January, April, July, November, & December 2006
"I love my country, Haiti, but Haiti has a lot of problems!"
Those words, out of the mouth of my five-year-old son Davy, pretty well sum up the feelings of everyone in this country. Haiti desperately needs prayer. As I write this letter, I am deeply burdened by the sad state of my adopted nation. Haiti is a good example of what happens when people turn their nation over to satan.
When we arrived in Haiti eight years ago, we discovered that Haiti was a country with enormous problems. At that time, we couldn’t imagine things getting worse, but we have watched this country slip deeper and deeper into satan’s grasp. Crime is out of control and no one is doing anything to stop it. There are around twenty kidnappings reported every day and about that same number of murders. Until recently kidnappers didn’t abuse their hostages, but that is changing. Now, there are reports of abuse when families are unable to pay the huge ransom demands, or pay the ransom soon enough to suit the kidnappers. The morale of the Haitian people is as low as we have seen it in our eight years in Haiti. There is a feeling of desperation in the air.
We are committed to reaching out to as many people as we are able to help and we are trusting that God will use our efforts and the efforts of others to turn Haiti around. We witnessed a great miracle in October when our children were returned to us unharmed, without any ransom being paid, twenty-two hours after they were kidnapped. Hundreds of people around the world were praying with us and God came through! I am asking you to bind together with us, broken before God, to pray for Haiti. I can’t explain how sad it is to see the expression of hopelessness and despair on the faces of the Haitians that we come in contact with day after day. They are hurting and they have no hope for a better tomorrow. Only Jesus can make a difference in Haiti and our prayers are that Jesus will SAVE Haiti.
Please keep praying for our safety and protection. It is unnerving to hear the reports of the terrible things happening all around us. We are awakened many nights by the sound of automatic weapons fire. We continue to hold onto our belief that we are in God’s perfect will and that he will keep us in his perfect safety.
January 19th was a special day for us, it was the seventh birthday of the first Haitian child to join us here at House of Compassion! We don’t know the exact day of Micah’s birth, but he was approximately two years old when he came to us five years ago on January 19th. It is hard to believe that eight of the twenty-one Haitian children here at House of Compassion will mark their fifth year with us in 2006!
As we mentioned in our last letter, we must have $45,900.00 before we can begin work on the foundation for the new House of Compassion. I am happy to report that we are within $10,000.00 of reaching that goal! The need for new facilities gets greater every day. We have outgrown our present house and crime in this area is getting worse every day. Pray with us about this need as we seek God’s perfect timing.
Thank you for your generous giving during the month of December. We truly appreciate the gifts that you sent for the children here at House of Compassion and for the kids in our sponsorship program. You will never know how special your gifts were to these children. Alicia and I are especially thankful for the extra love offerings you sent for this work. Without your prayers and your financial support our work here would be impossible. Words cannot express our true heartfelt appreciation. We love all of you and you are in our prayers every day. Thanks again. Please keep Missions in Haiti in your prayers every day.
We are excited to report that construction is underway on the new House of Compassion! Excavation for the foundation started on March 28th. We initially planned to get underway in January, but the builder and I couldn’t come to terms on the price of the project. We finally agreed on the price for the “shell”, which consists of the foundation, first floor columns, second floor, second floor columns, outer walls and the roof. As soon as we reached agreement on the price, we stepped out in faith and signed a contract so that work could begin. When the shell is complete, we will bring in teams from the U.S. to help with the finish work. The first two stages of the project, the foundation, the first level columns and outer walls will cost $54,500.00. We have $36,500.00 in our building fund today, which leaves us $19,000.00 short. Please pray with us, we need the $19,000.00 by May, so that we will be able to pay the builder. If you would like to be part of the House of Compassion “Construction Crew”, you can participate in this project by making a pledge to our building fund. We will send periodic updates, including photos of the project during each phase of construction. We know that God wants us to go forward with construction of the new House of Compassion and every dime that you designate for this project will go directly into the building fund. Plans for the new House of Compassion can be seen here.
Thank you for praying with us during the recent election cycle here in Haiti. The election took place on February 7th-after being postponed four times! Everyone here in Port au Prince was deeply concerned about this election because past elections were not peaceful. Thank God, things were peaceful this time. Election results were not made public for one week due to problems with some of the polling places. During this waiting period, demonstrations were held all over Haiti and we stayed inside behind our locked gate for three days! All business activity came to a standstill because roads were impassible. The election results were finally announced and things got back to being as normal as things can be here in Haiti. Rene Preval, the newly elected President is scheduled to take office in May and Haitians are hoping that he can bring some healing to Haiti. Please pray with us that the new government will care more for Haiti than for their own agenda.
There are only three months left in this school year and we are already making plans for next year. Due to the fact that we will need 300 uniforms and books for 300 students, we can’t wait until August to get organized. We are working hard so that 300 children - with the help of their sponsors back home - will be able to attend school next year. We are adding another 50 children to our school sponsorship program for next year and we are praying that God will provide sponsors for these additional children. Many times we are overwhelmed by the tremendous need that we see every day here in Haiti, but then we realize that without this school sponsorship program, none of these kids would get an education and they wouldn’t be able to attend Children’s Church each Wednesday and learn about Jesus . Only God knows everything this program is accomplishing for eternity!
Please continue to pray for our protection! We were awakened by noises in the early morning hours of March 31st. I went downstairs to check on things and found our German Shepherd dead and our Rottweiler near death. The dogs had been poisoned, the lock on our gate was broken and our generator was gone. We found our generator out in the street where thieves had dragged it. This section of Port-au-Prince is now one of the most dangerous areas in Haiti. After this break-in, we decided to hire a security guard at a cost of $700.00 per-month. This is money that could be put to better use spreading the gospel of Christ! The need for the new House of Compassion becomes more urgent every day! Pray with us!
I want to say a special “thank you” to those of you who are sending extra money each month and those of you who have sent special offerings to be used toward the building project. We also want to thank all of you who have spent hours on your knees praying for us and for Haiti. You are part of this team and without you, we wouldn’t be able to do what we have been called to do here in Haiti
Thank you for your prayers. Haiti’s newly elected government was installed in May. This is the first “fully operational” government in Haiti since 2003. With the new government in place, the international community has started talking about helping Haiti with badly needed financial aid. The Haitian people are hoping that this new government will do something positive for Haiti and not just for the personal gain of the politicians. The Haitian people have been disappointed by their political system so many times, but for most Haitians this is the only ray of hope they have.
Please continue to pray with us. Kidnappings in Haiti have become so commonplace that Haiti is now the kidnapping capital of the Americas. We were forced to add armed nighttime security to protect our property because thieves came over our wall several times trying to steal from us. Things continue to worsen in the area of Port-au-Prince where the present House of Compassion is located.
We know that it is God’s will for us to complete the new House of Compassion as soon as possible and to move our kids to the new location.
We appreciate each one of you who made us feel so welcome when we visited your church this summer. During June and July, we traveled through 15 states and drove over 7,000 miles! We are thankful that God kept his hand on us and met all of our needs during this time. We made a lot of new friends and we got to see a lot of old friends along the way. Thank you and God bless you!
Building update; in our last newsletter, we told you about the finances that were needed to keep the building project moving forward. The response was tremendous and we were awed at how God provided and how the need was completely met. As you may recall, we contracted with a construction company in Haiti to build the “shell” of the new House of Compassion. The contractor will put up the main structure or building shell and we plan on bringing in teams of volunteers from the United States to finish the inside. To date we received $127,000.00 which is the amount needed to complete the shell of the building, Praise the Lord!
Now, we estimate that we will need $80,000.00 to finish and furnish the inside of the facility. All monies earmarked “building funds” received from this point forward will go toward this next phase of construction. We are going to purchase a container and fill it with the items that will be used to complete the inside of the new House of Compassion. If you know a supplier that would be willing to work with us on a wholesale or “cost” basis or who would be willing to donate some of the items needed to complete the project, please contact us. We are in need of everything that it takes to complete the inside of a home. For example we need toilets, sinks, cabinets, paint, plumbing, electrical supplies, lumber, shelving, light fixtures etc. The container will be filled in Tulsa, Oklahoma and will be shipped from Tulsa to Haiti. Feel free to contact us by e-mail if you have questions or if you would like to help with this part of the project.
Alicia is expecting our third child in January! We are excited about this addition to our family. Please pray with us that the pregnancy will go well and that there won’t be any problems with the delivery. Alicia has gone through a good deal of sickness associated with this pregnancy, but she seems to be doing a little better each day.
Again, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to every one of you who has faithfully supported this work, both financially and with your prayers; we couldn’t do our work without your help. Please remember us in your prayers every day. The harvest fields of Haiti are ripe and when we look at the things going on in the world today, it is obvious, time is short. The signs are everywhere, Jesus is coming soon! We love you and we are praying for you.
I am relieved to report that things are finally settling down here in Haiti and we are beginning to feel like we can breathe again.
During August and September, we ran all day long getting ready for school to begin. In early August I focused on getting the ACE school where I work, operational after summer vacation. Due to the political unrest here in Haiti, attendance at the ACE school is down to 140 students this year. We know that God has given us these 140 students to minister to. We are praying and believing that we will be able to reach out to these children with God’s message of salvation and that many of them will be saved during this school year.
We are excited to report that with the help of our sponsors we have almost 350 children attending Haitian Christian schools this year. Getting uniforms and books gathered up for the 350 kids in our sponsorship program and for the children here at House of Compassion kept Alicia very busy during August.
We would like to say a special “THANK YOU” to all of you who continue to support our efforts to go forward with the House of Compassion building project. During the month of July the foundation was completed and when I returned in August the builders were going up with the first level support columns. During September the cement beams were placed on the support columns and forms for the second floor pour were set-up. On October 17th the second floor was poured and the builders are now getting the second level support columns in place so they can pour the roof. Originally, the contractor told us we would have a roof on the new House of Compassion by the end of October but due to unforeseen circumstances, that date has been revised. Now our contractor is telling us that the roof will be completed by the end of November. We are very excited as we watch the building take shape. We are anxious to get started working on the inside of the house and we are looking forward to moving into the new facility next June!
Please continue to pray with us that everything will come together so that the House of Compassion will be finished by June. As of today, we need $70,000.00 to pay for the final phase of construction of the shell. We will be coming to the States in December for the birth of our third child. In late December and early January, I plan to pack a 40’ container with all the things we will need to finish the inside of the house. Please help us pray that God will continue to provide the funds needed to purchase all the materials and furnishings that will go into the container. If you know of anyone who would supply items on a “cost” basis please contact us. We need everything from electrical supplies to paint, cabinets, flooring, etc. Plumbing equipment and supplies have already been provided along with some of the lumber needed to build closets. The Lord is moving in a mighty way and we are excited as we watch Him meet every need.
The urgency for moving into this new home is growing daily, thanks to Alicia’s compassion. I tell everyone that asks me that we are already beyond “full capacity” here at our present location. But, last month I came home to find that our “family” had grown again! We now have 22 Haitian children living here at House of Compassion. Jean Sony came to live with us September 14th. He comes from an extremely desperate situation. His father is violent and his mother needed to find a safe place for the little five-year old boy to grow up. After reviewing the situation we decided that Jean Sony should be the 11th Haitian boy to join us at House of Compassion.
Please continue to remember us in your prayers every day. Things are a little better than last year, but we have to be very careful. Last week a Missionary was kidnapped at gunpoint.
Also, please remember Alicia in your prayers. She is having a difficult pregnancy with a lot of pain and sickness. She still has three months to go and she would definitely appreciate your prayers!
Thank you for all you do for Missions in Haiti; We wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything here in Haiti without your prayers and your support. We love you and appreciate you very much!
Thanks to our loyal supporters, work on the new House of Compassion continues to go forward. By the time you receive this letter, we should be in the process of pouring the roof. We planned to be “under roof” sooner, but few things go as planned here in Haiti due to material shortages, political unrest, crime and a laundry list of other obstacles. We have learned to be very patient as we press forward.
Alicia and Hannah returned to the U.S. this past week and Davy and I will be returning December 21. Right after Christmas, I will begin gathering and packing the supplies that we will ship to Haiti in a 40’ container. Our planned ship date for the container is early January 2007. The container will contain the “stuff” we will need in order to finish the inside of the House of Compassion along with furnishings, appliances and assorted household items. We are planning on filling any extra space in the container with cleaning supplies, groceries and toiletries, the things that we use everyday. By purchasing these items in the U.S. we will be able to save enough to pay the $6,500.00 it will cost to ship the container from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Port-au-Prince. The prices we pay here in Haiti for supplies are at least double what you could buy the same merchandise for in the United States.
We are very thankful for the Churches and individuals who have agreed to provide equipment and supplies for the House of Compassion. To date, the paint, plumbing supplies and fixtures, doors, flooring and appliances along with 36 new bunk beds have been provided for the home. These beds will replace the worn out beds we are currently using and provide 14 additional beds for the 14 “new” kids the Lord will send to us after we move into the new home.
As soon as the roof is poured, the building contractor will have completed his part of the project and we will be ready to start scheduling construction teams from the U.S. to help us finish the inside of the house. We plan to host four to five teams for a week to ten days at a time starting in March 2007. If you are interested in coming to Haiti and working with us, please contact us. We need teams to install plumbing, electrical wiring and fixtures, paint, lay tile and clean up so the house will be ready for us to move into during June of 2007.
Please pray with us, we have several financial needs that will have to be met in order to be able to finish the home. First, we need $6,500.00 to ship the container, then it will take approximately $15,000.00 to finish up the concrete work and finally we will need $9,800.00 to purchase the windows for the house. I decided to buy the windows locally because of the need for security bars. Here in Haiti they sell windows with steel bars made right into the window. By using these windows, we won’t have to put bars on the outside of the windows after they are installed.
Please keep Missions in Haiti in your daily prayers and especially remember Alicia in your prayers. Our third child is due January 15 so please pray that everything will go smoothly.
Thanks again for all you do for us. We couldn’t do this work without your support and your prayers!