Insights into these Shoes' Soul

Welcome to our blog! You'll get glimpses into the fabric of our lives... find out what is happening in our family, learn what our latest adjustment is to life in the US, find out what is going on in our minds, see what makes us smile, and hear what makes us tick. You'll also get ministry updates! We hope these insights into our souls will make you smile, keep you informed and challenge you to pray for us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Haiti Flood Relief Effort...

donate nowAs you are well aware, Haiti has undergone the worse flooding probably in its history. The flooding and destruction has been nationwide. I cannot remember this happening before. The reports we are getting from our sister churches are heart wrenching as we hear of the complete destruction of crops and the tremendous loss of livestock in so many areas. Many have lost their homes and belongings. Some have lost loved ones. Thankfully, it seems the loss of life has been minimal in the areas where we minister.

Our team in Haiti has been meeting with as many pastors as they can to get information as well as find out how we can best help them in this time of need. They have also met with the Executive Committee of the MEBSH to gather their input and advice as to how to best help their churches during this very difficult time. As they have gathered this information, one theme has been echoed by many. The pastors have shared that although food is a great need for the people, it can be bought in most every area at this time. Rice, beans, etc are available locally.

The real issue is the funds to purchase the food. Another aspect that many brought out is that many people might have greater needs than food at this time. Many have had their homes damaged or washed away entirely. Many have no problem with their home, but due to water getting into the home have lost many of their possessions, clothes, etc.. Again, funds would be a better solution for them than a bag of rice at this time. Another consideration is that funds can be distributed much more quickly and in a more orderly fashion than can food. Still another consideration has been the local economic benefit that an influx of funds would supply.

After several conference calls between the team in Haiti and Rob and I, we have determined together what we feel is the best course of action.

Therefore, we are now asking our Sister Churches that are desirous and able to help with relief to send funds through RMI to be distributed to each Sister Church. As mentioned before, to help join the relief effort, RMI will not be assessing our typical 10% administrative fee.

The RMI team in Haiti will get the funds exchanged into Haitian currency and then distribute the funds to each Sister Church Pastor. The Pastor will then meet with the church leadership committee to determine how the funds will be divided up depending on where the greatest needs are.

Recipient families will be given money to help them with their specific needs. A report will be given back to RMI from each Sister Church on who the funds were given to and how the funds were used. These reports will then be forwarded back to each donating church. As you can imagine, we are working hard to address the issues of security, transparency and accountability throughout this effort.

How much aid is needed for each church? I am afraid the answer is whatever God provides. One way to present this to your people is for a family to help a family. A 50lb bag of rice, a 20lb bag of beans, and a gallon of cooking oil together would cost about $110 US. So for $110, a family here in the US can potentially help a family in Haiti with food that would last quite a while for them. Again, please be aware that the funds will be divided up on site according to need and situation and not exactly according to the above. The funds could also potentially be used to purchase other food items, clothes, transportation, medical care, agricultural supplies, livestock, roof and house repairs, etc.. Yes, the needs are great! Hopefully this gives you a guideline for you and your congregation as you seek to “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.".

If you are a member of a Sister Church, please contact your church's RMI Sister Church Program Coordinator to find our if your church is collecting funds. If so, you can give through your church.

If you are not able to give through an RMI Sister Church, you can give individually by sending a check to RMI or by giving online. Your funds will be used to provide relief as our RMI team in Haiti deems appropriate.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Will a boot slow him slow him down? Doubtful!!

Monday we learned that Devon had sprained his ankle severely.  He went to an orthopedic walk-in clinic to have it examined.  The conclusion was that it was a very bad sprain.  At least it wasn't broken!  They gave him a boot to walk in and some meds because even though the injury was more than a week old, it was still very swollen, black and blue and painful.

Will it slow him down?  Extremely doubtful, but at least he won't be jumping down flights of stairs in one flying leap for a while!

He says his studies are doing better than last year.  He is still working through the process of getting a loan to pay for this semester.  Pray for him in this aspect.  He does want to continue, but has no funds for it.  Pray also for his ankle to heal well and that he'll obey the doctors orders.


Volleyball update

As the captain of the Varsity team, Dawn is working hard at providing strong, spiritual leadership.  Here she is encouraging her team as a game starts.  She is number 33.

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There is a reason some call her Air Dawn!   

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So far the team has won the first 2 games in their division.  They are learning to work together as a team and working on ramping up their playing level to varsity level.  The 2 wins really encouraged them!!

Pray for Dawn as she tries to keep up with her school work in the midst of a tough game schedule.  She is finding her classes hard this year.  She is also feeling the pressure of looking at colleges, searching out scholarships, etc.  For the last 10 days she's had a cold/flu type of thing that has triggered her asthma, so she's worried about getting mono again.  Overwhelmed is the best word that describes her state of mind right now!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

When you think it can't get any worse...

RMI missionary, Billy Moses, posted this yesterday. Hurricane Ike was the 4th hurricane/storm to go through Haiti within 2-3 weeks. Ike's rains have pushed a bad situation over the top to be the flood of 30 years! The result is devastation to the whole country, it's crops, it's people and what little infrastructure there was. The RMI team is working hard (despite having their own homes flooded!!) to try to get word from the various sister churches scattered all over the southern peninsula. They are also working with MEBSH leadership to put together flood relief. Keep an eye on RMI's website at for updates on how you can pray and help out. In-country flight service is still running, but we're talking about 13 passenger planes! But as long as the roads to the sister church is open, we'll let the teams fly in as usual. But now fuel & food & other supplies will be an issue!

"As we move about in Les Cayes today, we see the sun shining, people are going about their business and things seem to have returned to normal. However, this is not the case.

We thought that when it quit raining, the rivers would subside, the roads would dry up, and things would return to normal...well at least normal for Haiti. We received news yesterday that in the town of Miragoane there is a big problem. Miragoane is on the northern coast of the southern peninsula about halfway between Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince. Some of you might remember it as the place where they had a restaurant in the middle of the road. About 2 miles outside of town towards Port there is a river that flows across the road and into a large lake. That river flooded, the lake filled and flooded, and the road has disappeared. For a while people would arrive there and shut down their engines and then pay to have their vehicles pushed across the river so as not to flood out their engines. Then it got too deep for that and the people would ride across in buses. Then it got too deep for that. The next solution was to arrive at the river/lake and pay to be ferried across in a boat where they would then board another bus and continue on. Not too many days ago a boat capsized because there were too many people aboard and two people died. Now the UN has completely shut down the road there, even to the extent of putting up chains to prevent people from trying to cross.

The problem is that the lake has no outflow. There is no drainage for the lake. The water will stay across the road until it evaporates. Unless they come up with some kind of solution it could be a long time until the road opens again.

What does this mean for Les Cayes and southern Haiti? This means that all traffic going out the southern peninsula will shut down. As a result everything in Les Cayes and southern Haiti will be in short supply and more expensive. We tried to fill the tanks of our vehicles today and there is no diesel for sale. We also tried to fill our gas cans with gas and they will not sell gas that way. They will only sell gas if you put it into a motorcycle or car. We are going to town today to try to stock up against shortages. This is the first I've ever heard of stocking up after a hurricane. Please pray for RMI missionaries and staff and for your Sister Churches as we don't know what the next days will bring."


The worst flooding in many many years...

On Sept. 2 received the following email from Rod Wray.  The pictures were taken by Tim Wray.  The Wrays are fellow missionaries working in southern Haiti that live on the mission center where we used to live and where our RMI missionaries are now.  Keep in mind that this was BEFORE Hurricane Ike went through there 2 days later!!!!

"Poor Haiti is really suffering this year, having been hit by Hurricane Fay, Hurricane Gustav and now by Hurricane Hannah.   All three of these storms have deposited a lot of rain, but over the past 12 hours Hannah has dumped so much rain on Haiti that people in our area are saying that this is the worst flooding that they can ever remember. 

These pictures are all courtesy of Tim Wray.

These are the corn fields down below our house.


This is the high school where we just poured the new sports courts.  You can see the volleyball nets in the background.


Hundreds and maybe thousands of homes are completely flooded.


The flash floods came so fast that some people were stranded.


Most all the main roads in town are flooded.


The flood waters are almost flowing over the bridge leading into Cayes.


People were stranded at the half finished cement block house on the right


Even churches were not exempt. This is First Baptist Church in downtown Cayes.


A group of crazy guys out exploring during the flooding..


Please continue to pray for us and the people of Haiti.   So many people around us have no food, no dry clothes or shelter, and no dry charcoal to cook with."

bye for now,

Love Rod, Deb and gang

Monday, September 1, 2008

Very Difficult Week

It has been a very, very difficult week. So much has happened that it has been hard to write and have it up to date.

Last week on Tuesday, Dawn's volleyball coach was fired by the school. No reason was given when the administration told the team. The same was true the next day at a parents meeting. In fact the administration would not give the parents a forum in which to ask questions, express concerns, etc. After quite a bit of pressing, they did say that it was nothing immoral or illegal but rather "infraction of their rules & regulations". Their decision was quite a shock to everyone - the parents, the players, others at the school and even the coach himself. He has been an incredibly great coach, serving the school for over 15 years. He took the school's team to the state finals the last 3 years in a row with 2 state titles!

We count the coach as a personal friend and have spent time with him since all this happened. He has done so much for us as a family and for Dawn and we appreciate him so much. Words cannot express our feelings. It has been hard to understand why the administration has taken this action. And at the beginning of the school year and season! It has really been a roller coaster.

The school asked the assistant coach to take over, which she has done. We know her from church and from club volleyball and also count she and her husband as personal friends. As you can imagine she is overwhelmed with being thrust into that position.

Even though our hearts are heavy and sad, we know we have to move on for Dawn's sake. This is her senior year - she wants it to be as good as possible! We are doing our best to be positive for the team and for Dawn. We're happy to back the new coach and encourage her as well.

Last night, Sunday, we had all the parents of the team and the coach over for a cookout. BYOM, bring your own meat to grill. We had a great time together getting to know one another, laughing, sharing and praying for our girls. It was a good bonding time.

We were surprised to read the paper today. Here is the link:

It is a very nice article about the new coach, the team as well as quoting the team's only senior (DAWN) at length. The newspaper called her on her cell the day after it happened. She was very positive and was a great testimony. We were so proud of her when we saw that she'd been quoted extensively. Think of all of the public that will read it and have that witness of God's sovereignty.

The photos from their pre-season tournament Friday and Saturday can be found at Dawn is number 13.

It will indeed be a tough year for the team. Dawn is the only returning varsity player, all the others are upcoming junior varsity girls. They have to learn to play a higher level game and learn to play together. Like Dawn said in the article, it'll be a hard year, but a good one.

Pray for her as she works to lead the team. Their first game is tomorrow, Tuesday, night.