Friday, May 31, 2013

RMI 2.0, part 3

Like the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean, we know we can't help all of Haiti, but we can make a difference in a specific church and community.  However, to be effective, there has to be a plan set forth - a strategy.  RMI's Starfish Strategy is that strategic, long range plan. 
The Starfish Strategy provides a structure for long term planning and evaluation.  In it's entirety it is a comprehensive strategy to make maximum impact on a church and community.  This  strategy comes in 3 parts.
Part 1 -  The Process

Connect - Connect with your Sister Church and the community it is in.
Assess - Together with RMI, the Haitian church’s needs are assessed through the grid of five Strategic Impact Points.
Equip - Together with RMI, your church or team is equipped with all that is needed for the assessed project or ministry.
Implement - Together with your Sister Church, the ministry or  project is implemented either through a team activity or facilitated directly via RMI.
Transform - The desired end result of the ministry or project is to see lives transformed spiritually, physically, socially,  and/or economically.

Part 2 - Strategic Impact Point Grid
The Strategic Impact Point Grid is the foundation of the Starfish Strategy.  Everything revolves around these points. Our Process assesses the needs in each point.  And our phases make sure we are engaged in each point in a progressing manner.  We want to make sure that a C3 Partnership is engaged in all 5 of these areas:
Social Compassion
Community Development

It is through this they are able to preach “the whole Gospel”.  They are impacting not just the spiritual but also the emotional, physical, social, and economic needs of those in the church and community.  All the while preaching Christ by being the voice, hands, and feet of Jesus through every aspect of their partnership together.
Part 3 - Implementation Pathway


There are 5 phases in the Implementation Pathway. 






Each of these phases build on the one before.  A significant new emphasis is on reaching out into the community.  The first 2 1/2 phases are aimed at strengthening the church itself.  The last 2 1/2 are aimed at reaching out as the hands and feet of Jesus into the community.


As you can see, RMI’s Starfish strategy will become the driving force for our C3 Partnerships.  This will enable our partnerships to have measureable and effective goals and strategies to enable them to have long-term strategic impact in their churches and communities.
Do you know of a church that is looking for this type of strategic impact in their missions program?  We would be glad to contact them to share how a C3 Partnership along with the Starfish Strategy could energize their missions impact.  Contact RMI at 239-368-8390, or via email at

Friday, May 24, 2013

RMI 2.0, part 2


Connected Church to Church Partnerships
RMI is Connecting Churches Cross-culturally
The Sister Church Program has a new name!  Another sign of growth and a result of the re-branding process is the changing of the Sister Church Program name to C3 Partnerships.  The name change will enable us to better connect with today's church leaders.  It also aptly describes what our anchor program does: it connects church to church partnerships.  We enable churches from different cultures to connect with one another in a long-term strategic partnership.  A church becomes a "C3 partner" with a Sister Church in Haiti.  Once a church becomes a C3 Partner, then we begin to refer to their relationship using our normal "Sister Church" terminology.  It'll take some conscious re-training of our minds to make this change, especially for all of you who have been with RMI for a while.
Believe it or not, this is the first time our foundational program actually has it's own logo.  We are very happy to introduce it to you here.  We would be glad for you to use the new logo in your church, for publicizing your Sister Church, in your videos or other presentations.  Please email Debbie Shoemaker at to ask for the appropriate format file for your purposes.

This change and the Starfish Strategy are meant to grow, enhance, strengthen and mature the C3 Partnerships.  We want to drive the relationships with a solid direction and purpose so they will have strategic and maximum impact on their Sister Churches.  This is why we've developed and defined the Starfish Strategy.  It will take a while to change our mindsets, and educate everyone familiar with the "old" Sister Church Program, but hopefully when all is said and done, the words "oh dear, our dates to go to Haiti are coming up -- what on earth are we going to do this time when we're there?" will not have to be uttered again.  RMI is working with our staff in Haiti to educate and shepherd our Haitian Sister Church Partners in this long term strategic planning for their churches as well.

Next week we will introduce you to the Starfish Strategy and it's 3 part logo.  Developing this has really added solid meat onto the "bones" of the  "old" Sister Church Program.  It has already been shared with several new and established Partnership churches.  It's been received with overwhelming enthusiasm.  One statement we heard from a new church prospect was that this was something the church could really "sink their teeth into". 

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Ladies’ Missionary Retreat

Last weekend we held the annual Ladies’ Missionary Retreat at RMI’s Retreat Center in Zanglais, Haiti.  This is the third year that Amy and I have organized this event, and RMI has been planning/sponsoring it for many, many years.  This is a weekend the missionary ladies look forward to every year, and it seems the excitement has grown each year since I have been here.  This year we had 40 missionary ladies in attendance: a record number for Amy and me!
Our theme was “Learning to Listen: An Invitation to Sacred Stillness.”  Our speakers, Pauline McLemore, MS, EdS and Jama White, PsyD, came from the Chattanooga, TN area.  The theme verse was Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  Throughout the weekend we were challenged to cease striving and be still before God, were given tools to aid us in listening to God during our quiet times, looked at Jesus’ example of engaging in ministry and relationships and then retreating for rest, and discussed the story of Mary and Martha.  These are just a few examples of the Biblical “meat” we had the opportunity to feast on during the weekend.  Just living life in Haiti is tiring and it’s easy to get caught up in ministry and doing.  A weekend to refresh and bask in God’s Word was just what we all needed. The worship times were very meaningful.  It is very enjoyable and refreshing to be able to worship and be taught from God’s Word in my heart language (English.)
Of course we all look forward to the fellowship!  We had a good amount of down time worked into the weekend.  We were able to spend that time with the Lord, relaxing alone or having fun with each other.  We watched a movie on the big screen, played a massive game of Catch Phrase as well as numerous other group games, enjoyed the beach and the amazing view of the Caribbean, and just had a great time together.  We had a planned craft time and decoupaged candle holders. 
As much as we like Haitian food, this was a weekend free of Haitian food!  Amy worked hard to create a special menu for us.  We enjoyed a more “American” fare and definitely ate well!  Amy also did a great job decorating for the retreat, making it feel like a very special event.
Ladies' Missionary Retreat May 2013
It’s weekends like this that make me thankful for this amazing community we have here in Haiti.  I so appreciate these relationships and the opportunity to strengthen them.
Overall, it was a great weekend to refresh and rest our souls, to be still with God and have a good time with each other!

Friday, May 17, 2013

RMI 2.0, part 1

RMI is now 25 years old! A lot has happened in those 25 years. Ups…downs…growth…God’s hand of affirmation. Times have changed and it is time for our "brand" to reflect it. For the past year we have undergone a “vision clarification and re-branding” process. This has helped us think through who we are, how can we effectively state it in today's vernacular as well as show it via logos, etc. It has been an exciting and affirming process as we move into RMI 2.0.
It is important to note that we are not changing who we are - just how we look and how we are communicating! We have quite a bit of information to share with you, so we are going to be posting them in parts. Other changes you’ll see just in our look, colors, etc. And some changes will happen gradually.
We love our new Logo!

RMI is the bridge between 2 cultures. We are the "third party facilitator" that makes the Sister Church Partnerships possible. We are the ones that have a presence on the ground in Haiti and staff to make projects happen, provide accountability and give reports. We bridge the gap between the US and Haiti making culturally relevant partnerships possible. A bridge is reflected in our new logo. The bridge concept is something that you will see reflected in our graphics in a number of ways. There are 2 colors, showing 2 cultures. One color (blue) is helping the other one rise up, much like RMI's programs, ministries and partnerships do for our Haitian brothers and sisters.
...yes, all of that thinking and symbolism is in the new logo. We are excited to be able to communicate RMI in a more modern manner.
Did you see the tag line?
RMI's MISSION is to be Mobilizing Global Partnerships to Transform Lives in Christ. This is why we do what we do...because we want RMI to mobilize global partnerships...because we want to use these partnerships to transform lives both in the national church AND in the US church.
RMI’s MOTIVATION for ministry is…
* The Gospel that transforms – RMI considers the Gospel to be the unsurpassed agent of radical life change. (We want everything we do to proclaim Christ.)
* The Church as God’s instrument – RMI values the Church as God’s chosen agent to enable life change. (We mainly work in and through the local church, both here in the US and overseas.)
* Partnerships that are engaged – RMI mobilizes church to church partnerships to effectively engage in transforming and ministering to one another and into their communities as part of Christ’s body. (Sister Church Partnerships are our foundational ministry.)
* Service that is sacrificial – RMI believes that Christ is honored and pleased by service that requires sacrifice on the part of the server.
What are our MEASURES?  In other words, how do we know that we are accomplishing the goal of transforming lives on both the US and Haitian sides?
When the National Church is being transformed we will see:
  • People reached
  • Christians discipled
  • Churches resourced
  • Needs met
  • Communities improved
When the US Church is being transformed we will see:
  • Compassionate Christians
  • More missionaries
  • Generous givers
  • Everyday evangelists
  • Selfless servants
Stay tuned for The RMI 2.0, part 2 next week. We can't wait to show you what's coming up!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Please, We Need Your Help!

There is a Haitian Proverb that says “Men anpil, chay pa lou.”   It means “Many hands make the work light.”  I would be lost without this team.  I (and you) need them on so many levels.  We teach one another.  We serve one another.  We love one another.  We encourage one another.  We transform lives with one another.  We push the same plow.  God has blessed the RMI Family with a great national staff!
We are working hard to raise up our team by empowering them to do the work.  We believe in them as true team members.  Our goal is to train them up and release them as fellow workers so that we can together reap the harvest.  These are my fellow world changers.  These are my fellow missionaries. 
Here is where you come in…  You know them.  You love them.  You have served with them.  You know their potential.  Do you believe in them?  Will you invest in them?  You can now directly support our Haitian Staff.
Our salary budget is currently over $7000 USD per month.  They are more than worth it!  We can’t do what we do without them.  But, this is a huge burden to carry, and we need “many hands to make this burden lighter”.  Will you join us as financial and prayer supporters by praying and giving monthly, quarterly, or annually to our Haiti Staff Fund?  Will you give $50/$75/$100/$150 a month?  Some will be able to give less, and some more.  This will allow us to adequately care for them, as well as hire additional staff that we still so desperately need to do all that we believe God has in our future. 
Please Donate today and choose “Haiti Staff”! 
If you are unable to give today, but you would like to pledge your future support, please do so here.
Idea:  Print the picture below here and post it in your home to pray for them by name.
Staff Badge Pics - Copy

A Retirement, but not a Goodbye

RMI held a retirement party for missionaries, Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin, on May 11, 2013 in Lehigh Acres, FL.  We were happy they were able to stop by on their way home from the field.  It was a sweet time of fellowship and special to hear their stories of some of their most memorable, touching and funny stories.
Gary and Marilyn at Agape, arriving home for good
Many people saw them off at the airport in Cayes, Haiti.  Here they are at Agape Flights in Venice, FL after that emotional send off.
They faithfully served in Haiti for 9 years.  Gary was a team facilitator, worked with the Homes for Haiti building teams, helped out in maintaining our vehicles and facilities and so many, many more things.  Marilyn served in the Hope for Kidz sponsorship program.  When she started, there were about 800 kids sponsored.  Now there are almost 2,000! 
We celebrated them with a yummy rib dinner at the home of RMI President, Dan Shoemaker.  IMG_4730
Left to right: Dan Shoemaker, Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin, Barb and Kim Rose, John and Linda Garner (RMI Board members from Ft. Lauderdale), Herb and Shirley Shoemaker and Frances and Craig Archer (RMI’s new graphic artist).  Also present was Debbie Shoemaker.


IMG_4743They were given a Garmin GPS – so they’d always know where they are going in life Smile…. and a special plaque from RMI recognizing their sacrificial service in Haiti. 
They did an amazing job and many, many lives were transformed because of their willingness to be there during the tough times (earthquakes, included!) and the – well, it can’t really be said that there are “easy times” when one is a missionary in Haiti!  We are very grateful for them and the impact they had on RMI’s ministries in Haiti.
We aren’t saying goodbye, though.  After they settle in at their cabin in Packwood, WA (for those of you who don’t know, that’s in the shadow of Mt. St. Helens), Gary will continue to minister with RMI part time as RMI’s Northwest representative.  It will be great to have his experience with RMI in Haiti continue to be used for God’s glory.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Staff in Haiti! I’m Very Excited!

We have spent much time over the last couple of years building up our team here in Haiti.  We have been organizing and training.  We have been empowering, embracing, and releasing them for ministry. These aren’t empty words. We don’t have gophers, or even employees, but fellow team mates. RMI can only accomplish great things for the Lord because of these 29 servants (this number of course does not include our missionary staff, that I am also grateful for).  Our capacity here in Haiti has grown exponentially.  We are now able to handle multiple endeavors every day.  Vehicle maintenance, deliveries, financial oversight, SCP and HFK accountability visits by monitors, project facilitation, bank runs, tons of administration, US church team visits, communications, hospitality logistics, all being done well and happening concurrently every day.  Why can we do this?  Only because of our trusted team. I believe in them. Yet, we want to do more and we want to do it better.  I am always talking about quantity AND quality. I have no desire to do the first without the second. We deeply believe in what we do, so we want to do more of it and we want to do it right.  Of course, if we aren’t careful, we will kill ourselves in the process.  I and my current team are simply blitzed with the work.  We are fatigued and we need help.  We have gotten so much more efficient and effective, but we just can’t handle everything.  Therefore, we are bringing on more team members.  We are so excited for their arrival.  Here they are… Pierre Rony, Manno and Frantz (Left to Right). 



Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mud, mud, I love Mud…

In the popular children’s song and book, the song goes, “Mud, Mud, I love Mud, I’m absolutely positively wild about Mud.”  I’ve read this book too many times and therefore I’ve been known to sing this to myself (Please don’t tell anyone).  But, the teachers and kids at the Lievre school were tired of the mud.  The school was built, a roof was put on, but the first step out of the classroom was often into mud.  Not now!
Petersburg Bible Church decided to change the reality of that school. Now, they have a very long and helpful sidewalk as they leave school.   You can see the water, but now they have a dry place to walk and get around the mud.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Celebrating Nine Years and Saying “See You Soon”.

There's a  song that says "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. "

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." 

However you put it, unless you're reading a good book or watching a movie, "endings" are quite often hard. Especially when it means saying goodbye to beloved friends. 

For almost nine years Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin have faithfully served with RMI on the field in Haiti;  Marilyn as the Hope for Kidz Coordinator and Gary as a team leader, project coordinator, and general Mr. fix-it.  When they retired from their stateside positions, instead of sitting around relaxing they came to Haiti to serve:  Marilyn always passionate in her work with the kids, and Gary always leading, always working, always serving.  But as with all good things, their time in Haiti is coming to an end.  May 9 (in just 6 days!) Gary and Marilyn will leave the field to return to their home and family and friends in Packwood, Washington.  They leave quite a legacy. They will be greatly missed.

gary and marilynTuesday, we celebrated them and all they have accomplished in their time We had a great Haitian meal of chicken, rice and beans, beet salad, fried plantains, pizza and pineapple cake!  The Haitian staff put together a great program for them which even included jokes and riddles, and a few folks got up and shared memories and thanks and then the staff presented the McLaughlin's with a gift and a plaque of appreciation.  We missionary folk also shared; Rob a devotion and a reflection, Becky, Tessa and Braden did an awesome job singing “The Lord is my Shepherd” in both English and Creole and I shared some words (and cried a little).  The word bittersweet was used multiple times during the afternoon.  We are excited for Gary and Marilyn as they embark on this new chapter in their lives but as they leave, so leaves a part of our family.

So for now, we won't say goodbye. Rather, we'll say see you later and pray that God will cross our paths again, whether in the US or in Haiti.

Gary and Marilyn, we love you. Thank you. We'll see you soon, si dye vle (if God wills).


(Above and Below: Enjoying the Haitian Feast!)

everyone eats

Below Left: Becky and the kids singing “The Lord is my Shepherd”  Below Right:  Benson presenting the plaque to Gary and Marilyn

becky and kidsplaque

(Below: Praying over them as we send them off into the next chapter of their lives")


Goats Galore…

Thank you to Petersburg Bible for your generosity when it came to providing relief after Hurricane Sandy went through last fall.  The people of Lievre are very appreciative!
The pastor in Lievre wrote…  “We are very happy from the bottom of our heart to thank you for the important help and we want to express our gratitude to you for the goat project. This project was very necessary for us because Hurricane Sandy had destroyed our livestock and gardens. For many of us the church family, we received some goats to replace what we lost. As you know the goat is a source of income for us to help our kids with school and school supplies.”