Archive for 2014

11Nov14 – Workshop Update

I can’t recap all that’s been going on since I’ve last posted, but here’s the update from this week.

Some people had asked me how I would hang the roof trusses after the team from Somerset left.
Well, here’s the crew that’s doing it with me:


I was going to do the work with my typical guys, Gayly (top center), Waly (bottom left), Daniel (bottom right), and Fleury (bottom middle), but it just wasn’t going to cut it. These things are heavy. 🙂
So, I asked Gayly to get some more help, and he came back with Bougy (not sure of the spelling, top left), Anderson (hiding on the far right), and Gayly and Waly’s younger brother (red shirt on the right), whose name I can’t recall at the moment.
I’ve loved working with the extra guys too, and so far, no one has been injured, so that’s all I can ask for as this is a difficult job.

Here’s a picture of how we lift the trusses in place:

Hoisting Trusses

Hoisting Trusses

And here is how far we’ve gotten over the past 2 days.

I’d say that’s pretty good progress. We’ll post more pictures as we go.


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Jamie and I have been reading, studying and praying lately, and we’ve come to this conclusion.

We must pray more.

In the book “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala, there is a quote that stuck us hard…

“If you want to know how popular a church is, look at their Sunday morning attendance…
If you want to know how popular their band or speaker are, look at the Sunday night attendance…
If you want to know how popular Jesus is, look at their prayer meeting”

The church was the fellowship of believers, devoted to the apostles teaching, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

We are starting a prayer meeting, probably with just the two of us, but maybe more will come.
Pray for us, pray for our church, pray for our community, but most of all, just pray yourself.

Devote your time to God.
Begin to live a life that is a continuous prayer.

In another quote, this one from A.B Simpson’s book, “Seeing the Invisible”:
An American gentleman once visited the saintly Albert Bengel. He was very desirous to hear him pray. So one night he lingered at his door, hoping to overhear his closing devotions. The rooms were adjoining and the doors ajar. The good man (Bengel) finished his studies, closed his books, knelt down for a moment and simply said, “Dear Lord, things are still the same between us,” and then swiftly fell asleep. So close was his communion with his Lord that labor did not interrupt it, and prayer was not necessary to renew it. It was a ceaseless, almost unconscious presence, like the fragrance of a summer garden or the presence of some dear one by our side whose presence we somehow feel, even though the busy hours pass by and not a word is exchanged.

Let us each live a life on continuous communion with our heavenly Father, and let our churches be rooted in constant prayer.

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It’s been a busy week here in Haiti, and now I’m bit under the weather, and our house could use some work, but God is good and has been with us this week.

Last Monday, Gayly, Waly, and I headed north across the mountains to the town of Gressier.
We were expanding and improving a solar power system for the house of a couple missionaries for Brazil, which they also use as a guest house.
They are a very nice couple, who have been in ministry for over 25 years in Brazil, and are now about a year into ministry here in Haiti. I appreciate their work, especially as they are jumping into learning both Kreyol and English simultaneously since they work with Americans at their mission.
We moved their existing solar panels onto a tin roof, and put an additional 6 panels up for them. This about doubled their solar capacity, plus if cleared roof space on their concrete roof to allow them to have a nice outdoor gathering space.

That job took us til Wednesday, then we came home to Jacmel.
Thursday I decided to stay here so I could continue our new small group with Frank Stevens (HAF) and Nick Mangine (JIH).
It’s very encouraging to get to meet with these guys in a way that we can all invest in each other.


On Friday, Gayly, Waly, and I left for Belle Anse.
I’ve talked about working with Reimagine Haiti before, and last time we took a boat to reach them.
This time, I found out why the boat is a good idea. The boat trip takes about an hour and a half.
I drove the newer truck, since I had a bunch of tools and supplies to take out with me, and Gayly and Waly took a couple of dirt bikes.
Over the next 4 hours, I managed to travel 40 miles, climbing up above an altitude of 4000 feet before heading back to sea level. It was beautiful, but exhausting as the whole trip was spent bouncing around extremely rocky roads and picking the best spots to drive across.

But we got there, or at least Gayly and I did. Waly ended up in another town, working on fixing one of the dirt bikes.
But Gayly and I worked with Jason and their new co-worker, Jake to install 4 solar panels, 8 batteries, and all the pieces needed to get power going in their malnutrition center.
This building has never had power since Reimagine Haiti has moved in. The village of Belle Anse has no power grid, and limited, and expensive, gasoline supplies. So, the only power that is common is solar out there.
When we finished, the nannies and children sounded like they were throwing a party for the occasion.
Hopefully, this system will help these malnourished babies to sleep a little more comfortably as they are nursed back to health.


Since Gayly had to go pick up Waly and the broken down dirt bike with the truck, I came home as a passenger on a moto taxi yesterday. Unfortunately, by the time I traveled the 3 hours home, I was thoroughly exhausted, and wasn’t feeling up to going to church.

I was very disappointed because our friend, Chanee, had planned out church, and we would be doing a time of focused prayer. I really wanted to attend and support this, but instead I was stuck praying from home for a bit, before laying back down for a nap.

However, Jamie took a huge step and agreed to lead the music for church when I couldn’t. To me, this was quite encouraging, because I think prayer and worship go hand in hand, and I know that she will lead worship with a spiritual focus, allowing God to use her.
I wasn’t at church, so I can’t say how it went, but I know God was proud that even when she didn’t feel confident in herself, she chose to trust Him.

Please join us in prayer for direction for Church on the Beach, and for Jamie and I individually.

Also pray for unity for the believers here in Jacmel, and throughout Haiti, that we would live lives exemplifying the love of Christ.

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Almost 3 months without an update. I’m sorry.
I’ll be honest, when I start getting behind on updates, it makes it even harder for me to write, because I don’t even know where to start.

Additionally, I’ve had trouble with updates because I was feeling like I was failing in many ways.

Here we are, 10 months in to renting a piece of land, and I still don’t have a shop up and running. In a way, it makes me sad, and in a way, it makes me feel like a failure.

But, this week, I was reminded of this truth.
God isn’t interested in our “to do” list.
The shop will open in His timing.
We will get a second container in His timing.

We are simply called to live out our lives in a way that He directs us.
So, my time hasn’t been focused on the shop, but, in hindsight, we have been able to accomplish things that were more important.

These days, we have started a men’s small group with some of the other guys from Church on the Beach, which is much needed. The ladies have been getting together for quite some time, but the guys never got our schedules worked out. Now, thursday evening are our night to gather and lift each other up. Like most of church on the beach, it is
intentionally lacking in structure, with our primary goals being (a) fellowship, (b) some study of scripture, and (c) coming together in prayer.

Also, I’ve been able to help design some better metal structures than before.
I had the chance to install some solar panels in conjunction with Sonlight Power Ministries, but my first set of racks were inadequate. Now, I’ve learned a bit more about wind lift, and the strength of the metals we are working with here, and I will be able to build racks that are up to the required strength.

Additionally, I have been working with Jason from Re-imagine Haiti again. This time, we are designing cribs for their malnurition clinic.
Obviously, welders can build cribs pretty easily, but I have been working with Gayly to get the cribs built within the Federarl Safety Guidelines established in the U.S., and built in such a way that they can be transported by boat and assembled in Belle Anse.

I actually even ordered some basic powder-coating materials, and we will try to use that on the cribs as a better alternative than the typical anti-corrosive primer.

So, we’re actually getting some of the work done that the shop will be used for before we even get the shop setup.

-both of our trucks have legal paperwork now. it took several trips to Port au Prince, and much more money than antipated, but we are legal now. Additionally, our new truck’s license plate is from the “Nippes” province, which made me excited cause I think of it as my own “vanity plate” 🙂

-God brought Jason and Erika from Reimagine through a near-fatal instance of mercury poisoning. Jason was in terrible condition, and only turned a corner after Erika grabbed his arm and started praying for him. The doctor is still unsure what cause the turnaround when it happened, but I am sure I know.

-we have some awesome new friends here in Frank and Jan Steven, a new set of missionaries in Jacmel with the Hands and Feet Project.

Please keep us in prayer for:
-a 2nd container, or the peace to know that we should begin roof construction without it.
-planning for our October trips with a team from Somerset first, then my parents coming afterwards.
-the Holy Spirit to pour out his annointing on us continually, that we may live fully inHis power, doing His will, that the Father would be glorified.

Thank you for your prayers.

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So, now you’ll get the update about the fun adventures of the past 2 weeks.

It all started (mostly) on Monday, the 19th.
I got a call from a new friend of ours named Jason Unze.
Jason, his wife Erica, and their friend Brittany, have founded a ministry called Reimagine Haiti, in a town called Belle Anse. This was exciting to me, because Belle Anse has no missionaries in permanent residence. Therefore, they are in a place where the need is great, and no one is reaching it.


So, already I like what they’re up to. Also, I had met Jason once before, and found out that he has a background in construction, and we talked shop a bit. And, he asked me a bunch of questions about solar power, because they are just about totally off-grid.

To give you an idea of where they are, here’s a map:

Jacmel, where we live, is on the south coast, and it already a 3+ hours drive from Port-Au-Prince. To get to Belle Anse, you pass through Jacmel, and continue on the road to Marigot, about 30 minutes east of our house.
From Marigot, you have 3 main options:
-By truck, which is typically reserved for cargo only, there is a road which takes about 4 hours.
-By motorcycle taxi, you can get to Belle Anse in about 2.5 hours for about $20/person.
-By boat, it takes anywhere from 1-2.5 hours, depending on currents, wave size, and whether the boat has it’s 40 HP motor, or the 15 HP motor for your trip.

So, anyhow, on the 19th, Jason came into Jacmel, and called me. He had about $500, and was tasked with finding them a way to get power. His plan, as we had talked before, was to get a small gas generator for about $300, and spend the rest on a battery charger and inverter.
I had told him previously that he could use the few extra batteries I had laying around. They are well used, and I don’t know how long they’ll last, but it will buy him some time to save up money to expand their system later.
So, we went on a hunt. We knew that in Port-Au-Prince, you can buy a 2700 Watt generator for $300. We went to every hardware store I knew of here in Jacmel. We found nothing. I called every haitian I could think of here in Jacmel to ask where to find a generator, and no one had any idea.
Jacmel has well over 150,000 people. One would think there would be a generator for sale somewhere here. In the end, we only found one. And they wanted $500 for the same generator that is $300 in Port Au Prince. So, we had to rethink our plans.
Realizing that this would require some Port Au Prince shopping, I called some other missionaries here in Jacmel, and eventually found that the Hands and Feet Project was sending some people to PAP on a MAF flight (Missions Aviation Fellowship) the next day.
They weren’t going to the hardware store, and they weren’t coming back til Wednesday anyhow, but it gave me an idea.
I called Tim, who is a pilot with MAF, and he was amazing and saved the day. He went and bought the generator for $300 and sent it down on the plane that was picking up Stephen and the Hands and Feet crew, and we gave the pilot money to give back to Tim.
So, it took an extra day, but Jason got his generator, and he spent a night at our house waiting for it to get delivered.

Then, we decided it would be great if I could head out to Belle Anse to help with the 3 systems that Reimagine Haiti now has. So, we decided to make that happen.

That brings us to Wednesday, the 28th. It took longer than expected, but eventually Jamie, Gayly, Waly, and I headed out to Belle Anse. It took us about 2 hours of choppy water, a few engine stalls, and finally another boat showing up to give us a new outboard motor, but we got there safely 🙂


Finally, we got there, and got to work. Gayly and Waly took measurements for quite a few windows, doors, and gates that Reimagine needs, so they can start working on them here in Jacmel. After they got their measurements, the guys hopped on a moto and headed back to Jacmel.


Jamie and I mostly hung out that night and got to meet Erika (Jason’s wife), Maria (a 6 month missionary), Brittany (the co-founder of Reimagine) and Megan (an intern). We shared stories, and generally just had a great time getting to know this crew. Please keep them in your prayers, as they are a community unto themselves. Obviously, they will bond with the local people, but we have learned here in Jacmel how important it is to have a strong christian community to support each other. We look forward to our chances to work with them more, even as a refuge with power and running water here in Jacmel when they need a break.
Thursday, I got to work with Jason, and we installed small solar power systems on Maria and Brittany’s houses, which they had previously purchased but weren’t sure how to install, and then we made sure Jason’s system was working properly as well.


So, that is our most recent project here. I look forward to helping Reimagine get things moving in their little corner of the country. 🙂

Also, we’re still moving forward on the land/workshop, and are excited to be coming back to the US in early June. I would like to do a “missions update” night while we are home, to show pictures, answer questions, etc, so please let me know if you are interested in that.
I like speaking at churches, but I never want to focus too much on what we are doing at a sunday morning services, because I see those chances as more about teaching, preaching, and challenging, rather than sharing all our stories and updates.

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Exciting week this week. Pretty much nothing that was expected, but good. I’ll give you that update in a later post, as there’s too much ground to cover all at once.

First, a little update on last week, and, as promised, a picture of the truck as it is now. Unloaded, save for the toolbox that I will permanently keep in the back, and with the decals removed.
We’re still awaiting the final paperwork and license plate, but I can drive it around town just fine already.


We also finished up the back wall of the property, so here’s a picture from the outside.

And, we prayed over the land with Jamie’s parents, and anointed the container, as well as the back wall, and the gate, that God would extend his protection over this place, and that his spirit would dwell in this place, so people may come to know Him.


So, things have been going pretty well with the workshop.
I’ve been creating a “retaining wall” of sorts for where we will add fill dirt prior to putting in a concrete driveway. Also, we have a lead on another container, so keep that in your prayers. It seems that it is pretty solid, but things in Haiti are never as solid as they appear.

I also got to visit with Jude last week, and he only has 3 months of school left in Port Au Prince for his electrical engineering education. After that, if he doesn’t have another job offer, I want him to come to Jacmel to work with me for a bit. Then, I can see what they taught him, and train him more on what I know.
Sadly, I currently don’t have a budget to hire him, so I’m not sure how long I can keep him here, because I know he needs to take any paying job he can get to support his family.

Please continue to pray for wisdom, as I try to keep moving forward at the most important things, and putting aside what can wait til later.

God Bless.

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7May14 – Workshop Updates

As promised, here are some pictures from the workshop and land now.

The guys (Gayly and Waly) are working on putting up the back wall. They have another assistant, name Jezibon (which mean God is good), working with them too.

We are putting up steel and tin for the back wall, so they have the pillars built now, and will put the tin up today.
Here is a picture.


From the left, this is the view of the back wall from my roof.
In the center, a view looking from the land back towards my roof.
In the top right, Jezibon is painting the steel with Rustoleum stuff.
And in the bottom right, Gayly and Waly are unloading the tin for the wall.

Also, I don’t think I ever put a picture, so here is a picture of our front gate on the land. 🙂


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6May14 – Pictures and Updates

We are in the middle of a great week here in Jacmel.

Jamie’s parents, Pertti and Heidi Soderlund, are here to visit from Uganda, and we are enjoying it very much.
For those who do not know, her parents have been missionaries in Uganda and Kenya for over 30 years, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, who left Finland for India when Pertti was only 1 year old, then moved to Kenya 3 years later.

They work with Fida, a Finnish mission, and are involved in work with AIDS orphans and Children Affected by Armed Forces (CAAF), which is mostly former child soldiers. Additionally, they do a lot of evangelism work, which is Pertti’s true passion.
Since none of us really rack up much money for vacations, we had no idea when we would see each other again when we said goodbye in Finland last summer. Thankfully, God provided for this trip through Pertti’s friends and family as a gift for his 60th birthday.
Please join us in thanking God for this blessing, and continuing to pray for them when we have to depart again on Saturday. Also, pray for the rest of Jamie’s family, as her older sister (Daisy) and her family will be moving to Laos as missionaries soon, and her younger sister (Ellen) and her husband (Reese) are studying at university in Finland.

So far, it’s been great to have them here, but it’s also been a very busy time.
We’ve done some great “visitor” things, like going to Basin Bleu, a beautiful waterfall, and visiting with Pastor Lex and Renee at Mission of Hope International up in Grand Goave, but we’ve also been busy with work that is in progress.



On Saturday, we finally “received” the truck!!!
Our plan was simply to pick it up in Grand Goave, and drive it home before unpacking, but out plans had to change. So, Saturday night, we completely unloaded the new truck into the old truck, just to make sure the police didn’t give us any problems. It was interesting because I remember how long it took to pack the new truck, and I never realized how much larger the old truck was. We moved all the stuff over in a couple hours, with room to spare.


Then, on Sunday, we left after the morning service at Mission of Hope to drive South to Jacmel, with Pertti driving the new truck, while I drove the old one.

And now, this week, we’ve been busy with unloading some of the stuff, including our new bed, which we are very excited about.
Additionally, Gayly and Waly have started work on a back wall to our property, using metal piping and tin. I’m very excited about their design and look forward to having the yard reasonably secure for the first time.

Those pictures will come tomorrow, internet permitting, as they start hanging tin on the posts they erected today.

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So much exciting news right now 🙂

The land is progressing nicely. I’ll post pictures tomorrow.
We have a new gate on the front wall, and have started storing stuff inside the container.
I would post a picture today, but we hadn’t cut the grass/weeds in a while, and I am waiting for that to finish first.

Also, Jamie’s parents are visiting us right now from Africa.
This is very exciting, as we really weren’t sure if/when they would ever be able to make it here. They are missionaries, and have been working in Kenya and Uganda for 35+ years. This past February, for Pertti (Jamie’s dad)’s 60th birthday, his family and friends suprised him with a trip to Miami for a few weeks, including a 10 day stint here in Haiti with us. We are so excited to welcome them here with us, and it has been crazy finally getting the house to a point that we can say we truly have a guest room. We had a lot of cleaning, organizing, and moving tools to get my “depot” cleaned out. Now, all the tools are in the container, and we are open for visitors in the future (hint to mom and dad, and josh and lindsey 🙂

And finally, the news you’ve all been waiting for, is that the truck is out of customs. 🙂
Pastor Lex got it out today, and we will be going to Grand Goave to pick it up tomorrow.
Again, pictures will be coming, but we are really excited to have this chance, and I can’t wait to open it up and start getting things set up here.

Many Blessings,

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Time to share some answered prayers 🙂

This past Monday, we finally got a container placed on the land. I made this collage to show a bit of how it got there, hope you enjoy.

Again, I must say many thanks to Children’s Hope for the donation of the container.

It has the doors and windows cut in it from where they used to use it as a kitchen. I like the paint job though, so we’ll keep that as well.

Then, I immediately talked to Gayly and Waly, and hired them to make doors and windows for the cutout areas. These guys work pretty quick, so today they showed up and installed them. I was surprised (and pleased) that they even put a little canopy above each of them.

Doors and Windows

Next, we will try to put up a temporary roof. I am thinking we will just put a couple tarps up for now.
I have some guys looking at coming in October who are interested in helping with permanent roof trusses, but that is also dependent on getting another container.

Our other jobs for this coming week include:
-fixing our front wall and putting in new concrete pillar and the new gate.
-adding fill to the driveway ramp, as my truck currently can’t make it in.
-maybe putting up the temporary roof
-putting the roof vents in place
-Adding locks to the ends of the container
-clean the inside of the container

After that, we’ll:
-start moving tools into the container
-add fill and a concrete work pad in front of the container
-put up a temporary roof made of tarps

Also, I have to say thank you to Emmanuel Baptist (specifically Peter) for another chance to share what’s going on down here. I sent a powerpoint and audio clip to them for the wild game feast yesterday. It’s always a pleasure to share what God is up to.

Soon, I will upload the powerpoint and audio if you want to see for yourself what I was saying. I just have to figure out how. 🙂

Please keep us in prayer:
-that God would provide another container, if we need one.
-that we would continue to seek Him for every step of the way.
-for Charlie’s children who are sick (Charlie is another missionary down here. His

children are about my age and in the U.S.)
-for the Peter’s family, the orphanage directors at Children’s Hope
-for Tommy and Joy, the guest house directors at Children’s Hope as they get a break in Florida.

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