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,