The last 90 days have been very eventful; it would take a six page newsletter to report everything that occurred so here is the “reader's digest” condensed version!
Richard and Nancy joined us stateside for Christmas break and it was great to spend a couple weeks with them! It is a blessing to see how they are growing and maturing in their walk with God! Richard and Nancy returned to Full Gospel Bible Institute in Export, PA on January 6 and started their fourth semester of Bible School. They are halfway through their studies at FGBI.
While we were home for Christmas we gathered supplies for the container that shipped out of Tulsa, Oklahoma the first week of January. Buying supplies stateside and shipping them to Haiti is a necessity because of the exceptionally high prices in Haiti. The container arrived at House of Compassion the first week of February with tile for the new school building, playground equipment and our supplies.
We returned to Haiti on January 10 and on January 15, Zach Rash came down and spent two weeks here erecting the new school building. Two teams, one from Joplin, Missouri and a second from Denton, Texas and Brother Bruce Ganze from Bartlesville, OK worked alongside Zach and they erected the building in only nine days. The new building looks great! We are installing floor tiles, a septic system and restroom so we can move our school into the new facility as soon as possible. This new building contains six classrooms, each of which will accommodate twenty five students. We would like to say a special THANK YOU to Mr. Frank Reeder for providing another steel building, we appreciate Mr. Reeder very much and we pray that God will richly bless him for his generosity. Also, we want to thank Zach Rash for coming to Haiti three times to erect three buildings – Thanks Zach!
While itinerating we always ask people to pray for God's protection for our big family here in Haiti. With very high unemployment and extreme poverty some Haitians have turned to crime as a means of survival. Early in the morning of Friday, January 30, we were victims of crime. I truly believe it was the Lord who awakened me around 1:30 A.M. when I heard a strange noise in the kitchen area of our house. I hardly ever take a gun with me when I hear noises but this time I did and when I came into the kitchen I found the window over our kitchen sink had been removed and a man was looking in at me, waiting to see what my reaction would be. I shot at the guy and he and his accomplices returned fire and then ran. I fired a total of eight shots and they fired two back at me. At least one of the guys jumped off the second floor patio wall and landed on propane cylinders approximately 12 feet below. We found a hideous mask lying on the ground near the propane cylinders. I don't know what the burglars intended to do when they got inside the house, but obviously they were up to no good. After the shooting began neighbors reported several guys running away while others left on motorcycles. We discovered our Rottweiler had been poisoned and that left us without our watch dog which was our alarm system and first line of defense.
We praise the Lord for protecting us that night. I can't even imagine what would have happened if the gang of armed burglars had gained access to our bedroom and awakened us. Now we are in the process of making our house more secure by installing steel bars on windows and across the open areas on the second floor at the front and rear of the house. This is a $4,500.00 expense that we hadn't planned on; please pray with us that the funds will come in to meet this immediate need.
On a brighter note, February has been great! On February 9, Brother Darrell Meadow (our Pastor from Claremore, OK) and Alicia's father, Mike McCrate, arrived and kicked off our annual Mardi Gras Revival Crusade. Brother Meadow preached the first four nights and the response to his timely messages was tremendous. Mike and Brother Meadow left on February 14 and the Sent Team from Full Gospel Bible Institute arrived that same day and was here for the next seven days of revival. The Sent Team is a group of students from the Bible School Nancy and Richard attend and Nancy and Richard came to Haiti with the team. We enjoyed having Brother Palman, the Sent Team leader and the Sent Team with us and we appreciate the sacrifices they made in order to be with us.
Every year during Mardi Gras Haiti shuts down for five days of debauchery. In Haiti, Mardi Gras is a strange mixture of Catholic tradition combined with Voodoo. We provide an alternative for the people in our area. This year we had youth services and activities in the mornings, children's Church in the afternoons and revival services in the evening. It has been an exhausting but very rewarding time! We had at least eight people come forward for salvation and we witnessed the Lord doing a great work in the lives of many people as He drew them nearer to Him. We want to say a special thank you to the Sent Team and to Brother Meadow for all the hard work that went into preparing for this event.
Solar panel update; in our last newsletter we mentioned the need for a solar electric system for the House of Compassion. We received seven thousand dollars earmarked for this project and we appreciate all of you who gave. We had to pay the solar company up-front for the system and they promised delivery within two weeks. During the following two weeks there were a lot of demonstrations in the country and Port-au-Prince was shut down for four days and because of that I decided to give the solar company an extra week to install the system. After three weeks, the company said they would be out on a Saturday to install the equipment but no one showed up. The following Monday I tried to contact the company by telephone and by e-mail and found that the phones were disconnected and no one replied to my e-mail. The good news is that I paid by credit card! I called the credit card company and they immediately refunded the entire charge. We are now working with another solar company here in Haiti and if that doesn't work out we will purchase the equipment in the U.S. and bring it in on the next container.
Thank you for your continued support; you are partners with us in this work. If we ever needed your prayers we need them now, please remember us in your prayers every day.
P.S. Special thanks to Brother and Sister White at the Denton, TX Church for raising money for the wonderful new playground equipment. Our kids love the new slides, fort, swings and basketball goal!
It is summertime in Haiti and our kids are all very excited because another school year is finished and it is summer vacation! June 19th was the last day of the 2014-2015 school year and it was also graduation day for our High School seniors and Kindergarteners. Here in Haiti, Kindergarten graduation is a very special day for the student and his/her family. Interestingly, High School graduation doesn't get much attention in most of Haiti. We choose to make High School graduation and Kindergarten graduation special for our students and their families. This year around 450 people attended graduation ceremonies.
Four kids from House of Compassion completed their ACE High School curriculum and they are excited and a little nervous about the next step in their lives.
Sonson will assume the role of headmaster at our Good Hope Boys Home and he will be assisting with our schools and children's homes.
Jousline has accepted the positon of full-time Secretary over the Haitian School. The Haitian School has grown to nearly 400 students and we have needed a Secretary for quite a while. Adline will become our A.C.E. School Supervisor, she trained for the position and she is looking forward to teaching in our A.C.E. School. We are fortunate to have Adline, she is a very intelligent young lady and she will do a great job teaching math and high school science. We applied for a 3 year student visa for Richard's sister Yanick so she can attend Full Gospel Bible Institute in the fall with Richard and Nancy. Please pray with us about this need, obtaining VISAs can be difficult and frustrating to say the least.
Alicia and I have been praying for a full-time, like-minded staff to assist us with our work here in Haiti and we are thankful that the Lord is providing for this need from the young people who grew up right here at the House of Compassion. For years we have been saying that “someday” the Lord will use some of our kids to make a difference in Haiti and we believe that “someday” has arrived!
Richard and Nancy completed their second year at Full Gospel Bible Institute, came back to Haiti with us and they are working with us this summer. It is a blessing to see how they have grown and matured in the Lord. Richard will be our Youth Pastor along with his many other responsibilities.
Nancy will hold a summer camp during the month of July and she will be a big help in many other areas too. Richard and Nancy plan to return for their final year of Bible School this fall. We are making great progress on our school building projects. We completed the restroom for the new school building that was erected in January and began using the new school facility the first of March.
The land we purchased and built the second school facility on was separated from our other Church/School facilities by a small lot with a small house on it. We needed that property so we could join the new school property to the existing Church and school property. We told about this need while we were stateside in April and May and we are very pleased to report that the funds came in and we were able to purchase the property. Praise the Lord! The little house needs some remodeling and fixing up. Eventually it will serve as the office for our Haitian Schools, a library and housing for Richard after he graduates from Bible School. We will need $2,000.00 for doors, electrical work, paint, etc.
One more “big project” and we will have enough classrooms. We have pre-school, kindergarten, and high school buildings completed and now we need one more building to house the elementary school. This project will cost $50,000.00:
1. $30,000.00 for the metal building
2. $8,000.00 for surface prep and foundation
3. $12,000.00 to ship the building from Tulsa to Haiti
We are planning another two-story building steel building just like the two buildings that house our pre-school, kindergarten and high school now.
Please pray for Haiti and for Missions in Haiti. This is election year and Haiti will elect a new President and several other key government positions. There are 58 candidates running for President and a lot of people are saying, “our guy better win the election or else.” Please pray that the elections will go smoothly and that the right people will be elected.
Theft in our area continues to be a huge problem. Burglars have attempted to rob our home, our Church and school in the past few months. So far we haven't lost anything except a lot of sleep. Please pray that God will protect our family, our Haitian workers and our kids as well as our Haitian Church family.
Thank you for your continued prayers and for you financial support. We are grateful for all of you and we realize that we couldn't do what we do without your support and your prayers.
Our American and Haitian school classes started September 1st. The children here, like kids in the .S., were sad when summer vacation was over, but they were excited to see old friends, make new friends, get fresh new uniforms and books and move to the next grade level.
This year we enrolled almost 400 students. The Haitian school that Jude and Alicia oversee has earned the reputation of being one of the very best schools in Haiti and as a result people travel great distances to try to enroll their children. Each of our classrooms accommodates 25 students so classes filled quickly and many had to be turned away. Alicia and Jude have a great staff and they educate 400 Haitian children and teach them about Jesus through our Christian curriculum and chapel services. Every day we pray and we believe that these kids will become leaders and make a positive difference here in Haiti. Praise the Lord for this work!
In our last newsletter we shared the need for one more metal building to house our elementary school classes. To date we have erected two steel school buildings and those house our pre-school and high school classes. The elementary school is still in the house we have rented several years. This unfinished concrete house is a city block away from the rest of our facilities and it is dark and dingy, not a great learning environment. We are praying that this will be the last year we will need to rent this facility. The bottom line is we need to raise $32,000.00 by the end of the year to purchase a third steel building. I must commit by the end of October in order to get the building fabricated and delivered to Tulsa so it can be loaded into the container we will ship from Tulsa to Haiti in December. I have already set things in motion; we are returning stateside mid-October and we will be on the road for one month raising funds. My father has agreed to come to Haiti in January to assist in pouring the slab for the new building and we have several men who have committed to come to Haiti the last week of March to erect the new building.
After the last newsletter went out, we received funds needed for the foundation, now we need to raise funds for the steel building. Please pray with us that this need will be met. If you would like to contribute to the building project please mark your check “for school building.” Thank you for your prayers and for your support of this project.
God still answers prayer! In July we witnessed another miracle! As you may recall, Richard and Nancy are scheduled to graduate from Free Gospel Institute in May of 2016. They are both planning to return to Haiti to work with us full-time after they graduate.
Miriam finished high school in 2014 and Yanick finished this year and both girls applied for student visas so they could attend Free Gospel Institute with Richard and Nancy. Miriam was denied a visa twice last year, so this year we decided that the two young ladies should apply together. I went with them to the consulate for their interviews. The interviewer asked the girls a couple generic questions then stated that they were both denied. I politely asked what we were doing wrong and the lady told us the additional information she would like to see. We left discouraged but we decided to gather all the information she requested and apply again the following week. We paid the fees again and rescheduled an appointment. All of us had been praying, but maybe our prayers weren't as diligent as they should have been! Alicia said for the next week we would meet each evening and have special prayer about the visas.
When the appointed time for the meeting arrived, I had all the requested information, I had my sales pitch polished and we were ready! We stepped up to the window and immediately noticed that a different lady would be doing this interview. I started my presentation and about 15 seconds into it the lady stopped me, asked who I was and then she told me to go to the waiting area! I was very discouraged and began to pray, “Lord I worked hard preparing for this interview and this lady shut me down, why?” Obviously God had a different way of handling things! A few minutes later the two girls had their student visas! Lesson learned; God didn't need my sales pitch; He just wanted us to get serious in our prayers, have faith, believe and then leave things in His hands!
Yanick and Miriam started to Bible school in August. The top three things we hear from them is they are very busy, very excited and very cold – and it is only fall!
House of Compassion recently added two more children, Daniella, 1 years old and Dawenson, 4 years old. Alicia and I decided as our adopted Kids grow up and leave home, we will take in new children to replace them – keeping the House of Compassion and the Boys Home at 60 children for the foreseeable future.
I wanted to report on the solar panels we installed. We mentioned the need for a solar system for House of Compassion, many responded and the funds came in. We had a glitch with the first solar company we tried to do business with but we found another supplier and purchased a solar system. The system is installed and working GREAT! This system allows us to trim the use of our diesel generator (very expensive to operate) several hours each day. My only regret is that we didn't go solar a whole lot sooner. I would eventually like to get all our facilities on solar. Once the system is operating the savings will more than pay for the initial cost in short order. One thing we have plenty of in Haiti is sunshine!
As always, we appreciate your prayers and your financial support. We sincerely appreciate all you do for us and for Missions in Haiti! May God richly bless you and keep you.