Archive for 2013

3Dec13

Christmas Tree
I can’t believe December is here already. It makes it harder to wrap my head around when it’s still so warm here.
I’ve seen posts about snowboarding back in PA, and that seems so far away right now. My prayers are with the new Snowboarders for Christ chapter that will be shredding at 7 Springs.

I’ve had so much to be thankful for this year, that I cannot hope to put it all into words.
As Jamie and I sat down for Thanksgiving, we realized what a crazy year it has been. And, we realized how hard it is to keep track of time right now when we sat down to Thanksgiving a week early. Oops 🙂
But I am incredibly blessed by this wife God has been gracious enough to grant me.
And we are blessed by all the support we have received from our families, from churches, and especially from those of you who keep up with what we are doing down here.
Please continue to pray for us.

This year brought some exciting things for the ministry as well.
I’ve been able to build relationships with Sonlight Power Ministries, who do solar power worldwide, and having been using this as a ministry for over 12 years. Allen and I are now going to keep in contact and I will continue to provide support for his 80+ installations here in Haiti.

The project with Dr. Jay (Missions International of America) is going well, and they are have 10 containers in place to use for their guest house/conference center.

Last time I was there (about 3 weeks ago), marked the first time someone slept in the containers, and they should be ready for groups before the next time Jay brings a team down.

Additionally, it’s been great to work with Ken Peters, a canadian who also fulfills many “handyman” roles here in Haiti. We work together in leading worship at church, and have found that we work well together on job sites too. Ken and his wife Maria are also joining up with another ministry here in town, and that is very exciting to see their new direction as directors of a children’s center.

Also, Jamie and I are well settled into our house, and we got the lease renewed for another year, and got things started on the land adjacent to our house. We haven’t gotten any containers on the land yet, but that is a work in progress and I hope to have them on before the end of the year.

As far as work with others goes, I have a contract drawn up and may have another solar installation to put in shortly. This one is for a haitian woman, and may start a line of contruction for private individuals. My hope with these is to use them as training opportunities for Gayly, Waly, and others that wish to learn from what I am doing.

Finally, I have received word of a tremendous blessing in the form of a new pickup truck. A 2002 F150 has been donated to F1, and hopefully will ship sometime in January. There is no doubt in my mind that this was an answer to prayer.
I was talking with Pastor Lex and Renee is Grand Goave about a month ago. I was telling them I wanted to ship some solar panels into Haiti, and they responded that the easiest way to do that would be to ship them inside a vehicle. I was feeling cynical at the time and responded, “that’s great, but I don’t exactly have people lined up to donate me a truck.” If I’m honest, I was speaking out of jealousy, as I had seen that happen for other organizations in the past, but didn’t expect it to happen for me. The following Sunday, at church here in Jacmel, we were reading through James and hit the passage that says “you have not, because you ask not”, and I was convicted and started praying that IF God wanted me to ship stuff, HE would provide a way to do it. Just a couple days later, my parents told me about this truck that was being donated. God does great things.

This will still have some hurdles to clear, such as gathering tools and materials, purchasing a pallet of solar panels, and figuring out all the shipping details. I will likely come home to help pack it before it comes as well, but this was a HUGE step.
For those that are interested, I will make a “wish list” available on request. You probably know I don’t like asking for stuff publicly, so you will have to ask my parents or I for a copy of this list if you want to participate.

******************
Now, I want to share a bit with you in transparency.
I am struggling right now. Mostly, I struggle because life has fallen into a routine. I don’t want to be complacent. I don’t want to get lazy. Mostly, I struggle because I see that there is something more that God is calling me to, calling us, as His people, to.
I have been challenged lately in my mind that I need to focus on His work, and not get distracted by what I think I ought to do if it is not from Him. Make sense?
Hopefully it does. Well, right now, I know that feeling, but I don’t know how it applies.
I find myself dragging my feet slightly as I search to sort out what are His plans, and what are My plans. Please pray for wisdom for Jamie and I in this regard.
More than anything, I long to see God working in mighty ways, bringing revival here, in the US, and all over the world, and I am just struggling to figure out which facets of what I am doing with F1 are beneficial to this purpose, and what may need to be “pruned” in order to produce more fruit.

I also hope this prayer would extend beyond us, and be something you can pray for yourself, your church, and your sphere of influence. Thank you for keeping up with what God is doing here.
God Bless you.

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9Oct13 – Big new steps

Last night, almost a year after finally renting a house for the first time in Haiti, I renewed that lease. So, Jamie and I have our house for another year.
Additionally, however, I made a deal with the landlord to rent the adjacent lot as well.

This lot, as seen from the roof of our current house, is 3/4th walled, and mostly vacant, but it will be a site to start a community workshop. For those of you that have been waiting for me to do something with containers, it looks like the time is finally here.

I have a container that I want to put on the land as storage for tools, and we will clean up the yard and make it a viable work space. The hope is to have training seminars here, as well as just providing a spot to allow the locals to come use tools and empower them to develop their own craftsmanship.
The container will likely be put in the nice gap on the ground where the tree trunk is laying.

Additionally, we’re very excited to have trees with coconut, breadfruit, mango, and limes in our new yard.

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28July13

It’s been awhile again.
Mostly cause I haven’t known what to write.

Jamie and I spent 3 weeks in Finland with her family, and returned to Haiti 10 days ago.
God’s blessings for that trip were amazing. Just last February, when we all left each other after the wedding festivities, we had no idea when we would all be in one place again. But God changed our plans.
Jamie’s older sister and her family, were missionaries in an island nation in the Indian Ocean. That project came to a close, and they felt God calling them back to Finland, for now, with the intention of moving back into the international missions field in a year or so.
Jamie’s younger sister and her husband have also moved to Finland for university, which is a plan that had just shifted from the U.S. to Finland in the past couple months.
And her parents were on their biyearly furlough to Finland.
So, since all the family was there again, we went to visit.
Then, I found out two days before we left, that my in-laws had also set me up with an appointment for a Lasik Surgery consultation to try to get my eyes fixed. We had talked about this before, but I never expected it to work out.
As it turned out, the day after I got to Finland, I went for the appointment, my eyes were good for it, so the Dr. did the surgery right away. From what I am told, it would typically be about 3000 Euros for the surgery, and he charged me 150 Euros, or about $200. So, for the price of glasses, I got to get rid of my glasses. Jehovah-Jireh!

After that, we spent a lot of good quality time with our family, and caught up with some friends that I had never met before. It was great to have that chance.

Sadly, while we were gone, our house was broken into again. This marked the second robbery in about a month.
For the first, someone had climbed over our wall, and cut the lock off our front door. As a result, we put up extra razor wire, added a more secure door lock, and asked my friend Gayly to house-sit for us.
This time, they waited until Gayly was gone for a day, broke THROUGH the concrete block wall surrounding our property, and cut a hole in our metal door.
The first time, they only managed to steal Gayly’s laptop before he got home. Thankfully, I was able to replace his laptop for him. This time, they took our inverter. Apparently they learned their lesson last time and didn’t get greedy, so they left quickly with just that. Again, God has provided as a good friend of mine gave us a donation of $800 (the cost of an inverter) the same week ours was stolen.

So, I have to say we have been blessed to have had few possesions taken, and for it to have been when we weren’t home and to have been non-violent, since those are much more traumatic to the victims.

However, I can’t say it’s been easy. Between the robberies, and just other issues of life, I have been struggling getting back into the swing of things here. I found myself quite irritable, which has only been exacerbated by the extremely hot weather that is typical of this time of year.
It’s for that reason that I have found it hard to write anything on here.

Today, though, I find myself wanting to share again.
Jamie and I have been talking about a lot of things. (Can I just say my wife is an amazing blessing in my life. She’s awesome 🙂 But one thing in particular is that I’m starting to get an idea of purpose again. I feel like I’ve been continuing to do what I’ve always done, but it’s time for a shift.
This shift, I think, is to get more involved in teaching, discipling, and intentional relationship building, and it also involves more studying on my end.
From a work standpoint, it is a renewed realization that the idea of a workshop/training center is still in my mind. But for the more immediate time, it is a reminder to use work to build relationships with my friends even. To encourage the otehr missionaries here in Jacmel. I’ve gotten caught up in projects, and always seem to have more work away from home than around here. I haven’t done projects with other members of Church on the Beach recently, and I feel the need to change that around. So I will get more involved in these ministries again. Oddly, I had stopped working with them as they became self-sufficient, but now I realize that I won’t be helping them because they NEED me, but because I WANT to help them as a blessing to ease their burden.
Additionally, Jay and I have been talking much more about spiritiual matters, realizing how dark this place is, and how dark the world is spiritually. Realizing how unaware many people, even christians are, to the realities of the spiritual battles all around us. For me, I want to dive deeper into the word, studying with her. If we get the chance, we want to study with others in our community as well, so we’ll look for those opportunities.

For now though, pray for us as we continue to move ahead, seeking towards the goal, whatever taht may be.
Join us in prayer, asking that God would place his angels on guard in our house, that He would guard our hearts as we seek after Him. I’ll be honest, I am hesitant to re-open my eyes to the spiritual forces at work around us. I have seen demonic activity in the past, and it made me quite uncomfortable. In an odd way, even the knowledge that God is much more powerful had me terrified. When we realize how small and weak we are in this realm, it is a scry place to be. Pray that God would continue to strengthen me, to stand and fight exactly how and where HE calls.

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15May13

15May13

We’re back in Jacmel again. We had a great week up north, making several stops.

Recently, we’ve been doing a lot of work around Jacmel, mostly in-house, so I haven’t had too much to say on here.
But this past week was another trip.

Finally, we made it up near Cap Haitien, to the town of Bas Limbe, or more specifically, a little coastal village called Bod Me Limbe. We were working to install solar power for a clinic for Haiti Village Health. The entire village of Bod Me Limbe has no connection to a power grid, so it is only generators (or solar), if there is any power at all.
This job was long overdue. HVH were the ones that were able to ship in the pallet of solar panels for me about 5 months ago, and it was great to finally get there and finish the job. We spend 2 days installing, and then one extra day just to make sure everything continued to work properly. Also, this extra day was spent exploring some beautiful coastline up there. If you have ever gone on a cruise to Labadee, Haiti, we were just across the bay from Labadee’s port, and saw several cruise ships while we were there.

On the way north, we got the chance to stop in at La Croix New Testament Mission, and Jamie got to see their facility. La Croix is a place I have done some work too. Pastor Pierre was not around, but we still got to see the other staff, and it was nice to visit.

On the way back south, we hit 2 more potential jobs. 2 different orphanage facilities in Montrouis asked me to stop in and give them a proposal for installing solar power. While this is still the part of the job that I am least comfortable with, I have started learning how to estimate better as I get more experience.
One will be a small installation, similar to what I would put on my house, and the other is a larger facility, so it will require a bit more fundraising, but they are confident that God will provide, as He has provided very well for them, and the special needs kids they are taking care of, over the past 4 years of ministry here.

It was great to talk with Annie, the director of the orphanage with special needs kids. She was very quick to point out how God provided for everything, and it was such an encouragement to me as well. It’s always a constant reminder that we must depend on Him for everything.

We will be heading back to the states for about 2 weeks at the end of April since our residency paperwork is not ready yet, so we have to leave the country for a bit. Plus, we’re looking at options of taking a trip in July or August to visit Jamie’s family in Finland, but I am being much more careful to not leave country for too long anymore.

It is getting more and more important to be consistent in our presence here, for the ministry, for our friends, (and now, for our cat as well). I don’t like being gone for too long as it makes for a hard disconnect.

On another note, I am looking to do some shipping of materials here.
I have managed to sell through all of the solar panels from the last shipment, and I have a chance to ship some more soon. Also, I have a contact that can ship a 55 gallon drum to Haiti for $150. With the cost of wire that I’ve been having to pay recently ($1 per foot for 12/2g NM-B), it seems to be time to get together a bunch of wire at good prices and ship it down here.
Please keep these ideas in your prayers, that I may have wisdom in knowing what to do.

God Bless.

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6April13

6April13

I promised more detailed updates, so now I’ll get a little more into things.

When we first got into Haiti at the beginning of March, the house needed a bit of work. Unfortunately, we only had a couple days before we would leave for Les Cayes

with Dr. Jay, but we got it cleaned up a bit, choosing to focus on the rooms we were using and put off cleaning up the guest room/guest bathroom area until later,

since it is mostly full of my tools right now.
Overall, it was a good first week, and Jamie got an introduction of what Jacmel is like, including some common restaurants and the grocery stores and all.
Although I had a brief scare when it wouldn’t start, my truck was still working fine after I got the battery charged back up. Apparently my small solar panel that was

supposed to keep the batttery up doesn’t work anymore. Oh well, that’s what you get sometimes at Harbor Freight. I’ll keep going there, but I’m definitely learning

what is cheap and what is a good value. 🙂

After getting the house in a bit of order, kind of, we set out for Les Cayes for the week. It was great to be with Dr. Jay and the team out there again, and they were

all very excited to meet Jamie. I wasn’t sure what the plans were, but that’s typical of working with Jay since his plans change about 4 times a day. lol.
Turned out that the big projects for the week were the medical clinic, with 2 doctors that were new to MIA, placing the containers for their conference/educational

center, and putting up some new fencing to keep goats out of the farm-training plots.
It was a large team, so I ended up sleeping in a hammock all week at the clinic with a couple of the guys, while everyone else stayed at their guest house.

Unfortunately, they have a battery problem, so we had to rely strictly on the generator for power and I will have to work on that situation before they come back in

June.
As it turned out, I spent most of the week figuring out how to move containers, square them up, and build footings under them. It’s amazing what you can and can’t do

when it comes to moving 5-ton metal boxes. I’ve still got some ideas for trying to make the process better, but at least having some farm jacks, piston jacks, and

chain hoists worked rather well.
Jamie, on the other hand, found a great place helping in the pharmacy. This was an interesting week in clinic since none of the typicaly doctors or pharmacy workers

for MIA’s clinics were there. So the new docs figured out how things worked, and Jamie got the clinic organized over the first few days and did a lot of the

counting/passing out of the meds.
One of our biggest takeaways from that part is the great relationship we started with Dr. Ketley, a haitian-american who was doing a lot of teaching to the haitians on

how to treat themselves with what is available, such as using charcoal to clean up a topical infection. I was quite impressed when I saw how well the charcoal did to

pull the infection out of a centipede bite on Dr. Jay’s leg. We’ll definitely keep that in mind for the future down here.
Dr. Ketley is also trying to start some work in Marigot, which may include trying to start a solar panel manufacturing facility, so we’ll definitely keep in touch as

things progress.
And for one final note form clinic, I had to help Jay with a “surgery” of sorts. A small child got a bead stuck in his ear, and it had been there for over 2 weeks and

was infected. So, Jay and I had to search through the tool container to come up with a way to retreive it. As it turned out, our best solution was to use a piece of

insulation from #12 wire, put some super glue on the end, and get it to stick to the bead. We tried to let the glue sit as long as we could, hoping to wait about 5

minutes, but after about 2 minutes, Jay and I couldn’t handle the child’s crying anymore. He was dong great as a patient, but we just couldn’t let him sit there in

pain, so Jay pulled the tube out, and the bead came with it, just barely. In hindsight, we didn’t get all of the earwax off the bead, so it barely stuck to the tube,

but it was just enough. God was definitely helping us out on that one, as we were both praying through the ordeal.

Then, on our way home to Jacmel, we got to stop into Grand Goave. Jamie got to meet the Edme family at Mission of Hope, as well as the Sutton family at Hands and

Feet-Grand Goave. It was really funny, cause while we were visiting with Andrew and Angie, we came to realize that Angie’s college roommate was a friend of Jamie’s

from back in high school in Kenya. It constantly amazes me how small the world is, especially in the missionary community.
As a sidenote though, while it is great to have a worldwide network of missionaries that all know each other, it is also kind of sad to realize how few missionaries

there must be. Think about it this way, if someone grew up in Johnstown, PA the same time as me, they could have been part of about 10 different schools, and the odds

that I know them are pretty small. But, if someone grew up as a missionary in East Africa (or possibly just Africa in general), then most of them went to RVA, which is

a school of about 500 students. I’m just thinking that it’d be kinda nice if there were so many missionaries that we didn’t all know each other. I think it is just

that missions tends to grow in families, but for someone with no foreign missions connection it is just a harder jump to get involved.
Just some thoughts for now on that topic. I’m not sure what all to make of it. 🙂

Anyhow, we got back to Jacmel, and spent another week here. Again, we spent most of our time working on the house, but at least this time things were starting to get

in order. The kitchen was clean enough that we were comfortable cooking now, and things were getting a bit organized. Thankfully power was working, and water was

mostly working too.

Then we set out on our trip to Port-Au-Prince to work with Ed, Scott, Mike and the crew from Global Reach again.
As with last time, we were working on a school for Claude in Carrefoure-Furry. It is a neighborhood on the side of the mountain, and there are a bunch of kids that go

to this school. Last trip, we were able to put up the first story with a temporary tin roof on top. This trip, our goal was to put in the second story.
We had a great team, including some professional carpenters from Ohio who lead up the truss building. It was kind of funny cause last time we had to work so hard to

get the foundation level and all the walls squared and everything, and we had to hammer each nail, so the walls took a little while to go up. This time, the building

was already (mostly) square and ready to go, and we had an air compressor and nail guns, so the walls got put up before I even got to the job site.
I was running late, and basically missed the first day because my brake line went out again in my truck. Thankfully, I had ordered brake line in the states, and it was

waiting in Johnstown to be sent down to me. Even better, dad ignored me when I said it was a low priority and that I could wait to get it on another trip. 🙂
So, I had new brake line, I just had to get a flaring tool, and, while it cost me about 80% more than U.S. retail, I was able to get one and get the truck fixed, for

now. Eventually I need to get a double flaring tool to do the job right, but it is functional for now.
Jamie and I had a great time getting our things from Scott, who had carried down all teh stuff we ordered off of Amazon.com for our house. It’s amazing how excited you

can be about toilet seats, paper lanterns, and other random household items.
Anyhow, it was a great work week, and we got the job done, including running electrical work for the second floor. Claude was very excited, and we were glad to be able

to bless him in this way. The team from Ohio was awesome to work with, and we even got to partake in communion together one night, as easter was drawing near and we

were dining in an “upper room” or sorts. It was a great time of reflection for all of us.
Additionally, these guys decided to celebrate my birthday, and that was pretty sweet too. First, Scott brought one of the giant cookies from the bakery he works at,

and he had decorated it with a beach scene (I think), but it got kinda smashed on the plane ride. No worries, it still tasted great. But, they also bought a cake at a

haitian bakery we stopped at, and, since they couldn’t quite communicate how to write happy birthday on it, Scott just took the icing bag from the worker and wrote it

himself. 🙂
It really was a fantastic week with that crew, and I look forward to working with them again. Ed wants to bring a team next year to work on my place, whatever that may

be. So, that is another thing for in your prayers. Grant me wisdom that I can know what is to come next.

When we got home, we unfortunately found out that the inverter setup had failed on me, and the freezer had thawed, so we had the smell of rotten meat in the house.

Plus, the water hadn’t been given to us all week, so we had no water either. As another testament to how God provided well for me, Jamie’s reaction was just a bit of

laughter. While I still haven’t quite got the smell out of the freezer, the water is doing better, and the power is great now that I got a voltage regulator from the

states.

Now, we’re getting our home settled in nicely. We’ve painted and decorated all but the guest room, and I’m sure Jamie will post some pictures soon. We have a better

water system setup, that even includes good water pressure at times, though my pressure tank/water pump still isn’t quite right. And it has been great to get to know

Ginny and David, Tommy and Joy, and everyone else we’ve gotten to hang out with so far. Now, we just anxiously await Nick and Gwenn coming for a visit in about a week.

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5April13

5April13

So, it’s been a long time, and I’m sure I’ve got a lot of details to catch up on, but I don’t feel like that at the moment.

Jamie and I got into Haiti a little over a month ago, and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind here.
We’ve had two great trips to other parts of Haiti, out to Les Cayes with Dr. Jay, and up to Port-Au-Prince with Ed and the

group from Global Reach Network (based in Pittsburgh).

We’ve also been rather busy with our house, trying to get it cleaned, arranged, painted, and functional…
So far, it’s coming together well, but my big project will be happening this week as I sort through the guest room/work

room where all my tools will be stored (at least the ones that aren’t on my truck). It’s gonna be a big task, but we’ve

gotten a good start on it already.

Jamie is now part of the facebook page for F1 Missions Engineering, and I will also get her involved with the blog here

when possible. She will have some pictures to share from our trips.

The trip to Les Cayes was a work trip for me, and she was the pharmacist for the clinic all week, and she spent a lot of

time with Ketly, a Haitian-American doctor who was teaching the haitians (and us), some local remedies, including using

charcoal to pull the infection out of a wound. I’ll admit I was skeptical, but after seeing how well it helped to heal up

Dr. Jay’s centipede bite, I was convinced.

The trip to Port-Au-Prince was my third trip to help Claude and his school. On the first trip, I worked with the global

reach team, about 15 months ago, to build the first floor of his school. A few weeks later, mom and dad went to claude’s

with me and we installed lights and electrical for that first floor. And now, after this trip, we can say we are finished

with a 2 story building for his school. It was a great week working with Ed, Scott, and the whole team from Ohio that

joined us. Global Reach hopes to take a trip to work in Jacmel with me (hopefully on my building) next year, so please keep

that in prayer as we seek HIS wisdom for what to do next down here.

It’s also been quite an adjustment to get back into life here in Jacmel.
Apparently I hit the season where just about everyone is out of town. Since we’ve gotten home, Nick and Gwenn, Stephen and

Carrie, Tommy and Joy, Ginny, and Sarah have all been out of country. I look forward to getting the whole gang together

again, but we have had some great times hanging out with each person or couple individually so far.
The women’s bible study seems to be going well, and I look forward to getting involved the in men’s counterpart as soon as

we get people back in country a bit now.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support. Specifically, please pray right now for wisdom as we seek the next step.

Obviously, we’ve been a little short-sighted right now as we have been focused on the trips at hand, and getting the house

setup. Now, we need to start planning for what God would have us do next.
I’ve talked about plenty of ideas that I’ve had, but it’s not about what I want to do. Join me in prayer as I seek what He

would have for us next. God Bless.

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