His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


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Q & A

We often get open-ended questions like the following:

What is the BIGGEST challenge your family has faced moving to Haiti?

What is the BEST thing that has happened to you there so far?

What is your family’s FAVORITE thing about Haiti?

What is your LEAST FAVORITE thing?

While it is hard for a family to find one answer to these types of questions, they do have to get answered because they will probably keep coming!

BIGGEST challenges? Language training and language barriers (this affects everything you do and especially going to church!), trying to figure out who to trust.

BEST things to happen? To get away from the U.S. mindset to see what life is really about — serving others and not ourselves, and to discover that Haiti is a great fit for us.

FAVORITE things? Interaction with the Haitians (especially Madam Yadley our cook), sharing God’s Word and His salvation, feeding the poor who come to the door, seeing the ocean often!

LEAST FAVORITE things? Less privacy and more disruptions than what we were used to (I guess without these things we couldn’t have our FAVORITE list, could we?).

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Opportunity — The Jesus film: Last summer we were given this film in Creole and the sound equipment to share the gospel in Haiti! We are desiring to do this as a family long term, wherever God would open the door. Recently, God provided a wonderful group of young people who are very interested in helping with the work and handing out gospel tracts in Creole. We are praying that God will direct our steps where He wants the movie to be shown so that seeds can be planted for the gospel. God will ultimately give the increase!

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We want to thank everyone for the prayers and support we feel. Thanks for the cards, the care packages and every email too! We know God cares for us because He certainly shows it through all of you.

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“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”    Isaiah 40:31

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Only in Haiti… (2)

How you manage when you don't have a truck!

This is how you manage when you don’t have a truck!

In Haiti you can’t avoid getting up close and personal with animals…they are everywhere. I don’t have a picture of it, but once a carful of us were returning from a cave adventure and passing by the ocean we came upon two pigs sitting on the beach. A big one and a medium sized one — Mama and Papa — just having a grand time sitting side by side with their toes in the surf! Everyone who saw it just roared!

Everything creepy and crawly seems bigger here. The crickets don’t just chirp, they also fly! The wasps and beetles are super sized! One day we looked behind the couch cushions for something we lost and there was a rhinoceros beetle, just hanging out! And you already know about our spiders…or do you? We knew about tarantulas before we moved, but we didn’t realize that there are other huge spiders here too. We didn’t have the presence of mind to snap a photo at the time, but we can still remember the 6-inch diameter wolf spider that was hanging from the ceiling in the girl’s room (had to be that room!). Sarah Reinhard came to our rescue and with a broom chased it across the walls and out the front door!

Finally, a tarantula came to visit one day too…there it was hanging on the screen door…just waiting to be let in! From inside the house, with the end of a broom we popped it off the screen. When it landed it started heading back towards us again! And do you know how loudly five people can yell at the same time? When we get to Heaven we will be sure to ask God why He made these things!

We see a lot of baby tarantulas around the door and in the house. This must be the mother!

We see a lot of baby tarantulas around the door and in the house. This must be the mother!

These cute little guys are everywhere and we have become used to seeing them in the house. This one decided to warm his belly on the phone charger!

These cute little guys are everywhere and we have become used to seeing them in the house. This one decided to warm his belly on the phone charger!


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Language Training

Pastor Jean-Claude comes for language classes three days a week.

Pastor Jean-Claude comes for language classes three days a week. We start each session by reading a verse in Creole and then he prays for our ability to learn!

We have been allowed three months to study Creole. It has been very interesting to learn a new language as a family! We feel like we are back in Kindergarten in some ways. Or think of how a baby starts talking and you get the picture…

Creole is one of  Haiti’s two official languages, along with French. It is a language spoken by about 8.5 million people here (90% of the country), while the remaining 10% percent is bilingual in both Creole and French. The Creole language is based largely on French, with influences from Portuguese, Spanish, Taino, and West African languages. Haitian Creole emerged from contact between French settlers and African slaves during the Atlantic Slave Trade in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). Creole resulted from African slaves’ efforts to speak the French that they heard when they arrived in the colony. Slaves came from all over West Africa and spoke many different languages. More than 90% of the vocabulary of Creole is of French origin, yet French people can’t understand Creole. This is because the grammars of the two languages are very different.

Mamis teaches both Grant and Trinity one on one.

Mamis teaches both Grant and Trinity one on one.

We feel we have only started scratching the surface, but are probably farther along than we think. Listening is the the hardest for us because Haitians shorten so many of their words, making them hard to catch. One word can also have several meanings, so you have to understand the context to catch the definition. When Haitians speak quickly the words tend to run together and it’s hard to tell if they are saying several short words or one longer word. We know the phrase well in Creole, “Please speak slowly.” It is good for us when Haitians come to our door and can’t speak English very well. It is sometimes challenging to figure out what they want! It can be somewhat humbling when we are corrected, but I guess it happens to every language learner in the land of the native language they are learning. We tell our kids, “Now you know what it feels like!”

Dinold, a new Haitian friend, comes to help us learn Creole and also get a bite to eat!

Dinold, a new Haitian friend, comes to help us learn Creole and also get a bite to eat!

Our (Mike & Susie) teacher, Pastor Jean-Claude, tells us of some funny stories from the past when missionaries chose to use the wrong word…then he can’t stop laughing! He comes to our house three days a week. We really enjoy him! He has such a warm personality and has so much patience. He also explains the Haitian culture by sharing common phrases and stories. He is an English professor at the American University and a public high school here in Les Cayes and has taught many, many missionaries the language. He also pastors a MEBSH church nearby, so he is very busy. Trinity and Grant have a teacher, Mamis, who comes almost every afternoon (she also cleans and cooks for the Yordy’s who live above us). We also have a young man, Dinold, who comes before school to help us out, which is also a good way for him to earn extra money. One of the best paying jobs here is language instruction. Those that can speak English well have an advantage over the rest.

Pastor Jean-Claude preaching in his church near the airport north of Les Cayes.

Pastor Jean-Claude preaching in his church near the airport north of Les Cayes. That is one very pink sanctuary!

A recent visitor gave us this encouragement about learning a new language and adapting to a new culture: “Strong trees grow slow.” We often remind each other of that when we feel challenged. Besides, we have only been here three months!


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Missionary Retreat

Kaliko Beach Resort was where the 2014 missionary retreat was held.

Kaliko Beach Resort was where the 2014 missionary retreat was held.

We enjoyed spending a few days with local missionaries and their families at a resort north of Port-au-Prince. It was truly an uplifting spiritual weekend. The adults explored the Bible on the subject “Jesus is God,” and Grant joined our class, which he thoroughly enjoyed too. In this class, we all went away with “true worship is costly worship.” The emphasis was: God doesn’t want to be included in your plan, He wants you to be included in His plan. What is His plan? To disciple the nations. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The kids were blessed with a Bible School that a group comes down from the States every year to hold for them. Trinity expressed how much she appreciated her teacher praying over each kid in her class and it brought many tears. Trinity said it was such a humbling and yet beautiful experience that she will never forget! Grace enjoyed her Bible class too and said the best part was learning more about God and Jesus, and His disciples. The kids even presented a program to our families at the end!

Other events were swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing and sand volleyball. Snorkeling was a whole new experience for us! It brought to life God’s amazing creativity that basically goes unnoticed until you take time to see for yourself. Wow! Sometimes there is a price to pay to see such beauty – Grant got his first encounter with a jelly fish. It stung him on his foot, but we don’t think it will stop him from going again!

It was hard to imagine how people could exist in this barren and treeless area.

It was hard to imagine how people could exist in this barren and treeless area.

The trip left us with conflicting emotions. While we enjoyed a stay at a top-quality resort on the sea, we had to pass through some difficult scenes before reaching our destination. Another missionary pointed out we were passing close by the mass graves where the dead were brought out from Port-au-Prince following the 2010 earthquake. We passed by this location north of Port-au-Prince and saw where many of the displaced survivors from the quake were now squatters on the barren and rocky hillsides all around. Who are we to deserve any luxuries when you see the absolute desperation for survival? On the way home someone mentioned being at the resort was like experiencing a mirage in the desert. Quite true!

The beach consisted of white rock instead of sand. We chose to wait and swim where there are plenty of sandy beaches!

The beach consisted of white rock instead of sand. We chose to wait and swim where there are plenty of sandy beaches!

Lazy afternoons offered plenty of time to cool down at the pool! Notice the light switch and plug on the palm tree!

Lazy afternoons offered plenty of time to cool down at the pool! Notice the light switch and plug on the palm tree!

We enjoy the unusual forms that God creates here in Haiti!

We enjoy the unusual forms that God creates here in Haiti!

Even a little family time? Grant really enjoyed being with friends for an extended time.

Even a little family time? (Grant really enjoyed being with friends for an extended time!)

The Bible School program was set to music but one song was performed in sign language!

The Bible School program was set to music but one song was performed in sign language!