Monthly Archives: July 2011

Project Haiti Newsletter

This is from the latest newsletter sent out on Project Haiti….

Request – July 23, 2011

These churches who are sending mission teams to work on this project in August, September and October. Pray for their preparations.

Great Bridge Baptist Church, Chesapeake, Virginia – 10 member team in August.

Park Place Baptist Church, Brandon, Mississippi – 11 member team in September.

Hillcrest Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida – 30 member team in October.

First Baptist Church, Pensacola, Florida – 25-30 member team in October

The 8 member team going July 30-August 5 with Paul Calhoun as their leader. Team members are Steven Calhoun, David Calhoun, Dr. Tom Wiley, Audra Johnson, Jann Kenney,  Mike Kenney, and Jon Michael Kenney. Please pray for these missionaries by name.  Please pray for their travel, their safety, their health, their relationships,  their work, their spiritual growth, and their witness. That the plumbing efforts to be successful this week as the goal is to run the  water lines and install fixtures throughout the clinic compound. The safety and wellbeing of our construction partners at Thirst No More.

Pray for Mathurin and Vladimir as they escort and provide for our mission teams on the ground in Haiti. Please pray specifically for these men who give so much of their time. Pray for their families, for their health and safety, and for their spiritual growth. Pray for Mathurin as he continues to teach himself English. Pray for both of them as they travel significant distances to minister to our teams. The many, many decisions that have to be made each step of the way in this project.

 Pray that we always seek God’s guidance in decisions. That every single effort is done for the glory of God alone.

God continues to draw others who desire to participate in this mission.

Praises!  July 23, 2011

The second well was drilled Thursday, July 21. Clean water was reached at a depth that will support a hand pump. So, this water well will now be openly available to residents of the existing community as well as future residents of our development.The walls are up and roofs are on all four clinic buildings.
The block press has been moved to the worksite, so local Haitians are now being employed in block making as well as in construction. Work is beginning on the security wall for the clinic compound. Electrical engineers have volunteered their time and are working on the master plan for powering the clinic compound. Several have responded to God’s leadership to provide financial means for others to go who could not do so otherwise.

 God continues to draw others who desire to participate in this mission.

To subscribe to this newsletter, contact Barbara Gladney at haiti@fbcj.org

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Patience

Once again, my time in God’s Word today has inspired me to post in our blog. Over the course of the last few weeks, I believe God has been teaching me patience and how to TRUST in His timing. I have always been the kind of person who gets an idea in her head and then charges forward with the action to get it done. No waiting around here! Sometimes this trait is good. Afterall, productivity is a must if we are to accomplish anything, right?However, I am learning that when God has a plan, we must let HIM lead the way and never let anxiety or even enthusiasm cause us to do things in our own strength, which leads to our efforts being our own and not for God’s glory. Wow. This totally hits home with me. Those of you who know me well are probably saying, “Yep! That’s you Mickie! You work harder than anyone I know.” There was a time when I might have taken that as a compliment. But now I have come to realize that when it’s all about “our effort” and not about God’s glory, the end result is simply a job done, often not as well as it could be, and a lot of wear and tear on the body; THAT’s what I’ve been going through over the last couple of weeks.

I told the story of my hospital stay after returning from Haiti in a previous post. After 3 days, several bags of fluids, and large doses of antibiotics, I came home, gave my body two days of rest, then headed off to Tuscaloosa for Jacob’s ODP camp. I ended up staying there to watch him play, but I apparently neglected my health. After experiencing a bout of dehydration, sitting in a heatwave all day, obviously not drinking enough water, I apparently lost all of the fluid I had received in the hospital. After returning from camp, I was DETERMINED to get straight to work on preparing the house to put on the market. Job one: the garage. In one day, we emptied the garage, cleaned the walls, painted, and replaced things we decided not to throw away. In my eagerness to get this done in one day, I once again neglected my body and did not drink enough water. By Monday night, a strange thing was happening in my neck. I had developed calcium blockage in my salivary gland which was causing infection to set in. This is the result of focusing on the work and not hydrating as I should. Once again, I was dehydrated, running 102 fever, and forced to return to the bed. For two days, I slept, drank water, and fed on the Word.  Yesterday, I finally began to feel like getting out of the bed, but I have not let myself feel pressured to get back to work to the point of neglecting my health. I am praising the Lord for my recovery and the reminder that if I neglect my own health, how can I help others better theirs? Afterall, that is the task He is calling us to right? In all of this, God has said to me, “Mickie, I will sell your house. Trust me. There’s no sense in killing yourself trying to get something done that I am going to do FOR you!” My response…..”yes sir.” 🙂

Okay, so back to the word God had for me today. Yes, it does tie into this overall lesson of patience and waiting on the Lord that I have been learning this summer. For my time in the Word today, God led me to the Old Testament, as He has done a lot lately, in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 1. In this chapter, Moses is leading the children of Israel toward the promised land. They had been traveling for 40 years. They were nearing the end of their journey and about to enter into the glorious land of blessings. However, in spite of all of the amazing things God had done for them along the way, they let fear and feelings of inadequacy cause them to question God and question His plan. He said to them, “See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore to your fathers” v. 8.  As their leader, Moses had even organized the people by helping them set up a sort of governing heirarchy so that they would function as a people in harmony before moving into the land. Everything was in place, and they were ready to move in. They were at the brink of a glorious promise! Sadly, they hesitated and questioned God. They refused to move into this beautiful land even after Moses sent 12 men ahead who brought back fruit from the land and reported that it was “good land that the LORD is giving us” v. 25. Everything had been prepared for them. God had led them the whole way, but they had still not learned to completely TRUST in the Lord. Because of their refusal to trust God, they would never get to enjoy the promised land. They turned around and headed in the direction of the Red Sea. Even though God did go with them, and He did continue to guide Moses as their leader, along the way they had to see how others were being blessed by God as he would take them through various places and He would say, “Do not contend with them, for I will not give  you any of the land…because I have given it to the sons of ___ for possession.” For 38 years, after an entire generation had passed, they had to watch others being blessed while they continued to wander. And to think, they were on the VERGE of the greatest blessing of their lives, yet they missed out because of fear and feelings of inadequacy. Not one of them, not even Moses, ever set foot in the promised land. Moses got to SEE it, but that’s all. Oh my! What a sad, sad story! Of course, I do not have to ponder long to determine what God has to say to us through this story!

God is preparing everything for us. God has gone before us and has assembled masses of people, organized great minds, hearts, and muscle to accomplish His great plan. He can do it with us, or He can do it without us. He is doing this great and mighty work for the people of Haiti because He desires to heal their land and bring revival and hope to their hearts. God is going to do this no matter what. This blessing is for the people of Haiti. And He has called US to be a part of this blessing. We will NOT miss out on being a part of this blessing because of fear or feelings of inadequacy. We will press on, letting God lead us and provide the answers and the directions, and we will not question His plan. That plan is to help the community of Ganthier by providing medical care and bringing the LOVE of Jesus to a thirsty, hungry people. Everything else along the way will fall into place by the Hand of God. TRUST, TRUST, TRUST.

As we continue to Trust in the Lord through this journey, we can expect others to question the vision just as the Israelites did. We can expect people who do not understand what it means to COMPLETELY trust in the Lord to interpret our actions as crazy or even irresponsible. We can expect people to even question the timing of it all. To some, we may be moving too slowly, interpreting God’s timing as hesitation on our part. To others, we may be moving to quickly, interpreting our steps as hasty or even moving ahead of God. However, we are committed to simply TRUSTING GOD. He has done SO much already. As I mentioned in an earlier post, God led me to study the book of Nehemiah immediately after He called Tony to go to Haiti for the first time. Through my study of Nehemiah, I learned that our God does things in a very organized manner, using the gifts and strengths of MANY people to accomplish great tasks. To this point, He has done exactly that. The West family is simply a PART of the big plan that HE will use to accomplish his will in Ganthier. And it is a BIG plan indeed! One thing is for sure, when I painted the words “Here I am, Lord SEND ME!” from Isaiah 6:8, this cry became the cry and committment of our entire family. We are committed to His plan to use us in Haiti, and we know that our obedience to Him will result in great and mighty things for His kingdom.

Many people have asked how they can be a part of this journey with us. The greatest thing you can do for us is to PRAY for us as well as the teams that are continuing to go and work to prepare the place where we will eventually go. Pray that God will continue to protect each member of our family from any doubts or fears that Satan may try to put into our heads. Pray that God will continue to guide our steps and move us toward our destination. This means selling our house, settling particulars that go along with moving, setting up provision for Jonathan as he continues his education here and follows the plan God has for his life (which is pretty exciting too by the way), and protection for our youngest son, Jacob, as he prepares to go on this journey with us. As I mention this, my heart tightens and my eyes burn a little as I realize how difficult this must be for him and yet how brave he is being. All of this cannot be easy for a fifteen year old to take in. There must be so many questions churning around in his head. As a mother, I have always prayed diligently for my boys, but right now I feel like I must earnestly seek the prayers of my faithful, prayer warrior family of believers to pray a wall of protection around both of my boys so that their faith is strengthened and any fears are held at bay. In addition to prayer, if God is leading you to GO and physically help, please do not hesitate to contact our missions pastor, Scott Ross, at Crossgates Baptist Church (sross@crossgates.org) or contact Barbara Gladney at FBC Jackson (haiti@FBCJ.org). There is also a great newsletter that Barbara sends out through Project Haiti at FBCJ that you can subscribe to. I will actually copy the last newsletter in another post today so you can see specific prayer needs. Lastly, if God leads you to support us financially, please contact Scott Ross at the email address above. One thing God is also having to teach me is that we cannot do this alone financially. If we were able to do that, then it would not be HIM doing it, it would be US. And because WE cannot, GOD WILL!! So we are trusting that God will continue to lead people who are able to contribute to the funding of our part in this project. Our recent trip to Haiti required us to trust God to provide $6000 in a very short period of time. Very soon the hospital bills from my illness will also begin to flow in. All we can do is pray and trust that these financial mountains will move and God will continue to forge us through on this journey. God will provide and we will rest in His assurance.

If you have made it to this paragraph, you have probably been reading longer than you had planned, and once again I apologize for my longwindedness. Thank you so much for hanging in there and continuing on this journey with us. I trust you are being blessed as you seek to know how you can be a part of the journey. Your prayers are precious to us.

Blessings!

Mickie

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God’s Reassurance

In my time in the Word this morning, the Lord took me to Isaiah 65. In verse 24 he wrote, “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” This promise is reassuring to me in that I know that before we even utter a word, God is already involved in bringing about His plan for our lives, and that plan is perfect. Understanding this does require a significant measure of faith, but once we have grasped this promise, our walk in faith becomes a source of peace to us that often doesn’t make sense to others. Here’s an example related to our journey to Haiti: If I sit down and begin to think about all of the details that have to be worked out before we leave, my mind can become clouded with more and more questions. These questions can become overwhelming if I dwell on them. However, because of His reassurance in His Word, God tells me that He is already answering my questions before I even ask them! Thats pretty cool, don’t you think? This was proven true as we prepared for our first trip as a family to Haiti.

In my last blog, I told all about our visit to Ganthier and the property to which God has called us to make our new home. Well, the story doesn’t end there! When we booked our trip to Haiti, we knew that in order for us to get a good feel for the culture and needs of the people, we needed to stay more than three days. However, after scheduling our return flight for 8 days after arrival, we realized that our time in Ganthier was only going to take one full day. There would be no construction team there at the time working, and Barbara needed to get on back home, so the big question was, what in the world will our family do for the next five days? Before I even asked the question, God already knew the answer. How do I know this? Well, first of all, He said so in His Word, but second of all, it was quite obvious God was up to something long before we even booked our flights. Let me explain…

On our last day in Ganthier, we packed up and headed to the airport in Port au Prince to meet up with a driver that had  been secured to take us to Carrefour to meet up with a medical mission team out of Canada. You may ask, “How in the world did you end up partnered with a team out of Canada in Carrefour?” Well, like I said, God was up to something long before we made our plans. Once I realized that we were going to be in Haiti for five days with nothing structured to do, I began searching the Internet for options. I emailed a couple of orphanages around Ganthier, I emailed a couple of mission groups that had trips posted online scheduled for this same time, etc. One of the groups I found in my search was GAIN which stands for Global Aid Network. I emailed Lindsey, the team coordinator, for their current Haiti mission, and she immediately replied that she would talk to her director. The next day she said it was a go, but we needed to fill out a great deal of paperwork and pay our expenses for the trip. We got all of that worked out and made plans to meet up at the designated hotel in Carrefour on Sunday after we took Barbara to the airport. We asked our interpreter, Vladimir, to go with us to Carrefour, and ironically he actually LIVES in Carrefour so that wouldn’t be a problem at all! When we arrived at the hotel, the team was still at church and it was too early to check in, so Vladimir stayed with us. Once the team arrived, introductions were made, we put our luggage in a team member’s room and off we went to our first mobile medical clinic in Ca-Ira. Vladimir went along and the plan was to drop him off near his home before heading to the orphanage in Ca-Ira. However, the driver forgot to stop, and Vladimir ended up going with us to the orphanage. Well, we soon discovered that, once again, this was all a part of God’s plan. The clinic in Ca-Ira quickly went from seeing about 40 children to over 130 people from all over the village. While Jonathan quickly settled into his roll in the pharmacy and Tony settled in to his roll assessing the health needs of the people, Jacob and Vladimir and I set out to meet people in the community and tell them about the free clinic. (This is why we went from 40 to 130 people. ha!) It was such a blessing to have Vladimir with us to help us communicate with the people in the village. We worked steadily from about 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. when we were forced to pack up because it became very dark and our doctors and pharmacy were working under the light of head lamps!

It was crazy, but it was very obvious that God had put this team together LONG before we even found one another. Jonathan’s roll in the pharmacy throughout the week was priceless. He made a daily inventory of meds to provide the doctors with a knowledge of what we had available to prescribe. He was also in charge of mixing the medications that required careful preparation before giving them to people. And because of this handy little app he had, he was able to quickly check to see if there were any conflicts or substitutions available when we needed to offer a different medication to someone. Of course, Tony’s experience with Samaritan’s Purse mobile clinics and his God-given gift of compassion and diagnostic ability made him a very valuable asset to our medical personnel. It was so cool to watch him with the children. He would put the child on his knee and talk to the parent about their needs and concerns. It was obvious that God was using him to LOVE on the people there as well as provide for their physical needs. Jacob quickly fell into his roll with the team in multiple ways. Of course, he was a huge hit with the children everywhere we went. The Haitian people love to teach Americans about their language, and Jacob quickly took advantage of that. Every day he would spend time with the children while also soaking up the language like a sponge. Jacob also worked closely with Lindsey helping her run errands to get supplies and helping her mix the rehydration salts to give out to the people in Desarmes. My biggest roll in the medical clinic became education. Each day, around 11:30, after the waiting area at the church clinic had become pretty full, my interpreter Donnie and I would give a little seminar on sanitation, personal hygiene, and hydration. After talking to them about how God had created our bodies to need plenty of water to survive, I would segway into a message on how He also created us to need the Living Water that Jesus provides. Without literal water (H2O), our bodies will dry up and become tired, hurt, and in danger of death. In the same way, without the Living Water of Jesus Christ, our spirits will dry up and become burdened with pain and hopelessness. Jesus provides the living water that gives us joy, peace, and HOPE even when our circumstances seem hopeless. This was a message that the people of Carrefour, Haiti, needed to hear, and I felt so honored to be able to be used by God to give them this message of Hope.

So you see, before we even contacted GAIN, God knew that the team needed an experinced pharmacy person, an experienced nurse, an energetic and positive helper, and an educator with a love for the spiritual needs of others to be on the team. Each member of the GAIN team from Canada also had his or her own special gifts to contribute to the project as a whole, and together we all meshed beautifully….all because GOD knew our needs and the needs of the people in Carrefour LONG before we even found one another.

Below is a slide show of some of our pictures from the week in Carrefour, Ca-Ira, and Desarmes.

On my next blog I will share a few specific stories from our experience. In the meantime, I pray that this story will be an encouragement to you as you seek God’s will for your life as well. Do you have questions about your future? Do you find yourself worrying over what you will do about a particular problem you have? Share your needs and desires with God and then TRUST that He has a divine plan for your life. He is already working out the details, but you must let go and let HIM guide you along the way. His plan is perfect. 🙂

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God’s Property

The main reason for our trip to Haiti was to see the property that FBC Jackson has been working on. FBC and 13 other churches from various states have partnered to create a community that will have a medical/dental clinic, school, church, soccer field, and approximately 40 houses with farming plots for Haitian families to cultivate their own food and live, learn, and worship the Lord together. These are pictures from our visit to the property. From the very first breath of fresh mountain breeze, I felt the hand of God all over this place. Tears flowed as we took in what wonderful things God is doing in this place. It is simply overwhelming…

We drove down a dried up river bed turned road to get to the site. Once we arrived, we began checking everything out. The well is in place, a septic tank installed, two structures near completion, another foundation done, and lots of vegetation all around. As we looked over the property, a man named Estimi walked up. Estimi is an elder in the community and Thirst No More pays him to keep watch over the property. Estimi shared with us his excitement about what is happening here because he knows it means a great future for the people in his community. He explained to Tony that “one day, God will send a man to this property to run this clinic for our people.” Tony said, “I am that man.” At this news, Estimi laid his head on Tony’s chest and cried.

The vision is big……very big. Our God is an Awesome God!!

**The slideshow and pictures below may not show up on the mobile site on a phone. To see the pictures, you will have to go to a computer.

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Looking Back – Ganthier

I decided to go back and recount a few things from the trip and provide a few pictures.

When we arrived in Haiti, Barbara, Vladimir, and Matharim (sp?) met us at the airport. Vladimir quickly became a very good friend to us. He is an amazing 26 year old young man who has taught himself English since he was 6. He speaks very good English and he was a HUGE blessing to us from beginning to end. Matharim is a local pastor who helps with the development. He drives his motorcycle back and forth from home to work site each day. Both are Godly men who serve the Lord with gladness. 🙂

We stayed in a dorm that is located behind a school in Ganthier. First Baptist has been able to rent this dorm for the year in order to provide a safe and comfortable place for teams to stay while working on the site. Here are some pictures from our time in Ganthier.

**The slideshow and pictures below may not show up on the mobile site on a phone. To see the pictures, you will have to go to a computer.

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Returning Home

We arrived home from our trip Sunday morning around 2 a.m. We decided to sleep in and recover, but as the day progressed, I began to feel very bad. I was running a fever that we just couldn’t get rid of and after several calls to the doctor, I was advised to go to the ER. NOT the way I hand envisioned ending our trip, but we are learning to go with the flow. I went on to the hospital and ended up staying two nights receiving IV antibiotics and fluids. After many, many tests, it was determined that I had some inflamation in my upper GI tract and they wanted to treat it with both antibiotics and antiparasitic medications just to be on the safe side. I’m home now, still weak, but recovering. I am slowly but surely feeling normal again. But then, as I say that, I have to ask the question, what is normal? Will I ever be the same again? I don’t mean physically, but emotionally…spiritually. I don’t think any of us will ever be the same after this trip. Our intention in making this trip to Haiti as a family was to experience the country and culture for ourselves and to seek answers to some of the questions we have been struggling with as we answer God’s call for our lives. The main question being, what and where specifically, Lord, do you want to place us and have us do? We had seen the plans for this development in Ganthier, but we wanted to place our feet on the ground and seek God’s face for the answers. We feel like we have a better picture of where God is going to plant us and what He will have us doing, but now the question is when? This seems to be the most frequently asked question among friends as well. The answer right now is still, we don’t know. We have said yes to the call to go, we have fallen in love with the place and the people, and we can see ourselves living in this beautiful place, but we do not know yet when God will physically move us. For now we will continue our daily lives, make plans to meet with the necessary people that will help guide us into this new territory and help us answer many of the more specific detail questions that we have. Pray with us please that God will continue to guide us step by step through this journey and that we will – IN ALL THINGS – let God direct our steps….all the way to Haiti.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We are so blessed!

 

This is the gorgeous view from the property in Ganthier

 

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For your viewing pleasure

Here’s a video that will bless your heart.

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Until We Meet Again

It’s hard to believe our time in Haiti has already come and gone. It has been a busy week, an exhilarating week, and an emotional week. Every single day was full of amazing events and surprises that only can be explained as the Hand of God. How could anyone hear of the things that have happened so far on this journey and not say, “Wow, God is all over this!”? I cannot think over it all without becoming emotional! An example: On our flight from Haiti to Miami our family was spread out all over the plane. I ended up sitting next to this guy from Puerto Rico. After making introductions, I discover that he is an agriculturist who travels all over the world teaching people and communities about composting, agriculture, and new innovations in sustainable organic livelihoods. After I shared our story he said, “It is no accident that I ended up on this flight and in this seat.” my eyes began to burn and I felt the tears coming without my control. This was yet another case of God going before us. You see, this guy had been in Haiti all week with no luggage. His bag never made it on the plane from Puerto Rico. So instead of taking his original flight home, he had to get on standby for an earlier flight so he could go home and get his bag before heading on to Barbados for another conference tomorrow. His was the last seat to be filled…and he ended up explaining some things to me that we will need to consider for the community in Ganthier. Just a few days ago, while standing on the property, Barbara and I were talking about this very thing! Wow. When we allow ourselves to be led by God, He takes us through some amazing experiences.

Here’s another crazy thing that happened today. Yesterday we were on the road for 8 hours traveling to and from a village north of Carrefour. We put $25 worth of gas in the truck on the way home but the gauge was broken so our driver didn’t know how much was in it. Today he was driving us to the airport and right in front of the door to the airport, the truck jerked then went dead. We were out of gas! I don’t know how much gas we had when we left the hotel, but it was enough to get us to the airport and avoid missing our flight! Ha! Apparently it’s not unusual to run out of gas in Haiti because Thomas had a much used gallon jug handy and he knew how far that gallon would get him so he wasn’t worried. 🙂

We are about to board our flight to Dallas so I will write more later. I have so many stories I can tell. I will try to put them in separate blogs so each one won’t be so long. 🙂

Again, I cannot tell you how appreciative we are for your prayers. God is soooo Good!

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