Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Finally Here!!

Hi everyone,

If you ever visit my Facebook page, you will see that one of the most exciting events this year happened on Friday !! The container with our new church building structural steel arrived Friday afternoon. Over FIVE MONTHS in customs, but it's finally here !! There was lots of singing and shouting when the truck finally pulled in the church parking. We have been praying and working and waiting to get the building out of customs since the first week of October !! Many, many trips to the customs office and the dock for Pastor Guy and others, but it's finally over and now we can start erecting the steel as soon as we can get our crane and crew together. When Pastor Guy made the announcement at church this morning, the church erupted into shouts of praise !! We are so thankful ! Once the structure is up, there is still so much more to do to get it outfitted and ready to use for worship services, but even all the work still to be done can't dampen the excitement ! Hopefully we can have our first worship service in the new church building in a couple months.

One of the Foursquare pastor's here in Haiti is Pastor Bellande. He has a church a few miles away from us in a rented building. But he also has an orphanage in a rented home way up the mountain that takes an hour and a half to get to (and that's on a good traffic day !) Pastor and his wife Merland both work in separate jobs and travel those long distances every day. Recently a US church donated the money to purchase a very nice piece of property near their current church so we could build a new church and orphanage for the congregation and orphans. The property has a beautiful stream running through it and it is so close to the current rented church building it will be easy for the congregation to move to the new site. As we we've been talking about the property we realized it would also be nice to have the adjacent property as well for gardens, and our fish and chicken projects - but it was not for sale for anything reasonable. However, the next property over (on the far side of the one adjacent to ours) is also nice. We've been praying for the Lord's direction on the purchased property but to date we haven't been able to get any construction started. But just this week, Pastor Bellande found out that the "next property over" belongs to a teacher Pastor Bellande had in school. And, because he knew Bellande, the man is willing to sell his property to us for the exact same price he paid for it !! Praise God ! Now we have to pray for the middle property owner to decide to sell cheaply or switch properties with us so we can have two adjacent properties (or maybe even give his to us !). What an opportunity for a church and orphanage site with tons of room to grow and expand. The other day I was there with a group from Canada and they walked the entire property including the adjacent properties and prayed for a miracle - and now we are seeing that miracle develop before our very eyes !! Thank you Lord !

Every day is something new and interesting ! And even though there are continual setbacks, obstacles and difficulties - it is obvious that God is doing something special here. I am honored and humbled to be a small part of what's happening.

More this coming week.

God bless you all


Not much to see here, but half a new church building is in that container !! (the other half will be delivered tomorrow). And from this container will rise the new National Church building for Foursquare. Can't wait to see it!

The property in the foreground is ours to build on for Bellande's new church & orphanage. The double wall in the back left is the center property we want and beyond the second wall is the teacher's property who wants to sell cheaply to us because he knows Pastor Bellande. What a blessing!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Orphanage Visit

Hi Everyone,

Nothing is ever dull here in Haiti. After getting home from Jeremie we jumped right back into working with a large team of men from South Dakota. They came "ready to build" and went right to work at the church property. We are building a "guest house" there for other pastors who come in from the outlying regions for meetings, schooling, seminars and the Haiti Foursquare Convention. The National Foursquare convention for Haiti is at the end of April so the timing for this building is perfect. This team also built a kitchen on the bunkhouse so large teams can have meals prepared here instead of going back to the main base camp. And this team also built the school for the tent city that our friend Jonas will be using. They "busted their backsides" working here and we are very appreciative.

As I mentioned last time, the tent city school is for the very underprivileged children and should be a real boost to the community in this tent city. Sunday we dedicated the building with prayer and some songs with the children (about 25) and about 10 of their parents. Jonas began teaching in the new school this past Monday.

Two weeks ago we went to a near-by girl's orphanage and then again last week. It is pretty disturbing to see how these girls live. Their lives are entirely in tents - and not just since the earthquake ! - It's been like this since the beginning - some tents to sleep in, one to eat inside and others for storage. The kitchen is two small charcoal stoves under a small plywood shed with the pots and dishes stored in piles on the ground since they don't have any shelves in the kitchen area. We gave them some clothes, barrettes, shoes and new toothbrushes as well as some of our "Mana-paks" (rice food in packets) and hand sanitizer. When we got home we designed a simple kitchen / dining structure that we hope to build there in the next few weeks so they can at least have a place to cook, eat and store supplies. This orphanage has been in existence for about 15 years and some of these girls have been there pretty much their entire lives - a very tough life. But we are very excited about the possibilities of connecting with this orphanage and helping them with their needs this year. God willing, that will happen.

Looking forward to what else God is going to do this year in Haiti.

God Bless you all, Mark

Some of the girl's at the girl's orphanage (along with a small team from Texas). The large tent in the background sleeps about 20 of the girl's. And there are about five other tents like the small one in the left background that house three or four girl's each. The smaller tents are mostly for the older girls.

This is Esther at the girl's orphanage. I asked her what she needed and all she wanted was a small suitcase to put her personal belongings in and some new shoes. We got the shoes last week (for her and the other girls) and a team coming next week is bringing some special bags to personalize for each girl so they have a place to store their belongings. I took this picture on our first trip to the orphanage and gave Esther a copy of it on the second trip. She was so happy and went around to show all the other girls the photo she received !

Construction of the small school at our local tent city. Yes, it's small, but it's over twice the size of where the kids were meeting and it's also now right next to their homes. The Haitian man in the foreground with his back to the camera is the community leader for the tent city - somewhat like a mayor. His name is John and we have become friends over the past few weeks. The only problem is I can't understand what he says so I still have to have an interpreter to discuss things with him !

Tent city panorama with the school in the middle.

School dedication with some of the children and their parents.

School dedication. John Booker on the left with Debbie Booker next to me. John & Debbie head up the Foursquare Haiti mission. And the Haitian man is Jonas. He is a very young man who has dedicated his life to schooling these kids without asking for any pay from anyone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Back From Jeremie!

Aloha everyone !

Well, the Jeremie team came back to Port-au-Prince last Tuesday (the 1st) and headed back to the USA. I flew out on Monday to celebrate the completion of the church/orphanage structure. There is still tons of things to do before it's ready for the children or to use for worship services, but we are 75 % of the way there. And it's making it's mark on the community already. Most all the neighbors are so happy about the church being built and spent much of the two weeks the team worked just sitting and watching it all happen. One man came up to me on Monday afternoon and almost couldn't control himself - saying over and over "Bel Travay, bel travay" (beautiful job !). He was so excited about the building. It may not look like much yet, but when you see the photo of the existing church, you can see why they are so excited. Pastor Casamajor is also thrilled and can't wait to get the children moved in to the orphanage. The building will be a church downstairs and orphanage upstairs. We hope to stucco the outside in the next few months if we can come up with the money. For now, it will be like it is and we'll probably paint it to protect the wood.

Monday after the construction team packed all their tools up and got ready to go, we met with the pastor, the team, some of the children from the orphanage and prayed over the building, the land and the light for Christ that this church and orphanage will be in the surrounding community. Last week our next door neighbor to the church came down to our base camp and wanted to talk to me about buying his property with a partially completed house on it. I said no since we don't need it and I suggested he finish his house that he started on the property and then attend our new church. When I came back on Monday he was working on the house and I heard his wife wants to attend our new church that's only 100' from their new home. The church hasn't even opened yet and it's already making an impact ! Praise God for that !!

When we got ready to go to the airport, we couldn't get the tap-tap truck we expected, so we hired 8 motorcycle taxis to take us all to the airport. Pastor Casamajor and a couple church leaders went on two other motorcycles and we headed off. You can't imagine how funny we looked ! Ten moto-taxis driving down the gravel road to the airport with huge heavy baggage on the front, on the back and in between the driver and us ! And half way there I think a few of the drivers decided to race. I know my driver got our motorcycle up to 60 mph trying to catch the others - bumpy, loose gravel and even streams to cross - not to mention the kids, goats, chickens and other motorcycles we passed along the way. What a riot !! One motorcycle we passed had a driver, a passenger and a fish - the fish was at least four feet long strapped crossways on the back of the motorcycle ! What a site !!

Back at Base Camp we received new teams from the US who are here to build, minister in the orphanages, tent camps and churches. Saturday we took a team over to a little school run by a young Christian man who runs his school completely on faith. His name is Jonas and he's been teaching "underprivileged" children in Haiti for years. I say underprivileged because these are the poorest of the poor and would not be able to attend school at all if it weren't for Jonas. He receives no money, no payment for his classes and asks for nothing. Currently he meets with the children in a small room of a house close by our base camp. We are building him a small school building in the tent city next to our church. We dumped some gravel there a few weeks ago and a team, along with numerous Haitians who walked up and volunteered, raked the gravel and spread it out flat for the new school building. More on that later this week.

Love you and God bless,


This is Pastor Casamajor's current church building. Children's Sunday School is outside on the left.

And this is the new building we built over the last two weeks. Like I said, not much yet, but it's light years ahead of the current church building - even if it IS unfinished !!

This is the current kitchen in Casamajor's orphanage along with the two wonderful cooks who work there.

The team, some of the children and Pastor Casamajor (squatting down in the center).

Praying over the church, the pastor, some of the children and the community surrounding the new church.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Haiti Interest Meeting, Sunday March 13th

Aloha all,

It's about that time again! Gearing up for this summers trip to Haiti. We will be having another interest meeting on March 13, 2011 at 7pm at the Kahala Resource Center. The meeting will be a joint interest meeting for the two teams our church will be sending to both Haiti and Thailand this July. If you are able to make it and interested in serving on the home team, fund-raising team or travel team, or want to come and learn more, come on down.

We are so looking forward to what God is going to do in and through our church and each one of you.

Thank you for your heart to serve!