Sunday, August 8, 2010

Abundant Gratitude and Joyful Anticipation

Today is a quiet and thoughtful Sunday. Although I am thankful to the Lord all of the time for the many blessings he bestows on me every minute of every day, I am especially thankful today.

All around me I see people suffering every day - from ignorance, from lack, from spiritual emptiness - and I can only look to heaven and lift up a prayer of Thanksgiving for all of the provision I have in my life.

I have a family who loves me, friends who are supportive of the Lord's calling on my life and in supplying for my earthly needs as I serve Him. I have close working relationships with people who love the Lord as I do and desire only to do their parts to manifest His Will here on earth. And above all, I have a Savior who goes before me in everything I do, preparing my path and then walking it with me. I want for nothing and my spirit is the most at peace it has ever been in my life.

It has been over two years since I have seen my wife and I am anticipating her upcoming visit with so much anticipation, delight and joy. She is my partner in this walk even though the path has led me to be distant from her for this long. I am so blessed to have a spouse who understands and appreciates that God does, indeed, work in mysterious ways and encourages me as I step into some of uncertain places He leads me.

Please pray for my wife's safe travel to, within and from Haiti. Please pray that our reunion is one of joy and of peace for our spirits. Words cannot even express how grateful I am for the time we will be able to spend together. I love you, Sherry, and can't wait to hold you in my arms again.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Community for Lafferronnay

Still running - found a parcel of land in the town of Lafferronnay (situated between Leogane and Port-au-Prince) that will accommodate 140 more families. It has nice trees and a little stream that runs through it (above). What a delightful location. We are so blessed that the landowner is agreeable to having so many people on this land for a full year.

While we are waiting for financing approval for this project, I am staying busy by coordinating distribution of some of the shelters for folks who own their own properties.

Meeting with community leaders to impress upon them the importance of individual involvement in this process has been encouraging. In requiring them to strategize for deliveries and setups, I can see some of them standing a littler straighter because they feel they have some control over their own destinies.

Since one of our goals at PPM is providing opportunities that allow people the dignity of self-sufficiency, I have been really pleased to sit back and listen to them contemplate a situation, weigh their options, and make decisions based on peoples' needs. I believe that allowing them to actively participate in the individual shelter projects is soul-enriching beyond what we will probably ever truly know.

That's what this is all about - showing God's love to people in a very tangible way.

His Gratified Servant,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trying to Keep Up With God

I always thought missionaries carefully planned each step they took so as to ensure they were in step with God. That's the way I've always conducted my personal life - trying to remain at Jesus' side each day. Being in Haiti for the last few years has forced me to take a somewhat different approach - I find myself running just trying to keep up with what God is doing!!

Work on Community Four just began less than a week ago and it will be complete and ready for final inspection in no time. God has been really busy!

When I dropped in the other day to check on progress, there were already residents milling around looking at their units with pride and exclaiming how they just can't wait to move in (at right).

The frames are up and it should only take a few more days for the men to attach the tarp walls and metal roofs.

Steve, president of our newest ministry partner, CoAid, is planning to come to Haiti in about two weeks to look at the completed communities and help plan for the possibility of more land leases to accomodate more communities.

I can't wait to see what God has in store...I'd better keep my running shoes on!!!

Breathless With Excitement,

Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrating Opening Day for PPM Community 3

Wow! It's hard to believe that this project is already completed and people are moving in.
God is truly to be praised!!

We just finished the dedication ceremony for this, our third transitional community. All of the beneficiaries were so grateful in prayer for their new shelters and start-up kits.
Each new resident received a set of cookware, a large plastic container for water, basic hygiene kit, and mosquito nets so they can start off on the right foot to keep themselves healthy and the community a clean and sanitary place to live. It's so cool - some folks have already started personalizing their homes (see little flower beds one mom and her children put in near their door).
I'm in a hurry to get things done today, so I'll let these photos speak for themselves. I'm off to Darbonne to check on progress at Community 4, then on to the city of Dufort to look into the possibility of land for a fifth community.

Seeking His Strength,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joyous News: Marie Yolene

I have great news to share!

I received an update about little Marie Yolene, the two year old we helped after the earthquake. If you recall, her arm was severely burned in the quake and all that had been done for it was to wrap it in a towel. When I first saw her, her aunt was so distressed because little Marie was suffering (left). The doctor I took her to told her aunt that, without proper treatment, she would have probably died within a week or so of the horrible infection that had set into her arm.

After she saw the doctor and I helped Danita's people relocate her to their orphanage, I lost track of her. Brittany, one of the workers at Danita's, contacted me yesterday and provided an update on little Marie:

Marie Yolene, who we now call Marie Joy, is doing great! Actually, her aunt came to live and work with us a few months ago. She is also doing really great, living and working with all our children from Port-Au-Prince. The aunt is going to start going to school in the fall and continue working with us. Marie's arm has completely healed, as you can see, with only a couple scars left which will most likely heal soon. She has gained weight, is starting to talk, and has a HUGE personality. She's joyful and spunky :)

Thank you so much, Brittany, for letting us know how well Marie is doing! You made my day!


Transitional Shelters to Be Converted Into Permanent Homes

I am so happy today! Building the transitional communities is incredible and, thanks to our partners, is going smoothly. I finally had some time to turn my attention to the needs of some of the people who own their own property but lost their homes.

While we, sadly, lack the funds to distribute all 500 of the shelters we have been allotted for this purpose, with the 'go-ahead' to distribute four of them, I made arrangements to have three of them delivered to their intended sites today. The other one will be delivered by the middle of next week.

The first one was delivered to 64-year-old Andre Mathurin (left). He was so overjoyed - all he kept saying was "I pray for you, I pray for you!". Rebecca, he was so happy to talk with you on the phone. He says you are an angel from God and he prays for you every day. (Note: He also wanted me to remind you that he needs more of the protein supplement we send to him).

The second shelter will be dropped off to a group of elderly widows who live way off of the main road. If you recall, one of them came to me about three weeks after the quake and said they had received no aid at all. She took me to where their little hut had been and showed me where the five of them were living under sheets hung from a little tree. It was so pitiful and I have shared Rebecca's heart for sheltering them as we found we were able to do so.

The third shelter will be delivered to an elderly couple who lost their home. They can't even find the words to express how they feel.

The plan is to apply the technology I learned from Charly as we constructed Pastor Danley's house and convert these temporary shelters into permanent homes (right). The cost per home is only $495.00 (for plywood walls, protectant oil, and the materials to screen the windows). An added bonus is that I will be having our boys help with these conversions. This will add to their growing knowledge of construction skills.

These enhanced shelters should provide nice, little homes for these elderly folks for the remainder of their lives. I call that a really good investment!

Serving Him,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Darbonne Community Becomes a Reality

I visited the landowner today to have her sign the necessary land lease documents and to pay her. The project managers will beginning the layout process tonight - determining where the houses will go, where amenities such as the rest rooms and play areas will be located given the property boundaries and terrain.

My prayer is that actual construction can begin very quickly. We have had torrential rain for several nights and the people in Darbonne are suffering the effects of not being able to shelter themselves and their limited belongings from the rain. They are so excited and can't wait for the shelters to be ready to occupy.

I can readily locate other parcels of land, there are supplies available to construct literally thousands of these shelters -- we just lack the funds to continue building these communities. We must continue to pray for God's continued provision of the funds to lease the properties.