His Heart for Haiti

Giving Hope Through Child Sponsorship


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Summer in Ohio!

All together again!

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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!

 

 

 


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Separation and Updates

A family trying to straddle between two worlds is interesting, to say the least! After enjoying Christmas and New Year’s with our families and a weekend trip to Dinold and Karla’s wedding in Oregon, Mike and Trinity went back to Haiti while Susie and Grace stayed in Ohio for awhile longer. Susie plans to continue helping with her Dad’s care and Mike and Trinity needed to return to work. Mike went back to the Child Care office which was open again and Trinity returned to the Bonne Fin Missionary school where her students were all waiting! After several months together we suddenly were all going in different directions!

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Dinold and Karla were married January 5 in Oregon!

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The happy new couple!

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Enjoying Multnomah Falls in Oregon!

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“We forgot our hiking shoes Mom!”

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We had the opportunity two times to present Child Sponsorship and our journey in Haiti!

Susie and Grace are staying at Rudy & Polly Zollinger’s farm, taking care of Paisley the poodle, lots of cats and 21 goats! Grant moved in with them temporarily and they are all enjoying the change and quiet of the country. Meanwhile things back in Haiti also are very calm and seem almost surreal since there was so much unrest so recently. Medical and construction teams are visiting as normal as the highways are open and clear for the most part. The weather is great so far in both places, relatively speaking!

Our main focus is using our time wisely wherever we are, whatever we are doing. Seeing parents age and friends pass away, we see that time is short on earth! 2020, here we go…

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The goats are always happy to see us!

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Wow, it’s really cold in this barn!

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Paisley has been a lot of fun!

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Trinity is settling back in! New specs add to her teacher image!

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The new school in Bonne Fin is quickly getting completed!

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Painting the inside is almost finished!

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The kids love their Friday visit to the hospital!

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They made these sweet messages to hand out to a few lucky patients!

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Grass and landscaping are growing quickly at Child Care!

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Meanwhile, the shelves have arrived for a small library upstairs! Books are obviously needed!

 

 

 

 


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Unexpected Sabbatical!

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Flying to Port on a Mission Aviation Flight (MAF).

As the unrest in Haiti continued to rise, most of the schools we work in closed and our Child Sponsorship office also closed for many weeks in a row. (Weeks later it is still dangerous for schools to operate or the office to open to the public for fear of being targeted by violence.) The missionary school where Trinity was teaching in Bonne Fin was also halted in Bonne Fin when the families there transitioned back to the States. We realized we had more to take care of in the U.S. than in Haiti, and the door opened for our return.

We stopped for a short break in Florida and Illinois, then we settled back into the Hartzler’s basement in Ohio where we stay in the summers. Trinity and Grace have loved seeing the seasons change; first the leaves and now the first fallen snow! We are feeling blessed to have more time with Grant and also Susie’s parents and family.

With the colder weather keeping us inside, we are finally finding time to work on several new Bible studies for sharing in Haiti. This unexpected break has turned into such a gift to allow us to prepare these studies, as well as make other future plans.

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The 45 min. flight is such a gift compared to the usual 4-5 hour drive!

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A short stay in Florida!

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Change of scenery!

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Our back entrance door! Patios for Patriots just gave this new patio to veteran Stan Hartzler!

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We were glad to be present for the big “reveal” when the patio was presented to Stan!

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It has been six years since Grace experienced this!

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First snow of the season!

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Precious quality time with our parents!

 


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Haiti Unrest Continues

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A view of tires burning in Les Cayes from our back porch!

The political unrest in the country hasn’t stopped very much all year. Food prices have continued to climb as the currency is devalued. Now there is a gas shortage that is really impacting everyday life here. Schools have not started, no one is able to get anywhere or buy and sell and there is so much tension in the air. People glare at you (or demand something) when you come out of the store with groceries probably because they aren’t eating much these days. People are getting robbed driving down the road because if you have gas you are rich! It’s like everyone is grabbing what they can get for themselves even more than usual.

Schools in Haiti tried to start in September but they all gave up. If they remained open, they felt vulnerable to attack. They will try to start in October again is what we are hearing. Thankfully for the most part it feels relatively safe around our mission compound which covers two adjoining hills. Our local missionary school has been open when possible except the days when major disturbances are announced.

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Our local missionary school that Grace attends!

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Mike planned the new classroom that was built over the summer!

Grace jumped up to 9th grade this year since other kids in her class moved back in June and she was the only one left in 8th grade. There was also only one 9th grader too–her friend Annie–so Grace was able to join her! She has the same teacher as last year who she really enjoys! So some things are different and some things are the same.

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Grace and her best friend Annie, the 9th graders!

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The high school class, grades 9 and 11!

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We have been assisting recently in the youngest class, grades 1, 2 and 3!

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With schools closed, many sponsored students have time to write their sponsors letters at Child Care!

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On weekends, the room easily transforms into a pickleball court!

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Recent visitors have blessed us! We are working on a new HarvestCall community development program!

Things around here continue to happen about the same as much as is possible, although we are living on edge. The unsettled feeling we all have is always present, affects everything we do, and forces us to either choose giving in to fears or to trust the Lord. The Lord is our refuge in times of trouble!

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Fresh beef!

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Fresh chicken!

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It’s a blessing to share what we have with Haitian friends!

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Sharing God’s Word is more important than physical food (with Dinold’s sister)!

 


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Trinity’s New Role in Bonne Fin!

Trinity’s classroom in Bonne Fin!

Trinity has been living and working in Bonne Fin for almost two months now! She has been enjoying her new role as teacher for the children of the families serving at Hospital Lumiere. Among other responsibilities, she enjoys teaching the kids Bible and Creole, as well as taking them on weekly visits around the hospital!

Each student has their own curriculum and videos to watch!

Bonne Fin isn’t terribly far from our home in Les Cayes, but with half the drive being rough mountain roads, it is about an hour drive. We see Trinity almost weekly, thankfully, since the families there are obligated to get mail and supplies here in Les Cayes! She can catch a ride pretty easily.

After living with us for five years in the city, Trinity is enjoying exploring a new area in the mountains (new to her)! There is also a big difference between people in rural and metropolitan Haiti. Wherever you hike, invariably you will get invited into someone’s home to get to know them.

Friend Ruthie Feucht will be her roommate in a few months!

Hiking with others after school!

Hiking with us on the weekend!

New people to meet are literally everywhere in Haiti!

Traveling on top the Land Cruiser to get to the swimming hole!

The nearest swimming hole is down the mountain!

Another huge find is the hospital itself. Trinity has found that many patients are lonely, afraid, and in need of visits. She loves to share the gospel where possible and encourage some in their faith. Some are there for quite a long time. The hospital is only a short walk away from her current home at the hospital guest house and she finds it a blessing to spend her free time encouraging others. And every Friday, it’s a great opportunity to take her students there as well!

Here they come to visit Hospital Lumiere!

Special things are planned with each visit!

New babies to see!

Sharing gifts or songs with kids!

Interacting with the people takes courage!

Bryce made a new friend!

Art classes for all the kids!

Two of a kind!

School days in Haiti are for making memories!

 


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Haiti on Our Minds

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All together again for a short time!

Furlough is always a great time to reconnect with family and friends! It is also an important time to reassess our calling to Haiti and our past service, all the while preparing for another term ahead. We are constantly talking about Haiti and making plans for what we want to accomplish going forward and how to give God more glory. We want to be very intentional and Spirit-led in everything. It is a wonderful challenge.

We enjoyed camping, a short trip to downtown Chicago (Grace had never been there!), seeing Evan & Leah several times, and just being back in Ohio with family & friends. At the end Susie and I had a special week getaway in Tennessee. (We decided it has been 25 years since that was possible!) All the while, Haiti was never far from our minds. God puts the desire in our heart just to love people there, give the gospel message where we can, and encourage them to a closer walk with Jesus.

Trinity traveled back to Bonne Fin, Haiti at the end of July. She jumped right into teaching several missionary kids that had recently moved there. She already loves it and is looking forward to all the opportunities to share the gospel and meet new Haitian friends, as well as do life with the other missionaries there!

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Evan & Leah came camping with us one weekend and Susie’s dad visited a few times!

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Grace’s teacher from Haiti–Miss Stakes–also camped with us two nights!

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We also enjoyed time with Grant and Dinold when we could!

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A great catch!

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Our short Chicago trip in July!

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Visiting the bean was a must!

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The Chicago Art Museum!

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A Monet moment!

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The Miniature Rooms are our favorite!

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Another favorite is the Lincoln Park Conservatory!

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Chicago-style pizza gets a smile!

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Handing out tracts and sharing Christ at the Lego store!

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Cousin time!

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Always time to praise!

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Our Tennessee get-away cabin above Chattanooga!

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Hiking near the Tennessee River!


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From Haiti to the USA

IMG_5004It seems to happen every year. Ten months simply flies by and we are faced with getting organized for our summer return to the USA. It is always a lot of work, but so worth it!

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The pile of rocks that will transform into our new side yard wall over the summer!

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Saying goodbye to Tessa, Grace’s best friend in Cite Lumiere for the past 5 years!

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Trinity moving to Bonne Fin! After returning in July she will be the teacher there this Fall!

Because of ongoing demonstrations and many roadblocks on the highway to the airport in Port-au-Prince, we were unsure how we would get there. We were blessed to find a small plane with room for four returning to Port the same day as our intended flight to Ohio! As we flew up, little did we know we were in for a day of adventure…

This was our first time flying from Cayes to Port! We were amazed to see the countryside pass beneath us. Everything was pretty unfamiliar from a different viewpoint except when we followed the highway we could make out the major towns. As we landed in Port, the left wheel did not rotate on touching down! It quickly started smoking and then blew! Mike saw the whole thing. The pilot also saw it and started braking very quickly, so the landing was fairly smooth all things considered.

We truly give God thanks for intervening for us. Thankful for the many prayers on our behalf. We never had to deplane on the runway before. A truck quickly came out with a new tire and whisked us back to the terminal. We weren’t even able to say thanks to the pilot!

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Pushing up the plane to change the flat tire!

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Our first experience together out on the runway!

We had a surprise waiting on each of our next two flights, too. Flying to Atlanta, a couple with two Haitian girls from Green Bay, Wisconsin sat in the same row as we did. We quickly found out they had just adopted the two girls and were on their way home! They had endured eight trips over the last six years, and we were the lucky ones to watch them finally go home together!

Flying to Cleveland, Susie sat right next to another missionary from Haiti she had started talking to before we boarded, who was on her way home to Holmes County, Ohio. Of all the seats on that plane, they ended up sitting together! They were so excited to get to continue to talk the whole flight! It was special a visit.

Evan and Leah were waiting to pick us up in Cleveland! We were so happy to be safely home, back with loved ones again, and enjoying much cooler weather. God is so good. We are blessed to be staying with Stan and Gloria Hartzler in Orrville, Ohio again this summer, as we have the past three!

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