A Week of Diversity
Several major events struck during this week of diversity. We ended last week on a high from our annual conference. The preaching was all very encouraging, informative and animated. That means we had a great time learning! I always love watching the married women from our churches singing and doing their choreographed dance steps. They always share songs that are full of life and energy. Lex and I especially enjoyed spending some time with our friend, Pastor Dan Lee. Dan has been working with us for about a decade now. He has imparted much to us personally, as well as to the entire mission. He is such a visionary and always encourages us to stretch our faith. He also helps to settle us when we are stressing over things. We are grateful the Lord has put him in our lives.
The week started out pretty normal. I have been working on the (seemingly) zillion administrative tasks that need to be done and trying to catch up on emails. Lex was checking on families that need assistance and overseeing all the projects/maintenance happening. Leah was busy in the clinic, helping the dozens of people that come to see her daily with their physical ailments. A. Jay and Alexis were busy with school.
Early Wednesday morning we packed seven of us (Lex, Renée, Alexis, A. Jay, Leah, Michelle, Jeff) into the car and headed for the border. By 8:30 we were haggling with immigration agents, police and guys looking to make a buck. It never seems to be a pleasant experience going through both Haitian and Dominican immigration and customs checks. It took us about an hour and a half to get through. Once inside the DR, we were stopped several times at military check points. That’s always an interesting experience, but once we arrived at Barajona, on our way to the capital, the check points were done and we began enjoying the scenery – AND our stop for lunch. It’s always exciting to eat at an “American” restaurant, and our party was pleased to find Domino’s inside the grocery store.
On the road
I always enjoy the drive through the capital city, Santo Domingo. The highway runs right along the ocean, which is visible for many miles. In Haiti, when we are near the ocean on the main road, we rarely see it, as most of it is hidden behind concrete walls. The ocean was quite rough and held my attention for quite some time. It was beautiful and forbidding at the same time.
After 12 hours on the road, we finally pulled into the hotel in Boca Chica. We are so grateful to our friends at GO Ministries who not only made the arrangements for us, but blessed us by paying for our stay, as well. Our vacation began at about 6PM, as we went to our rooms and then met outside near the pool. We enjoyed the evening buffet and took a stroll on the beach before retiring.
Thursday was a full vacation day. We all thoroughly enjoyed the meals, pool, ocean views, the constant breeze and warm sun, our strolls on the beach and downtown, as well as the buffets. It was remarkable how LONG the day was – in a good way. We only had the one day and yet it seemed as if we’d spent 3 or 4 days during that one day.
Chillin’ in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
Friday we headed back to Haiti, where we would meet up with Chel Finn and a small “pre-team” from Mission E4 back at the MOHI missionary compound. Saturday we were joined by the rest of the Mission E4 team (over 30 people), as we are hosting them for the week. We also welcomed TJ, Vickee and Brendon from Wever, Iowa. They will be spending the week with us delivering water systems to a few areas and training the people how to use them. Vickee is also an RN and may be joining Leah and Chel in the clinic, as well.
Welcome back Chel!
TJ, Vickee and Brendon arrive at MOHI
Saturday, we had another $16,000 come in towards purchasing the lot next to our Thozin campus. Based on pledges and what has come in thus far, we are only about $16,000 from the total needed. Please spread the word and help with a donation, if you are able. The goal is within reach, we just need to reach for it together.
We have been struggling with water issues at the Thozin campus since we first arrived here. We seemed to have gotten things under control, until… The water would flood the street during big storms and then come back in the front entrance. Saturday we poured some concrete to make a little hill in the entry way, with some pvc to steer the water into the ditch. Hopefully this will do the trick.
Taking control of the flow of water…
This morning I received the heart-wrenching news that our dear friend, Rev. Lynette Engman passed away yesterday afternoon. So long as a loved one is alive, there is always hope, but once the news arrives of death, grief follows. The grief hit me like a ton of bricks. Although we only got to see Rev. Engman once a year (at the most), I was always eager to see her and glean from her years of experience in missions and godly wisdom. Rev. Engman led the Worldwide Lighthouse Missions (WWLM) (Manchester, CT) for many years. She, her husband Lauri and Rev. Hamlin visited us at the very beginning of the mission. I was able to share my hopes and dreams and fears with her and know they were safe. She impacted my spiritual life profoundly. I am but one of those lives impacted. Through WWLM she visited many foreign fields, many, many times, investing in the lives of the monetarily poor. She loved on the children everywhere she went and gave spiritually, as well as materially, on behalf of those who stayed home. She was the most humble of all people I have ever known – always passing the glory onto God when she was praised for her abundance of good works. The grief that I feel is for myself, her friends and her family, as we will all miss her so very much. For Rev. Engman, there can only be joy unspeakable and full of glory, for she has fought the good fight and she has finished her race.
Rev. Lynette Engman
We had a good service in Thozin this morning. It was a tough one for me, as every song and every word in the message reminded me of Rev. Engman – how glorious things are for her now – and how heavy my heart is feeling. The service was not heavily attended, as so many are still hurting from the Chikungunya virus. Pastor Edon shared a fiery message about how our lives change when we choose to live for and follow Jesus.
Worship service this morning in Thozin
The World Cup is going on as I write. A. Jay has enjoyed adapting to the soccer culture of Haiti and is all out rooting for Argentina. Lex and I are Germany fans, with good reason. After all, it was our friends in Germany that granted us 255,000 Euros to get the new school building started. *smile* After an hour and a half of silence, the village is now in an uproar. Apparently someone finally scored a goal! And the screaming continues…
I love this picture of two of our gatekeepers, Wilson and Joseph. In addition to controlling who comes and who goes, Wilson maintains our water filtration system and the aquaponics project. Joseph is also a midwife and will be teaching at our upcoming women’s health fair with Bless Back Worldwide. Don’t you just love the poses?
Wilson and Joseph
On behalf of all of us serving here at MOHI in Haiti, I want to thank you for your support, both prayerfully and materially. We couldn’t be here without it and we are blessed to be able to serve here in Haiti. Thank you!