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…


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.



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.



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.