Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Just What Do You Do??

As we've been reaching out to churches and people to ask them to partner with our family, we've been asked some questions that I think might be beneficial for us to share with all of you!!

We love to share about what it is that we do here. This is our passion. We forget that our day to day life, even though it seems normal to us now, is still rather interesting to the rest of you!

Just the other day, my mother-in-law posted something on our facebook that rang true to me...

"Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress; 
working hard for something we love is called passion."

Haiti, this is our passion.

So what do we do??  We sleep in until noon, on our beautiful little slice of paradise...and then cruise around joyfully on our moto all day...with a stop or two at a couple beautiful beaches!!

Right??! Just kidding :) Even though we do tend to visit the beach and share photos of many of the blessings of living in a beautiful tropical country, we want to give you an idea of what else we do around here. 

Description of Ministry
Located on a remote island in the Caribbean, La Gonave is home to close to 200,000 people who live in extreme poverty. Our primary work is done in the city of Anse-a-Galets equipping and empowering a local Haitian woman to care for over 80 orphans. In addition, we have helped to plant a church, lead weekly worship, teach English and are working to start new business endeavors to help the local economy.

What is the primary vision and mission for your ministry?
To equip and empower the people of La Gonave to live sustainable, God honoring lives. We do this by creating relationships with the people of La Gonave so that we can know and understand their needs and gifts/abilities. After that, we connect people worldwide to help us train, teach, and disciple to meet real needs of real people.

What needs is this ministry trying to address?
Orphan care, spiritual growth, economic development/vocational training

Key Results of last 12 months?
Hosted many teams, connecting them to the needs and ministries in Haiti
Raised remaining monthly operational financial need for the Children's Village
Increased donor retention from 23% to 65%
Planted a new church with 30-75 in attendance
Weekly advanced English classes

Developed new key partnerships including a new commercial aquaponics system for agriculture at the children's village

How many people did you serve during this past year?
It's hard to put a number on this question. We have served hundreds in many different ways. There are over 100 staff and children at the Children's Village. There are close to 100 who attend the church that we planted. Renee has about 20 in her English class with up to 50 attending talk nights. In addition, we have people show up at our house daily with some sort of need. Sometimes, just a drink of water. We have built relationships with mayors, local business owners, pastors, other missionaries, visiting team members, etc. We interact with and help serve about 300 people annually who visit the island on short term mission trips.

What discouragement/frustrations did you face last year?
Where do we begin?! ;) The continuous clash of cultures is something that leads to frustration. Things that seem very simple and common sense to us most likely are "foreign" concepts to the people here. Training takes A LONG TIME. We get discouraged when we feel like we were making good progress and then suddenly things fall apart. Classic two steps forward, one step back. Illness is a huge source of discouragement. When our bodies are physically ill, we tend to become emotionally and spiritually drained right along with it. We have frustrations with visitors who come with sometimes the wrong posture and motives. The process of discerning the next steps for our family has been difficult.

Do you have any prayer needs?
-The next steps for our family as we step out in faith that God will provide for our financial needs as we continue full time here in Haiti.  We have been blessed to have been able to have our first two years covered financially through a work contract. Starting January 1, that contract will be over and we will be relying on the financial support of our partners.
-There are so many needs and so many demands. We need wisdom to know where to invest our time and energy. When to give and when not to give. When to say yes and when to say no.
-We desire to create local businesses to help us become more self sustainable. We hope to be able to cover a large majority of our own expenses by the end of 2016.
-Unity and vision with all who we work with.
-People finding freedom in Christ and not being bound by the chains of religion. That people would experience the power of the Holy Spirit and see that God is more powerful than Voodoo.

-New Primary School building project at the children's village: wisdom, vision, plan, finances, execution

What are your planned objectives for the coming year?
Continued: Okipe Chairman & Liaison for the Children's Village, language learning, relationship building, teaching English, hosting teams
New: Making Okipe an official 501c3, Vocational training for children aging out of the village, business start ups, primary school building

Describe your ministry's greatest need(s) in meeting your planned objectives.
Even though we have a good grasp on the language, becoming more fluent will allow our relationships to deepen. Also, if we do not have enough finances, we will not be able to stay in Haiti full time which would greatly impact our ability to meet our objectives.

Are you setup for short-term teams? If yes, how many teams have you had since 2012?
YES! We interact with teams on a weekly basis. We have personally planned and hosted over 16 teams, helping their time to be meaningful, intentional and beneficial both to the team members and the people here in Haiti. Okipe has had over 30 teams since 2012.

What is your ministry or mission organization's current statement of faith?
We were both born and raised in the Nazarene denomination and have been active members of a church our entire lives. Our sending church is Exit 59, a Christian Missionary Alliance church. We stand behind their statement of faith which can be found here.

How do you prefer to keep in touch?
We currently communicate frequently and have many people who follow our daily happenings via facebook. We also have a personal blog that will be updated monthly. A few people have requested email updates, and we can do that as well if that is what you prefer. We also enjoy being able to Skype since we feel this is the most personal form of communication.

WOW! Thanks for taking time to read this all the way to the end! We'd love to answer any more questions that you may have! We love sharing our story and lives here in Haiti with anyone interested.

We are currently 22% funded for next year!  Wooohoooo! We are still looking for people to give a pledge to partner with our family for 2016! If you're ready to get on board with us for this next year, please click here to let us know!! Thanks!

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