After we returned from our two month stay last summer, we would be driving in the van and in the quiet of the drive, Jaron, then four, would say, "You know what I wish?" No what Jaron? "I wish we lived in Haiti." We never gave it much thought. Then, in January, we were asked to consider taking this position and moving to Haiti. We said no and that the timing was all wrong. Then, in February, I found our seven year old daughter Morgan's journal. Her entry read like this:
"Dear Jesus, Would you please open the doors for our family to live in Haiti? Even if it's just for a little bit?"
She had NO idea that we had been asked to consider this position. God was using our kids and preparing and exciting their hearts for this next phase in our life. So, long story shorter, we said yes. So what does that mean? Hopefully this will answer a few questions you may have!
When will you be leaving? -
Our plan is to leave this October 2013. There are a lot of things that need to fall in place for that to happen, but we're trusting God with the perfect timing. We still need to figure out our housing situation in Haiti, decide what we'll do with our two houses here and raise the rest of our funds.
How will you raise support? -
We are so thankful for Craig's job. They have asked him to stay on part time while we're in Haiti. So, a HUGE chunk of our budget will come directly from them. However, we are still a bit short. We are looking for a few families to partner with us monthly to reach that budget. We also need a few people who will donate to our initial start up and moving costs. So, if you're interested in partnering with our family, please send me an email and we can get you more information!! firstname.lastname@example.org
How long will you be gone? -
Our initial agreement is to live in Haiti under the role of Okipe Country Representative for two years. After that, we'll see what God has in mind. Some of our dreams would take much longer than two years and we realize that it takes two years just to learn the language, culture and set roots in order to really make some traction. We're not sure if we're just laying the ground work or if we're in this for the long haul. Only God knows and we don't want to be anywhere except where He wants us to be.
Where will Morgan and Jaron go to school? -
For at least the first 4-6 months, I, Renee, will be homeschooling. I told Craig he would be teaching some too :) There is a Global Partners missionary who lives on the island to teach Global Partners Missionary kids. She has her hands full at this time, but in January, some of the families are leaving and we're not sure who is replacing them. So, she might take the kids at that point. We'll see :)
Where will you be living? -
This is our biggest question mark right now. La Gonave is an island off the main island of Haiti (about 37-ish long and 9-ish miles wide) . The island was once used as a base for pirates, but in the 60's the Haitian government, in an effort to "clean up" the mainland, sent most of their mentally ill, homeless and elderly to live on this island. One website said, "If Haiti is the country that the world forgot, La Gonave is the island that Haiti forgot." This is the island that houses the orphanage that has stolen our hearts! This site has some interesting facts about La Gonave: http://youhelphaiti.com/
about#.UfgJZtLUnbM Please be praying about our living arrangements. In order to have basic needs such as water, plumbing, electricity and a kitchen (luxuries in Haiti) it can be difficult and very expensive.
What will you do? -
Craig will be handling all things "money." He will coordinate donations for the orphanage and help Mme. Soliette track her expenses and income. He will also be working on vocational/transition plans for those children who will be "aging out" of the orphanage in the next couple years. This is a huge new phase for the village. We don't want to just send the kids out without support and a plan. We have many ideas on the table and we're discussing Mme. Soliette's dreams and visions in this area so that we can try to come up with resources to help her achieve those dreams. He will also be exploring options and dreaming with Mme. Soliette about how the orphanage can become self-sustaining...or at least bring in some income.
I, Renee will be communicating and coordinating travel and accommodations with visiting Okipe teams. Along with teaching Morgan and Jaron, Mme. Soliette has asked me to have some literacy classes with the house moms. A lot of them are not able to read or write. I will also be teaching English classes at the Children's Village and the local National School periodically.
Along with these roles, God has put some other dreams and visions in our hearts as a family. We'll see if those doors open over the next couple years, or if we're just laying groundwork. But...this post is already long enough...I'll save that for another day :)
Do you have any other questions? Please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!
(Thanks to Matt Smith and okipe.org for some of the above pictures!)