Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov 2011 Newsletter

Matt demonstrating Prototype Block Press
Trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  Martie, Jessica and I spent a good part of our November in California.  We visited friends, supporters, and churches from one end of California to the other.  While we were in Mendocino - Ft Bragg (not the Army Post in North Carolina) I met with Paul Douglas, as architect; Doug Moyer, a pastor and builder; and John Turnbull, a long time partner in the ministry to discuss plans for Phase 2 of Children's Hope in Jacmel. I also met with Matt Yager who is designing and building a Compressed Stabilized Earth Block press for our use in construction of block buildings in Haiti.  I spoke at Mendocino Presbyterian Church and the Chapel of the Redwoods.  We also spoke at a large gathering hosted by our friends the Christoffersons.  On our way South, we stopped for breakfast and shared about our ministry in Jacmel with Pastor Chris Blaustone, Calvary Chapel - Healdsburg. 

After we left Northern California we drove (10 hours South) to Orange County.  Lisa Shaw, our board president, had some folks over to hear about the ministry.  I also met with Ken Stone, a member at Saddleback Church and a lead volunteer for their work in Haiti.  Ken is interested in the compressed earth block press technology.  I was able to participate in a men's accountability group and attend the 'Herd' the men's ministry meeting at Saddleback.  Several hundred guys show up every Thursday morning.  Both refreshed my spirit.

We spent the next weekend in Victorville, located in the High Desert of California, we visited with friends, my cousin - Karen, and Pastor George Beardsley from High Desert Church.  We were able to attend two services on two separate campuses meeting with a number of folks who had volunteered in Mississippi. We really miss seeing our friends from around the country who came to Waveland.  We count it as a huge blessing.

Martie with 8 Brothers and Sisters
We flew back to Alabama on Thanksgiving day and celebrated Thanksgiving with Martie's brothers and sisters on Saturday.  All told there were nearly 40 family members there.  Please pray for Tom and Pat (front row on left) as both have cancer.  Pat's is in remission, Tom's is not.  We thank the Lord for the opportunity to be with them this year.

What's Next

I am returning to Jacmel on the 6th of December for two weeks.  Right now it looks like Doug Moyer and John Turnbull will be joining me on the second week to help prepare the bathhouse for trusses and a roof.  We are expecting volunteers in January who will set the trusses and put the metal on the roof.

During the past month or so, there have been a rash of invasions of missionary homes and compounds in Jacmel by an armed group of Haitian men.  They scale walls, invade the homes, and over power the guards in the middle of the night.  Although two people have been wounded, it does not seem that the invaders intend to harm anyone, just take valuables and leave.  Nearly all of the missionary families serving in Jacmel have left until this is resolved.  While I am in Jacmel in December, I will be staying at a hotel and working during day light hours.  We don't believe that Children's Hope will be targeted since missionaries don't live there. 

We know that God is sovereign and these attacks come as no surprise to Him.  Please pray for the safety of those who continue to labor there and that these men will be brought to justice soon .. but more than that  ... pray that those men will come to know the grace and mercy found through faith in Jesus.

What's on the Horizon

It looks like I will be home for Christmas and the month of January.  Martie and I  will celebrate our 40th anniversary on the 22nd of January.  I will returning to Jacmel to begin Phase 2 of the orphanage construction in late January or early February.  Martie will continue to make short trips to Jacmel with teams as she can. 

Special Project

Block Press
I mentioned the block press that Matt Yager is developing earlier in this update.  As he works through the development process, we intend to purchase a block press like the one used by Thirst No More to begin our compressed block construction at Children's Hope. 

We must raise the funds for the press which will cost about $8000.00 delivered to Jacmel from India.  Our plan is to use the press for the construction at Children's Hope and train a Haitian in the production process with the intent of helping him start a business. That is where Matt's press will come in.  His press will be simpler mechanically and easier to repair.   We will use his press for business startups and use the press from India for training and Pathfinder construction projects.  If you would like to join us in this project check out our web site for information on making donations to Pathfinder Mission.

Friday, November 4, 2011

October 2011 Newsletter

Greetings friends!  Martie and I trust that this finds you well and confident in our faithful Lord. We are back in Alabama for a season after a wonderful time in Jacmel Haiti.  I spent nearly three months there and Martie joined me for the last week of my stay.  I am pleased to report that our time there was very productive but only because of the Lord’s intervention.  Our experience in Haiti and on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi has shown us that God’s call is always to something that is bigger than we are.  We believe that is so because He is to be glorified in all we do for Him.  If we could do it on our own it would leave no room for His glory.   

Children’s Hope is the ministry that we have partnered with in Jacmel.  Andy and Tanya Birchfield are the directors.  They have a passion for fulfilling the imperative we are given in James 1:27 – visiting the orphans in their affliction – and they have done just that by reaching out to 18 orphans in Jacmel. Espwa Timoun Yo is Children’s Hope in Creole, the common language of Haiti.

Pathfinder Mission is helping Children’s Hope build an orphanage that will eventually host 60 children. For the past three months we have been converting 5 shipping containers on property near the Jacmel airport into the first phase of the orphanage.  On October first, 18 children who had lived in a tent after the earthquake and then in a rented house provided by Children’s Hope, moved into their new home.  The children are now in school, some for the first time, and are in a home that is clean and safe.  They are well fed and loved.  We are thrilled that we could be a part of making this happen.

For now, the Lord has us serving apart in both Alabama and Haiti.  It’s our heart to serve together and look forward to the day that we will spend most of our time together in Haiti. For the next month and a half we will be in Alabama and California.  We are catching up with doctors’ visits, taking care of ‘life’ issues and enjoying our time together.

Martie and I believe that the Lord has called us to serve in Haiti for the foreseeable future. We would never have believed it if someone told us that we were going to have a passion for Haiti, even two years ago. Psalm 37:4, roughly paraphrased, says that if we pursue God, He will put His passion in our hearts … we will care about what He cares about … and so we find ourselves in this place with a passion for the Haitian people and the plight of the orphans who live there.

November Trip to California. We are going to California to meet with folks in both the Northern and Southern parts of the state.  We are going to meet with folks who are helping us plan the construction of Phase 2 of Children’s Hope, to recruit volunteers to help with the work and meet with a good friend who is developing a portable block press that we can use to make better blocks used in construction in Haiti.  Phase 2 includes 8 buildings, a septic system, the possibility of a second well, and developing a solution for providing power to the orphanage.   Like I said, God calls us to do things that are beyond us do He can be glorified through us. 

At present, I plan to return to Haiti in mid-December.  I will be preparing for two construction teams that are scheduled in January.  They will build a roof and porch for the bath house at Children’s Hope.  I should be back in Alabama before Christmas and then will return to Haiti in February. 

While I am in the States, we will also be raising support for our work.  God provides but He does it through the Body of Christ.  Asking for help has never been one of my strengths … but the reality is that it takes money to do ministry.  We have been living by faith since 2004 and I still choke when I ask people to help us.

Having said that … please pray about your helping us with financial support.  I know that we all are facing tough economic times … Jesus praised the widow for giving what she had to give … it is God who brings the increase .. we are confident that where God guides, He provides.

Martie and I thank God for you and your participation in this work whether it be financially, prayerfully, as a volunteer, or some combination.  Until next month
Bondye Beni Ou  (God Bless You)