Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Well here we are at the final day, the final night. 5:00 a.m. will come early, but we will make it. We are all tired but I think happy. It was a delightful day. The well will not be finished this trip. I am a little sad about that, but okay. All the supplies are now at the property, there is pipe in the hole, we are well on the way to having our well. We have worked very hard, and great things have come to pass. We started out with about 150 children at our children’s service last Friday, today we gave out 323 gifts to a sea of black faces. It was incredible! To be able to share our love with them, it doesn’t get any better than that. In a surge of insight, I came up with the idea of getting a couple of guys from the church bicycles. Parnel, Cleavenson, and Joseph all got new bikes today. You talk about excited guys, you have never seen such great smiles. Parnel is a sweet heart of a young man, and he told Maura that he would not sleep tonight because he would be dreaming of riding his new bike all night. To buy these bikes the team walked downtown, and that was a awesome experience for them. Rick was live with his camera in hand, trying to catch the sights and sounds through the lens of his digital unit. As we walked down main street I became fascinated with some very old and very large trees. They stand for power, and longevity, patience and endurance. They have leaned over the sidewalks shading the passers by of multiple generations. They have withstood the winds of hurricane, the force of flood waters, the throngs of the onslaught of millions traversing across their root systems, excavation and concrete poured and tearing at their bark, and yet they stand silent and firm. Casting their shade over the people trod-ding and sitting below. Today 13 weary but determined Americans too crossed under their guard. But one noticed. And stirred at the significance of their place among the lowly. As I thought about their longevity, I wondered at the longevity of the impact of this trip. Will we walk away changed for a moment, or will we have captured something that will set us free to be better messengers for God. Will we come back to invade our churches with a renewed passion for Christ. As the last children were passing through the gate tonight, there were member of the church coming in for a 6:00 service. Rick and Luke both said “These people live at church!” It’s true... their passion puts me, us to shame. Rick has a humbled view of our American culture, these people expose the sham of where we live. To many have chosen shallowness in our faith walk, and we need to choose differently. I pray God doesn’t have to take America down this pathway of devastation to wake us from our slumber. I was talking to the neighbor up the street tonight, I told him I loved his country, but that I loved his people the greatest. I told him that his country was a devastating place on a lot of levels, but that we would work to help bring change. He said “change is coming, but it is up to us as the people.” I wish Americans got that. We blame our governments, and our presidents, we blame our neighbors, our parents. We need to take ownership of our wrong, of our bad choices, and make some changes that will change our nation back to God. Many nations and many people rely on our goodness and generosity. Let’s not let the enemy rob us of being able to touch the world. I am in this for the long haul, like the trees, I trust that God through my life will bring shade and nourishment to the masses. Oh God, make us like these trees, let our ministries burn brightly and long. Good night! Blessings to all.

Open House (Karen's Post)

Blessings to you from your Haiti team.

Wow! Amazing! Challenging! Heart wrenching! Inspiring! Unbelievable! That cannot begin to describe our time here in Haiti. As we circled together this morning to pray, Pastor Doyle shared from Isaiah 57:14 “Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.” With one day and counting, that is our goal. God continues to remind me to come alongside his people and walk, work, pray and cry with them. And they will know we are Christians by our Love. So we organize and put everything in place so that when we leave, they can continue side by side, moving forward the kingdom of God.

We will pray without ceasing, and in all honesty I find that a whole lot easier here than back home. It gives a whole new meaning to clutter in a spiritual sense. I challenge you to un-clutter and keep your spiritual focus. Focus on the eternal perspective. Autumn and Krystle were sharing things they found in their suitcases. Autumn found a battery charger, and Krystle laughed and said “that’s nothing, I found an orange electrical cord in mine.” Every time I think that this is only for a week, I’m reminded that their week is a lifetime. “I Can Only Imagine” is playing in the background. And I can only imagine that their hope will someday be seen in eternity. If we can be the hands and feet of Christ in helping even one more Haitian experience the Golden Streets of Heaven, our time here has been worth every second.

Doyle and Beth from our first meeting overflowed with their love for the Haitian people. In talking with the team, we could not help but be excited to go and be a part of this team. I guess that you could say they are contagious. God’s Love continues to gush from their souls over onto their team. Doyle’s positive attitude and patience stood out even in the midst of challenge and adversity, fatigue and pressure. Beth’s love and sensitivity was evidenced at all times for every child and team member. We laugh and say, “find her a house and a hundred hungry kids (or more) and we’ll have an instant orphanage in Saint-Marc.” They have bridged the gap for us and many others from Michigan to Haiti. Thank you for all you have done and all you have given in all areas of your life.

Robinson, as you may know, grew up as an orphan on streets of Haiti and made the statement that if he ever had a house of his own, he would open it to everyone. He and Naromie have opened their house and their hearts to our team and to the community. He displays wisdom and discernment far beyond his years as well as a love for God and all humanity which stands out among the nations. Rob Rob has shared with us his laughter and joy, his friendly nature, and his soccer playing abilities. Don’t forget he has a unique way of rousing people in the morning. He is the hands, feet, and voice of Christ in this community with a ready smile. He has a constant concern for our well-being and a love that has warmed our hearts for a lifetime.

Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens. Pastor Haiti and Pastor America have demonstrated both in countless ways and a multitude of times.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Walk Away

What an afternoon! Karen 'mimed' the Jesus story to about 200 children. It was amazing! And the kids loved it. I watched their faces full of wonder and surprise. When our time was done we passed out candy, and special marker pen and paper, and hats to the little girls and rubber bracelet to the boys and older girls. I had them get single file and get their stuff from the team as they went out. We barely had enough, and had some older ones begging for more. It was kind of tough on the team. When the last child had filed away, I had them quickly close the bags and move out. There are times in God's work when you have done all you can and you have to have thick enough skin to 'walk away'. Jesus in Matt. 24:1 did that when He left the temple. Your perspective has to be broader then the immediate equation. To be a missionary, to be missionary minded, you have to at some point be able to let go and 'Let God'. As hard as that can be, it is enough. I was sharing with some of the team again tonight that if the children got the message of Karen's mime, that was the greatest gift we could give. As desperate as they are for water, and food, if their heart is the abiding place of the Almighty, that is enough. I know I already commented on this in another post, but it bears repeating. Getting the Gospel out is the chief goal of this mission trip. All the other stuff is good in it's place. But our tents can't hold the masses, our well when it is drilled can't furnish all the water even our little community needs. More on that later. Just suffice it to say that it will make a difference for a notable amount. But the gospel, now that is another equation. It's impact is far more reaching. Rick managed to get us a copy of the Jesus movie in Haitian creole and we showed it tonight. There must have been 250 people here tonight watching this movie. Rick was moved, and so was I. I had to spend $250.00 for the bulb for this projector to bring it. I almost didn't. I found it on EBay, the factory wanted $400. I walked into the childrens' tent where the team was hanging out for a rest and food and said I had just had my perspective altered again. 250 people, $250.00 = $1.00 dollar apiece to have all those Haitians experience the "Jesus" movie. I wish you could have heard the cheering, the laughter, the joy as they connected with this story. We are praying for great impact. We already laid a plan to take the projector to the mountain, set it up on an open space and show it. Thereby taking the gospel even more directly to them. I was talking to Lauren on the way over to the house tonight, just a few minutes ago. She has been deeply impacted by this trip, the immersion into relationships and culture that this ministry with Robinson allows is spectacular. We have walked this week where these people walk, we have walked as these people walk. In just one more day, we will 'walk away'. It is going to be hard, but I believe in these people, I believe in our mission, the rest is up to God. Thick skin, deep hearts, and great faith will conquer at the end of the day. Let us press on with renewed vigor. May this country be brought to Jesus, and may we have a part. Let it embolden you to give generously, to rejoice in what you have, and may it lead us faithfully to our own mission field right in our back yards! When we have to 'walk away', it is because we are being sent elsewhere to minister for a season. We are not walking out on anyone, when we leave them with God. The danger for most of us is that this is where we fail. Not in walking away, but that when we walk away we have not left them God. Speak freely, speak now! Someone needs Jesus today. Blessing until morning.


I woke this morning, not to an alarm clock, or even the daylight. I felt my big toe wiggling. I peered through the fog of my weariness to see the whites of Robinson’s eyes. He was motioning me to come, and my brain momentarily froze. Caught somewhere between reality and the haze of a deep sleep. I am wrestling with a bit of a cold, and last night I slept pretty good, so the two combined had me a little wasted. I mentioned a couple of setbacks with our trip, well one of them was a transportation issue. The man we had hired turned and dealt a wrong deal, so we are working our way through that. But it also meant that we would more than likely not be going on our trip to Desdunes today. At 6:30 a.m. Rob informed me that he had a bus to take us for the original price we had agreed upon. The team was delighted with the turn of events........Several hours later, we are back from our trip to the country. It was everything we had hoped for. We passed out a lot of treats to the children, all the ladies got to hold ‘Sarabeth’ the little baby that Beth and Krystle named. We stopped by a school and handed out all the yo-yo's that Hasse’s sent with us. We passed out candy, and bubbles and chinese yo-yo's and crayon’s and coloring sheets and lots of other little toys. As we walked along from place to place we were trailed by a crowd of children. Hunger is etched on their bodies, poverty has stripped them almost bare. It is heart rending. Their plea for food is real, and their desperation unquantifiable. I never have met a child begging for food in the streets of America. I’m sure there are a few, but our children no nothing of this kind of suffering. I’m sitting here as I write watching the interaction between Autumn and Lauren. Autumn is a very memorable character. She is full of life, and a certain charisma. She is following closely in her mothers shoes. She is added spunk and charm. I know this trip has been a test of character for her, but she is passing this test with flying colors. She is vivacious, and is not a quitter. I have never seen anyone wrenching their guts out and still smile! She breeds a lot of energy, and it has been inspirational to have her along. She will find a way to get you to laugh a little and you need that often and much here. So back to the wiggling toe, in Haiti you see many feet. And most carry calluses, dirt and scars. I was studying Maurice's (my sister, Manice’s father) feet the other night, he had walked down from the mountain to see us. Those hardened feet had carried him all the way here, and took him back to the mountain again. An almost two hour hike. He walks down the mountain every day on those feet. We are walking back and forth to the property at least two times a day. Beth’s feet are swollen. This is quite a bit of walking for us American’s. We are used to walking very short distances. Here, most walk everywhere they go! And their feet show it. Most of what they have are flip-flops. The children run barefoot often. The next time you slip your feet in those comfortable shoes, be thankful for feet, for shoes to put them in, and the transportation that saves you walking every where you go. Off to children’s service we go, going to try to do some more drilling. At noon prayer, there was a property full of people again. Blessings until later.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cold Sweat

What an awesome day of ministry! This afternoon Rick spoke to the young people and did a great job. I am not sure how many there were, but it was probably his largest crowd of young people ever. He had a question and answer time afterward, and it was very enlightening and energetic. Our whole time with the young people was wild and crazy, but great. Then we put the projector up and ran a slide show of our trip so far. The people loved it. There is an amazing bond that is developing with these people, and it's great for the team as well. There are so many opportunities for ministry. This is such an open door. After the pictures we fired up 'Fireproof' and that too was a huge success. Tomorrow night we are doing the Jesus video. There were so many people around the grounds tonight, it was wonderful. We talked to them a little before showing the film. I wish you could have heard the sounds of laughter that filled the night sky as an amazing truth was driven home. More hope was shared, and we are happy. Only two days left. Wow, time is flying now. A few are struggling with the sniffles. I mentioned before the weather has been a little different, well we all seem to be waking up in cold sweats. Your cold and hot all at the same time. It is strange but true. You would think that our Michigan bodies would be comfortable at 70 degrees, but no, it's not like that. Oh well, just another one of those experiences to chalk up in our lives. Tomorrow morning we will commence drilling again for a while, but I am already making contacts to help finish it if I am not able to get it completed. There are a few things for the rest of the team I need to get done as well to help them get accomplished what they need too. Pray for wisdom for the leader. I wanted so desperately to get the water flowing while I was here, but it seems God might have had a little different time frame and circumstances. It's too early to tell, but we are continuing to push until it is clear we can go no farther. I will tell you with all the breakdowns and setbacks, we have still accomplished much this week. And I am grateful. I must be careful, because I don't mean to sound like I am ungrateful for what has been done. It is nothing short of marvelous! But the team is seeing clearly the need for this water, as you work and labor here, you see the tragedy of the lack of good water. Everything they drink has to be purchased. How would you like it if every time you were thirsty, you had to fork over money. Yikes, that's a stiff one. I can tell you I am doing everything in my power to get this pulled off, and if I don't finish it this week, it will be done shortly. All the material will be here by tomorrow night with the potential exception of 2"couplings. It seemed like it would not be a problem to get couplings if you could buy pipe, but I guess I was wrong on that count! So be it, now I know. Off I go for tonight. Thanks again for following. Until tomorrow, blessings once again.


We were in church by about 7:00 a.m. this morning. And had walked two miles to get there! I’m sure you Americans rolled out of the sack, threw on a pot of coffee, walked in and turned on a warm bath or shower, dried your hair, hit the remote start and rode off in a warm vehicle to church with great difficulty. And then to arrive at church and find out the power company had cut the power last night (to the whole city by the way). Talk about demanding board members, and frustrated pastors. Well, that is everything we did and didn’t have this morning. We actually showed up about one hour after service started. It was funny, Kelly came storming up to the children’s tent at 5:15 and said; “There are people in there already for church.” Talk about showing up early for church. People in my congregation, including me sometimes can’t make it by 10:00! On another note this team of ours just keeps on amazing me. We have hit on all 13 cylinders the whole journey. Thirteen people, one bathroom. There was never a harsh word, or even a look this morning. These are incredible people. We preached on Psalm 130 this morning. One of Martin Luther’s favorite. The title was 'David’s Song'. We talked about desperation prayers, sin ownership, and the patience of hope. Quite the subject matter in Haiti. It seemed to go well with the interpreter. The people responded the best they ever have to my speaking. That was a plus for me! The children’s tent was full of kids today. Simply amazing that we could set the tent on Wednesday, pour a floor, and pack the place on Sunday!!! God is good. I can’t help saying that. We have had lunch, caught a little snooze, and will be off to the young people’s service here in a few. Rick will be talking to them today. He has been a real inspiration to me. Not too many dad’s out there with the courage to gather their family and ride off into the sunset on spring break to a missions trip? He has given his family perhaps the greatest gift he could ever give. The gift of perspective. Our great country has become so steeped in materialism, that we are disconnected from real need, nor do we even understand what it is. Rick to me is the greatest kind of father. I am not sure of his expectations out of this trip, but the rewards for his family will last a lifetime. We have treasured their input, and cherished their support. His words to the young people will be great! We are doing the “Fireproof” movie tonight. It should be a great evening. The journey is closing fast now. Time moves on, and it is a bit threatening. Already several are commenting that we cannot stay away a whole year. We will have to see what God’s plan is though, we seek to abide in His timing. However it just goes to show the terms of endearment of these people to one’s heart. It grabs you and doesn’t let go. One of the benefits of our trips is the high level of interaction with the people themselves, and that is a most life-changing thing. Will try to post again later. Blessings for now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Greetings blog followers. It is Saturday night, and we are trying to bed down early. Ha! We have to be up for church at 5:00 a.m. Pastor Don of the Keswick UMC, you will never be able to cut the Reyhl's slack again for not being to church on time:-) We will see how this works out. We had a delightful time at the house tonight. It is rather small for 13 extra people. But after the team saw George's house in the mountain this morning that I wrote about earlier, this is a small inconvenience as we are out of here in a couple of days. The house was filled with interaction. Rick has commented several times how much he cannot get over the way these people just show up at each others homes and visit. It seems you can never come at a bad time. It is pretty amazing. Rob and Naromie are very special people to put up with so much, and yet as we were riding the motorcycle a few minutes ago I caught Rob chuckling and asked him what he was thinking. He said he is so happy the team is here. That was worth the whole trip. If we can give him that moment of happiness, he is deserving. He has endeared himself to each of the team members this week in his own special way. He is a great man in the midst of such adversity. His is truly a God-anointed life. We need more like him. Luke keeps asking me if I hear 'It'. He is a good reminder to me that in the midst of my business and bustle that I don't lose focus. Luke is the quiet processor among us. He thinks deeply, and his heart is golden. He will do great things for God in his life. Did I mention we have a great team of young people with us. They have served with steadfast enthusiasm. Nothing I ask is met with resistance. They are simply an awesome mix, and delightful as well. They find the positive. Luke keeps me in the reality of this culture, making sure I am hearing the sounds. There are some good ones, and some bad ones, but they must not be missed because whatever they are, here they are real. It's not a show, or a movie that we will walk away from and say that was a great experience. Because this is real, these people are real, and now they are partly our responsibility. We are changed this week. We will not be the same, we will take less for granted, and be more thankful for the little things. The children's ministry went great today. Lauren did a fantastic job on the lesson. The children will always remember Noah and the Ark after today! Blessings on the Lord's day tomorrow. May your worship be heartfelt and sincere. Give someone in your church a special greeting of love and appreciation. Don't take anything for granted in relationships. Linger at the feet of Jesus, and be blessed! Until the next post, many more blessings!

Promised Pictures

The children at craft time.

The children's service yesterday rewarded our team with many of these kinds of faces. What a payback! The smile of a child: Priceless!

The cast and crew to make the floor of the children's tent a reality for tomorrow morning!

Finishing the floor of the children's tent. The adult floor is finished smooth for easy cleaning, the children's floor is textured so they don't slip and fall to spare them from harm!

The 'woman factor', they know they work as hard as us guys, here's proof!

Luke at work mixing concrete.

Nightly food serve, fed almost 30 this night.

George (night guardsman) and Daughter who Bob and Darlene are putting through school this year.

Lauren and Parnel


Most of the team walked up the mountain for a morning tour with Robinson. Rick told me it really helped clear things up. They stopped by George’s (our night guard at the property) house and that was a revelation. George has 4 kids, his wife and himself. They all stay in a 6’ x 6’ single room house. It’s hard when you only see them show up for church because they come in the best they have. It’s funny, on my trips here I have begun to recognize many, and often those church clothes are the same ones every time they show up. It’s all they have that is good. Getting up to the mountain today helped reveal the true poverty of these people. I think the team all came away with a different appreciation for the circumstances of every day life here in Haiti. We have done our best to experience their way of life. That is what my goal is. So they are all dealing with certain hardships, but trust me, we are still living like Kings compared to these people, and even Robinson and his family when we walk away. They eat better, have gas and electricity when we are here. When we leave they go back to much less. I would love to change that more, but all in God’s time. The flywheel key-shaft had sheared yesterday on the pump motor when the rod broke, and I missed it until I checked on the internet last night. Rob and I ran out early and found the new key-shaft and Bob reinstalled the flywheel and the motor runs great. We drilled until noon, we are down 50’ with our rods. Getting the casing and couplings, especially the couplings is proving to be a little difficult. But we will see. I am delighted with how far we have been able to get in the midst of these circumstances. We will forge ahead and see what God has in store. I am really happy because no matter what happens now, the guys are set to be able to drill more wells because I have the system all put together again! Plus I have found a small engine mechanic who will be able to fix most anything. They will be able to drill now and make some money. With all this work, I have to tell you that back in the States with my equipment, this well would have been done in 4 hours total, pump and all. But not here and not the way we are having to do it. I have regained a lot of appreciation for the well rigs and machinery we have back home. The little girl you see posted here is a mountain girl that showed up at the property early in our trip. Everyone was taken with her as the stark signs of starvation were written all over her. Her hair is orange from the terrible lack of nutrition. Beth couldn’t take it, and begged Robinson to let her get her some food. He broke down and let her. Generally he won’t, not because he is hard, but because the mountain is full of these children, and to feed one is to bring the masses, and we can’t handle the masses. It’s so sad and brings one’s heart to a breaking point. Dawn Brown is right, this is a place of extraordinary joy and shattering sorrow. I promised pictures last night, Lauren got a few on before my machine went dead. We have struggled with having power this trip, so that has complicated aspects of our trip as well, but it’s good for the team to experience. Trust me, they are getting a lot of unique experiences. There will be a bucket of laughs for them to share with family and friends when they get back. Our nightcaps have become quite a festive rendezvous. Great laughter and celebration of our humanness. Bugs, bathrooms, air mattresses, changing stations, and all under one roof makes for some pretty memorable bonding. The young people have been a delight! Blessings until later.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Sorry about the lack of pictures so far, the internet has been really slooooow where we have been going. On top of that I quite frankly have not had time to sit and look at them to pull them off:-(. Will sick Lauren and a couple of the girls on that in the morning and get some up for everyone. Bonswa again.


We started drilling today. It was a great start this morning. But about 2:30 p.m. the pump threw a rod. It has been a bit of a challenging day since then, but we are working through it. Luke asked me how this all played out with the God thing, I said this really had nothing to do with God, it’s just work now. Things happen when you work, I have learned that through all my years of water well drilling and pastoring. Of course it was to my advantage that I had gone through the pump assembly routine, so in an hour I had the rod pulled. Someone asked what I was going to do, I said “I will go as far as I can, and when I reach the end of what I can do, God will have to do the rest.” Within the hour I held a new rod for the motor in my hands! I still have a timing issue to resolve, but the rod is back in the motor. The first children’s service was today, and the team did great. We had close to 100 children and about 34 adults. Tomorrow the number will be bigger. Maura taught today and did a wonderful job. She has done a terrific job of reaching out and affirming the people here! It was quite hot out today, the breeze stalled for a season, and we baked a little. but what would a journey into Haiti be without experiencing the heat wave. It is still very mild compared to October when we were here. It’s funny how things go full circle sometimes. In October I posted about a dragonfly. A bright green one and wondered at the sight and it’s survival in this land. Two nights ago as we were settling into the tent, someone looked up and saw a bright green dragonfly perched and hanging from the top of the tent over where Rick was sleeping. The next morning when we awoke, it was lying on the ground next to Luke’s mattress. It had not survived the night. It died with it’s color in tack. Bright and shining. It made me remember that us who call ourselves Christians will one day exit this reality, I wonder when we do if our lives will shine a brilliantly as that Dragonfly. As I watched the church worship and pray while I was drilling at noon prayer time, they shined like the noon day sun. I know why we are here, to share the ticket out of this desolation. We are headed to a New Heaven and a New Earth. I hope we are developing good color, that our lives and ministry will glow after we are gone. And when we give these people that message... and they get it, it doesn’t really matter what happens after that. Don’t get me wrong, I am concerned about quality of life or I wouldn’t be here, but the bigger equation is what happens beyond here. Let your light shine today, take a risk, live brightly, die like the Dragonfly, living your life in full color. Days like today expose the color in our lives, how are you doing. You are more blessed today than you can conceive. Everyone is doing well, we pushed harder today as the ministry to the people kicked off with more intensity. I never came to the house until tonight. So now off to the internet for posting and some quick motor info, and then get the team walked over to bed down. I must say again, the comments have been huge in terms of encouragement, and everyone has enjoyed them. I pull them off every day to read when we get quieted down. Thank you for standing by! Blessings and more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


A picture is worth a thousand words. Need I say more. What you are staring at is the 5th wonder of the world, at least in my world! It runs, tomorrow it pumps. The disaster of day one was a test, and as we prayed, God worked. I have to tell you, this motor had not run for years, was supposed to have been thrown away, but God saved it for a another missions trip miracle. To prove himself faithful to a bunch of doubting Americans (at least one, being me) and a church full of needy Haitians. Arsene came up to me tonight with his mouth wide open, he said to me “Start it”, one pull and this puppy runs. He said you are an amazing mechanic, I said no, I just serve a really big God! Dad, if you read this post, you will not believe it, but this motor started and ran just as easy as the new one did in the shop a few days ago! I pulled once, put a little gas in the carburetor, and on the next pull it ran and never quit. A cheer went up from the Americans! I had all the parts I needed except for some studs, and the oil plugs. We went down to the hardware store and I bought some bolts to cut off to make mounting studs, we went to pay the man and I just happened to say to Rob, ask if he has some oil plugs, the man never left the counter, he bent over and in 2 seconds held one on the counter, it was Rob’s turn to show surprise while I excitedly said do you have another one? And another second later the other plug was on the counter. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little shocked too, but I had gathered a lot of confidence when I woke up staring at that pump motor yesterday morning. The concrete is poured in the children’s tent thanks to a dedicated team of Haitians and a generous donation from Lauren Aprill’s church family. It is awesome. The children will be being taught in there on Sunday morning. How good God is. Our whole team is connecting with the people. One little fascination is that Noah Reyhl seems to be a language genius. He spent the afternoon surrounded by a group of young Haitian men teaching him Creole at a chalk board, and the kid is an amazingly quick study. He has endeared me to him as he connects with this people. His parents have raised him well, along with Luke and Autumn. This is an amazing family to have with us on the venture! I cannot say enough about how delighted we are to have them along. We are about to eat and I need to get the men paid for today’s work, so will run for now. Blessings to all!


Just a quick note after reading the comment this A.M. Autumn is right back to her old self. Ticking on all cylinders, laughing and interacting with the young people and doing great. Thanks for your prayers for her, and pass the word along. Everyone else is doing great as well. We are trying to keep the pace manageable for all. Also to the New Yorkers, your sister and her Husband at 70 are doing absolutely wonderful, loving it! We have a picture of Bob writing in the tent last night, the girls loved it! Mom Pickett is sleeping at the house and Naromie is taking good care of her at night while we are all at the tent. That ends this special transmission:-)! Be blessed!

Aunt Kay

We have a delightful Aunt in the Berg family, her name is Aunt Kay and if she reads this post, she must know what an encouragement she is. They have moved away from where we live now, but I sure miss her sunny personality. So God with His incredible timing sends us on a mission trip with someone just like her! Karen is the essence of delight to have around, I am not sure how discouragement could ever survive in her presence. Her laughter and radiant smile is so uplifting. She is the “encouragement factor” for our team. No matter how tired she becomes, she is never lacking for a smile or a bright word. She shared a devotional thought with the team last night from someone back home, it was stirring and provoking. Dawn Brown, your comments were very inspiring, spoken from experience, they resonated with our souls. Thank you. For all you commenting, it is a great source of encouragement, we read them to everyone last night before the lights went out. It was a good way to fall off to sleep! We are grateful for all your support, without it this could not happen. So back to Aunt Kay (Karen I mean!), she and Rick have been such accommodating and inspiring people to have along. You always know if something needs to be done you can count on them, and yet when things stall, as they frequently do in Haiti:-( they move with the flow and do not exert pressure on an already difficult situation. It takes wise people to keep that in perspective. I feel bad sometimes when they have to just sit and wait, but then I am reminded that these are a people that are constantly sitting and waiting for Hope to come, and often it passes them by. Our light affliction is but for a moment, theirs goes on and on and on! Rick has been up early, early every morning, with the wind and slamming tin next door sleeping is a little difficult, plus the sun comes up early, and the streets fill with activity at a very early hour. Rick goes and sets outside the gate to read his bible, pray, and I think he is soaking in the culture. There is a lot to absorb, let me tell you. We are very blessed to have them along, they are filled with staunch determination, and God uses that to ‘get it done’. The concrete work has commenced, and I am working on getting the well drilling equipment up and running. We will see what the day brings. I am running down after breakfast to get this and last nights final post up for you, and then back to work. Weary but rejoicing, blessings always!


When we got to the church property today at about 1:30 p.m. the property was filled with people praying. It was noon prayer time. Noon prayer time in America wouldn’t even fly because it comes at lunch time for us. That would require fasting, and well... we sort of struggle with that. I am not sure, but I would judge there was at least 200 plus or minus a couple. 200 people gathering to pray in the middle of the day. I have not been able to assemble that kind of a crowd for prayer any time of any day! I have to say again, I think they have more to teach me about priorities than what I have to offer them. They prayed for 2 hours. I know we have jobs and schedules, and in part that gives us opportunity to be here, I have no stones to throw. But I do have to ask at the end of the day, how often we spend ourselves trying to do God’s job along with our own to the neglect of our relationship with Him. We seem to forget we are connected with the ruler of the universe, and sometimes He really longs for us to set aside our striving and driving and pause in His presence to be renewed in Him, to entreat Him to help us solve our problems rather than race out and try to conquer them all on our own. These people are reminding me about commitment, and I take great courage in their prayers. The enemy of our souls is fighting hard, but with this kind of prayer assailing the heavens, I have received quite a confidence boost! Karen shared tonight that someone made the commitment in the States to pray for us between noon and one, what is really cool is that person is joining about 200 Haitians at the same time praying. I’m not sure of our impact on this trip, but I am confident of God’s impact. With all those prayers, I already see the mountains beginning to shake! Take more time out of your schedule to talk to God today, you are not meant to go at this alone, but God does not come where He is not invited. Don’t leave Him out of your journey. I have to tell you He won’t suffer, but you sure will! Not certain about you, but I have enough suffering in my life without asking to pile on another truck load by leaving God out of my life because I simply didn’t invite Him into my day. Let the Haitian’s lead us on this one, get some more God time into your life today! Blessings always.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roper Girl!

Day two is in the box, and we are tired! I was talking to one of the Reyhl boys today and he said he never remembered being as tired and spent and drained emotionally and spiritually as he was last night. We eased the pace today, but tent #2 stands! All the pipes for the sides were the wrong size for what we had prepared for, but a little ingenuity and some elbow grease and a hack saw fixed it! They will commence pouring the concrete tomorrow. And I will be at work getting the pump together and working so we can start drilling for water. Pray we can get a couple of things we need. I need two oil plugs for the engine, had I not been so blind with disappointment yesterday morning, I could have pulled them from the motor that they threw away! I was concentrating on trying to get the pump studs out of the engine and missed the two things I could have pulled with my fingers and taken with me! I will be a little quicker on my feet next time. I have to mention again the great team we are working with. Ready and willing and open to the shifting and changing circumstances, they have forsaken the safe and gentle routine of the American lifestyle to impact these people and share hope. Each one is contributing very special nuances and blessings to this trip! One stands out today partly because it is her birthday, but also because she is just amazing missionary stock. For those of you who know her, Lauren is just a wonderful and committed young lady! You can be proud to call her yours. She is multi-talented, works as hard as the guys, and is plain gifted when it comes to just about everything. She helped put the stove pack together today, but left her greatest mark by making all the special slip knots for the tent. I showed her once and she had it! She was quick, and diligent. So no one even tried to help! I called her the Roper Girl. I think she has been wished Happy Birthday more times today and sung too perhaps more than the whole of her life. She is a treat to have, and she is making her mark. She will always have a place with our teams anytime she chooses to go. Mom and Dad Aprill you are blessed with a special gift in your daughter, and we have been graced to have her along! Thank you. So now supper is cooking, the ladies (and one great young man ‘Luke’ is helping tonight too) are back in food prep mode, and I will tell all you women up there in America, even the littlest kitchen you have is an amazing gift. As you pillow your head tonight, say a little prayer of thanks for the thing you might never think to say thanks for. It is a real chore here when it comes to cooking, and especially for so many. The cool thing is we always seem to have just enough. Karen commented on that today. How good God is and so faithful, I responded by saying these trips help clear our vision on that one! So that is where I will end my blog for now, God is good... all the time! Blessings and Thanksgiving, keep the prayers rolling to heaven!


Morning brought it's own affliction. Poor Autumn woke up sick. We got her over to the house and bedded her down. We think it's just all the changes, maybe some nerves, we all do our own cover-ups you know. But it's close to noon now and she is up and drinking again, so we think all will be well. Morning brought it's own miracle as well, I woke up staring at a Briggs and Straton Motor just like the one TSA took away from me yesterday morning about the same time! I told you God always goes before us. A little rigging is necessary, but I will make it work. God did His part, now it's time for me to do mine! The guys already have the water on the site to commence drilling so I guess they never lost hope. I always did like the song "Then came the Morning". Just as Jesus rose at the dawn, it seems He breaths a special word into the air each morning as well. We are so blessed! It is cooler here this time of year. Actually pleasant! And as amazing as it may sound, last night we ended up with a tent full of cold people. We had extra sheets at the house, but that was a mile away and I just couldn't bring myself to make one more trip in the middle of the night! So I shivered and slept along with the others! Oh well, in a perfect world, right? An this is far from perfect. Especially here! Thanks for the prayers and support. It has been a little more difficult to blog this trip with so many. It is a large responsibility, and trying to keep everyone working and comfortable at the same time is quite a trip. But God is helping us and we are going to make it. My blogs may be a little clustered and for that I apologize right now. Bear with us, we will report as often as we can. Be blessed today, and a special shout out to my girls Payton and Alexis, your kind words and picture on the plane were medicine from heaven for a very weary pastor!! Thank you!

Try, try again

My but what a day can bring. In all of my Haiti experiences, I’m not sure I’ve had trials like this day brought. It started early, and seem to never stop. But now it has, we are all bedded down under the tent (church), everyone is exhausted but happy. Music streams from across the street, the wind furls through the side walls of the tent and the breeze is so Caribbean. Cool, soothing, and a welcomed relief from the heat of the day. There are quirks to unravel at about every turn in this expedition. But we are grateful for the opportunity to minister. It was delightful to watch all in the team interact with all the kids and people stopping by the house. Did I mention the girls fed about 35 mouths for supper tonight! I know we come to help change things for these people, but I still think we walk away the ones changed the most. We are walking between the property and Rob’s house, it’s about a mile jaunt. A bit of a challenge for us Americans used to our cars and quick travel, but for these people, it is still a way of life. We are so blessed on so many different levels. Don’t be bogged down by what will one day be revealed to be trite things in life. Rob and I slipped down the street tonight to purchase more water, on the way back my plastic bag broke and a couple of water fell to the ground, I quickly snatched them up took one more swift step into the dark and immersed my foot in a sewer puddle:-(. Under normal circumstances, that would of unnerved me a bit, but after the day I’ve had, it was really quite funny, and several Haitians right close by celebrate my delightful trip into the hazards of their way of life. When we finally arrived back at the church property, they were just getting out of church, and it was a packed house on Tuesday night! What on earth, it is just mind boggling! We watched them go in amazement. They are amazing people! And we’ve gotten the opportunity to join them in their struggles and rejoice with them in little victories. Pray for us as we fight on this week, God is bigger than all these little setbacks, and we will do our best to overcome. Sorry I have not posted like I had hoped, but I will try to do better. It’s just that today was the day that would never end. But now it has, and so has this post! Blessings.


Well, we are airborne on the first leg of our flight. We have had about two hours of sleep. I just snoozed a little in the airplane seat (yeah, right) and now adrenaline is kicking in. 41 suitcases hauled around at 2:30 in the morning does something to the body. And I am not quite as young as I used to be. We have hit a few bumps along the way, the hardest was just leaving my pump engine with TSA to be discarded. You talk about something hard to do. That was TOUGH. We mean to get a well drilled this week and there went a key item. I slaved over that thing to get it ready. So now I’m looking for a miracle. Several of them actually. When you step out in faith sometimes, it launches you right into the dark. You know your doing what God wants, and what it this you have to ask? But there are blessings wrapped up in these so called setbacks, I know this very well. If nothing else it just preserves the glory of God for Himself! Everyone seems excited to be here, even though our team lost a member at the last hour, spirits are high. Got to run, about to Miami. More to follow. Blessings today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I will never look at a suitcase the same again! It’s good I can console myself at the end of the day that this is such a worthy cause. In just over thirty hours we will be airborne back into Haiti with 28 suitcases of goods to last a week plus somethings to last for several weeks, months, and potentially years. Plus everyone has their carry-on that has their weeks worth of personal wardrobe, clean-up arsenal, sleep sacks, and all misc. items to carry them through 8 days of work, ministry, and travel. All total, 42 bags to transport from Traverse City, MI to St. Marc, Haiti. Did I mention we could use all the prayer we can get? We laid more plans with Robinson on the phone tonight, the people are excited about us returning. This is incredible that we are now going to Haiti with a team so competent, and so determined to make a difference. We have incredible people traveling with us, I will fill you in more on that as the week progresses. We have a range of people from 15-70+ years old. Including one who is returning after 50 years of waiting! What can I say, God is awesome, and so faithful. In spite of my weariness and the press of tough economic times, I am delighted to be walking back among my friends from this difficult, hard land. To expand our ministry there, to hug these amazing people, to show them the hope of Christ, what better can one get than that. What is that saying? “Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” May God help us material driven Westerner’s to not lose focus of the most important things. May you remember that as you launch into your week this week. Now matter how bad things are for you, they could be worse, they are worse for somebody quite like you. Offer up a prayer for them, and be blessed, rejoice in what you do have, never take it for granted. Many are finding out how thin the ice is that we tread across each day with this shift we have experienced in our own country. We are the land of the free, home of the brave, but only as long as God says so! Let us remember that! And gift away God’s goodness to those who have nothing. Off to bed I go. D-day approaches! Blessings.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wedding Bells

It's hard to comprehend the flow of life sometimes. All of it's unexpected twists and turns. I just found out that Robinson's associate pastor Valeau is getting married next month. We are going to miss it by about 25 days! I am so happy for him. He had a rough year last year. It ended with the death of his father in December. We had the opportunity to meet most of his family because of it when we were there setting up the tent. He was not around much because of having to make arrangements. And it was a very sad time. He did stop over to the property once and to my surprise I found out that he was courting this very nice young Haitian girl pictured here. Her name is Suzena. I was delighted and surprised when Robinson just informed me that he was getting married! I am so looking forward to being able to congratulate him when we get to St. Marc in a couple of days. He has done a tremendous job of ministry, and has faithfully stayed by Robinson's side through several years of ministry. He has been a constant and loyal friend, and a steady leader in the church. I ask you for your prayers for he and his soon to be bride as they embark on a new life journey together. Their struggles will be countless, but God's grace will be more innumerable. Let us shower their lives with our prayers, that God will bless them, and grant them special help as they pour out their lives to reach their country for Jesus alongside Robinson. Just two more days and we are off. Keep us in your prayers, everyone is almost ready, but the last minute furor continues! Blessings to all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Ask and you shall receive? Who was it that said that? Oh, right, that was Jesus. Well, we asked and now we are receiving! A team is assembled, the troops have rallied, and we are close to shoving off for our anticipated spring trip. Is time flying or what? We have some gifted and inspiring members of our group this trip, and we are delighted. Expectations are running high as we pack and load. So far we have 14 suitcases full to capacity and exactly 50 lbs. give or take a 1/2 a pound. Enough food for about 35 people per meal while we are there. Along with that are clothes, toys, candy, shoes, mattresses, pillows, crafts, tools, balls, gifts, hats, gloves, pumps, flashlights, and so much more. As we were setting everything out I missed a golden opportunity. I forgot my camera:-(. We had almost 50' of table tops filled with goods! It was a sight to behold. But then we packed all that stuff into 17 suitcases! And that footprint is much smaller that when it is sorted out on tables. We are so grateful for the giving that is making this ministry possible. If you only knew the untold blessings your gifts are raining upon these people. One day you will find out, I'm doing my best to convey it to you through the venue of words, and they fail when it comes to this! Our second tent came today. It arrived with only a little hiccup. We laid out that 21" x 24" top and folded and squeezed and it barely fit into a suitcase. I desperately only wanted to have to pay the overweight fee and not an extra over sized fee. Surrounded with a few doubters but diligent to help, we folded and folded, and behold another miracle, it fit! I am so excited, with God's help I hope to post up a picture before next week is out with that tent full of children learning about Jesus, and being loved and hugged by our team. To sow seeds of hope and love where darkness and poverty abound! That is our mission. Pray for us, for our safety, for expedience as we labor, and for the outreach of the gospel as we touch these lives in this moment. This is something you can believe God for! Blessings again!