Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting up to Speed!

Family and Friends,

Wow, it has been a long time since we have updated the blog, yet God has been doing many things as always.  This year I (Cory) have been taking additional seminary classes to complete my requirements for ordination in the Reformed Church in America.  That has been very time-consuming, and as a result we haven't had a good chance to return to Haiti yet this year, but we are making plans to visit in the next 6 months if possible.  Lynn and the kids continue to plug away with home school, and we now live in Luverne, MN, where I work full-time as Director of Worship and Outreach at American Reformed Church.

Zacharie has been busy as always leading Haitian International Missions.  He is attending seminary full-time but also makes time to help out at the Deaf/Disabled School and with various outreach and evangelism projects through his local church.  His family is doing well.

The Deaf/Disabled School has continued with their vibrant ministry to the "least of these" this year, including a summer camp in August for kids who are eager to return to school where they can speak with their friends and teachers again!  Many of them probably miss the regular meals they get at school as well.  School will begin early in September and we are excited to continue partnering with Lucner and Julianna in this important work.

Zacharie visits the Deaf School in Cayes

Summer Camp Participants

Our main financial focus for H.I.M. continues to be raising school sponsorship for the children who attend the Deaf/Disabled School.  If you would like to learn more about this program, click on the links above.  The cost is $25/month or $300/year to sponsor these wonderful children, which provides them with specialized instruction with an emphasis on building faith in Christ, room and board, medications, and constant love and nurture.  We feel this is an incredible value, and every part of this ministry is Haitian-led.

We still have about 15 children without sponsors and are in danger of not being able to provide funds in September for food, teacher salaries, etc...  We could  really use your help!  And when you sponsor a child you can interact with him/her through emails (translated by us or Zachary) or other creative means.  We also hope to one day offer the opportunity for sponsors to travel to the school and meet the children.  Please join us in this ministry if God lays the burden on your heart!

We hope to update the blog on a more regular basis this Fall, and thanks as always for everyone who has participated with us up to this point in so many different ways.

May Your Day Be Filled With Adventure for God!
-the Grimm Family Adventurers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Zacharie's Thoughts on Wealth/Faith

Family and Friends,

Please enjoy some biblical teaching from Zacharie on wealth and faith...

The love of money is the root of all evil ( 1Tim 6:10). Unfortunately, many people don't understand that.  They think that money is one of the most important things and it can help them buy possessions that can make them happy. Therefore, it causes them to fall into lust as they fight to gain more money to buy what they want or need. Many people think that wealth means happiness; sometime this is not true, because many rich people are truly poor. They are never satisfied with what they have.   Others allow God to control their wealth and they share what they have in profit with other people in need.  These rich people are happy because they live according to God’s will.  It is better to be satisfied with what God has given us.  This portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount can be divided into four parts:

1.  Where your treasure is your heart will be also: ( Matthew 6: 19-21)

To understand this bible passage, we need to know and understand what is meant by "treasure.”  The bible verse that we are considering says, "Where your treasure is your heart will be also." A treasure might be a person or an object that has great value in our eyes. God wants us to give him our heart. Therefore if we keep thinking of other things and forget God, we put God out of our life. It is not bad if you love your friends or family, but sometimes focusing on them can turn your heart away from God. These bible verses don't mean that you don’t need to take care of personal things. But it is a danger to give your heart to what you get. Things can take God’s place in your heart. That is why the devil makes the whole world his slave because of the world’s addiction to wealth.

Christian people should not allow riches to turn them away from God. Everyone who is controlled by what he has chooses idols over God.  We could write a long list, but everyone knows his own weakness or idols , the things that can separate you from God.  It is the true sense of these bible verses that we should not seek earthly things, but heavenly treasure. What treasure would you like to choose: earthly treasure or heavenly treasure? Unfortunately we can't choose both.  Gathering treasure for heaven is when you serve or support the little ones who are in need. The weakest people, homeless, unclothed and so on… This is what you can do, you give yourselves to answer the problems of the needy.  Our organization H.I.M. focuses on this and evangelism.

2. No one can serve God and material things or the devil at the same time (verses 22-24)

It is not bad to gain wealth if you do so honestly, but a materialist person dreams of material things. Those who trust in material things always think that the things of the earth are the greatest parts of life.  They don't know it is impossible to serve two masters at the same time. We can't serve God if we keep serving worldly things at the same time.  There are some Christians who claim to work hard and save money, but in reality they are just being stingy towards God and others. See Luke 10: 38-48. When your work compromises your spiritual life that is materialism, because many people neglect their spiritual work to focus on material things.  Some are too busy to study the bible or pray to God because they choose to serve money instead of God. It is important for the parents to teach their children how to serve God instead of serving things. According to Matthew 6:33, God tells us we must work, but we have to understand that work is another way to serve God, because the bible says we must work to earn our bread so that we can help ourselves and support those who are in need.  We cannot allow work to become an idol.

3. We must not become anxious about our needs  (verses 25-32)

At first glance, it seems that these verses contradict the teaching of other parts of the New Testament.  The idea is not to worry about the next day, but not to make preparations seems strangely at odds with the teaching of industriousness we find elsewhere. But students of the bible know very well that we must consider all aspects of the bible to have a balanced view of what the scriptures teach.  We must not isolate a verse and a base an entire doctrine on it without comparing it with the rest of the bible.

These verses are used to balance the biblical verses about work. In this passage we read, “do not worry or think too much about tomorrow.” These verses help us put material things in their proper perspective.  Why do people look so energetically for money and the things money can buy?

1- To satisfy their desires and…
2- to find security

These reasons, neither one nor the other is acceptable for a Christian.  The Christian must find deliverance of his desires or he will not long be a Christian.  A Christian finds his security in God through faith in His Word, and not in his earthly possessions or wealth.  Wealth then, such as when a Christian has some goods or money, is for a different purpose (than the reasons stated above).  This does not mean that a Christian should be irresponsible or lazy.  A true Christian will be very hardworking and responsible with his money and property because they belong to God and not to himself.  He knows that God has entrusted to him the glory of God and because of this, Christians can sometimes be richer than some of their ungodly neighbors.  However, rich or poor the Christian is able to leave his financial affairs in the hands of God and go to sleep without worrying for his life or for his food, because everything is in the hands of God.

4- It is much more important to be just than to be rich.  (verse 33-34)

The last two verses conclude by stating that the most important thing we can do is to seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God.  The material interests are not as important as the spiritual interests. We expect to live much longer in eternity than here on earth. Is it not absurd to amass earthly security at the expense of your heavenly treasures? How do we seek the kingdom and righteousness of God? How do we gather heavenly treasure?  These are silly questions to the carnal man, but they are important to us because they affect the Christian’s  destiny.  If we cannot find the kingdom of God and amass heavenly treasures, we lose everything of value.  These verses tell us that if we seek the kingdom of God, all these things will be added to us as well.  Because it is God's will that we have all the treasures of heaven, he will guide us to the things that give us these treasures.  In the scene of judgment in Matthew 25, we see what kinds of things bring heavenly treasure.  The righteous in this judgment passage are blessed because of their small acts of kindness they have made.  For example, a simple glass of water given to a person in need.  But we must submit to His will in all things in our life, not just random acts of kindness.

Conclusion:  How do we seek the kingdom of God? We seek to discover what he expects from us and give it the first place in our lives.  When all our properties, our desires, and our relationships are secondary to our love for God, we collect the treasures in heaven.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New School Sponsorship Program Launch!

Family and Friends,

NOTE:  The following post will explain our new school sponsorship program for the Deaf/Disabled School in Les Cayes.  Above you will find a tab with all of this information in addition to photos and personal information of sponsor children.  Please hit that tab to select a child to consider sponsoring and contact us when you are ready to get started.

Haitian International Missions is partnering in ministry with the Christian Education Center for Deaf and Handicap Children in Les Cayes, Haiti.  We recognize God's calling on the excellent leaders of this ministry, Lucner and Julianna Laine, who we believe possess outstanding Christian character and ability to continue the administration, nurture, and potential future expansion of this ministry.

the story of how the ministry began...

In 1992 Julianna began to focus on mastering sign language.  As an educator she saw a need to reach out to deaf and disabled children who were not able to participate in regular schools, which only offer one mainstream program and no special education.  Life in Haiti is not easy, and even more so for those born with such disadvantages.  It is common in this country to see deaf children and adults who have never learned to speak sign language and disabled children and adults, with no other doors having been opened for them, who are confined to their home or begging along the streets.  Julianna's faith in a God who loves all people equally moved her to begin envisioning what could be done to make a difference.

With the help of Lucner and others she began to research her options for opening a school.  Many people tried to dissuade her and tell her that such children could not succeed in life, the funds would never be available, and there were plenty of "normal" children who also could not attend school for various reasons who should be helped first.  However, she continued in faith and did finally open the school in 2006 with very little budget or help.

Over time the ministry has grown and now includes 37 regular students, 3 teachers who are deaf and/or proficient in sign language (with plans to add 2 more), a young nurse in training, a house mother, and Julianna as administrator/director/teacher.  The school also offers boarding facilities for about half of the students who come from as far away as Port-au-Prince (120 miles) and other parts of the southern peninsula of Haiti.

Lucner and Julianna speak often of how God has graciously provided over the years, yet there has been great sacrifice and countless prayers for help.  As administrator and director she has never received a salary, and sometimes there is only enough money to pay the teachers about half of their salary.  The food supplies often run low for the children, whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition.  Lucner has been able to make a decent living, by Haitian standards, through a hodgepodge of translation work, teaching a few classes at the nearby university, and farm work, which has helped to supplement the school.

The couple also talks passionately about the visions and dreams they have for this school and ministry:

1.  To solidify the current budget-  this will help insure the health of the children through providing a good home, healthy food, various medicines, and excellent education.  Also, steady income will facilitate the recruitment and retention of specialized and talented teachers.

2.  To expand the size of the school-  though this ministry is off to an inspirational beginning, the need remains great.  It is difficult to estimate how many children are out there who could benefit from a school like this, but realistically the school now provides services for less than one percent of that demographic.  It is believed at this time that this is the only such school in the region, or possibly one of two.  Also, currently the school cannot offer boarding services to teenagers due to lack of space and privacy, limiting the impact to those who can commute on a daily basis.  It is the dream of the founders of this school to offer services to more children in the future through expansion.

3.  To expand educational offerings-  in the future students will be taught not only academics but also various trades for which they will be uniquely suited.

4.  To expand the ministry impact-  students are trained in Bible and ministry and given opportunities to impact the neighborhood of the school as well their families when they return for holidays and summers.  There is much more that can be done in these areas in the future.   

How H.I.M. will be involved...

After sitting down recently with Lucner and Julianna, with the assistance of our national director Zacharie, we have determined to tackle the first point on the list above, solidifying the budget.  We feel the best way to do this is through the recruitment of sponsors for individual children.  Here are the financial numbers the Deaf/disabled school is currently working with...

Major expenses                   cost per year

Facility rental (school & boarding house)            $2,500
Staff salaries                                                    $8,200a
Food, supplies, etc...                                        $1,760

       TOTAL                          $12,500 (US dollars)

*The school does receive sporadic income through partial payments of tuition, donations from ministries for which Lucner translates, and other Haitian or American friends.  Therefore, we have determined to set a goal of $25/month per student, or $300/year.  With 37 students this would amount to $11,100, leaving room for other donations to close the gap.  If income exceeds budget in the coming year, extra money may be utilized for acquiring a vehicle, savings toward facility expansion, staff salary increases, or other improvements.

Also, as this partnership grows in the future we will offer Zacharie's services as advisor and mentor, especially with regard to expanding the ministry impact of this school and its students.  We also will begin to discuss the viability of helping to raise the funds necessary to obtain a permanent facility and/or buying land and building a campus.  In every way we will seek God together and pray for his direction in changing the lives of many people, both the children in Haiti with their families and also the lives of the American individuals and churches who will be involved in various ways.

Sponsorship Information

Please consider sponsoring a child for the Deaf/Disabled school in Les Cayes!  The following are some of the benefits of being involved in this program:

1.  Provide school, nutrition, spiritual guidance, and a hopeful future for a disadvantaged child in Haiti.
2.  Help share Christ's love with the family and community of the child whom you sponsor.
3.  Live out your personal faith in a tangible way which will compel you to deeper prayer, worship, hunger for Scripture, and missions involvement.
4.  Correspond with your student and his/her family through letters translated by H.I.M.
5.  Peace of mind knowing that the money you give will be administered with complete integrity and transparency.  100% of your gift will go directly to the school.
6.  Opportunities to visit the school to meet your child personally and serve in various capacities.

How do I get involved?

Step #1-   View the children by hitting the "Deaf/Disabled School Sponsorship" tab above and pray about whether God would like you to be involved and if so, which student you would like to sponsor.  Cost is $25/month or $300/year.

Step #2-   Contact Lynn via email to request more information.  At that time she will give you information about which children are still available, how to pay, and how to stay involved with the ministry.  Please use this email:

Step #3-   Stay involved with the ministry!  We will give you photos, information, and opportunities to participate in what is going on in Haiti.  Pray for  your child, share his/her info with your church and friends, and allow God to grow your own vision for missions and ministry.

Thanks to everyone again for helping us visit Haiti this past week. We had a great experience and are ready to continue the work!  Please join us!

Many blessings on your adventure today!
-the grimm family adventurers

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our Final Day in Haiti

Family and Friends,

Well, the week has gone by quickly as it always does on these mission trips, and we have reached the final day.  Looking back we feel very positive about everything that has happened here, and we have truly enjoyed the time with friends, old and new.

Today I will travel with Lucner into the city to visit the Deaf/Disabled school one more time.  My plan is to get an individual photo of each student along with personal information.  We had a great business-meeting / prayer-time on Sunday and laid out a plan for raising funds to solidify the budget of the school and begin to work towards a future permanent campus.  Afterward as I was praying and thinking about the whole project I realized it would be a lot more meaningful if people could sponsor an individual child and get to know him/her personally through the process.  This is what Mission Haiti and many other organizations do in Haiti and it seems to benefit both sides of the relationship.

After that Zacharie will pick me up from the school and we will visit two more potential ministry partners he has identified.  I will return to the hotel mid-afternoon, where Lynn will stay today to welcome any final visitors, and we will wrap up the day with some final guests, packing, and saying "see you later" (Christians never have to say "goodbye").

We will post more about Deaf/Disabled school when we return and have better internet access for uploading pictures and videos, but here are a few more of our favorite snapshots from the last few days...

Cory and Aldoni-  this is the young man I referenced recently while preaching at ARC in Luverne-  to read more of his story click the following link and the part about his is half-way down the page:   Aldoni in Prison

Zacharie shared more of the story about when Stevenson was born, 3 1/2 years ago.  We knew he was in the neighborhood of 2 lbs. at birth, which as you can imagine, gives you little chance of survival in this country, and we knew Zacharie had to traverse the city streets in the night looking for some pharmacy who had oxygen for the child.  What we didn't know was that in the meantime the nursing staff stopped caring for the child and gave him up for dead.  Also, after he obtained the oxygen there was at least one incident when the nurse took the air from his child and put it on another.  Wow!  It was a very trying time.  As you can see, by the grace of God, he is a thriving young boy now, and very cute!  At some point in the ordeal Zacharie dedicated his son to serve God if he was to survive.  This is sometimes done in these circumstances in Haiti, similar to some Bible stories.  We will see how God uses this young man...

Lynn with Stevenson, Zacharie and DiDi's son

Lynn with Santia, good friend and former student.  To read more of her story click this link:     Santia's Story

Some children at a country school we visited

The view from Zacharie's back door.  Not too bad!

Have a great day everyone, and please pray for our travels back to the airport.  We will leave at 3am tomorrow morning, and we plan to touch down in Des Moines at 7:20 that night if all goes as planned.  Above all, pray for the people of Haiti as they follow Christ day by day through many difficult trials.  Thanks again for making this trip possible through your contributions and prayers, and we will see you all again soon.  God Bless!

May Your Adventure Today Have Many Memorable Snapshots!
-the grimm family adventurers

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Visiting the Old Haunts

Family and Friends,

Yesterday we spent the morning working with some friends who are great musicians, the Gedna brothers.  Their group is called "Model" and we were translating one of their recorded songs into English and reworking it to be re-recorded and added to I-tunes for sale.  It was a lot of fun, and translating becomes even more difficult when you are working within the parameters of poetry, sing-ability, and word rhythms.  They are great singers, however, and have a great potential to impact many people with their art.

We also welcomed several other guests, both new and old friends, and then prepared to visit Ti-Riviere in the afternoon.  Our car and faithful driver arrived and we headed on our way.  The way to the village included seeing all of the places I used to stop along the way to and from the main market we utilized.  It was fun to see so many familiar faces, and the rate of recognition increased the closer we got to the village.  Soon we recognized everyone and began to pull over to say hello to former students in my English classes, former laborers with whom we worked on projects, youth group members, and various other friends from the community.

First we went up to Zacharie's house to visit.  At a curve in the main road you can turn down a steep side road that is paved with rocks.  After that, when you reach the ocean, you can drive no further.  From that point we had to take Lynn on a foot path.  It was touching to see how much work Zacharie and others had done to make it possible for Lynn to pass.  There was a small bridge built over a ravine, countless branches and roots cut away with machetes, and even piles of large rocks beside the trail that had been thrown to the side.  When we reached the final incline it was too steep to push her up so Olgens, Zacharie, and Bazile picked her up and carried her the remainder of the distance to the house.

Zacharie and Olgens helping Lynn on the path

After some relaxing time at Zacharie's we went back to the middle of the village and greeted people. They told us they were happy to see us, how big we are now, how life continued to be hard, and how
God has always been present in their lives.  Then we walked up to the mission compound and orphanage where we had lived for over a year.  It was an emotional time of seeing all those old friends and the home where we lived with our kids.  At times no one really knew what to say, and there were many tears.  Finally we said goodbye and headed on our way.  

As we left the village we saw more friends and stopped a few times, and then we were back out on the main road among mostly strangers.  I remember thinking, "something like that can only happen to you once or twice in a lifetime.  It reminded me of returning home after the first semester of college...that strange feeling of returning to a place where everything seems exactly the same but knowing inside that you yourself are so different than you used to be."  In the end we simply wish all those people the best, including Mission Haiti, and we hope God guides them all into a wonderful future.

Last night we again welcomed several friends and had a good time sitting around the pool talking about life, God, culture, music, Haitian proverbs, rats (in the nearby trees), and frogs (of which Haitians are deathly afraid).  We haven't seen any tarantulas yet...although we haven't looked under the bed, either.  Finally it was only us and Willy, the normal end to each of our days here.  We gave him some of our leftover food we had from our various meals and gifts from friends (we have done this each night), and he walked home to share it with his sister.

Cory and Willy watching Bruce Lee on YouTube

Another exciting day in Haiti!

May Your Adventure be Worshipful Today!
-the grimm family adventurers    

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Very Adventuresome Day!

Family and Friends,

As you know we are in Haiti right now and enjoying a great week. We will try to update the blog each day with our adventures...

Yesterday was one of those days in Haiti where so much happened you could sit down afterwards and write at least 3 posts on the blog, if you still had the energy.  Instead we went to bed and crashed and now as we enjoy our breakfast we are recalling all the great conversations, the difficulties, and the moments of ministry along the way…

The day started off normally and we waited to hear from Zacharie about the car that was to be made available for us.  For some reason we could not call him or send him a text, so we waited patiently to see what would happen next.  At one point Lynn went back to the room to get something and managed to lock the key inside.  We talked to the Hotel staff, and sure enough, there was no back-up key.  Around that time Willy came to visit, and he said, “No problem.”  He took out his knife, jimmied it between the door frame and the lock, and “POP”, it opened right up.  That gave us a good laugh.  I asked him if he had done that before and he said, “many times.” 

Soon Zacharie appeared with Bazile, the nice man who drove us from Port-au-Prince the other day.  This time, however, he had an old, small SUV which was puttering down the road.  It was just big enough for the four of us and the wheelchair, and as we got in we saw that Bazile’s 2-year-old son was sleeping on the seat.  Zacharie took the child in his lap, and we headed on our way.  We enjoyed looking out at the familiar sights along the way as we headed into the main city in this area, Les Cayes.  Everyone was busy about the commerce of the day, going in and out of the larger markets and carrying produce to the little booths, etc…  The large trucks rumbled up and down the road with motorcycles, bikes, and small SUV’s darting this way and that. 

The first place we stopped was a potential future partner in ministry, Les Enfants au Coeur Joyeux (Children with joy about the heart).  It is a school operated in partnership with three different churches, and there are some orphans from that area who are cared for through the program as well.  Zacharie had identified the couple who runs the program as a family with outstanding character and ability, and he wanted us to meet them.  When we arrived in the rural neighborhood north of Cayes, Bazile drove as closely as possible to the school before stopping.  The school was up on a hill with only a footpath stretching the final 100 yards or so.  We decided Lynn would wait in the car while the rest of us went up to the school to greet the children and staff.  Lynn was left to entertain the small boy who began to cry for his mother.  She tried giving him food and some balloons, but he was fussy until we returned.

Lynn waiting in the car to meet the kids at the country school.

After some small speeches and other formalities at the school we came back down the hill with the children and gathered around the car to meet Lynn.  Everyone was very kind and it was a good chance to visit that ministry in person and begin a process of communicating back and forth to better understand their vision and how we can be involved if appropriate.  Most of that will be done by Zacharie over the coming months.  We loaded up in the car and carefully backed up down the hill.

After getting some air in the tires at a road-side air shop and gas at the gas station, we headed towards our main stop for the day, the Deaf/Disabled School in Cayes led by Lucner and Julianna.  Earlier along the way we had picked up their daughter and the cakes for the party, and now we all piled out of the vehicle and headed in to the courtyard outside the house to meet the kids.  Instantly we had kids climbing all over and around us, squeezing our hands, and trying to communicate with us in their mixture of Creole and sign language.  From that moment the excitement continued until our departure around three hours later.   

The kids and staff at the Deaf/Disabled School in Cayes

During that time we enjoyed a tour of the property, some songs to welcome us (in creole and sign language), a formal presentation of the story behind the ministry (we will cover that in a separate post), some time working on art together with the children, a party with cake and fruit and soda pop, a time of taking every possible group photo we could think of, and some time to wander around and get to know everyone better.  We had a great experience and were very blessed to be honored by all of them in so many special ways.  They were thrilled to receive the monetary donation of $2000 that was made possible by many of you.  That will keep their food supplies going for quite some time.

Lynn meeting Jeff, a smart boy bound to a wheelchair.  Lucner is introducing everyone.

Again, we will try to share more of the stories, photos, and conversations of our visit to the Deaf/Disabled school in an additional post at a later time.  This Sunday we will sit down with Lucner and Julianna and discuss more of the future vision for the school, which will include helping them solidify their budget, expanding to offer instruction in trades to Deaf/Mute persons, and possibly obtaining a permanent facility instead of continuing to rent.  

Next we visited the "Ambassadors of Jesus Christ Church and School" directed by Zacharie's wise friend with snow-white hair, Gaspard.  If there is ever a movie made about his life, He will undoubtedly be played by Morgan Freeman!  We were impressed by their warm welcome, which included 2 complete songs sung in English.  Then came a memorable moment when a precious little girl very slowly made her way to Lynn with a welcome packet for us.  She walked unblinkingly towards us across the room as the entire school watched in complete silence.  She was very brave.

Lynn accepts the welcome packet from a little girl at the Ambassadors Church & School

The school was obviously operating on a meager budget yet was completely orderly and busy about their studies when we arrived.  We are anxious to get to know this ministry more in the future as well as it is highly recommended by Zacharie.  Again, he will continue to get to know them and their work, gathering information for us as we process which ministries are best to support in Haiti in order to make the biggest and best impact for the Kingdom.  

Part of the adventure of visiting that school was leaving the main road and driving through a large and deep ditch to reach our destination.  Getting back out of the ditch on to the main road was a bit of an adventure.  We could climb about half way up the steep incline but lacked the power to finish the job.  Of course every cab driver, school kid, and nearby vendor was shouting advice in our direction:

       "Put it in first gear!"
       "Back up and get a better run at it!"
       "Put it in 4-wheel drive!"
       "Get a better car!"  

Finally we made it to the top and headed down the road to our final stop for the day.  If you are a long-time follower of this blog you may remember a post several years ago when I had a chance to visit Junior with the foundation, Love Haiti.  Since that time we have remained in contact with him and his associates and have been encouraging them in different ways.  At one point we made the difficult decision NOT to back them financially.  This decision was based on the fact that we felt they lacked a definite vision for ministry.  Many times they would ask us what they should be doing, and our response as always was, "Only God can tell you that through the Holy Spirit.  It is not right for us to tell you what to do in ministry." (a founding principle of our ministry!)

Over the past few months Lynn has really been working on Junior and encouraging him to make sure he is truly following Christ, so upon reaching his home he jumped right into that discussion and wanted to know what he needed to do to give his life to Christ and be baptized.  We counselled him for a bit, as he is quite strong in English, and then we turned the conversation over to Zacharie.  It was a joy to see Zacharie passionately and carefully lay out the gospel, how to respond, what God expects of us, what God wants to do in our life, etc...  

Zacharie shares the gospel with Junior

Finally it was time to make a decision and Junior gladly prayed for forgiveness of sins and invited Christ to be Lord of his life.  It was a wonderful moment for us and truly a snapshot view of what our ministry is about, utilizing the gifts of both Americans and Haitians side-by-side in ministry.  Some members of Junior's family were there to witness the whole thing, and Zacharie plans to return to begin a discipleship process with Junior and invite his father and sisters to receive Christ as well if they have not already.  Junior has great potential for ministry and is extremely ambitious, and we are hopeful that we will enter a partnership with him in the future as the vision for his life becomes clearer from God.

Finally we returned to our hotel and enjoyed the remainder of the late afternoon and evening.  Olgens, an old family friend, was waiting there for us when we returned and we sat down to a meal of great food (featuring lumbi, the meat of the animal you find in a conch shell...tastes like chicken, really!) and many laughs.  Olgens is a great joker.  After that we welcomed many more guests and at no time did we ever have less than 10 people sitting around the circle together until after dark.  Lucner stopped by to say goodnight and thank us for visiting and he said something that really touched us, "I have translated for countless American ministries, aid organizations, and even the UN, and very few of them have been able to touch the hearts of Haitians like the two of you as you simply spend time with them and laugh together as true equals."  That was a great affirmation for us, not that we are great people, but the fact that God has humbled us and allowed us to truly appreciate the people here for the treasures they are.

Later on today we will have our chance to visit Ti-Riviere, the village where we lived previously.  We look forward to seeing everyone again, though we know there won't be time to have a nice long conversation with each one.  It will be a glorious moment, however, and we praise God for the opportunity He has given us.  As someone said when we left almost 2 years ago, "If God wants you to return to Ti, you will return."  

Don't Miss Your Many Adventures Today!
-the grimms  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Very Warm Reception!

Family and Friends,

Greetings from Haiti, everyone!  We have enjoyed a very warm reception so far, not just in temperature but also in the love of our friends.  Despite choosing a hotel almost half an hour from the village where we previously lived, we have been delighted by the steady stream of visitors.

The travel was very uneventful the last couple of days as we arrived in Port-au-Prince on schedule and then rode in a pick-up for about five hours to reach our destination.  It was nice to see the capitol and the changes that have occurred.  Now their streetlights are actually much more sophisticated than our own back home.  It was hard to tell from the vantage point of the road how much the housing situation in the city has changed since the earthquake over 3 years ago, when nearly 1 million people were displaced from their homes, but we did still see a spattering of tent cities along the way.

We stopped in Ti-Goave near the place where the violence and political demonstrations have been taking place.  We were picking up some sleeping mats from one missionary family and taking them to another missionary family further down the road.  The people there told us that the uprisings have continued but overall the situation has never been extremely dangerous.  Unfortunately, there was a man from their church (Haitian) who was detained in prison for three weeks simply because he happened to be on the tap-tap (public transportation) in which a gun was found after one incident.  I'm sure there are many stories like that.

Lucner & Zacharie relaxing on the patio

Yesterday we got settled in to the hotel and did a lot of visiting with Lucner and Zacharie, our main two ministry contacts in Haiti.  The hotel would not meet many people's standards back in the US, but it is comfortable enough for us, and the staff is very friendly.  Last night Zacharie's wife DiDi brought us a fantastic meal of two kinds of fish, a couple types of fried vegetables, and piklis, one of our favorite dishes which is essentially a spicy version of cole slaw.

The most amazing fish you have ever tasted!  Just imagine a flaky, white salmon.

Piklis with tomatoes on top

We are told that the reception at the deaf/disabled school will actually be a full blown party, and the people in the village where we lived (separate location) are also waiting eagerly to see us.  In the next two days we will visit both of those places, hopefully, and it will be quite a mixture of emotions.  We'll try to capture everything on video and post those here at the motel if possible.  If not we will post them upon our return.

Now back to visiting with some of our guests....

We miss you all and wish you the best!
-the grimms