| Family Update
It is rare that I begin the Adventure Journal with a Family Update, but I feel it necessary to share some great news with you. Elijah has made a college decision. He will be heading to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale beginning with the Fall 2017 semester. This means I will be a Saluki Dad!!! I guess I better purchase some burgundy colored clothes.
Elijah was awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship, which is a prestigious award recognizing his academic excellence, community participation, and leadership qualities. This Scholarship is a “Full-Ride” Scholarship, covering tuition, fees, lodging, and food. We are very proud of his accomplishment and give God thanks for such a wonderful blessing. He will be focusing his attention on Pre-Med Studies. He will either major in Biochemistry or Mathematics.
He will be graduating from Edwards County High School on May 19 and Micah will be graduating from Albion Grade School on May 16. We are proud of each of their accomplishments and look forward to their next level endeavors.
On another note, on February 10, I earned my status as a Basic Operation Firefighter. I serve as a Firefighter and the chaplain for the Albion Fire Department. I have been working on earning this title since I joined the Fire Department in April 2013. I am excited to work with each person who is on the department. It has truly been a blessing to serve and a dream come true in my life.
At the time of the writing of this Adventure Journal, I am preparing to begin my fifth straight week of revival services. I have witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit as people have made decisions to follow Jesus with their whole life, experienced the sanctifying grace of Jesus, and experienced healing. I look forward to sharing more about these days of revival in the next Adventure Journal.
There have been some changes to the India Trip this Fall. The dates have been adjusted to be September 29-October 15. The trip is an educational trip, spiritual experience, and mission trip. The cost will stay at $4,000 per person, though there may be some adjustment to be made once we book our flights. This will take care of flight, transportation in country, tourism fees, lodging, food, etc. The deadline to sign-up for this trip is April 15.
If you are looking for a wonderful time for revitalization, renewal, and adventure, join me for this wonderful opportunity. We will travel to some of the mission sites founded by E. Stanley and Mabel Jones while they served in India. We will have Jones’ granddaughter, Anne Mathews-Younes as one of our guides. Also, Tom Albin, the Dean of the Upper Room and Executive Director of the North American Christian Ashram will serve as one of the tour guides. When I traveled with this group in May 2015, I was amazed at the beauty of the Indian Culture and the rich history. To learn more about the trip go to: www.estanleyjonesfoundation.com.
If you are interested in this trip please contact Matt ( firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-830-6670).
Summer Haiti Trip
I am excited that our Summer Trip to Haiti is filling up and a full-team will be traveling to Haiti this summer. The date for the trip is June 13-21. We will once again travel to Sobier, where we have worked the past three summers. We are planning to work on distributing water filtration buckets, continue work on the medical clinic, and offer assistance for work that continues following Hurricane Matthew that struck the area in October 2016.
I am excited that Elijah and Micah will be part of the team this summer. This will be Elijah’s fourth experience and Micah’s first experience. Please pray for us as we fundraise for them to travel on this trip. We believe the Lord will provide for us as we discover ways to raise the funds necessary for them to travel.
If you know someone who would be interested in traveling with us or if you are interested in traveling to Haiti, contact me (email@example.com or 618-830-6670).
I am working on the dates for the winter trip to Yvon in January 2018, so keep watching in the Adventure Journal for the dates.
Words and Deeds
By Cassandra Upchurch
After four previous trips to Haiti, I cannot say that any two trips are the same. Different teams and different circumstances in country make for unique trips every time. However, you do tend to have a general idea of what to expect and what will happen going in. Every trip I have been on has taught me something new, but this trip, my fifth, completely blew my mind. We had the “normal” routine of our previous trips: construction work in the mornings, and Bible school in the evenings with the kids. This trip also added in water filter distribution, which was an incredible thing to be a part of, knowing the implications of a family being able to access clean water! But, for me, the most powerful part of the trip was our house to house visits where we would check on the filters to make sure they were working properly and being cared for correctly, and most importantly, offering to pray with each household.
I could not possibly believe that it was a coincidence that in the few months leading up to this trip that I had been intensely studying prayer: What it is, what it isn’t, it’s purpose, and the power in it. Along with this study came the knowledge that I needed to be more bold about my faith, and in praying in public with and for people as the Spirit leads. This was, and is, a constant challenge for me, as I am not a preacher, nor an evangelist! It isn’t that I wouldn’t share my faith if someone asked, but I have rarely in my life been the one to bring up the subject, or offer to pray for someone right there on the spot.
And here I was, about to do just that. We knew going out that there was a chance that when we asked if we could pray for them that they would say no, and that we would have to respect that. We were prepared for the rejection, and determined that we would go anyway. And yet, not a single home rejected us. On the contrary, they were EAGER for our prayers. Something that could NOT be said of all people here in the US. And, even more astonishing (to me), was they did not ask us to pray for wealth! And only a few asked us to pray for finances at all! Here we were, in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, offering to pray for anything for these people, and their concern was for each others’ health and well-being, and for protection from evil and persecution. How often do we see that here??
Lately, it has been impressed upon me by several sources, that we are ALL called to be evangelists. We are ALL called to witness to all we meet, through sharing our stories, and speaking about the love of Christ, and what He did and is doing for us. I’ve seen that actions are not enough. Even unbelievers do kind deeds, and doing charity work is the “in” thing to do now. So what makes us different? What makes us stand out? Simply that we are not taking the credit; that we point those we are helping to the Source. That we SPEAK the Good News.
During one afternoon as we walked (and we walked a LOT), I thought about all of my trips, and began to feel as if the first four trips I had taken to Yvon had just been preparation for what was starting this trip. The relationships were becoming more solid, the needs more evident, the attachment deeper and trust being built. And those four years of prayer and preparation have prepared the soil for the Good News. The Good News that as Christians we should not be able to keep from speaking, even if we aren’t preachers. Even if we don’t speak well. The Good News that God, in all His wisdom, looked at me, and decided that I was worth the life of His Son. Me. At my best, and at my worst, no matter what I had done, am doing, or will do. And with that in my heart and mind, how could I do anything, but speak?
More Than I Went With
By Sam Arnold
I didn’t know what to expect on my first trip to Haiti, and I wasn’t disappointed. The people of Haiti were very welcoming and friendly to us. They have so little in material things but are so thankful to the Lord for what they do have. When they had church services you didn’t have to understand what they were saying to feel the Spirit moving. Their singing and praying out loud all at one was enough to move anyone to feel the presence of the Lord. Our group helped them make and use 160 water bucket filters to give them access to clean, safe water to use in the home. We followed up with home visits to check on the filters operation and answer any questions that might come up. Before we left each house we prayed with the people of the home, they always asked for us to pray for their prosperity. We also worked on the community school building that was damaged by the hurricane and looked at past building projects in the area. I spent time with the children and really enjoyed seeing them smile, laugh, and play. Kids are just kids no matter where you are. A few of them will really steal your heart.
I believe that our group helped the people of Yvon and they were thankful for our work, but I also think that I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others as well as the Lord. I came home with more than I went with……I am truly blessed.
Hands and Feet of Christ
By Bumper Quick
My trip to Haiti last January was my sixth since the earthquake in 2010 and my third trip to the community of Yvon. It was also the most productive trip to date, at least in my mind. We didn’t accomplish the most physical work of any trip I’ve been on, but I am sure we did accomplish more in the building of relationships with the people there. While the team did do some concrete work on the school at Yvon, which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew last fall, the productive work was giving out 160 water filtration kits over a three day period.
Clean water is something you and I take for granted. I’ve always had access to clean water, even when I travel overseas to areas where clean water is not readily available I have access to bottled water. Clean drinking water has never been a concern for me. Imagine first of all not having running water or the resources to purchase bottled water. That is hard enough, but even worse imagine drawing your water from a community well with no idea if the water is contaminated or not, or what your water might be contaminated with. That would scare me. I am certain it scares many of the Haitians too, because they were eager to sit through a training class to learn proper hygiene and how to correctly use and clean the filtration kits, a class which took about three hours from start to finish. Many would arrive hours early, just to insure they received a kit! One of the things I learned in the class was that water might be clear, but that doesn’t mean it is clean. Sometimes contaminated water looks just fine…but it isn’t. Instead it is a real threat to your family’s health and well being.
After the class, which was led by one of our interpreters, we would make sure they could assemble the kits and flush the filters clean. It was there, one on one, that we began to connect with people, young and old alike. However, for me it was when we did a follow-up visit the next afternoon that relationships were fixed. We went to the homes of folks nearby who had received a filtration kit, checking to see if they had any leaks or problems with the kit. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have an opportunity to talk with everyone and of those I talked with, I am not sure I could even tell you any of their names today, but as we ended our visits we asked if we might pray for them and how we could pray. I don’t think any denied us the opportunity. When asked, some requested prayer for healing, but the majority requested prayer for their children. There in a simple time of prayer, with people whose language I cannot fully speak, I witnessed the love and compassion of Christ at work. It was there, in glimpses of appreciation because someone cares enough to help, that the connection was made.
I am not sure what future plans God has for me, but I earnestly pray He will allow me the opportunity to pursue those connections in 2018, to once more be the hands and feet of Christ in Haiti.
By Jerry Ellis
This trip to Yvon was the best trip I ever took! Not because of something you could point to and say we did this or some special place we went. This trip went a little deeper than that. It represents a mission accomplished; it represents a second chance to answer God’s call; it also represents taking care of basic human needs.
In 2015, as we left Yvon, we gave a jug of purified water to Guito and his wife to make their baby safe bottles of formula. His wife worked and he was left to care for the baby daily while she was away teaching school. While I thought this was a very nice gesture, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen when that supply ran out. God put that thought in my head, a subtle hint that we should do something about the contaminated water in the village. I didn’t get that hint.
A year later in February 2016, a couple days before we left we were at the top of the mountain visiting a home the local church was building for an elderly blind man. I saw sitting in the floor of that home a baby boy being fed dry powdered milk by an older sister or cousin. The quick conclusion: no purified water to make a bottle for him. This was God shouting, “Can you hear now?” The image of that little boy consumed my thoughts the rest of the trip and continued to worry me after returning home.
Skip to 2017, a year later. Lots of research on water purification systems, fundraisers, and hundreds of people catching the vision of pure water for Yvon. We returned with 160 water filtration buckets that will serve 600+ people in that village. God’s mission accomplished through His people.
Staying in the Village
By Matt Henson
When I landed in Haiti for the first time on May 25, 2010, I could not fathom my experience on that trip or the subsequent 13 more I would take by February 2017. My initial thoughts from that first trip were: “As our plane descended for landing in Port au Prince, the devastation was evident and the need for response cried out from the poverty, loss, and needs…It took about 1-1.5 hours to get to the Guest House. As we drove through the streets, you would notice a building collapsed and/or demolished next door to a seemingly strong standing building. There were tent cities erected in several spots because the people are still terrified to stay in their homes for fear of another earthquake. The colors, smells, and sounds are at times sensory overload, while still stimulating a desire to see more, smell more, and hear more while pining to touch, making contact with people.”
My pining to engage all my sensory faculties has guided my philosophy of mission as I have visited Fon Doux, Mellier (x2), Arcahaie, Hinche, Bercy, Yvon (x5), and Sobier (x3). In each of these locations, except my first trip where I was a participant and not the leader, we have lived in the community where we are in ministry. We have heard the sounds and the noises; smelled the mix of fragrance and odor; seen the joy and the sadness; tasted the food; and touched the children and adults as we have played together, greeted one another, and hugged/high fived/knocked knuckles, etc. I cannot imagine doing ministry from a distance, staying in a Guest House and returning to the community where we are working each morning. Because of this philosophy, we take bucket showers, have no running water, use latrines (sometimes they have toilets, other times they are wooden boxes), and sleep on cots. We sleep in church buildings or in tents in the front yard of a leader in the local church. I believe in incarnational ministry.
It is also through this “living with” philosophy that we hear the needs being discussed and we witness the needs as we walk in the community. When we first show up to Yvon or Sobier, it is often a warming up period where the community has to warm up to us again and we have to warm up to the community. Within 24-36 hours we are back to our conversations, catching up on life. We see Junior, Guito, Pastor Labonte, Wesnet, etc. in Yvon and in Sobier we see Ronaldo, Uvnela, Evenela, Jacob, etc.
Because of our willingness to live in the community while we are serving, we have witnessed the need for clean water, homes for the elderly and disabled, cisterns to capture rainwater, and financial and supply support for the local Methodist Schools.
As you have read in some of the previous articles in this Adventure Journal, the need for clean water came to our attention as we watched as women and children, mostly, have made the trek to the well to get water. The water coming from a well should be relatively clean, but because of neglect and improper use of the area around the well, the probability of clean water is low. Also, the vessels (i.e. containers) used to gather water are not always well taken care of, which can cause major problems with keeping the water clean. I had been introduced to a water filtration system several years ago produced by Sawyer Filtration. This bucket filtration system is one of the best systems for clean water. In my estimation it is better than a system placed on the well, as it places the onus of responsibility on the individual to keep his/her filter in working order. It also can be easily cleaned and maintained without major tools being necessary. This filter is rated to clean one million gallons in its lifetime. To give you an idea of what that figures out to be. If a family used 100 gallons per day, the filter would last 27 1/3 years.
We look forward to continuing our relationships in Yvon and Sobier. The incarnational approach to ministry may be a more “rustic” style of ministry, but the benefits of deep, abiding relationships is something I do not want to ever lose.
Haiti Emergency Response Fund
After Hurricane Matthew passed over Haiti, causing extensive damage in places like Les Cayes, Jeremie, Yvon, Sobier, etc., we introduced a new Haiti Emergency Response Fund. We took $500 of these funds with us to Yvon in January. The money you contributed went to purchase 11 goats and 12 bags of cement to replace bags of cement that were ruined during the hurricane.
With funds provided through a home building project in Yvon, we provided money to replace a damaged tin roof, to finish construction on a house that was being built that collapsed in the hurricane, and to build another home for a widow.
We will take the remainder of the Emergency Response Fund to Sobier when we travel in June. This money will be used to replace livestock lost in the hurricane and make repairs to damaged structures.
Thank you for your support of this Fund in a great time of need in Haiti.
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