Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another Week

It’s 8:40 Saturday morning, the breakfast dishes are washed and our little generator has been charging our inverter batteries and running our little chest freezer for almost two hours now. My little MP3 player is tuned to Horizon (4VEH) which is rebroadcasting Christian radio out of Montgomery, AL. through the computer speakers it fills our living room with music. Jane has been gearing up for English class inscription (registration) staring Monday.

Last Monday I met with Susan Rakoczy with LifeWater Int. and John Beasley from the Dominican about helping out with the ongoing maintenance of a fleet of German military trucks used throughout Haiti by many different mission organizations. Tuesday I was able to spend five hours with John and their Haitian mechanic getting to know the inns and outs of these vehicles. Wednesday Jane and I made our way to immigration to start the annual renewal process of our Permis De Sejours (Visas) along with picking up some needed items and groceries from Cap. Thursday it was airport day; it has been exciting to see the ongoing renovations at the Cap-Haitian International airport. The terminal has had many changes, and now the runway is being lengthened and built new from scratch in sections all while the airport continues to function. I was told at MFI on our return that I would not recognize the airport and sure enough it is changing each week into a very modern day facility. Friday, Jane had a meeting about English class and we took the Rakoczy’s up on their offer of a few free chickens. We boxed up two pullets and a young rooster for our yard. Upon arriving home I started to open the box and Jestlin our yard keeper said NO! against his better judgment I let the young chickens escape, they took off in three different directions. I can remember that my parents kept chickens when I was a preschooler but I never really knew much about their care. Enel showed up just as we started to try and round them up. He went on to exclaim that you need to tie a string to their ankle and keep them leashed for a period of time until they come to understand that they are to stay in their new safe place. Well between “No-name” the neighbor, Jane, Jestlin, and I we were able to get the three back together in our yard, some feed, water and after a few hours found that it would be their new home. Jane named them Rudy the rooster, Matilda & Betsy. They seemed to like to hide beneath the cactus thicket fence by our house. They would hang out and eat together in the cooler times of the day checking out the yard. At about 15 minutes before sundown I watched Rudy fly up into a small mango tree in our front yard then making his way to higher branches to roost for the night. The girls were out behind our garden wall but were making their way around the house to where Rudy had been. Betsy could hear him and when she spotted him got excited and also flew up to crotch in the tree about six feet and made her way near Rudy. Matilda tried her best to fly up but only got about three feet off of the ground and clung to a lump on the trunk there. Poor Matilda was desperately looking at the other two and knew that the daylight would soon be gone. She jumped to the ground and once again tried but to no avail. I was able to slowly lean a piece of bamboo up to the crotch of the tree and stepped back, Matilda flapped and climbed the bamboo to safety with the others. Jane & I laughed at how all had turned out throughout the day.


Continue to pray for Haiti, they have been in the grip of a long drought. Many of the water wells here have dried up and the better wells are struggling to keep up with the strain. We have heard stories of long waiting lines at some wells and how one Pastor has been trucking containers for miles to keep his congregation in safe drinking water. Susan told me Thursday that they have fifty requests for new wells and ten came in the last week. The Haitian crew continues to drill new wells along with keeping existing wells repaired.

Bud



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Frist Sunday in Church

Praise God a dear friend of our Louis loaned us a car to go to church and use for a while.  Right after he did that another friend Pastor Gary came and told us his car was ours when we need it till we can find transportation.  What a blessing.
 We attended church at Zion and today was a very special day.  Pastor Franzy ( believe this is how it is spelled) was ordained as the Hospitality Pastor of Zion.  He will be working with families under Pastor James and Pastor Migueloson.  There  were over 100 people crammed into that little church and it was hot but a very meaningful  service.  I met with the Pastors earlier in the week to see where we can be a help in the church to advance the vision they have for their community and school.  One of the things I will be doing is teaching English to the congregation and working in the school. This year they are taking on kindergarten and Pastor James feels the school will have 80 children this year.  Having English offered in the school will make this christian school more attractive.  There are new challenges now that there is free education here in Haiti.  I can not believe it is here but one of the Pastors told me he checked and it is so.  This will hurt the Christian schools here and it will take more to get parents to invest in a Christian education for their children. In a land where Satan is attacking from all directions, children need this type of everyday discipleship in their lives. 
Next week we will have inscription for English Classes that I will be teaching along with Pastor John Alex in Cap Haitian.  We will be teaching four days a week for 2 hours a day using Christian materials.
Yesterday we finally got rain and it came down in buckets.  It made sleeping so much easier.  A friend of ours who is a master gardener came and they began the process of planting a garden for us to share.  God sent the rain to water it. 
Bud and I were so deeply touched by a man who is very ill and up in years.  He was a watchman for OMS until he became ill.  He was our favorite.  We were so touched when we saw him standing at our gate.  The walk up this road is tough on Bud and I because we are on the side of the mountain but up he walked just to greet us and bring us fruit.  He also wanted to make sure we were in a safe place. Others brought more fruit throughout the day.
Gifts keep coming but Bud and I do not understand why these people use what little they have to make us feel welcome.  We are so humbled by all of this. 
Monday Bud meets with a man to talk about working with him on trucks. In the afternoon we will be attending a funeral for Edric's mother who died suddenly. 
In the afternoons I try to spend time with some of the workers here trying to get to know them and perhaps it will give me an opportunity to share with them about my faith and what Jesus has for them. We have so many neighbors around us and I have been praying about how I should approach them and how do I share with them in a safe way.  In church today I kept thinking about how I should be sharing the Gospel with my neighbors and how I could do it with my limited creole which gets stronger everyday.  It has to because everyone one around us only speaks creole now. Bud and I both feel at peace and that we are where God wants us to be.  It is a very different way of living then what we had at OMS but we seem to fit right in.  There is no safer place to be than where God puts you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OUR FIRST WEEK

It’s hard to believe we have been here for an entire week and God’s Blessings are piling up. Here is just a taste of what we’ve been experiencing since leaving home.

Upon arriving at MFI (Missionary Flights International), Bud and I took notice of the van packed full of all of the things that we had acquired to make our new house a home. Things like a small generator, counter top, chair, clothing and even a small freezer that a dear friend generously provided for us. I began to worry that we wouldn’t have enough money to pay the cost of freight and we hadn’t even added our groceries yet!

After running some errands for MFI, I finally got a chance to stop into the office to pay for our tickets and arrange the freight. I began with “We might have to leave some of this behind so I can pay for it later” but before I could finish the secretary informed me that someone had anonymously put one thousand dollars on our account that very morning. What a blessing! This enabled us to take everything in one trip! We did not know who did it but we are so grateful.

When we arrived in Cap a Pastor friend was at the airport. He did not know we were coming but quickly lead us through customs and made all the arrangements for our cargo to make things easier for us. Then he followed us to our home. Susan from Life Water was also there to pick us up with two trucks for all of our belongings. We are so blessed to have good friends here. When we arrived at our cottage our landlord and friend was just dropping off the last of the things she had stored for us. There it was all piled in the middle of the living room/kitchen and the front yard. Where do you begin? I quickly began to set up the bed with Pastor John Alex’s help and Bud started working on getting us electricity.

Quickly we found out we did not have any water. The over-head storage tank was empty and I had a very dirty house. Soon, our yard worker was up the tower and with a couple of his friends in tow they began to fill the tank, bucket after bucket in the oppressive heat. When Bud found out what they were doing, he asked why that way? They told us the local power company had not sent power in a while and this is the only way to do it. We asked them to stop as it was simply too hot to do it now. We would wait for power or the cooler evening and neither came that night. Finally the power came and they were able to fill the tank.

Since we have been here the power has only been on during the last two days. Word is the people are doing their version of “communication” with the power company by throwing rocks and bottles. While it may not be the best way, we have to admit it seems to be working. Gasoline is $5.00 a gallon and our generator is burning about 10 gallons a week when the power is not on.

Since we arrived the Haitians have been streaming to our home with eggs, pineapples, oranges and other gifts. One man came yesterday and noticed my shoe was coming apart and took it to repair it. A friend of ours brought us a car to help us with transportation for 3 days and another came to help us set up our connection for power. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the Haitian people.

We have a young man who lives here in a small house outside of ours to help with security. He is wonderful. His name is Jeslyn. He is learning to eat American because I feed him and that is all I know how to cook.

Another Haitian friend has offered to loan us a vehicle. Please pray with us that God would open a way to a more permanent solution in this area as I will need transportation to begin working.

On October 1st Pastor John Alex will be opening a school to teach English in Cap Haitian and I will be working with him. We are using this as a tool to evangelize and to raise money for another project he and I have been dreaming about. We want to begin a kid’s sports club called Junior Athletes for Christ. We will be using sports and games to bring the good news of Christ to these children. Three Saturdays a month we will bring children to the church to play games. We will need soccer balls, tennis rackets, volleyballs, basketball and a net. The first hour will be singing, Bible lessons and such and then the games begin. It is our desire to have 4 to 5 hundred children participate, each in a group that meets once a month during the school year. In order to feed these children we need people to sponsor a child at the cost of $15 per year. This does not seem like a lot of money but multiply it by 500 kids. If you would like to help with equipment or food please contact me at budandjane@gmail.com and I can tell you how.

I will be teaching English four afternoons, plus two mornings each week. That leaves lots of time for other things as well. I am still trying to get with Pastor Migueloson and Pastor James to see how we can become active in what they are doing. We will not be working at the orphanage as we first thought because they have successfully found Haitians to watch over the children affording the current missionaries a chance to go home for a visit. I will though be teaching sewing to the girls there. We are still working that out.

Bud met with another organization that has a job for him to do which will benefit several other mission organizations. He will be organizing supplies and assisting a mechanic who comes into the country to work on a specific kind of vehicle. All this is still in the planning stages so I will let you know how that goes.

Today we walked a little over a mile and a half to attend a meeting and it was so much fun seeing old friends along the way!

God is good and we are so excited. Our home is finally settled and we are so comfortable. I used to love the mountain that was behind the OMS compound but it was hard to see. Now we live at the foot of it and I look at it from my porch every day. What a great place to pray.

As you pray for us, please remember our dear friend John who has been diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer. He’s a big part of our small group back home and it’s so hard being here and not there with them. Please join us in praying for a miracle.

Can I share one more blessing? We are so thankful for one of our wonderful daughter Gretchen who is our lifeline. We live in a place where it is hard to get anything done but a call to her and it is handled. Thank you Gretchen and thank all of you for standing by us. Jane

Friday, September 07, 2012

Developing Patience

Hi Everyone,
After two long days on the road we finally arrived in Spring Hill Fla. We had a safe and enjoyable trip but not without a few bumps along the way to test our faith & patience. Over the past 18 months we have relied on our "smart" cell phone to give us GPS navigation as we travel and also keep us connected with e-mail. Somewhere during our first day on the road the maps started to disappear from the navigation screen, when Jane got that remedied, the turn by turn voice disappeared and we were getting notices that we need to download an app. that we already had. Having an atlas in the van and because we had traveled this well know route to Florida many times before we were confident about the trip. After making some arrangements through our daughter Gretchen with Verizon we would be stopping in Gainesville, Fla. to have the phone repaired.
Somewhere near Savannah, Ga. we received a mass e-mail from Missionary Flights Int. that the Cap-Haitian airport was proceeding with plans to close for the next five weeks for runway repairs. "MFI" has a team in "Cap" negotiating a solution and would advise us later on Friday. We had known that Cap-Haitian had been extending the runway for over a year now but this may be putting a kink in our travel plans. You can imagine the thoughts that started through our minds of alternate ways to get "in", none being very efficient or inexpensive. We know that God has a plan and this bump in the road did not surprise Him. We know that down the road we will look back and marvel at how He worked out the details.
After stopping in Gainesville for an hour, Verizon was able to re-set the phone and get it working properly again. They believe that somehow some of the software got corrupted and it was no longer able to recognize the memory card.
At 10:00 PM we receive an e-mail of a possible airport solution, a common saying is "well, remember this is Haiti" when things just don't go smoothly.
We plan to enjoy our weekend here on the Gulf Coast with friends and let God work out the details.
Thanks for your prayers, we will keep you posted as long as we have Internet access.
Bud

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Our Home In Haiti




On our way

The van is packed and we are heading for Florida tomorrow morning. We will be in Florida for several days visiting the First Baptist Church which has been standing behind us as we have served these past few years. It will be exciting to visit some of our friends in the Spring Hill area. We will be flying into Haiti on the 11Th our 41st anniversary. Our first few weeks will be settling our house and arranging transportation. We also have some government paperwork we need to do. Our Visa will expire soon.

We are very excited to share that we will be working with Grace Zion Church in Haiti. This church has formed a partnership with Grace Church in Erie. We will be helping them establish some children's programs and help them develop their school. We will be exploring ways we can help other churches from Erie with work they are doing in the Cap Haitian area as well.

Bud's head is spinning as he tries to work out all the details of how we are going to hook up stoves and electricity. We are working on ways to use as little as possible to keep our expenses down. We will not have the Internet for a while but as soon a we do I will post picture of the work he will be doing to create us a home in Haiti to work from. For now here are some pictures of our little cottage in Haiti. Jane