Friday, December 31, 2010

Last chance!

Today is the last chance to make your donation to RMI count for your 2010 taxes. You can donate online here or get your donation to the post office before it closes today to get it postmarked by Dec. 31. (RMI, 5475 Lee St. Suite 301, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971)

RMI’s general operations budget has not been immune to the recession. Despite drastic cuts, we are experiencing a budget shortfall and need your help. Don’t delay – act today!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There is still time!

There’s still time for your donations to count for 2010 taxes!

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Our greatest need within RMI is enabling our continued ability to provide for our staff and on-going ministry here in the States and in Haiti. This year has been great for our ministry toward our Haitian brothers and sisters. Due to the disasters Haiti has faced this year, we have been focused on relief efforts on many different levels. We have been thankful for all that God has enabled us to do through your assistance. However it has been a tough year on our normal operations income. We are heading into 2011 with great challenges ahead of us financially.

Would you consider a donation to enable RMI to continue to provide the same high level of ministry toward our Haitian brothers and sisters? A donation toward our general operations would be a tremendous help as we move into the New Year.

Your can donate online here or send a check to RMI, 5475 Lee St. Suite 301, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971. The postal date must be no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What will I fix for dinner?

Standing in front of her well-stocked pantry, Lacy wondered what she should fix for supper…would it be chicken potpie, meatloaf, leftover turkey (no-they were all tired of that) or the pork steaks she’d just bought?

At the same time in Haiti, Rosemarie sat by the fire in her outdoor “kitchen” and pondered the same question, what would she fix for supper? They ate the last of the meat 3 days ago. Since then they’d finished off what little rice they had. With a sigh, she peeled the remaining patat (a root vegetable similar to a potato) to fry and began to fix some cornmeal gruel. Hopefully the younger children would find it filling enough and wouldn’t notice the absence of meat or other vegetables. The older kids and her husband would, but what were they to do? The floods last month wiped out their crops so there was not only no food, they had nothing to sell in the market to buy more food. The older 2 kids would have to quit school because there was no money to pay for it after the first of the year. She shook her head - that was the least of her worries. The next crop harvest was months away. Food was the immediate need. Some of her friends were feeding their children dirt cakes [Made of clay, water, a dollop of shortening and a pinch of salt, they have no nutritional value, exacerbate malnutrition and are used only to dull the pangs of hunger.] just to fill their stomachs. She’d considered it when she saw them in the market Saturday. But she didn’t want to resort to that. What was she going to do?

Meanwhile Lacy began to cut the vegetables, set the table and get the steaks ready for the grill. She would fix the meatloaf tomorrow and put the cauliflower with it then she’d save the potpie for the weekend after their shopping trip to the mall.

Two mothers fixing supper, caring for their families, but worlds apart. Can we here in the US even imagine what life is like for the Haitian people? Since January 12 they have gone through a devastating earthquake, a deadly cholera outbreak and a flood producing hurricane. Three strikes yet the Haitian people are not “out for the count”. They are a resilient people. Despite all they have gone through in this year alone, they continue to cling to the Lord, they continue to put their hope in Him and continue to smile and somehow carry on. Despite their circumstances, they still greet you with a smile and hearty handshake. Wow! What an example for us!

Could you? Could I?

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RMI is responding to the overwhelming need for food by providing food packets. These pre-mixed packets are rice based, fortified with vitamins and nutrients and have been scientifically created to help those suffering from scabies, malnutrition and other life threatening illnesses. Each packet serves a family of 6.

We need your help to get this food into the hands of needy, hungry families! For $25, a case of these food packets will feed a family for a month. That is 216 hot nutritious meals, less than .12 cents a meal. What better way to have an immediate, practical effect on a Haitian family’s life!

This is a great project to involve your whole family. Most of us can handle $25 for a case of food. Challenge your family, prayer group, Bible study, your deacons, pastoral staff, Sunday school class or church. How about your workplace? Can you get your favorite restaurant to put out a collection jar? Do you spend that much on Starbucks coffee in a week? How about feeding an entire family for a month instead? Your local Christian school can take on this challenge…kids helping to feed other kids!

Just $25 a case. You can do that! How about several cases? The need is immediate. Please consider how God would have you respond. Haitian families need you now! Don’t delay – donate online (www.rminet.org) or send in your gift right away so these meals can get into the hands of people who desperately need it.clip_image002

Together feeding the hungry,

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Dan Shoemaker

RMI

5475 Lee St. Suite 301

Ft. Myers, FL 33971

239-368-8390

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weddings, weddings!

Two RMI national staff members were married in Haiti this month! We are very excited to say congratulations to Benjamin Altema, RMI’s national administrator and his new wife, Lucette.Benjamin & Lucette Altema, tuned

They were married December 4 at RMI’s Retreat Center at Zanglais. You can see the pictures here.

We are also very happy to congratulate Benson and Denise Joseph. Benson works as a facilitator in Hope for Kidz and translates for teams. They were married in Simon (right next to the mission center at Cayes) on December 18 and the reception was held at the RMI Guesthouse. Benson & Denise Joseph, tuned

You can see the pictures here.

Welcome to the RMI family Madame Benjamin (Lucette) and Madame Benson (Denise)!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Let your light shine–literally!

Let your light shine & your voice be heard!

RMI missionary, Gary McLaughlin, writes,

“The sounds of worshipping in a Haitian church near our retreat center. Thanks Sam for doing the video and Fred for posting it. Be careful, if you've been to Haiti you may tear up a little when you listen. I did. Close you eyes and enjoy. A small table, a kerosene lamp, a song book on the table and people singing in the dimly lit church.”

It’s touching to hear the simple sounds of praises to God. They didn’t need a fancy edifice, a pipe organ or band, oodles of electronics or bright spotlights. But two things are certain: God heard them loud and clear and their light shone brightly in the midst of the Haitian darkness!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What does the RMI Sister Church Program mean to you?

Mark, after visiting his Sister Church, wrote the following to me…

skymall“Haiti was an eye-opening experience for me, and I don't plan to forget it. As I flew back into [the United States] Thursday evening and passed the time by reading the Sky Mall magazine, I was struck with the contrast of the life we live here and the life lived by many of those in Haiti. Here I am, hurtling through the air at 32,000 feet where I can buy an endless array of gadgets to make my life even more comfortable. Meanwhile the people of [my sister church] struggle to piece together a meal as a family of four huddle in a pitiful shack. But God loves us the same, and who is to say who is the most blessed? It was my experience that many of those who were so poor in material things were much richer in the spiritual things, and this is what I think our church stands to learn from the people of Haiti, and this is why I think this will truly be a reciprocal ministry. I am so glad that RMI is there to facilitate the partnership with our church, and I pray that God gives us wisdom in how best to minister to our brothers and sisters there.”

Powerful words. What has your partnership meant to you?

By the way, if you need a portable, floating, ipod speaker system, contact Sky Mall directly…

Rob

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jules is Home!!

Thursday, November 11, Jules and Marthe Gedna returned home to Haiti! Many of you have been praying for him and following his progress this past year and a half as he has made his journey through the bone cancer treatments and then a bone marrow transplant. It’s been a tough year in many ways. His health was precarious for most of those days. He and his wife didn’t know many people in Boston, not to mention it was very cold there! For several months they had to live with a future niece-in-law before they were able to move to a small basement apartment. Having no transportation, they had to rely on buses to get them to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, etc. Yet through it all, Jules always had a smile on his face and that same humble, sweet attitude that we all know and love. He was encouraged by visits from friends who traveled great distances just to be with him for a few hours, by the many cards and letters that he received and by phone calls from many people. His 2 sons were able to visit from Atlanta on several occasions.

He was declared cancer free by his doctors, but Hurricane Tomas delayed his return 2 weeks ago. All of the RMI staff and many missionaries that knew them were at the Cayes airport when the plane landed Thursday afternoon. They were surprised and overwhelmed to see so many people there to celebrate their homecoming. From there they were taken to the home of RMI missionary, Rob Thompson, where a welcome home dinner was held for them and the RMI staff. Once they finally got to their house, many more friends came by to greet them. You can see pictures of his return here.

Thank you for your prayers for this dear man of God! Thank you for your financial gifts to help Jules and Marthe. They could not have made it if it hadn’t been for these prayers and financial gifts. Many thanks to Greg Stritch (CrossRoad United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, FL) who flew back with them (since Dan was not able to go in with them due to other commitments). He made sure everything went smoothly as well as helped cover their flight expenses. Thanks Greg!

They are both so excited to be home after all this time. When they left they thought it was for Jules to get his back issue attended to, never dreaming that it was bone cancer. We are so thankful and praise God that Jules is doing so well. Continue to pray for him. He still has to deal with back pain and has a ways to go to recover his strength. Since his return almost a week ago, he’s had a steady stream of visitors coming to see him. He is not only a pillar of RMI’s ministry, but is well loved and known to many people in the Cayes area. What a testimony!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Video Testimony…

This is a video testimony by Pastor Jim and Emily folk directly after their very first visit with their new Sister Church in Fond Deron, Haiti.  Pastor Jim is the lead pastor at Christ Community Church in Ocala, FL.  Thanks Pastor Jim and Emily!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To the end of the earth

This week RMI missionaries Rob Thompson and Gary McLaughlin and national staff, Benjamin and Wilfred, literally went over the mountains and through rivers on a tough 12 hour motorcycle trip to the end of the earth…well, it’s not the end of the earth, but you can see it from there! Their trip took them around the far western end of the southern peninsula. They visited several Sister Churches, took pictures and got reports of how the churches and surrounding areas fared during the hurricane.

They encountered mudslides, a washed out road and trees down (some on top of homes, schools & churches). They were told of complete crop loss, animals lost, roofs damaged or lost, flooding and lives lost.

Thanks to everyone who prayed that God would spare Haiti. At a critical time in it’s movement forward, it jogged to the west just enough to take the eye through the windward passage. This kept the damage to a minimum. Yet, for those people who have so very little in the first place, the losses that they experienced are significant. Losing a crop and/or animals means the loss of food to feed the family and the loss of cash to send the children to school, buy supplies, pay a debt or buy additional food for the family. They literally live day to day. Hunger is going to be a very real issue quickly. RMI is still raising funds for food aid! 1 case of pre-prepared food will feed a family for 1 month for only $25 a case. What better way to meet their needs immediately and practically! You can donate online here.

Rob’s full account and links to pictures can be found on his blog at http://www.robandbecky.com/blog.htm. This motorcycle ride was not for the faint of heart!

It’s good to read his report and see how God answered prayers and spared Haiti from a direct hit.

Map of RMI Related Things in Haiti…

Did you know there is a map online of all things RMI in Haiti (Churches, Missionary Homes, HFH Sites, Office and Depots)? Did you know that this is a public map that you can collaborate on? Check it out here.

I think this is a good visual of all that RMI is doing in Haiti.

Rob

RMIMap

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Outback report to come soon

Becky Thompson shared this update this morning:

“Pray for Rob Thompson, Gary McLaughlin, Benjamin Altema, and Wilfred today as they travel by motorcycle to Les Irois to view hurricane damage at the church there. They are planning on stopping at many of our sister churches along the way (too many towns to list.) They left at 5:30 a.m. and hope to be back probably after 7 p.m..... It's going to be a long, hard day on the motorcycle.”

Les Irois is at the very far western tip of the island. We’ve always said that it’s not the end of the world, but you can see it from there! Though not far in miles, distances aren’t measured in miles or even kilometers in Haiti. It’s measured in “how long does it take to get there?”. They will have to go across the peninsula, up and over the mountains and then around the coast.

Map of Haiti, Cayes to Les Irois

Look for a more complete report of the Sister Churches that they’ll be visiting, as well as photos, soon!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Update on Damage, Pray

imageThe RMI team here in Haiti is working hard to get reports of damage. Reports are hard to get right now. Visiting these areas is impossible right now due to swollen rivers. Here is what we know so far…

Dame-Marie Church: The church members have lost their Gardens and some of people in the community have lost some sheet metal from their homes.

Dame Marie: Ti Riviere: At this satellite church, the area flooded and caused some homes to be damaged.

Dame Marie: Bariadel Church: Town flooding, Houses Damaged.

Les Irois: Three trees fell down on the school last night and a large part of the school has been damaged. The pastor tells us that 15% of the church member’s homes are damaged with parts of their roofs gone.

Les Irois: Mignon and Belais church… both of them lost the roof. The pastor has told us they will now have no place to worship.

Chambellan Church: The River was flooding last night in the town of Chambellan. A large amount of people from the town are now in the school and parsonage. Part of the church is damaged due to the loss of some sheet metal.

Abricot church: The pastor has lost the roof on his home. The community has lost all their gardens.

Tiburon Church: The church and the parsonage are safe but most of the church members have lost their gardens and some of the roofs on their homes.

Port-a-Piment: The pastor just reported that the town is flooding right now due to rain coming from the mountains causing many in the community to be at the church. The church members have lost all of their gardens.

Rob (for the team)

Updated photos of Jeremie

Missionaries Steve and Joline Moore (not RMI) sent the following pictures, taken from in front of their home. They live near Jeremie and Chambellan, across the mountains from Cayes. The effects of the hurricane seems to be worse in that area.

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Hurricane Tomas Update

Hurricane Tomas is on its way through the Windward passage today. RMI missionaries report that they experienced high winds from 2 – 4 a.m. Rains have been heavy as well. They expect more wind and rain during the day today. Locally they have seen a lot of branches and crop damage. So far the at least one of the rivers is still inside its banks. They felt that areas to the west of Cayes will have much more damage since the hurricane was closer to that area. They are contacting as many Sister Churches as possible. Port-a-Piment and Tiburon report that they are ok, but the crops are destroyed. Here are a few pictures from the Cayes area:

Flooded garden in the valley below the mission center

We are thankful that God answered everyone’s prayers and kept the eye off the coast. Continue to pray as Tomas is not yet gone! We’ll post more updates when we receive more information.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Hot off the press: Calvary Baptist’s video of their recent trip to visit their Sister Church!

What a cool record of their trip and ministry in Dame Marie! You’ll enjoy seeing what kinds of things they did. Thank you, Pastor Guy Glass, for sharing it with us!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

** Press Release **

This Press Release was just sent to local news outlets:

Reciprocal Ministries International, a nonprofit mission agency who works in Haiti, is preparing to meet the challenge of Tropical Storm / Hurricane Tomas. Based on its current track, the eye is projected to come ashore near southern Haiti’s largest town, Les Cayes, where RMI has its headquarters and where its staff and missionaries live. Les Cayes has a population of 75,000 and the South “Department” (equivalent of our states) has a population of over 1 million (pre-earthquake, this doesn’t include the tens of thousands who fled the capital after the earthquake and returned to their hometowns in the south).

RMI impacts over 150 churches and communities throughout the southern peninsula of Haiti. We have been working with many of these for over 30 years. Our experience in dealing with many hurricanes over this period of time tells us that there will be several major issues. The obvious one will be the wind factor as it pummels crops, animals and homes. This will result in great loss of crops as well as the loss of much livestock. These are the 2 main areas of sustenance for Haitians in the countryside. Right now, the crops at risk are coffee, beans, corn, oranges and grapefruit. Livestock includes cows, pigs, horses, donkeys, goats and chickens. There will be loss of many homes as well. Mud huts cannot withstand this kind of wind & rain! The second impact will be from tremendous flooding. This will further increase the loss of the crops and livestock, as well as human lives and homes. Roads will be washed away causing interruptions in transportation. A third issue will be the immediate need for Food Relief. Because of the interruptions in transportation and the great loss of their sources for cash (crops and animals), hunger will hit quickly and hit hard.

The country has already endured enormous loss of life from the Jan. 12 earthquake and the government is scrambling to get the upper hand on a cholera outbreak in the central part of northern Haiti. It’s hard to imagine how they can withstand yet another catastrophe of this magnitude.

In addition to our facilities, we have a staff of over 25 and 7 vehicles/trucks ready to respond with hurricane relief. We currently have 400 cases of pre-packaged relief food aid on site. This represents approximately 85,000 meals, or food for 2 weeks for 2 families per case (enough food for 800 families). We are also stocking up on rice and beans and other staples to be able to assist in providing food for several hundred more families. We have sent $15,000 to Haiti already to make this food aid ready and available. We are also sending a container of food next week to Haiti containing 1250 cases of food that will provide more than 270,000 meals for needy families. We need $25 a case to be able to provide this container of food to 1250 families. We are depending on donations to help us meet this great need!

Anyone interested in assisting in helping RMI provide food relief can donate online at RMI’s website, www.rminet.org. Click on the donate button and choose “Food for Haiti”. If you have any questions, please call Kim Rose or Dan Shoemaker at 239-368-8390.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Amy’s surgery update and Tomas’ arrival

Amy’s surgery on Nov. 1 went well. It took 1 1/2 hrs. and she was home by noon. She has an appt. with her doctor today (Tuesday) to find out the extent of the operation, what the future holds, her post operative recovery process and time frame for returning to Haiti. Some of her recovery instructions included the usual no bending, no lifting, and no driving, but also no computer work for 2 weeks! She can watch TV, though. She’ll post a blog as soon as she is allowed, but until then, check the RMI blog or Facebook for updates on her. Continue to pray that her eye heals well and she can keep her blood sugars under control.

Hurricane Tomas has set its sights on Haiti. At this time, it is churning its way across the Caribbean, but is expected to take an abrupt turn to the north and come ashore at Les Cayes, where RMI’s headquarters is as well as where our missionaries and staff live. It would also affect every single Sister Church. Its path then takes up north through the whole island hitting Port-au-Prince (all the earthquake areas, tent cities, etc.) and the Artibonite Valley (where the cholera outbreak is). One projection was that it could potentially stall over northern Haiti. Needless to say, Haiti cannot withstand such a severe storm. The winds and heavy rain could result in floods, landslides, loss of lives, homes, crops and livestock. A good site to keep track of the hurricane is stormpulse.com. Pray with us that some how God would calm the storm and spare Haiti.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And Now for the Good News!

Update on Jules

On Oct. 24, Jules celebrated his 56th birthday. He is doing very well. He’s anxious to get back to Haiti as soon as he can. The majority of his doctors have cleared him to return. The current issue is that he’s still having significant pain in his back (a dear friend arrived from Haiti recently and, not realizing how fragile Jules was and the possible consequences, gave Jules a joyful, giant bear hug, injuring his back). He is getting treatment for it and those doctors believe it will clear up in just a few weeks.

If all goes well, Jules would like to return to Haiti in November. Pray for his continued recovery and financial needs. He sends out big greetings and thank you-s to everyone. He is very appreciative of the many financial gifts he’s received as well as the phone calls, cards, letters and especially the prayers of so many people.

We’ll keep you up to date on his departure plans.

The Hope for Kidz Hot Lunch Program has begun!

ti jean 2 tunedThe start of the Haitian school year, in the middle of October, marked not only the beginning of a “normal” school year – a good healing point for Haiti – but it also marked the beginning of the the Hope for Kidz Hot Lunch Program in specific pilot schools. It was estimated that this pilot year would feed 800 children with a hot, nutritional lunch. However, when word got out that those schools would be serving a hot lunch, families responded in droves, registering their children in those schools. The result is that we are now feeding 1,300 children each school day! The kids were very excited about getting a meal at school.

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Update on Katelyn Pfister

Oct. 13 prayer was asked for a missionary family on the mission center (Not an RMI family) whose 9 year old daughter, Katelyn, was medivaced to St. Petersburg, FL. She is doing much, much better. She was diagnosed with ADEM acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. It sounds like it is a post immune response to viral or bacterial infection and should not be reoccurring. It resulted in a dangerously low sodium condition in her body. After treatment and slowly improving, she was released from the hospital and stayed at the Ronald McDonald House with her mom for several days where she continued to recover. They are leaving the RM House and staying with family for a bit longer as she regains her strength, finishes her medications and has her last checkups before they return to Haiti in November. Thank you for your prayers for her!

What about Cholera & RMI’s Ministries?

You have probably heard that cholera has broken out in Haiti in the last couple of weeks. We wanted to address your concerns about what it is, where it is, the treatment and more importantly that our staff, missionaries and teams are safe.

First, here is a map of Haiti, showing where the current outbreak is located (the Artibonite area) and where Les, Cayes, RMI’s headquarters, is located. It is more than 150 miles away. The Haitian government and aid agencies are vigorously working to isolate the breakout areas, educate people on cleanliness, provide clean drinking water and to treat those that are ill. There have been 5 confirmed illnesses in the capital, Port-au-Prince, but they are all people that had recently traveled from the Artibonite area. Thus far, no cases have been discovered south of Port-au-Prince.

Current Cholera Area Oct. 26, 2010

Cholera is rightly called a disease of poverty. It is true. Cholera spreads because, and only because, of poverty. The two essential components for the spread of cholera are lack of access to clean water and sanitation and lack of access to information about how to protect yourself. Even if cases of cholera found their way out of Haiti and made it to the US, the conditions do not exist in our country to allow for an epidemic to take hold.

Wikipedia states, “Cholera[1] is an infection of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Transmission is primarily through contaminated drinking water or food. The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Primary treatment is with oral or intravenous rehydration solutions. Antibiotics may be beneficial, and in certain cases they are used. Cholera is a major cause of death in the world.”

Missionary doctor, Dr. Jim Wilkins, who works at a hospital just south of the capital, shared that the main loss of life is from losing fluids too quickly and not getting them replaced. Especially at risk is small children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who are already weak or sick. Oral rehydration drinks with salts & sugar in them and/or IV rehydration is the best, quickest and most effective treatment. Prevention is the key to keep it from spreading: clean water, frequent hand washing, using toilets/outhouses instead of in rivers or water sources and proper food preparation. It seems that the rate of new cases is beginning to slow down.

At this point, RMI’s staff, missionaries and teams are far removed from exposure to the Cholera area. The water that we supply our visiting teams with is from the mission center, which operates its own clean, capped & chlorinated well and water system. It is almost the only place in Haiti that you can actually drink water out of the tap. Our staff also travel with oral rehydration packets in it’s first aid kit should someone get sick. It’s not very tasty, but it does the trick and makes you feel much better in a short time.

All this said, we are definitely taking the appearance of Cholera in the country very seriously. We will not knowingly put a team at risk of exposure. If you have any questions, feel free to call RMI, toll free, at 877-RMI-5439.

Pray for Haiti. As difficult things hit the country, we keep thinking, “This country can’t take any more!”, yet things continue to happen. Pray for the missionaries, doctors and ministries that are in the Artibonite area. Ask God to halt this terrible disease and keep it from spreading.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Update on Amy

Amy has seen the retinal specialist and has surgery scheduled for November 1. Here is what she wrote in her blog:

I am stateside. I arrived with absolutely no problems. I left my house at 3am, was at the airport by 7am and on the plane about 9am. Both the flight from Port to Miami and from Miami to Jacksonville left right on time and I was safely in Jacksonville a little ahead of schedule.

I had an appointment made for 8am but was told it may be a long morning as I will have to be worked into the schedule. Just this morning, the Ladies from the Bible Study I attended before I left for Haiti prayed that God would give me a connection with a Doctor who had a heart for Haiti and a heart for the work I am doing there. My mom got a call today saying that the Dr who would be seeing me had changed. When she talked to that Dr. my mom found out that she has been to Haiti numerous times. God has definitely been working in the details!!

The appointment yesterday morning wasn't actually for the surgery- it was a consult to see what the problem really was.

The surgery has been scheduled on November 1. I have to be at the surgery center at 8:15am.

Bottom line, there is more substantial damage than just the bleeding. There is scarring at the back of the retina and if not repaired, it could mean detachment of the retina and eventual complete blindness. the bleeding was actually a separate yet related problem. I consider it a blessing over all as the problem could have continued and become completely non=repairable.

It is a problem associated with diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugars (I guess Haiti has been harder on my system in that way than I realized but I am working on getting them under control and will just have to continue changing what I do when I return…) As of now, the laser surgery can help stop the bleeding and remove some of the scar tissue. The recovery process, he said in general is a two month process. If the process goes smoothly, then after two months he will sign off on the recovery and I, ideally, will be free to return to Haiti. As far as my vision, I am at 20/25 in my right (good eye) but at about 20/100 in the left eye. There is a 3 in 4 chance it will improve some and a 1 in 4 chance it will not. I am trusting and believing for the former.

I am working through what this all means and what life will look like over the next couple months. While things have turned out differently than I thought, I know that God’s hand is in this and I will trust Him to continue to guide me through.

I am missing Haiti very much today. I woke up to find news of a cholera outbreak in the North Western part of the Haiti. My heart breaks for a country whose people has already experienced enough grief and tragedy in the past ten months to last more than a lifetime. Keep Haiti on your mind, in your thoughts and in your prayers.”

Continue to pray for Amy. You can find her blog here. We will post updates as we receive info from her.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Urgent Prayer Needed

Amy & a friend, Tiburon summer 2010 RMI missionary, Amy Long, is in need of urgent prayer. She is experiencing retinal bleeding in her left eye. She is not in pain, but does have very blurry vision in that eye. This seems to be an issue brought on by her type 1 diabetes. She was able to go to a special eye clinic in Cayes on Monday to get this diagnosis and was told that she needed immediate laser surgery.

She is flying home to Jacksonville, FL tomorrow (Wednesday), and will be staying with her parents. God’s hand has been working for Amy already. Her mom has been able to get her an appointment with a retinal specialist at 8 a.m. Thursday morning! It is possible that she’ll have surgery the same day.

Pray that God will give the doctor wisdom as he diagnoses the problem and performs the surgery.

Pray for peace for Amy as she flies home leaving responsibilities (RMI has 3 back-to-back teams right now!) and facing some serious unknowns regarding her eyesight.

Pray that surgery can be done quickly, that the damage will be minimal and her eyesight will be fully restored.

Pray for Amy’s financial situation since this medical crisis is unexpected. Her insurance will cover some of the costs and some gifts have already been received to help cover her deductible. She will need finances to cover her plane flights and other unforeseen expenses. Any gifts for Amy’s expenses can be sent to RMI designated for Amy’s ministry account.

If you want to send Amy a card, her address is: Amy Long, 3114 Starburst Way, Jacksonville, FL 32223. Her email is amy.long@rminet.org. She will updating her blog regularly, too. We will also post updates as we receive them as well.

At this time, it is uncertain as to how long she’ll be in the US. It will depend entirely on her medical situation and her doctors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prayer Request from the Field

Sunday, a sick little girl was flown to the states with some of the Agape Flights volunteers and staff who were here in Cayes hosting a picnic and ice cream social for the missionaries here in the area the same weekend.

Katelyn Pfister lives here with her family, Rich and Amber Pfister, and their four other children. Last week Katelyn grew quite ill and spent a few nights in the clinic here on the mission center. She was feverish and slightly delusional and was treated for both malaria and typhoid (VERY common treatments for most patients with any kind of persistent fever who check into the hospital). Her mom and dad spent the nights in the hospital with her before she was released but after a very short while at home, it was obvious she wasn’t getting any better. Concerned, it was decided to send her and her mother to the states with the Agape Pilots. The family had contacts in South Florida who met them upon their arrival and got Katelyn admitted to the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. She is being seen by some very capable doctors and is undergoing tests and treatment now. The last word that we got was that they still didn’t know what was making her so ill but there was a suspicion that it might be cerebral spinal meningitis.

God’s hand, though, has been evident in this situation from the very beginning as Katelyn and her mom were able to fly out with Agape (who had two passengers drop out just before coming to Haiti so there was room on the flight). They have said she is in one of the best hospitals in the country and her first nurse was a Haitian lady originally from Petit Goave, an area outside of Port au Prince. As her dad reported in an e-mail yesterday, the nurse said that as soon as she saw Katelyn come into the ER, she started praying. Rich’s mom arrived in the country on Saturday and is taking care of the other 4 children here in Haiti, while Rich and Amber take care of Katelyn in Florida.

With no news today, we are hoping that is good news. But please continue to keep Katelyn, her parents, her siblings, her grandparents, and all the doctors and nurses who are overseeing her care, in your prayers. Please pray for wisdom and knowledge for the doctors to have a definitive answer as to what's

wrong in order to give her the precise treatment that she needs. If it is cerebral spinal meningitis there are potential long lasting effects that stem from it so please join us in praying that there will be no long term damage and that healing and restoration will come quickly.

We’ll keep you posted. Keep praying!

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

5 Week Report Card

Remember the dread you had in school when it came time for report cards? It has been 5 weeks since our Staff Strategic Planning Meetings at the end of August and the start of the fall team schedule. We can honestly say that we don’t have to face this “report card” with dread, but with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord and with excitement. Here’s why, in the last 5 weeks…

2 Sister Churches visited their Haitian brothers and sisters.

  • NewChurch Georgetown (Austin, TX) / Abricot Sister Church Visit
    • Satellite church visit
    • Youth meeting
    • Open air service (three people accepted Christ)
    • Installation of fans in the church
    • Hope for Kidz meeting
    • Deacons Meeting
    • Ladies Tea
    • Town Carnival Day (The church met at the town square and had the whole town involved. Kids and parents from all around came and participated in games, activities and face painting.)
  • Schuylkill Valley Bible Chapel (Mohrsville, PA) / Camp Perrin Sister Church Visit
    • Visited three satellite churches
    • Distributed 75 bags of beans and rice at each location
    • Ladies Tea
    • Deacons Meeting

2 Homes for Haiti teams came to build homes & do additional projects

  • Grace Lutheran Church (Seattle, WA) Homes for Haiti work team
    • Built home panels
    • Took an inventory of the entire HFH material supply
    • Visited their Sister Church for a Sunday morning service
    • Installed a house at Grand Goave for Pastor Bien-Aime, his wife and their 3 children.
  • 2nd Cape May Baptist Church (Marmora, NJ) Homes for Haiti work team
    • Installed two houses, 1 at Croix de Bouquet and 1 at Delmas 33
    • Visited their Sister Church for a special Tuesday night service
    • Worked around the mission center:
      • Installed and tiled new kitchen counter at the RMI Guesthouse
      • Built and installed a new folding buffet table at the Guesthouse
      • Installed ceiling fans in 2 RMI Offices**
      • Did electrical work at the Guesthouse and the Thompson's house
      • Prepared and poured the foundation for the HFH model in the RMI Depot yard
      • Networked the office computers
      • Created the building plans for the new Haiti RMI Office**

39 people have come on these teams.

And this is the “short” list! It means that many lives were touched, much ministry happened, and projects were accomplished. This is an exciting “report card”, don’t you think?! One that we know our Father would be proud of.

It does need to be mentioned that this kind of intense activity (4 teams in 5 weeks!) means an immense amount of work, coordination, long hours, a lot of travel, blood, sweat and tears for our missionary and national staff. And this in tough, hot, unpredictable Haiti conditions. They have labored through rain, broken vehicles, stress and time away from families. Pray for them as they continue to do God’s work with a smile on their faces.

Rejoice with us about this excellent report card!

**RMI’s Haiti office on the mission center has been officially condemned due to damage by the Jan. 12 earthquake. We have temporarily moved the offices to several rooms at the Guesthouse until a new office building can be built on the 2nd story of the RMI storage depot. More details will be forthcoming in a few weeks so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

In Twos

Two teams, two Haitian “bosses”, two locations, and two houses. In two days!

The Homes for Haiti team from Cape May, New Jersey sent ten men into Port au Prince on Friday, October 1 to work on two houses in two separate locations. The original plan had been to send the team to another location outside of Port but plans were changed last Tuesday when days of rain made the road impassible, a (STILL) broken truck made delivering supplies insolvable, and a yet to be prepped site made working on it impossible. Fortunately, God had other plans which He orchestrated perfectly.

Despite days of rain- there was nothing but clear skies! Despite missing pieces- a container truck which was being unloaded on the Mission Center in Cayes on Saturday and returning to Port the same day was available to transport the parts we were missing directly to the site! Despite searing heat, back breaking work, and not a lot of shade- not one team member got sick! And despite all the complexities of working in Haiti which make completing most any task in a timely, efficient manner difficult- in just two days, two new homeowners were handed the keys to their new homes!

new owner croix de bouquet

The new homeowners (two ladies in the center of the photo) at the Croix de Bouquet location with some of their friends and family. They will live here with their children (One has 2 children and the other has 1 child).

team with new owner delmas 33

The new owner (standing on the back row) with the team from Second Cape May Baptist, and Wilfrid, the RMI “Boss” for the Delmas 33 location.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It must be raining all over the world

I’ve seen numerous Facebook status updates from different parts of the country describing ominous weather. I could add my own “ominous weather” report. Its raining. A lot. I have clothes on the line (under the cover of the back porch) that have been hanging since Saturday afternoon. They are wetter now than they were when I first hung them. I was asked today by if I liked the rain. I responded that I liked rain but when it rained like this, life stopped. They laughed and said yes, in Haiti rain like this can “kanpe lavi”. Basic translation: It can stop life in its tracks.

Friday wind and torrential rain swept across the country. In Port au Prince branches and limbs were down, tarps and tents were destroyed, and according to reports, five people lost their lives. In Cayes it also started raining on Friday and its been pouring almost non stop since Sunday.

Rain can damage crops, destroy livestock, erode foundations, and even take human life. Its easy to understand the physical damage that rain can cause but here are some other things to think about. What about the livestock that isn’t destroyed, the gardens that aren’t damaged? Who can tend to their needs? How can they harvest their daily portion? In a place so dependent on the daily buying and selling and trading of goods and services, what happens when the market can’t open and the vendors can’t sell? So many people don’t have much in the way of clothing, so when they get wet, what do they change into? And if they need to do laundry, how do they get it to dry?

Its not just the big things like hurricanes and earthquakes that make life so difficult. In a place where its difficult enough to survive on a good day, days and days of rain just make life hard. Plain and simple. Hard. So as you pray for Haiti and its people, remember those who have suffered loss. But also remember those who are still standing. Pray for their protection. Pray for their strength. Pray that God in His grace and mercy would meet their needs and fill in the “potholes” a few days of rain have left behind.

-Amy

Monday, September 13, 2010

Scales have fallen off their eyes

What has their involvement with their Sister Church meant to North Hills Community Church?

“Scales have fallen off our eyes. We see things very differently, we’re changed. …I would recommend this to any church, almost as a requirement, that you need to come to Haiti.” Pastor Keith Abbott, North Hills Community Church, Austin, TX.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Right tools for the job

Rob & donated rope croppedRope: Thanks to 2 supporters, Rob Thompson in Haiti, now has the right tools for the job. 600’ of rope, who would have thought?! [What are they for? To tie down luggage, supplies, coolers, equipment, and much more as we travel to and from the capital, outback to Sister Churches, delivering food aid, taking wall panels and equipment to housing sites for Homes for Haiti and much, much more!]

Evaluation and Strategic Planning: August 24-26 RMI’s First Annual Strategic Planning Meetings took place in Ft. Myers. In attendance were the RMI staff, Dan & Debbie Shoemaker, Kim Rose, Kent Commons and Herb & Shirley Shoemaker, RMI missionaries Amy Long, Rob Thompson and Gary & Marilyn McLaughlin and RMI’s Haitian Administrator, Benjamin Altema.

C Kim Rose cropped

D Rob Benjamin adjusted

H Dan Debbie adjusted

F Marilyn Amy adjusted

E Gary adjusted

A Herb Shirley adjustedUsing his background in human resources and as a manager, Kim led the 3 day meetings in first learning how to effectively evaluate a system or program then in careful evaluation of each of RMI’s programs and centers of operations. It provided a thorough look at how we are doing, where we are now, where we want to be in future, what needs to change or be improved and how we can implement that change. There was a lot of brainstorming, discussion, laughter, and open sharing. We were able to gain the perspective of the office administration, the field missionary perspective, the Haitian perspective and the Haitian staff perspective.

It gave us tools and a solid foundation from which to work as we work to improve our systems, programs and operations. We also found that we enjoyed these days of working as a team, with real one-ness of mind. Don’t be surprised if you see changes here and there in the coming months…as they say, “pardon our dust as we make improvements to better serve you”!

9’ X 12’ Double Sided Screen: One of the tools used to hold an open air service. The Jesus Film or another evangelistic film in French is shown with an intermission of testimonies and a sermon.

Faithful National Staff, a Drill and a Pair of Gloves: All and more needed for building quality homes of displaced families.

tool time daniel and gabytools11

tools3a

The results?

Key to my new home[14]

Keys to his new home! No more living under a piece of tin. Priceless!

Vehicles: To carry a team across the river to their Sister Church.

les angle river crossing1

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And to get the wall and roof panels to the worksite to build a home.

Dedicated Staff: We couldn’t do it without them!

Staff - adjusted

It isn’t all of them – there are more faithful missionaries & national staff!

Facilities: Another vital tool!! RMI’s Retreat Center on the Caribbean, looking at the hotel section.

RC Hotel cropped

View #2 – looking out from the main building. What a special place to rest, debrief, regroup and reflect.Greencastle Otterbein Church August 2010 023

The RMI Guesthouse in Cayes.

Greencastle Otterbein Church August 2010 167

Tools come in many forms, but having the right tools is essential for getting the job done. Pray with us as we seek to get the job done with what He has given us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Estero UMC “gets it”!

Even though their partnership is only 2 years old and they’ve only made 2 visits to their Sister Church, Cherette, Estero United Methodist of Estero, FL, “gets it”. They understand what the partnership is all about. Pastor David Harris shares that the partnership is getting to know each other, overcoming their natural differences, relationships deepen in their worshipping, witnessing and in their working together, ministering to one another and ministering together into the community. “This ultimately results in the spiritual enrichment of ALL to the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Their video (hot off the press) is a great testimony and example of this partnership, what it means to them and the effect that it’s had on the church.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Not necessarily good news

A previously unmapped fault was responsible for the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, not the fault originally blamed for the temblor, scientists announced Tuesday.

A 25-mile-long fault segment ruptured during the quake.

Read the whole article HERE.

Caribbean geological fault map

(This an “old” map, without the newly discovered fault.)

Wow! A new, unmapped fault. Put together with the previously known fault, which runs right through Port-au-Prince and right down the middle of the southern peninsula, makes for double trouble for Haiti. We pray that the earth stays still for a long time to come (like a couple of generations)!

$25 to Feed a Family for a Month!

It’s here and available. Let’s get this food to earthquake refugees! Food Packet tuned

1 case is $25.

Or…Sister Churches can provide food for their Sister Church district in lots of 50 cases for $1,250.

Simple ministry that has tangible effects to a large amount of people.

Donations made simple HERE. Deliveries begin the first week of September, so don’t delay!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food Has Arrived!

Being healthy enables people, especially children, to withstand such things as malaria, typhoid, dengue fever and the #1 killer of children in 3rd world countries, diarrhea. How can you stay healthy without good, nutritional food? How about now, after the earthquake when food is scarce?

clip_image002

RMI is able to help. We have just obtained several hundred cases of food aid! This food is undesignated and RMI would like to see it be used for needy, earthquake affected families. Each case contains 216 meals which would provide 1 hot, nourishing meal a day for a family of 6 for a whole month! These nutritious meals contain all of the nutrients and vitamins a child needs to grow strong and healthy, and has been scientifically created to help those suffering from scabies, malnutrition and other life threatening illnesses.

RMI would like to be able to distribute this food beginning the 1st week of September. However, we need help to cover our costs of shipping, customs, distribution, etc.! We need your help to make this possible. Each case is $25. (That is less than .12 cents a meal!) This is a great project with which to challenge your family, prayer group, Bible study, your deacons, pastoral staff, Sunday School class or church. How about your workplace? Can you get your favorite restaurant to put out a collection jar? Do you spend that much on Starbucks coffee in a month? How about feeding an entire family for a month instead? Your local Christian school can take on this challenge…kids helping to feed other kids!

Your contribution will enable RMI to provide this food to needy refugees in earthquake ravaged areas.

If you are a member of an RMI Sister Church, your church can provide food specifically for your own Haiti Sister Church district in lots of 50 cases for only $1,250. This is an enormous, tangible ministry into your Sister Church’s life, one that demonstrates that you know they are hurting and you are sending help that meets them where they are.

To provide these meals for a hungry family click HERE. Help make this food distribution happen!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Imagine

Imagine for a moment….

Building a home in Leograne As the sky darkens, “Marie” looked up to see the clouds coming together for yet another rainy season downpour. She sighed and started pulling the family’s still wet clothes off the rope that her husband had put up to hold her prized pink sheets that now served as their only shelter. If only it wouldn’t rain for one whole day, she’d have the chance to get them dry. The kids played on the mounds of rubble that used to be their house. Had it really been 6 months since the earth shook so terribly? She thanked God again for the fact that her family lived through it, although some of her neighbors hadn’t been so lucky. She was so tired of first the dust, then the rain and mud, of huddling together at night, trying to sleep and not feeling safe and secure, of trying to fix meals and live under the little bit of protection that those pink sheets offered. How on earth could they ever get back on their feet and even think of rebuilding with things the way they are she wondered. The sound of a truck making its way carefully down their tiny road made her look up. She watched in amazement as, in 3 hours, a team of Americans and the national staff from Reciprocal Ministries International put up a transitional home on the foundation where her previous home had stood. Key to my new homeShe and her husband were thrilled when they received the keys to their new home. They couldn’t stop smiling. Tonight they would listen to the rain on a tin roof. Tonight they would sleep safely locked in their new home.

Can you imagine for just a moment if this were you?!

Can you imagine what it would mean to you?

Can you imagine how life changing it would be?

Dan in front of a finished home with banner This last week RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, and RMI Vice President, Kim Rose, led a Homes for Haiti team to southern Haiti. The long awaited windows and doors (which were stuck in customs) arrived, enabling the RMI national staff to be trained in their installation as they fitted them into the 4 homes that had already been built. The team was also able to put up 2 more homes. One was for a Baptist pastor and his family. Another (the one pictured above) was for a bookkeeper for Radio Lumiere, Haiti’s largest Christian radio station. These families AND the team were all smiles and moved to tears as each family was given the keys to their very own earthquake and hurricane resistant home. An interesting affirmation was received from townspeople who came to see the house. They said, “Of all the temporary houses being built, this is the one I want!” Wow. And this in a town where a number of organizations are building shelters. Which one would you choose?

The two on the left are made of a tarp type of material stretched over wood frames. RMI’s metal home is on the right, behind the truck. 3 house comparison What is the difference? RMI’s home is a transitional home not a temporary shelter. It is made of metal anchored in a cement floor. Our homes provide security, safety and dignity. They are built to last years.

You can change a life! $4,400 is all it costs to set a Haitian family on the road to recovery.

How can you help spread the word?? We need more sponsors. You can be an agent for change. Actually you can be our real estate agents! What a great ministry: being a “real estate agent” of sorts, helping RMI find sponsors for more homes in Haiti. Can you promote or do a fund raiser for a home at your place of business? Can your Rotary club sponsor a home? Three different friends of RMI are donating 10% of their profits from their businesses for the next 6 months to building homes. What other creative idea can you come up with to help us raise these funds?

Be sure to keep up to date with RMI’s happenings on Facebook and the RMI website, here. Or feel free to call us toll free at 866-RMI-5439 or 239-368-8390.

You can see more pictures of the first homes being built here and here. From start to finish, one home took 3 hours to build. Let’s work together to get these homes built!