Baking for the Kingdom 10/20/11

We were recently blessed with the opportunity to start a bakery in Haiti. This is so exciting to me (John) because I was able to be a part of the process by overseeing everything and working with our bakery manager to get things rolling. I’m going to tell you guys a little bit about that whole process.

The building was built for us by a company in Canada, and we thought it would be a perfect spot for a bakery. Jake (Director of GO Haiti Operations) and myself went to a few different bakeries and researched how the bread was made, how much it cost, what sort of ovens were used, lengths of time it took to cook each piece of bread, and finally had a report filled out which we sent back to the states for approval at the office (Global’s headquarters in KC). We got approval, so all we had to do was find a baker, and turn the building into a bakery. The bakers actually found us (thanks, God!) and after a series of interviews we hired them to help get the bakery off the ground. I worked closely with a general contractor as he installed wooden shutters, built shelves, a door, steps and set up electricity for a light bulb. While i did this the bakers got ovens, supplies, and ingredients for baking. Last Thursday the bakery started cranking out bread! It’s hot and smells delicious!

All the profit made from the bakery is going to support orphan care, and it gives Haitians jobs and skills. The ripple effects will definitely go farther than that, (and only God will really know), but for now its enough for me to be able to say we are one step closer to helping the Haitian churches support (and provide the funds for) their orphan care. So if you guys ever get a chance to come to Haiti, you’ll have to visit the Boulangerie Jumecourt to buy some fresh bread while you’re here!

Thanks for reading! God Bless

Sewing Lives Together 10/10/11

Hey all! Sorry to go so long between blog posts, but we’ve gotten pretty swamped here. Let me give you all an overview of the things we are getting to do for the Kingdom of God while we work in Haiti.

Abigail and myself are blessed to be able to work with every group that comes down on what we call a Vision Trip. We have the opportunity to show them and help them participate in our ministry. Its an amazing five days, and people will often go back with changed hearts and spirits on fire for the Lord. During those five days, groups get to play with orphaned and abandoned children. They get to build relationships not only with orphaned children but with like minded people, who are also on the trip. It is truly a blessing to be the Lords shepherd for the GO Project.

We are working on starting a bakery, I hope to have bread hot from the ovens by late next week. We also have a sewing center that is up and operating, working to make uniforms for all the children in our school system. Its a national law in Haiti that to go to school kids must wear uniforms. So we started a sewing center that makes uniforms for all of our children, and whatever money the center makes goes back to help the kids. Just one of the many ways we are working toward becoming self-sustaining! The benefits of the sewing center are many, we provide jobs for Haitians, a possible skill for the orphaned children to learn, and the profit goes back to support the children! It’s a win-win-win!

If you feel lead to help support our sewing center, we have just launched a new initiative called GO threads, you can easily buy a uniform to help educate our children. Just go to this website and you can be part of our work in Haiti!

-Yours in the battle


Memorial Love 7/13/11

St. Christophe:

You know those special moments in life that God allows you to experience? The ones that break your heart, and build it back up? Not too long ago in Haiti we were blessed to be able to experience such an event.

As many of you are aware the earthquake in January 2010 left a lot of destruction in an already struggling country. Many of the dead were unknown at the time, so they were taken to a mass grave. Crosses were staked in the ground in memory of each person buried there. This has now become a memorial to the fallen in the earthquake. Over the past year, many of the crosses have fallen to the ground due to the wind and rain. It seemed to be that only about half of the total crosses were still standing and well over a hundred had fallen.

Seven of us, five Americans led by two Haitians, started heading in the direction of the fallen crosses. I don’t think our end goal was to pick up more than a few crosses each, but rather to honor the dead at this memorial. But as usually seems to happen, God had more in store than we had imagined. The number of people working side by side to honor the dead increased from seven to over seventy people in less than ten minutes. A group of Haitian farmers used their hands to dig new holes for the crosses while our vision trip team members pushed the crosses into the ground.

After the crosses had been righted, a circle began to form. A Haitian led us in singing the hymn “How Great Thou Art”. Kreyol and English were mixing together and it was a beautiful song of praise that surely reached heaven. The end result probably won’t fully be known until the other side of glory, but that day, to see Haitians and Americans working side by side in memory of those lost, is a moment that humbled all of us.

Our prayer now, is that the Haitian farmers would ask themselves, “What would drive a group of Americans to take the time to pick up a few dirty crosses?” And that the Americans would remember and wonder, “Who is really at the center of this act?” And that the answer would be…Jesus

Teamwork in Desire 7/6/11

Desire: an unassuming village on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti. When one is able to spend the afternoon in Desire, a few things stand out.

First and perhaps most obvious is the source of water. Just a few months ago the well, which was used by the surrounding community, was found to be contaminated and shut down. No one knew where water would come from but, by the grace of God, there turned out to be a spring not far from the old well. The funny thing about the spring is that it appears to come straight out of the side of a rock! It gives a perfect image of the Israelites drinking water from the rocks at Meribah when God told Moses to strike the rock with his staff. No complaint was heard about the long walk or the time it takes to fill up the buckets. The Haitians see the water for what it is: A gift from God, our Provider.

Second, at church the children probably outnumber the adults 10 to 1. The most amazing thing about this is how the Holy Spirit is working in these children. When asked, “Who does God love?” every child’s hand shot up in the air to demonstrate them saying, “Me!”

Third and most exciting is the developing relationship between the local church in Desire, and the church from the United States. This past week, members of this church traveled for two solid days in order to deepen that relationship. Because of my position with the GO Project, I’m able and joyful to see this relationship taking place. I can honestly look at this and see, obviously, that it is God ordained. I am really looking forward to watching how this relationship ripens, and witnessing the fruit that will come of it.

Some of the fruit is already evident, although it is wonderful that God has been providing water through a rock, he has recently provided funds, through this church, to build a new well on the village property. This will allow the village to open its arms with love to the surrounding area by providing clean water. Children in the village now have school available to them and the village has also been able to build its first permanent house for the children. It’s even getting ready for two more homes! All this because God decided to forge a relationship between two churches, and both responded in obedience.

Making a Difference 6/30/11

The ultimate question

Of course our niche is orphan care, and no matter how messy it gets, we know that the Lord has called us to hold firm. I can’t help but ask how far the ripples of our ministry go.

I am overjoyed with the progress that has made in the past couple months, without having to look any farther than our own GO Haiti staff. We currently have five Haitian staff members who are able to become land owners, one former member of our house cleaning staff has been able to enroll in accounting school, and another staff member has just enrolled full time in construction school. Not to mention the 22 Haitians who have full or part time work with GO Haiti.

I’d say if there was any question as to whether or not we are making a positive difference, we need look no further than our own staff.

Sewing Center Grand Opening 6/30/11

EXCITEMENT and hope often go hand in hand. The breeze blows lazily on a hot day. To the untrained eye this may appear to be just another summer day in Croix-des-bouquet, Haiti. But to the trained eye, there is a tangible difference in the air. Mademoiselle Troica, the head seamstress has waited months for this day. Her EXCITEMENT is absolutely contagious, EXCITEMENT begins to spread first in the employees of the new sewing center and quickly spreading to the kids, that this center will help support, and finally washes over the two vision trips who came to the grand opening of the sewing center. It is unmistakably the work of God that so many people would show up to support Haitian business enterprising, and to support some very amazing children. The thing that gets me so EXCITED is the hope that is found in the eyes of the men and women who believe that the Lord will bless their work.

When the time comes to dedicate the sewing, a few people step up to pray and talk about their experiences with the young sewing center. Jake Barreth, director of operations for Haiti spoke briefly of the joy he has had in being able to be a part in this plan that God is forging. After him Alan Dietrich, gave a prayer of dedication. Following Alan, on of our village pastors, pastor Calixte gave a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and dedication.

To be at this event, in the middle of the Lord’s plan, can only be described as EXCITING!