We returned to Ohio for nearly eight weeks this summer. We stayed in Stan and Gloria Hartzler’s cozy walk-out basement in Orrville. They are our advocates for our sending church in Ohio for any personal needs we have or with the needs we can help with in Haiti. They do a tremendous job! They spoiled us with love, gifts, food, special visits, etc. and many cherished memories were made! They are like family. They really made our furlough restful, refreshing, and fun! Stan said, “The Bible says whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord…so we are!”
We often went shopping to get ready for the next sea container going down with food and supplies from the States. It takes a lot of time and organizing but we are thankful we can send from the States to help us year long down in Haiti. We took good notes this time which we hope will make it easier from year to year.
We had many special times with family and friends. It was refreshing to hear their hearts and to share our hearts with them. We made many memories and wished we could have had more time to spend with everyone we know and love. As we think of eternity often, we look forward to when we can visit, reminisce, laugh, and share stories in the eternal realm where there is no time or schedules but a bliss of love, joy, and perfect peace with our Savior, who makes that all possible in our hearts and forever in eternity.
We had some opportunities for a few outreaches to share the gospel, and were reminded again how many do not know how to get to heaven. It was a blessing for us to share the gospel in our own tongue! Ahh, much easier! One of our favorites was the 4th of July outreach which was a good stirring of the soil in peoples’ hearts! May the Lord give the increase to the Word of God sown in the hearts of men and women we talked to at these outreaches.
We went to Bri Yordy’s baptism, daughter of Scott and Mandy Yordy (fellow missionaries and our neighbors in Haiti from Roanoke, IL). We rejoiced with Bri and her family. It was a blessing to be there and spend some time together in Illinois seeing Mike’s mom and family, too!
We enjoyed a two-week camping trip to the same campground we stayed at last summer. We really enjoyed fishing, swimming, corn on the cob (roasted over the fire), and the many campfires in the evening.
We remember the smell of frying fish, chlorine at the pool, marshmallows being roasted over the fire, just to name a few, compared to the different smells here in Haiti, burning charcoal, smell of Haitian frying foods over the fire, smells of sweat (to be truthful!). We remember the cooler air and breezes compared to the very hot and humid air of Haiti. It is always a shocking climate change, but we are getting used to it again.
We also had a restful time in Michigan with Cindy Hitz, her son Tommie, and her daughter Kristen. They invited us to their lake house for a couple days and we enjoyed relaxing on the lake along with waterskiing, tubing and kayaking. It was a time of encouragement for all of us to be together!
One Saturday we had a wonderful opportunity to go to Columbus for a Voice of the Marytr’s conference to hear of the many, many persecuted Christians all over the world that bear the marks of the Lord Jesus and some even that give their lives for their faith. It was a great reminder to diligently pray for the believers in Christ to be strong in Him, that they will feel His presence and grace, and to continue to share their faith so that many can be saved.
The last week before we left, Trinity, Grace, and I were able to be with and help the ladies make pillowcase dresses at the World Relief Center. It was a great turnout and many dresses were made. Also, many homemade backpacks loaded with school supplies and underwear were donated. We are so thankful for every hand that helped and for all the donations. Special thanks to Gloria Hartzler for organizing this and to Martha Lou Marty for taking time to get all the material and for all the “extra things” she makes. May the Lord be your rich rewarder for blessing the lives of those in desperate need!
Preparing to leave is always with mixed emotions. It is hard to leave Evan behind each time as he returns to college and a separation occurs. He was in Haiti nearly five weeks with us and then we had nearly two months together in Ohio! It was a treasure to have that stretch of time together.
The last night in Ohio the Hartzler’s and Gucker’s (Sheila is their daughter) prepared a farewell feast! We sure enjoyed the many laughs we shared that night! You are close to our hearts. We thought of this meal many times when we arrived in Haiti and immediately jumped back into the Haitian culture by attending a week-long VBS out in the country. The food filled our stomachs, but was completely different! (We would ask each other…remember the pork roast, the butter braids, the salad, the sweet corn, or the peach cobbler with ice cream?) But as we see the faces of the Haitian people and can express our love for them, it is all worth it to be back here where God wants us.
We again want to thank all of you for all the love shown to us, your many prayers, your donations, your encouragement, and all your support. May the Lord abundantly bless each of you! Please continue to pray for us in this poor country where many are not only physically poor but spiritually poor, too! We love each of you and we also pray for all of you back in the States! We will miss all of you.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” I Cor. 15:58