Dearest Supporters, Friends and Family,
Wow! This last year and a half have been a ride. From meeting in-person for the first time in 2020 to moving down to Haiti as a missionary couple, Dawn and I have seen God’s hand at work in our lives.
Who is Andrew?
For those of you who do not know me and have been supporting Dawn for all these years, I want to thank you for partnering with her in the ministry God has called her to in Haiti. Now that I am part of the team, I would love to introduce myself to you and cannot wait for what the future holds as we go about God’s work together in Haiti.
As a child, I was fortunate to have been born into a Christian family that walked intentionally with our Lord and Savior. Our family unit is not a small one either. In fact, I have been blessed with six siblings and many cousins. Growing up together, we had all sorts of adventures that included hunting, fishing, shooting, hiking, sports, and exploring Haiti.
I committed my life to Jesus at a young age due to the godly influence of my parents and extended family. We were heavily involved in the body of Christ and were particularly engaged with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) where my parents, and myself, received great Biblical training and were equipped for leadership roles.
My parents were involved in dairy farming until I was 16 years old when God radically changed the trajectory of their lives by calling them to the mission field in Haiti. Consequently, I went with them, and God began to cultivate a passion for serving the Haitian people. This passion has continued to grow in my adult life. So much so, that I hope to follow the Lord’s calling on my life to start a Bible school that equips Haitian nationals to become godly tentmakers, professionals, and leaders within their local communities. To prepare for this, I have earned an MBA through Western Governors University, an EdS with Northwest Nazarene University, and am now nearly finished with a PhD in higher education with Liberty University.
How we met
God works in mysterious ways. Not only did God use an online dating platform, but He also brought Dawn to my home state, Idaho. In November of 2019, a friend of Dawn’s stumbled upon my dating profile and tried to connect us. However, I had cold feet and chose not to pursue Dawn due to my previous in-person set-ups. Personally, I thought that was going to be the end of the story. But boy oh boy was I wrong.
Instead, Dawn ended up meeting another Christian man online. And… This is where it gets interesting. He was also from Idaho. In fact, he only lived 30 minutes away from me and attended the very same church I went to, shopped in the same stores, and we knew of each other from Bible study.
One summer day, while walking through my local Walmart, I was introduced to Dawn through her beau. Near the shoe aisle of all places! Our short time of conversing with one another about Haiti and missions opened my eyes to who she was. Dawn was an engaging, smart, and beautiful woman who had a very similar calling to me in her life. This is when I realized I had really screwed up. I missed out on an opportunity to pursue her months earlier because I decided to play it safe. And… I also had to ask God why He had such a cruel sense of humor bringing her to Idaho only for her not to be available.
Four months later, God closed the door on that relationship for Dawn, and He placed the right people at the right time in my life to be cognizant of this change. Fortunately, I learned from my past mistake, didn’t hesitate, and jumped in with full intention.
God worked out the many details. We were engaged the day before Valentine’s in 2021, got married June 26th, 2021, and we have been serving in Haiti as a couple since October.
What’s Going on Now
We touched down in Les Cayes, Haiti October 14th and have been serving within RMI through several different capacities. We have been visiting Sister Churches to hear what has been going on there and getting video updates for their stateside counterparts. We have visited schools that are involved with Hope for Kidz documenting food and goat deliveries. We have been helping with two exciting projects that will be announced later this year. And, God has presented us with opportunities to minister to fellow staff and missionaries.
Personally, we are grateful that God has opened the doors for us to move from the one-bedroom apartment, we are currently residing in, to a larger space. This new location will be excellent as we prepare to have a family and host others. (This change does not affect our mailing address.)
If you would like to hear more details concerning what is happening in our ministry, we will be posting videos and updates on our social media (Facebook) and website (actingonfaith.org).
Praises and Prayer Requests
We praise the Lord that:
He has enabled us to serve in Haiti the last few months of 2021 and into the summer of 2022
Andrew has had the opportunity to meet several Christ-following leaders in the community that may open the door for future ministry
All the gifts we received from our wedding made it to us here in Haiti and were not stolen in-transport
For each of you who have walked alongside us in prayer and financial support
Please pray with us that:
God grants us good health as we minister in Haiti. Since the beginning of December, we have been challenged with several illnesses.
God clearly illuminates the path of Andrew’s ministry within RMI and the surrounding area.
We are able to raise the remaining funds necessary for us to minister in Haiti long-term.
We are salt and light wherever we serve.
God guides RMI’s leadership and staff as we traverse new ministry opportunities.
Haiti becomes more secure allowing for RMI to have teams come and visit their Haitian church counterparts.
We praise God that He was able to help us raise the support necessary for serving in Haiti for the last part of 2021 and the first half of 2022. However, our leadership gave us provisionary permission with a lower fundraising amount to get us to Haiti after the August earthquake. Sadly, this lower amount is not sustainable for us to remain in Haiti long-term. Currently, we need to raise an additional $2,000 of monthly pledges to reach the amount set by the RMI administration. We are looking to partner financially with 20 individuals for $25, 10 families for $50, 6 families or churches for $100, and 3 churches for $140-$250. If the Lord is impressing on your heart to partner with us in this way, you can connect with us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Or you can visit RMI’s website: www.rmibridge.org/financial-donations, select donate now under ministries, and our names will be listed as: Tlucek, Andrew and Dawn (Shoemaker).
We will continue to send out a paper newsletter like this one from time to time. However, we will be sending out email updates once every 4-6 weeks. We can only do this if we have your email address, though! Let us know if you want to be included in that email list. Also, we are both on Facebook – Dawn has changed her personal one to Dawn Tlucek. We look forward to hearing from you, getting to know you and sharing our ministry with you.
Thank you again for your faithful support. You make it possible for us to be here and we appreciate each of you so much!
Andrew and Dawn
And This is How My Year Ended
What a year it has been! This past year has been very different than any of us expected.
God is at work...
Sometimes the working of God is not evident in the way that we want or expect it to be. We can’t measure it by our human criteria. But we can always be assured that He is definitely at work!
The year started with a steady flow of political turmoil and public protesting. Unfortunately, Haiti doesn’t have a very reliable system for the citizens’ voices to be heard and protesting seems to be the only way the government will listen. Right or wrong, the protesting and turmoil affected missionaries all over the country, even in my rural area, Les Cayes. For the most part, it meant if you stayed home and didn’t try to cross any road blocks you were safe. I never felt unsafe and listened to our RMI Leadership. One of the biggest issues we ran into was getting the provisions we needed such as groceries, gas, etc. With all the road blocks, trucks weren’t able to travel from Port-au-Prince, the capital, to Les Cayes. RMI is well established and our leadership has the contacts to call in regards to safety and potential problems, but with providing provisions there is only so much that can be done. In February, RMI pulled all of their missionaries out of Haiti. I am very grateful to be a part of such a respected and seasoned organization. It was not an easy decision for them to pull us, but it all worked out. We returned two weeks later.
As you can imagine, RMI’s ministries have been severely impacted. We had to cancel 22 teams, schools had to close down, and our staff couldn’t travel to work on projects, deliver food, goats, and many other things. But don’t worry, I stayed busy doing what I could. We were hopeful throughout the year that things would improve, and I still helped plan a lot of the teams that we had to cancel. Yes, that means we would plan a team or two and then have to cancel them. It definitely got frustrating and Satan tried to use this disrupting time to stop the Lord’s work, but he failed. God was still working and moving forward, even in the turmoil. We received reports of churches we work with coming together with their communities to get through this difficult time. Members of the communities were coming to know Christ as their Saviour. It presented the church an opportunity to rise up and be there for their communities, and work together. We heard of big groups coming together, in many different areas of Haiti, lifting up the country to the Lord. My missionary community and I also got together and prayed for Haiti fervently. As the year has progressed, God has provided breaks from the protesting. They were just long enough for us to restock on provisions and get done what we need to get done in town. The Haitians were very grateful to receive these blessings of calm as well.
As I returned to Haiti so did the turmoil. The fall was very similar to the spring. We did have to cancel teams, and we ended up with low provisions, but God always provided. In October, RMI Leadership approached me and asked me about being reassigned to Fort Myers, Florida. The reason was to help my mom recover from Achilles’ tendon repair surgery so my father, who is the president of RMI, could attend quite a few significant fundraising opportunities. With no teams until the end of the year, and the fact that I could still do quite a bit of my ministry online, it was a good time to be gone. It wasn’t easy to leave my fellow missionaries and life in Haiti, but the need was obvious. I left at the end of October and was able to provide in-home care for my mom throughout November and December. This gave my dad the opportunity to fundraise for RMI...and Praise the Lord, God blessed these special efforts above and beyond.
It’s been great to be able to serve my mom, dad, organization, and the Lord in this season. I am also grateful for the report that my mom is healing really well, and I’ll be returning to Haiti at the beginning of January. Home! What a way to start the New Year - at home!
Prayers and Praise...
As always, you can contact me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with me by checking out my website, www.actingonfaith.org, or find me on Facebook (look me up using “Dawn Shoemaker – Impacting Haiti”).
I am planning to switch from a paper newsletter to digital e-newsletters soon. In order to do this I need your email address. I want to stay in touch with you, so if you haven’t done so, send me your email address so I can include you in those updates!
Thank you again for your faithful support. I couldn’t be here without it and I appreciate each of you so much!
Only by His Grace,
I Have a New Prayer Card
God is at Work in Haiti
How time flies...believe it or not, I’ve been here over a year. I’m so thankful that God has surrounded me with a great national staff and experienced missionaries. These colleagues have taught me everything from how to live out my missionary calling in Haiti to how to cook rice and beans. They have encouraged me, challenged me, let me spread my wings, given me a safe place to share my heart, prayed with me, mentored me, laughed and cried with me, let me into their hearts and have become my friends and my Haiti family. I couldn’t ask for a better group of godly, dedicated people to work with.
I feel that I have been able to settle into my niche in the RMI ministry. I am responsible for communicating with visiting teams, helping them plan the details of their upcoming trip to Haiti. I also am involved in telling RMI’s story through photography and social media. And, as is common on the mission field, I have the opportunity to be involved in just about every other aspect of the ministry. In the past year I have transported teams, translated for them (to the best of my limited ability!), been the missionary host for several teams (this means I’ve gone out into the country with them while they visit their Sister Churches), shared a devotional at the daily staff meeting several times, plus much more.
God is at Work!
[Written for an RMI publication.] The elderly gentleman dressed in his best clothes that morning. He started walking early because he knew it’d take a while to get there. Once he arrived, he made sure to get a good seat near the front. They said that there was a group from the United States visiting the church that week and he really wanted to hear what they had to say. He listened carefully to what the guest speaker shared. He’d heard the pastor of the church say much the same thing, but that morning he felt God speaking to him, telling him that it was time to make the decision. After the service he pressed his way forward to speak to the pastor. Today was the day. God was calling him to accept Christ as his Savior. The visiting team from Bartlett, IL was thrilled to pray with him and to know that God had used their team to bring this man to salvation. This kind of ministry is what I’m excited to be a part of!
On another occasion while doing yard2yard evangelism with a team, we met a woman who knew the Lord. However, her 3 adult children who were there with her did not. After hearing the Gospel presented to them, they each accepted the Lord. Evangelism is something that can be carried out openly. And most people are open to hearing it but also just as open to say “no, they aren’t interested in it right now”.
I really enjoy being able to spend time with the ladies when a team holds ladies tea for the women of the church. They are the unsung heros of Haiti, yet are often neglected. Encouraging them with a time of Bible study, sharing, prayer, a craft and games is special. They respond so beautifully and seeing their smiles and their spirits lifted is heartwarming to experience.
Another aspect of my ministry that I enjoy doing is when I’m able to lead orientation with a team when they first arrive and then have a debriefing time at the end of their week right before they go home. I love to hear how God has worked in their lives and how the week impacted them. It’s great to hear how their fears and expectations were cared for by God. Many people say that they feel the Haitians ministered to them much more than they feel they ministered. It really is a reciprocal ministry! God uses their trip to Haiti to transform their lives.
On a Personal Note
Besides Ivory, my white German Shepherd guard dog (who has really grown!), I now have a guard cat. Phantom, Phany for short, joined my household when she was 7 weeks old. Packed in a petite body is a big personality. She’s an excellent hunter of bugs and lizards, but mice and rats scare her. The family of mice living in my couch finally succumbed to mouse traps instead of her hunting skills. Hopefully she’ll grow into the job soon.
Personal visitors have been a source of fun and encouragement to me as well! My parents came in December for the staff appreciation day and were able to spend several days with me. Joanna, a friend from my Tampa days, came for a week in March. Then Jessica, from my Ft. Myers home church, came for a week in April. I had a fantastic time showing them RMI’s ministries, how I live my life (introducing them to the open air market and local grocery store) and what I do for fun. We explored several beaches and historic forts that are nearby, and went on hikes.
Prayers and Praise
This summer, July and August, I will be in the US on furlough. I will be seeing as many friends and supporters as possible. I’ll be in Tampa, Ft. Myers, Chicago and Seattle, WA. I’ll also be speaking at all of my supporting churches. I hope I don’t miss anyone, but if I do, we can connect by email or phone! Pray that my travels are safe and my speaking engagements go well.
You can contact me via email, email@example.com or find me on Facebook (look me up using “Dawn Shoemaker – Impacting Haiti”).
I am planning to switch from a paper newsletter to digital e-newsletters. In order to do this I need your email address. I want to stay in touch with you, so if you haven’t done so, send me your email address so I can include you in those updates!
Thank you again for your faithful support. I couldn’t be here without it and I appreciate each of you so much!
Only by His Grace,
Living the Life of a Missionary
I’m in Haiti! Wow, I can’t believe I made it! There are so many people that helped me get here. Thank you for your financial and spiritual support. I had a great day of travel April 6, My parents saw me off in Miami and when I arrived, I was greeted by the Thompson family (Rob Thompson is the RMI Field Director). I couldn’t believe I was there to live for the next four years. Beyond excited is the best way to describe my feelings of the following weeks after arriving.
My first couple of months in Haiti was really about me getting settled into my house, the language, the culture, and my job. Missionary life in Haiti is so very different then living in the States, in so many ways. From the way you buy meat, to the way you evangelize, the Haitian culture has a different way of doing things and living life. I have had a blast learning it all though, but one of the hardest things to get used to is the constant and consistent heat. I am very thankful for the funds donated to buy my fans. They make a huge difference. Life here definitely keeps me busy.
God is at work...
Ministry has gone amazing. God is doing big things in Haiti. I have been able to be a part of our many different ministries. One great example of what God is doing is a story that came from our door to door evangelism. One of our visiting teams visited a woman who was trusting in Voodoo to protect her and her soon to-be-born baby from death in childbirth. As our group started to share the Gospel, and shared how God protects, she took off her amulet, and trusted in Christ as her Savior. Praise the Lord! Not long after that we heard that she’d had the baby and I was able to go with the RMI staff to visit her. She said it was the smoothest labor she has had yet. She really felt the Lord’s protection and faithfulness through it all. I was able to pray with her, and take photos of her and her family. During another time of door to door evangelism we had 13 people accept Christ in a village called Beaumont.
Besides photography and videography, I’ve been given the responsibility of communicating with the C3 churches - answering their questions and helping plan their trips. My days usually include mornings in the office and afternoons in language study, and many other things. Some days I go out to churches to take update pictures and a video greeting from the pastor. Not too long ago I went out to one church to record the pastor receiving a gift of a motorcycle for his ministry. I’ve learned to drive a stick shift and how to drive here and now I’m an approved RMI driver!
I have enjoyed going out into the country with some of our teams. The week we spend at their Sister Church is fun, stretching, tiring - but always good. I’ve been able to be involved in the ministry that happens that week and have solid input into the nationals’ lives and the US team’s lives. God is working all around me as I work with RMI and the Haitian people. I love it so much. It can be hard, like any job, but God is blessing it. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
On a Personal Note...
My container of personal belongings arrived the week after I did! I’m told that its transit time set a new record. The RMI staff worked tirelessly to unload it into one of RMI’s storage containers. It was all there and nothing broke. I’m so grateful for my many friends and family who helped pack everything and load it. It was a real team effort.
My housing situation that I shared in my last letter changed a couple of months after I arrived. I did stay in the single ladies house at first, but the mission center housing committee re-visited my initial request to be assigned the empty duplex across the road from the single ladies house. It was heavily damaged in Hurricane Matthew 18 months before. The larger 2/3 of the house was repaired first since a family lived there, but the smaller 1 bedroom unit on the other side sat empty. The committee graciously voted to let me have the apartment since I am to be here long term! The waiting game then started. There were many, many repairs to make to it but about 2 months later I was able to actually move in. The Lord gave me the desires of my heart - my very own place. Believe it or not, this was the very apartment that my dad lived in when he was a single missionary here, 1981-1983! God has a great sense of humor.
Part of the house includes a large covered back porch (not much of a yard, but that’s ok). I really enjoy having my devotions out there in the morning and also being able to sit outside in the evening. There are regular gatherings that I’m enjoying being a part of. Wednesday evenings there is an English Bible study on the mission center and every Tuesday afternoons there is ladies tea for the missionary ladies. We share the responsibility of hosting it and bringing goodies to share. I’ve already hosted it several times, which was really fun. The missionary body here is quite diverse in age, church background and kind of ministry they are involved in. There are a few gals my age and we’ve enjoyed going to the beach, out to eat and game or movie nights. I love being a part of the body here.
God provided an experienced house lady to work for me. Madame Mart is in her 50’s and has worked for missionaries for most of her life. In fact, she used to work for a German missionary while I was growing up here. I was in and out of her house as a kid, but never really knew the house lady. She remembered me though! She takes care of the household, cooks the main meal of the day (which is lunch), cleans the house, does laundry and sometimes does market buying. She has a sweet, calm disposition, is a strong Christian, smiles a lot and has a great sense of humor. We “clicked” right away and have a great relationship. This is a big answer to prayer because I really needed someone that I could entrust my household to! We’ve had fun exploring the recipes she knows (many of them are German, which I love) and I have taught her some of my recipes. She is a real gift from the Lord! Life here takes a lot longer to live - everything is made from scratch, meat is ordered straight from the butcher and has to be processed, electricity comes and goes and so much else. Having her help in the house enables me to focus on ministry.
To add to all the change and excitement in my life, I decided to add a member to my family! Her name is Ivory. She is a white German Shepherd and was 8 weeks old when I picked her up. So far her house training is going well. She’s still quite young and we’re both adjusting to each other. I’ve never been a dog mom before, so this is new territory for me. But I love her! She’ll be a good companion for me as well as a guard dog.
Prayers and Praise...
You can still contact me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with me by checking out this website or find me on Facebook (look me up using “Dawn Shoemaker – Impacting Haiti”). I do send updates via email, too. If you haven’t done so, send me your email address so I can include you in those updates!
I have a new mailing address (donations still go to RMI). Please note that it has to appear exactly like this:
Dawn Shoemaker - CAY 30193
100 Airport Ave.
Venice, FL 34285
Agape Flights is a ministry that resources missionaries in the Caribbean. They fly in our mail as well as packages once a week. You can send me packages, but be aware that for anything over 1 lb., I have to pay $4 a pound. This is to defray Agape’s cost of flying it to me as well as for customs. They have a good explanation of how it works at www.agapeflights.com/missionary-partners/send-a-package. If you have a question about sending something, feel free to contact me first.
Thank you again for your faithful support. I couldn’t be here without it and I appreciate each of you so much!
Only by His Grace,
My Latest Newsletter
It’s finally happening!! April 6 I fly to Haiti. I say finally because becoming an overseas missionary has been my life goal, my “dream job”, a specific calling from God for a very long time. Thus I can tell you with a tremendous amount of excitement that I’m flying to Haiti on April 6!
God has been Faithful...
By the time you get this letter, I should be at 98% for both my monthly support needs and my one time costs. I’ve been able to purchase what I need here in the states with those funds. Once I get there and set up house, there will be costs that I have to pay there in Haiti - things like buying propane tanks, buying a stove (it needed to be bought in-country because the ones there will not have all the electronic controls like the ones in the US), housing fees, getting satellite internet set up and quite a number of other things. God has allowed me to share at quite a number of churches and Bible studies. Some of them were new opportunities and some were contacts from my college and post-college years. Some in Tampa, Myakka City (a small town near Bradenton), here in Ft. Myers and I sure don’t want to forget my new ministry partners in Washington state. In some I was given just 4-5 minutes to share while some gave me the entire service. And God worked. He spoke to people’s hearts and my funds have come in. I so appreciate everyone’s love and sacrificial giving!
Before I leave...
The month of March will be very busy. Every weekend is planned, and the days in between are starting to fill up with last doctor visits, paperwork for customs, paperwork for my work permit (I have to get fingerprinted and a good conduct police report!), etc.
March 17 is my Tampa going away party. @Tampa Covenant Church, 5 p.m. Check my Facebook page or my website for updates.
March 31 is my Ft. Myers going away party: @my parents’ house, 6 p.m. Check my Facebook page or my website for updates.
Once I get to Haiti...
I will be staying in temporary housing at first. I’ve been assigned to live in a “single ladies house” and 2 of the 3 ladies that are in there right now are in transition and in the process of leaving. Once they leave, repairs will need to be done before I can move in. This house is approximately 80 years old and much of the time it’s been occupied by single ladies. The wiring needs to be updated, a number of things replaced, painting, leaks fixed, etc. Most of my belongings will be stored at RMI’s storage and depot yard in a secure container until the house is ready and I can actually move in. This house has 3 bedrooms with each room having its own bathroom and a common living/dining and kitchen area.
Where I will be located...
My house is located on the Cite Lumiere Mission Center. It is the same mission center where I was born and grew up. In fact, the house I grew up in is right down the hill from where I’ll be living. The mission center is basically 2 hilltops. The Haitian church association that RMI is affiliated with, MEBSH (Mission Evangélique Baptiste du Sud d’Haïti) - the Evangelical Baptist Mission of Southern Haiti - owns all the property and buildings and I’ll be renting my house from them. The mission center has a number of homes for missionaries, a missionary kid school (where I attended), a hospital, dental and maternity (where I was born!) clinic, all the offices of MEBSH and its departments as well as the RMI office and it’s storage/garage/depot yard on it. It’s about a kilometer long, end to end. The homes are concrete block; some of them have concrete roofs and some have tin roofs. Mine has a tin roof (with a drop ceiling).
The mission center is located right outside of Les Cayes, Haiti’s 3rd largest town and the major town in the southern peninsula. It’s a mixture of a “big city” feel and yet rural too. It’s about 5 hours from the capital of Port-au-Prince. Most of my living and shopping will be done in Cayes (the name is usually shortened to just “Cayes”, pronounced “k-eyes”). My travel with teams will be in different villages all over the southern peninsula. The other place to note is the Zanglais Ministry Center. It’s located about 45 minutes east of Cayes. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time with teams there.
My RMI Teammates...
I’m so thankful that I’ll be a part of a large team working with RMI. There are 9 US missionaries and about 40 national staff working with RMI. Some of the national staff used to work with my parents when they were there, so they knew me when I was a kid. Quite a number of missionaries working with other organizations live across the street, down the road and next door, too. I’ll be well taken care of! I appreciate that they emphasize field orientation and language study first before starting ministry. That’s what I’ll be doing during my first 3-4 months besides getting my house in order. I know I’ll be anxious to get started in ministry but I also know I need to be properly equipped beforehand with solid language skills.
Please Pray with me...
I am filled with many different emotions, happiness, excitement, amazement, and a little nervous. I’ve been waiting to go to the mission field for a very long time. God has blown me away with His provision, love, care, and direction.
You can still contact me via email, email@example.com or find me on Facebook (look me up using “Dawn Shoemaker – Impacting Haiti”). Until April 6, my phone is 239-848-2478. Once I get there, I’ll let everyone know my new address and phone number.
Thank you again for your faithful support. I appreciate you so much!
Only by His Grace,
What is a Packing Party?
Monday night, February 26, there was pizza, sodas and desserts at my parents' house, PLUS 9 wonderful friends from my Bible study group and my Starbucks friends. They joined me for a packing party. I'm so grateful for their help - it was invaluable - and I'm humbled that they gave up their evening for me.
They got my bedroom furniture and a few other pieces packaged to be loaded on the container. This meant that they had to wrap each item in cardboard, bubble wrap, packing blankets and large plastic wrap. It has to be protected so well because everything will be loaded and unloaded several times and traveling in a sea container over the ocean to get to Haiti then trucked out to where I'll be living. It was a lot of work. They also worked at drilling holes in the sides of the lids of my finished bins and zip tying them shut. Then each and every item (furniture, bin, box - everything) had to be labeled and numbered. I have to provide a list or manifest for customs in Haiti, thus the labeling and numbering. The list will also help me know the basics of what is in each bin/box as I unpack. Moving overseas is not for the faint of heart!
Everyone worked hard, but we also had fun. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
The 40' container (the size of a semi-truck) will be dropped at the RMI office this coming Monday, March 5 and the loading will take place on Tuesday, March 6. Wednesday, the next day, it will be officially sealed and picked up. I've been working hard wrapping and packaging things, packing bins and boxes and doing my final purchasing. It's hard to know how to plan for the next 4 years - what will I need, etc. I have to pack everything except what I'll have in my suitcases and carry-on luggage. Those suitcases is what I'll live out of for the next month.
My household items won't fill up the containter of course, so RMI missionaries, several churches and RMI in general will be using the opportunity to get some things to Haiti that can't be sent down through the mail. They're putting supplies, tires, motorcycles and quite a bit of other things in there, too.
It's shaping up to be a stressful 2 weeks. I'm getting anxious about forgetting something - my mind is all over the place!
After the container goes I'll be a bit more free for meals and/or coffee with folks before I get on the plane April 6. I'll be in Tampa several times. There's going to be a lot of goodbyes. Not going to be shy about saying that it'll be hard. But at the same time it'll be good too - I'm going to be a missionary in Haiti! My dream and calling is coming true. Pray for me during this time!!
A Look Back and a Glimpse Forward
It is commonly thought you start your ministry when you get to the country you are going to, but really your ministry starts the moment you start fundraising. I’ve found this especially true for me. These past few months have been full of ministry, memories made, friends and family, and travel. I have loved every minute of it.
Fundraising events: I have had several fundraising events in Tampa. The first one was the largest one and it went very well. My dad and a Haitian pastor’s wife made a delicious Haitian dinner as myself and other volunteers set up tables at a gorgeous outdoor event center. About 50 people attended, and God blessed the event spiritually and financially. It was such an encouragement to me! The next Tampa fundraiser was thanks to my best friend, Kate. Before I leave for Haiti, I have to furnish and outfit my home. As a single who moved quite a bit since college, I found I actually had very little of what I needed. Kate saw this and hosted a beautiful Missionary Housewarming Shower for me. It was a fun time and I was humbled as people opened their hearts and helped me begin to outfit my home, especially my kitchen! Thank you to everyone that have come to support me through these fundraisers and many other ways. I appreciate all you have done for me.
I’ve hosted a few small fundraisers in Fort Myers as well. God used these to bring in a number of new ministry partners. When a dear friend, Asia, heard about the Tampa shower, she felt lead to host a similar housewarming shower here in Ft. Myers. God blew me away - it was an amazing time. So many of my new community and ministry family showed up and blessed me beyond measure. I receive so much support and encouragement from my Bible study. I can’t express how much it has meant to me. I love you guys to the moon and back.
About those T-shirts: A unique way to share in my ministry is the T-shirts that were custom designed for me. It’s a special way to raise awareness for Haiti, raise funds for my ministry and challenge people. The back says “You can be comfortable or courageous but not both.” I’m choosing “courageous”, how about you?! If you are interested in a shirt, let me know (include your size). Each shirt is $20, or $25 if I have to mail it to you.
Travel: What an awesome, fun, and loving trip I had to Washington state in August. I was able to visit Harper Evangelical Free Church (near Seattle) and Packwood Community Church (near Mt. Rainier). Blown away is a good description of how I felt while being there. Such beautiful people of all ages and backgrounds. A huge thank you to Dave and Kim Ness for hosting me as I visited the Seattle area. A great couple with beautiful hearts. They hosted an open house for me at their home and also at a restaurant. During those times I was able to meet the pastor of Harper and many past team members who have been to Haiti with RMI. I enjoyed talking with them about Haiti and their experiences. A huge thank you to RMI missionary alumni, Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin, for coming to pick me up and hosting me for the rest of my time at their home in Packwood. They also hosted a couple of open houses at their home. I was able to share my ministry with some of their church community and neighbors. My time in Washington was a blessing and I loved every moment. It’s a gorgeous state with heart, passion, and love. I can’t forget to thank the Rose sisters for reaching out to me, and blessing me with their quality time.
One significant trip I made was to Haiti in April. I accompanied a videographer and photographer as they took footage for RMI. I was able to rent and use the very camera that I will be using in my ministry in Haiti. It was valuable on-the-job training and made me even more “thirsty” to get there and get involved in what God has for me.
Speaking Engagements: I have been able to share in my Tampa area home churches, Cross Life Church and Tampa Covenant Church as well as many individuals in the Tampa Bay area. I’ve also had the opportunity to share at various Life Groups and Bible study groups at my Ft. Myers home churches, McGregor Baptist Church and Summit Church. I’m excited about being able to share my ministry with churches in Jacksonville and Bradenton in the coming months. I love all my ministry family so much.
Financial Update: This news is especially exciting!! God is so good! He is the one who is guiding me in this journey to Haiti. He is providing the funds through His people so I hopefully can go in MARCH 2018 – just a few months away! This is contingent on having 100% of my finances.
I have 97% of my monthly support needs raised. Would you be one of the final donors that I need?
My one-time costs need is now at 90% raised. This means that I need $3,000 to reach that 100% goal. Would you be able to help with that need?
I’m so close. If you have felt led to give monthly, please start as soon as possible. My organization can only count written or received financial commitments. I know we can do this. Enclosed is a support card for your convenience. Please consider what you can do. You can send in support via a letter or go online to www.RMIBridge.org/financial-donations.
I need your help - pray that God would provide opportunities to share about my ministry and support need. If you know of a church, Bible study or other group that would be interested in my ministry, please contact me.
Haiti is always on my mind and in my heart. Being a part of the team in Haiti is something that I think of often. I am beyond blessed to have this calling, and be a part of God’s plan to impact the Haitian and American community. I want to challenge my friends and family to find the community God has called them to. It might be your work place, or the places you play, maybe your neighborhood, or your carpool. Always be bold and know that it’s worse to not follow God’s leading than to be disliked by your coworkers.
In the meantime, please pray for me…
You can contact me directly by phone at 239-848-2478, or my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only by His Grace,
Ok, I have to admit that growing up in Haiti has left me a bit geographically challenged. I now live in Ft. Myers, FL. I have no problem with Florida, the southern states of the US and even Chicago. But when I was invited to spend a week in the Seattle area I confess I had to figure out where it was. I found out that it was the farthest point, clear across the US, from Florida and I was shocked that it'd take me more than 8 hours just to fly there!
However, despite my initial challenges and surprises, I'm ready for a great adventure and a lot of fun! Harper Evangelical Free Church (of Port Orchard) has been a part of RMI's C3 Partnership Program for many years. They've supported my parents for a good bit of that time. And they wanted me to come present my ministry and get to know me (many of them met me as a little kid in Haiti but that was years ago). They're familiar with Dawn 1.0 (me as a kid) and now I get to introduce them to Dawn 2.0 (me as an adult).
I'll also be meeting with leaders from Trinity Presbyterian Church (Seattle area). They contacted RMI a couple of weeks ago to express their interest in becoming an associate C3 Partner church and were excited to be able to talk with me about RMI and my ministry. The timing worked out great since I was already going to be in the area. God's timing is always perfect.
Another really cool part of my visit is going to be spending time with former RMI missionaries, Gary and Marilyn McLaughlin, who live in Packwood - I'm told it is on the back side of Mt. Rainier, up in the mountains. They were good friends when we were both in Haiti a few years ago. I haven't seen them since 2006 when we returned to the states to live. They are going to host 2 open houses for me to get to know folks from 2 churches that they've been involved with (both have been to Haiti with RMI in the past).
I'm looking forward to seeing mountains and forests...quite a change from the palm trees and sand that I'm used to. But most of all, I'm looking forward to sharing with as many people as possible about my passion to serve in Haiti and about my ministry. Pray with me that as I speak, God would lay it on people's hearts to be involved as supporters. I want to get to Haiti so badly, but I can't without those funding needs met!
P.S. I have to give a shout out to CrossLife Church in Tampa, one of my home churches when I was living there as a Bible college student. Last weekend the pastor graciously gave me the whole service to share in! It was an amazing opportunity to have so much time to share. You all know me...I can talk and share for an hour - it's getting it all squished into those 10 minute slots that I'm sometimes given. Don't get me wrong. Any opportunity to share is a gift! Being given a 5-10 time frame is just more challenging because I have so much I want to say! Thanks so much CrossLife!