Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dial and Marthe's Wedding

Dial and Marthe got married this last week with 225 in attendance, some all the way from Haiti. We started training Dial two years ago for the ministry and finally got him married this week. It was a beautiful ceremony and the whole Christmas affair lasted more than four hours. Both Dial and Marthe will be full-time workers beginning in January and they really need your prayers as 1.) they begin a new life together, 2.) continue ministering to families in Don Pedro and 3.) keep up with Regina and I in Haiti.

Our church in Tamboril hosts 225+ for Dial and Marthe's wedding.

Tom speaks in Spanish while Franc translates in Creol

Reading Genesis 2:18-24 in Spanish and Creol

Exchanging vows and the ring ceremony

The best way to start a new marriage - in prayer.

O.K. I'll take you down the isle - but forget about accompanying another boy until your 40.

Friday, December 03, 2010

First Wedding Celebrated

Love is God's richest and greatest gift to the world. Love between a man and woman which matures into marriage is one of the most beautiful types of love.This weekend our church celebrated its first wedding between Aristides and Rosa. Believe it or Not we have another wedding coming up in a week and are excited for the example it sets to our church family and community. Aristides and Rosa have been in our church for a little over a year now. Rosa accepted Christ with Regina and a few weeks later, I had the opportunity to lead Aristides to the Lord. Both have been discipled, love the Lord and are growing everyday in His word. The whole day was blessed and I was able to share the plan of salvation with the guests during the ceremony. Great Memories.

Aristides and Rosa at the Courthouse
JuliAnna and Miguel Angel
Here comes the Bride

Dearly Beloved we are gathered here today to unite Aristides and Rosa in Holy Matrimony.

Praying with Aristides and Rosa after there vows.

Give me some cake.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. John and Greg Morgan in Haiti

Regina and I, recently enjoyed our visit with Dr. John Morgan and his wife Greg in Haiti. Greg is a professional photographer and just released the most incredible photos entitled - "The Beautiful Faces of Haiti." I sure hope you get a chance to see them - you will not be sorry. If your on Facebook its - http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.473627266948.255009.583196948  In addition, Dr. Morgan has written two articles on his blog The Big Ink Monkey. (www.thebiginkmonkey.blogspot.com) His first article details our adventures together and his second article is entitled "Hope for Haiti".  Its a very insightful article and full of positive answers, verses and well - hope.  Its always great to make new friends but we know Dr. John was sent to be a blessing - and right now - Haiti needs all the blessings it can get.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Night draws 250 plus

This month we showed the Christian movie "Lay it Down" in Spanish. Great evangelistic film about illegal street racing that exposes the reality of such choices, and their consequences. The surprise ending combined with a clear presentation of the gospel led to over 20 people making a profession of faith after a short message. I was very proud of our members who went and prayed out of site during the invitation. Prayer really makes a difference. Afterwards Regina and company served up some cake and we raffled off some Bibles. A perfect ending to a beautiful evening.

Evangelistic Movie Night - Lay it Down

Regina serves up some cake

Tom raffles away Bibles

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life would be boring without them

Building a strong christian family goes hand in hand on the mission field with building an enduring ministry. We have been blessed with four beautiful children that enjoy diving into ministry just as much as we do. They are valuable assets in every way and it seems the more we do in ministry the closer we all grow together. Obviously it takes a lot of work and quality time and there are occasional hiccups along the way but with Jesus as our Lord and guide those hiccups subside. We are so proud to be the parents of Tyler, Jordan, Tiffany and JuliAnna, there so fun to be around and life would be boring without them.
Tyler in Haiti helping a family get some Water

Happy 13th Jordan - You light up our life!

"Tiffany and JuliAnna Kick'n back at home"

Tiffany - "I'm glad my Mom didn't make me the white frill indian costume"

Tom and JuliAnna at the Park

Girls and me in Haiti

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Little Rays of Sunshine Update

Recently our friend Carol wrote and asked me about one of our ministries in the second church we started in Don Pedro, D.R. last year.
Carol asked:
How is Garry and the Little Rays of Light Club doing?
Dear Carol,
Gary and the Little Rays of Sunshine are doing great. Gary and Martha were able to attend a 12 lesson seminar by Child Evangelism on “How to Evangelize a Child”. Gary graduated; however Martha missed 2 weeks because her father passed away. She went to Haiti for the funeral. When she returned she was able to complete the 2 lessons she had missed by individually meeting with the teacher and was also able to graduate.
Tom and I gave Gary a camera to take Pictures. He purchased a memory chip and soon should have more pictures available.
These past few weeks, Gary has been teaching lessons on “Facing Giants” based on the story of David and Goliath. The children have really enjoyed it, especially their activity books. We are currently searching for some more Bible lessons to teach that include visuals and activity books. These children know very little about the Bible or are very confused with a mix of Charismatic and Catholic teachings. Having the opportunity to teach the truth from God’s Word is a “breath of fresh air”.
Mostly because of the conditions they currently meet in, growing in number has been a challenge; however, we are happy to announce that this past month a piece of property was purchased for them. There is still a lot to do and long ways to go concerning building, Sunday School and improving Little Rays of Sunshine, but they are coming along and we are seeing spiritual growth and God’s blessing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lubbock Baptist Temple in Haiti

Pastor Bygel from Lubbock along with men from his church came and worked - very hard. We finished rebuilding the wall and set 12 columns digging through concrete and rebar all the way. WhoooRaw! 10 days of brutal sweat, blood and tears. True TEX A CANS. Pastor Bygel brought a great message of encouragement Sunday morning that really touched the hearts of the people. We also were able to go into the belly of the beast once again (Epicenter of the Earthquake - LeĆ³gane) - to give food and water to a local pastor and church. One afternoon we paid our respects for the first time at the site where the victims of Jan 12 earthquake were buried. An experience Regina and I will never forget.


Pastor Wes in the Red Cap
Don and Tom talk Measurements and Engineering

A picture taken by Leslie from Lubbock -
Literally a City on a Hill

Columns going up

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Post-Trip Debriefing's

We have been having groups come into Haiti every month and we ask those groups to fill out a de-briefing form at the close of their missions trip. We let those who come know, that they do not have to put there name on the paper yet these friends of ours (who we made in Haiti) chose to sign there de-briefing forms. Our prayer is that this will be a guide for Pastors and lay leaders who desire to dig deeper and see what goes on in the hearts of those who come. I was asked by the Wilmington News Journal in June how Haiti affects these groups and if the groups are really helping. I believe these de-briefings can shed some light on those questions from a different view point. Regina and I have learned a lot both in Haiti and in the D.R. from this evaluation process (See March 2008) and in several cases have implemented long term changes to our short term group strategy.

The following 3 de-briefings come from 3 different groups who visited Haiti over a course of three months. Steve Drake is a career police officer and a member of the S.W.A.T. team in his county. Keith Bengston is a Park Ranger and Rene Saltana P.H.D. is a professor at Texas Tech University. 3 men, 3 groups, 3 different walks of life. All were a blessing and love the Lord.

One thing debriefing triggers is the reentry process. Reentry is both an end and a beginning.

• an end to a foreign experience, but the beginning of feeling foreign

• an end of a trip, but the beginning of another journey

• an end to being/feeling special, but the beginning of being ordinary with a special heart for God and for the people of Haiti

• an end to being stared at, but the beginning of looking at people and the world through different eyes

• an end to simple living, but the beginning of a different lifestyle

• an end to crowded housing, but the beginning of having more space for God and for people

• an end to eating foreign food, but the beginning of friendships with International students, immigrants, refugee’s and ethnic minorities

Steve Drake - Police Officer / S.W.A.T - Heritage Baptist Church - Lebanon, Ohio - Pastor Steve Craft

EXERCISE 1 FOR SHORT TERMERS

Complete the following sentences.

LEAVING

1. When I think of leaving, I feel . . . Sad, for leaving friends behind.

2. My experience here has been . . . life changing, I will cherish this trip forever.

3. For me Haiti means . . . a beginning for me to help the country

4. The people I will miss are . . . Tom, Jean, Luis and George

5. The things that I will miss are . . . spending time and talking to Tom

6. The things I will be happy to leave behind are . . . N/A.

7. When leaving a place I usually . . . N/A

8. The easiest point of leaving for me will be . . . Getting to see my family

9. Before I leave I really want to . . .N/A.

10. I feel that my goals/expectations have been . . . fully met. God has worked in my heart.

11. The most stressful part of leaving will be . . . knowing my brothers and sisters are suffering.

Note from Tom: This group came through the Dominican Republic These last four questions under leaving were not on the evaluation form at the time this group came to Haiti.

12. A few things I would suggest to the missionaries . . .

13. A few things I would suggest to the national team at the base . . .

14. The base needs . . .

15. One thing I wish we could have done was . . .

EXPECTATIONS

1. I think the return home will be . . . Bittersweet. I want to go home, but I will miss my new friends.

2. I expect the reception from my family will be . . Great Joy

3. I anticipate my church to be . . .waiting for a full report.

4. I picture my friends to be . . . very interested in the trip.

5. I expect my family to be . . . start praying and support Haiti.

6. I hope my church will . . . catch a vision to help rebuild Destini’s church.

7. I think my friends will be . . . N/A.

8. I am looking forward to . . . spending time with my family

RETURNING

1. When I think of returning to the United States, I feel . . . very excited.

2. I will be going back to . . . work and catching up with my family.

3. Going back will enable me to . . . share the needs of Haiti with others.

4. Regarding money, I will . . . increase my missions contribution

5. I think the hardest part of going back for me will be . . . getting back in the routine when I know of the suffering going on in Haiti.

6. I think the easiest part of going back will be . . .

7. I cannot wait to. . . see my wife.

Keith Bengston - Park Ranger - Hillsboro Bible Baptist Church - Hillsoboro, Ohio - Pastor Dan Lamb

EXERCISE 1 FOR SHORT TERMERS

Complete the following sentences.

LEAVING

1. When I think of leaving, I feel . . . Sad, but know that #1 we tried to make a difference the short time we were here #2 that it went too fast.

2. My experience here has been . . . Unbelievable. It has truly been a blessing. I felt the presence of God in a powerful way. I have not felt this moved since our church’s Canada fishing trip with my son in 2000.

3. For me Haiti means . . . an industrious, faithful, happy family of people amidst devastation on an apocalyptic level. It is not what the news portrays it to be. It was not what I had in my mind. It was better and not scary.

4. The people I will miss are . . . Tom and Regina, Pastor Destini and his wife Carmen, Luis and the other staff, George, Pastor Jean Dial and the ladies

5. The things that I will miss are . . . Regina and Yolanda’s food. New Friends and Fellowship. Laughing with Luis and yet - not understanding him.

6. The things I will be happy to leave behind are . . . heat. Although I was getting used to it.

7. When leaving a place I usually . . .

8. The easiest point of leaving for me will be . . . knowing I will see my family to share this great trip.

9. Before I leave I really want to . . . thank everyone for such a great time.

10. I feel that my goals/expectations have been . . . met beyond all doubts, fears and trepidations I had. I let the world tell me through research what Haiti was about. I let my mind out think my heart before coming.

11. The most stressful part of leaving will be . . . Customs and Frontier

Note from Tom: This group came through the Dominican Republic These last four questions under Leaving were at the time of this evaluation under Reflections.

12. A few things I would suggest to the missionaries . . .

13. A few things I would suggest to the national team at the base . . .

14. The base needs . . .

15. One thing I wish we could have done was . . .

EXPECTATIONS

1. I think the return home will be . . . Long and thoughtful. I pray the Lord works with me about missions.

2. I expect the reception from my family will be . . excited and eager to learn

3. I anticipate my church to be . . .very excited and yearning to know about our adventure

4. I picture my friends to be . . . eager to hear

5. I expect my family to be . . . excited and happy to see us

6. I hope my church will be . . . excited to hear of the trip

7. I think my friends will be . . . happy for me and my trip

8. I am looking forward to . . . Air Conditioning. My wife and kids. Getting ready to move our house. Hearing from God.

RETURNING

1. When I think of returning to the United States, I feel . . . Sad, I left the missions field in Haiti. I want to pray harder.

2. I will be going back to . . . business of life

3. Going back will enable me to . . . share my experience

4. Regarding money, I will be . . . more thoughtful towards missions

5. I think the hardest part of going back for me will be . . . rememberin it all and wanting to do it again soon.

6. I think the easiest part of going back will be . . . seeing my family

7. I cannot wait to talk to Pastor Lamb to share the experience. . . of our trip and give him a concrete piece of Pastor Destini’s church - representing the destruction. Then a brand new Ondura nail - representing rebuilding, our project and His promise.

REFLECTIONS

1. One thing the base needs is . . . Can’t think of anything

2. The best thing at the base was . . . Happy Children, Fellowship with the Staff, Church member, The Team. Services. Tours

3. The food was . . . Great very filling

4. I learned from the missionaries . . . the importance of empowering the local people to grow.

5. I learned from the nationals in Tom and Regina’s team . . . Teamwork & God goes a long way

6. Three things I suggest . . . Zero

7. The Project was . . . completed and very interestingly: Powered by God and Built with Love

Rene Saltana P.H.D. - Professor Texas Tech University - Lubbock Baptist Temple - Pastor Wes Bygel

EXERCISE 1 FOR SHORT TERMERS

Complete the following sentences.

LEAVING

1. When I think of leaving, I feel . . . both happy and sad. Happy that I will be with my family again, but sad at leaving new friends and so much work yet to be done.

2. My experience here has been . . . all positive. I was leary at first because the country is so foreign to me, but the family at the base certainly alleviated those fears from moment one in country.

3. For me Haiti means . . . a very real place filled with so many souls in need. It means Pastor and Madame Destini working to win as many of them to Christ.

4. The people I will miss are . . . Luis, George, The Franklin boys, The Franklin’s period. Jackson.

5. The things that I will miss are . . . the fellowship with the men on the work site, the seeing of the work being / getting done.

6. The things I will be happy to leave behind are . . . the heat and the smells of burning trash.

7. When leaving a place I usually . . . pack up and go. The leaving is bitter sweet.

8. The easiest point of leaving for me will be . . . the airport. I could try swimming but I’d get tired fast. No, really the easiest point is hard to pin-point.

Note: This group came through the Port-au-Prince Airport

9. Before I leave I really want to . . . take in the sites, sounds and smells on the way to the airport. To have a very clear memories of the people / souls.

10. I feel that my goals/expectations have been . . . met. We wanted to come be of service in any way and I feel we did. The work on the site was always in flux, but it came together.

11. The most stressful part of leaving will be . . . getting to the airport: on the plane, ticketed; loaded.

12. A few things I would suggest to the missionaries . . . I really can’t think of anything. It was great to meet all the kids; Regina though that is not do able for every team.

13. A few things I would suggest to the national team at the base . . . nothing - they ran the show like Pro’s. I wish for my part, to have been able to serve them more, but they were ever the servants themselves.

14. The base needs . . . NO hot water.

Note: This is a joke - we had asked this group if this was important due to a suggestion from a previous visitor.

15. One thing I wish we could have done was . . . gone out to pass out tracts and or invite folks to Pastor Destini’s church.

EXPECTATIONS

1. I think the return home will be . . . a joyful one. I can’t wait to see my wife and sons and begin to tell them all that that I saw and heard of Haiti, the Base family, and what we did.

2. I expect the reception from my family will be . . happy

3. I anticipate my church to be . . . glad at having the Pastor back

4. I picture my friends to be . . . eager to hear of what all happened during there stay.

5. I expect my family to be. . . happy, warm and cozy.

6. I hope my church will be. . . glad at our return and become even more missions minded than we are.

7. I think my friends will be . . . excited to hear my recountings.

8. I am looking forward to . . . holding my wife and sons first thing and for a long time. Setting the thermostat at 68 degree’s ha ha ha!!!

RETURNING

1. When I think of returning to the United States, I feel . . . good. I’ve tried to do a good thing here, and I think I have.

2. I will be going back to . . .family.

3. Going back will enable me to . . . remind myself that any and all support of missionaries is key.

4. Regarding money, I will be . . . more willing to give back to God.

5. I think the hardest part of going back for me will be . . . leaving friends behind. But the work continues. Here and there.

6. I think the easiest part of going back will be . . . that my wife; boys are waiting on the other end and at the flight.

7. I cannot wait to . . . sleep in my own bed tonight, hearing the most familiar sounds, knowing we are all tucked in and together.