Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Big news for our family

Two years ago, Matt had the opportunity to go on an atv trip around remote Northwest Haiti with a friend. During his trip, they visited 5 missionary families who live and serve in the NW. One of the stops on the journey was to Hospital Evangelique Bombardpolis, run by Steve and Faith Leach (www.haitihospital.org). 

Front gate of Hospital Evangelique Bombardpolis

The impression this place had on him never left, He often caught himself thinking of Bombard and wondered what was going on with the mission.  In August, Matt  heard that Steve and Faith were planning to leave Haiti due to personal health concerns after having been in Bombard for 21 years. 

For months, we wrestled with the idea of contacting them. Finally, Matt emailed Steve and he confirmed that they were indeed leaving. The Leachs had begun tentative plans to turn the hospital over to the Dept of Health. This would have been disastrous. Not only would the hospital lose its evangelical puporse, it would suffer a drastic funding crisis, and a suffer from extremely poor dis-nterested management. 

We decided we could not let this happen, and we began praying intentionally for the hospital.  Matt phoned Steve and asked if we could meet face to face to discuss their plans in order to find out if we could play some role in them.

We were invited to make the 8 hour drive from our home in Montrouis to visit with Steve and Faith for a week and allow Sarah to see the hospital for the first time.  Sarah and the kids were able to see more of Haiti on our trip to Bombard than they have seen in the 5 years we have lived in Haiti.

Our family with Steve & Faith Leach

We immediately fell in love with Bombard, her people, and fully realized how critically important it was that this hospital remain open. Over the course of four decades, God has expanded the hospital’s capabilities and reach. The hospital/clinic today delivers healthcare to a population of at least 50,000. The remote location of the hospital heightens its local impact as there is no facility offering equivalent services within several hours' hard travel, and, arguably, none within a day's journey that offers these services at such minimal cost.

What does this mean for us?

We are partnering with International Missionary Fellowship and moving to Bombardpolis with our family. We hope to be fully moved and settled by the end of January. This will give us the maximum amount of time to work along side Steve and Faith before their planned departure in November of 2017. 

As a family, we are beginning to realize the impact this change in roles will have on us.  Sarah will begin working more, helping to improve the nursing care offered to patients, as well as helping with midwifery in the Hospital. Matt will begin overseeing the physical plant of the mission and  will have an administrative/ accounting focus.

Willow and Olive had a ball playing in the shade house!

What are our immediate prayer requests?

Our families physical needs will change as we will live in a significantly more remote area. The remote nature of our new location requires us to purchase significantly more supplies every 2 months when we travel to Port au Prince. We will need better evacuation insurance and more reliable transportation for our family.

Toyota Landcruiser designed for the rugged rural roads.

We are desperately praying for God to bring another family to come alongside us in this ministry. There is far more work to do than Sarah and I are able to do while still raising young children.

Lastly and most importantly, pray against spiritual warfare. The enemy will surely attack and attempt to rob us of joy, target our marriage, attempt to destroy relationships within the mission and community of Bombard. 

What will happen with the Retreat Center?

We are willing to manage the RC until Nov 2017 (the date at which the Leaches will leave Haiti) in the same ways we do as when we are on furlough. Chadasha is working to identify new missionaries as soon as possible to begin the leadership transition. 

We are overwhelmed at how God has orchestrated the past few weeks, and are excited to continue the work that IMF has been doing in Bombard. 

If God wasn’t undeniably calling us to a new position serving the poor of rural NW Haiti, we would still be fighting for the RC to continue. We believe in the vision and purpose of the RC with all of our hearts. From the beginning, we prayed that God would make it abundantly clear when our involvement with the RC would change. While we didn’t anticipate that change coming this soon, we believe the time has arrived. Thanks for the privilege of serving with you, and for your sacrifice on our behalf to live and work in Haiti. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Summer Rush

Cool breezes and daily rainstorms have officially been replaced with stagnant air and high humidity...welcome to summer in Haiti!  After a busy few spring months,  June has proven to be the start to summer that we have begun to anticipate after 2 and 1/2 years here on the island. However, we couldn't be more thankful to be in our new home as we push through these summer months.  Thus far in June, we have hosted two teams and had two visits with board members, celebrated Olive's first birthday, Sarah's 32nd (wow, I'm getting up there) and our 6th wedding anniversary.  We have an amazing amount of things to be thankful for and can't wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!
A recent orphanage benefiting from the shade built by our Texas group and our Haitian staff.

The first team of the summer was a group of 22 youth and leaders from Texas, Ohio, and Florida.  They were the first to really fill up our guesthouse rooms.  They were a blast and brought some noise and fun back into our world.  They were able to host multiple orphanages during their time at the beach as well as build 3 choukouns (pavilions) for permanent shade on the property.  Mike, the fearless youth leader, has been with us in the past and we were blessed to have him here again with a mostly new group of youth and a few returners.  One of our returners also gave our beloved Bear and Bella some obedience lessons throughout the week. We had a few adventures including a broken bus, a busted knee after an attempt at walking up the hill (ahem, Mia), and quite a bit of sickness throughout the week.

Six guys on the ground, one putting in the screw...that sounds about right...

Mike showin' us how it's done!

Two of our silly Texas youth loving time with the littles. :-)

In-progress construction shots.

Oh please don't fall, Matt...not again...:-)

The second team of the summer happened to be friends from our sending church in North Carolina, Grace Blue Ridge.  We were extremely thankful to have them here with us and to be a part of the first mission trip from our fairly new church plant.  Having only four team members gave us time to connect about what was happening in our home congregations and to talk life with friends we haven't seen in some time.  Before the week was over, our crew was able to see the completion of our last choukoun, host several groups at the beach, and love on some kids in our community.  We look forward to our trip home in the fall to reconnect with this crew and hear about what the Lord did in their hearts during this week.

Grace Blue Ridge team teaching the boys to play "Would you rather"

Church at the beach

Broken down bus, 10 minutes after we rented it!

On the way to the Retreat Center for these kid's first time to the beach!

Craft time with Adria

Post craft time show and tell

Our last group of the summer was fun group of familiar faces from Foothillls Community Church in Seneca, SC.  We are always thrilled to host their teams, they work hard and have been with us since the very beginning.   They helped us host several orphanges from Port as well as a host of construction projects around our property. Thankfully our friend Holly did not fall into the well again this trip, Praise the Lord!

Scout Stephens teaching some dance moves

The men demolishing our old pump house to begin a larger more secure depot

And lastly, we morn the loss of Gonzie. He is the son of Shadrack and Ruth, unfortunately he passsed away 6 days after birth from vertical transmission of the Chickenyunga virus. We ask that you pray for Ruth and her husband as they mourn the loss of their first born son.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Update

It's been a wild and crazy Spring for the Rideout's!  We kicked off the year with the tremendous blessing of a new home for our family that also serves as a guest house for our teams. Check it out!

The view from our front porch.

Our new place is less than a kilometer from Chadasha's Children's Retreat Center. We have the enough space to sleep 24 guests comfortably, and we are living on the edge of the national highway! All this, and it's less than 66% cheaper annually than our old place. What a blessing!

We can't forget to mention the incredible sunsets!

This spring we hosted teams from  GO Adventures Project ( https://goproject.org/go-adventures/), Cavalry Baptist Church (Knoxville, TN), First Presbyterian Church (Huntsville, AL), Matt's parents, and Foothills Community Church ( Sennaca, SC). We were blessed to have so many friends return to serve Haiti, and to make a wagon load of new friendships with first time visitors.

GO Adventures - even had a couple former CS students!

Huge crowd from Cavalry

With the help of our supporting churches and teams, Chadasha's ministry in Montrouis has improved the lives of 1000's this year already!  We have hosted 1150+ children in vbs style day programs at the beach.

With the help of volunteer doctors, over 900 patients have been treated in mobile clinics. Those patients have found healing medicines and re-newed vision with the help of mobile vision clinics.

All this and we still managed to build a wall at the new house, renovate the new house (build kitchen cabinets, install new doors , install a new solar system, paint, childproof, install septic system), and even build toilet facilities at the beach!


It doesn't end here! We are preparing for our busiest summer yet. Our summer calendar is filling up with orphanages and churches eager to bring their children to the beach. We have 4 teams scheduled to visit in June and July including our home church, Grace Blue Ridge. Needless to say, we are excited to see what God has in store for the retreat center this year.