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The Center for Refuge Orphanage, sponsored by Ministry In Mission , has a new well thanks to a grant from the Lutheran Womens League (LWML) Northern Wisconsin District
During a trip to Haiti, in the first part of May,2017, Jackie Rychel of Ministry In Mission (MNM), Rev. Ross Johnson of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Rev. Paul Toulotte, Southern District President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH), met with Water for Life in Les Cayes, Haiti. Water for Life is an awesome organization whose headquarters are in Kalona IA. They provide well drilling throughout Haiti LCMS Disaster Response used their services to drill many wells after Hurricane Matthew.
The LWML Northern Wisconsin District grant provided enough money for two wells. Rev. Marky Kessa Southeast District President of the ELCH and also Mayor of Jacmel Haiti designated the second site in the Jacmel Haiti area that was in need of clean water.
The pictures below were taken during the May 2017 meeting with Water for Life where MNM contracted for the well to be placed at the Center for Refuge Orphanage. The actual well digging photos were sent to MNM by Roussemie Lucien, the administrator of the orphanage.
We are still in need of monthly funds to provide enough food for for the orphans at the Center of Refuge, click below to help
Last week Ministry In Mission (MNM) met in Haiti with Rev. Ross Johnson, Director of Disaster Response of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod(LCMS). The purpose of the trip was to assess the work currently being done in relief of the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew last October.
The first phase which was completed in Feb 2017 was to put roofs on the local Pastor’s homes. This allowed them to take care of their congregations and not be concerned about their personal situation.
The current phase is the construction of roofs on local churches. The “Mother” church, The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Les Cayes, Haiti sustained substantial damage, the large roof was completely torn off and the sanctuary of the church sustained water damage.
Along with several congregations in the United States, LCMS Disaster Response contributed funds to restore the church. The work is being coordinated by Rev. Paul Touloute, Southern District President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH). The metal trusses were in place and the custom ordered sheet metal was delivered the day we arrived Construction workers started the process of placing the metal on the trusses.
The reconstruction the roof on church in Carrefourre Duclo, Haiti was complete. Meeting with the Pastor of the church Rev. Jean Claude Versaillot was eye opening. Pastor Jean has been at this church for 19 years. He related to us how he and Pastor Israel Isidor had to combat the forces of Voodoo when they established this church.
a number of other churches are in various stages of reconstruction.
Many thanks to Jeni Zeller a missionary from the Iowa West District,of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. She was a team member for their Feb. 2017 Trip. Jeni, a video professional, prepared this excellent summary of their awesome service to the the people of Haiti.
Ministry In Mission has been raising money to feed the orphans at the Center of Refuge Orphanage in Jacmel Haiti by bringing art from the Artisans at Croix Des Bouquets , Haiti and selling it at church boutiques during the Christmas holidays. We have opened an online store to help this effort year round. Our first item to sell is a “He Is Risen” metal cross.
see video below that gives the background on Croix De Bouquets
In February a team from the Iowa West District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, (LCMS) traveled to Jacmel, Haiti to do mission work. Larry and Cheryl Olofson had a special mission, since they are responsible for the student sponsor program in Jacmel and Beaudouin Haiti for Iowa West. Along with their team members, and Haitian translators they interviewed and photographed well over 100 Haitian students that are or will be partially sponsored for school by U.S. donors.
The team did a ton of work being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. They painted and secured the gates and did carpentry work at the Center of Refuge Orphanage. They purchased rice,beans, corn, oil, dried fish and visited the needy elderly and prayed with them. Feeding over 100 kids on Valentines day at a special event at the at the La Chandelier Restaurant. Brought and distributed clothes, hygiene supplies, over the counter medicine . Hugged orphans, Hugged the Elderly and worshiped and helped distributed food at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jacmel Haiti.
Learning about the culture is also part of mission trips. The team had the opportunity to view the beginning week of the Carnival Festival, walk the streets of Jacmel and see the beautiful beachfront in Jacmel.
Short Video – Praying at an Elder Care Visit
On February 5, 2017, Rev. Ross Johnson, Director of Disaster Response for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Rev. Jacob Deal from Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Sharon PA, Rev. Paul Toulotte, Southern District President for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti, his wife Jeannie Toulotte and Jackie and Mark Rychel from Ministry In Mission headed to Jeremy Haiti to see the recovery efforts that have been financed by the LCMS.
Before heading to Jeremy the team visited 3 wells recently dug by Water for Life as part of the relief effort. Seven more wells are to be dug, some in very remote areas. Special thanks to Jeff and Kim Nyquist from St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg IL for leading that effort and the LCMS for funding it. It was so special to stand there and watch people come to the well for fresh water.
Traveling to Jeremy and beyond was difficult by four wheel drive with very rough or no dedicated roads but so worth it.Tuesday we left Jeremy at 7am and returned at 9 pm. We met with many Pastors in the mountains of Haiti, viewed their new roofs that the LCMS had paid for and assessed the damage to their churches as part of the next wave of relief. We also brought as much Rice, Beans Pasta an oil as we could carry to help these people whose crops were wiped out by the Hurricane. We also prayed and had short devotions with the Pastors.
At the end of the trip we had a meeting with 10 Pastors, some drove two and a half hours by motor cycle to meet with us. We listened to their concerns and needs. Their main concern was not physical but spiritual. They wanted more biblical training so that they could serve their congregations better.
Below is a video clip of part of one of the short devotions in the mountains
Last week at the Association of Lutheran Ministry Agencies (ALMA) conference in St. Louis Missouri, Ministry in Mission received the ALMA Best Practices award for the Ministry In Mission Elder Care Program. Jackie Rychel accepted the award on behalf of Ministry In Mission.
Ministry In Mission also had a display in the exhibitors area at the conference, The conference was attended by mission agencies from as far away as Africa. Information was presented on a wide range of topics by different presenters.
Tim Hetzner, from Lutheran Church Charities, an organization that frequently partners with Ministry In Mission, participated on a panel about reaching millennials.
Sue Matzke, from St. Mark Lutheran Church in Chesterland, OH reflects on her recent missionary trip to Haiti with Ministry In Mission
As I reflect back on my first Ministry in Mission trip to Haiti, mountains are what comes to mind. I’m not really certain how, but in all my trip preparations, I missed that Haiti is a mountainous country–not hills like I’m used to from southeastern Ohio, but MOUNTAINS that stretch into the clouds. I got to know those mountains quite well within hours of landing in Port-au-Prince because we needed to travel over them to get to the Jacmel guesthouse. Without my eyes glued to a smartphone or a GPS to answer my “How much farther?” I was able to soak in the breath-taking beauty of the Haitian mountains and observe the life in the villages we passed through. The cool mountain air provided a welcome respite from the sticky-hot costal areas. I also experienced my first gorgeous Haitian sunset in the mountains that evening. Karleen, a mission trip veteran and one of my mentors, pointed out to me the lights of Jacmel as we came down out of the mountains.
During the next three days we spent in Jacmel, the mountains became my off-the-grid weather report. From the back balcony of the guesthouse, I was able to see the mist of rain slowly creeping down the mountains, towards us and plan my walks to and from the church accordingly.
When we traveled from Jacmel to Les Cayes on the fifth day, the mountains became not so friendly to me. Although most of the road was the same trek we had taken from the airport, the mountains made me feel carsick. It took two Dramamine and many mints from my other mentor, Pam, for the green feeling to pass.
We spent the majority of the next two days in the mountains north of Les Cayes to check on pastors’ homes and churches, with Rev. Paul Toulotte, Southern District President of The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) as our guide. In October 2016 the LCMS provided the ELCH with grants to repair the hurricane-damaged roofs of pastors’ homes. I cannot begin to describe how remote many of these churches were. Our group traveled in a rented extended cab pick up truck and into the back of the Southern District’s Range Rover that constantly jostled us. (I took two Dramamine with breakfast each morning.) Our running joke with Pastor Toulotte was we could exclaim “What a bad road!” And he’d reply “No, no. This isn’t a bad road. I’ll tell you when we get to a bad road.” Rarely were the roads paved. We were “lucky” when they were covered in gravel and had guard rails. But most were one-and-a-half lane paths that twisted up and down the mountains with hairpin turns, scary pitches, and deep ruts. I saw three overturned gas tankers while traveling. Because of the hurricane and sometimes just because “Haiti is Haiti,” we had to ford streams and rivers because there were no bridges. Twice we had to walk to our desired location because the road simply ran out. The first time this happened, Pastor Toulott finally said “This *is* a bad road. We will walk from here.” The second time involved a 45-minute hike up a dormant volcano.
As you might have guessed, mountains can be used to figuratively describe my first trip to Haiti. Try as I might, I have not been able to come up with my one, very best, “mountain-top” Haiti experience. For me, the whole trip was a lifetime dream come true. As a first or second grader I had completed a worksheet that asked “When I grow up I want to be a __________.”and I wrote “missionary.” So just being in another country, serving the Lord was very special. I really enjoyed the Communion service in Jacmel. It was a big deal for our close-knit family to be apart for almost two weeks. Before I left I had told Andy “I’ll be with you at Communion on Sunday.” But I wasn’t prepared for the congregation joining in a large circle that extended from the chancel and down the main aisle in order to all receive Communion at the same time. I will always cherish meeting fellow pastor’s wives “Madam Pasteurs” in the remote locations. Language made a barrier between us but hugs and handholding transcended that. I look forward to seeing those ladies again in heaven and getting to talk to them. I also loved being in a country where Christians are still valued and respected. With little infrastructure, the church *is* the body that provides food for the needy, medical care and education. It reminded me of Medieval society.
Some of my smaller mountain experiences included leading Bible Studies to three different groups of women. It was neat to share via a translator my love of the Lord. I enjoyed the camaraderie of our team. There were six veterans and three newbies. I am very grateful for the kindness of my roommates/mentors, Pam and Karlene. Haitian food was also a treat. I especially liked the bananas. They were so creamy compared to their dried-out American counterparts.
And yes, there were valleys during my nine days in Haiti. Some of it I expected – roughing it with no hot water and sporadic electricity and Internet. I anticipated open sewers and beggars but there aren’t the right adjectives to accurately describe them. You just have to experience them in person.
The hardest valley was the heartbreak of seeing levels of extreme poverty. God allowed this to happen in deepening layers for me. First it delivering food to the elderly in Jacmel. Then it was seeing a heavily-guarded UN food convoy on our way to Les Cayes. The next day, I saw people who had to climb down a ravine to get iron-stained water from a steam. Next was seeing people go away empty-handed from a UN food distribution center. After that, I saw people whose only source of water was rainwater collected in cisterns. Lastly, playing “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” with a young girl who had the telltale orange-tinted skin and hair of malnutrition. I will never use the words “starving” and “empty-handed” without images of Haiti going through my mind.
Believe it or not, I’m more grateful for the valleys I experienced in Haiti than the mountains. Timothy Keller wrote in his book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering “You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” Those valleys led to the best holiday season this Type-A gal has ever had. My high standard for entertaining perfection went away. I valued the time I spent with my loved ones way over mailing the Christmas cards on time. After missing two Advent services in English, I soaked up the wonderful St Mark services. And most of all, the Baby Jesus gave me the comfort my hurting heart needed after experiencing all those valleys. The very best thing is I know Jesus will someday take me to the Ultimate Mountain – Heaven. I pray that Holy Spirit helps me get many people on the Range Rover to the Ultimate Mountain.
Recipe for an Amazing Life:
1. Take what you love, 2. Give it to God, 3. Watch what happens ~ Rev. Mark Matzke
- Desperate Need for Donations for our Haitian Brothers and Sisters In Christ
- July Quarterly Newsletter