Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

He Always Knows Right Where To Hit…

Today is Asher and Levi’s first birthday! I remember their first day so well. I had a doctor’s appointment. I was in the doctor’s office and I kept telling the nurse that I thought I was in labor. She told me it was “nothing”. Nothing? So she let me sit there in the waiting room for a while until my mom finally said –  I think she’s going to have these babies!!  So they put me on a monitor. Levi’s heart rate was too low and I was rushed for an emergency c-section. So it was “nothing” right? Sometimes a mom just knows.

Watching my little boys walking all over the house – it’s hard to believe it’s been a year. I won’t bore you with their story – after all you had 9 long months of waiting for their arrival. I really need to go back and delete most of last year!! LOL!

I have been ready to battle here. In a lot of ways I’ve even been looking forward to it. Nothing like getting totally frustrated and angry on His behalf!! It’s kind of exciting to know you’ve got something to fight for!

I don’t know if you remember the story of the mission’s church in St. Louis. We bought the land from a voodoo owner. When all the men had left for Port-au-Prince to take a group back – 200 people in their ceremonial clothes – with animals in hand – came to the land to make a large sacrifice for Satan.

A visual battle of good versus evil took place that day. As they threatened to bloody that land – three missionary women held hands and sang songs with the name of Jesus. Our ladies and children from the nutritional program sheepishly joined them. While the voodoo people tried their hardest – they ended in frustration – releasing their animals and walking off the land.

The next Sunday at church the townspeople who had witnessed the scene came and said – Tell me about the Jesus that makes the voodoo people leave. Tell me about the Jesus who is more powerful than satan.


I have been praying for the hearts of the people in the Mole. I’ve been praying that a visual battle will take place here  and they will want to know about the Jesus who is more powerful than satan. I’ve been waiting for satan’s punches – preparing for them over the last few weeks. I’ve been looking for the places I know he wants to take charge. I’ve been gearing myself with the armor of God – ready for the battle.

But man – does satan know right where to punch or what? He’s got our 411 on our most vulnerable spot. For a mother – there is no place better to hit than that of her precious baby. You say anything about our children and those are fightin’ words!

I have been preparing for every battle except the one that is closest to my heart – my children. Since arriving in the Mole my little Asher has been attacked. Unsure if he’s having seizures or heat strokes – his little body has had 10 episodes where he goes limp and lifeless for minutes at a time. Wow — didn’t see that one coming.

My momma sent me this email last night:

Jody, i am praying the armor of God over him continually.  You pray that too.  That no firy darts of satan can get to him because sickness is of the devil and you just moved out there to do a mighty work and satan doesn’t like that.  Stand firm honey and keep a watch over Asher but know that God is right there with you as you sleep beside that precious boy.  I heard something tonight on the spiritual channel….some prayer, some power   more prayer, more power   –  much prayer, much power….so have people pray, pray, pray!  love, momma

Nothing like having a praying momma. Nothing like having a praying family. Nothing like having a praying community. Please commit my little boy to your prayers. Satan hit me in my weakest spot. I’m not going to lie – I have been very worried and my first response was to fly him to the states. But wouldn’t satan just love it that our first week out in the Mole – we’re taking that emergency flight to the states? I should have predicted it from the prayer-request list I blogged about a few days ago.

I am keeping in contact with his pediatrician in the states but I believe that I am NOT supposed to take him out right now. There is much work to be done here – and while the battle wasn’t what I expected – I’m suited up and claiming victory in His name.

Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

We’re Home…

We are safe and sound in the Mole. It was quite the adventure here. We had two flat tires which made for a 6 hour drive! Malaya was sick the entire time – throwing-up outside the window because the driver didn’t want to stop anymore! Gabriel was hungry and crying most of the trip and Gigi was making monkey noise! The twins and Mikela and Rosie weren’t too bad although we were all going stir crazy.

It was harder than I thought when we pulled outside the mission gates. Several of the employees had come by Monday morning to say good-bye. They waited in the courtyard as we pulled away. Something about sitting on my steps and seeing my front door closed – realizing we don’t live there anymore – it really hit me. Jose too. The dogs thought we were leaving them but were excited when we put them in the back of the truck.

The house was already fixed up and ready from the week before. So it was a nice transition for the children to come here and see all their things. The girls really love their home. Gabriel was on the floor playing with his cars within 5 minutes of arriving. Gigi was a little nervous about walking up the steps to the house. She definitely didn’t know where she was. But when we brought her to the daybed and had her doll laying there  – she made a loud happy noise and started bouncing on the bed and chewing on her dolls’ hair!! It’s her favorite thing to do!

The twins are walking!! Not sure if I told you that already or not. They have been walking all over the house and getting into EVERYTHING! They will turn 1 on June 25th. Hard to believe it’s been a year. Hard to believe what all has changed since they came into this world. When I connect all the pieces – they’re actually the reason we are in the Mole. Listen to this and tell me if this isn’t some sort of God’s great plan:

1) We’re told we cannot get pregnant without medical intervention.
2) We end up with twins – TOTALLY UNEXPECTEDLY
3) I’m sick and have to go the states for 9 months
4) Because I have to leave Haiti due to the pregnancy – we bring Melonnie on as my assistant
5) Melonnie learns to manage all the groups and daily operations while I’m gone
6) Because we finally have help with groups in St. Louis- I can now go to the Mole and start a new campus plant
– – and it all started because we got pregnant with twins!

So the kids do seem to be adjusting. We were most worried about Gigi but I really think she’s doing well considering everything is new. We walked her to the pastor’s house last night. Granted – everyone stares at her – but we haven’t heard anyone making fun of her.

If I had to say if anyone was struggling I’d say it was our dogs. Most of you who’ve been to Haiti know that our dogs bark at everything and Diddle likes to snip/bite. We’ve had people in our house all day long and not once have they made a noise. I don’t think they know what to think yet. We were actually worried that they would bite the people here because they’re very protective of our house in St. Louis – but so far – they’ve been very friendly!

We met with Tate Williams from Global Orphan Project last night. We walked on the land and started to lay out all the plans for the campus. Dreaming about all the programs and all the people we could help – it was REALLY exciting! We had a great discussion about how we can really partner together and I feel like for the first time we have a real grasp on the potential for this Mole campus.

As for the summer:
We have Borden/ Northside Group with us right now. There are about 35 people total. We rented out the entire hotel. They will spend the night tonight, do a VBS tomorrow, give out goats to a few needy families, and then head to PAP in the afternoon. When they leave – Savannah Christian Church joins us and are here for a week to do a community census. The day they leave – we have another group of 30 join us from Kansas City!! Then we have a week break and then more groups until August 6th. There’s only about one week this summer where we don’t have a group! Pretty exciting since we just moved here.

Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

And Away We Go…

Jose and I have fixed up the house in the Mole and it’s ready for the kiddos. We have spent the last several days in St. Louis gathering the remains of our belongings – fridge/freezer/washing machine/clothes/etc. The one thing that was holding us back from taking the kids out there was having a generator.  As I have said before – it’s really hot out there and you cannot find a cool drink anywhere in the town.

Jose went to Port-au-Prince yesterday to buy a generator so that we can actually have power a few hours a day. I feel much better knowing I can mix the babies’ bottles with cool water and that we can take out some meat and not worry about it being spoiled.

Through the efforts of generous people – we were able to purchase our gas stove and gas dryer! Thank you all so much! We were a little taken back by the price of the generator though. We had hoped to purchase one in Port-au-Prince for 6500.00 but it ended up costing us 10,000.00. It’s an 11K generator. We kept debating about what to do. We only had 5,000.00 to put towards it. At the same time there is ministry to be done there. We saw the children experience their first VBS. I do not want to wait any longer to be the face of Jesus to the people in the Mole. The earthquake has taught me how precious time is.

So we bought it and it’s on a truck headed to the Mole right now. Tomorrow we load up everything including our dogs and our children for the 5 hour drive out there! That should be an adventure!

I do have a few things I would like for you to specifically pray about.

1) Evangelism – That the hearts in the Mole would be open and willing to hear about the word of God. That we can fight through some of the deep roots there and change the Mole for HIM! Pray for there to be unity among fellow pastors there. Pray for the programs we will start and that they will bear fruit.

2) The Mole – This town is a really good town. I do not want to corrupt it with our groups. There is a reason why you walk out the gates here in St. Louis and you are attacked by people begging. It’s because we created that system. Every time someone asks you for your shoes/watch/money and you give it to them right there on the spot – we’ve taught them the rewards of begging. When you throw money/candy – off the back of trucks – you’ve taught them to attack every mission truck that goes through their town. WE created this system. Right now we walk the streets WITHOUT begging. We actually blend in with the town. The moment groups start creating a system of rewarding those that beg –  it’s the moment we change the town forever. Pray that in all that we do – that we learn from past mistakes and make an effort to keep the innocence of this town in tact.

3) Gigi – She has become so comfortable here in St. Louis. She walks all over this campus. She just started feeling comfortable enough to leave the house without anyone and loves to randomly sit with people in the group dining hall. When the Miriam Center moved from one building to another – I saw what it did to Belle. She’s never been the same since. I am worried that Gigi will regress when we move. She likes her schedule and her little world here. Please pray she adjusts well. The Haitians still don’t seem to get it. They all thought we would leave her here when we moved. She is OUR DAUGHTER! This will be the first time that the Mole will really see children with special needs. I know how much the people here used to tease them – stare at them – and ridicule them – right to their face. I hope that we are able to teach the people in the Mole how to love children who are different – just like we did here in St. Louis.

4) My Health – I’m sure it’s because of the stress of leaving but the last three days my migraines have come back with full force. Magdala stuck me 5 times today trying to find a vein. No luck. The migraines cause me to throw up and I’m too dehydrated right now. The biggest concern that everyone has for me is that I tend to be someone who needs IV’s about 5 times a year – and that’s on a good year. Jose really pushes fluids on me when I’m in the mole and I am learning to be more conscientious about that out there.

5) For the health of the teams – I am a nurse and am bringing out supplies for groups if they get sick. I practiced sewing up someone yesterday. I hadn’t done that since Miss Pat lived here!! I really try to avoid the “sewing department” but I also realize I need to be able to do that if one of my kids/group members require a stitch. We have always been blessed to be right here by the hospital but we’re over 1.5 hours from the next hospital in the Mole. There is a Czech Clinic in town but I’m not sure what all they can do there.

6) For Our Needs – money to finish paying off the generator, a vehicle (4-wheeler, club cadet, truck – anything) that will help us travel in case of emergency, money to help build our home, and for an emergency-free year. This could possibly the first year I don’t have to fly to the states for emergency medical problems. Avoiding that for one year – wow – that sure would help our finances.

Thanks again for encouraging us along this journey. We consider it a privilege to share our lives with you – the good and the bad! So many of you write us and we have never met – yet we all feel like family. Being on the mission field can get lonely at times. We don’t have a church family to drawl strength from. I used to think that was a bad thing. But God did so much more for us. He gave us this amazing mission family – the missionaries who live here – those that come to visit every year – and those that pray and encourage us from afar. What more could we ask for? 😀

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Nothing Like A Little Bonfire On The Beach…

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend our first week in the Mole with. They were amazing!! We had another great VBS today! I really forgot how much I love working with the teams and the children.  We had a wonderful debriefing tonight. We decided to do a picnic on the beach and talk about our trip. We made  a little bonfire. The only thing missing was the S’mores and hotdogs!

Hearing the Americans talk about their experience here – it brought tears to my eyes. I love seeing Haiti through the eyes of first-time trippers.  It was such a great night of fellowship. We ended tonight with the group  circling around us (plus Grant and Natasha). They laid hands on us and prayed. It was very moving and humbling. Tomorrow we head back to St. Louis for a few days. We have talked to the kids everyday and they keep asking for us to pick them up! They’re ready to move to their new home and their new home is definitely ready for them!

I feel so encouraged tonight and ready to fight the battles that satan throws our way!

Here are a “few” pictures from this week. We forgot our camera so these were taken on our phone!

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Eat Mole Chicken…

We spent an afternoon fellowshipping with the pastor’s family the other day.  Together – we have come up with some cool ideas to help bring people to the church. I’ll write more about that later. I am very excited about it! 🙂

I have to tell you if there is any “fleshly” desire that Jose and I have – it would be for Chick-a-Filet to open up a chain in Haiti. I’m sure it’s a – 1 in 10 million chance – although I could probably rally up a couple million signatures in favor for it.

But I won’t set my standards that high. No. I won’t even think about a bucket of wings. Or that new chicken sandwich that doesn’t use buns but two pieces of chicken with cheese in the middle. No – I’m not going to think about that. That’s too much. I’m simply saying – can’t we find a chicken leg? Nope.  There’s a saying (or maybe it’s just something I say) – “It ain’t no thing but a chicken wing”. Meaning whatever it is – it’s simple and easy – just like it is to find a chicken wing. WELL –  That’s not the case in the Mole!

I know that the mission already has a large goat ministry – BUT- what the Mole needs is chicken!! You can only purchase goat and fish here. You have to drive over an hour for the chance to find chicken or even an egg for that matter. (They kind of go together).

So here’s the deal – we need some of you goat-lovin’ people to expand your horizons and buy the Mole some chickens! The pastor thought this was an excellent idea and would really help the community. We would also like to build some chicken coops. We already have a few needy families in mind.  These chickens could potentially change their lives and help them take care of their hungry children.

And if you’re just selfish – we need the chickens for those great cheesy omelets Jose is going to make you when you visit us! Yeah that’s right – we’re not above bribery!

We can buy one chicken here for 10 USD. We can build a chicken coop for about 20USD.

If you buy it – they will eat it. Enough said.

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

First VBS In The Mole…

Today was an awesome day! First of all I just wanted to let you know I’m writing you from our house! We finally got the internet to work. We had gone to the internet cafe downtown a few nights ago but then it lost it’s signal and we’ve been unable to communicate. But it’s working now! I won’t even begin to tell you the number of emails I’ve missed since Friday! Lots of work to do but I’m so excited to work from our new home!

Jose and I haven’t had much time to explore the town. This is a very historical village. We have two groups here with us right now – Pleasant Valley Baptist Church and Feed My Starving Children. We took them on a tour of the town. We walked in the poorest zone and all along the coastline. We found another fort! Pretty cool. We also found some cannons and cannon balls. We found a building that’s shaped like a cave. This is where they used to make gunpowder back in the 1800’s. The air is really cool in there. Grant said he might sleep in there tonight!

We met the townspeople all along the walk today and invited the children to come to our VBS at 2:00. We found amazing places you could snorkel – just absolutely beautiful rocks and little caves. We had no idea how much history was still intact in this village. It’s pretty incredible.

At 2:00pm we had 200 children – that’s right – 200 children show up for VBS! This is the first VBS we’ve ever done here. The children didn’t know what to expect. Pleasant Valley had prepared a puppet show. The children have NEVER seen a puppet show. We had crafts, they did handprints on papers, made little telescopes, sang songs, played games, and received a few small gifts. The children kept coming and coming. Children of all ages. It was really neat to see them experience this for the first time. It was sort of an organized chaos. We did it on the street. The kids really behaved themselves well. There was no fighting or pushing. The older kids weren’t stealing from the younger kids. It really went well. I know the Americans were a little overwhelmed and at times it seemed a little crazy – but that is NORMAL for VBS here. We will do another one tomorrow. The children told me they were going to invite all their friends! I can’t wait to see the turn out.

The Mole is kind of located in a cove. The group took two motor boats out today to explore some of the caves and to visit the land right across from the Mole. I don’t do boats – so I didn’t go with them. But that’s where they are now. They’ll do a little exploring and swimming and then come back for dinner at 6pm. Tonight we plan to just play basketball and soccer with the kids. You should have seen the group last night.  Even though they were so tired from the trip here – they were all out and about. This is the kind of town where you can go outside the hotel at 8pm and not have to worry that you don’t have an interpreter with you. The street lights are on from 7p-10pm. I encouraged the group to take soccer balls out when the lights come on and start a game with the kids. This morning before breakfast the group had already gone to the market and spent time with the people. I LOVE IT.

The first few days here have been rough for Jose and I but we found such encouragement today. Just seeing how excited the children are – seeing all the Americans out fellowshipping – it’s been such a boost to our morale and a reminder why we are here.

Posted in NW_Personal Ministry Update, Personal Stories

Hello From The Mole…

We do not have internet at our house but we found a small little cyber cafe!!

We arrived in the Mole around noon on Friday. We brought with us a carpenter to put shelves in our rented house. We also brought with us a steelworker so that he could put bars on some of our windows and make a stand for our solar panels.

The two trucks with all our furniture arrived around 7pm. I had a few sad moments when I realized that the trip here: broke the headboard to our bed, rubbed the wood and part of the paint off a dozen other pieces of furniture, our conference table cracked, a few of the kids toys bent in half, and two glass stands beyond repair (the glass made it fine packed separately). UGH…..I wasn’t happy at all.

Somehow in the midst of all our last minute packing we forgot to bring any fans. Smart – right?? The heat here can take your breath away. I’ve actually never been in the Mole with this sort of heat. Being close to the ocean there’s normally a breeze. Since Friday the heat has been horrid and the breeze non-existent. I would have cried but I sweated out all my tears! You cannot buy a cold drink in this town. Everything is warm. You know it’s sweaty-hot when you drink 7 bottles of water and still don’t go to restroom. Wisley (who is Haitian) told me last night that only Hell is hotter than it is right now! So I know it’s not just me!! I started to worry for Asher and Malaya – both of them breakout really bad with heat rashes. I imagined how miserable the children would be and I began to doubt what we had just signed up for.

On Saturday we had a group of 8 join us.  They were AWESOME!! Brent Bramer and Barb Enata who are new NWHCM staff were apart of the group. It was great to share our heart and vision for the Mole with them.

We also had one of the members from the group Seabird. They have opened for Switchfoot and have written music for a few TV programs. We had a special concert Friday night followed by a movie. Jose and I used to have Friday night movies in St. Louis. It was a way to reach the youth. There is nothing to do here in Haiti. Offering something on a Friday – ANYTHING on a Friday – just keeps the teens from getting into trouble and offers them a safe place to hang out. We are really excited about our Friday Outreach Program.

Some of the surrounding “Pastors” heard about our Friday evening event. They told our Pastor that they wanted to meet with him at 6pm – right in the middle of our concert. He told me to pray for him because this is the first time they have reached out a hand to him.  However – it was a fake meeting. They thought if they called for him to come for a meeting in the middle of the concert he would cancel it. It broke his heart and ours as well. We have met much resistance here with the other churches. They do not do anything for the community and they don’t like it they we are reaching out to the people. They have already made a few threats.

But let me tell you about this past Friday night – it was so beautiful. Children and youth from the street poured into the church as Seabird performed. The church isn’t very big but it was standing room only. It was truly a light in the middle of darkness. It really hit me – the reality has set in. God has called us to be the light in a dark, sweaty community!! He never told me it would be easy. I knew we would have problems but I think God left a few things out of the fine print! 🙂

Church was packed Sunday morning. There weren’t enough chairs for everyone. We brought a sound system and a keyboard. They were so excited. There were at least 4 specials, they sang several songs together, and hands were in the air. It was a nice contrast to last Sunday and definitely a change in the right direction.

The sermon was about laying your fears at His feet. If we really believe in Jesus and His power – we should never be afraid for anything. No matter how difficult life gets – never let fear be apart of it. Our homework was to search out our hearts for the insecurities and fears we carry and lay it at His feet. AMEN.  I had given the Pastor several ideas and topics for the church. Never did I dream he would be speaking right to me. I had laid my insecurities at His feet when we left St. Louis and then picked them back up once we felt the heat. God spoke right to my heart in that very moment  – in a little stick church – in Mole St Nicholas.

The St. Louis campus is a little bit of Heaven in a 3rd world country. I am realizing that more and more. But let me tell you what God did for me. Maybe you will disagree and say that He didn’t really do it for “me” but I will always believe He did. He made it rain the last two days. Not a hard rain – but just enough to cool the air. It has given us a chance to catch our breath. Just when you think it’s more than you can handle – God proves that He will NEVER give us more than we can take.

I believe God is trying to show me another world. It’s been a hard but eye-opening lesson. He’s not finished with me yet! 🙂

We continue to seek Victory – In His Name.

Posted in Personal Stories

Onwards and Upwards…

It looked like my house threw-up on the courtyard today. It was really surreal seeing everything we own outside at the foot of our steps. My dad came to help us load up two rice trucks! Praise God for that! If it weren’t for his wisdom in packing –  my stuff would be scratched or broken!  It has a 6 hour BUMPY ride before it reaches the Mole!

We had a major thunderstorm and downpour towards the end of the day. So we had a forced time-out for about 45 minutes. Luckily we found tarps to cover everything while we waited out the storm. We started at 10:30am and finished at 7pm. I heard devotions starting upstairs as we were finishing up the last few boxes.

We have spent the last few weeks packing up the house into suitcases and garbage bags. It’s one thing to pack the stuff up and another thing to walk into a COMPLETELY EMPTY house. Our house was in the middle of construction the first time Jose and I slept here. We didn’t have doors or windows. Bats would fly in and out of the house and I would cringe! But it was home. So even though it wasn’t finished – we slept with mattresses on the floor.

Here we sit again. All the kids have mission mattresses on our bedroom floor. It’s a slumber party! Everything’s gone – I mean everything – every bed, every chair, every table, night stand, children’s toys,  – everything we have.  WOW! Weird.

We have a group from Pleasant Valley and Feed My Starving Children who will be spending a week with us out at the Mole. We will start construction on the church. That’s exciting!!

We have decided for this first week, we will go there without the children. We want to be able to get the house “ready” for them  – instead of them being there without any power, food, or beds! We have a small generator we’re taking out there. It should give us enough power for internet. So hopefully the next time you hear from me it will be from our home in the Mole.

We plan to come back to St. Louis for a few days around June 14th. This is when we’ll take our fridge and freezer and most importantly – the children!!

We have laid our insecurities at His feet. It’s time to follow His call and we are SO CRAZY EXCITED!!!