We have now been back in Haiti for a little over a week. But to help you understand how exciting life is, I'm going to have to backtrack to right before we visited the states six weeks ago.
By the end of November we started to wonder if Abby could be pregnant, but every test we took in Haiti came back negative. I guess you get what you pay for as we were able to purchase five tests for a dollar. :-) The day after we got back to the states we took another pregnancy test and learned that we were five weeks pregnant!
So fast forward six weeks, to our return to Haiti. We are back to coordinating trips that come to Haiti with Global Orphan Project, and we are back to playing with Haitian kids. We absolutely love the work that the Lord has allowed us to do. Its not easy, but its good!
Our plan is to be here until April 2nd, at which point we'll head back to the states for Abby's third trimester. We will be 13 weeks along tomorrow, and the baby is due July 19th. We have no idea where we'll live, where we'll work, or what we'll do. But we are very sure of the fact that God will provide for us and our future child!
We are so excited to be back in Haiti hosting trips at the Jumecourt Inn. We get to meet so many cool people from churches all across the country. It's great to learn from them and swap stories of why we came to Haiti and what orphan care means to us.
We appreciate your prayers in the coming months for the following:
That we'd be able to minister effectively to all the teams that visit.
For our baby's health and safety.
That we'd be able to clearly discern God's plans for us and our next steps once we return to the states in April.
Thank you guys so much for your prayers and support!
John and Abby
John and I have been having a great week and we hope you are too! We can't believe it's already November 12th... it's still pretty warm here in Haiti. Over the summer it was around 99 degrees every single day but within the last month or so it's gone down to the upper 80s. It's like year-round Summer! :-D
So it doesn't feel like Fall weather to us but we're still enjoying life down here. The work is busy and tiring so we are happy to announce that one month from today we will be at home for a month! We'll be in Kansas City December 12-January 12. We hope during that time to get to visit with many family and friends and share what God has been doing in Haiti through Global Orphan Project, and in us through his grace. Please contact us through our blog, facebook, twitter, or email if you'd like to see us- we'd LOVE to see you!
Global asked John and I to come back to Haiti January 12th for another 6 months! We are so excited to continue the work God has set before us. We'll do our best to be faithful about posting blogs, but so far we know we'll be continuing to host vision trip teams that come down to stay at the Jumecourt, and John will continue to work with the micro businesses.
We're also excited to have three new GO Fellows join us here pretty soon! Two girls and one boy will be moving down to Haiti for a 6 month time frame at various points in December. We are blessed to have them! Please join us in praying for their protection, preparedness, and peace of mind upon their arrivals.
in other news, about a month ago an American family moved down here to start their own ministry. We've been getting together with them on Tuesdays for our very own small group and it has been such a blessing! It's wonderful to fellowship with them. We even have plans to create our own Thanksgiving dinner within the next couple of weeks! We're all pretty excited about it :-)
Thank you for staying posted- it really means a lot to us! We love you all and are grateful for your friendship.
<3 Abby and John
Hello! So John and I aren't going to be able to go to Iowa for Thanksgiving because we'll be in Haiti. Our whole family goes every year and it's always a really fun time. My grandma Angie asked those who won't be in attendance to send a paragraph of our current "happenings" so everyone could stay up to date with us. I thought it'd make a good blog post so here it is!
Hey everyone! We're a little bummed that we can't be with everyone for Thanksgiving- but not too sad because we get the great privilege of loving on orphans in Haiti. Since June we've been here working with an organization called the Global Orphan Project. Our main responsibility is hosting teams while they visit our 5 orphanages in the Port au Prince area. Global's goal is to get the villages able to support themselves. The hotel where we live and work (the Jumecourt Inn) was the first micro business put in place to support the orphaned and abandoned children. All of the profits from the hotel support the care of the kids. When we first arrived, we saw the grand opening of the sewing center. This micro business makes uniforms for all the kids in Haiti that attend our orphanages' schools. Most recently, John was able to start a bakery that makes fresh bread and sells it to the community (yum!). We're in the process of starting chicken farms as another microbusiness. The hotel, sewing center, bakery, and soon-to-be chicken farms all serve to employ local Haitians, support local economy, care for Haitian orphans, and teach the older kids a skill. With the micro businesses and orphanage staff, Global provides jobs for over 200 local people in Haiti alone; People that would otherwise not have a job to care for their family! Anyway we've been busy doing the good work of the Lord and we love it. It's hot and exhausting but we've never been more joyful in our lives. We're thankful for our family friends and for this great task of orphan care that Christ has set before us! We love you and miss you all :-)
John and Abby
thanks for staying posted you guys. We SO appreciate your prayers for us and our ministry and, of course, the orphans.
So I'm not really sure how many people are actually reading our blog, but I realize there might be some people out there who are reading and don't really know about our ministry. I want to take this post to tell you about our model. I really am just copying and pasting from our website, but anyway enjoy the read.
The Global Orphan Project Model:
The global orphan pandemic is a horrible blight on our world today, but also presents opportunities for radical life transformation. You won’t see it on the news tonight or read it in the headlines, but consider this:
- If every living human in the world joined hands in a global “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” chain, 1 out of every 2 in the chain would be a child.
- Among these children, approximately 145 million are orphans.
- UNICEF defines ‘orphan’ as a child who’s lost one or both parents. Why? Because in most places in the world, the social impact of losing one parent is the same as both parents dying.
- Of the 145 million orphans, 130 million are in ‘developing nations.’ The most vulnerable orphans on the planet live in the poorest economies, where extreme poverty chokes the life out of them.
- The statistics do not account for the millions of abandoned children or children sold or forced into bondage who are not orphans.
- Approximately 26,000 to 30,000 children under the age of 5 living in extreme poverty die each day. That’s a 9/11 catastrophe with children every 2-1/2 hours each day, each month, each year.
GO Project is a viral, grassroots movement of so many of you taking action to address this mess. You’re giving your resources and hearts. And we’re all learning something deeply mysterious along the way: the little ones behind these cold statistics can teach us how to love more radically, vulnerably, and deeply than we ever imagined. GO Project is not a ministry of misery, guilt, or statistics; but of transformation.
Empowering Communities God’s first line of care for children is the family, including adoptive families. For our target children, family is not an option. Perhaps their parents have died. Or, their parents’ and extended relatives’ lives are crushed beneath the weight of poverty, and little ones suffer without any viable means of care. These children – the kids of last resort – are the apples of our eyes.
For these children, we focus on the local church as the next line of care. Think of it as community based care with the local church as the centering point, where the kids become part of the local church family and community fabric.
There are many people here in the United States – families, churches, businesses, schools, small groups – who want to help these children. And there are established local churches there, where the children live, who are willing to care for these children within the local church family. They just need a little help. So there is a Here side, and a There side in this life giving circuit. The two sides need a connector. That’s us.
‘Village’ System We expand local church capacity to care for orphaned and abandoned children in their communities. We do so through a ‘village’ system. Typically, a village includes the following around the local church heart:
- Children’s homes with dedicated mommas;
– Support infrastructure (e.g., latrines, kitchen, dining area, well).
If we can rely upon existing support networks nearby (such as medical care or school) rather than building new, we will.
Signature Components of GO Project Model There are three (3) signature components to our model in the field. We emphasize orphan care that is:
(1) Local Church Owned;
(2) Base Level (culturally relevant); and
>> Local Church Owned
GO Project does not own the day-to-day care of the children. The local church does. The local church leadership hires and supports the mommas, the cooks, and other local staff to care for the children. GO Project provides assistance with planning, funding, assessment, and communication to help the local church meet base standards. The core of the children’s lives will include a steady assurance through the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ. Our prayer for these children is that they will be free, utterly transformed from the inside out.
>> Base Level Care
We help the local church give the children a ‘bump up’ into a humble, base level of care within the church family. We want the homes and standards of care to blend into the community, not jump over the top of it. Americanized models of orphan care rich in material trappings often cause area families to abandon their children, in hopes that the ‘orphanage’ will take them to a better life. That is wrong. There is nothing fancy or particularly attractive about our model of orphan care. And that is by design.
In the GO Project vocabulary, ‘sustainable’ means that the target country’s own people and economy will support the care of their own children. We believe this is a vital goal to hit over time, village by village. Complete dependency upon foreign aid and leadership in perpetuity has created a systemic current driving against intra-community, intra-country orphan care. Fighting this trend through empowerment of locals, as well as economic and agricultural development, is core to our model.
We were recently blessed with the opportunity to start a bakery in Haiti. This is so exciting to me (John) because I was able to be a part of the process by overseeing everything and working with our bakery manager to get things rolling. I'm going to tell you guys a little bit about that whole process.
The building was built for us by a company in Canada, and we thought it would be a perfect spot for a bakery. Jake (Director of GO Haiti Operations) and myself went to a few different bakeries and researched how the bread was made, how much it cost, what sort of ovens were used, lengths of time it took to cook each piece of bread, and finally had a report filled out which we sent back to the states for approval at the office (Global's headquarters in KC). We got approval, so all we had to do was find a baker, and turn the building into a bakery. The bakers actually found us (thanks, God!) and after a series of interviews we hired them to help get the bakery off the ground. I worked closely with a general contractor as he installed wooden shutters, built shelves, a door, steps and set up electricity for a light bulb. While i did this the bakers got ovens, supplies, and ingredients for baking. Last Thursday the bakery started cranking out bread! It's hot and smells delicious!
All the profit made from the bakery is going to support orphan care, and it gives Haitians jobs and skills. The ripple effects will definitely go farther than that, (and only God will really know), but for now its enough for me to be able to say we are one step closer to helping the Haitian churches support (and provide the funds for) their orphan care. So if you guys ever get a chance to come to Haiti, you'll have to visit the Boulangerie Jumecourt to buy some fresh bread while you're here!
Thanks for reading! God Bless
Hey all! Sorry to go so long between blog posts, but we've gotten pretty swamped here. Let me give you all an overview of the things we are getting to do for the Kingdom of God while we work in Haiti.
Abigail and myself are blessed to be able to work with every group that comes down on what we call a Vision Trip. We have the opportunity to show them and help them participate in our ministry. Its an amazing five days, and people will often go back with changed hearts and spirits on fire for the Lord. During those five days, groups get to play with orphaned and abandoned children. They get to build relationships not only with orphaned children but with like minded people, who are also on the trip. It is truly a blessing to be the Lords shepherd for the GO Project.
We are working on starting a bakery, I hope to have bread hot from the ovens by late next week. We also have a sewing center that is up and operating, working to make uniforms for all the children in our school system. Its a national law in Haiti that to go to school kids must wear uniforms. So we started a sewing center that makes uniforms for all of our children, and whatever money the center makes goes back to help the kids. Just one of the many ways we are working toward becoming self-sustaining! The benefits of the sewing center are many, we provide jobs for Haitians, a possible skill for the orphaned children to learn, and the profit goes back to support the children! It's a win-win-win!
If you feel lead to help support our sewing center, we have just launched a new initiative called GO threads, you can easily buy a uniform to help educate our children. Just go to this website and you can be part of our work in Haiti! http://www.crowdrise.com/dianemccrummen/fundraiser/johncarr
-Yours in the battle
Desire: an unassuming village on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti. When one is able to spend the afternoon in Desire, a few things stand out.
First and perhaps most obvious is the source of water. Just a few months ago the well, which was used by the surrounding community, was found to be contaminated and shut down. No one knew where water would come from but, by the grace of God, there turned out to be a spring not far from the old well. The funny thing about the spring is that it appears to come straight out of the side of a rock! It gives a perfect image of the Israelites drinking water from the rocks at Meribah when God told Moses to strike the rock with his staff. No complaint was heard about the long walk or the time it takes to fill up the buckets. The Haitians see the water for what it is: A gift from God, our Provider.
Second, at church the children probably outnumber the adults 10 to 1. The most amazing thing about this is how the Holy Spirit is working in these children. When asked, “Who does God love?” every child’s hand shot up in the air to demonstrate them saying, “Me!”
Third and most exciting is the developing relationship between the local church in Desire, and the church from the United States. This past week, members of this church traveled for two solid days in order to deepen that relationship. Because of my position with the GO Project, I’m able and joyful to see this relationship taking place. I can honestly look at this and see, obviously, that it is God ordained. I am really looking forward to watching how this relationship ripens, and witnessing the fruit that will come of it.
Some of the fruit is already evident, although it is wonderful that God has been providing water through a rock, he has recently provided funds, through this church, to build a new well on the village property. This will allow the village to open its arms with love to the surrounding area by providing clean water. Children in the village now have school available to them and the village has also been able to build its first permanent house for the children. It's even getting ready for two more homes! All this because God decided to forge a relationship between two churches, and both responded in obedience.
The ultimate question
Of course our niche is orphan care, and no matter how messy it gets, we know that the Lord has called us to hold firm. I can't help but ask how far the ripples of our ministry go.
I am overjoyed with the progress that has made in the past couple months, without having to look any farther than our own GO Haiti staff. We currently have five Haitian staff members who are able to become land owners, one former member of our house cleaning staff has been able to enroll in accounting school, and another staff member has just enrolled full time in construction school. Not to mention the 22 Haitians who have full or part time work with GO Haiti.
I'd say if there was any question as to whether or not we are making a positive difference, we need look no further than our own staff.
We just got back from Haiti this week and have been trying to really process what God did in our lives. We spent the entire trip loving on and playing with orphans at an orphanage dedicated to supporting earthquake victims. It's truly amazing to see God's heart for the poor. We are so privileged to have been able to go! There are two kids we want to tell you about, Ellison and Jamison.
Ellison is a seven year old boy who is only as big as a four year old. He is cute and fun and the most joyful kid either of us had ever met. This is so striking after hearing his story. Ellison was found in the trash after being thrown away by his father who just couldn't care for him anymore. Sadness isn't what you feel, though, when you see him on John's shoulders singing, "Jezi remen tout ti moun..." ("Jesus loves the little children..."). God loves this little boy and Ellison knows it!
Jamison is another seven year old boy and he is one of the most beautiful kids! He has brown eyes, light brown skin (not the stereotypical Haitian), and a shy smile. He barely talked and when he did, we couldn't distinguish his "wi" from his "non". At first he seemed really sad but we found him slowly warming up to us. Needless to say, he captured our hearts. We later found out that he had seemed sad because his mother had recently been in contact with him, only to leave him again. He would always be so silent that he'd just fall asleep in our arms! Once John started running around with him, we had the privilege of seeing him smile. What a joy!
Now we want to tell you a little bit about the organization that we went with. The Global Orphan Project's (GO project) mission statement is so unique compared to other mission organizations. Their goal is to empower native leaders to continue ministry in the name of Jesus. In order to accomplish this the GO project partners with local pastors and works with them until they are able to function on their own. This develops a culturally sensitive ministry that is able to fulfill the needs of the surrounding area.
We are so blessed to have visited Haiti with an organization that has such commitment and wisdom! God truly blesses us.
Forever in Service,
John and Abigail