Thursday, December 22, 2011

Introducing RMI’s new Women’s Ministry Coordinator!

clip_image002RMI is thrilled to announce that after prayerful consideration, Mrs. Mary Langford has agreed to volunteer with RMI as the part-time Women’s Ministry Coordinator.

Mary was born and raised as the second of five children in a Catholic family in Lafayette, Louisiana. Following many painful experiences during her childhood, Mary made the conscious decision to turn her back on God immediately following her graduation from high school. While earning a BS in nursing from the local university, Mary met a young serviceman by the name of Bill Langford. Three and a half years later, after his return from Vietnam, Bill and Mary were married. Four years into their marriage, each of them turned their lives over to Jesus Christ. Together they raised a son and two daughters and have since been blessed with eight delightful grandchildren (the ninth is due in April, 2012).

After her children were grown, Mary returned to school and earned a master’s degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. She then worked for a Christian counseling agency for several years before going into private practice. Mary was certified as a caregiver in formational prayer and inner healing by Ashland Theological Seminary. Mary and Bill are also both certified in equine-assisted counseling and learning through EAGALA (Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association). They currently practice both on their 170 acre horse farm (learn more by visiting their website at They are particularly interested in providing help and healing to survivors of all types of trauma.

Mary and Bill have attended Trinity Bible Church, one of RMI’s Sister Churches, for over 30 years. Mary has served in various positions during her time there including those of Bible teacher (she is trained as a Precept leader), ladies’ ministry and small group leader, Young Life volunteer leader and local board member, lay counselor, volunteer with local homeless ministry, inner city summer tutoring program, and college ministry volunteer.

Mary went on her first trip to Haiti in 2002 to visit her Sister Church in Picot. It was then that the Lord captured her heart for the country and for its people. As their team drove up to Picot church and were greeted by their joyous, exuberant Haitian brothers and sisters she simply fell in love! She thought to herself at the time, “This is a taste of heaven!” She has since returned to Picot about a dozen times, and each time feels like she is going home.

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As the years went by, God began to strengthen Mary’s desire to do something to help her Haitian family. She says, “As my friendship has grown over the years with my sisters and brothers in Haiti, I have been richly and deeply blessed by their steadfast faith in our Lord. I treasure being a part of God’s family with them. For years I’ve seen the numerous sacrifices the Haitian women make without complaint in service to God and their families, and I admit I’ve been frustrated that I couldn’t more effectively come alongside them to share their burdens.”

When RMI asked Mary to serve as their coordinator for a new U.S. and Haitian women’s ministry which would provide their long-dreamed of vision within the Sister Churches of intentionally engaging women across both cultures in mutual transformation, she was intrigued…and terrified! “Who me? Certainly the Lord had someone else more qualified for the job.” Still, she agreed to pray about her decision. As she did, God reminded her of something she had asked Him the year before in response to a pastor’s challenge. It was, “Lord, whatever You are doing in this season, don’t do it without me!”

Here is what it comes down to for Mary. She loves Haiti….and especially her sisters there! So now here is a way that we, U. S. sisters, can come alongside our Haitian sisters and minister to one another as God leads us. Therefore, it is an honor to be a part of serving Christ together on one another’s behalf.

RMI will be unveiling more about this new Women’s Ministry and how it will impact each Sister Church Partnership in the weeks and months to come! In the meantime, help us welcome Mary by sending her an email of welcome or encouragement to

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

RMI Founders Honored for 50 years of Faithful Service

RMI founders, Herb and Shirley Shoemaker, were honored during the recent RMI Board Meetings for their 50 years of faithful and sacrificial service in ministry. Dec. 6, 1961 they went to Haiti with their 4 year old son, Dan. That son, now RMI’s President and RMI’s Chairman of the Board, Billy Byrd, presented them with a framed certificate of honor and an engraved gift at the Semi-annual Board meeting dinner on Dec. 8.



Herb & Shirley, plaque & gift, tuned

What a legacy! We are grateful to them for their steadfastness, their enduring love for Haiti and their continued involvement with RMI. It is because of them that RMI exists and is where it is today.

RMI’s national Haiti Administrator, Benjamin Altema, was also able to be present at the RMI dinner. He was in Ft. Myers at the annual ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) conference. Being a trained agronomist, it is a part of his continuing education and networking opportunities that RMI provides. Besides his being connected to RMI by being an employee, he has a personal connection to Herb and Shirley since he was a little child. His mother worked for Herb and Shirley in their home in Haiti since she was 18. Her husband asked Herb for her hand in marriage. When Dan returned to Haiti, as a single missionary, she worked for him until he left to get married. When he returned, she worked in Dan and Debbie’s household for many years until the day they left. Benjamin started working for RMI on a part time basis in the last few years before Dan and Debbie moved to the US. The Shoemaker and Altema families are intricately connected.

He was happy to share a few words at the dinner.

Even though the restaurant noise was considerable, his sharing was very meaningful!

Thank you, Herb and Shirley, for your outstanding example, selfless servanthood and dedication to the Lord for these past 50 years!

Successful Board Meetings!

The 2 day RMI Board meetings recently went well. It’s hard to explain every single thing that happens at a board meeting, but here’s a short summary: budgets and finances are discussed, department, field, projects and staff reports are given, future ministry opportunities are considered, policies are made, and new applicants are reviewed. Board members are not afraid to ask the hard questions; they consider all the angles of an issue. Sometimes there are lengthy discussions because the members know there are long reaching, if not long lasting effects to their decisions. We are thankful for their deep interest and commitment to RMI.