To Haiti We Go – Summer Update!

“You can endure change by pondering His permanence.” – Max Lucado

It’s a rainy June day here in Ohio as we type this update to you all. The past few months have brought about a LOT of change not just for our family, not just for you but for our entire world! We are so beyond grateful that during all of this change, this chaos, this unknown…oh friends, we have such a constant, faithful, ever-present, and all-knowing God we can rest in.

Before we go further and share some updates with you, we want to pause for a moment and THANK YOU. Thank you for praying us through our first “year” in Haiti. Thank you for praying for April as you found out about her health issues. Thank you for praying for our family as we made the hard decision to come back on furlough early so April could get help. Thank you for all who have prayed, who have given items and financial gifts to our family this summer to help us while we are here in Ohio until we head back to Haiti. Thank you to EACH OF YOU who have taken the time to just ask how we are doing, how you can pray for us, stopping and praying over us in the moment and just “being” present in our lives and listening. What a blessing you all are to our family.

APRIL’s HEALTH: 

April's

After plenty of doctor appointments and tests, they were able to rule out some things that we were thankful for. April does have gastritis but we also found out her underlying autoimmune gastrointestinal issues were worse than she thought. As her acute gastritis situation is healing more and more each day, she is focusing more now with doctors on healing all of her gastrointestinal issues as well. Pain and symptom wise, she feels 85% better from when they first came back to the states. Daily she still has symptoms and she still can’t do too many things before getting weak and in pain but she is praising God for the drastic healing she has seen in the past few months and she is excited to see where she will be health wise in the coming months. Some huge dietary changes had to be done as well that she will have to continue with. Thank you so much for your prayers.

OUR CURRENT STATUS: 

Our original plans were mid July to mid September for furlough because of our niece getting married in September. Since we had to come back a few months early due to April’s health, the first month we stayed in to help April rest and heal. As Ohio has started to open back up some more, Jim has started having coffee chats with people to connect, catch up and share how our first season in Haiti went. April has been able to do a few catch ups as well within the past few weeks as she continues to heal each day.

As churches open back up, we will be speaking at a few of them before we head back to Haiti and will continue to connect with our friends, family & supporters on an individual basis as we can as well until we head back. As of right now, Haiti is still closed and we are not for sure when they will be opened back up for people to fly back in. We are assuming and hoping that by time we head back after our nieces wedding, all will be well and we will be able to fly back home to Haiti.  Please pray with us for the protection of RMI staff and all of their family as well, from the virus. Thank you! We miss our home in Haiti and we miss our Haiti family.

We have played a lot of board games and Jim & Micaiah especially have used the first month of down time we had, to put a lot of puzzles together. We also have tried to see both sets of grandparents & aunts/uncles as much as we can so they and our boys can have as many precious moments together as possible before we head back to Haiti. Isaac, our oldest, just celebrated his 10th birthday and entered the world of double digits. 🙂

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We are continuing our Creole lessons while here as well, which is a huge thing for us still since we are still new in our language learning and have a lot to go still. Jim will be teaching April how to drive stick shift while here this summer as well so when we go back to Haiti, she will only have to focus on learning how to drive in Haiti and not worry about learning stick in Haiti as well.

We keep in touch with our house staff a few times each week to see how they are doing. We miss them greatly and are excited to see them when we return. RMI has been working hard as much as they can during this time of the virus, because not only is Haiti dealing with the virus like the rest of the world but a drought as well, making food scarce right now so RMI has been making food deliveries to our church partnerships to help those communities.

We look forward to heading back to Haiti in the next few months to continue the ministry there that God has called us to. Our first year there may have looked nothing like we would have thought or even trained for as we went through a nation wide country lock-down in the fall and then the pandemic in the spring and April getting sick, HOWEVER, God knew and He went before us, He was with us and we felt His peace and presence. This year has grown us more than any other year has ever in our lives and for that, we praise God. During the months we were able to do ministry, we saw so many lives changed, were able to share the gospel, encourage others, and become a part of the RMI family there. We are excited to see what year two brings for God’s kingdom!

“God doesn’t call us to a convenient life, He calls us to an important life.”

– Ann Voskamp

We know right now, these can be scary times, unknown times, times where we don’t know what to believe, who to listen to or what is exactly going on. We have been encouraged by the story of David and Goliath. You see, just like with Covid-19, it’s a very real and present threat, it has done a lot of damage and it is scary. Goliath was a very real and present threat to the Israelites, he was bigger, stronger and very scary. They knew the facts…and the facts didn’t look good for them. He could wipe them out. We know some of the facts too, the media tries to tell us the facts they want us to hear, BUT we can’t be like the Israelites who got so hung up on the facts of Goliath and how daunting he seemed, that they coward back and were scared to do anything.

Let’s not focus on the FACTS around us so much to where it scares us into a life of panic and fear and instead focus on TRUTH! David knew how God went before him all those other times he faced animals in the wild as he kept his sheep. He trusted God with his life, with this battle and with the outcome. David knew the facts too, but He knew his God was bigger, stronger, more powerful and His God KNEW THE WHOLE PICTURE! Friends, God knows the entire picture of Covid-19 and we can trust Him with it. We don’t say this because we don’t want you to take precautions. Please do take precautions for your family. We say this so you don’t live in fear like the enemy wants you to. The enemy wants so badly for our world to be encapsulated in fear that we freeze, we don’t live our lives, we don’t keep spreading the gospel or living life to the full as God has called us to do. So in these unknown times, lets keep looking up to our KNOWN GOD, our God who sees the whole picture and our God who goes before us and will never leave us. He truly has the whole world in His hands. Leave it to him, rest in Him, seek Him, and let His peace rule in your hearts during this time!

Praying for you & thankful for EACH of you!

Love,

The Starkeys

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