Thursday, April 30, 2015

HFK Thank You From Maniche...

Here is a sweet video from a girl, Alexandria Sylvavia, from Maniche, Haiti, who is sponsored in RMI's Hope for Kidz program. She wanted to say thank you, not only to her own sponsor, but to all of the Hope for Kidz sponsors.

Good morning. My name is Alexandre Sylvavia. I am a student of Maniche Baptist school. I am so happy today to say thank you to all the sponsors that are supporting kids all around Haiti through Espwa Pou Timoun Program (RMI's Hope for Kidz program). This program started supporting me in school when I was in kindergarten, and now I am in 6th grade. I want to say that this program has done a lot for me and many other students.

The program has provided me with shoes, a school uniform, a hot meal everyday, and it has paid my school tuition and that helps my parents a lot. I want to take this time to say to my sponsor thank you so much and know for sure that I am praying for them. This message is also for all the other sponsors for the great work they are doing.

Once again... thank you, thank you and thank you.

God bless.

Want to Sponsor a Child?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

McGregor Youth Changed Eternity...

The McGregor Baptist Church youth team changed eternity!  They shared the Gospel with hundreds and were privileged to take part as 46 of these chose to follow Christ.  This team came prepared, under great leadership, to share and serve like few other teams I have experienced.

Here is the McGregor team sharing the Gospel
at a soccer field in Zanglais, Haiti.
How did we do evangelism?  This week, we focused on 2 strategies.  First, after arrival in the community, we split the large team of 27 into smaller groups, and sent out each small group on foot with a local church leader.  We ALWAYS do this in coordination with a local church leader (Deacon, Deaconess, Pastor) so they can evaluate the responses and followup after our teams have gone.  Each group visited homes (actually front yards since Haitians tend to be outside) and shared the Gospel.  Secondly, in the afternoons we would go back to the same community and have a casual gathering of kids at the local soccer field (many would come because they were invited and others would come to see what was happening and play games).  As we would faithfully present the Gospel, we heard "no", we heard "I will think about it" and we certainly heard "I'm Catholic", but we also heard "YES" 46 times!  We praise the Lord.  

We trust that these were authentic decisions to change their eternal zip code.  We count on the local church to follow up and plug these new believers into their fellowship so they can be discipled.

Pastor Ben praying for Pastor Olbert
at the Pemel church plant.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A New Sister Church Relationship in Zanglais, Haiti...

"What a memorable experience!  What extraordinary measures to make us comfortable! To make us feel at home and welcome. " These are some of the words to describe the first Sister Church (C3 Partnership) visit by the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg, FL to their new sister church at Zanglais, Haiti.

With a welcome of marching, the Brigade, the sign, the Zanglais church went out of their way to celebrate this new relationship.  Members of the team and staff were welcomed with singing, clapping, and even rose boutonnieres.

The Brigade marching and dancing
The focus of this first visit was building relationships, and that important goal was met. Church on Sunday morning again welcomed the team with a lot of the songs sung in English. In the afternoon, the team and RMI missionaries were able to meet and talk with the entire Pastor's family. It was probably the only time the busy Madanm Pastor sat down the entire week! 

First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg 
and the Pastor with his family.
Team members were also able to fellowship with two of the seven satellite churches in the district, Lasource Baptist Church and Grison Baptist Church. Both churches welcomed the team warmly and provided an opportunity to see the growth of the Christian church in Haiti.

There were so many highlights to the week, but one of the most important was when four people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior as a result of the music, the gospel message by Robert Mayforth, and the call for salvation from two of the RMI staff missionaries. 

Meeting all the 75 Hope for Kidz sponsored children energized the team members to recruit additional sponsors, giving more children the opportunity to attend school. All the team members were spent time with their sponsored children throughout the week.

An opportunity to meet sponsored children.
Perhaps the most anticipated event was the wedding of six couples of the church. The weddings were made possible by the donation of 28 wedding dresses by the First Baptist Sister Church. Each of the brides had the opportunity to pick their "perfect dress" from the huge selection.  

One of the beautiful brides.
Visiting shut-ins and delivering food provided the opportunity to identify families most needing a new home through the Homes for Haiti program. The fellowship with these shut-ins were a blessing.

One of several homes visited by the Sister Church.
Excited, tired, blessed..... The end of a meaningful week for Sister Churches First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg and Zanglais MEBSH Church, Haiti.

You can see more pictures here.

Creekside Visits Their Sister Church at Baradare...

It was a busy, exciting, memorable sister church visit when Creekside Church of Gainesville, Florida went to Baradare, Haiti.  For four people on the team, it was their first trip to Haiti. For others, such as Don Forrester, it was a time of renewing friendships in Baradare, Haiti. Don was making his 28th trip to Baradare as team leader!

For Laura Lebo, it was a time of joy and sadness. It was her 5th trip to Haiti, but her last trip for a long time. She is leaving later this year as a full time missionary with Pioneers, ministering most likely in Chad, Africa. For RMI field missionaries, Laura and Joel Sutton, it was a touch of home since Creekside is their home church in Florida. Even more personal, two of the three nurses on the team were Laura's former nursing students.

Everyone was excited to see the changes in the community of Baradare from clean, paved streets to the amazing city park with exercise equipment, a stage, and beautiful landscaped greenery.

Waiting for the service to start. Town people on the sides.

The team and church put the park to good use with an outdoor service Sunday evening. To make it even better,  there was a heavy rain shower. So,  everyone crowded on the stage or on nearby porches until the rain stopped. They heard fantastic music, two inspiring testimonies and a message all showing the need for a Savior.

The team of four nurses, a Haitian nurse, other team members, RMI staff, and church leaders saw 182 people in the health clinics over three mornings in Baradare and the satellite church at Pedirain.

Climbing the hill to the Pedirain church!
A pediatric nurse was also great with older people
The Haitian nurse explaining medications to a patient 
The Ladies Tea, children's program, discussion with the church leadership about Hope for Kids, playing with children and visiting shut-ins did not take second place in importance to the clinics.

Ladies Tea - enjoying the fellowship
Children playing with two of the team members
Visiting shut-ins
Worshipping together and sharing God's Word were the most significant events in the week. The special music by the cooks and the children as the team left, saying goodbye to Laura Lebo were an example of the importance of relationships that happen because of long-term Sister Church relationships.

Truly, God is great and His church is strong!

You can see more pictures here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Partnerships: Not Just a Buzz Word...

This week we have been reminded of some of our institutional partnerships that we are blessed to be a part of.  We talk A LOT about our 30 C3 Partners because EVERYTHING we do flows out of our Sister Church partnerships,  Did you know that we have additional partnerships with other organizations that help make these church partnerships possible? We are serious about "Mobilizing Global Partnerships to Transform Lives in Christ".

Among others, this week we have been reminded of...

ACWR (Apostolic Christian World Relief) - This week we received a 40' container of food buckets.
AWANA - We have been planning for next week's Awana celebration and training event the we are doing here in Southern Haiti.
FFP (Food for the Poor - Haiti) - They take care of all of the shipping and customs logistics for all of our FMSC containers
FMSC (Feed My Starving Children) - This week we received a 40' container of Food Boxes.  This container was a special blessing because it was over and above our official annual allocation plan.
TTT (Teachers Training Teachers) - This weekend another team from TTT arrives to teach approximately 75 teachers the next 2 modules.

Thank you to these partners.  We do what we do because of what you do.  We are grateful to be an extension of what you do here on the field.  We surely couldn't do what we do without the efforts and generosity of these partners.

"Men anpil, chay pa lou." - Haitian Proverb
"Many hands make the load light." - English Equivalent

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Did You Know? To The Ends of the Earth...

We have 31 active long term church partnerships right now throughout Haiti's Southern Peninsula. Our staff visits every one every month. Why? Because our goal is to truly collaborate, provide accountability, communicate well, acquire information, teach and train, deepen the partnership, etc... One of our motivations is that we believe in "Partnerships that are Engaged".

Here is Anderson, one of our 5 Partnership Facilitators after his visit on Monday to Desriveaux, Haiti, the Sister Church of Walloon Lake Community Church. He was providing oversight, getting first hand information and an update from the church and school leaders, providing maintenance and instruction specifically related to ongoing projects, taking pictures, and video, etc. We do this, because we care and we want to make sure we provide followup and good communication. Walloon Lake will get an update this month, and every month, with the latest updates and information related to their partner. They will then have the opportunity to reply with an update of their own to be delivered back to the Desriveaux on Anderson's next visit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Will You Marry Me?

Getting married is a great celebration, but here in Haiti it is often hard to make it happen. With extremely limited resources, and strong cultural expectations for a "proper" celebration/ceremony, along with it's many accouterments, getting married has been a distant dream for many. Marriage is such a serious deal that you MUST honor it appropriately.  Remember, Haitian culture is all about honor and respect.  

Because of these limitations and expectations, many have decided it is best to live together until they can afford a proper ceremony. Sadly, it often never happens. Those living in this situation are not free to participate fully in church fellowship and life. No church membership, no men's and women's fellowship groups, no communion, no choir, no leadership positions, etc. One might say they live in shame as a second class church attender.  

With a little pastoral encouragement and counsel, and a little outside resource assistance (finances, lots of wedding dresses, suits, and even rings) from our US Sister Churches (thanks to The Orchard EFC and First Baptist of St. Petersburg), in the last couple of months we have been able to help 23 couples get married! Praise the Lord!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Meet RMI’s Newest Staff Members

IMG_2722John and Joanne Miner joined the RMI staff in RMI’s International Office in Ft. Myers, FL today.  They come to us from C3 Partner, Florida Bible Church, Miramar, FL.  They’ve been residents of Miami since they were children.  John comes from a long line of “elevator men” and recently retired from his position as Miami-Dade County, Deputy Chief, Department of Elevator Safety.    Joanne owned a Minuteman Press Printing franchise for 22 years and sold it in 2011. For the past 3 years she’s worked for her church as their business manager.  They went on their first ever mission trip in 2009 with their church and fell in love with RMI and the C3 Partnership Program.  They relocated to Ft. Myers to join RMI just in time to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.  John enjoys motorcycling, following college basketball, and cooking.  Joanne enjoys photography.  They share a love for serving God and people and creative arts.  They just completed a “bucket list” trip to Ireland.

This is a double blessing for RMI.  Part of their responsibilities will be in helping to coordinate the C3 Partnership Program, raising up new C3 Partners and in donor engagement.   They will also be quite involved in the RMI Administration.  We are excited about the help they will be to current C3 Partnerships and with helping RMI to grow its ministries.

Their joining the staff means that the RMI International Office is experiencing growing pains.  We’ve played a bit of “musical offices”, switching things around to streamline the flow of work and collaboration.  Another change is that the garage space at the RMI office is being turned into a new conference room since the old one had to be turned into an office.  If you’re in the area, stop by to see the exciting results!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Want to Send Something to Haiti? Read On....

Dear Coordinators and Friends,

RMI is sending a container to Haiti on June 1st. We have 20 feet of a 40ft container available and have decided to open it up for all of our sister churches that would like to send something in to their sister church or for RMI.

Some basic info:
You can send in anything that can fit in a container, well almost anything. Call us if you would have a question about this. This could include boxes of folding chairs, tables, sound systems, generators, shoebox gifts for sponsored kids, etc.

Shipping cost on the container:
RMI will invoice you for any shipping charge at $3.50 a cubic foot (a box 3ft wide, 3ft tall, 3ft long=27 cu ft. would cost $94.50 to send.) If it is a small item, there is a minimum $25 charge per package. This could be quite a bit cheaper than other shipping options. This includes our loading it on the container, shipping the container to Haiti, getting it through customs, and then shipping it out to our base in Les Cayes. As normal, you would be responsible, if needed, to cover transportation costs to your sister church.

How to get things to RMI to be put on the container?
  • You ship your items directly to our RMI address below.  Send all packages and freight to:
    RMI, 5475 Lee Street Suite 301, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971.
  • You order items and have RMI pick them up at: Costco, Sam's Club, or Walmart in Fort Myers, FL. There will be a $25 pick-up charge per trip or more if special transportation is needed due to size or quantity. 
  • Give RMI your order. RMI will order it, and pick it up. You pay for the actual cost of the item and 15% of the cost for RMI's Administrative fee. RMI doesn't have to pay FL sales tax so that is a savings if done through us. 
When can you send items to RMI?
RMI will receive, pickup, or buy items from May 4 to May 15. Please do NOT send anything to arrive before this time frame. Make sure everything will arrive by May 15th please. Please let us know you are sending items so we can be prepared to receive them. If they are large and heavy, as we do not have a forklift, please give us a heads up. Should we have to rent a forklift, you would be responsible to cover that cost.

Once the container arrives in Haiti, there could be a delivery fee to get the items out to your sister church, depending on the situation and items. The Haiti field will let you know if there is a cost for this.

Special Purchases We Can Make For You:
(includes all costs-purchase, shipping, customs, and delivery to your church.):
  • Plastic folding chairs-very heavy duty but comfortable: 10 chairs for $375.  Do you remember how uncomfortable the Haitian chairs can be? These are wonderful and will be a big help to them for many different occasions. 
  • Plastic heavy duty folding 6ft x 30in tables: 4 for $300.  What a great help these will be to the church and for your teams as well as for other uses throughout the year. 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the RMI FL Office at 239-368-8390, or email John Miner at