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.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Is it Christmas Already?

Christmas in Florida means we decorate dressed in shorts and with the air conditioning on.  And we put lights on the palm trees.  While it’s a bit different from the rest of the US, it’s actually just what we did for so many years in Haiti.  What’s not different is the reason for this very special season!  God’s gift of His son to us is not something we take lightly and for which we are very grateful.  We pray that this Christmas season will be special for you.

This year we are trying to embrace our new titles...that of Nana and Pop Pop.  On Mother’s Day Devon and Kristen told us they were expecting Jan. 20, 2016!  A few months later they skyped with us to include us in the reveal party...the cupcakes were pink! We’re anxious to meet Riley Jade in a few weeks. It’s hard to wrap our heads around the whole concept of Devon becoming a dad, but it is going to happen!  The picture on the left was taken at Thanksgiving - 8 weeks to go.  The next picture was their baby announcement featuring their dog, Chloe.  We’re excited to meet this new little Shoemaker girl.  Mostly we just want to spoil her and hand her back to her parents.

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.

In the “never have done that before” category was the February RMI Board Meeting that took place in Haiti.  We’d never actually met IN Haiti for a Board Meeting before but it was a wonderful and rewarding experience.  Besides the day and a half of meetings, together we visited a school, participated in the Hot Lunch Program by helping serve the food, visited a Homes for Haiti home, toured the new RMI Haiti office, and met with the staff and missionaries.  It was a full 5 days!

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!
Deb’s sisters’ fall get together has morphed into an entire weekend, which is good because it’s hard to catch up with each other in just a day.  This year’s outing was in Dillsboro, NC.  Not only did we shop til we dropped (which at our ages, is a lot sooner than it used to be), but we had an open air train ride in the Nantahala area.  The trees were just starting to turn and it was beautiful weather.  [L to R: Deb, Marti, B, Carrie - we have a lifelong habit of arranging ourselves in birth order for pictures!]
Dan’s travels and speaking schedule keeps him jumping on and off planes and in and out of cars hither, thither and yonder.  He’s had some unique opportunities to share RMI’s ministries with churchs and groups in New Jersey, Cincinnati, Atlanta, & Orlando.  Oh, and Haiti and Colombia, too.  He was invited back to speak at a Haitian church in NYC where he enjoyed preaching in Creole and then being translated into English.  Most of these trips he makes himself, but Deb has been able to join him occasionally.

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!

This year we said a final goodbye to the last animal we brought with us from Haiti. Princess was 20+ years old and we miss her. She was a faithful companion who did her part in re-populating Haiti’s cat population. But the Shoemakers aren’t cat-less!  ...we have 3 US born cats that own us now.

And speaking of our move here to the US - this coming May we will have been here 10 years!!  It’s really hard to believe it’s been that long.  At times we feel like it was just last week, but at times it feels like we’ve been here our whole lives.  It’s kind of surreal...10 years!

This picture pretty much shows how our support has been this last year.  Since we’ve returned to the US, our support has steadily dwindled.  Contrary to what some have thought, we aren’t retired and we are still missionaries needing regular support.  We’ve seen God supply our needs and we are incredibly thankful for our faithful supporters for continuing on with their financial gifts to our ministry with RMI.  You all make it possible for us to continue to move forward in this ministry.  As the end of the year draws to an end, would you remember us with a special gift for our support?  Your donation will, of course, be tax deductible...and much appreciated!

We pray that this letter finds you and your family doing well and rejoicing in God’s love, grace and mercy.
With love, 

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