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.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

The week of November 22 I wondered if they sold “pop outs” (like large RVs have to create extra rooms) for houses.  If they did, I would have seriously considered getting a couple of them.  I wasn’t sure how 18 people would fit in the house!  Not only was all of Dan’s family coming (11 people), but Dawn was home from college and Devon’s girlfriend, Daiquiri, and Devon’s roommate, Kyle, and his girlfriend, Jules, were joining us, too. 

I pondered it while I got the house ready, made the menu and tried to not panic in trying to figure out how to cook 3 turkeys.  I’m so thankful and grateful that Dawn arrived the day before Thanksgiving!  She was a huge help in making ALL that stuffing, prepping and cooking 2 turkeys the night before.  The pies, 1 more turkey and other food was cooked the next morning.  It was a lot of food for a lot of people!  

We solved the problem of space by turning the breakfast area into a buffet line and after moving things around on the lanai, moved the breakfast table there.  Together with the lanai table, that gave us enough space.  The 10 young people could be together and 8 of us “old people” enjoyed our expanded dining room table.  So I guess I didn’t need the “pop outs” anyway.

Dan and I….still smiling after all the cleaning, cooking & moving furniture around.

My wonderful mother-in-law making gravy.  We joked that she found out how to get out of doing anything else – just volunteer to make gravy.  We all wanted a lot of gravy, so she made a huge pot.  But it just wouldn’t boil!  She stood there for a very, very long time stirring and stirring AND STIRRING!  Everyone was hungry, picking away at the turkey carcass and the food was ready, but still it didn’t boil.  My sister-in-law, Rosie, Mom and I stood there and watched it make first one bubble, then another….and another.  Finally!  We called everyone to gather for the prayer and were finally able to put it on the table.  I’m not sure she’s going to volunteer to make gravy again.

My very own “razzleberry pie”.  It turned out fantastic.

Dawn and her PopPop.

Brother and Sister
Seriously, don’t ask me how those young people could play volleyball after all that food!  It was 86 degrees – hot for Thanksgiving Day, even in Southwest Florida.  They came dragging into the house later blaming the really badly played game on too much food and too much heat.  Go figure!
One more thing.  There were leftovers.  A LOT of leftovers.  Everyone was sent home with turkey, dressing, gravy and whatever else they wanted.  AND we actually had turkey leftovers for ourselves!  Turkey sandwiches, turkey potpie, turkey stew and turkey….well, you get the idea.  The leftovers are the best part!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Revenge of Household Appliances

Recently we experienced what seems like the revenge of household appliances.  As new suburbanites, we knew that things seem to happen in clusters, and we certainly experienced that recently.  Our adventure started on a Saturday.  Dan and I got up fairly early to get ready to join Devon at the Ultimate Frisbee National Championships in Sarasota.  We wanted to be on the road by 9.  As Dan was showering, I retrieved the bathroom area rugs from the laundry room where they’d been washed the day before.  When I came back into the bathroom to put them down before Dan got out of the shower, I saw that the toilet was overflowing.  Icky water was everywhere!  I ran to get some junk towels to soak it up. I placed the towels around and Dan took the lid off the toilet tank to work on things to make it stop flowing.  There was so much water that I ran back to get another armful of junk towels and a bucket.  While I was getting them from the laundry room, I heard a loud CRASH.  When I got back to the bathroom, I found a very unhappy husband picking up the tank lid, which was in about 30 pieces, and putting it into the trashcan!  He had been trying to sop up the water and grabbed a towel that was behind him, not realizing that the lid was sitting up on the towel.  When he pulled the towel, the lid went crashing.  It was clearly not a superglue job.  We worked for over an hour cleaning up the floor, unplugging the toilet and then cleaning the toilet and floor with Lysol!  We finally got on the road to Sarasota about 10:30.  And we now have a lidless toilet tank. 

[We had a great day with Devon watching the Frisbee Championships.  It is an intense sport!  Played with a Frisbee, or more correctly called a disk, it is played on a soccer sized field and is part soccer, part basketball, part football and is self governed.  There are official “observers” that are there to watch and settle disputes.  Everyone knows the rules and “ref” themselves.  There are terms for all the moves, passes and fouls.  It’s a complete subculture!  There were 30 fields set up (yes, 30 fields – it was a huge venue!), teams from all over the US and hundreds of people there.  Devon’s team took 2nd in Florida and went to the Regional playoffs but didn’t place to participate in the Nationals.  It was fun meeting much of Devon’s team and watching the games with Devon.  We had to laugh because since the average player is between the ages of 21 and 32, we were the oldie goldies – definitely out of our demographic.]

Monday evening the wind up garden hose holder betrayed us.  We have the kind that is attached to the wall and conveniently winds the hose up using a handle.  It’s a great system that is very helpful to me. After several very dry and hot Florida days, I needed to water the various flowers and plants in the yard.  I grabbed the nozzle and began to pull on it as I usually do.  After a couple of feet, instead of freely rolling out, it stopped and the entire hose holder disintegrated.  It split wide open, dropping chunks of plastic on the ground.  I don’t know, sure seems like it should have latest more than 1 1/2 years! 

We had just bought a 2nd one to install on the side of the house, so Dan had to use that one to replace the broken unit.  That wasn’t what we’d planned and now we’re going to have to buy yet another one.  Did I even need to say that?

The next day, Dan took a small thermos of coffee to work with him.  He set it on one of the back seats in our van, next to a cream colored throw blanket that I keep in the car.  When we arrived, we found that it had leaked all over the place…the seat and the throw were a mess.  Dan sopped up as much as he could with paper towels.  When we got home that evening, I washed the throw to get the coffee out. 

The next morning I went to put it in the dryer.  When I opened the washer I was greeted with the throw sitting in a washer full of soapy water.  It hadn’t finished the wash cycle.  I thought it was a little curious but I went ahead and started it again before I left for work.  That evening I checked it and found the same thing!  The throw was sitting in a machine full of water.  My heart sunk because I knew that this probably meant an expensive service call.  I couldn’t understand what the issue was, so I pulled a chair into the laundry room, started the machine and sat and watched it as it progressed through it’s wash cycle.  But it didn’t get very far before it shut down.  It just wouldn’t spin the water out. I was disgusted.  I thought for sure this nice washer was supposed to last longer.  I left the throw in the machine.

The next morning at breakfast I broke the bad news to Dan.  The washer was broken and we needed to have a service call.  Since Dan was leaving in 2 days on a week long ministry trip, we needed it fixed as soon as possible.  After work that day, I got a bucket and fished the throw out.  I rinsed it by hand in the kitchen sink and wrung it out (by hand) while Dan watched the machine NOT do its cycle.  He went online and researched the issue and possible fix.  After a while, he went in to work on it.  I wasn’t sure what he could do since it is a front loading machine with electronic controls.  And after a bit, he called me to say that he’d fixed it but I needed to come look at something.  He discovered that there was a trap that he could access easily.  When he pulled it out he found that it was jam packed and clogged with what looked like cotton batting.  It was bigger than his fist. 

We’re not sure where it came from.  Could the wad of used coffee paper towels have been scooped up in the throw and washed with it?  Dan swears he threw those paper towels away.  If not that, could it have been that the throw, which was a fuzzy, cuddly, soft chenille one, lose all it’s fuzzy, cuddly softness?  Did it slough off all its “chenille”?  I’d washed it before with no issues.  Yet this is the only conclusion we can come up with.  There was white fuzz all over the washer drum.  We ran it through another wash cycle and cleaned out the trap again.  We washed some junk towels, trying to get the fuzzes out of the washer – we didn’t want our clothes to come out covered in white fuzz. 

While all this was going on, I shook the throw out outside.  The air was full of fuzz.  The ground was covered with fuzz; it looked like it had snowed just in that little area of the grass.  I put it in the dryer thinking that I’d gotten it all shaken out.  About a third of the way through the dry cycle, I stopped it and checked the lint screen.  It was so full I could hardly get it out of it’s slot.  There was enough fuzz to make another throw!  “Well,” I thought, “that is that, all the fuzz is gone.”  I put it in the dryer again.  To be safe, after another 10 or 15 minutes, I checked the lint screen again.  To my utter amazement and shock, I found yet another full batch of white fuzz.  The 2 together were as big as a basketball.  I dried the junk towels and got a bit more fuzz.  Now tell me, how can a throw blanket disintegrate so much just by washing it??!!  It is now not so fuzzy and literally threadbare – and still losing fuzz everywhere it goes.  I’ve since put it in the garbage.

At least the coffee stain came out.

And the washing machine works just fine now.  (What a great husband I have!  He figured it out and took care of it, sparing us an expensive service call!!)  I since have heard several stories of people having major “fuzz” issues with their chenille throws, but none as dramatic (traumatic, astounding?) as ours.

The cycle of revenge didn’t end there. 

A few days after the fuzz attack I was vacuuming the house.  I have a love/hate relationship with this vacuum cleaner.  I love it because it works well, does hard floors and carpet, has a special cleaning head for the couch and a good baseboard/corner nozzle.  I hate it because after less than a year, the on/off switch busted.  Dan was able to bypass the switch and hardwire it so that when I plugged it in, it turned on.  To turn it off, I had to go unplug it.  A hassle, yes, but it worked.  Eventually Dan installed a simple on/off switch on the cord.  That worked for a while but one day it “blew up” (with spits, sparks, smoke and melted plastic) in my hands.  I’m thankful I was not shocked.  Dan hardwired it again.  On = plug it in, off = unplug it. 

This particular day I was just finishing the day’s vacuuming when the whole hardwire section disintegrated in my hands.  It completely separated.  I was left holding the “hot” end!  Again, it was just God’s grace that I was not electrocuted.  It is now hardwired again. 

All this doesn’t take into account the belts that have busted and left oily marks on the carpet, smoked and stunk up the house. And no, we aren’t yet going to get a new one – can’t afford it.

……And the ice maker is chugging along.  Ice makers are not supposed to chug.  Dan has become an experienced ice maker repairman.  We have a stand alone ice maker.  I guess our many years in the tropics taught us to really appreciate and enjoy our ice!  He’s replaced the cutting wires several times.  He’s replaced the 2 different pumps a couple of times.  We’ve learned that the chugging means that another pump needs to be replaced very soon.  

I’m so thankful for a handy husband!!  I couldn’t make it without him!

Thanksgiving is coming very soon.  My prayer is that no more appliances will get it into their heads to act up, go on the fritz or otherwise go kaput.  With 19 people expected for lunch that day, I need everything to hold up its end of the deal!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jules is Home!!

Thursday, November 11, our dear friend and colleague, Jules Gedna and his wife, Marthe, returned home to Haiti! Many of you have been praying for him and following his progress this past year and a half as he has made his journey through the bone cancer treatments and then a bone marrow transplant. It’s been a tough year in many ways. His health was precarious for most of those days. He and his wife didn’t know many people in Boston, not to mention it was very cold there! For several months they had to live with a future niece-in-law before they were able to move to a small basement apartment. Having no transportation, they had to rely on buses to get them to doctor appointments, grocery shopping, etc. Yet through it all, Jules always had a smile on his face and that same humble, sweet attitude that we all know and love. He was encouraged by visits from friends who traveled great distances just to be with him for a few hours, by the many cards and letters that he received and by phone calls from many people. His 2 sons were able to visit from Atlanta on several occasions.

He was declared cancer free by his doctors, but Hurricane Tomas delayed his return 2 weeks ago. All of the RMI staff and many missionaries that knew them were at the Cayes airport when the plane landed Thursday afternoon. They were surprised and overwhelmed to see so many people there to celebrate their homecoming. From there they were taken to the home of RMI missionary, Rob Thompson, where a welcome home dinner was held for them and the RMI staff. Once they finally got to their house, many more friends came by to greet them. You can see pictures of his return here.

Thank you for your prayers for this dear man of God! Thank you for your financial gifts to help Jules and Marthe. They could not have made it if it hadn’t been for these prayers and financial gifts. Many thanks to Greg Stritch (CrossRoad United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, FL) who flew back with them (since Dan was not able to go in with them due to other commitments). He made sure everything went smoothly as well as helped cover their flight expenses. Thanks Greg!

They are both so excited to be home after all this time.  When they left they thought it was for Jules to get his back issue attended to, never dreaming that it was bone cancer.  We are so thankful and praise God that Jules is doing so well.  Continue to pray for him.  He still has to deal with back pain and has a ways to go to recover his strength.  Since his return almost a week ago, he’s had a steady stream of visitors coming to see him.  He is not only a pillar of RMI’s ministry, but is well loved and known to many people in the Cayes area.  What a testimony!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hurricane Tomas Update

Hurricane Tomas is on its way through the Windward passage today.  RMI missionaries report that they experienced high winds from 2 – 4 a.m.  Rains have been heavy as well.  They expect more wind and rain during the day today.  Locally they have seen a lot of branches and crop damage.  So far the at least one of the rivers is still inside its banks.  They felt that areas to the west of Cayes will have much more damage since the hurricane was closer to that area.  They are contacting as many Sister Churches as possible.  Port-a-Piment and Tiburon report that they are ok, but the crops are destroyed.  Here are a few pictures from the Cayes area:

      Flooded garden in the valley below the mission center

We are thankful that God answered everyone’s prayers and kept the eye off the coast.  Continue to pray as Tomas is not yet gone!  We’ll post more updates when we receive more information.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And Now for the Good News!

Update on Jules

On Oct. 24, Jules celebrated his 56th birthday.  He is doing very well.  He’s anxious to get back to Haiti as soon as he can.  The majority of his doctors have cleared him to return.  The current issue is that he’s still having significant pain in his back (a dear friend arrived from Haiti recently and, not realizing how fragile Jules was and the possible consequences, gave Jules a joyful, giant bear hug, injuring his back).  He is getting treatment for it and those doctors believe it will clear up in just a few weeks.  At this time, he has been declared cancer free!! What a huge Praise the Lord for this special man!!

If all goes well, Jules would like to return to Haiti in November.  Pray for his continued recovery and financial needs.  He sends out big greetings and thank you-s to everyone.  He is very appreciative of the many financial gifts he’s received as well as the phone calls, cards, letters and especially the prayers of so many people.

We’ll keep you up to date on his departure plans.

The Hope for Kidz Hot Lunch Program has begun!

The start of the Haitian school year, in the middle of October, marked not only the beginning of a “normal” school year – a good healing point for Haiti – but it also marked the beginning of the the Hope for Kidz Hot Lunch Program in specific pilot schools.   It was estimated that this pilot year ti jean 2 tunedwould feed 800 children with a hot, nutritional lunch.    However, when word got out that those schools would be serving a hot lunch, families responded in droves, registering their children in those schools.  The result is that we are now feeding 1,300 children each school day!  The kids were very excited about getting a meal at school. 

benson giving a box tuned









unloading5 cropped tuned

unloading4 tuned

Update on Amy

Amy has seen the retinal specialist and has surgery scheduled for November 1Here is what she wrote in her blog:

I am stateside.  I arrived with absolutely no problems.  I left my house at 3am, was at the airport by 7am and on the plane about 9am.  Both the flight from Port to Miami and from Miami to Jacksonville left right on time and I was safely in Jacksonville a little ahead of schedule.

I had an appointment made for 8am but was told it may be a long morning as I will have to be worked into the schedule.  Just this morning, the Ladies from the Bible Study I attended before I left for Haiti prayed that God would give me a connection with a Doctor who had a heart for Haiti and a heart for the work I am doing there.  My mom got a call today saying that the Dr who would be seeing me had changed.  When she talked to that Dr. my mom found out that she has been to Haiti numerous times.  God has definitely been working in the details!!

The appointment yesterday morning wasn't actually for the surgery- it was a consult to see what the problem really was.

The surgery has been scheduled on November 1.  I have to be at the surgery center at 8:15am.

Bottom line, there is more substantial damage than just the bleeding.  There is scarring at the back of the retina and if not repaired, it could mean detachment of the retina and eventual complete blindness.  the bleeding was actually a separate yet related problem.  I consider it a blessing over all as the problem could have continued and become completely non=repairable.

It is a problem associated with diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugars (I guess Haiti has been harder on my system in that way than I realized but I am working on getting them under control and will just have to continue changing what I do when I return…)  As of now, the laser surgery can help stop the bleeding and remove some of the scar tissue.  The recovery process, he said in general is a two month process.  If the process goes smoothly, then after two months he will sign off on the recovery and I, ideally, will be free to return to Haiti.  As far as my vision, I am at 20/25 in my right (good eye) but at about 20/100 in the left eye.  There is a 3 in 4 chance it will improve some and a 1 in 4 chance it will not.  I am trusting and believing for the former.

I am working through what this all means and what life will look like over the next couple months.  While things have turned out differently than I thought, I know that God’s hand is in this and I will trust Him to continue to guide me through.

I am missing Haiti very much today.  I woke up to find news of a cholera outbreak in the North Western part of the Haiti.  My heart breaks for a country whose people has already experienced enough grief and tragedy in the past ten months to last more than a lifetime.  Keep Haiti on your mind, in your thoughts and in your prayers.”

Continue to pray for Amy.  You can find her blog here.  We will post updates as we receive info from her. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Urgent Prayer Needed

Amy & a friend, Tiburon summer 2010 RMI missionary, Amy Long, is in need of urgent prayer.  She is experiencing retinal bleeding in her left eye.  She is not in pain, but does have very blurry vision in that eye.  This seems to be an issue brought on by her type 1 diabetes.  She was able to go to a special eye clinic in Cayes on Monday to get this diagnosis and was told that she needed immediate laser surgery. 

She is flying home to Jacksonville, FL tomorrow (Wednesday), and will be staying with her parents.  God’s hand has been working for Amy already.  Her mom has been able to get her an appointment with a retinal specialist at 8 a.m. Thursday morning!  It is possible that she’ll have surgery the same day.

Pray that God will give the doctor wisdom as he diagnoses the problem and performs the surgery.

Pray for peace for Amy as she flies home leaving responsibilities (RMI has 3 back-to-back teams right now!) and facing some serious unknowns regarding her eyesight.

Pray that surgery can be done quickly, that the damage will be minimal and her eyesight will be fully restored.

Pray for Amy’s financial situation since this medical crisis is unexpected.  Her insurance will cover some of the costs and some gifts have already been received to help cover her deductible.  She will need finances to cover her plane flights and other unforeseen expenses.  Any gifts for Amy’s expenses can be sent to RMI designated for Amy’s ministry account.

If you want to send Amy a card, her address is:  Amy Long, 3114 Starburst Way, Jacksonville, FL  32223.  Her email is  She will updating her blog regularly, too.  We will also post updates as we receive them as well.

At this time, it is uncertain as to how long she’ll be in the US.  It will depend entirely on her medical situation and her doctors.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happened?

I’m not sure what happened, but it seems that our summer evaporated. One minute it was here and the next it was gone! I don’t know how it happened, but it did. And now it is fall, or at least what passes as fall here in Southwest Florida!

The summer

Our summer involved a lot of travel, hard work & 2 weeks of vacation.

We traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to help one of my sisters and mom move into a new house. As a short sale, the closing date on the house was moved back and moved back until after we arrived. Since the closing was imminent they allowed my mom to sign an early occupancy agreement, which in turn allowed them to move in the day we arrived. When we got there, at 10 p.m., it was their first night in the house. The very first thing we had to do was to borrow a ladder from the neighbor so Dan could replace the batteries in all 8 smoke alarms. Yep – all 8 were chirping, all over the house! We unloaded a lot of things, set their refrigerator up, set up the air mattresses and fell into bed at midnight. It would have been a better night if my air mattresses hadn’t sprung a leak! I was so tired after our long trip from Florida and the unpacking that I just slept flat on the floor.

For the next 12 days we worked from sun up to way past sun down. Dan especially worked tirelessly. He installed a complete closet system, a workshop in the garage, fixed item after item around the house, retro-fitted the kitchen with rollout units, loaded and unloaded a 26 ft. U-Haul truck and a storage pod…and much more. I unpacked boxes, vacuumed and cleaned the house, cooked the meals, cleaned after meals, helped here and there.

In the meantime, Dawn was in Haiti for 5 weeks working with RMI. I hope you’ve been able to keep up to date on her blog. She’s written from the heart. You can find it here. She had a fantastic time. She hadn’t been back since we moved here 4 years ago. Going back as a short term missionary was different than being a missionary kid there. She was able to go outback with 3 teams, helped a new missionary unpack, helped in the Hope for Kidz Program as well as the Homes for Haiti Program. She found that being in full time ministry was hard work, that there were hard times, and fun times but that it was very rewarding.

When she returned to the states, she flew directly to South Carolina and we went for our annual trip to the dentist. We are so grateful for a dentist in Gastonia, NC who takes care of our dental needs as a service to the Lord. For us, it means a day getting our teeth cleaned and any and all work being done in one sitting! That’s a long time, but we are thankful for this dentist’s gift to us. It’s a real blessing!!

Dawn spent the rest of her summer in Tampa house sitting for her pastor & his family and picking up odd jobs here and there.

Her sophomore year of college started early with volleyball camp. Classes started in late August. She was able to get a part-time campus job, which will help her out. Take a look at the Trinity College of Florida web-site here. Trinity chose her to be one of the students pictured on their website. She’s the blond in the fuzzy brown sweater.

We’ve been able to get attend several of her volleyball games and have enjoyed the chance to see her in action. The team is doing well and hopes to go all the way to nationals in November.

Devon continues to be involved with Ultimate Frisbee. Recently his Naples team, Fatal, came in 2nd in the state of Florida. He & the team went to the regional competition in Austin, TX and even though they had a blast, they were knocked out of the competition. Nationals are in Sarasota at the end of October and he plans on being there.

The Fall

Our fall has involved a lot of traveling, especially for Dan. He’s been to conferences in New York, South Carolina, Colorado and Florida. He’s also traveled to Haiti. Here is the most recent promotional video ( that was done for RMI’s Homes for Haiti program. Over 55 homes have been sponsored! Food for Haiti has been able to distribute thousands of meals. One Christian school class recently sent money for 11 cases of food! The students took on the challenge for 4 cases of food and raised money on their own. One young man set up a lemonade stand and earned $40! When they put the money together, it came to enough to buy 11 cases, not 4! That’s feeding 11 families for a month ($25 a case).

We’ve had a number of visitors already this fall, which we always enjoy. The entire RMI missionary staff and our Haitian administrator spent 4 days together in September in strategic planning meetings. It was a great time together, learning, sharing, planning, praying and eating together. Intense days, but excellent! Benjamin, our Haitian administrator, arrived several days early to spend time with us. His mother, Madame Camille, worked faithfully in our home for 25 years and was an integral part of our ministry. She was a fantastic cook, known especially for her bread. We’ve known Benjamin since he was a little kid. Dan took him deep sea fishing where he caught some good sized fish. We ate the catch with Devon, and all of Dan’s family (they’ve known him since he was little, too). They went to a movie, we went to church and generally showed him around town.

I’ve been kept busy with keeping the communications dept. of RMI going. It’s a lot of behind the scenes kinds of work, writing blogs and facebook entries, putting together brochures, flyers, re-doing the RMI display are just some of the things I’ve been doing. I was at Trinity College’s missionary conference for 3 days and held a workshop (while Dan was in NYC at a conference). I gave Dawn a part of the workshop time to share what she’d been involved with over the summer in Haiti.

Wow, I think that brings us up to date! The rest of the fall is going to be full of activities, travel, conference and a mini-vacation. Make sure you check out the RMI blog for more updates! There’s no slowing down for these stateside missionaries!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Imagine for a moment….

Building a home in Leograne As the sky darkens, “Marie” looked up to see the clouds coming together for yet another rainy season downpour.  She sighed and started pulling the family’s still wet clothes off the rope that her husband had put up to hold her prized pink sheets that now served as their only shelter.  If only it wouldn’t rain for one whole day,  she’d have the chance to get them dry.  The kids played on the mounds of rubble that used to be their house.  Had it really been 6 months since the earth shook so terribly?  She thanked God again for the fact that her family lived through it, although some of her neighbors hadn’t been so lucky.  She was so tired of first the dust, then the rain and mud, of huddling together at night, trying to sleep and not feeling safe and secure, of trying to fix meals and live under the little bit of protection that those pink sheets offered.  How on earth could they ever get back on their feet and even think of rebuilding with things the way they are she wondered.  The sound of a truck making its way carefully down their tiny road made her look up.  She watched in amazement as, in 3 hours, a team of Americans and the national staff from Reciprocal Ministries International put up a transitional home on the foundation where her previous home had stood.  Key to my new homeShe and her husband were thrilled when they received the keys to their new home.  They couldn’t stop smiling.  Tonight they would listen to the rain on a tin roof.  Tonight they would sleep safely locked in their new home. 

Can you imagine for just a moment if this were you?! 

Can you imagine what it would mean to you? 

Can you imagine how life changing it would be? 

Dan in front of a finished home with banner This last week RMI President, Dan Shoemaker, and RMI Vice President, Kim Rose, led a Homes for Haiti team to southern Haiti.  The long awaited windows and doors (which were stuck in customs) arrived, enabling the RMI national staff to be trained in their installation as they fitted them into the 4 homes that had already been built.  The team was also able to put up 2 more homes.  One was for a Baptist pastor and his family.  Another (the one pictured above) was for a bookkeeper for Radio Lumiere, Haiti’s largest Christian radio station.  These families AND the team were all smiles and moved to tears as each family was given the keys to their very own earthquake and hurricane resistant home.  An interesting affirmation was received from townspeople who came to see the house.  They said, “Of all the temporary houses being built, this is the one I want!”  Wow.  And this in a town where a number of organizations are building shelters.  Which one would you choose?

The two on the left are made of a tarp type of material stretched over wood frames.  RMI’s metal home is on the right, behind the truck. 3 house comparison What is the difference?  RMI’s home is a transitional home not a temporary shelter.  It is made of metal anchored in a cement floor.  Our homes provide security, safety and dignity.  They are built to last years. 

You can change a life!  $4,400 is all it costs to set a Haitian family on the road to recovery. 

How can you help spread the word??  We need more sponsors.  You can be an agent for change.  Actually you can be our real estate agents!  What a great ministry: being a “real estate agent” of sorts, helping RMI find sponsors for more homes in Haiti.  Can you promote or do a fund raiser for a home at your place of business?  Can your Rotary club sponsor a home?  Three different friends of RMI are donating 10% of their profits from their businesses for the next 6 months to building homes.  What other creative idea can you come up with to help us raise these funds?

Be sure to keep up to date with RMI’s happenings on Facebook and the RMI website, here.  Or feel free to call us toll free at 866-RMI-5439 or 239-368-8390.

You can see more pictures of the first homes being built here and here.  From start to finish, one home took 3 hours to build.  Let’s work together to get these homes built!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Devon & his bright yellow shoes

What is Devon up to these days?

Devon, ultimate frizbee & yellow shoes

Ultimate Frisbee.  You can’t miss him, he’s the one with the neon yellow cleats!

Devon throwing the frizbee

He’s a great player and has been playing pickup games with local groups.  He’s organizing a regular team so they can participate in more league tournaments.

Devon & cousins camps May '10

Camping at Peace River with his cousins, Caleb and Jonathan.

Devon in Peace River

Ice cold water, but the motivation is the fossils that they find in the river…you ought to see the cool shark teeth they find.  One was big enough to fit in the palm of your hand!

Devon fishing

Deep sea fishing.  And he’s good at it!

Devon snorkling

Snorkeling & free diving.  He can hold his breath for 2.5 minutes…that’s a long time.

Devon & cousins at Christmas

“Innocent” cousins at Christmas time.  Front row: Jonathan & Devon.  Back row: Caleb, David, Dawn and Kyle Vrooman (yeah, I know he’s not a cousin.  He & Devon grew up together in Haiti and now they are sharing an apartment in Naples.  I call him the son that I don’t remember giving birth to.  He’s a part of the family now.)

Devon & Dawn

Dawn and her big brother.

Devon camping at Peace River

Anything that includes living on the edge & a healthy dose of adrenaline, that’s where you’ll find him.  He recently jumped out of perfectly good airplane!  If it didn’t cost so much, he’d do it on a regular basis.

He recently had his 23rd birthday.  Is it a surprise that he loved the gift we gave him…a gift card to Bass Pro Shops, his favorite store that covers all of the above activities.

Yep, we’re proud of him!

One Minute House

You didn’t know that it could be done – but here’s proof that a house can be built in one minute.

Fred Feiertag, from Grace Lutheran Church, Seattle, WA, put this together.  Their team was in Haiti last week and put together this model home in the RMI depot yard. 

Fred was so excited when he heard about Homes for Haiti, that he took the artist’s drawing of the home and made a 1/12th scale model of it, complete with a goat on the porch.  (It’s priceless, isn’t it?!)

 Fred Feiertag's model scale home

Here is the real life picture, complete with a goat, taken last week!

Team picture in front of house

The windows and doors are on another container that is in customs.  The guys did a great job!

It’s so exciting to see these Homes take shape.  We need more homes sponsored!  Help us get these homes in the hands of displaced Haitian families!!  Details on how to do that are at

P.S.  You’ll see Dawn taking pictures at the 18 and 26 second mark.  You have to look fast to see her!  She’s dressed in blue and is in front of the house.

Monday, June 14, 2010

RMI Container Arrives, A Sister Church Goes Outback & RMI Board Meetings Take Place

RMI container arrives at the mission center



Many hands like light work!


“A cheerful heart is good medicine”  Proverbs 17:22


Some of the RMI national staff and an empty container!

Florida Bible Church heads outback


RMI Intern, Dawn Shoemaker, is on the front row, first one on the right.  (Yes, as parents we are very proud of her!)


A prayer before hitting the road, asking for God’s hands to be on them as they minister to their Sister Church, Maniche.  They left Saturday, June 12 and will return to the mission center Wednesday, June 16.  Pray for them…that they will affect lives and their lives will be affected for eternity.

RMI Board Meetings Took June 10 & 11

11 men and women met together here in Ft. Myers, FL Thursday and Friday.  God has blessed us with a great group of men and women who not only love and care for RMI but they are willing to ask the hard questions and hold us accountable.  We appreciate their wisdom and insight.  Even though the meetings were long, they were good!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Calling Levi Video

Calling Levi band members Rob Leicher and Mark Lashay were invited to join a work team from Second Cape May Baptist Church (Marmora, NJ) who went to Haiti with RMI May 28 – June 4.   This was the first work team for RMI’s Homes for Haiti Program.  They were able to unload the first housing container and begin to build the model home in preparation for making the jigs for the other 29 homes. 

Rob and Mark were touched by what they saw and experienced in Haiti and have put together this 5 minute video. 

You’ll see the team and a little bit of the house work at the 2:30 mark.  The song on the video, "More than Moved", is performed by Calling Levi.

Thanks for the video guys!!

RMI Board meetings today and tomorrow!

RMI Board meetings are today and tomorrow. We have a great group of men and women who love and care for RMI and God uses them to make decisions and guide us into the future. Pray for all of us as reports are given, finances are discussed and decisions are made. Pray for clarity, wisdom and vision.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Update from an intern and a prayer request

RMI intern, Dawn Shoemaker, has posted 2 new blog entries.  You can find her blog here.

Some excerpts:  “Wow what an amazing week. I went out with a team to a town called Cherette. It's a little north of Les Cayes. It wasn't a long drive but it sure gave my heart a leap when we drove through the very crowded streets of the small market. The trucks barely made it through. When we arrived at the church we were greeted with a huge group of kids singing with the pastor, his wife, and church members. They welcomed us with such gratitude, love, and happiness. I can't even express the overwhelming feeling I had to be already loved by people who had no idea who I was.”

"Sunday was so much fun. There was clapping, joyous singing, and love all around. The Haitians sing so beautifully. Just one night and morning and I could already see God in the peoples’ eyes and hearts. We had a service that night also. It was so much fun. We sang and danced! Out of the whole trip the singing and dancing, praising the Lord was my favorite.”

She spent her first week out in the country with a Sister Church team from Estero, FL.  This week she is in Cayes helping Marilyn McLaughlin with the Hope For Kidz Program. 

Pray for the wife of Samuel Moise, one of RMI’s national staff.  Last week she was in a motorcycle accident and broke her leg above the knee.  Since there was no orthopedic doctor in Cayes, she was transported in an ambulance all the way to Port-au-Prince.  She is in a hospital there awaiting an operation.  Thankfully the company she works for is taking care of most of the expenses.  Pray for wisdom for the doctors and patience & strength for Sam & his wife, Isman.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The House is Taking Shape

Noon update from Haiti:  The house is taking shape. 


3 sides up and installing the rafters.


How many people does it take to lift a roof panel? 


This gives a new meaning to “raising the roof”!


Moving the panel into place.


Hold it right there!


Give those guys a hand!  It’s up!  Next thing is to secure it.






Dan checking on the progress.  What we see so far is impressive!

To view the rest of the pictures, click here.

Stay tuned.  More pictures are to follow with a finished house!!

Another prayer request:  The RMI container may arrive at the mission center tonight or tomorrow.  It would be wonderful for it to arrive before Dan, Kim and the team leaves on Friday.  Pray for it’s swift arrival.

Also, the Estero, FL Sister Church team is back at Zanglais.  Because the Guest House is full with another group’s team, both of our groups are staying at Zanglais (I know, it’s hardship duty…staying right on the Caribbean, but nobody said missions was a bed of roses!).  That’s 27 people out there!!  RMI missionary, Amy Long, is doing a “fantabulous” job feeding everyone.

Did we ask for prayer for our stretched thin missionaries?!

1st Day of Assembly

Kim Rose, RMI’s VP, and the team first set up the jigs.  They then began assembling the first house.  This house is being set up temporarily in the RMI storage yard to make sure that everyone understands how it should be done, especially RMI’s Haitian contractor, Wilfred, who will be supervising the construction.  


Wilfred, in the blue hat, and Kim Rose.

IMG_3890With all the various parts precut, it was kind of like putting together a giant puzzle or erector set:  part A fits into part B which then fits part C.  Once D and E are together, attach them to C – you get the idea!  It’s not as easy as it looks.





It’s coming along!


Raising the first finished wall.


A job well done!


Moving the first wall out of the way and bringing in the frame of the 2nd 20’ wall panel.

You can see the rest of the first day of assembly pictures here.

Today they will finish the assembly and be able to see what a finished home looks like.  Stay tuned for more pictures and an update.