Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We went to the tip of the Island…

Last week, Drew and I had the opportunity to go with Harper EFC, of Port Orchard, WA to visit their partnering church in Les Irois, Haiti.  It was a great week!  It is truly at far western tip of Haiti.  On a clear day, you would almost think you could see Cuba from there.

Right away, I could see that the team from Harper LOVED the people of Les Irois, but especially the children of Les Irois.  They have for many years been largely invested in RMI’s Hope for Kidz program.  It was evident.  They came prepared to love on those kids like I have not seen before.

While there, I watched as a long term partnership between these 2 churches further blossom and deepen.  It was a joy to listen to their prayers, to watch the way they did life together, to see the constant fellowship filled with laughter and sharing, to see the reunions upon their arrival, and even the moment of separation upon their departure.

While out there, we visited 3 satellite churches in the Les Irois district.  We visited Mandou, Carcasse, and Merise.  At each place, the team took careful time to encourage and be encouraged by the ministry of presence.  At Mandou, it was a joy for the team to see progress on the parsonage that Harper church has invested heavily in.  Soon there will be a roof so the pastor and his wife can move in.

There was a gathering for the ladies, a gathering for the youth, a gathering for the Hope for Kidz children. There were worship services.  There was an evangelistic service.  Each of these gatherings went so well.  All were encouraged in the faith.

This is only the second time I had the opportunity to take Drew with me on a partnership team visit.  Each time he goes, he gets better at figuring out how to do life in a village in the presence of a team.  To be honest, he struggles with so many eyes and so much attention on him.  He battles his desire to help translate and be involved, along with his fears and spirit of timidity.  With age and maturity, I totally expect him to grow into a strong leader.  He and I talk all the time about leadership.  My job is to be gentle, to remember he is only 8, and to not put too much pressure on him!  It’s fun to watch.  His latest 3 leadership lessons are that a leader must  (1.) know where they are going, (2.) know how to get there, and (3.) look back and make sure others are following.

Many more pictures can be seen here.


An AWESOME Visit to a very REMOTE Church…

We were really “out there” in Chardonette, Haiti.  Crossroads Community Church, of Doylestown, OH, came for their very first C3 Partnership visit a few weeks back.  I had the privilege of going with them.  We changed lives.  We were changed.

From the moment we arrived, the marriage between Crossroads Community Church, Chardonette Church, and RMI was real.  It is hard to put my finger on it, but there was something different, something special in the air.  There was such warmth and joy.  There was a true collaborative humble spirit.  There was an immediate mutual desire to reach out to the community with the Gospel.  There was a quick bond, only possible by the mutual love of Christ, and therefore a love of one another.  It was truly special to have experienced it.

Chardonette is a church that is stuck.  To be honest, they are on the bottom rung of the development ladder.  Injustices were everywhere.  Clean water is an issue.  There is no school building.  The parsonage walls are mud and the roof is rusted and full of holes.  The one room church is crumbling.  There is no electricity.  They are off the beaten path and therefore have little hope of external support.  They are full of the Spirit, but empty of resources. To be honest, they were only considered as a next Sister Church since RMI saw their situation, stepped in and added them.  This church is pretty much forgotten. No special treatment for them. We roughed it a bit.  But the people of Chardonette who hosted us, the 15 US team members, and the 8 RMI staff members all took it in stride since it was all for Jesus.

What did we do?  As we say so often, our partnership visits are much about presence.  When a friend or family member is sick in the hospital, what do you do?  You go and stand by their side.  Surely, you look for opportunities to do something tangible as those opportunities arise, but the visit is most about presence.  It is about standing together, encouraging and praying with one another.  Even being silent…. simply being present.  This was realized.

Having said that, Crossroads Community Church did some very tangible things that clearly made a difference.  Together, we walked far and visited homes of believers and unbelievers alike.  We visited the homes (each strategically chosen by the local church) of widows, of the desperately poor, the blind and broken, of the unsaved.  Each received a bucket of food, prayer, and the Gospel.  Out of about 25 homes that we visited, we saw about 5 people submit to the Lordship of Christ and pray to receive Him as their savior. We traveled to another even more remote church to encourage and bless them with some food, 1 hour UP a hand-made mountain road that was only accessible by low 4 wheel drive.  Truly, this is what God called us to do as believers.

We played games with kids and adults like I have never seen before.  We worshipped.  We prayed.  We ate.  We talked.  We dreamed.  We hiked.  We shared.  We cried.  We sweated. We laughed.  We lived the life that Jesus called us to.

Many more pictures are available here.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Greg and Star Have Their Tickets!

It’s final, August 19 Greg and Star Harvie will be flying to Haiti!

Harvies 2

They have worked hard, visiting churches, traveling and meeting with people and God has answered and provided their funds in amazing, sometimes unexpected and exciting way.  He has used many people to make it possible for them to set their date and buy those tickets.

They attended 4 weeks of missionary training school in Colorado.  This training was designed to help them develop the practical skills and attitudes that will successfully take them through the challenging and rewarding process of being interwoven with another culture.  They learned a lot, made life-long friends and had fun doing it too. 

In June Greg and Star were busy with the business of packing and moving.  They sorted through their belongings, packed what they wanted to keep and held an auction for the things they needed to get rid of.  They sold their house – in record time, especially for a small town.  The container was packed June 22 with the help of friends.  (And in the allotted tiny window of 2 hours.)  It was an adventure – the first of many!  Not many people move internationally when they move.  There was extra room, so they were able to take down equipment and supplies for RMI’s ministry. 

collage for RMI's FB

The container traveled by truck to a rail yard that transported it to a New York ship yard.  It was loaded on a ship and set sail July 11.  Pray for it’s safe arrival, a speedy pathway through customs and all of that red tape then safe travels as it is trucked to Cayes.  This is usually a 2-3 month process.

Since then they’ve made their last visits with their 2 girls as well as other family and their many friends.  They stopped by Camp Joy, where they’d been the Camp Director before coming with RMI.  They were blessed to have the camp say a prayer of dedication over them.

Camp Joy praying for Greg and Star as they prepare to leave for HaitiGreg will be wearing several hats: Project supervisor, garage supervisor and maintenance supervisor.  He’ll be a very busy man and his many talents will be well used.

Star will be working with the RMI Field Director and RMI’s national Director in the office.  She’ll help in many other ways in the RMI Cayes office.  Her many talents are badly needed and she’ll be kept very busy too.

God’s provision of Greg and Star for RMI’s ministry in Haiti is very timely.  When Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin left in May, they left a very big hole.  Greg and Star aren’t taking over everything that the McLaughlin’s were doing, but they’ll help fill that hole.  They actually will be living in the McLaughlin’s house, though!  It’s been painted, repaired and is ready for them to move in.

We are looking forward to having them in the RMI Office for a couple of days before they have a day or two of R & R before they board the plane.

Pray for them in these final days.  There’s always a lot of details to take care of, more family and friends to visit – one always wishes there were just a few more days to get things done. 

Thanks to everyone who has had a part of praying for and giving to the Harpies' ministry.  You can keep up to date with them on Facebook and their blog HERE.