Friday, August 05, 2022

New Depot/Kitchens Built for Hot Lunch Program

School starts in a matter of weeks in Haiti.  Sponsors are giving regularly meaning that kids are getting their uniforms made, and books and other supplies are being purchased.  The one-year anniversary of the 2021 earthquake is this month (August 14), meaning that many schools that were damaged or destroyed are meeting in very temporary, make-shift classrooms.  Besides destroying the classrooms, the earthquake also damaged or destroyed the schools’ storage depot rooms, where the food was being stored. 

Schools that participate in RMI’s Hot Lunch Program are required to store the food that they receive in a closed, secure store room that will keep the food dry and free from 4-footed rodents.  After the earthquake, RMI’s Haiti leadership visited each church and school and made a comprehensive list of everything that was damaged or destroyed.  They saw first-hand the extent of the devastation.  They noted that the majority of the depots were destroyed.  As they visited the schools, they saw that the conditions for preparing the food were not adequate.  Most of the kitchens were simple lean-tos, covered with tin.  They were open to chickens, dogs, and cats wandering through.  This was not appropriate either.

For the past several months RMI has been addressing these issues by constructing small buildings that will house the food depot and a kitchen that will be secure and dedicated to the Hot Lunch Program.  The RMI construction staff designed a building that can be replicated in all the locations (that’s why all the pictures look like they are the same building while, in fact, they are in different locations).  Several have been finished and approximately 11 are in process.  Earthquake funds were used to build these buildings, but as Benson Joseph, RMI’s Director of Haiti Field Operations said “we ‘elasticized’ the money and made it go further so we could add the kitchens to the buildings”. 

When school resumes, these schools will have excellent facilities to securely store their food as well as prepare it for the kids.  We want to thank all the donors that have given to the earthquake fund.  This is just an example of the many rebuilding projects that are taking place as a direct result of your gifts.

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

A Week in the Life of a C3P Team

 As the team from Kimball Evangelical Free Church, (Nebraska) arrived at the church, they saw construction was going on at the church’s school.  This was their first official visit as a Sister Church for the Dagout Baptist Church and their purpose on this visit was to get to know their church on a deeper level (they’d visited before, but not as an official Sister Church).  The community was participating in any way possible.  They saw women carrying water to the barrel that would be used to make cement.  But what really moved their hearts was one young woman who was wearing a t-shirt and skirt with leggings under it and a hard hat.  One of the team members sprung into action and helped her with her job.  Other team members picked up shovels to help stir up some cement.  It was a spontaneous time of working shoulder to shoulder (Zephaniah 3:9) with the community.

On Sunday they were able to worship with the Dagout church.  Their sanctuary was heavily damaged in the August 2021 earthquake so they’ve built a temporary wood and tin structure to meet under.  Kimball presented the church with 2 banners.  One was filled with the outlines of hands and signatures.  This was their gift to the church.  It was hands and signatures of Kimball church members.  The other banner was empty.  Later in the week, Dagout church members were able to outline their hands and sign their names.  This banner is now hanging in the Kimball church to remind them to pray for their brothers and sisters in the Dagout church.

The team also met with the pastor and deacons of the church.  It was a sweet time together.  Meeting in the temporary structure just brought home some of what the church has been through and what their future looks like as they try to rebuild.

The Dagout church has land on which they are trying to establish a fruit orchard for the benefit of the church and the community.  The team was able to plant coconut, mango, and other fruit trees alongside the church members who are in charge of that project.  It will take time to reap the benefits from this endeavor, but the results will be sweet (pun intended)!

Handing out boxes of food and praying for some of the church’s shut-ins extended the team outside of their comfort zones.  This pastor was overjoyed with the gift of several boxes of food to distribute to some of the neediest of the needy in his congregation.  The team was able to experience carrying the boxes the old-fashioned way to get to some really out-of-the-way homes.  One home was the parents of one of the deacons.  They are elderly and not in good health.  While being dedicated Christians, they cannot get to services.  After visiting with the team, they were given a box of food, and Anderson, an RMI staff member, prayed for them.  What an encouragement it was!  Even though it rained and they got back soaking wet, they loved every moment of being out there, visiting with the Haitian people in their homes and being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Last but not least was the open-air service.  This was held in an open market area in the village, located at a crossroad.  Another “out of their comfort zone” experience.  But the angels are rejoicing from new believers that made decisions after the service.  The whole team was able to pray with this gentleman as he asked the Lord to be the Lord of his life.

All in all, it was a great trip.  We are so happy that most teams are able to return to Haiti!  Don’t delay getting your church on the team calendar!

Sunday, June 05, 2022

Merger Announced

The ministry of Centre Lumiere (known to many as the Home Economics Center) is merging with RMI.  This is an opportunity that God was preparing, unknown to us, over the last few months.  The Director of the Centre, Olga Thissen-Lapp, and her husband, Caleb, contacted Dan in April when he was in Haiti and shared with him where they felt God was leading them.  Unknown to them, RMI had long desired to start a Leadership, Training, and Discipleship School to equip young people in computer skills, English, work ethics, and basic finances, as well as disciple them in their walk with the Lord.  We haven’t gone forward with it due to a lack of resources, facilities, and someone to “drive” it.  The merger that the Lapps were seeking includes handing over their facilities to RMI to use as God directs.

After seeking counsel from the Centre’s original founders (retired), approval from MEBSH leadership (they own the land and Centre Lumiere is a department of MEBSH) and RMI’s Board of Directors, and receiving positive endorsements from all involved, we are happy to announce that Centre Lumiere is formally merging with RMI.

There will be a year-long transition as the current class of women finish their studies.  The transition should be completed in July of 2023 with the graduation of the current year’s students.

Pray that God will continue to guide us as there are still many details to be worked out.  We are very excited about this new venture.  It rounds out RMI’s educational impact.  Hope for Kidz has long ministered to children.  This will enable RMI to educate and minister to young adults, both men and women, leading them into Godly living, and equipping them with vital skills to become leaders and change agents for their families, churches, and communities.

In May, Dan, Kim, and Barbara flew to Cayes to work through a Memorandum of Understanding with MEBSH.  Barbara took advantage of the trip to spend time with and encourage the Hope for Kidz staff.  She also visited several schools to see the schools and staff in action. 

The week was full of meetings for Dan and Kim.  They felt that God was there, guiding, them as they talked through some of the initial agreements needed to make the merger possible.  Everyone left feeling humbled by God’s graciousness.

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Faith and Commitment Rewarded

Antioch Baptist Church, Gainesville, FL is a new C3 partner and were the first team of the year.  Due to issues in Haiti, their visit had to be put off some, but they remained committed to the relationship and God rewarded that.  Their Haitian partner church is Tet Source, situated in a valley in the middle of the southern peninsula.  The team of 8 arrived ready to minister, interact with their brothers and sisters and help repair the back wall of the church which was damaged in the 2021 earthquake.  They found that the Tet Source believers had the same goals.  

The team felt that the Tet Source church ministered to them and encouraged them in their walk with the Lord.  They enjoyed playing with the kids and working together as one on the repair project.  

They stated that they returned home changed people.  Welcome to the family Antioch!

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

RMI President Meets with New MEBSH Leadership

At the beginning of this month, RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, flew to Haiti to meet with the newly elected MEBSH President and the MEBSH Executive Committee.  They were all elected in December.  The president’s term is 5 years.  These pastors are men of God and will be leading MEBSH.  It’s a very large denomination with approximately 450 churches.  They have their work cut out for them!

We’ve appreciated their partnership with us over the last 40+ years.  It’s been a blessing to RMI to have their leadership, wisdom, and participation.  

Dan with MEBSH President Pastor Lusson Napoleon

Dan with the new MEBSH Executive Committee

Dan was also able to participate in a number of other meetings.  He spoke at the RMI staff morning devotions and at the Wednesday night missionary Bible study.  He met with Andrew, reviewing plans for a project that he is working on.  He met with the virtual team.  This is the team that is taking videos and pictures, then putting videos together to send to churches.  

He spent time with his daughter and new son-in-law, Andrew and Dawn Tlucek.  It was special to stay in their home and have some time with them.

Friday, March 04, 2022

Happening this Month: Hope for Kidz

 This month is one of the busiest for the Hope for Kidz department here in the US.  Hope for Kidz Haiti staff spent the fall and winter traveling to every school to take pictures of the kids, get each of their profiles, and check on the schools.  Once that was done, they entered the data and sent the info to Hope for Kidz US where the pictures were printed and put into plastic sleeves.  The profiles were printed, matched with the pictures, and boxed up by churches.  These boxes of pictures and profiles were then mailed to each C3 partner’s Hope for Kidz coordinator.  Included in the boxes are additional resources for the coordinators such as advertising posters, bulletin inserts, videos, and other things to help promote the program.  It’s a labor-intensive process, especially when you consider that there are over 3,000 kids in the Hope for Kidz Program.

Once the coordinators receive their boxes, their work will begin in earnest.  They will be working to contact the sponsors in their church about renewing their sponsorship (s) for this coming school year.  The coordinators will also be recruiting new sponsors for the new kids in the program.  These coordinators work tirelessly to make sure all the details are kept straight, contacting sponsors, keeping their churches updated on what is happening in the program, and recruiting new sponsors.

This is where you come in!  Once the Hope for Kidz Coordinator gets that box and contacts you, it will be time to renew your sponsorship.  “Hope Today for Haiti’s Tomorrow” is indeed what your sponsorship means to these kids.  Going to school gives them Hope for their tomorrow.  If you don’t yet sponsor a kid - now is the time to start!  Contact your church’s Hope for Kidz Coordinator to see what children are available for sponsorship.  Or call RMI at 239-368-8390. 

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Who or What is MEBSH?

You may have heard (or read) us talk about MEBSH.  Mission Evangélique Baptiste du Sud d’Haïti (MEBSH) or The Evangelical Baptist Mission of South Haiti is RMI’s Haitian partner church association.  While they are not associated with a particular Baptist group in the US, they are baptistic in theology and practice.  They are the largest church association in Haiti with 450+ churches.

We work under their umbrella.  All the churches that we minister to are MEBSH churches. They provide representation in the country for our missionaries and legal status for RMI.   Legally, all of our Haitian staff are employees of MEBSH and all of RMI’s physical assets (land, vehicles, etc.) are in MEBSH’s name.  This protects RMI and our ministries as well as if all foreign agencies were required to leave Haiti, none of our assets would be seized.  All of this is protected by contractual agreements with MEBSH.  By partnering with MEBSH, RMI, and our US churches are guaranteed that any facilities built or land purchased is owned by MEBSH and not any one person or pastor.

In the 1920s, West Indies Mission (later to be named World Team) sent missionaries to Cuba.  They founded the Cuba Bible Institute.  The missionaries, students, and graduates of the institute ministered to the Cuban and Haitian sugarcane workers.  Many were saved and churches were established.  But in the early 1930s, the Cuban president at the time kicked out all of the Haitian sugarcane workers.  Most were deported to southern Haiti.  There these simple men began sharing the Gospel and churches were formed.  These men felt that they needed formal Biblical training and asked West Indies Mission to come and establish a Bible school.

In 1936, 3 American and Cuban missionaries began to work in southern Haiti and in 1937 they opened a Bible school in Les Cayes. On Christmas Day, 1958, MEBSH and World Team launched Radio Lumiere, a network ultimately of 9 radio stations, including a radio station, studio & television station in Port-au-Prince. In 2013, MEBSH had 488 churches with over 60,000 members and an estimated affiliation of over 200,000 regular church attenders, making it one of the largest Protestant denominations in Haiti.  MEBSH also has one member church in the Dominican Republic and another in the Dutch sector of Saint Marten.

The MEBSH operates numerous educational, health, and development institutions in Haiti:

413 primary and secondary schools

University Lumiere, consisting of eight colleges

Two seminaries: Faculté de Théologie Évangélique Lumière in Cayes and one in Port-a-Prince

Bible institute: Institut Biblique Lumière in Cayes

Full-service hospital: Hôpital Lumière in Bonne Fin

In-patient clinic: Centre de Santé Lumière in Cayes

School for the Deaf

Integrated Rural Development

Trade Schools

Well drilling

Mahanaim Youth Camp

Pastor Alnève Emile

From 2012 - 2021, the president of MEBSH was Rev. Alnève Emile. Under Pastor Alnève’s direction, MEBSH joined the Baptist World Alliance and the Caribbean Baptist Fellowship in 2013. MEBSH is also a member of the Protestant Federation of Haiti and the Evangelical Council of Haitian Churches.

In December 2021 Pastor Alnève’s tenure finished and Pastor Lusson Napoléon was elected.

MEBSH holds an annual 5-day convention for the encouragement of their churches and members.  This convention draws 10-12,000 people.  In 2019 they celebrated their 80th anniversary.

Pastor and Mrs. Lusson Napoléon

RMI has been blessed to have a partner like MEBSH. They provide great, well-trained, and mature churches/leadership with which to engage. They hold their pastors and leaders accountable when needed. They provide good counsel to our staff. They have been a great partner in ministry, enabling RMI and its US partner churches to, hand-in-hand with its churches, impact hundreds of communities with the Gospel. This is the Church in action.