Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Hey, I just got done with a new post and I thought of this. If anyone wishes to donate money we ask that the checks be made to Community Coalition for Haiti and that you write CCH Iowa in the memo line. We have received some donations and want to make sure that they are tax deductible for you. Community Coalition for Haiti is based in Virginia and they have been kind enough to allow us to form an Iowa chapter and use their non-profit for any donations we recieve. This allows your contributions to be tax deductible as they would not be if the checks are made out to Stacey and I directly. If you would like to know more about Community Coalition for Haiti visit CCHaiti.org on the web. Thank's so much.
Stacey really did a great job telling our story. It is fun to reflect on how powerful God wants to be in each of our lives. I would like to say thank you to those who have responded to the blog and thank everyone so much for your generosity and your thoughts and prayers. Stacey and I cannot not express how grateful we are for all the prayers and kind words that have been said for us and to us. We have been impressed by so many people, sometimes people we barely know that have kept us in their prayers. It is amazing to see the living body of Christ at work and to see how each of us fits into His plans. Stacey and I wish everyone a blessed Christmas and we pray that God reveals to each of you "how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


We have been strongly encouraged to enter this technological age with a blog about our call to serve in Pignon, Haiti. You may be able to tell I have very little computer savvy and even less blog savvy. This is a new frontier for us!

Here is our story.....

Travel back with me if you will to March 2007. The winter then, unlike now, was fairly mild and spring was fast approaching. Our family had been attending church at TRC, (Third Reformed Church) in Pella, Iowa for a little over two years. We had moved back to the area when Jared took a job with the Jasper County Sheriff's Office and were in need of a home church. We said we would never go to Third, (God has a sense of humor!) because Jared's younger sister worked and attended there along with the rest of his immediate family. We thought we wanted anonymity and we were not going to let family influence where we attended church. I'm not sure why we visited, but after hearing one sermon by Pastor Kevin Korver we were hooked.

As I mentioned we were seeking God but wanted to do so anonymously. Third is a large church and we were able to come and go without necessarily running into people we knew and without having everyone knowing our business. It was just what we wanted. The children's ministry is fabulous and has done it's job encouraging our kids ages five and three to seek Jesus in their lives. We were happy with where we were. Little did we know God had an amazing plan in the works for us.

One Sunday in March a young man and boy were on stage as we entered the sanctuary. We were told they were from an orphanage in Haiti and would be leading the worship for our service. The beat of a bongo drum played by a boy probably no older than 12 was peircing my heart as tears rolled down my cheeks. I wondered what was going on with me! I am not a very emotional person and here I was aching for Haiti a country I knew nothing about! Later it would be explained to me by a wise sister-in-law that the weeping and aching I felt were the Holy Spirit trying to get my attention. Well it worked. Apparently the Spririt was working on Jared as well.

On our way out the door he told me he thought we should go on a mission trip to Haiti for our tenth anniversary instead of on a vacation. I stopped in my tracks and wondered, "Who is this man?" A mission trip had never even been on our radar. He told me later that during the service he felt God telling him, "you have to go there." We both knew in our hearts we were being asked to obey a calling. The next week in the bulletin a trip to Haiti was announced for June. I knew this was our trip even though our ten year anniversary is in 2009. I called the couple leading the group and found out we were the first ones to respond. Here is were things get really interesting. If you believe in God then you must also believe Satan is real. The battle was waged against us in less than a week.

A few days after committing $2400 and 10 days in June and July to a mission trip to Pignon, Haiti our septic system collapsed. We had a four foot diameter hole in our yard that as you can imagine stunk terribly! Our kids thought is was pretty cool as they watched chunks of ground caving into the abyss. All I could see were dollars signs and wondered how I was going to back us out of our trip. We talked about it and wondered if this was God telling us to wait or if this was Satan's way of getting us to abandon Haiti. After much prayer I believed it was the latter. We agreed to wait on cancelling the trip and let the Lord work. I spoke to a wonderful woman about the possibility of a scholarship offered by our church to help defray the costs. I assumed there would be paperwork, a look into our finances, fingerprinting, a blood sample (your mind can get really carried away!) and a committee decision to see if we qualified. She looked at the tears in my eyes and heard the quiver in my voice and said we would have $1200 when we needed it. I knew right then we were going on this trip.

Unfortunately the septic collapse would not be the end of our troubles. We applied for passports 10 weeks before the trip and were told they would have no problem getting to us, so we did not expidite the service. As the trip date approached I was calling the passport agency every chance I got to check the status of our passports. I would always get the answer "they are in process." This went on for two weeks and with the trip within a week I was frantic! Someone suggested I call our Senator's office to see if they could help. A woman on his staff suggested I get everything we needed to re-apply for the passports and to be ready to travel to Chicago (our nearest agency) to get them! I went to Des Moines Wednesday before we were to leave and got my birth certificate then to the Jasper county courthouse to get another copy of Jared's, then we took pictures again. We also had to have a copy of our flight schedule to prove we had a trip scheduled.

Late Thursday afternoon I got a call from our Senator's staffer and she had finally gotten a direct answer from the passport service. Our passports were not in process, they had not even gotten to them yet. Needless to say we were on our way to Chicago that night at 10:00. Our kids got to spend the night with grandma and grandpa and we got to stand in line at 2:30 in the morning to be sure we got in. The line by 6:00 was wrapping around the federal building and we were all there to get passports! We got our passports at 3:30 that afternoon and headed home completely exhausted and wondering if God even wanted us to go to Haiti. We discovered when we were there that He did in fact want us there, full-time.

A couple of months after the trip we were both still processing when Jared came home from work and announced he thought God was asking us to go move to Haiti. I told him I felt the same way. We talked to our pastor and he encouraged us to seek wise counsel and to continue praying for discernment. We spent three Sunday afternoons in October praying with our families, friends and Haiti mission trip leaders. We were affirmed in our calling and began moving forward with preparations asking God to open doors that needed to be open and close doors that needed to be closed.

In February 2008, we travelled with our kids, Jared's parents, and my mom to Pignon. We were graciously hosted by a family running the Haiti Home of Hope orphanage. The purpose of the trip was two-fold. We were trying to determine if we were to join the family there and also to see how our kids would respond to being in a country and culture far different from their own. The kids did far better than we expected and loved being at the orphanage. We felt this was another confirmation and that God had been preparing their hearts all along.

Over the following month we prayed for discernment about whether He wanted us at the orphanage or if He had something else for us. Ultimately a door was closed and we entered a period of waiting. We prayed for clarity and patience believing God was working even though we could not see it.

After six months of praying and waiting the ball is rolling again. We made a trip three weeks ago back to Pignon and stayed with the Mompremier family of United Christians International. During that few days doors were opened as we talked with local missionaries, pastors and leaders about what they saw as needs for the area. We were very encouraged by their acceptance and support and are currently looking at a couple of possible places to land. We believe a large part of our mission will be to coordinate short-term mission trips to the area for various groups. We are also talking to area leaders about starting a training school in the area to provide much needed skills for students graduating from local schools.

There is much to be done and we are confident that God will continue to reveal his plan for us in His time. Thank you to all who have prayed with us and supported us through this great adventure.

More to come....