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”).
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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,