Insights into these Shoes' Soul
Thursday, February 16, 2017
It’s been an eventful start to the year. I figured that if I didn’t write it down, I wouldn’t remember it.
The year started with some bad news: our colleague, RMI’s VP, Kim Rose, fell off a tall ladder at his home on Jan. 3. An ER visit, dislocated shoulder, broken arm, sprained wrist and torn Achilles tendon later determined that with surgery and weeks and weeks of recuperation and physical therapy, he would be ok (that’s the good news part of this scenario). But for us, this has meant that he has to work from home and we in the RMI office are “limping along” (pun unintended) without him.
Good News – we live in America and there was a peaceful, orderly transfer of power in our country. But since this isn’t a political blog nor do we make political statements I won’t comment on the people involved. From the perspective of one who lived for 25 years overseas and traveled to quite a few countries in Europe and Caribbean, I can say that I enjoyed watching the inauguration and I love being an American. Seeing the flag, hearing the songs (well, except that one from Missouri – I couldn’t figure that one out), watching the pomp and circumstance – it made me realize that I really did miss seeing all that throughout the years of being gone. We really do have a wonderful country – even with it’s imperfections and challenges. (The good news/bad news in this will have to be determined by the reader depending on your view of things.)
But it’s the stuff in our personal lives that this blog is about.
So…the good news is that our nearest and dearest friend, Jules Gedna, finished his battle with cancer and graduated to see our Lord face to face on Jan. 19. He is no longer in pain. The bad news is that we have lost our dearest friend and closest partner in ministry. In our early years of ministry in Haiti…the 1980’s and 1990’s, he was almost the only co-worker we had. RMI would not be where it is today if it hadn’t been for Jules’ tireless, selfless, loyal work for us and the ministry. You can read more about Jules from RMI’s Facebook page HERE, particularly the Jan. 19th post, or from the Facebook group, “Remembering Jules Gedna” HERE.
A team member (who became a good friend and eventually a fellow missionary) wrote: “I have enjoyed reading the tributes to Jules and Dan (on the occasion of his 60th birthday on January 29) but struggle to find my own words. I cannot seem to share my first memories of the one without the other…they blend in the fog of my first experience in Haiti! What a remarkable situation we are now considering…memories of two brothers – one now singing in glory…the other remaining here to celebrate his 60 years. My most powerful early remembrance is of the two together – partners-in-crime / brothers in the ministry. I recall the sensation was ‘I can trust these men!’ Dan commanded it and Jules exuded it. They trusted each other and the God who loves them…they would escort us up the ‘ramp’ (a particularly tough part of the main road up and over the mountains) to see Jesus in Beaumont, Haiti…and so they did…and we did…see Jesus! I know I will never be the same…and I sing with great joyful gratitude to God for bringing me into the company of these two Godly men! Although I have stories of memories that have grown like mountains upon these, none can overshadow that ‘first time’ in Haiti and the gentlemen who facilitated my unique encounter with God. I am forever grateful.”
One piece of good news was that 2 weeks before he died Dan and Dawn flew to Boston where he and his wife, Marthe, lived and spent a day with him. Dawn and Jules have had a special bond since she was born on his birthday. Dan showed Jules pictures of the hurricane aftermath, they visited and Dan prayed with Jules. The bad news was that they knew this was to be their last visit. It was bittersweet but they were glad that they went.
Dan and Debbie, as well as representatives of the RMI Haiti staff, attended his funeral in Boston on Jan. 28. He leaves behind his wife, 2 adult sons and 3 grandchildren.
Dan’s 60th birthday was Jan. 29. Very good news indeed!! The bad news is that there was no celebration because we were involved in a huge missions conference at our home church that day. We felt very sad about this…but have decided that we’ll have a dual celebration in March when Debbie turns 60. We hope to be able to take a special trip sometime later in the year to mark those milestones and our anniversary at the same time.
Jan. 22 we made a trip to Ft. Lauderdale to help our sweet Riley celebrate her first birthday. It was a fun day to be with both sides of the family. She took her first steps on Christmas Day so she’d had a month’s practice being on her feet. While we were there she enjoyed practicing going up and down the little steps into the house and out of the house, in and out, and in and out again. She’s already pretty agile on her feet. She was overwhelmed with all the people that were there and even all the presents – but she has the hang of ripping up paper. One of the things we gave her was her first rocking horse that happens to sing….and she was afraid of it and burst into tears when it started to sing. It was cute. Another toddler that was there has one just like it – so she stood by it pinching it’s ear to activate the song and did a little bouncy dance to the song. In time she’ll like it and be riding it – it’s just her little size. [This is Riley on the horse about 10 days later, riding it and squeezing the ear to hear the song.] That’s the good news of that day.
The other good news of that day was that we lived through a terrible accident on the way home. We were almost home, traveling on the main road into town when a minivan came barreling down a side street at 50 mph – not even applying the brakes for her stop sign. She blew right through it and slammed into a truck that passed between us and the minivan in the intersection. The 2 vehicles crashed, twisted and turned all around us in the intersection, debris from both vehicles flying everywhere. It happened in a millisecond. And somehow we drove through all of that without a scratch on us or even the car. Our blood pressure and adrenaline levels were entirely another matter. We pulled over, called 911 and checked on the occupants of the vehicles involved. EMT’s were quickly on the scene since the station was right up the street. The jaws of life were required to extract the van driver. As Dan gave his statement to the police, Dawn and I walked around the debris field on the side of the road. The truck bed had been full of construction equipment so we saw tools, buckets, gas cans, a chunk of cement and a huge sledgehammer. How some of that didn’t hit our car is a mystery to us. We do praise God for His mercy and grace for protecting us!
The bad news was that this was not our first encounter with the police that week! Several days earlier Deb’s van was broken into during the night. We say “broken” into but really all the thief had to do was to open the door since she accidently left it unlocked that night. Some very nice headphones and a bag of change was all he got for his efforts but it still left us feeling creeped out. Dan and Dawn’s cars were locked and didn’t have a problem. She won’t be leaving it unlocked again!
Well, that’s enough good news / bad news for now. See you all in the next post.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Thursday, September 15, 2016
We wanted to share what was posted on RMI’s blog this week!
Meet RMI’s newest missionary appointee, Dawn Shoemaker. She is literally returning to the land of her birth. Dawn is the daughter of RMI president, Dan, and RMI Director of Communication, Debbie Shoemaker and the granddaughter of Herb and Shirley Shoemaker, RMI founders. Dawn was born in Les Cayes, grew up and went to school on the mission center where the Shoemaker family were missionaries for 25 years. She returned to the US with her parents when she was 15. After high school she attended Trinity College of Florida and majored in cross cultural communications and Biblical studies. One of her summers was spent as an RMI intern in Haiti.
Besides growing up as a Third Culture Kid, she has participated in a home building trip to Mexico, a leadership training trip that traveled to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam and a trip to Paraguay using volleyball as an entry point to present the Gospel in public schools.
Dawn began to feel the call of God on her life while she was a child in Haiti. This was strengthened in high school and she chose to attend Trinity so she could prepare for full time ministry.
Dawn will be working with teams, helping them to engage in ministry and evangelism with the Haitian people, helping with hospitality, providing video/photos and stories for our blogs and social media, and assisting wherever the Field Director has need. RMI has many needs and will be looking as to how best to use her skills and passion. She is needed there as soon as possible so pray for her as she begins to raise her funds to be able to get to the field.
She excited to be going to Haiti to minister. She’ll be living and working on the same mission center in Cayes where her grandparents lived and where her dad grew up as well as where she grew up. The maternity clinic where she was born is also located on the mission center. Who would have known that she’d be back as a full time missionary one day?
We’re excited to welcome Dawn to the RMI family! If you would like to be a part of Dawn’s support team you can do that online HERE.
We are all excited about this news. Dawn will still be working at Starbucks while she begins raising her funds. She is working on writing her first newsletter and building her website. We’ll share that information with you when it’s ready. We hope you will consider being a part of her support team. It would be such an encouragement to her and help her get to the field sooner than later.
P.S. What we should have mentioned is that she is actually third generation missionary on Debbie’s side of the family too! Her maternal grandparents were missionaries with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Germany for many years and then they served in CEF’s International headquarters for a number of years before they retired. She can honestly say that full time service is a part of her DNA.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
May 26, 2006 That was the day everything changed for us and we began a new chapter in our family story.
We moved to the US 10 years ago today. Our “Haiti Chapter” seems so long ago yet at time it feels like it was just a couple of months ago.
For fun, here is our newsletter that traces our first year in the US. It was eventful to say the least.
[Don’t leave this blog yet….there’s more at the end!]
~ Jump ahead 10 years and here is our latest newsletter ~
I hope you enjoyed this look back – we did. Who knows what the next 10 years will hold?
Blessings to everyone!
Monday, December 21, 2015
In February we told you of Dawn’s engagement and upcoming wedding this past month. Unfortunately things didn’t work out as hoped and planned and she broke off the engagement in June. It was a heartbreaking and difficult decision but we agree with her that this marriage was not God’s best for her. We’re thankful/proud that she was wise and discerning in taking this step. Since then she’s made very purposeful steps to continue her path to become an agricultural missionary. She is now an intern at Morningstar Fishermen (an aquaponics training and research center) in Dade City, FL - an hour north of Tampa. Besides aquaponics training, she’s learning about sustainable agriculture, alternative energy and even bee keeping. They were excited when she came to them with a research project relating to developing sustainable, locally produced food for fish projects. God has given her a perfect place to live (furnished garage apartment!) 10 minutes away. Having special, godly landlords is a plus, too! Since the internship is not a paid position, she transferred her Starbucks employment to the closest one (30 minutes away) and is working there. Her life is busy but she’s found she enjoys the rural area she’s in. And she’s at peace that this is the direction that God has for her right now.
Another “never have done that before” is the fact that our church asked Dan to lead a Creole language Sunday School class (there’s alot of Haitians attending our church). It’s just getting off the ground, but it’s a new adventure that he is enjoying.
This was a year of growth in RMI. In the US International Office a new couple joined the staff. To accommodate John and Joanne Miner, Dan and RMI’s VP of Operations, Kim Rose, renovated RMI’s current office. They built a wall to divide a large work space into 2 and built a new conference room in the large garage area. When the dust settled, we moved offices around and were able to give the Miners their own work spaces. It was well worth all the effort. RMI is growing in Haiti, too. Recently a new missionary family arrived and have settled in nicely. They are finished with language study and are actively involved in RMI’s ministries. There are now 4 families in Haiti!
Most of the time Deb holds the fort down at home and continues to work at the RMI office. She’s kept busy in the Communications Department. Besides new brochures, documents, promotional material and presentations, she’s been involved in RMI’s new website. It should be ready by January!