Ok, how do I package and present this in a way that doesn’t make us look like complete flakes? Seriously, that is the question that I struggle with. Here is what is stirring in my head right now. It goes exactly like this: “Lord, I am excited about what You have revealed to us and eager to move forward with what I firmly believe is Your perfect plan. But at the same time Lord, I am fearful. Not in a crippling kind of way. But seriously, we have had several changes in our lives this past year, and here we are about to embark in another direction. And Lord, truly I don’t blame people for looking at us and thinking that we are just strange and maybe even flaky. But Lord, You are in control of our lives and we follow You according to Your lead and not what others may think. We desire to bring Your message of truth, hope, and love to whoever needs to hear. Also, Lord, I see in Scripture so many examples of people whose lives were so interrupted and directions changed when they thought they were going in one direction. So, Lord, here goes…” Yes, that is exactly what is in my head as I type this out. So…here goes…
After much prayer, discussion, and seeking counsel from our mission board and some trusted others, we have decided that we will not be returning to Haiti for our missions work among the orphans and the poor. We have just been through so much regarding our time in Haiti. And this last string of events (ie. having our homes robbed at gun point with thieves storming into our house and shooting through our bedroom door with no thought of my family hiding behind inside, and having 3 guns put on me as I was forced to hand over our money. Yeah…you get the point) has just given us a very clear indication that Haiti is just not the best place for us to be as a family.
Though we believe that the Lord is leading us out of Haiti, we are convinced still that He has put a call on our lives to bring the Gospel to the nations, therefore we remain as missionaries fully committed to share the message of Christ with the world around us. As Maria and I would often talk about what the Lord may have in store for us after Haiti (Yes, we did not believe that we were going to remain in Haiti forever) So, as we used to be in Haiti sitting up at night talking about where we would see ourselves “after Haiti”, we both agreed that we would love to serve the Lord in a Spanish speaking country. Being the fact that Maria is Spanish and already knows the language, and I myself have a fairly good base of the language and have done some missions work in a Spanish speaking country many years ago, it seemed like a good fit that at some point in our lives, after Haiti, that the Lord would bring us to a Spanish speaking country.
So, it appears that “after Haiti” has come upon us much sooner than we anticipated. This was not what we were expecting or planning. In many ways, we feel that it has been out of our control, just like many other events that have occurred in our lives this year. We love ministering to the people in Haiti, particularly the orphaned children, but we know that God is calling us to move on. The more I see all that our family has been through, the more I see the need, as the provider and leader of the family, to bring them to a place that is more stable and less volatile. We are committed to bringing the Gospel message to the world around us, but we don’t have to bind us into situations and environments that may cause more chaos and instability in our lives. And the truth is…we need stability. This decision, although supported and agreed by those I mentioned above, was completely ours as a family. Maria, myself, and Isabela were all in agreement that it was time to leave Haiti, but that it was not time to resign as missionaries.
With that being said, it is with excitement, as well as with all the other emotions in my head, that we announce what we believe the Lord is leading us to do. We do believe that He is leading us to serve in a Spanish speaking country, therefore per the requirement of our mission board for those wanting to serve in a Spanish speaking country, we will be moving to Costa Rica for a year where I will attend language training school at the Spanish Language Institute. The school may last for a year, but may be less depending on how quick I am able to learn the language. We are certainly not in any rush as I really want to be fluent in Spanish before we move to the country where we will serve. We will be enrolling Isabela in the missionary school that they have as part of the institute. She is absolutely thrilled to be able to attend school, both with other American children as well as with some Tica children. Our family is very excited. I have been diligently learning the language the last few months through the Rosetta Stone program. I am so determined to learn the language within a year so that I can preach the Gospel and see people come to faith in Christ.
We are not yet certain as to what country we will be serving in after language training. We are exploring a few different options and we just want to allow time for the Lord to lead us according to His perfect plan. But we do believe that He has laid out for us what these next few first steps are, and we are excited to walk in them. We will leave for Costa Rica on January 2nd.
In the meantime, our ministry in Haiti is still being run just as effective with the Haitian staff that we have on the ground. Within this next year, I will be looking to transition the ministry into the hands of the Haitians and possibly other missionaries who wish to assume leadership. But know for certain, that as of now and this next year, all ministries there are still active and lives are being changed through our child sponsorship program, discipleship program, feeding programs, and other outreaches.
Your giving through the child sponsorship program is and will continue to be used for its intended purpose in Haiti. However, we do ask you that you would continue to support our ministry as we continue to share the Gospel of Jesus, even outside of Haiti. We are most confident that He will continue to provide so that His Kingdom can advance for His glory. And we are thrilled to play a role in that work.
We are so thankful for our support team. You guys have stood with us through thick and thin. You have rejoiced with us on the mountains, and you have wept with us in the valleys. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. We are thankful that you believe in the call that God has on our lives to make His name great among the nations. We pray that we have been faithful these past few years in Haiti as we have sought to pour out our lives for the orphans and the poor. And now we pray that you will stand with us as we strive to pour out our lives to make the name of Jesus known among the Spanish speaking world. Gloria a Dios!!!!