June, 2012 Returning to the USA!
We are pictured above as we arrived by jet to Omaha on June 11th after completing 10 years and 4 months of full time missionary service in Haiti. We praise the Lord for his faithfulness and the privilege he has given us to live and work with His precious Haitian people!
Two days after returning to Omaha, we jumped in a rental car and drove 1,000 miles to Ruidoso, NM to attend the wedding of John Hotek and Erin Mitchell. John is Dan's cousin and a Major in the US Army. Major and Mrs. Hotek met in New Mexico and have been living in Kansas City, MO. They will soon relocate to the east coast where John will begin a two year state side assignment as the principle director of a school specializing in training Army personnel in supply coordination.
The wedding ended up turning into a short family reunion for Dan's family (above) as well as re connecting with cousins and Dan's aunt and uncle, Tom and Sarah Hotek. (not pictured)
Just before departing from Haiti, Joey turned 13 and some of his friends hosted a surprise birthday party for him. (above) Along with food and cake, the boys also picked teams and engaged in an Airsoft War. In other words, they ran around and shot each other with little guns that shoot plastic pellets.
Joey and his friend William White (above right of Joey) share their birthday party almost every year. This year was no exception. However, William had been away in the States for ten months with his parents Will and Julie White while they were home itinerating with their mission, Missionary Aviation Fellowship. The boys were very excited to see each other after such a long time and have the chance to share their birthdays once again before Joey returned to the USA with his parents to begin living there.
You may recall the story of how Pastor Jean St Cyr began ministering to displaced people in Haiti’s largest Tent Camp beginning immediately after the 2010 earthquake. Thanks to many of you who participated in earthquake relief, we were the first ministry to sow funds into a permanent facility. Now, along with the congregation’s giving, others have joined and good progress is being made towards completing a two story community worship center. (above and below)
May, 2012 Special Guest Speakers at Shepherd's Staff Conferences
We were delighted to have Pastor John Morrow (above back row second from left) of "Living Word Ministries" and Dr. Frank Parrish (above back row 3rd from left) of "World MAP" join our national team for a week of "Shepherd's Staff" Conferences in early May. Also pictured above with Dan are Clement and Mona Jean Benoit the national coordinators for Living Stone Ministries in Haiti. (above back row left and front row left) Finally, Living Stone's coordinator for the south of Haiti, Vionel Romelus. (front row center)
Three conferences were conducted in the cities of Port-au-Prince, Cayes, and Jacmael. Each conference began with a time of praise, worship, and prayer. (above)
The subjects covered by Dr. Frank Parrish included “The Signs of the Times”, “A Time of Clarity” and “The Anointing.” Frank’s teaching was greatly appreciated by the attending pastors and leaders. The organization "World MAP" is the ministry that graciously provides "The Shepherd's Staff" ministry training manuals in French for the leaders of Haiti. Thanks Frank and World MAP!
The final conference in the series took place in Jacmel in the south east. John Morrow conducted the conference (above) and covered important subjects such as “Pastors as Fathers,” “The Power of Words” and “The Power of the Blood.” Leaders were deeply grateful for the Word of the Lord imparted to them through John’s teaching.
Of course, at the end of each conference, attending leaders received a personal copy of "The Shepherd's Staff" French edition and were challenged to read the manual, apply it to their lives, and teach the lessons to their congregations throughout Haiti. (above) Together, ministry partners with World MAP and Living Word Ministries have provided 10,000 books for Haitian ministry leaders. Praise the Lord!
3-10-2012 Assemblies of God Shepherd's Staff Presentation
In April, we were invited to make a short presentation
and distribute "The Shepherd's Staff" at the bi-annual Assemblies of God
National Bible Conference. About 200 pastors and most of the American
missionaries were present.
Liz briefly exhorted the leaders to be very careful to always walk in the fear of the Lord. Dan interpreted.
Afterwards, "The Shepherd's Staff" French edition was distributed to all the attending pastors and evangelists.
1-21-2012 Shepherd's Staff Seminar in Arcahaie
Above, Pastor/Evangelist Thony Jean Louis is one of our Living Stone Network partners. He invited us to conduct a "Shepherd's Staff Seminar" with a group of Pastors and Church leaders in the small city of Arcahaie about one hour north of Port-au-Prince.
The event took place in the Church of God sanctuary.
Liz shared her message entitled, "Don't be afraid but fear the Lord." We feel the "Fear of the Lord" is lacking in many leaders. To the right of Liz, Magalie Boyer interpreted during Liz's teaching time. Magalie is from Haiti. She and her American husband Bobby are the pastors of Quisqueya Chapel in Port-au-Prince. After Liz shared, Dan also shared a message about the difference between "authority" and "responsibility." Dan exhorted the leaders to look for workers who were hungry to take responsibility rather than those who are hungry for authority.
More than 250 leaders packed out the small church. They were very excited to receive God's Word as well as to receive a personal copy of what we call "A Bible School in a Book" entitled: "The Shepherd's Staff."
After lunch, the books were passed out to each leader. The goal is that each recipient will utilize their book to teach and train 100 other people how to have a deeper personal relationship with the Lord Jesus as well as discover practical ways to evangelize the lost and make them into disciples for Christ.
Leaders were very happy to receive the book!
Group shot of leader's holding their new books.
Spanish Bible Study Family Gathering
Liz invited all the ladies from her weekly Spanish Bible study group to come to our house with their husbands and kids. She baked pizza and the other ladies brought a variety of other tasty dishes.
Above, Dominican Missionary Miguel Ovalle conducts a brief devotional before dessert.
Everyone had a great time together with plenty of food, fun and fellowship!
End of Year Road Trip to Northern Haiti
The week between Christmas and New Year's we joined three other families driving to Cap-Haitien to sight see and visit an old Haitian fort called "The Citadel." Above, Joey stands outside the entrance to the fort with some old canons.
Located high in the mountains and overlooking Cap-Haitien and the ocean, we enjoyed spectacular 360 degree views without safety rails. Yipes! Above, all the missionary kids lay out over the edge of the fort's wall to take in the view far, far below. The fort was built 200 years ago to be a place of refuge just in case Haiti was ever re-invaded by France or Spain.
All four missionary families pictured together at the Citadel. All together their were 19 of us traveling together. It was a great 4 day road trip with great memories!
Christmas 2011 in Haiti
On December 19th, we hosted a Living Stone Ministries Christmas Fellowship at a local guest house for all our active ministry partners. Above, Liz speaks to the group about the importance of growing in "The Fear of the Lord."
After praying, singing, lot's of good food and fellowship, we posed for a quick group shot before heading back to our homes.
Liz also shared her "Fear of the Lord" message with the Assemblies of God pastor's wives at their annual Christmas luncheon.
All the ladies received a personal copy of Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" book in French.
October, 2011 "Shepherd's Staff" Leadership Training Conference
We were delighted to have Pastor John Morrow (above right) from Lincoln, Nebraska with us for a full week of leadership training conferences featuring his anointed teaching as well as the distribution of complimentary copies of a very powerful Bible Training manual entitled: "The Shepherd's Staff." John's interpreter was Pastor Jean St. Cyr. (above left)
Above, Pastor John shares with a group of 300 leaders in the Port-au-Prince conference. He also conducted large conferences in Les Cayes in Southern Haiti as well as the city of Gonaives to the North.
Pastor John has a strong anointing to teach pastors to see themselves as Spiritual Fathers. Other topics included in his series were "The Authority of the Believer," "The Power of the Blood of Jesus" and "The Power of Words." At the end of the full day, Pastors and Leaders were invited to pray and make spiritual proclamations together. (above)
At the end of each seminar every attending leader received a copy of "The Shepherd's Staff" in the French Language. Above, an attending leader reads his "Shepherd's Staff" Bible Training Manual.
July, 2011 Children's Vacation Bible School
Children all around Haiti are participating in many special activities while they are on summer vacation from school. Several of our Living Stone ministry partners regularly conduct VBS (Vacation Bible School) during the summer months to give children opportunities to grow in their relationship with God and with one another. The kids also of course have lot's of fun! (Top) Children were given Creole New Testament Bibles courtesy of the Haitian Bible Society and encouraged to read them everyday. (Middle) Craft projects are always a great way to teach children spiritual lessons as well as creativity while they learn how to work with their hands. (Above) Clement, Mona, Sheila, and Vionel worked together on this recent VBS conducted near Port-au-Prince. They are pictured from left 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively.
July, 2011 Visting Family, Friends & Ministry Partners in the Midwest
We've been in Omaha, NE since mid June taking time to rest, connect with family and friends, and speak at partner church congregations. Joey has enjoyed spending time with his cousin James (top) going swimming, playing video games, and shooting airsoft guns. (Above) On the 4th of July we took a family picture with Dan's two brothers and their beautiful families. Lord willing, we will return to Haiti at the end of August.
June, 2011 Using Pillow Cases to make Dresses
This beautiful little girl from "H.I.S. Home for Children" is one of numerous recipients of pillow case dresses created by ladies from Omaha, Glad Tidings and Benson Baptist Church. The dresses were brought and delivered with lots of love by the Glad Tidings team when they came to work with us in Haiti in early June.
May, 2011 CHE (Community Health Evangelism) Community Awareness Seminar
Several of our Living Stone network partners conducted a community awareness seminar to introduce members of a Port-au-Prince Church to the principles and methods of CHE (Community Health Evangelism) These partners were some of the same ones who had completed the TOT1 (Training of Trainers) course back in March. (Top) Mona facilitates a discussion about community health/spiritual topics. (Above) Volcy participates in a small group as they brain storm for answers to various community related questions. The goal of CHE is to empower local believers to utilize the teaching and promotion of basic preventive health care practices as a platform to begin forming relationships with non-believers in their communities and build a bridge to introduce them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The next step is for the church members to decide when they are ready to form a committee with other key leaders in their community and then receive more in depth training so they can begin implementing CHE in their community.
May, 2011 Kid's Club Leader's Training
We were given a very unique opportunity to provide training for a group of leaders from 10 rural communities in a very arid, almost dessert like area of Haiti known as Fond Parisien. The event was hosted by Pastor Rod Baker and his leaders from Victory Church, Tulsa OK. The goal was to introduce Children's workers to simple ministry tools they could use to host weekly Kid's Clubs in their communities. (Top) Clement gives a demonstration of how to use a picture book to tell children Bible Stories. (Above) Group poses for a picture during their 3 days of training. After the training, the leaders were encouraged to go back to their communities to begin utilizing their new techniques and materials with children in their communities. There are future plans to provide more in depth training to key leaders in each of the communities utilizing CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) training courses.
3-15-2011 Random Good Times!!!
While Chris Bedzyk from One Hope was here working on the Haiti Book inventory at the Bible Society, we decided to take a half day and climb the mountain immediately across the ravine from our house. (Top picture Chris on the left and Miguel our tour guide on the right) We call it the "Belo Hike." It was Friday and Joey had the day off from school so he went with us. We had a great time and wore ourselves out getting to the top. Liz came to rescue us and gave us a ride back to our house in the pick up. We affectionately refer to Liz as the captain of the "Search and Rescue Team."
One day, while visiting our new missionary friend Lee from South Korea, she offered us some incredible tasting sea food snacks that look like sushi wrapped in sea weed. (Above pictured on the left is MAF missionary friend Julie White from Broken Bow, NE and South Korean Missionary Lee who made the yummy sushi snacks) As we talked about "CHE" (Community Health Evangelism) and ate these treats, I suddenly realized that as a "Nebraska Boy" this wasn't the type of food I was accustomed to growing up.
3-6-2011 Port-au-Prince Fellowship Water Baptism
Dan was asked by the Elders of Port-au-Prince Fellowship to conduct classes to prepare young believers for baptism. After 4 weeks of instruction during Sunday School hour, 21 young men and young ladies followed the Lord Jesus in Water Baptism. Dan and Roger Clark teamed up to baptize the candidates together. (top picture) Some of the newly baptized young ladies dry off as they watch their friends being baptized. Special thanks to Pastor Bobby Boyer and the saints from Quisqueya Chapel for offering us the use of their baptism pool. Also, special thanks to Mackenson Eustache and Moise Medor for helping with conducting the Baptism classes. We actually had several of the candidates come to Christ during the Baptism Instruction. Praise the Lord!