Monday, August 16, 2010


Top to Bottom: Foot bridge, heading across the river, the cable ferry, Cathedral

Usually on Sundays we try to offer our teams an opportunity to get out into the Haitian communities where we live and work. We gave the Barkeyville, Pa. Church of God team an Indiana Jones type adventure when we visited Ti Riviere . Petite-Riviere de-L'Artibonite is a historic town across the river from our Project Help-Haiti Borel compound. The cable ferry is the quickest way to cross The other options are to go down the road about 2 miles then drive back to the Dam that impounds the water for the irrigation canals cross over the river and follow a bumpy road 2 miles back to get to the town. The other crossing is about 9 miles back to the bridge at Pont Sonde the 10 miles back on the opposite side.

The cable ferry is the route of us locals, once you cross you can walk the less than a mile road into town or take a motor bike or tap-tap if your not into hiking. The second advantage is this little jaunt offers some Indiana Jones type adventure. That starts when you park your vehicle and cross the rickety foot and motor bike bridge across the irrigation canal. you have to walk about a quarter of a mile to the river through some fields. The cable ferry is quite ingenious in that it is propelled each direction by the river current. The ferry is just 2 steel boats with a wood platform fastened on top . Two small cables with pulleys attach the boat to a large cable that spans the river and is anchored onto concrete posts. To catch the current and cross just requires changing the length of the lead cable to pitch the degree of the boats angle to the current.

The town itself is very attractive with a central city square , a cathedral, a palace, a fort and great views of the river running through the valley below. Though we never got wet much of the trip threatened an afternoon rain which kept the heat down. Part of the reason we went over was to look for some artwork as there are several artists living in town who paint some unique pieces of art.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Top to bottom:
The mobile Mountain Medical Team. Large Growth on jaw bone. 26 year old woman with renal failure, died that morning

Life is a journey a series of events your either going somewhere or going nowhere . Life is a period of time, for some it's short others 70, 80 even over 90 years. So even if you choose to go nowhere with your life's journey your always moving towards the end of your journey. My journey took an unexpected twist when I came to Haiti eleven years ago on a short term mission trip. That week has turned me from a nice retirement to full time missions by founding my own mission organization, G.A.P. Ministry, to recently becoming the director of Project Help-Haiti. Most of the mission people I met here on the mission field 1o-11 years ago have either left Haiti by choice through retirement or completion of their terms. Some have departed because of health issues but unfortunately many if not most have left through frustration.

Haiti is a tough missions field to work in, it can and does wear you down. Some of my friends were really down after the earthquake after years of making some progress they felt defeated by the aftermath of the quake. Some of my friends left for other reasons but in the end frustration is the key word. When I get down a quick trip into the mountains can be a tonic for rejuvenating my spirit. I love the beauty of the mountain landscape the discovery of a bubbling spring of fresh water cascading out of rocky crevasses. The wonderful sound of water rushing down a mountain stream, the sounds and sights of birds and flowers. Beauty is everywhere if you look closely but life is harsh and often very impoverished among all the grandeur of nature and creation here in Haiti.

That is why we took a mobile medical unit of doctors and nurses into the mountain village of Frettas on Wed. and Thursday. The trip involved a moderate hike of 45 minutes from the roads end to arrive at the school building where we set up a clinic and spent the night. I come to this village often to stay and work, I know it's needs and health care is one of them. During our 2 days of working there we treated 300 people. The majority of the cases were nutrition involved, anemic, worms and vitamin deficiencies for children. Several cases required that we take the patients down to Pierre Payen for hernia and for an abdominal mass surgeries. We had one young 26 year old with a large growth on her jaw bone she will require a surgery once we diagnose her illness. Another young woman who died later that day was in renal failure and we could do nothing for her.

This type of ministry in the mountains is much needed and brings hope and a better quality of life for those we treat. We are putting together another medical team to work in the mountains in early Dec. To see the needs and to be able to minister to these people is uplifting for me. The beauty of the mountains rejuvenates my soul and the ability to serve those in need fires up my passion and desire to stay the course and finish strong. In God's love , steve

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Top: the Borne church
Bottom: At the Bon Repose church

This week I had another chance to visit some of the COG conference churches that sustained earthquake damage with CCM director Pastor Don Dennison. I revisited the Bon Repose church near Port au Prince on Tuesday to see how we can speed up rebuilding there. Right now we await word from the Haitian government on what guidelines they have on construction there. Since it was the school that was leveled and the church had never been finished and didn't sustain damage we hope to avoid restrictions by putting a metal roof instead of concrete on the church. We will have an engineer look at it to give us a good assessment.

On Wednesday we also drove into the mountains as far as possible then walked 1.5 hours to one of our more remote churches at Borne. This village is located high in the mountains above the Mountrouis river. This church was founded by one of our early missionary pioneers Lois Habecker back in the 1980's. Possibly because of the remoteness and difficulty of getting materials there inferior construction was used to build the church. Thus even though it was located a good 60 miles from the earthquake it sustained some damage to the end walls. The best way to repair the church is to tear down the end walls leaving the roof and sidewalls this way we can enlarge the church by another 24 feet . We hope to recruit a team with at least 1-2 masons and some carpenters to spend several days at Borne and rebuild yet this year or early next. Anyone who might be interested can contact Kara Norris in Findlay, Ohio CCM headquarters or myself. In God's love , steve

Monday, August 2, 2010


As I look back at the last time I blogged on this site it was into the second week post earthquake. Jan. 12th forever has changed Haiti and those who live and work. If you work in missions and haven't made adjustments in your organization and added or dropped some ministries you may soon find yourself sitting on the sidelines.

When I agreed to take over as director of Project Help-Haiti late last year my desire was also to keep GAP Ministries going as well. I thought maybe I could direct both ministries, the earthquake and resulting disaster in Haiti quickly proved me wrong on that thought. I had suspended writing this Blog during the medical disaster as I could barely find time to write the Project Help-Haiti blog. So it is good to be starting the blog back up and once again be sitting here writing to are followers. Many have told me they keep looking to see if we have posted and how disappointed they are to not find something.

Today marks something new for GAP Ministries and a major announcement. First: it became apparent I needed to relocate GAP to another location from where we had been based since 2006. I talked to my boss at Cross Cultural Ministries about this and we agreed that we could have GAP run from out of Project Help-Haiti's Borel Campus. Much like our previous arrangement in the Montrouis area with another organization we would partner with PH-H in bringing teams and funding projects. Another agreement was that Gap has several ministries that would be beneficial to PH-H rather than they starting similar ministries. This solved a major stumbling block for keeping Gap going.

Second: I needed help in running the day to day operations of Gap in Haiti and the states. This was much more difficult than one might think. Finding good missionaries can often be the downfall of many organizations. God can open doors we never even know about, He can and He did. So I would like to announce GAP's new director Miss Heather Elyse. On July 20th she interviewed and met the Gap board of directors a week later by e-mail vote she was unanimously approved. Heather and her 7 adopted children will be moving to Haiti early next year, they have been here with me in Haiti since July 23rd but will fly back to Indiana where she can finish up her duties as Children's Ministry pastor at Olive Branch Church of God. She brings a lot of good things to our ministry, besides being a children's pastor she has a production company that films commercials, has a large network of people to call on for help and is a great public speaker. She grew up as an MK & PK (missionary & Pastor's kid) and has a passion for children and helping the lost and downtrodden of the world.

Heather will be starting to blog on the GAP site soon and time to time I will as well. I will continue to remain as executive director of GAP. This bog will also be linked to our new Project Help website at along with several other important blog sites. We also will be updating and changing some aspects of our GAP website which will also have a link to the PH-H website. Many of you have told me you can't get enough of following what is going on in Haiti so hold on were about to launch an awesome communications network to keep you. updated. In God's love , steve