Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is real life

January 12, 2010 changed life as Haiti knew it forever. It has been a defining moment for Haitians around the world just as 9/11 has been for Americans. How can a nation so desperately poor endure the loss of 250,000 people, all of it’s infrastructure, government buildings, businesses and countless schools, churches and homes all in less than 30 seconds?

How can it rebuild? Rebuilding implies that there was something there of worth in the first place. In many instances this wasn’t the case.

A late season hurricane hit the southern peninsula hard, severely affecting crops.

Cholera has reared its ugly head and killed over 3,600.

Life was hard before. Agonizing more often describes it now. But this is real life. It is inescapable and unforgettable.

The world has forgotten for the most part. There have been other happenings that have grabbed the headlines.

We here at RMI have not forgotten, and never will!! It was a “game changer” for us. It brought about a paradigm shift within RMI. One day we were solely involved in the Sister Church Program and Hope for Kidz. The next we were thrust into disaster recovery: organizing and delivering medical and relief supplies, flying in medical personnel, and organizing and delivering relief food aid. Our missionaries and national staff worked tirelessly for months trying to meet the needs of the earthquake survivors.

In response to the ongoing needs for transitional housing, RMI started the Homes for Haiti Program. To date, 28 homes have been built and the material for 24 more homes are in customs. Monies are still needed for homes. There are so many families that need them!!

In response to the ongoing hunger issue, RMI started the Food for Haiti Program. Since this program began 6 months ago, we’ve been able to distribute 540,000 meals – just think about that! God has been at work.

The Hope for Kidz Program is now providing a hot meal for over 1,300 kids every school day. Not only is it meeting nutritional needs of kids, it has become an evangelistic tool. Once people heard that the schools were providing a free hot lunch, they flocked to the school, transferring their kids so they could be a part of it. Those additional families are now exposed to the Gospel on a daily basis!

In response to the cholera issue, we have a cholera handout in creole for each Sister Church to pass out to their congregation and people in their community. This will go hand in hand with a seminar for the people in the community on how to prevent, recognize and treat cholera as well as how to properly treat water for drinking and cooking.

RMI is committed to coming alongside the Haitian people in meeting their needs and helping them as they travel the road to recovery. We are enabling people here in the US be a part of meeting those needs. Hands on ministry that makes a difference

Remember Haiti today. Don’t forget the Haitian people!

We will not forget!

RMI missionary, Amy Long, has many memories of that day and the long days that followed. Here is Amy Long's blog.

The Ft. Myers newspaper, The News-Press, has a reporter and photo journalist in Haiti this week. Besides their general reports, they are visiting several ministries from the Southwest Florida area who are ministering in Haiti. Thursday (tomorrow) they will be meeting with RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, and visiting some of the Homes for Haiti homes in Leogane. Look for links to those pictures and the report on this blog in the next couple of days. Once they return, there may also be a TV report on the local CBS affiliate. (Cool, huh?!)

Crosses mark the site of a mass grave Tuesday in Titanyen, just outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bodies were brought to the spot after the devastating earthquake of one year ago today

Crosses mark the site of a mass grave Tuesday in Titanyen, just outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bodies were brought to the spot after the devastating earthquake of one year ago today (Andrew West/

You can find more News-Press photos here. Reporter Rachel Revehl’s, article for today can be found here.

Additional resources:

Haitians rely on faith-based organizations (video from ABC News)

Haitians turn to God at quake anniversary ( article)

Franklin Graham's crusade in Port-au-Prince (

US Ambassador: Progress in Haiti is slow but real (The Washington Post)

In Haiti, Hope is the last thing lost (Wall Street Journal article)

We know that Haiti’s hope and answer is in Jesus Christ. We are excited that God is using us and you to make an impact!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Meet Amanda Barnard, RMI’s newest employee!!

Amanda Barnard, fall 2010Amanda was born and raised in the heart of Gator Country, also known as Gainesville, Florida. The youngest of three children born to Christian parents, Amanda grew up both with a heart for Jesus and a heart for ministry. Shortly after she turned 16, Amanda joined her father in visiting their Sister Church in Baraderes, Haiti with RMI. This trip was transformational both in her life and her faith and served as the catalyst for getting her re-introduced to RMI through the modern miracle of Facebook in the summer of 2009.

Amanda attended the University of Florida and majored in Recreation, Parks and Tourism with a specialization in Event Management. After vowing to never work for a non-profit, she followed the Lord’s prompting to accept a job as a Community Director for the March of Dimes. For the past 3 years, Amanda has been planning events, educating the general public about the importance of maternal and infant health, and helping to raise money to further the organization’s mission. In addition to her work with the March of Dimes, she served as an active board member for Healthy Start of North Central Florida, was involved with the Non-Profit Business Council and Emerging Leaders of Ocala, and served as the RMI Sister Church Coordinator for her church.

Because of her great passion for RMI and the work they are doing in Haiti, it was only natural that Amanda would talk to her boyfriend, Chris, about how much she wanted to go work for them in Ft. Myers someday. Convinced that he didn't want to be the one to stand in the way of her dreams, Chris applied for and accepted a job that had just opened within his company in Ft. Myers...of all places. The weekend she returned home from a trip to Haiti, Chris popped "the question". They will be getting hitched on February 13 of this year.

In her spare time (what little is left after moving, changing jobs, and planning a wedding), Amanda enjoys running, playing Scrabble, eating sushi and cottage cheese, soaking up as much sunshine as humanly possible, smiling excessively, and taking power naps. One of her favorite passages of scripture is 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us”. Amanda’s life experiences serve as a constant reminder to her that she is merely a vessel to be used for her Master’s glory. Her heart's desire is to make finding pleasure in God the passionate pursuit of her earthly existence.

Amanda is THRILLED to be coming on board with RMI as the Ministry Development Coordinator. She is trusting God to ignite churches and individuals with a passion for uplifting believers in Haiti and the United States through Sister Church Partnerships.