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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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,