Saturday, May 21, 2011

Interactive Missionary Letter

Every End is a New Beginning

After our 47th trip into Haiti, on April 15th 2011, after 15 months of incredible challenges, sacrifice and intense work, our team returned to the D.R. from its final relief mission.  During this trip, we reflected on God's blessings and gave all the honor and glory to him for what has been done.  Obviously, the disaster is still ongoing and Haiti will take years to recover, as we have reported on our Blog.

Haiti, as a nation, has known nothing but suffering, tribulations and poverty over her course in history and this makes recovery even that more difficult.  It is extremely difficult to pass collapsed buildings, tent cities, etc., without thinking of those affected from the earthquake even to this day; yet we know it is time to draw this relief chapter in our life to a close. 
While this chapter in our lives is ending, we are excited about new beginnings.  Every fire starts with a spark and Haiti has definitely kindled a new fire within us; one, that we believe will not let us leave just yet.

For decades, and even now, non-governmental organizations have provided the most critical services to the Haitian people. During this time, Haitians have developed a dependency on humanitarian aid and this sense of dependency and entitlement has grown over the last year.  Today, seemingly innocent situations can become intense quickly (For example: 
Our Feb 28, 2011, Blog entry ) and serious problems can lead to personal attacks.  Not all experiences can be explained or documented, not even with Blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc., there is just not enough time.  There are also no easy answers in a disaster. In life, there are going to be trials and tribulations and our character is defined by rising to meet those challenges.

For the Christian, these trials and tribulations can be physical realities but more than anything it is a spiritual test.  Will we grow by faith and wholly rely on Him or will we rely on ourselves?  In Haiti, this question is answered daily and in order for physical dependency to be broken, spiritual dependency must take its place at some point.  Our Lord Jesus Christ, quoting Deut 8:3, sums it up in Luke 4:4 by saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."  The first sign of long-term change in Haiti is going to be Haitians depending on every word of God to win, build and send their countrymen around their country with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christianity is growing in Haiti and that gives our team great hope and we want to be a part of this growth in a permanent way.

Today, we are announcing our plans to start the Bible Baptist Church of Nouailles, Haiti.  This will be our third church plant since arriving on the island in August of 2006.  It is difficult to establish a new work without a leader and God has brought Pastor Clifford into our lives for such a time as this.  Pastor Clifford graduated from the S.T.E.P. seminary in Haiti that is connected with Dallas Theological Seminary and not only feels called to this work but is already in Nouailles laying the ground work necessary to start the church.  We are excited and have committed ourselves to get this church started on the right foot. 

We have three teams coming from Dr. Morgan's church in Farmington, New Mexico and Dr. Monroe's church in Florence, South Carolina this summer to help evangelize and to build a church building before the end of October.  At that point, our team will integrate back into their normal routines in the Dominican Republic, although, continuing our relationship with Pastor Clifford a few days a month for prayer, training and encouragement. We need your prayers; this is a great challenge and will be difficult for a plethora of reasons, some that we have mentioned. Pray for the Holy Spirit's power on our lives and for those who are coming this summer. Pray for our safety, health, ministries and most of all for those who need Christ.

Regina and I want to say thank you to our family, supporting churches and to all the teams that have come to Haiti.  You have encouraged and blessed us with your prayers, offerings, faithfulness and love and we pray we can see you again soon.