Sunday, October 29, 2023
I've been working hard on my Spanish. I began my Haitian Kreyol journey at the age of 25. Let me tell you, that was WAY easier than Spanish at 60!!! I'm grateful that our friends in the Dominican Republic are very patient with the spattering of words, facial expressions, and body language I dole out to them!
Lex is back in the DR today. Gotta love those red-eye flights into Santiago. They're reasonably priced and direct from Boston. The "red-eye" part is really the only drawback, but we can still recover from the sleep loss.
I was excited to join in a worship service this morning with our friends at New England Chaple (Franklin, MA). Afterward, Taran and I met with some of the folks joining their church's upcoming Hope Encounter. I'm excited to see how the LORD will impact their lives for GOOD in the Dominican Republic this Winter.
We have finally had rain in Luperón! - several days in a row, actually. While problematic in some ways, we are finally planting the sweet potatoes, yucca, beans, and corn that we've been holding off on. Pastor Miratel has been so excited to get things moving with the garden.
During a short period of time, we have lost three people who have been not only friends to Lex and me but to everyone at Mission of Hope International in Haiti. Charles Finn, Pastor Eleanor Kalinsky, and now Pastor Bob Heier all completed their courses and are enjoying their rewards in eternity.
Many of you know Pastor Bob and Sally from their many weeks of serving at Mission of Hope International in Haiti. Pastor Bob was the sweetest man who loved and cared for people - especially the little ones! While he seemed meek and mild in the villages and clinics, he was a lion in the pulpit. He knew his Bible and preached messages of repentance with great conviction. His love for Sally, his wife of 53 years, was unmatched.
One of the things I admired most about Pastor Bob is also what I admired most in our friend Charles, as well - they both walked out an obvious love for their wives which was an example to their children, their friends, and the people they ministered to in love.
As we approach the end of this year's peanut butter drive, I am reminded of how Charles and Chel have always been enthusiastic participants in the peanut butter drive - so much so that Charles created the Peanut Butter trophy (pictured here at the Douglas Fire Department in 2016). How appropriate to see cases and cases of peanut butter arriving from Charles' family and friends! Thank you Chel, family, and friends, for continuing Charles' peanut butter legacy and care for the poor.
It's not too late to send your peanut butter along. We have collected just over 300lbs of peanut butter. Let's finish this drive STRONG! Call me today at (978) 340-7823 to arrange to get your peanut butter shipped.
Our dear friend, Pastor Kalinsky was laid to rest yesterday in Manchester, CT. It was a beautiful, vibrant, wonderfully anointed service full of shared memories, an abundance of laughter, and a few tears.
Rev. Sanchez delivered the most inspiring eulogy, based on one of her favorite songs. Here's a tiny splattering from my perspective: HE was there all the time - and HE's still there ... The only "time" that we have is from the moment we are born until the moment we die. Pastor Kalinsky completed her time (I'm still working on the limited time HE's given me) ... While we all have similarities, no one is exactly like you - and there never will be another like you. Each one of us is uniquely created. You're the only you that God has gifted to this world. You are an original! You are highly valued.
I think I understand this intellectually. I've certainly heard these kinds of words many times in my life. But we each have a filter, constructed mostly through our life experiences and words spoken to or about us in our formative years, that we process through. That filter often keeps us from internalizing the truth that we hear.
Somehow, listening to these words yesterday, filtered through the lens of the lives of Charles, Pastor Kalinsky, and our beloved Pastor Bob, my old filter seems to have developed a rather large crack. Each of these dear friends impacted my life in the time they were given. They impacted SO many lives!!! While I will have many other relationships, not one of them will ever fill the holes left by these three friends. The LORD used each of them uniquely. In the same way, HE uses me uniquely and He uses you uniquely. I think my filter requires some maintenance (or even reconstruction)!
Each of these friends spent time with us in Haiti and invested deeply in the lives of our students. Many of you are also making sacrifices to impact these lives. Thank you!
Professor Mackenson is very creative with his classroom of 6th-grade students. He gets them singing, drawing, and even growing their own plants to make his lessons come alive.
The students at the school in St. Etienne are filled with hope as they attend school. They know the LORD is providing for them!
It's that time of the year again.
Where will these little ones be ten, fifteen, twenty years from now? With an education, they will be providing and caring for their own families.
Thank you for continuing to pray for the babies and toddlers. Life is so difficult for their parents. Jesus is with them always, however. He cares for each one.
Have I told you lately how grateful we are to have the capacity to meet medical and dental needs for our friends in Haiti? Hats off to our friends at Bless Back Worldwide, who keep us on track!!!
Back in Massachusetts, we were excited to see our new neighbors start learning English as a second (third and fourth for many) language this week at Mount Wachusett Community College.
GOD is at work in each of our lives. I love to see our churches in Haiti praising Jesus and holding up the hands of their local leaders.
Do you know that the churches at MOHI in Haiti are praying for you? Every time they gather together they ask the LORD to protect you, your families, your finances, your health... The truly appreciate you. I do, too.