To Haiti We Go – Summer 2021 Update

Summer is here and we have a lot of updates to share with you. It’s been a busy, crazy time since our last update around Christmas. The past several months have been unique as we were working around the pandemic and not being able to have teams come in. It was really neat though, to see how God provided and gave wisdom in what to do even when things didn’t look like they normally did for our ministry.

The beginning of the year was a bit calmer in Haiti and we actually were able to have 3 teams come. We would go out for the day to take pictures for our organization and meet the team. Then due to the pandemic, we could no longer have teams the rest of the spring and yet we were still busy praise God. We praise God that even through the pandemic, our Hope for Kidz sponsorship program is still going strong and we are so thankful for the students that are sponsored and able to go to school because of this. If you would like to sponsor a child through our organization, you can check out more information here or ask one of us! https://www.rmibridge.org/hope-for-kidz.html

Visiting the Nebraska Policard team as they built a house for a very deserving family in the local community.

Jim is a part of RMI’s Suntech team and he has loved being a part of it. When people and churches donate towards a church or school to have a solar system put in, the team goes out and installs and sets it all up for them. Jim has loved seeing the reactions of the people when the power comes on for the first time. Electricity is something we take for granted that the people in Haiti do not have for the most part. This is such a huge blessing to the churches and schools to have for numerous reasons.

RMI wanted to try and connect our Haitian churches with their partnership churches back in the states as best as we could since they couldn’t come down at the time. We already have our partnership facilitators go out and visit the churches every month to get updates and see how they are doing so that we can send those updates to the churches but we wanted to do more. Both sides of the relationships (those in Haiti and those in America) were greatly missing each other and so RMI came up with “Bringing Haiti to America” videos and so due to various factors including very slow internet in Haiti, we are slowly getting these done. However, the response from the churches has been great and they are so thankful to have these videos from their sister church. Dawn, April and Jim go out with various RMI partnership facilitators like Perguens, Frantz, Anderson & Edy! Dawn and April capture the ground footage and all the updates on projects, the school, church and pastor and his family. Jim uses his drone to get overhead footage of the church and school. April then edits the footage into videos that are sent to the churches in America. We also have been doing “Day in the Life” videos and will continue them after furlough. We highlight a RMI Haitian staff member and through the video, people get to know more about them, their life, their work at RMI and their family. It’s been a really neat addition to our Facebook page, so if you haven’t liked RMI’s Fb yet, make sure and do so!

FACEBOOK PAGE LINK FOR RMI: https://www.facebook.com/reciprocalministries

This was up in the mountains of Camp Perrin as we did a river hike one day with friends.

Our family is doing well for the most part, which we praise God. The boys finished out their school year and did wonderful on their year end testing. Reesie our sweet dog was really sick and we thought we were going to lose her but thanks to so many of you that prayed, we are so glad to report she is well and doing great. In May we added two new fur members to our family. Blizzard and Lemondrop, both bunnies! The boys are smitten with them.

We headed back to the states mid June for a few months of furlough. During this time we are speaking at around 6-7 churches and taking time with family & friends. It’s a great time for us to refresh, rest and share what God has been doing through and in RMI in Haiti this past year! Furlough is actually a really busy time for us with doctor, chiropractor, dentist, and eye appointments we have to cram in, speaking times, and spending as much time as we can with our family and friends…BUT it’s a good busy! It encourages our hearts to spend this precious time with them. We definitely miss our RMI family back in Haiti though during this time!

We would love for you to specifically pray for Haiti right now as their president was just assassinated a few days ago. Please pray for the government leaders in the coming days and elections that will decide who will be the next president. Please pray for the christian Haitian leaders across the country who may be tired and weary but need to continue to be there for their community and church. Pray for wisdom, strength and endurance for them and that they would model Jesus as they walk through these days. Pray for the Haitian families, so much I could say here because they are so dear to our heart, but God knows…so just pray for them to feel His love so deeply!

Thank you friends for your support this past year, our second year in Haiti. With our family learning to do life and ministry in Haiti during a period of time with country turmoil and a world wide pandemic, you will never know how much your prayers mean to us. We especially want to thank those of you that personally reached out with messages, emails or care packages. It touched our hearts that you think of us even when we are far away. God is so good friends, let all of us keep clinging to Him, trusting Him for every step of the way! Praying for you all and thanking God for each of you reading this!

Love,

The Starkeys

To Haiti We Go – Merry Christmas/Jwaye Nwèl

So many things run through our mind as we think about what we want to share in this “END OF YEAR” newsletter. As you all know, this has been the most UNEXPECTED year and year of unknowns most of us have ever faced in our lifetimes. There is truly SO much we could say but we decided to keep this one as SHORT as we could but with a LOT of pictures!

Our Hope for Kidz program!
Devotions every morning together to start the day out. This day included a little laughter too!
Jim eating breakfast with one of the teams this past fall.
An outdoor service that the teams do in the village they are in when they come.

One of the things I love about RMI is that we local source as much as we can. When funds are donated towards a construction project, we hire out local help instead of using all of our guys or having a team come down to build it all.

It has been THREE MONTHS now since we’ve been back home in Haiti. It has felt GREAT being back and getting back into the swing of things.

Year two has been such a better adjustment for us and we feel so much more at home this year. We feel more comfortable doing things, have developed more relationships, and have more of a better idea of the ministry things we are doing currently etc.

We still miss our family & friends dearly but we praise God for how He has helped this new land be our home too. So many people here are dear to our hearts now and we truly love living here in Haiti.

Our friend Perguens and Jim as we waited for our permis photos.
This is a VERY common site to see both genders, but especially ladies carry all sorts of goods around on their heads many times with no support from their hands. Very impressive.
One of the churches we partner with that takes a little bit of a walk to get to.
A time of prayer and encouragement with families near the local church and community where the team is staying.
Windy, Patrick and Marcel helping with our solar projects. A big GOAL of RMI this year is to go FULL solar at our facilities to help with costs.

Since we’ve been back, Jim’s been really busy with either taking teams out (we’ve still had three teams this fall as the pandemic hasn’t hit Haiti like it did the states), language learning, learning his new position as the area “internet guy” or other various things with RMI.

April has been busy homeschooling the older two boys, learning the language and getting tested by RMI’s depot supervisor to be able to drive the automatic car here in Haiti. They don’t have driving school or tests officially here in Haiti but RMI likes to do their own testing to make sure all drivers are ready to drive here in Haiti as it’s a NIGHT and DAY difference from driving in the USA. April passed the automatic test and will be working on passing the manual test soon as well. She goes out from time to time to take pictures of various projects that our organization is doing and of our school and church partnerships. She also is the one who posts on RMI’s social media from the Haiti side of things for RMI.

The boys have been doing GREAT with school and have loved being homeschooled. So far they’ve studied about Asia, Space, & Europe this fall. Zeke has fun doing some “fun” school with them, then going off and playing or reading with April. The beauty of living in Haiti is the boys have SO MUCH outdoor time to play in the beautiful sunshine. They have adjusted so far this second year SO well. They are thriving here and we praise God for that! Both older boys can drive the ATV quite well now, which they are super excited about.

Our home!
Wednesday market day!

Even though the pandemic hitting the world has definitely changed how things look for what we do here in Haiti, it hasn’t changed our mission or purpose. We have still been very busy with the solar & construction projects, Hope for Kidz sponsorship program, which is a huge undertaking and all the other things we do with our food, goat, and water filtration programs. The behind the scenes work that goes on in our organization is truly amazing. We have such hard working, dedicated people that love God and love people. This time has been especially hard on our churches we partner with, so we’ve been doing our best to help see what their needs are and helping where we can.

Daddy picked up some sugarcane for the boys.
One of the views of where we live.
Jim and Frantz giving devotions.
The sunsets here are breathtaking.

Si Dye vle, if God wills, we are preparing for a great 2021. Our churches in the states are very eager to come back to see their partner church here in Haiti. The relationships they have built over the years run deep and so both sides miss each other so much when things like a pandemic stop teams from being able to come. We are praying that Lord willing, our full calendar of teams this winter/spring will be able to happen.

Along with Jim going out with teams the week they are here, April will be occasionally going out as well and sometimes going just for the day to the teams that are within a 1-2 hour drive, so she can take photos and capture their trip and time with their sister church.

This gal would giggle every time I went to take her picture.
Family time!
Zeke’s good friend Anderson.
Kiah riding our ATV to the ministry office.

This has been a very hard year for the world. We have been grateful for all of you more than you will ever know. We have been praying for all of you. If you are reading this, we thank God for you. It means so much to us that you take time to read our updates, pray for us and support us in any way you can. That is very encouraging to our hearts. Being on the mission field can be lonely at times and feel kind of like “in between places” or worlds but it’s also a VERY good reminder of how this world truly isn’t our home.

For those of you on our financial support team, we know this year has been hard financially on many and that more than ever possibly, helping our family stay and serve in Haiti, is even more of a sacrifice on your part. For that we are eternally grateful. You will truly never know how much of an eternal impact you are making by what you give. We praise God for you, we pray for you and we thank Him for all of you who have brought our family to Haiti.

View as we drove in the mountains.
One of the schools we partner with!

From our family to yours, MERRY CHRISTMAS / Jwaye Nwèl! We love you all!

A Transformed Life

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It will be one year, 6 days from now, since we first moved our family to Haiti. What unknowns we had, what a peculiar first year we had, what depths of sorrow we had at times with missing those we love most and the life we knew for the past 35 years behind us and yet what great depths of JOY we had as well as He did so many things in our lives and hearts that we will forever thank Him for.

“Jesus is our STRENGTH and what we cannot do or bear, He can both do and bear in us.” – J. Hudson Taylor

Our furlough time and time that we’ve have had for April to heal is coming to a close and we will be heading back home to Haiti soon. We miss our home, our RMI family, our friends, and are excited to see even in the chaos of 2020, what God will do this year and we look forward to being a part, no matter how small, of whatever He invites us along to do this year. So as we prepare to head back, we have three churches we will be speaking at and meeting with another mission group from another church before we leave.

Just like last year before we left, we are taking this time to prepare our hearts, and spend some time with those we love most. We know saying goodbye will be just as hard if not harder again, but we know without a shadow of a doubt this is what He has for us and so we walk forward, rejoicing, with anticipation knowing that these goodbyes are not forever but what we give up now, will Lord willing, produce something far greater for eternity!

“All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestations of His grace, power and love.” – J. Hudson Taylor

We would love to pray for you as you pray for us. Please leave us a comment, message, email or call us and share how we can be praying for you. What a privilege we all have, to have that access everyday, to go before His throne and pray for each other.

We would love prayer for the following:

  1. Finishing up well here with speaking, goodbyes & packing.
  2. Safe & smooth travels back home to Haiti.
  3. April’s continue healing with her gastrointestinal health.
  4. Transition into year two in Haiti, as Jim and April start ministry work, Jim works on a new position he has and April as she schools the boys from home. 
  5. For us to be aware in the moments God is wanting us to say or do something. For wisdom, discernment, grace & love as we grow relationships more this year and show His love however He asks us to each day. 

We want to leave you with this, a life transformed. I am sure many of you have heard of J. Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China for 51 years. What many know is of the life he dedicated to the Lord, the hundreds of missionaries that followed after him to China and the thousands since then who have come to know Christ. However, what you may not be as familiar with is the story of his praying mother. J. Hudson Taylor was actually living a life in the world, away from the Lord and fully for his own self. He left all he had grown up to know and learn from his childhood for the passions and possessions the world had to offer.

His mother, Amelia, knew the best thing she could do for her son was to commit to praying for him. One time she went away from their family home and was determined to pray for her son until she came to a sense of assurance that God would save him. She locked herself in her room and pleaded that God would extend mercy to Hudson.

Amelia, J. Hudson Taylor’s mother.

Coming home from her time away, her son greeted her and said “Mother, I have some news to tell you.” and before he could say anything she shared with him how she already knew because during that time away she was praying for him and God reassured her that Hudson had come to know Him. Amazing how the same time God was working in his heart, he came to know Christ and was praising him for his salvation, his mother was away, praying on her knees for that very same thing.

He shared their last time together and how she sat beside him on his bed and they sang one last song together and then prayed together. They then had to say goodbye, never expecting to meet on earth again. As he stood on the dock, and the ship left the gates, he said he could hear the anguish of her cry that came out and how it felt like a knife going through him. He said he never knew so fully, until then, what “God so loved the world” meant.

Friends, we share this to encourage you and remind you of the intense power of prayer. No matter what you find yourself facing this year, lets all remember to go to God FIRST about it before anyone or anything else.

“When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.”  “Learn to move man, through God, by prayer alone.” – J. Hudson Taylor

Praying this also encourages those of you who are in the parenting season right now, especially in this crazy year of 2020, that no matter how you feel as a parent, no matter how weak you feel this year, how you feel you have failed, or that you don’t have the strength to handle this year….pray! Prayer isn’t a last resort, something we do on the side or a plan B.

Friends, prayer is the most powerful thing we can do for our family. Fervent prayer on behalf of our family…WOW…can you imagine what things will come from that!

Love,

The Starkey Family