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, October 19, 2016

The Answer is Yes

path of hurricane matthew with labels and hurricane wordsYes – Hurricane Matthew hit southern Haiti HARD Oct 3 and 4 as a category 4, 145 mph wind monster.

Yes – It hit where our ministry is headquartered in the southern Haitian town of Les Cayes, where our missionaries and national staff live and where most of our partner churches are located.

Yes – The destruction and devastation are much, much worse than you have seen on the TV and social media.  The descriptions I’ve heard over and over is that it looks like a nuclear bomb went off, just no radiation.  Homes, businesses, churches, and schools have been flattened – destroyed.  Small villages wiped off the map.  Reports are that there is 100% crop loss and 80% livestock loss.  Where trees once stood is now a wasteland.  This area was the breadbasket of Haiti and nowBenson's mother's house officials are saying that it’ll take up to 10 years for it to come back.  Large trees that fell over by the roots were things like mango and breadfruit.  If such a tree survived, it’ll be many years before it re-establishes itself and even more before it bears fruit.  There’s no vegetation as far as the eye can see.  This destruction isn’t isolated along the coast but is found just as much if not worse in the mountains and valleys inland.  Many areas experienced huge floods, bridges were washed away, mudslides and landslides blocked the roads making moving around the region very difficult.

Yes – There was already a hunger problem in Haiti, but the results of all this crop loss will be felt by the entire country.  Especially in southern Haiti, there will be extreme malnutrition and possibly starvation.

14572807_10153984450761538_2076005466331047177_nYes – Cholera, an intestinal bacterial disease, is exploding in the hurricane zones.  Water sources…rivers, springs, wells…have been contaminated yet that is all the people have.  This contamination leads to cholera (which causes vomiting and debilitating diarrhea) and if left untreated can kill in a matter of hours or just a few days.  It’s easily treated but there’s the rub – there’s just a handful of hospitals (some now destroyed) and almost no possibility of getting treatment.  And it’s contagious as people live in unclean situations and don’t have the knowledge and capability of how to prevent its spread.

Yes – The utter devastation is said to be much worse than the 2010 earthquake.  The death toll is lower (1,000 at this point) but the scope and area affected are far greater than what was affected by the earthquake.

2Yes – Our missionary and staff are all ok.  The missionaries were in cement homes except one (the house where we used to live).  All of the homes are fine – even our old house with its tin roof.  It’s a duplex and the other side did lose a part of their roof.  All of them lost a lot of trees and outer structures.  Our old yard suffered quite a bit.  The iron cage for Spike the very large iguana we left there was destroyed when the tree that the cage was attached to fell over, roots and all.  He was rescued and spent a few unhappy days in a missionary’s bathroom before a new, temporary cage could be built for him.  The gazebo and tin roof over the deck on the depot blew away.  You can see pictures of the mission center, our former house (now RMI field leader, Rob Thompson’s house) and the RMI facilities HERE.

3Yes – Our RMI office and depot/garage yard suffered some damage.  The office is a cement roofed building but winds blew in the windows allowing wind and rain inside.  The depot’s huge metal gate was blown into the middle of the road.  The garage’s tin roof and the tin roofs over the containers in the yard (where the food aid is stored) were blown off.  Of course, all the trees are either stripped or down.

Yes – Mission center where the missionary homes and our facilities (and where we lived for 25 years) are located was heavily damaged: 7 missionary homes lost their roofs (and thus most or all of the contents), the water system was destroyed, the electric system was destroyed and many ministry offices damaged.

dame marie 14Yes – It took several days for our staff to literally chop and chainsaw their way out of their homes and make paths on the local roads enough so 4 wheel motorcycles could pass through.  They’ve also been very involved in helping the other missionaries recover.  The missionaries came together to help move the lost-roof families to homes that were empty due to the occupants being on furlough, making sure that everyone had a generator to keep their refrigerators and freezers running, repairing the electricity system and water systems and working at repair the antennas to help restore some internet.  Communication with the field is very tenuous.  Cell phone towers are down and out, so cell service is intermittent at best.  But now, 2 weeks later we are happy to report that the water systems are back and electric lines are re-strung and there is power now.  That goes a long way toward helping families begin to focus more on relief aid in their ministries.

Yes – RMI’s Zanglais Ministry Center is fine.  In fact, we’ve been told that it looks like it was untouched.  We’ve even had relief groups stay there already.  We are so thankful for this!  It wasn’t in the area hit by hurricane force winds (see the map above).

14581433_10153984450381538_887380408804398249_nYes – RMI was immediately involved in distributing food aid and relief supplies.  Phase one of our response is to respond to the immediate needs of food and water.  We had over 800,000 meals stored and ready for such a time as this and, to date, we have almost handed out quite a bit of them.  By faith, we’ve ordered 5 more containers of food aid.  We are also distributing chlorine tablets and water filters to provide clean drinking water to combat cholera.  What can you do to help us provide this aid?  Go HERE to donate to this massive undertaking of relief aid.

dame marie 14Yes – Our staff fanned out on motorcycles to go visit every single C3 partner church, get detailed reports on how the church, school, parsonage, community, and district churches fared and to take pictures to send back to their US partner churches.  It’s heartbreaking to read the reports and see the words “destroyed” and “roof torn off” on so many of them.  You can see the reports HERE.

Yes – RMI is addressing the need to rebuild.  Phase two of our response is to focus on getting roofs back on schools.  We need to help kids get back into school.  This will help bring some kind of normalcy back into their lives.  If schools don’t get back up and running soon, the entire year will be lost for those students.  After that, we’ll turn our attention to roofs of church and then homes (including parsonages).  In November we will start booking work teams to assist in this rebuilding.

satellite church
Yes – Dan is in Haiti this week, Oct. 18-21, to see things first hand, meet with the staff and visit several C3 partner churches that he is able to get to.  The road to Port-au-Prince is now open (after the main bridge washed out…now that the river waters have gone down significantly, vehicles are fording the river and getting through), making travel possible as well as getting fuel, propane, and supplies into the Cayes area.

Yes – This is going to be a huge, long-term recovery for the southern peninsula.  We need your prayers and your financial help to get through it.  There is such great need everywhere we turn.

Dawn's prayer card black outline 90% transYes – Dawn is more anxious than ever to get to Haiti to help out.  In order for her to go, she needs her funds raised.  She has a monthly amount that she needs (this includes not only salary but funds to cover taxes, insurance, and other monthly costs) and a separate amount for her one-time expenses (this covers things like her flight there, a 4 wheeler for transportation, funds to set up a household, the cost of obtaining her visa and other one-time expenses).  She can’t go until all of those funds are raised.  Could you be a member of her support team?  Go HERE to give to her support or one-time costs.  The need for her help is even more acute now.  Just think – she’ll be going back to the same mission center where she was born (which was 26 years ago on Oct. 24…next week!!).  How exciting is that?

Yes – We, RMI and Haiti need your prayers.  We have been working hard since the hurricane with coordinating relief efforts, shipments of food, fund raising for those relief supplies, keeping the communications (social media, etc.) going and much, much more.  There aren’t many of us in the office and we are all wearing multiple hats.  RMI needs your prayers as we do what we can to care for the needs of our staff and work at providing relief for Haiti.  We need wisdom in the scheduling of rebuilding work teams.  The needs are so many and complex!  The people of Haiti need your prayers.  They are a resilient people, but this has been a serious blow.  For the Christians, they remain strong and unshaken in their faith, but they are hurting.

And finally Yes – We need your financial help. 
Thank you

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Third Generation Missionary

We wanted to share what was posted on RMI’s blog this week!

Signing with RMI 2Meet 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. 

IMG_6779Dawn 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

This Day….10 years ago

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!]

Fall 2007 a

Fall 2007


~ Jump ahead 10 years and here is our latest newsletter ~


10 years

10 years2

I hope you enjoyed this look back – we did.  Who knows what the next 10 years will hold?

Blessings to everyone!