Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! We pray that as 2013 fades into the past you will be able to reflect on all God has done in and through you this year. As we wrap up our first year of serving with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, we wanted to reflect on our ministry in 2013 and share with you all that has been happening in our lives.
In January, I (John) represented NWHCM at the “Feed My Starving Children” partner meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. While at the meeting I was able to connect with several ministry partners helping us to feed people in the country of Haiti. We were able to meet with Convoy of Hope and strategize on getting at least twelve containers of meals into Haiti in 2013. Feed My Starving Children sends over 100 million meals to nations all around the globe. Last year, NWHCM and FMSC were able to partner together to prepare over 730,000 meals for people in need.
In the month of February, I was at our main campus in Haiti. I helped our staff facilitate the Eye Team, made up of eye doctors and surgeons. The week they were in Haiti they saw 899 patients and performed over 170 surgeries. While at the mission I was able to spend time with our staff in-group and one-on-one conversations. I was able to pray with each staff person, discuss ministry needs, successes and struggles. I was also able to lay out plans for support and growth for each missionary to grow in their own spiritual life.
May to November of 2013 was a time of many different aspects of ministry. Learning about the mission and preparing for the summer travel season was a great time for me to begin to flesh out my role and to see how my gifts could best serve this mission.
I traveled into Haiti on May 23 with Emily and spent two weeks training our summer interns to be prepared to lead our summer teams. We had an excellent staff of interns and the summer overall was very smooth from a relational and ministry standpoint. I was in Haiti until August 1 and helped give direction to teams, support our staff, and help handle emergency situations as they arrived.
Having our entire family in Haiti during the summer was an incredible blessing. Everyone found their place of ministry and areas that blessed them. Emily was a great intern and built many strong relationships over her ten weeks in Haiti. Zach worked alongside our staff in our aquaponics area and in helping with some maintenance issues. Kimberly was most likely to be found in the Miriam Center or the orphanage with the kids in our care. Alana was able to step into areas of need and spend some great time listening to and encouraging our female staff.
This summer I was able to meet with the pastors who serve our churches around Haiti. In one of my newsletters to supporters I mentioned how Pastor St. Verty in St. Louis did not have a roof on his house. One of my supporters passed this on to her pastor and that church sent in $3,000 to put a roof on the house. What a great way to see the Body of Christ work together to meet needs of one another.
In the fall I was able to make several trips to promote NWHCM in various places. I did a ten-day trip around the Southeast and met with ten different churches. From those churches, three have committed to trips to bring groups in during 2013, one is looking at 2014 and two are looking to become Neighbors Project supporters.
Alana and I traveled to Southern California with Janeil and Heather Owen and John Black to represent the mission at the Exponential West Coast Conference in October. I also traveled to Pittsburgh to meet with North Hills Christian Church who held a 5K Run fundraiser on the missions’ behalf. The church presented us with a check for $3,000.00. They are also bringing a group to the mission for the first time in June 2014. I also was able to attend the International Conference on Missions in Kansas City to represent the mission.
2013 has been a year of change and growth for our family. We will be sending out an updated letter and prayer card at the beginning of January, but I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much we appreciate your continued support, prayers, and love. Your faithfulness and generosity has enabled us to serve in areas we never dreamed possible. Thank you so much for all you do on our behalf.
Yours for His Purpose,
John, Alana, Emily, Zach, and Kimberly
Here is an incredible post by our daughter Emily! We could not be more proud of who she is and what God is doing in her life.
I know it has been quite some time since my last post but it has taken me that long to think of something worthy of writing about. I am just now getting to the point where I feel like I have processed my trip. When I got home from Haiti I had 5 days at home and then I went straight back to college to work and then start school. At the time it was a necessary evil. I needed to go back and finish my responsibilities. But in hindsight I can see that God didn’t let me process everything in 5 days. It’s been 5 months and I don’t think I have processed everything! God has been working in so many ways in my life. And if you asked me 5 months ago what I would be doing I would have told you I would be on my way to finishing a degree in Exercise Science and I would be working for the Housing Department and that my life would barely change. But if you ask me today I can tell you that is not where I am going.
Development #2 in my journey of processing was about my calling to Haiti. When I was 17 years old, I went to Costa Rica over spring break and then back to Costa Rica that same summer. I thought, “I like short term missions. I would do it again.” When I went to Moldova as a 19 year old, I thought the same thing. And each time I had my final goodbye with that country I knew that my work was finished. On my second trip to Costa Rica I knew that I would probably never go back and I didn’t feel sad. I felt complete. The same with Moldova. But leaving Haiti? That was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life. The relationships I built were so deep. And the experiences I had were so amazing. But most of all the calling that God revealed to me is what changed me. My burden for that nation and those people, it is unexplainable. I wept for hours the day before I left just thinking about how it would actually be to land in the United States and actually be gone. I DID feel sad. And I DIDN’T feel complete. It was emptiness. And for a long time I had no idea why I felt so empty.
For a few months I cried a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT! I used to never cry. It was very rare occasions that I may well up 1 single tear. But these cry sessions I had over those few months consisted of intense weeping. Like crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. It was so strange to me that I was unable to even comprehend what was happening to me. I believe I was becoming more and more broken for the Gospel of Christ in this time. God was truly breaking me down to my very core and then He began to build me up. Every sermon I heard and every Scripture I read was exactly what I needed to hear at each exact moment. At the college ministry I attend we began to study the book of Acts. And it fed me like crazy. I couldn’t get enough and God used those teachings to reveal in me what needed to change. Over the past 5 months, I believe God has been slowly revealing to me things in my life that don’t need to be there. He is showing me things in my personality, friends, actions, and thoughts that prevent me from serving Him fully. He is showing me who I truly am and how much truly I need Him. He began emotional change in me. I guess you could say that is development #3. My goal in life used to be to satisfy myself and fill my heart with ungodly things. But now, every day I am reminded of whom I serve and He is continually using things in my life to take me back to that attitude of humility and service.