Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while since we have posted here on our blog. I (Jim with help from April ) will attempt to fill you all in on what’s been going on with us since our last blog post. If you don’t follow us on IG or Fb already, please feel free to do so as we do more updates on there.
To start things off, we were able to go back to the States for the month of December for a very special “Surprise” visit with family for Christmas! We had fun going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting down our own Christmas tree. The older boys remember doing this when we lived in the States, but for Zeke, we know it seemed like the first time!
We also were able to go see a BUNCH of Christmas light displays! Between the Columbus Zoo and also fairground light displays, April and the boys got their fill of Christmas lights, something April has definitely missed while being in Haiti.
We were able to meet up with a friend who is going to college in Ohio! Her and her family live less than a half mile from our house in Haiti. It was great talking to her and seeing what Ohio college life is like through the eyes of someone from a different culture.
Zeke turned the big 5 while we were back in the States! It was fun to spoil him while in the States. Because of distance between family and COVID, we ended up having a couple of smaller “parties” for his birthday.
When we returned to Haiti, we got right back into ministry and home life.
My (Jim’s) responsibilities are mainly maintaining the internet in our area. Me and Steving work hard to make sure everything is running smoothly. If you know anything about Haiti, you know that that is a full time job!
April has done an AMAZING job homeschooling our kids! From coming up with ALL of the curriculums, projects, and activities for our boys, her days are packed! It is so fun for me when I get home for lunch everyday and hear about what the boys have been learning.
Something that we had mentioned in our last blog post was April and I being a part of a new ministry team, The Virtual Missions Trip Team. Our goal of the team is to go out to some of our churches in Haiti we partner with, with all of our equipment and shooting footage to later edit and put together. This helps bring updates and share what is happening in Haiti, in a more personal and fun way through video!
This has been a challenging project as neither April or I have had much experience with shooting and editing videos, much less doing everything in another culture. But our guys in Haiti have been a joy to work with and have been helping us out when we go out to the countryside to shoot video! We have been able to put together some videos as we put together this project. Here are two of them you can check out:
YEAR IN REVIEW GENERAL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/wjx2H8YnnH4
DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD IN HAITI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgtlEWJ2F0A&t=1s
A new fun addition this past year that we added to our home is a chicken coop that I built and April painted. We have all really enjoyed learning how to take care of chickens and we really love having fresh eggs to enjoy.
One of the new things we got to do this past spring was visit some friends in the town of Jeremie, Haiti for a weekend! We had never been up to Jeremie, and we were just blown away by the countryside and views! It was so awesome to visit new places and experience new things. We are so thankful for our friends, the Germeil family, for “hosting” us. They took us around and showed us the beautiful city of Jeremie and the surrounding area. It was so nice to relax and hangout with some friends and hear more about the ministry they are doing in Haiti.
This year, April and I had something big up our sleeves. Back in February we started planning a surprise for the boys. We had asked Grammie to visit us in Haiti and she said YES! So in March, I had the privilege of picking my mom up at the Les Cayes airport. April and I hadn’t told the boys she was coming, so it was SO COOL when I pulled up to our house and the boys saw Grammie sitting in the car. They couldn’t believe it at first!!
It was so neat to be able to show my mom all the places that we have talked about, from our neighborhood, to the grocery store, to where I work at RMI, to the beautiful beach at Port Salut! And, as an added bonus, Grammie got to celebrate Micaiah’s 9th birthday with us. We had a blast showing her our life in Haiti!
As travel restrictions have been lessened, RMI has been able to have more teams come down to visit their sister churches. A team came down at the end of April, as well as a couple teams came down at the beginning of June. Our fall is getting pretty filled with teams as well, which is exciting.
The earthquake last August did enough damage to a part of our roof to where we had to have it replaced this past spring to be safe. The guys did a wonderful job and it looks great.
Right now we are currently back in the States on home assignment for the summer. This summer has been packed so far. From getting together with friends and family, to speaking at 10 churches, we are definitely on the go! We know as you read these blog updates, you mainly see all the good that happened throughout the year, but we also have plenty of hard as well but through it, God keeps growing us and it helps us appreciate even more, the times of respite we get here in the states to visit with family & friends.
One of the things that has been a blessing to us, is that throughout the last 3 years, we have had amazing support, both through prayer and financial. This summer though, because of inflation and the cost of living in Haiti, we need to focus on raising more financial support. We need to raise $600 more in monthly support before we go back home to Haiti. Would you please consider supporting our family or increasing your support if you are already a part of our amazing team? Please click on this link https://tohaitiwego.com/donate/ or contact us directly and we can help walk you through the process.
Thanks everyone for reading this. Thank you for praying for us! Please continue to do so, for wisdom, for good health and for us to be watchful and aware of when the Holy Spirit is directing us to do something on any given day. Also be in prayer for RMI and all the people we work with and for the people of Haiti.
Bondye beni nou (God bless you)
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