Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Out With Old, In With The New!

This week we've begun the process of deconstructing the old and broken structures to begin construction. We started with removing the old cement pad for the pavilion and the broken sea wall.

So it begins, 8 guys armed with sledgehammers and picks

The old broken sea wall and eroded bank.
Big thanks to the folks from Westwood Baptist Church, who sent down work gloves... Wilmon is very happy!
Temporary sea wall after 2 days of stacking rocks

A few weeks ago, our wall was vandalized. This prompted us to paint our exterior wall. It's actually turned out to be a great blessing. First, the new paint has made locating our property easier for visitors. The new paint has also helped us to take ownership in the community and provided a week's of work for 3 men from our community where unemployment in our area is above 80%.


32 gallons of paint later, it may or may not be UT Vols inspired...

I've been searching tirelessly for a water solution for the Retreat Center.  Water is critical for life in Haiti, we cannot build anything, work all day, or smell fresh without it. Being close to the ocean is only complicating matters. Luckily, there is actually a community water system that flows from a spring way up in the mountains. Currently the system is in disrepair, so I asked a representative from the water board to show me the problem, with hopes that we may be able to repair it.  What ensued was a crazy difficult & incredibly beautiful moto-adventure. I want to share the beauty I experienced that morning and share some of Haiti's beautiful places with our readers.

We started off at my house, and quickly picked up another passenger. This made the ride slightly more challenging, with roughly 475 lbs of passengers and the moto only weighing 320lbs...
Here we go!

Sixteen kilometers from my house to the village of Capiot and the giant springs.
 The Childrens Retreat Center is just on the otherside of the small hill to the far right.

The road started off pretty good, and got increasingly more difficult. This section reminded me of the Great Wall of China for some reason. After this section, the road turns to a path and get really steep!

There are some massive trees in the mountains.

This is the spring that flows from the mountain. It is diverted into canals for irrigation as well as through a powerhouse to generate electricity. Thankfully it was repaired in the last few weeks and it has offered us consistent city power for the last 2 weeks. This is a huge answer to our prayers and is savings us $100's every month in fuel cost for our generator.  The plants growing in the water are water cress  that is harvested and sold as a favorite food in local markets. These plants are the chief source of income for the village, and in turn, the community holds the spring and its water quality as a high priority. Lucky us!

I enjoyed the adventure, but I have yet to discern a solution for the water board. It appears that problems may be more political than physical.  Please join us in praying for the water to flow again. It is critical for our mission, as well as our community where there are 600-700 people who walk 3-4km for fresh water everyday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Community, Community, Community

Our community is growing...and I don't mean our household! We've had great joy introducing more and more people to the Retreat Center. Although our facilities are still extremely rustic, God has truly provided His people with an exceptional place.

We had an orphanage pay a surprise visit to do something special for us.  After having visited the Retreat Center a few times, these kids actually asked their leaders if they could do something to honor us. After a few crazy ideas, the director of the orphanage suggested  cleaning up our beach for the next group to visit. The kids jumped at the idea and picked up 16 bags of trash from our beach and our neighbors' property! How awesome is that?

Many of you who read our blog, and those who have known Sarah and I personally, are likely to be aware of our desire to live in community with other believers. We believe that intentional investment in relationships with fellow believers strengthens our faith, and allows us to the be the hands and feet of the Father's love to those around us. This is the core of why we are living life in Haiti.

This week we launched a bi-weekly fellowship gathering for fellow missionaries and their families serving in our local community. We were blessed to have 4 missions represented and hope to host more in the coming weeks.  The adults had a great time, but I think the kids might had even had more fun! (If you happen to be reading this and in Haiti, we are gathering at our beach property in Pierre Payan the 1st & 3rd Sunday each month @ 4pm Hatian time.)

Please join us in praying for this new portion of our ministry. Pray that God will lead it, be the focus of our energy, and that He will receive glory and praise from it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beach, Beach, Beach

The New Year has brought a flurry of activity. We have been blessed to host several groups at the Retreat Center already this year as well as incredible weather. What a blessing this place has been to us, fellow missionaries, pastors, and Haitian children.

Our first group came from Christian Fellowship Mission in Port. They brought 8 girls & a dozen or so staff. We were blessed to host their Baptism service. We are praying that this will be the first of many services!

We also were blessed to host a huge group from Canaan Christian Community. They are based in Montrouis, less than a mile from us. They live so close to the ocean, yet don't have beach access. We were excited to share our place with them. They brought 80+ kids, 20~ish pastors, and team from the States of approximately 20. It was amazing to hear so much laughter and joy in the air!

We've also been blessed to spend time together with just our family.  We've enjoyed spending evenings at the beach picking up shells with Willow. She absolutely loves the water and the plethora of unique shells and stones at the beach. The sunsets aren't so bad either...

Date night with my favorite ladies!

Josue came to visit for a few days to help me get things settled with our staff and meet with a few local pastors. What a blessing he has been to our family! We are sad to see him go, but proud that he is headed back to Port for his second semester of law school.
Josue @ the cliffs of lighthouse beach

Our prayer request for January is discernment. That we are able to share God's love in a new place as we seek to build relationships in our community. The needs are great, and we are small.