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