Monday, September 19, 2011


If you don't follow the PH-H update you might want to go to our website at In my last update I wrote about our new group of missionaries that we have working at Project Help. It seemed for a period of time it was hard to find and keep missionaries on the missions field at least from our denominational perspective in Haiti. In my 12 years now on the missions field I have seen a steady turn around in interest in missions as a viable career option again. In fact next year we will have 12 nearly full time missionaries working in Haiti and 2-3 part time. Since 2002 we struggled to keep 4 people in Haiti and at times it often was Dr.Vic & Donna Binkley who came every other month as our sole missionaries. This past year I have had more people who were qualified and had abilities I could have used than I had available positions. I have some thoughts on why the turn around. It all starts with EXPOSURE!

1. "Exposure from the pulpit".
2. "Exposure from media sources".
3. "Exposure to worldwide communications".
4. "First hand exposure". ( STM'S )
5. "All out exposure" Church willingness to commit God's resources to the task they were given.

Our denomination has had a long history of working in missions. One hundred plus years in India, fifty in Bangladesh, forty four in Haiti and twenty five plus years in Brazil. We also have missionaries in Venezuela, Kenya, Sweden, Dominican Republic, Thailand and on the Southwest Four Corners Indian reservations. Many of our early missionaries stayed on the missions field for a lifetime. These men and women who grew up in the 1930s-40s were inspired by visiting missionaries who would come and speak at their churches while home on furlough. Often it was that onetime connection that planted the seed in their mind to go to the mission field when they grew up. This was a time when churches, schools, family and small close knit communities were the influencing factors of growing up. Our heroes and heroines were people we encountered or knew who influenced us in real life situations. There was a time when parents, grandparents teachers, coaches, pastors, writers and public speakers were the main influence in a child's life. These missionaries though far and few apart usually stayed a lifetime.

I've attended church from as far back as I can remember and can't recollect ever hearing a missionary speak or visit any of the churches I attended growing up or thereafter. In fact it was 1997 when we started attending First Church of God in Columbia City that I started hearing missions as a prominent message theme, Pastor Reser was a former Haiti missionary. Granted I may not have always been attentive as a youth but I'm sure a missionary from some exotic foreign missions outreach would have gotten my attention. In fact the most memorable part of my Colonial African history course in college was reading about Dr. Livingston.

I still attend FCOG Columbia City and our Pastor is now Johnny MacCalister's. His messages revolve almost every Sunday around a call to get up out of the pew and outside of the Church walls doing mission service whether local, regional, national or to the "ends of the earth". It is encouraging to see that pastors are finally getting the word out that The Great Commission "is not an option but a Command"

I think another thing that has dramatically helped with recruiting is the number of books that are now available to read about missions. The themes vary from mission history, trends, fund raising to personal and locational stories and biographies. Books of course have always been available but the internet has made finding, researching and purchasing light years away from where it was 12 years ago.

The internet and instant communications is quite possible the single biggest advance in technology in every aspect of our lifetime. I can now communicate around the world from Haiti whereas 12 years ago we still depended on "snail mail". The ease and speed of the internet allows us to keep our supporters and others with interest informed with E-mail, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Texting, electronic newsletters, pictures and videos.

People who are feeling the call to go to the mission field now days have the option of getting on " Short Term Mission teams". All of our present 12 plus missionaries in Haiti including myself started out on a STM.

The last of our 'Five Exposure Points" is that of "all out exposure", this is the one I have the most involvement with and spend the most time evaluating and studying. My boss who is director of Cross Cultural Ministries is doing his doctoral thesis on mission minded churches. This summer when we were in Haiti together I posed this question to him. "Is it the mission minded church which makes the well organized, strong and productive mission organization or is it the the well organized, strong and productive mission that creates the mission minded church"? We agreed that it is both, in fact they attract each other. It is not just the big churches nor the big mission organizations either. I have seen many very small churches and mission organizations who are doing more with what God has given and entrusted to them than the medium, big and mega churches and missions. It is exciting to me to see how a church can grow and expand once it lays it all on the alter and commits to the work at hand, that church may not always grow significantly in size but for sure in FAITH.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


One of the frequent questions I'm asked from visitors to Haiti is about driving. It is pretty obvious that driving here is different than what we learn and experience in the U.S. Here are a few samples: "how long did you live in Haiti before you started driving" I'm not sure but the rational for that question is probably based on fear of the unknown. It appears that there are no rules (there are), no protocol (there is) and no common sense (debatable). I was once told by a Haitian friend that Haiti has very good laws but no one observes them. That is a pretty accurate assessment. It starts at the top and works it's way down that if that guy can get away with it so can I, that is especially so with driving, because on the road everyone is in a sense equal it just depends on who has the most nerve and the most to lose.

Another popular question is "does it take long to learn how to drive here in Haiti?" I guess that depends on what your skill level was before you got here. If you are a competent driver in the U.S. you will do fine here but success at driving here comes from two conflicting concepts. 1. You must always be alert for the unexpected Haitian drivers are inpatient so you never know where they are at or might do. They don't easily accept that they should be slowed down by or waiting in line because a vehicle is ahead of them. So they pass you on the left or the right, in a ditch or on a sidewalk, on a hill or a curve, they have no fear of oncoming traffic always believing that the other driver will slow or swerve to let them get around. 2. The other concept is if you give another vehicle behind you or beside you an advantage of even a few feet between you and the vehicle ahead they will cut in and squeeze you out. So city traffic and traffic jams become a game of chess in seeing who can out maneuver the other guy.

Another question I get, "Is it difficult to resume driving normal when you go back to the U.S?" Gosh that is a tough one but I would say not really my speed here in Haiti never exceeds what is legal in the U.S. We do have traffic lights at most major intersections in Port au Prince and even two in St. Marc. I don't pass on curves or hills in either country. In Haiti my wife never says a word about my driving though she often seems apprehensive in the states as well as vocal, doesn't make sense to me, as we are in more danger here. My last team was from Calif. and I have a certain image of Calif. drivers as not timid but they were amazed that I passed a police vehicle that was ahead of me. They embellished it just a little by saying "only in Haiti can you pass a police car, with double yellow lines on a curve." I didn't actually do those last two but if I had I wouldn't have been stopped or ticket. Several years ago I had a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman here for two weeks as we drove around he made the comment that he would have filled a citations book in one hour if he was on duty here in Haiti.

So what is it about driving in Haiti that amazes people? It is chaos in the city traffic jams. The streets are narrow and full of people walking, standing, riding bicycles and moto's. There are goats, cows and horses on the streets even in the capital. The public transportation of Taptaps and old yellow schools buses are jammed with people and commerce. People even ride on the tops of buses or hang on the back of them. I think for most visitors it is their first dose of culture shock but given time it becomes the norm for those of us who live here. It certainly is a good topic of conversation as we bring visitors out from the airport. SJM

Monday, August 8, 2011


Back in 2002 when I started GAP Ministry I used the phrase "Partners in the Journey" on some of our brochures. I borrowed this slogan from an old advertisement for a canoe company. I intended this slogan to be two fold for my organization and those who worked with us: we would be a "sharer" and a "participant" with those who might choose to use or work with our mission. Also we felt that those who ventured out to serve the Lord in missions would experience a very special and privileged "partnership" with God in their mission journey.

Probably we have all heard the saying "life's a journey." Some of us are given a little more lengthier journey than others but even so life is short. Without God as your partner your life's journey is a wasted trip! But even with God by your side you shouldn't expect that journey to be a leisurely stroll through the park or along the beach. God calls us all somewhere for some purpose and I'm convinced that if your where God wants you it may not be easy but it will be rewarding and enjoyable.

Journey comes from the French word journee (a day) so one meaning is a day's work or travel, or passage from one place to another. A journey in itself requires movement or steps and to get the most out of our journey we need to move out of our comfort zone. A challenge from a former pastor to our congregation was that we each imagine something that would be out of our comfort zone and attempt to do it. Mine was a mission trip out of the country and that ended up being Haiti. That difficult first step has become my journey the last 12 years, yet at some point the journey may take a different path if it does I'm ready to see where it leads. SJM

Sunday, July 31, 2011



We have all heard the old saying "WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS" in more ways than one that is true with Haiti. If you don' live in or have visited the Tropics, S.E Asia, India, Bangladesh, the Rain Forests or our own N.W. United States you probably don't have a comprehension of the amounts of rain that can fall during each day of the "rainy season". I'm from Indiana where it can rain heavy in the Spring before and during the planting season, then as often as not be too dry during the Summer growing season, then be rainy during the Fall harvest. Even so I'm totally amazed at the amount of rain Haiti receives from May through Nov. and you can double that if the Hurricanes are hitting Haiti.

It has been raining pretty regular since my return to Haiti ten days ago but the last several days the rains have flooded the streets of Liancourt and yesterday St. Marc. Yesterdays rain was intense with near gale force winds and rains making it very difficult to see if not drive. The good thing is such intense weather conditions are about the only thing that make Haitians drive somewhat cautiously and slow down. I met many a vehicle yesterday with flashing caution lights on.

St. Marc streets were running with chocolate colored water yesterday often 12 inches deep. Where the steep side streets run down from the surrounding hills they look like mountain streams rushing to get to the ocean but once they hit the perpendicular main street it becomes a river of water.

The thing that gets me is the difference in cultural attitudes about rain. Yes kids will be kids anywhere and love to play in the rain and run through water puddles. Though of course in our culture we yell at our children " get in this house you better not be getting your clothes all wet", in Haiti it is not that way at all. People walk nonchalantly about as if they don't even notice it or for sure that they accept and enjoy it. Flooded soccer field serve as a new form of water soccer. Young men and women go out jogging on the streets a form of shower while you exercise or maybe visa versa. Possibly they may even take along a bar of soap, but not sure about that. Adults and children get underneath water spouts where the water comes off roofs and bathe. Young people, usually teens and twenty year old's dance in the streets or along the highways. This is all contrary to my way of thinking in that when it rains you get inside or protect yourself with rain gear or an umbrella. The other day as as I drove up to DeChapelle in the rain a lady was walking down the road with an unopened umbrella balanced on top of her head!! Now that may sound like an oxymoron to us from another culture but more often than not I see umbrellas used more to keep the sun off women and babies than to deflect rain. Contrary to what some people may think Haitians know when it's way too hot thus they may desire to thwart the heat from the suns rays rather than the coolness of the falling rain. "God's rainbows come in many colors and so do the people He created and loves". SJM

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Our new website should be launched today and hopefully be another tool for us to educate and communicate to all those who have an interest in Haiti and our work there. We have added some new features and kept some of the old but our intention is that all of the different ways we communicate are at one location.

I started doing updates about a year ago and sending them out to many of my friends and readers. They in turn would often share with their friends who would request to be added to my update list.The PH-H updates, blogs and newsletters are now available to anyone who has a computer and our website address. We have also added the blogs of several other organizations working in Haiti with PH-H and those of some of our other Church of God General Conference (CGGC) fellow missionaries who work in other countries. Since I write the PH-H blog and update my intention is that the blog be more of a personal account of my life not only in Haiti as the PH-H director but back in the states. I hope to post to it every week to 10 days. The updates will be more what is actually going on with the PH-H ministries, projects, our teams, staff, missionaries and my PH-H work in Haiti and the U.S. on it's behalf. I hope to do as many as 3 updates a week especially during my stays in Haiti which typically are about 8 months every year. When I'm back stateside attending to mission business and some R&R there is still plenty to write about. Another form of communications we use is Facebook where you can often get several short snippets and pictures of what is going on each day in Haiti and also follow some of what our other missionaries in Haiti are doing.

We also have added plenty of contact info and how others can join with our Project Help Team to impact the Haitian communities where we work and live. If you want to learn even more you can go to our CGGC website to learn about all the other countries that Cross Cultural Ministries has missionaries working in. Check out our earthquake video and we have a another brand new video we will be adding soon. I leave for Haiti on Friday morning so stay tuned to our new website to follow what is going on. In God's Love, SJM

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My Highview Church of God team
from Lancaster, Pa. was scheduled to depart at 2:25 pm yesterday. Normally if teams are at the Borel campus and they have an afternoon flight we drive directly from here for the 2.5 hour trip. If their flight is in the morning we take them to Pierre Payen the night before. Our plan was to have a leisure breakfast then hit the road at about 9:00 am so we could arrive at the airport at around noon.

Up here in the Valley people like to protest about whatever is their latest problem. Yesterday it was the lack of electricity. We have a hydro electric plant about 6 miles down the road on one of the canals . So the locals put rocks across the road to make a blockade , not just one row but about 20 rows in a one mile stretch, to prevent employees getting to the power plant. After determining that it would be impossible to get through I decided to take the longer route I had always wanted to try up and over the mountains.

Route Verettes the road that passes through Borel climbs up through the Le Artibonite valley following the meandering river into Mirebalais. This is a very scenic route with the road curving and climbing the grade to a higher elevation. Clear mountain streams rush down from the surrounding mountains to join up with the muddy river water headed for the coast.

Once the road gets to Mirebalais you get on route 3 that crosses the Central Plateau going from port up to Mirebalais, Hinche and on to Cap Haitien. We headed East on 3 which is a several thousand foot climb by switchbacks up over the mountain range ringing the Plateau area. As we curved around the last switchback and crested the summit we could gaze down on the Plaine de Cul , the flat lands surrounding Port au Prince.

The traffic as always was bumper to bumper as we took route 1 through the suburbs of Bon Repon and Cazale to the airport. Having a patient attitude and air conditioning helps , I had the first but not the second. Anyway we pulled into the airport at 12:00 on schedule and met up with one of our drivers who brought in the rest of the team luggage from our other compound at Pierre Payen. I think most of the team were awe struck by the beauty of this route through the mountains and captured it on camera to share with others back home. I know I will be passing this way again maybe not to take teams to the airport but just to enjoy the beauty of Haiti. SJM BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Last year's earthquake damaged several of our mountain churches as well as completely destroyed our church in Port au Prince. The churches in the mountains pose several problems
1. getting the materials and equipment up to the churches and 2. finding teams willing to rough it by staying in the mountains and get the job done. I got a call late last year from Lancaster, Pa. from a young man wanting to lead a team from his church the Highview Church of God. Saturday I picked up his seven member team at the airport in Port au Prince. This afternoon after church and lunch at our guesthouse at Pierre Payen we took them up to the trail head and dropped them off . Several adults and children from the village of Bourne came down to help carry their supplies up. Watson Joseph one of our employees who works with our visiting teams here at the Borel campus has taken on the additional task of leading these teams that come to work in the mountains. The teams packed in their sleeping gear , water purification bottles, supplemental food, hygiene, extra clothes and tools. We sent up food supplies and contracted locals to cook two meals a day for them. The biggest obstacle is the weather it has been raining everyday now for 6 days. This could slow them down but excitement was high as I pointed out the distant village on the side of the mountain. In my years here in Haiti possibly one the biggest advancements besides internet is cell phones. This gives me the advantage we didn't have years ago to be in contact with our teams and keep them supplied with materials, food, health care and bring them out when they finish. It seems a trend in many of our teams has been to take on these type of more difficult projects we are grateful some our called to a HIGHER adventure than others, God bless them. SJM

Thursday, April 14, 2011



Last Friday as I was in my home at Borel, Haiti preparing to get ready to fly home on Sunday morning for a few weeks of rest, meetings and speaking engagements I had a visitor knock at my door. This is a typical everyday occurrence that goes with my director's job and it always intensifies as my departure date approaches. Loveline our Haitian daughter came to notify me I had someone who wanted to talk to me, this usually means one thing someone is there to ask me for help with something. Much to my surprise though this person had come to bring me a gift or actually gifts.

My Haitian visitor who was a rather short, thirty something diver was from a beach area on the N.E. side of St. Marc. This is where we sometimes take our teams to swim on Sunday afternoons. Haitians are innovative and resourceful and he made his living by diving off shore for live conch
( lambi), lobster and occasionally octopus. The conch our doubly valuable because he can sell the shells as well as the meat that is inside to those who come to swim at the beach area. He called himself a diver and a chef. He wanted to inform me that he had traveled from St. Marc to prepare us Project Help missionaries a meal out of lambi and octopus.

It is not unusual for Haitians to bring or give you edible gifts, even live ones. I was once given a live goat for something I had done to help out a relative of an employee. Immediately after the goat was butchered I was informed my cook was preparing me a goat brain sandwich. I often order lambi at Haitian restaurants where it is part of a delicious Creole sauce. Once in a while I buy it raw from street vendors who preserve it in a spicy pickling sauce and put it in an old rum bottle from which they dispense it. I had never eaten octopus put I'm not squeamish about food nor how it is prepared and seeing how I was on my own for lunch that day it was a much welcomed gift. The other missionaries were in St. Marc buying groceries and were going to eat at a restaurant above the Deli Mart.

As I watched him prepare my ocean treat I learned the details that had brought him 30 miles inland to cook me a meal. The Sunday before our team and some of the missionaries had gone to the beach where he makes his living. Now normally we can drive to the beach but that day a truck had broken down on a very steep section of the beach road making it difficult to get pass that vehicle. So the transport truck was parked and the group walked to the beach as we had often done before the road was improved. One of the team members was wearing flip flops
(not good for hiking in Haiti) and as often happens the flip flop fell apart. It seems our visiting diver happened along and offered his foot ware to the barefoot team member and out of gratitude some money was exchanged. The diver wanted to give a little extra in return for the money he had received and as I said earlier Haitians are very resourceful people. So he also didn't miss the chance to give me a short sales pitch of how he could do this as a service for our teams. I wouldn't be surprised if you come and spend a week with us you might be eating some conch and octopus appetizers. SJM

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



I really do like blogging but sometimes, I suffer from writers block. OK maybe I'm just plain wore out after supper to do anything but close the bedroom door and drop into bed. Anyway lately I have been having some good ideas popping into my tired little mind that give me the urge to pick up my mini HP and peck at the keyboard.

It seems like so many people who visit our Project Help-Haiti campus at Borel tell me they would like to possibly be a missionary sometime soon or in the future. Now I have been on the mission field eleven years and don't claim to know it all , seen it all nor heard it all but I do think I can give some interesting insights about what it takes to be a missionary. So my brilliant idea is to every now and then blog some key points about what it takes to succeed at mission work.

Key point #1. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. I don't know why I decided to start with this one, probably because you will encounter situations everyday where you find yourself saying or thinking " I didn't expect that".

Now don't get me wrong not everything that happens that is unexpected is something negative. Because we are working for God and he is the "Supreme Employer" your going to be right in the middle of some awesome things happening and He is using you to make it happen. Never think small when your employer is God, one of our missionaries working here at PH-H has a passion for doing street evangelism so often after he is done working he will go out to evangelize. Because he had been witnessing out on the street some people invited him over to their house to talk with their friends . Randy was expecting maybe a small handful of young people not 50 or more but out of his zeal to reach others with the gospel of Jesus Christ in the span of a few days 150 accepted Christ. This is why we are here it is why we come to the mission field we should be expecting good things to happen.

What about those things that happen that can't be labeled positive or negative, in fact they are often embarrassing, at times humorous and often leave us speechless. One that we most often encounter here in that category is nudity. As missionaries we understand the culture that when bathing and going to the bathroom the Haitians have no modesty about doing it in public. I remember my first year here I was out on a hike with my mentor Dr. Binkley as we rounded a curve on a canal path I could see three women, up ahead bathing as we approached they continued bathing but also giggling. After we passed Vic made the comment "well I guess we made their day", in the American culture it would have been the other way around.

Another time that sticks in my mind though it was years ago, it was humorous and unexpected. I was in St. Marc on business with a Haitian friend whose name I no longer remember. After coming out of the government building I got into my truck and took off, after driving a short distance I looked in my rear view mirror and to my surprise there was a naked man standing in the back of my truck as I sped through town. His front side was facing my rear window and his backside was mooning everyone who was following us. I pulled over and we tried to convince him to get out which he eventually did , we got back in the truck but before we could take off he had jumped back in. We tried to convince him to get out again and tried to pull him out which tended to agitate him, being relatively new to the country I wasn't sure what to do next.

My Haitian friend on the other hand said " lets get back in the truck, he is a fou moun (a crazy person) we can take him to the police. So we drove clear across town with a naked crazy man standing in the back of my truck. To this day every time I see a big old farm dog riding in the back of a pickup with his head sticking around the cab of the truck and his tongue hanging out catching some air I think of that guy in the back of my truck.

Later on we are going to talk about the another key point that relates to Key Point #1 and to many others and that is always have a plan and a back up plan, be prepared.
Remember : "Planning is what gets you to the mission field , preparation is what keeps you there". In God's love, SJM

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Shirley and Ifwa who is ready to be baptized

The Mt. Carroll COG Team from Illinois


Haiti 2010 most will agree goes down as possibly the worst time in Haiti's history since the revolution for independence and certainly the worst ever for disasters and medically related events. It caught our organization and myself as director off guard. My first thoughts were for the missions teams I had in country at the time. Some of them I had picked up just 20 minutes before the quake struck so my top priority was for their safety, after that it was reassuring others back home that we would all be fine. Within thirty hours we were able to get a plan in place for assisting in helping quake victims that would continue for the next 11 weeks. We flew in surgeons and supplies, we started and sustained a refugee camp for 6 months , we helped meet the needs of others who sought help. Just when things seemed they would get back to normal the Cholera epidemic struck, we set up a cholera ward for about 5 weeks. Then hurricane Tomas hit Haiti thankfully our area was spared . The election turmoil closed out the year and though for awhile it seemed no one would get home, we finally got out for the Holidays.

Two months into 2011 and things have been going pretty smoothly by Haiti standards. We have seen 8 teams arrive already this year totaling nearly 60 people. We have finished many projects left over from the end of last year and are quickly moving into other new areas and projects. Some of the new missionaries that were recruited last year are now here doing their jobs others are slated to arrive by Fall. Many new ministries are in the planning and fund raising stage, these are the bigger outreaches like agriculture and community development. Some low budget outreaches are getting started like sports camps and evangelism. It is an exciting time here at Project Help-Haiti.

Friday night we went out with our medical team to Club Indigo for supper , they were flying out the next morning. A Haitian friend came over to me as I was sitting with some of the surgeons and whispered that he had just heard that a volcano had erupted at the outskirts of Port au Prince. It was unbelievable but because I was in the middle of the earthquake just 13 months ago I didn't dismiss it too quickly. The thing is I felt the very same adrenaline rush that I experienced during and for a long period after the earthquake. We later learned that someone at the bar had started the rumor and there was nothing to it. Yet it reinforced something I learned about myself during the earthquake, that I find it easier to lead and plan during life threatening events such as a disaster, than the day to day normal events. Don't take this wrong I still love my work here in Haiti but if one isn't careful you can become complacent and not be on top of what is going on.

Lucky for us we have plenty of things going on as we move into this new year and strive to attain some of the agenda that I had laid out 14 months earlier. We are seeing many of these projects get finished and we are gearing up for new outreaches. Prospects and opportunities are coming our way that God may have planned for us all along but I just had never noticed because I was sure my agenda was the way to go.

One of these areas is in evangelism and God is moving in mighty ways through some of our new missionaries to reach our communities. Thad McKee a 23 year old is having great success with the basketball camps he has put on here at Borel at reaching young people to accept Christ. Randy Broaddus our Service Tech person is reaching young and old through street ministries and holding salvation services in homes , over 150 have been reached through these outreaches. If your here you can feel that something is different, things are happening and it is God ordained that people are reaching out and searching to hear and know about Him. In God's love, SJM

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Basketball camps are a great way to lead young people to Christ


Recently my friend Heather Elyse , the director of GAP-Haiti Ministry posted a blog titled the top five reasons to come to Haiti. She used to make her living writing commercials so this was a humorous, fun to read blog. My wife often comments that I have no sense of humor and often throws in and "your no fun anymore". I'm just forewarning you that what you are about to read will most likely not be funny but will be life changing.

If I was humorous and I admit I'm not, this would be my top five reasons for coming to Haiti:

#5. You don't have to spend time thinking about what you will cook for super, it will be rice & beans. Two thirds of the worlds population if they eat at all will consume rice at possibly their only daily meal.

#4. You won't have to waste money on a watch. Since we are close to the Equator we get nearly 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness. If you like to know approximately what time it is the sun rises a little before 6:00 am and it sets at around 6:00 pm. Honestly just make your life easy forget the watch nothing ever starts and no one ever shows up on time.

#3. You will gain a greater appreciation of your own government and maybe even your politicians. Government services here are non existence for the most part. No dependable water, sewer, garbage, electric, no highway department nor postal services. Police protection and fairness under the court systems depends on who you know and who you pay.

#2. Learn how to get your priorities in order. In America we spend a lifetime preparing to retire and not going to work everyday. In Haiti they spend a lifetime hoping to find enough work each day so they can feed themselves and their family, retirement is not an option.

#1. Florida just isn't that warm in the winter anymore. No debating global warming here in Haiti it is always warm and I don't see that changing. December through March are the best months with daytime temperatures around 85 and nights occasionally dropping to 70.

Seriously there really are good reasons to come to Haiti so let me do a second list from the perspective of a missionary:

#5. Impacting lives.
It never ceases to amaze me how those who come go away more blessed than when they arrived. I know this because I get e-mails or hear it directly from them during devotions. Seeing tears roll down faces and hearing emotional testimonies is common occurrence from those who come here. In January we had 2 men on separate teams who upon returning home discovered they might be facing life threatening health issues, not because of their having been here. Yet I can't get out of my mind that God brought them here specifically for a reason to draw them close to Him and see them through a difficult time.

#4. Saving lives.
We have a medical team here this week they arrived on Saturday evening. Early Sunday morning they were awakened to an emergency, a multiple vehicle wreck has left one dead at the scene , one dead after arrival at the hospital , one critical insured with a severed intestine and several with minor injuries. The critically insured remains alive because of that team of surgeons were there at Pierre Payen.

#3. Priceless moments
Maybe you remember the Master Card commercial where they put a price on different things you might use your credit card on but then finish with something you can't put a price tag on. A smile, a laugh, a cherished moment those times in a persons life that are remembered forever. Those happen all the time on the mission field they are what keep us missionaries from burning out from the difficulties of working here.

#2. Discovering God among his people
It has been said if you want to really encounter God you have to go and discover where He is working. A good place to start is on the mission field.

The best reason for coming to Haiti or any other mission field is :
#1. Making disciples who make a difference.
This just happens to be our mission statement here at Project Help-Haiti. Though we do lots of ministry work the bottom line is we desire to lead people to be followers of Christ and through our discipling they become agents of change for their country and beyond. It seems like the Holy Spirit is moving in a powerful way from the reports I'm getting from our missionaries. Dozens have been led to and accepted Christ as their Savior the last several weeks even those on short term missions teams have been involved in these wonderful events.

Don't take my word for any of the 10 reasons I've just listed come see for yourself , I would love to hear what you list is. In God's love, SJM

Sunday, January 30, 2011


OK I know I haven't posted a blog for quite awhile and January is almost finished. I got back in Haiti on January 3rd after taking a 3 week Christmas break. It seems like I have been going non stop since getting here and most nights I'm ready to go to bed by 7:30. Since we have guests I usually don't turn in till 9:00. I've had intentions of sitting down and doing a blog on several occasions but my creative writing skills if any have been slow in coming for this new year.
Heather Elyse the new director of GAP Ministry showed me the blog she posted last evening, she arrived in Haiti on Tuesday and now resides in a house here at Borel. You can read her blog post at Heather's blogs tend to be humorous, she use to make her living writing commercials, mine are usually more on the serious side. Anyway after reading her posting this morning I knew I could not procrastinate any longer, I needed to post something and hopefully it jump starts my writings for 2011.


Why is it that Haiti has a hold on some of us? We could be anywhere we want doing what we please in comfort and safety. To the uninitiated it is a country of chaos but on closer observation you realize it is orchestrated chaos-there is a purpose behind it. Everywhere you go there are people, many are crammed in the back of Tap Taps, small dilapidated pickups spewing black smoke as they sputter along with their heavy loads. Like the people and the country , they should have ceased to exist years ago but somehow they hang on year after year.

There are people walking, sitting or standing on the edge of the road at all hours of the day or night. Haiti is a nation that walks everywhere , it still moves it's commerce on the backs or heads of it's population. Donkeys and horses are the heavy haulers . It seems the nation is never quiet nor at rest.

Once you see beyond the people, it is the trash and garbage that catch your eye. One has to imagine the country was a lot cleaner looking before plastic bottles, bags and Styrofoam were introduced. What does a country do that doesn't have garbage pickup and landfills? You discard it as soon as your done using it in the ditches, open sewers and rivers waiting for a rain to wash it out to sea. If your somewhat conservation-minded you burn it. Either way Haiti overwhelms you with a potpourri of smells as you travel along it's roads, city streets and paths. The trash is usually piled along the roads and the smoldering fires billow up a smoke that is a hazard to your health. As you pass through some city areas the smell of urine lingers in the air as public restrooms either don't exist or are too toxic to enter. The smoke of cook fires along with the smell of cooking food can stimulate one's appetite if you keep your eyes shut to the surroundings.

If you haven't decided to cut your trip short and head back to the airport, you've probably made it to the outskirts of Port au Prince, the capital city of over 2 million people. By then you have driven out beyond the haze of vehicle fumes, the smoke of trash and charcoal and you notice the mountains. Even though mostly sheared of all vegetation they are still beautiful. You gaze up at the peaks covered by clouds and you can for a brief moment imagine the beauty of God's creation. Looking down from an airplane gives you the stark reality that the once fertile land has been abused for too long. The mouths of the rivers and streams run brown spilling tons of soil miles out to sea every time it rains.

These are just the things that are obvious. Stay awhile and you will get a feel of the undertow of voodoo as it pulls it's populous down with fear and superstition. Don't get me wrong--voodoo is real. People practice it, they believe in it, they give sacrifices, people die, not from it but because of it. It's real power lies in the fear that permeates the Haitian culture from hundreds of years of enslavement to its practices.

Then there are the disasters both natural and man made. They put Haiti in the news at least several times every year. Hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, flooding, riots, food shortages, Aids, cholera and political unrest. When one thinks the country can sink no further and that better times lie ahead it seems something else happens.

My life has never been to dwell on the negative but to look at what positive opportunities they present. So when I look at all the negatives that Haiti presents to not only it's inhabitants, visitors and NGO's I never think or say "why ?" Instead I like to think "why not?" Doesn't our God always provide another way for us ? When it seems "there is no other way, God will provide a way"-- His way.
In God's love, SJM