To Haiti We Go – Christmas Update!

Merry Christmas friends & family.

We started our third year in Haiti a little differently than we originally expected due to all the hardships Haiti had happen over the summer. Over the summer, Haiti experienced the assassination of their President, a hurricane and a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The town where we live was very close to the epicenter of the earthquake.

We came back to Haiti three weeks after the earthquake and already so much of the damage had been cleared away but we still saw gigantic amounts of concrete piled up, huge balls of rebar rolled up and buildings that were severely damaged or completely destroyed.

The main store where we got our groceries at was destroyed in the earthquake but thankfully they had just built another store closer to our home. That store is significantly smaller than the one destroyed so things are crammed inside but we are grateful to still have a place to shop and one that is closer to our home now. Jim was very busy the first several weeks we were back, with earthquake relief. He did multiple trips somedays, going to the small airport we live near, to pick up earthquake relief that was coming in and then would bring it back and unload. The boys and April were able to help a few of those times as well.

After the initial heavy amount of earthquake relief was over, RMI started thinking more ahead to what we as an organization will need to do to help our churches and schools we have partnered with, in the coming months and years with rebuilding and helping them with all of the damage they had due to the earthquake. Some relief was immediate and quick and some earthquake relief efforts will be more long term and take some time to do. The past several months, Jim has been busy with keeping the internet going for our organization and several others. He was able to lead a team out near Aux Coteaux Haiti for a week as well. Unfortunately due to the state of Haiti, and specifically a lot of gang activity that is happening in the capital we are not able to currently bring teams in.

April has been busy homeschooling all three boys this year as Zeke started preschool. They first did a unit study on Transportation and now are studying Dinosaurs. Due to the current state of Haiti and teams temporarily not being able to come in, we have come up with a Virtual Missions Trip team and have been busy planning for that. After the new year, the team will be going out to some of our churches we partner with, with all of our equipment and shooting footage to later edit and put together. We will then send the edited videos as a complete Virtual Missions Trip package to groups & churches in the states that would like to have a fun day at their church where they get to “be” in Haiti with us, experience many different aspects and we hope to have some hands on things for them to do as well like food & activities.

Our Hope for Kidz team has been really busy and we have been so proud of all of their hard work. Even though the state of the country is rough right now, we still have 3,000+ kids RMI sends to school each year and so there is a lot the team has to do from pictures, letters, parent and teacher training, reports, accountability etc. RMI could not do what we do without our amazing Hope for Kidz team. April enjoyed helping a little bit with editing their photos that will be sent out to the families who sponsor them.

We had the pleasure of having 75+ people at our house for Thanksgiving and it was such a wonderful day spending time with people who we have grown to know well over the past few years. We are grateful for the community God has blessed us with and the leadership we are under with RMI. The 30+ people that RMI employs have become like family to us, and we are so thankful for the relationships we are building with them.

One thing this year has taught us, whether it’s from the ever-changing politics, pandemic, or all the hardships Haiti is facing, is that God is constant. When the world is not, He is. When the world makes us feel overwhelmed, He never gets overwhelmed. As believers in Jesus, we have this beautiful HOPE that the world does not have. We know who holds our every moment. We know who is truly in control. We know how this all plays out. We can REST this Christmas, despite the chaos in the world, because He lives!

We love you friends. We truly thank God for you. Thank you for your prayers this past year. May God bless you, encourage, strengthen and remind you of His great love for you!

Merry Christmas / Jwaye Nwèl

The Starkeys

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