform many hearts, churches and communities. The training includes application activities for the church to work on together; for example, repairing an elderly lady’s home or digging a well. We are preparing the first teaching module for the Haitian context and also selecting churches to begin working with. We would really appreciate your prayers as we want to prepare well and work effectively. God is our strength.

Pastor Peterson Benjamin is the administrator of the new program!

We are still separated! Susie and Grace are still in Ohio since the coronavirus issue stopped their planned return. We are thankful God is providing places for them to stay and we are hopeful they can return soon. Thanks for your prayers as we can really feel them! God is our peace.


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Teachers Needed at the Missionary School!

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The front entrance to the Citè Lumiere Missionary School (CLCS).

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Grace and Annie Cameus (the only two freshmen) have been buds for six years!

Here is a short update on Grace’s school! (Grace is currently in Ohio but continues her freshman year of schooling by “extension”–via email–with her teachers in Haiti! The curriculum is challenging and homework takes most of her day.) There are only 25 kids enrolled this year, with two teachers and the principal that also teaches a few classes, but the teachers are currently quite stretched covering all the ages.

Students have to be able to speak English to attend and this year about half are American and half are Haitian. Two moms are teaching French which is required in Haiti. Having this school is a blessing because it allows the parents to serve full-time in their ministries while their kids receive a good Christian education far from home.

A principal’s office was built two years ago and then a new classroom was added last year, the first time the school was modified in over 5o years! That room will be used for a science lab, but it can be divided in half later if necessary. There is an ever-expanding school library that serves both the students and the surrounding missionary community.

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Phys Ed is always interesting!

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You will find those two together again!

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Lunch with Miss Stakes, Grace’s current teacher from Louisiana!

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First through third grades are in the same room this year!

Teachers are currently needed! Grace has loved every Christian teacher she has had the past six years! Teachers are volunteers and come for one to ten years based on their unique circumstances. Some are supported by organizations working in Haiti, some are supported by their home churches. Susie and I are serving on the school board and the board is trusting God that we will have teachers next year! We are also praying that God would send a husband and wife to serve our school long-term. God is able to do far more than we ask or think! Please contact us or the school principal (see the flyer above) if you have any questions.

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Thanks for visiting our quirky old school!