Archive for 2014

16Mar14

On the road again….
IMG_6792

The truck has been delivered to the docks in Miami. Now, we wait, probably about a month, to receive it in Haiti.

So, it’s been a crazy, and amazing, couple of weeks home in the U.S.

Jamie and I had a rather full schedule, including many chances to share what God has been doing at churches, a rotary club, and personally with a few families who welcomed us in for meals. 🙂

In the end, I think I started sounding like a broken record, repeating the same stories at times, but I cannot help but share what God has done, even if I could still use some work on how to tell it better 😉

Anyhow, I realized that I never really gave a full update on here, or at least it has been long enough that I should do so again.

First off, just to recap, as we were leaving Haiti, we were pressing hard, hoping to get a shipping container set on the land which we will use for the community workshop. Unfortunately, “Haiti Time” took precedent and we were unable to get that done. It was also a hard time as we found out that not only were there a bunch of delays in moving a container, but that we only have one instead of the two I was planning on.However, we are confident that IF we need a second container, God will provide it in his timing, or show us another way forward. Meanwhile, we “make haste slowly”.
Here is a picture of the land, with the 3 foundations laid for the containers to go on. We will put in the fourth foundation after the container is in place so it doesn’t block the truck from pulling in to deliver them. (Click on it to see it bigger)
Land with Foundations
Also, as a reminder, here is the concept of what we will put on the land:
Workshop Model

When we got home to the U.S., I had many chances to speak at churches about what God is up to. This was unusual for me, as I have been choosing to stay quiet lately and focus on family while we were home. However, God had prompted me to speak up this time.
As we went to these churches, I was once again careful to promote what God has been up to, how He has been working in our lives and what He had been laying on my heart.
I intentionally try to avoid asking for things. It has always been my conviction that God will provide what is needed for His work, and if I am to represent Him well, I should not be seen as a beggar. So, I shared our testimony of what God is doing.
Specifically, the focus was on answered prayers and how God has provided the land for the workshop, our house, my wife, and most recently this truck, and how God has been reminding me over and over again to take my requests before Him and seek Him first. It was great to be able to share this testimony, though I also had to admit the fears that come with it.
God provides for His people to do HIS work. And He is providing MORE than we need for the current work, so there must be more work that he wants us to do.

Speaking of how God provides, I have to boast on Him again now with some pictures to document the progress over the last month.
First, we got the truck, as I’ve shown before:
photo (1)
Then, I was going to enclose the back of it. I always had a vague picture in my mind, but no specifics on how exactly I would accomplish this. Once I was back in PA, I called up Dave Spear, a good friend who works at J&J Trucks in Somerset, and asked him where I could find steel to use, as the original plan was to try and find a garage and attempt to do the work myself. Thankfully, God had better plans. Instead of just pointing me to where I could find materials, Dave told me to bring the truck out and they would take a look at it. A week later, they had enclosed it, and put doors on the end. So, here it is after we got it back and hurried to paint it while the weather was still nice.
January-Feb

Throughout our time in PA, we were receiving donations for the workshop, and for our ministry in general. We were thoroughly overwhelmed. My parents house and garage were overrun with donations, and when we finished packing the truck, I don’t think we could have put anything else into it. We ended up getting everything I had put on a list, and much more. Here are just a few examples:

I received a phone call about a possible tool donation. The caller mentioned that he had some tools that he noticed weren’t on our list, but that he thought we might want to take a look at. And so we went to their house for a visit and to see what might be useful. He ended up donating shop-grade carpentry tools, including a full size drill press, band saw, planer, jointer, and other tools. This made me realize how this workshop can be used even in ways that I am not fully qualified!
I’ve wanted this shop to be a place to teach high quality trade skills, in electrical work, welding, carpentry, and possibly auto mechanics. I list them in that order, because that is the order of my proficiency. I can teach the first, am passable at welding and carpentry, but will need a better instructor, and will be a student myself at auto mechanics. Thankfully, I have some friends in Jacmel and the U.S who can teach me and teach with me on using this stuff, so I look forward to watching how these donations shape the skills of the locals that come to work
in the shop.

Additionally, God prompted another friend to choose to support a different part of our life in Haiti. I had put a keyboard on our wish list, without Jamie’s knowledge, because I know she enjoys playing piano, and I know how much I enjoy hearing her worship God through music and I am sure He gets even more enjoyment out of it. In the end, this friend responded by not just getting the keyboard, but choosing to get a better one at the recommendation of his mom, who he deferred to as his piano expert. 🙂

To top it all off, and in a show of how God can go above and beyond what we can ask or imagine, God also offered us an SUV. We were blown away by the fact that we actually had to turn down such a generous offer, as we currently could not ship it, and have no place to put it in Haiti until after the workshop is built, but at the same time remain encouraged (and reminded) that God’s got this. And us, in His hands.
In the end we had the truck completely filled with tools, and probably loaded as heavy as the truck could handle.
It was a hard days work, and I know I couldn’t have done it alone.
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For our final act in Johnstown, we joined the 633 prayer meeting at Emmanuel Baptist and they prayed over us and the truck. It was a great way to start this new journey of our ministry exactly how each step must be undertaken, with much prayer.
The whole group was impressed by how full the bed was:
Packed Truck
Then they prayed us off, and wrote their prayers and greetings on the side to take with us to Haiti.
Prayer Sendoff
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Finally, to close with one more story, while I was in the U.S., I met with the owner of a local welding company who wants to help put up trusses for the roof over the workshop, and to do so in such a way that we could put chain hoists off the trusses to aid us in heavy work. That would be a huge blessing, although once again I must admit that God would seem to have grander plans for this workshop than I had myself 🙂

After sharing all of this, I also want to say, PLEASE continue to keep us in your prayers. God is faithfully providing, now pray that we would continue to seek His wisdom, and be filled with his courage to use all of this as He would have us to use it.

We are humbled and blessed to realize how many of you are praying for us, and to have met some of the prayer groups that have been praying for us even before we knew who they were. Do not forget us.
Pray that God would continue to stand His angelic guard around the truck as it takes about a month to make it to Haiti.
Pray that God would provide exactly what we need for building this workshop.
Pray that God would provide materials for the solar and electrical work as He sees fit to continue it.
Pray that we would not forget. God has been pouring out His blessing on us lately, but pray that we would remember His faithfulness, even when we enter into seasons that aren’t as obvious and abundant as this one.
Pray that we woud not lose focus. That we wouldn’t let our eyes get too fixed on the projects, tools or even the mission that God has given us, that we would lose sight of Him.
and pray that we would continue to seek Him daily.

Thank you,
Travis and Jamie

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22Feb14

Quick update and prayer request for you.

Things have been going really well here in PA for the week.
We have been extremely blessed by all the support God is pouring out on us here.

The truck is already finished from Somerset Welding, and I will post pictures tomorrow.
We got it back to the house, and painted the new steel for rust-prevention, yesterday evening.
We’ve also had a great time this week visiting with friends in the area.

Please pray for Jamie and I tonight, and tomorrow.
We’ve had troubles sleeping the past two nights, and we want to be ready for tomorrow (Sunday).
I have been given the chance to share a sermon at Beulah U.M Church early in the morning, and we will be at Liberty Grace Brethren a little later to give a missions update.
In the evening, I may give a missions update. I’ll be honest, I struggle with that sometimes because I don’t feel like I’m making the most of the opportunity if I don’t invest more time and add in a strong challenge for the people I get the chance to speak to.

Please pray for God to get me out of the way, and speak His words to His people tomorrow.
Pray that He would lay the message on my heart, and the scriptures He wants shared.

God Bless.

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8 Feb 14 and 18Feb14 – Container and Truck Updates

**Daily Double**
Today, Jamie reminded me of a post from 10 days ago, which I wrote in Haiti after a not so great afternoon.
We felt it was important to share that, as well as the news of what is going on now.
So, First, here is the post from 8Feb14.
***********
I’ve had a busy couple of days. Sadly, the container is not on the land yet.
So, what have I accomplished. A lot of busy-ness and a lot a waiting.
Sadly, I reflect on that tonight and am depressed to consider the eternal value of it all.

In light of eternity, my biggest accomplishments of the past 2 days is the time I spent lifting up 3 other missionaries in prayer.
This was the true work that I must focus on.
Unfortunately, the combined time I spent on these tasks of eternal purpose was probably under half an hour.

I write these words as a reminder to self.
I must stop living simply for the business of today, and life more each day with a sense of the eternal.
The things of this earth will perish, only the things of God hold any true value.

Pray for my friends here in Jacmel.
Pray for Jamie.
Pray for me.
Pray that we would stand in His Presence daily, and know Him more intimately.
Pray that we would see his eternal desires, and act on those and not on trivial things that will pass all too soon.
Pray that we would be a light, reflecting Him, through which He would be made known to people who do not know Him.

************

As I wrote that post, I was still sad that we didn’t get a container on the land prior to our departure from Haiti.
However, looking back on how God has been faithful to work things out in HIS timing so far, we remain hopeful, knowing that He is the one setting the dates and times for this project as well. He will provide the container(s) we need, if we need them, and when we need them, or He will show us another direction to go.

Now, for the U.S. side of things, I have to say, it has been quite a busy trip so far, but it has been good.

This past weekend, I was allowed the chance to share a missions update at all 4 services, and 1 sunday school class at Emmanuel Baptist Church, then I got to help lead worship at Crucified in the evening.
It was amazing to stand on stage and talk about all the prayers that God has answered, as well as the difficulties that have come our way, in the past year or so.
I’ll try to update the rest of you with that message in the next couple days.

For now, I’m excited to say that I’ll be at Beulah U.M. church and Liberty Grace Brethren Church next Sunday morning. Then, I’ll be sharing a message at Crucified ministries Sunday night.
The following week, I’ve been given a chance to speak at Franklin St. U.M., and at a sunday school class at EBC again. It’s great to get a chance to share what God has been doing in our lives, and around Haiti.

Now, for another update and praise.
Tools have been flowing in for the truck. I have broken habit and actually posted a wish list due to an overwhelming response from the EBC congregation. I don’t like to solicit donations, so I don’t usually post the needs here, however, I needed a way to organize things a bit, so there is a link on the top of this page for now, and it will go away once we get this truck packed up.

I’m also pumped to show you guys a picture of the back of the truck so far. God has provided professionals to get this thing decked out through JJ Truck Bodies in Somerset. I was going to do it myself, and I couldn’t be happier to turn this over to people better skilled than myself.
They’ve put a roof on, and enclosed the sides. In the next few days they will mount a lockbox in the back and put 2 doors across the tailgate for me. I am beyond words to describe how awesome this is.
truck_update

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7Feb14

7Feb14

Trying hard to tie up loose ends here in Haiti before we head north for a couple weeks.
Hopfeully, we’ll have at least 1 container on the land before we get home. Lord willing, it will be put in place tomorrow, though since it was supposed to be there yesterday, I maintain a cautious optimism only.
🙂

God will provide, and is doing a great job in keeping our spirits up. Everything tends to be more interesting here.

Thursday morning, I was greeted with a call from our neighbor, Ginny, warning me that the road to town was impassable due to a riot. Turns out, it was a good one too, burning tires, tear gas, etc.

As the day progressed, we found out that it was because a community group was mad at EDH (the electric company). Apparently, the community group had pooled together money to put their own transformer for their neighborhood to share so they would all have good power.
**Typical grid power in Haiti is very poor (90 volts instead of the 110-120 that is supposed to run through the lines), typically due to the fact that EDH overloads all of the public transformers to the point that everyone’s power is bad. Therefore, to get better power, you buy your own transformer and limit how many people use it, and you get good power.**
Anyhow, EDH came in this week and took down the community-bought private transformer and replaced it with a smaller one, so they could use this bigger one elsewhere. As you can imagine, the community group was upset, and that’s why they started rioting.
By the end of the day, EDH was making things right. I was glad to see that.

This highlights 2 struggles here.
First, that life is unpredictable, to the point that you don’t even know if you can drive down the street everyday and shouldn’t take that for granted.
Second, that it’s a uphill struggle to train up electricians when even the power company provides sub-par service.

But, tomorrow should still be the day to get a container on, and we will continue to press forward, as God leads and provides 🙂

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31Jan13

First, here’s a picture of the truck that we will be packing soon to bring to Haiti.
photo (1)
If anyone has a garage that I can use to enclose the bed of the truck and pack it, please contact me or my parents. We will be working on this truck Feb 11-26, or thereabouts.

So, things always seem to swing between boring and extremely busy.
The past few weeks have been on the incredibly busy side, but it has been great.

We’re finally making great progress on the shop/school land.
This week, we had a team of Haitians laying foundations for where the two containers will end up, and I hope to finally put the containers in place on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Additionally, I’ve had a bunch of projects for other people I’ve been working on as well. I’ll give a brief overview of those:

-For Joy in Hope (Nick and Gwenn Mangine), I’ve been working with Nick to set up the electrical system in their new house, since they recently moved. As usual, it’s a mixed system with a generator, grid power, and an inverter/battery system. It looks like it’s almost setup.
I had to laugh yesterday while I was there when Josiah, one of their sons, asked “why is the power always on in the United States?” It was just interesting to hear it phrased that way, noting that to only have power sometimes is the expectation. 🙂

-For Children’s Hope (Tommy and Joy, Ken and Maria), I was up telephone poles and running wires so they could move their generator, and consolidate their power system across their whole campus. Thankfully, I was able to use my rock climbing harness and do the job safely, though I would be curious to know what “real” linemen do in the U.S.
Additionally, we’ve started metering the power usage on this campus with a Ted-5000 device, so we will know exactly how large to plan for a solar power system for their property. Currently, they end up running a diesel generator for about 12 hours or more daily.

-For the Global Orphan Project, I’m also monitoring their power with a Ted-5000 unit, with the hopes of putting in solar in the future. Their ministry includes a hotel, used for hosting short term missions, with the profits supporting their ministries, including orphan care. It’s a sweet setup, and we were blessed to spend the night at their hotel as well.

-For Isaiah House, a guest house run by CCH here in Jacmel, I need another TED unit to monitor their power and adjust accordingly. They have a larger generator to upgrade to, but I think some minor tweaks would allow them to stay on their current setup and use a smaller, more fuel efficient generator, saving money all around. However, I can’t be confident in that until I pull one of my TED units from the other places to verify their power usage.

-For Laura, a friend of mine trying to rescure a group of children from an abusive orphanage, I was able to get a power system up an running at her soon to be children’s home. She ended up with a 1.2kW solar array, batteries, and a generator to run her property, and it has worked well so far. Initially, she was running with grid power at night, until her wires connecting her to the grid were stolen (similar to the situation at our house), so we shifted to solar being the primary power source.

In the mean time, Jamie and I have also gotten our residency permits (finally) and are very excited about having those taken care of.
I’m also getting better at care care and exploring other new tasks. I had to swap out my left-rear brake cylinder this week, the same job I did on the right rear about 1 month ago. It was quick and uneventful, which was nice. With all the practice, I’ve now got tire changes and brake bleeding both down to 15 minute jobs. Sadly, I also have lost 2 tires in the past 2 weeks. So, my current situation is 2 brand new tires, 2 good tires, 1 average tire, 1 that needs replaced, and 1 flat and punctured “spare”. Haiti is brutal on tires, and I’ve learned the value of quality, as the most recently “punctured” one was a cheap tire, and the tread has worn thin already despite the fact that I’ve only put 12k miles on my truck since it came to Haiti, so that tire has <10k miles on it. I like my Goodyear Wranglers, which are my 2 new, and 2 good condition tires, but they are expensive here ($250/each), and it kills me that I've had to buy 4 tires in the past 3 years, despite only driving 12k miles. Anyhow, enough complaining about tires. I also tried my hand at using some of the concrete that was already being mixed (for the foundations to put the containers on), and I need more practice with concrete. I was just putting in a single step at our front door, and at our back door. Apparently I didn't shake the form enough, as I let some big gaps near the bottom of the form. Oops. I'll fix it soon, and learn the lesson for next time around. On a more personal note, though, I really enjoyed the interaction with some neighbors as I was working on my truck this time. Several guys stopped to help, which was nice when it came time to pull the springs in my drum brakes. They were all very excited about the idea of the shop/school as well. I told them I want to host seminars, basically 1 or 2 week courses, taught by a professional from the U.S., on various trade skills (mechanic, carpentry, electrical, welding, etc), and that I just need to get volunteers to come teach. They thought it was a great idea and were curious about the price. For those of you interested, I'm thinking that these would be great classes, and I would try to charge a nominal fee, because free stuff is taken for granted, but I would probably charge some sort of fee that winds up similar to the cost for what they "receive" from the class. Each class, I would like to end up giving basic tools, or even just that they get to keep the "teaching project" when it is finished. For example, we could make chairs, or shelves, or something practical, and they can keep it when they are done. The "school" and community workshop ideas are awesome to me, especially because God has been conviting me a bit lately that I need to be more active in evangelism. That is our primary call on our lives as Christians. First priority should be intimacy with God, second should be to let the overflow of his presence be the motivation to witness to others that they could know Him too. Thank you to all of you that read this, and thank you to those of you who have been helping my dad get stuff ready for the truck that will be shipping down here soon. We look forward to being in town for a couple weeks in mid-February. I think it will be Feb 12-26 at the minumem. If you know anywhere that would like me to come speak about what God is doing down here, I would love to, please contact me at tknipple@f1engineering.org God Bless.

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