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.
You know those special moments in life that God allows you to experience? The ones that break your heart, and build it back up? Not too long ago in Haiti we were blessed to be able to experience such an event.
As many of you are aware the earthquake in January 2010 left a lot of destruction in an already struggling country. Many of the dead were unknown at the time, so they were taken to a mass grave. Crosses were staked in the ground in memory of each person buried there. This has now become a memorial to the fallen in the earthquake. Over the past year, many of the crosses have fallen to the ground due to the wind and rain. It seemed to be that only about half of the total crosses were still standing and well over a hundred had fallen.
Seven of us, five Americans led by two Haitians, started heading in the direction of the fallen crosses. I don’t think our end goal was to pick up more than a few crosses each, but rather to honor the dead at this memorial. But as usually seems to happen, God had more in store than we had imagined. The number of people working side by side to honor the dead increased from seven to over seventy people in less than ten minutes. A group of Haitian farmers used their hands to dig new holes for the crosses while our vision trip team members pushed the crosses into the ground.
After the crosses had been righted, a circle began to form. A Haitian led us in singing the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. Kreyol and English were mixing together and it was a beautiful song of praise that surely reached heaven. The end result probably won’t fully be known until the other side of glory, but that day, to see Haitians and Americans working side by side in memory of those lost, is a moment that humbled all of us.
Our prayer now, is that the Haitian farmers would ask themselves, “What would drive a group of Americans to take the time to pick up a few dirty crosses?” And that the Americans would remember and wonder, “Who is really at the center of this act?” And that the answer would be…Jesus
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.
EXCITEMENT and hope often go hand in hand. The breeze blows lazily on a hot day. To the untrained eye this may appear to be just another summer day in Croix-des-bouquet, Haiti. But to the trained eye, there is a tangible difference in the air. Mademoiselle Troica, the head seamstress has waited months for this day. Her EXCITEMENT is absolutely contagious, EXCITEMENT begins to spread first in the employees of the new sewing center and quickly spreading to the kids, that this center will help support, and finally washes over the two vision trips who came to the grand opening of the sewing center. It is unmistakably the work of God that so many people would show up to support Haitian business enterprising, and to support some very amazing children. The thing that gets me so EXCITED is the hope that is found in the eyes of the men and women who believe that the Lord will bless their work.
When the time comes to dedicate the sewing, a few people step up to pray and talk about their experiences with the young sewing center. Jake Barreth, director of operations for Haiti spoke briefly of the joy he has had in being able to be a part in this plan that God is forging. After him Alan Dietrich, gave a prayer of dedication. Following Alan, on of our village pastors, pastor Calixte gave a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and dedication.
To be at this event, in the middle of the Lord's plan, can only be described as EXCITING!
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