1. Our Weather
I don't know what it's like where you are, but oh man...it is paradise here. It's been between 80 and 90 degrees each day (26-30 Celcius), crazy sunny, breezy, sweat-shirt chilly in the mornings and evenings and perfect to sleep under a light blanket. Haiti might have a lot of it's own issues, but IT IS NEVER COLD. Right now, that's GOT to sound nice to some of you out there :)
2. Lucner and his Ti-Kay
3. Gertha's Big Announcment
Our first Christmas here, Gertha's fiance drowned with around 200 other Haitians on a boat heading to Turks and Caicos. Until a year ago, she had remained single, but last fall she started dating a young man even taller than she is named Wislin. Three weeks ago their two families finally sat down (without Wislin and Gertha, as is the custom) talked things out, and set a wedding date for May 28th.
I may not get to be there for the wedding, but I did get the pleasure of wedding dress "shopping" with her last week, which Lily thought was just fantastic, and Gertha found a dress she loved, thanks to a friend of Dodo and Bubba's who sent them back with 11 gorgeous wedding dresses.
4. Civil and the Saccanville Church
About six months ago the head pastor of the Saccanville church was taken into a church planting program, and almost instantly things at the church went downhill. Attendance dropped, preachers were hard to find, and the church really began to struggle with a lack of strong, consistent leadership. Finally, the church met with the Seminary asking for help. For two months, the seminary committed to leading worship and preaching, promising to pray about the future.
Things have been getting better slowly, but today I can honestly say that it was GOOD church this morning. Civil's preaching has been outstanding: Biblical, honest, insightful and well-delivered. Numbers are growing again, and a man came today specifically to become a Christian and we were all able to witness his conversion.
Please keep praying for this group of believers and for Civil, Fan-fan, and many from EBS and the community who are seeking to be and help His church in Saccanville.
5. Other Ti-Moun's
Of the 70+ people living and working on our seminary compound every day, ONE of them is a "ti-moun" (kid.) But a few months a year, when the farm is too frozen to farm, Jacob and Josephine join Lily, and it is SUCH a blessing for us and for her to have some other kids next door, even if they are significantly older than her.
The kids are abundantly patient with Lily, letting her tag along, making her fun gifts...like these elf slippers and new dress, and if they didn't have school, Lily would try to spend 24/7 with Jacob and Josephine.
6. Abel's New Ride
A group of you have gotten together to try to bring some small business loans (which in Haiti, are HUGE business loans, and miracles at that!) to Saccanville, and this past Friday Abel was finally able to buy his tap-tap (the name for a small truck like this used as the main source of public transportation.)
Not only will this help generate income for his family, but it will play a huge role in the continual major transportation problem our staff and students have coming to Emmaus from Cap-Haitien. Saccanville is just SO remote that many times our students will stand in the road for literally HOURS waiting for a ride.
This tap-tap will reserve a morning trip and an afternoon trip for Emmaus students and staff, picking them up and dropping them off at set times and places each day. We're all really excited about this great opportunity, but Abel is downright overwhelmed at this rare chance to better his community and family.
As always, no one was more pumped than Lily, who did NOT want to share the "baby bench" with Abel, but felt sure that it needed to be reserved just for her. Please be praying for this new venture!
7. A New Bell
It might not sound like much, but until today, EBS has still been summed to and from class, chapel, lunch and study hall with Giselain ringing an old brass hand bell. Needless to say, this leads to all kinds of flexibility in when that's being rung, especially on Friday's...her day off.
Finally, over Christmas we had the purchase approved of a bell system, John got it all hooked up, and today, everything is just a little bit easier...and more on-time!
8. Junior's Return
Junior decided at the last minute to return to Port-au-Prince for Christmas break, feeling led to do so. The Lord knew what He was doing because Junior had a fantastic month of ministry down south. Abandoned by his witch-doctor father and family when he was a young teen for becoming a Christian, Junior still doesn't really have a home in Port.
However, the little church he planted and began in Diquini after the earthquake is ALWAYS anxious to have him back and to have him work alongside them. He brought back awesome reports of church growth, dedication, individual spiritual growth, baptisms and developing leaders. However near the end of his trip, right after Haiti's past dictator returned last Sunday, the Seventh Day Adventist denomination in Port exploded with the calculated and guaranteed news that this was a sign that Jesus WILL be returning on May 21st. Thousands of tracts were distributed almost overnight, and the group of new believers in Diquini didn't know WHAT to do with the "news."
Due to the fact school had been delayed an extra week, he was available to spend an extra week with this blossoming congregation in the face of their struggle, and was able to spend hours in Bible study, prayer, counsel and research with them to help them worry not for the day or hour, but to always be prepared for Jesus's return.
Due to classes he has been able to take here the past two years, he was able to use the Bible to shed light on the false "facts" being spread, and to bring peace in a time of turmoil.
I'm so thankful for his time there, for his safe and excited return to Emmaus, and for the few days we've had with him to eat, share, pray and spend time together debriefing his time and preparing for tomorrow!
However, no one was happier to see Junior than Lily...he is one of her favorite people, and always takes the time to follow her bossy leadings! "Junior! Come in my house!"
School started off again today without too many hitches, and Matt is preaching in chapel in a few minutes! And we're off!