Blog

OUR FIRST MONTH IN HAITI!

70933050_10220304568461811_8802842391514972160_n

What a journey this first month has been!

In the past month, A LOT has happened! Here are just a few of the things that have happened small and big, silly & serious over the past month.

    • We moved to another country and into a new house that we worked hard at to make a home.
    • The boys started a new way of doing school and met new friends.
    • We are learning to flick bugs off ourselves & food and make sure and cover up food when not eating so bugs don’t have fun in our food 😉
    • We have started sleeping with fans on us, well ok fans on us at all times really haha.
    • We have learned to drive ATV & motobikes around our village to take the boys to school and take us where we need to go.
    • We are learning what foods we can & can’t eat here and how to get them.
    • We have made new friends. We have cried. We have laughed.
    • We have wiped more sweat off of us than we thought possible.
    • We have missed our family and friends dearly, while embracing the new season God has called us to.
    • We had the privilege of going to the beach this past weekend.
    • We have started to learn the unique language of Creole.
    • We have house staff working in our home daily, which is a transition that we have to get use to. We already love them and can’t wait to get to know them more.
    • We get our meat & produce in a completely different way here.
    • We have learned to not put our seat belts on in the car until we are on the main roads because the roads in our village are so bumpy, that it hurts to have the seat belt on 😉
    • We have had fun running around in the warm rain that happens quite frequently in this season.
    • We make sure we get our showers in by 10pm each night when the electric goes off and we run on our batteries.
    • We have been learning our Haitian stove and so far its taking us 2-3 times the amount it did in the states to bake something, so it definitely has a learning curve 😉
    • We have seen a plethora of new creatures and some we already knew that are just used in different ways here or hang out in different places than they do the states. For example, goats just randomly tied up everywhere along the streets, donkeys and horses used to carry goods/materials.
    • We are learning how to pay for things in Haitian goudes.
    • We have learned to LOVE cold showers because its so hot that we look forward to a cold shower at the end of the day.
    • We have learned to be creative and figure something out with what we have.
    • We have watched the boys fall in love with this country, their new friends and yet process emotions sometimes of missing what they left behind.
    • We have learned that we truly have so much and therefore have a lot to be thankful for.
71523007_10220322675034464_1472390247349223424_n
The drive from our home and village of Simon to Zanglais ministry center & the beach is around 45 – 60 minutes. Thankfully much of it is a beautiful drive filled with mountains, trees and rolling hills.
69720367_10220153538046145_558704099076341760_n
The boys LOVE their new way of going to school. They take turns on dads motorbike because its their favorite but he can only take one at a time. April takes Zeke and one of the older two and Jim takes the other. They switch every ride to keep it fair 😉

70454701_10220153539366178_6520921156139089920_n

Now that we have been here one month, we are moving onto the next stage which is LANGUAGE & MINISTRY! We are very excited for this. Last week we started our language lessons with Pastor Mezi and this week we start working with RMI doing our ministry work. Until Jim starts going out with teams, and in between when teams are here, he will do different projects and various things. This week he is working on welding and putting on a new railing on the stairs at one of the guesthouses that teams stay at, so that it can be safe for them. April will be training on how to plug in all the Hope 4 Kids program stuff to help them as this is their VERY busy season with getting kids sponsored, pictures taken and letters written from the kids to their sponsors. She is very excited to be a part of this amazing program.

Our mornings look like this: We wake up, get the boys ready and pray with them before taking them to school. Then now that we are both doing ministry work, Zeke will stay here at the house with Merita who will watch him a few hours while April goes into the ministry center. Then we go for morning devotions with all of the RMI staff. This is one of our favorite things as we open in singing, then one person is assigned to do devotions each day then we end in prayer and greeting each other.  April will go up to the office to work for a few hours before heading back home to Zeke. Jim will work more during the day then me at this time until Zeke is old enough to go to school. When teams are here, it’s a whole other story with how our schedule looks and so we will update you all on that next month.

Then at 1pm we pick up the boys from school and have lunch (the big meal of the day here) with all of us and our house staff. We look forward to learning the language more so we can conversate more and more with them during this time. Then on various nights here we have various things going on in the community from bible study, ladies tea, basketball, game nights etc! Remember, with not many options of entertainment here, we get creative as a little community to do things together, which we are appreciative of.

71137863_10220322671594378_7760359189171404800_n
We had a wonderful relaxing day at the beach this past Saturday. We are HUGE beach and water people, especially our boys so this made their day!

70904271_10220322671314371_1289459824911712256_n

PRAYER REQUESTS:

We fall in love with this country more every day and so then our hearts break more and more as we watch the struggles the country are facing right now with a fuel shortage & complications from that, resulting in little to no food, water, transportation, work etc for the people. The kids cannot go to school. Protests making it hard for anyone to go anywhere. Please pray for these resilient, hard working people that love their families just like you do, that love their God just like you do, that work hard to provide for their families just like you do.

Please pray for Isaac concerning school. Pray for God to continue to work healing in Isaac with some of the issues he deals with, wisdom for us as we guide and help him and his teacher as she learns what is the best way to reach & help him.

Continued good health & protection for our family. Also as we continue to transition to this new way of life and new season. Pray we will focus on God and not the things we are leaving behind or miss. That we would see this beautiful country and the people here like God does and that we stay so attuned to the Holy Spirit for His daily guidance of what He wants us to do here for His kingdom.

Thank you so much for your prayers this first month. Thank you for your support. Your faithfulness in giving how God has called you to, allows our family to be here and do what He has called us to do here. We thank God so much for you!   Love, Jim & April Starkey 

WE ARE HERE! (Our first week in Haiti)

69254670_10157396912996069_3979190953821863936_oWe did it! We made it through our first official week in Haiti as a family. We have actually been here 12 days now! We started our journey Thursday morning saying goodbye to our families at the airport and flying to Ft. Lauderdale that first day. On the second morning we woke up and flew to Port Au Prince, Haiti and then took RMI’s bus on a 4 1/2 hour journey to Les Cayes, our new home. We were warmly welcomed by RMI staff and had a delicious meal waiting for us as well.

69445255_10220059769181982_8519158285490716672_n

69467765_10220059771782047_3966881427227672576_n

69035920_10220052608402967_7648396341021769728_o

The first week we stayed at the guesthouse behind the Nunemaker’s while we worked hard on getting our house in order and beds set 69455106_10220112810267976_4403653530779385856_nup so we could start sleeping in our home. We have been at our home for 5 days now and it has been wonderful working on it and slowly making it US each and every day. We are so grateful to our organization, RMI, who has given us plenty of time in this beginning period to just acclimate to the weather & culture and make our house a home. In the coming weeks we will start field orientation and language studies. Then after that we will actually start our ministry work.

69307387_10220078322285798_4989750828190400512_n68939359_10220059728620968_1072645147050639360_n68740559_10220059727260934_5654258461601431552_n

The beauty here is astounding. I have teared up so many times while staring out at God’s creation here. As we ride our ATV/dirt bike on these bumpy dirt roads in the heat, there is something so peaceful about it. There are no words to quite describe how it feels as we drive along through the hills, the village and smell the Haitian food cooking, hear them worshiping in church and seeing smiles all around as we pass them by. We long to get to know them, grow in their language so we can start building relationships. Only God knows what He has planned, but we are excited to see who we get to meet along this journey and most of all see God working here. He’s been here, He’s been doing a great work here, we now just get to be a small part of it and we cannot wait to see the lives, including ours, that He works in and changes for the good, for His glory, for His kingdom!

We can’t say it has been all rainbows & butterflies 😉 We definitely had some tears, a LOT of sweat haha, exhaustion and feeling a bit overwhelmed at times. HOWEVER, God has shown us this week, that HE IS OUR STRENGTH! He is constant, He is never changing, even when all of life is changing a lot. It truly has been a great week all in all though.

We had a LOT more good moments than hard moments thankfully! 🙂 The good definitely outweighs the hard. Some of this weeks good included seeing everyone again at RMI and meeting new friends too. Seeing our new home and incredible view of Gods creation that we get to see daily. Watching our boys make new friends and have so much fun playing daily with them. Riding our ATV and motorbike. Making our house into a home. Watching our boys start their first day of school. Haitian food…need I say more! Hearing from our house, the Haitian people worshiping down below in the village.

Some of the things we have had a chance to do this week include going to our first Haitian wedding. Anderson, a friend of ours, invited us to his wedding and it was such an honor to be a part of it. It was very beautiful and brought glory to God!

We got to have lunch at the boys teachers house this week with our house staff and hers. It was so wonderful sitting all around together eating and getting to know each other.

I was able to go into town with other RMI staff to get some paint for the Zeke’s room as we ran out of the paint we brought. It cost $40-$50 per gallon depending on the color eeeek 😉 So I decided to only get one and we came back and used leftover paint from the living room for the rest of his walls haha. We also went into town looking for chain for our hammock and after trying 4-5 stores we still couldn’t find what we needed so we need to figure out what to use now to get our hammock up. I had to walk across that rickety old bridge with boards spaced far apart in the pictures above. I have a fear of heights, so that was fun for me! 😉

We as a family got to go to a school outing with all the other families in the boys classroom. We had such a wonderful time and it helped the boys get more excited about school since they were getting to know their classmates.

I had the chance to go to my first ladies tea now while living here. They have these weekly so the ladies in the community can get together for encouragement, support and just good ol’ chat time together. The boys love it because the kids come and play outside while the momma’s talk inside.

All but Daddy and Isaac have had bouts of sickness this week and one injury that resulted in us needing to go to the “hospital” here but all was well and we are all feeling better now so we praise God for that.

69870359_10220142942901273_2609743294371987456_n
The boys all ready for their first day of school!

69366257_10220078321405776_5781067740383019008_n

WE ARE SO CLOSE!!!

Since we are so busy here now in Haiti, it is much harder for us to try and raise the rest of the monthly support that we need. So would you please pray with us, for the last $300 a month that we need to come in. Thank you so much. We are BEYOND grateful to be 95% raised and have been blown away to see how God brought it in so quickly at the end. It has been so growing to our faith to see His faithfulness and provision in this journey. We have NO DOUBT we will get it in His timing. If you would like to be a part of our support team, please let us know. We can let you know how to go about doing that! http://www.toHaitiwego.com/donate

If we get 6 people at $50 per month we will be FULLY FUNDED! How awesome is that!

Prayer Requests

    • For continued good health and strong immune systems to keep sickness away.
    • Safety while we drive our ATV/dirt bike and even RMI cars on the roads as traffic here is nothing like in the states.
    • Continued prayer for us getting use to this heat and humidity.
    • For quick & fast learning as we start in a few weeks with our language studies.
    • For the boys as they started their first day of school today. This is a new transition for them as they have been homeschooled up until now.
    • For us and our families as we already miss each other a lot.
    • For Jim & April as we learn how much food to get each week, what type of food, where to get it, and how to pay with Goudes instead of American dollars.
    • For our relationship with our staff to grow. Pray that day by day, the language barrier would be less and less and our relationships grow more & more.
    • Mesi anpil (Thanks a lot) for your prayers & support. God has used you all in such a mighty way to strength & encourage our hearts. We love you all. Love, Jim & April

One month to go!

Today is exactly one month until…

Our family moves to Haiti!

The past month we have been busier than we have been in our entire lives. It has been a good busy though. We first packed up all of our belongings and since they would be making the trek across our country, the ocean and Haiti as well, we had to really pack well. We have never seen so much foam sheets, bubble wrap, shrink wrap & packing tape! 😉 Jim and his friend Jim Jameson drove our U-Haul down to RMI headquarters in Florida where our shipping container was dropped of. They loaded it and then our container started its journey shortly after. It will Lord willing, arrive right around the time we do next month, in Haiti.

Now that we have the packing done and our belongings on their way, we are finishing last minute details with the sale of our home, getting the stuff we need to get our permis in Haiti and spending as much time with family & friends as we can. The boys were VERY excited when their passports came in the mail.

We have a new mailing address!

SHIP TO:

Jim & April Starkey – CAY 30007
c/o Agape Flights
100 Airport Ave E.
Venice, FL 34285

We would LOVE to receive mail from you all when we are in Haiti. There are a few things to keep in mind though that we wanted to share.

  • All packages or items over 1 lb will cost us $4 per pound to receive it, so if you can possibly pay that fee through Agape by calling them or going on their website to pay ahead of time, then we won’t have to pay that fee to receive the mail. That helps out a lot.
  • With that in mind, go in with others to help on shipping costs if you want to send a care package and make sure to weigh beforehand so you are not surprised by shipping costs.
  • Please do not mail us anything until the last week of August or after.

We have been asked from time to time what items would be helpful to have down there, for others to ship to us as a care package. Of course once we are down there, we will know more and give an updated list but for now we will share what suggestions we have heard from other missionaries in our area:

1. Spice/food packets such as spices, ranch packets, taco packets.
2. Jello & pudding packets that we can make popsicles and other things with.
3. Flavored drink mixes we can use for our shave ice machine a friend got the boys.
4. Letters, cards & drawings.  Updated photos of your family.
5. Seasonal/holiday items for decor or food.
6. Artificial color/dye free gummies & candy for the boys.
7. Essential oils, which we will diffuse in our home & use for our family in many ways.
8. Jim & April are avid readers so any great devotional, encouraging, or growth biblical based book.

TIP: If you send anything that is sealed, pop a small pin size hole in the bag (due to air pressure in airplane) and draw a circle around it so we can easily find it and tape it once it arrives.

Copy of Starkey FamilyMonthly Supporters (1)

Some go, some send. 🌎✈️

We are going, we need senders. 

Are you a sender?

Prayer Requests

1. Please pray as we speak one last time at our home church on August 4th and at North Buffalo Grace Brethren Church on August 11th.
2. Pray for us to finish this side of the journey well, as we say good bye and finish all we need to do on this side.
3. Praise God for the sale of our home. Please pray that our two vehicles will sale before we move. A 2016 Kia Sedona Van & 2010 Limited Toyota Rav 4.
4. Our boys have asked to get baptized before we leave and so they are getting baptised on our “send off” Sunday, Aug 18th at our church. They have some nerves about it though so please be praying for their hearts and nerves.
5. For the health of all of us. April has what we believe to be a morton’s neuroma (inflamed nerve) on her left foot, making it hard to walk.
6. For our transition with weather, settling into our new home, boys starting school there a week after we move and everything else that comes with transition.
7. For the rest of the monthly support we need to come in before we move.

Rejoice with us friends! God has been nothing but faithful on this journey. From 1 1/2 years ago when this all started to now, it has been truly amazing to see the way He has orchestrated everything. The best part has been how He has done it through YOU ALL! You are the hands that are sending us…TRULY! Thank you for being a part of what Jesus is doing in Haiti! Lives forever being changed for His glory & Kingdom because of your faithfulness in giving & supporting our family to go. We are so thankful for you all. We love you. 

Love, 
The Starkeys