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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Update...


Hello Friends


 Hope all is well with each of you. I would like to again thank you who have been praying for and supporting the work in Gonaives, Haiti. I was there the last week in June. I am continually amazed at what God is doing there through those who are there. The second floor of the school is looking great as construction continues on it. Below is a note from Kathy which gives an idea of what real change is about.

      The medical clinic is running well from the original building. We have placed the construction of the new medical clinic building on hold while focusing our efforts and resources on continuing with second floor of the school so it will be available when school resumes in September. Brian has arrived in Gonaives this week and is working on the school in order to get the roof on before school starts. Please pray for funding to complete this and to continue with the medical clinic.

       Most of the team are here in the states, now, working jobs for support for next year, Please continue to pray for each of them in their different roles.

       The Kia truck which we have in Gonaives has been a very good and dependable machine, but is in need of some rest. While I was in Haiti, Beaver and I were able to place a deposit on a new truck which will be for transportation to and from PAP with teams and supplies. Since then, there has been $20,000 committed to the truck and we are need of $10,000 more. Please make this a matter of prayer. If you would like to donate to the truck, please donate at muchministries.com   See photos of truck attached.

       Many of you have asked where you can get the jewelry and journals which are made in Jubilee. You can now order them retail or wholesale at secondstorygoods.com

      Brian, Cody and family are making plans to move to Gonaives in September. Please pray for them as they make this transition. In addition to working on the school roof this week, Brian is continuing work on the living quarters for his family.

      God is leading us to have another time of prayer and visioning for Haiti. This will be held August 9th through the 12th at Honey Creek in Waverly, Ga. Please pray for us as we come together to look for the vision of God and the work is expanded.

Please continue to pray for funding for medical clinic and truck. Also pray for the team and upcoming prayer and vision week end.

 Below is a note from Kathy

A note i wrote about my week....thought i could share it with you guys !

 Preti mwen .
 
Borrow me, Can i have a loan. Ba'm ti kob. A little money.
 
this week i noticed an increase in this request.  It is not unusual for folks to ask for money straight out for a specific need for a medical situation, or a school bill or a bit of a hunger issue.
 
But it was a little disconcerting to have four or five of the folks that i know are working in the guilds that are making, baskets and jewelry and rugs and such asking for loans.
 
" Like, didn't you just get paid for your goods, yesterday?"  Geez ~ ( I'm thinking - but don't know how to say "geez " in kreyol...so I don't say it out loud, not to mention that attitude would not be very Christian , ha ! ) 
 
So I start asking,  What is going on?  where is the money you just made?
And I  begin to understand ...
 
~  many ( 40 ) that i know of have started savings accounts.  Each week they put in so much into their account. They do this in groups.  and each week one person gets the whole pot. So if 10 people put in 100 dollars each week, each week, for ten weeks, one person gets 1,000 dollars.  Which is an awesome way to save money, invest in others in your community and there is plenty of healthy community "support" to make sure you keep the deal.
 
~ They are also investing in live stock, starting other small businesses and putting money back (usually someone else is holding for them) for school fees and supplies coming up in September. 
 
So therefore, they have a shortage of " pocket money " because they are thinking Forward , Investing.  
They (someone somewhere) told me it takes a year of consistent sustainable income for us to change the way we see our resources. If we never leave the feeling of desperate, we will always use money for relief for the moment.....but if we begin to gain confidence...we will plan for the future. 
 
~ Two  of the ladies that make Angels and have been with us for many months now, pulled me out of the workshop the other day...wanting to show me what they were working on (I thought great...they want me to buy something...where is my faith? )  but NO, they wanted to show me that they were in the middle of building new real Concrete homes, elevated out of the mud ....to replace the mud and stick and tin homes they are presently in.  They were BEAMING with pride.  They kept hugging me and saying thanks to God for bringing businesses to Jubilee. 
 
~ And then the day ended with a friend...who is an Angel Maker,asking to speak with me.... waiting  patiently for me to finish with the sewing group...i finally made it out to speak with her and the first words i caught were..." "Prete mwen"...i was like, "Christella, Not you too !"  i said, "love, i can't , everyone is asking for a loan today" (slight hyperbole there, like 4 people, not the entire population) 
 
Anyway, this precious friend said, no mommie , no....You GAVE me..Ou te prete mwen....a loan last week...as she slipped the bill she owed me into my hand !
 
eyeieyei !
Borrow me
some grace~ 
 
blessed are those who huger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied

Courage !

Kathy Brooks

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jubilee

Mary and I will be leaving on Saturday for Gonaives. A team from our home church, consisting of our Pastor, my sister, and some dear friends, will be going with us. Mary will return with the team on the 21st and I will be staying until the 5th of Feb. We continue to be excited about what God is doing in Gonaives and specifically in Jubilee. We are looking forward to seeing what God has done and continues to do in and through His servants there, as relationships grow in dept and number for the Kingdom of God. Please note the change in our stateside phone number.

In the past weeks I have had the opportunity to talk with several people who are going for the first time. As many of you who have been, the common theme for the first time is nervousness. As I have pondered this, I recognize it is in nervousness and the unknown places, that our dependance must be on God and not from ourselves. We have a great desire to know the future, and therefore, it is the unknown of our futures which, in our American culture we seem to have everything under control and able to handle everything, so we do not need God's dependence. In Haiti, you never know what the next hour or minute will hold, so you can develop a lifestyle of depending on God and looking for His presence. My prayer as we take this time in Haiti, that we depend on God each moment and look for his presence and may we never return to a place where we go though a day or hour where our very survival and livelihood is not totally dependent upon our Savoir. May our plan "A" be to depend upon Him and our backup plan "B", be to depend upon Him. Please pray that this time for us will be a time of spiritual transformation and an awakening to His ever presence and awareness of His desire to live in relationship with us.

We have received additional funding from Cross International to continue construction on the housing project. We should be able to place 8 more families in homes while we are there. Brian Smith will arrive in Gonaives with us in order to lead this effort. We are very thankful for Cross International and those who support their idea of serving the poorest of the poor. Please continue to pray for us and this process, along with the recipients.

In addition to this housing, church in Gainsville Ga. has constructed several pre-fabbed homes which were shipped over on the containers. Butch Bennett will be Visiting Gonaives next week and we plan on erecting some of these. We are thankful to Gainsville First United Methodist Church and Their contribution to the work in Gonaives.

In addition to the above projects, we will be starting the foundation for the medical clinic. The clinic will have 6 private exam rooms, 2 birthing rooms for the midwives to use, , lab, a pharmacy, office, waiting area, and restrooms. It will be a great benefit in the service of the Jubilee community, not only for service, but also in job skills training for medical professionals. We are grateful for those of you who have contributed towards this. We will need an additional 90,000 dollars to complete this project. Please keep this need in your prayers.

Kylie has been in Atlanta for the past two weeks for treatment. Her doctor reported that her MRI showed a decrease in the size of the Tumor. While The family and I rejoice with this news, she still has a long way to go. Please continue to keep Kylie in your prayers. Yesterday at 11am Kylie's brother was born. Mother Rebecca, and baby are doing fine. His name is Aiden. He weighed 6lbs 15oz and 20 inches long.

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the earthquake in the PAP area. They are estimating 316,000 lives were lost from the earthquake. The country is taking a time of remembrance today. Please pray for these families.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reflections of Thanksgiving

As Mary and I are reflecting this Thanksgiving, we are very thankful for all the friends God has given us to encourage us through good and difficult times. We have been blessed in so many ways. Mary is grateful to be back in her home and involved in the activities of decorating. This transition has been very difficult for us, but God is giving us His graces day by day as we walk with Him. We have been moving back into our home over the last two weeks and are near complete with that task. As we have unpacked boxes and moved furniture around, I have found myself in tears several times, wondering how God would allow us to live in a home like this when we have friends like Giny, who lives in a hot tin house with her husband and children which is smaller than our bedroom, while many live in mud huts. And the boxes which we have been unpacking are about the size of many of the boxes in those mud huts which contain all the possessions of our fiends like Madam Jean Baptist who is one of the elderly women. As we unpack clothes and shoes, I am reminded of those who do not have cloths and our friends like David, who we see many times wearing women's shoes just to keep the bottom of his feet out of the mud while we seem to have clothes for each day of the month. I am continually confronted with God in processing how He has blessed us. What portion has He blessed me with, for my own benefit and pleasure and what portion has He given me to share with others who are less fortunate than we. It seems we are continually building bigger closets, barns, garages, to keep more things in. I just realized for the first time, that I have never placed a limit on how many articles of clothing, or how many shoes I am willing to be satisfied with. How much is enough and where do I cross the line of failing to help those who are destitute because I want to satisfy my own greed and lust by wanting one more. As we reflect during this season about our blessings, may God give each of us discernment in our relationship with Him, how much is enough for us to enjoy and how much he has given us to help others.

As I reflect on these things and what I am grateful for during this time, I think of each of you who have realized God's blessing on your life, and therefor you have given out of your abundance so that those less fortunate would have life a little better. Thank you so much for your prayers, contributions, confidence, encouragement, and love towards us and our friends.

We have been very thankful to Kara and her writing contributions during her spare time of many other activities. She will be returning stateside this week. Attached is her update from Gonaives and Jubilee with photos and copy and pasted below without photos. In her update, she talked about the containers arriving with the equipment and materials which we needed. Thanks to everyone for their prayers for these containers. It has been a long time coming, but it arrived without problems in customs or demands for bribes and we praise God for this.

We have been very pleased with Scott Peter's presence in Gonaives. He continues to bring much light to the darkness. Below is his blogspot if you would like to follow how he is making a difference. http://www.scottsinhaiti.blogspot.com

Prayer request
Robert Lane, Mary's brother is home after several stints. Praising Him.
April is back in Gonaives. Praising Him for her recovery
All the activities of transformation in Jubilee.
Kervins continues to need our prayers.
Praising God from who all blessings flow.

With love in Christ,




It is two days before Thanksgiving, and although we aren’t feeling the fall season, we are feeling Thankful. I am thankful that Kervens is sitting across from me; he has had a month full of doctors and nurses and scary situations. Martha Hannah has been on call and God has been in every moment, working as a team to try to get Kervens back to feeling well. After taking him to get tested in Port Au Prince he has been diagnosed with Epilepsy. They are still working to get him on a plan to minimize the effects.

There is much more beauty blooming here to be thankful for! Karen and Kim from Kids Against Hunger visited us earlier this month-- they immediately became a part of our home and family. We are so appreciative of their efforts to keep food in the tummies of our Jubilee kids! Also, the guys’ house is progressing in leaps and bounds. While teaching school, I would look out my window and see the walls climbing higher every morning. And with the recent arrival of Sam Brooks and his construction abilities, the thought of having the house done before Christmas is a little more tangible. Both of the containers arrived undamaged, which was a kind of miracle in itself, bringing us a much needed backhoe. Ben Rustin has been our designated driver, working to smooth out unused land in Jubilee and accelerate other projects in the area. We were also blessed with new tables and chairs from the school. The kids were surprised and thrilled on Monday morning when they each took their own seat and spread their arms across the fresh tabletops.

Chris is still teaching English-- he has opened an earlier class for beginning English, and uses some of his advanced English students as translators. The class is attended so heavily that he had to move to a bigger room, and even then people stand up, line the walls, and pack together elbow-to-elbow on the benches. From the back of the room I watch the wide demographic take notes together, draw pictures to remember better, and pass comments back and forth about how entertaining “Mr. Chris’” explanations are. Before Chris, the only available English classes were taught by semi-fluent Haitians to other Haitians. Now the teachers of those classes have a way to improve their English and continue learning, while their students have a way of checking their pronunciation and context.
The school is being blessed with new revelations concerning how to improve the childrens’ comprehension and learning pace. It is also blessed with the return of April as she brings a fresh look into class and renewed health in her body. Tia, in addition to teaching kindergarten and pre-k, has been mentoring teenage girls and employing jobless Mommas. Her focus has been to bring healing to broken situations and reconciliation where distrust has reigned. She is always pursuing how to provide safer home-lives and restored worth. Laura Lynn is being an incredible Momma to Youvendjy, both of whom we are inexpressibly thankful for. She continues to principle the Jubilee School, as well as mentor young adults and bring advisement to all of our questions concerning relationship building and project management (which sometimes includes doing a little damage control.)

Momma Kati and the trade school are working with Shelley and Corrigan Clay, the founders the ApParent Project, an organization out of Port Au Prince. To call what ApParent Project does “amazing” is to understate their actions. They are truly an example of impact and an example of God’s reformation and restoration. They have been working closely with us to share local artisan resources and they are marketing products made here in Jubilee. So far it has been a great success, providing orders of angels bracelets in the three digit numbers. That, paired with other huge support, guarantees that the artisans here will have work throughout this year. Just writing about it gives me chills, I wish you could see the faces and feel the excitement of these incredibly skilled and creative individuals.

I, after a laborious decision making process, will be returning to the US to continue my education in Agricultural Science. I have been spending my last month here teaching at the school, taking product and project photos, tagging along with Chris to English class as technical support, taking longer evenings in Jubilee, and, of course, writing. Physically, I will be flying out on the 26th of this month, but mentally I am already plotting my return. Haiti feels like my home now, and the people that I eat breakfast with in the morning and walk through the streets with in the evening truly feel like my family. I feel honored to have been able to spend fall semester here, and I feel humbled by the stories I have had the rare opportunity of hearing during my stay. I hope to find a way to communicate these things to you while I am processing it all in Athens, Georgia.

Thank you for playing your part in the vision we all share, and for the encouragement that has come to me directly. I am constantly reminded that the things we do, even if it is just opening our eyes to the injustice, our ears to the stories that need someone to hear them, and our hearts to the love that God wants to fill our lives with, make a much bigger impact than we will ever know. These are the things that bring lasting change, these are the things that bind us together as a global community.



-Kara Morrissey

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kairos #1 in Smith State Prison

Hello
We would like to thank all of you who have prayed for us over the weekend while we were in Smith state prison. As Randy explains in his summary the National Geographic did a documentary on this prison last year due to it's violence, since then there has been changes in the guard and there seems to be a movement of God there with a warden and Chaplin who have a mission to see each inmate have a personal relationship with Jesus. It was awesome seeing God's hand at work with the Holy Spirit changing lives. Below is a video link by Frank Logue, to some testimonials from the outside team, and a written summary from Randy Ashurst.
With love and thanks




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mxn1VTE7814


God came down and was glorified at Smith State prison this weekend.

Kairos #1 is over and this was a wonderful weekend for all involved.

But, just like Emmaus these weekends don't just occur. They take about a year of praying, planning, and strength, on many people's parts, to step up and say "here I am Lord." First of all, thank you to our Emmaus community for the strong prayer support and next of all, I want to trumpet that this total scene, for months back, was truly a ":God Thing", for so many reasons. First of all, our team did not have a prison to go to. We tried getting in one in Jesup, and after a few negotiations got word that basically said "there's too much church going on already" and "not enough room for your program." That meant this was not the right place God wanted for us. So, it was back to more prayer and then about 7 months ago, a warden and chaplain landed at Smith State Prison in Glennville with the mission of taking back the yard - one soul at a time. You see, these men are strong Christians and they know that without Christ, taking charge, there's little change for the better. The wheels started turning and the rest is "on the air" as they say in radio.

The "spirit" throughout the weekend was near unexplainable and new members on the team got to be witnesses to numerous miracles, just as the veterans did. How can this all work? Here's a level 5 prison, the next thing lower than "death row," and yet the Spirit came in and rocketed thru so many hearts. Imagine, praise music with about 80 men in a room belting out "Make Me a Sanctuary" and "Lord I Lift Your Name on High." I believe we all saw hearts that were so far beyond the razor wire in those moments. In a word, it's breathtaking. Here's a facility with 1400 residents that's had over 400 stabbings in two years. You may have seen the National Geographic series "Hard Time" featuring this same "dark" place. Yet, for months we've gone in, met the Kairos graduates there (having been through the Kairos program at other prisons), and formed the team and dorm accountability leaders. And, both councils starting working hard to get the weekend going and right on schedule. I must note the job the inside team did was outstanding and totally noteworthy. As one could say "They Rocked!"


Just like Emmaus; what a bonding experience the work is. It seems every moment there was covered in smiles, hugs, and love. Of course Kairos is called God's Special Time and it was. I gotta tell you about the final ceremonies (closing). The chaplain and warden both got on the podium and fully revved up the entire building forcefully proclaimg their mission from day one was that they are gong to win this "yard and compound for Christ -That Satan is now banished from here." We all know about the "open mic" segment and while there were many startling and wonderful testimonies, one, though, will touch me for a very long while. A man came to the podium, said he was 45yrs old, and this week, had done something he had never ever done in his entire life. Visibly shaken, he said "I cried." The table family rushed to support him and hold him up in love. And, the room erupted in cheers and applause. The strength, integrity, and presence of that statement. All I can say was it was a God thing ; For a grown man, in a place like that, to lay oneself that bare, and tell how so much rage, hate, and fear, was gone, and he could now cry tears of love and forgiveness. The love in that room and electricity of the scene will be long remembered by all present. Well,we all serve an awesome God who can reconcile and change anything for His glory.

Oh, a final two things that shows how God blessed this time. First of all, due to so many many of you, at so many churches, baking homade cookies, we took inside over 1200 Dozen cookies. For the first time I've heard of, the cookies were disbursed thru the entire facility to all residents and staff. The chaplain reported to us when he went Saturday evening to the dorms to present "call out sheets," which allows participants to go the next morning -said he was "ambushed" at every dorm by men all excited about Kairos; shouting:"when's the next one? and when can I sign up?" Christians wonder if they can be a witness and how to do it. In Kairos it is basically this: "I stand with you, and Christ who got here long before I did, stands with you also." It's pretty simple and so powerful , and when it happens, and you see lives changed, you can't help but feel it. Oh yea,you'll feel it.

The next one; Kairos #2, comes up next May, and we'll be in touch again asking for prayers, people. and of course cookies. Meanwhile, please continue to pray for the men inside. Pray for the staff, warden, and chaplain, to continue and magnify this movement for Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Randy Ashurst, blissfully reporting from home, for the new startup Kairos at Smith State Prison - Glennville, GA

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

His timing is always perfect...

Hello
Mary and I have been back in
Waynesville, Ga. for two and half weeks now trying to find our way. It has been a little difficult for us to readjust, but we are finding God's graces as we walk day by day. It has been great to reconnect with family and friends. Mary's brother, Robert Lane is in the hospital icu again with multiple problems, heart, kidney, diabetes. Please continue to pray for him. On Saturday, I was able to reunite with my Kairos brothers who have been involved in prison ministry with for several years. It was a great reunion for me. Thursday we will be entering a maximum security prison and teaching 42 inmates Christianity 101 for 4 days. Please pray for these men that their hearts will be fertile soil to receive the word of God. Attached (with pictures) and below is an update from Kara in Gonaives. Please keep April in your prayers as she recovers from Malaria.



God has been speaking to me a lot lately about relationships, and how I can better love my enemies and those who hurt and persecute me. It seems that we are called as followers of Christ to a deeper level of sharing God's unconditional love, than what we actually demonstrate in our lives at times. It is one thing to love those who return love, but Jesus says "what does this profit us to love those who love us in return"? The hurt from someones words or actions towards us many times stirs up emotions within us, that lead us in the natural to retaliate with words,
actions, or sometimes with an unrighteous silence, to that person or others, that say I will repay evil for evil. The kind of love Jesus ask us to share is not only saying I love you to my enemies, but asking the Holy Spirit to show me ways I can forgive and demonstrate God's love in words and actions, and seventy times seven if needed. In this I realize that the only opportunity to love people in this way is when there is conflict, struggles, and differences of will, opinion, or knowledge. When I reflect on this in my life I realize that in the mirror of God's word, I fall short and it is nothing but the power of the Holy Spirit working in me that could possibly allow me, not only to love, but demonstrate His great unconditional love which He has shown me to others. And I also realize it is only through situations, circumstances, and people God places in my life, which allows me to see the wretchedness within my heart. It is then we have the Holy Spirit in our lives to convict and transform us Spiritually in our words and actions.

Lord today allow me to see how you are wanting to change and transform my life through people, circumstances and life situations, and God, please allow me to see my true heart where you can change and transform my life into the image of your son Jesus Christ. Amen!

Prayer request

Robert Lane, Mary's brother
April as she recovers from Malaria
Kairos Prison Ministry this weekend.
All the activities of transformation in Jubilee.


Kervins is in the Miami Hospital in Haiti this week and is suffering from Meningitis.

Praising God from who all blessings flow.



It is October 28th, and the house is quiet-- the beautiful people who live here are out bringing the kingdom in the different forms they have been called to. Momma Kati is here on the porch, going back and forth between sorting trade school products and experimenting new ways of bracelet making. Her re


lationship with the journal maker, Benson, continues
to grow and thrive, as does his skill. With every new basket of journals, ornaments, earrings, and necklaces


that the trade school artisans create, there continues to

be an expansion of personal creativity and professional refinement. To see success in the pursuit of inspiring people, feeding families, and offering a way for communities across the

sea to enable healthy community here in Jubilee makes our heart dance.

Chris is in Jubilee preparing for his three o’clock advanced English class. Instead of just teaching vocabulary and syntax, each day Chris reads through a quote from a great author or philosopher, explaining words as the conversation progresses. This not only teaches English in context, but it opens up a conversation on integrity,

character, morality, and drive.


I sincerely wish you could feel the air of people being empowered in that room!


We are feeling the empty space left by April Komasaki since she flew back to the

US for medical attention.

Since her return into Miami she has been diagnosed with Malaria and is currently seeking treatment. She is eager to get back to her classroom here, so pray that God will quickly restore her health.

As one leaves another returns: Isaac Gardener will be flying into Port Au Prince on Monday to help further the house and garden project, where he has been severely missed. After a minor motorcycle accident and contracting Dengue Fever, he returned to New Hampshire to get an MRI on his knee and heal. He is now back to full health and ready to build! Speaking of which, the “adobe” house is coming along nicely. The guys are spending their evenings researching and their days putting knowledge into action. They have employed three teenage boys to help them, which is also serving as a medium to be a positive influence. Right now they are in the process of laying the foundational

rice bags filled with sifted dirt. Two layers down, sixteen feet up to go!

This week we received the two containers the Brooks had shipped from Georgia, one containing the forms to build more houses, along with rice and school supplies, and the other containing a back hoe. The back hoe is coming just in time to be used on the guys’ house, building the reservoirs for the Jubilee houses, as well as working on the garden. The


garden is coming along as a new fence

goes up around the perimeter and the raised beds are being created.

This month has been a reminder that His timing is always perfect. From last week, as told by Momma Kati: “I was heading home from

Jubilee and a serious looking crowd had formed near the bridge.

Christianna, a lady in the Jewelry group, and also in Martha's medical training class,

walked up to me. She said she came home and found her son not breathing. YESTERDAY Martha taught her class what to do if a child has stopped breathing. She picked him up jabbed her two fingers into his chest, flipped him over and slammed his back.... out popped a huge marble! He was
smiling and very very relieved. There was
such a S T R O N G sense of the Presence of
GOD in that group. Thanking us, but

knowing it was GOD that brought Martha here.

Arrived in GA & Haiti Update

Hello
Mary and I arrived in Waynesville Thursday afternoon and are doing well. It was great to worship with our home church on Sunday morning and visit with friends and family. Below is a report from Gonaives, by Kara. It is also attached and on the Blog at love4haiti.blogspot.com Please keep the work in Jubilee in your prayers along with the task which we will be assigned. We are continually amazed at what our God is doing through the Body.
With love in Christ



In the last newsletter I included a picture of Pastor John and Emory in front of the Pastor’s orphanage. That day we visited was the first day I met his wife-- who was very pregnant and smiling ear to ear. Their daughter was born two weeks ago, just a little over four pounds. The first week of her life was a battle; she fought a 106˚F fever and began struggling to breathe, an infection had set in her lungs. Martha Hanna and Kelly Morgan, two nurses from Georgia, had just gotten here, truly on God’s timing, and lovingly spent the next five days working to keeping oxygen pumping and IV’s flowing into her tiny body.

Once she gained enough strength and proved stable, I watched her parents gather their things and take Eznie home-- all the while realizing that had if God not sent Martha and Kelly here at that exact week, this story would have ended very differently. God’s kindness is breathtaking!

More BIG news! The school in Jubilee now has tiled floors. Many thanks to Tony and Saundra McNorton and all that supported the Jubilee Kids Fundraiser! The day the tile was set the kids immediately took their shoes off and rolled around, putting their faces on the cool tiles and running their tiny hands over the grout lines. We also officially have two tiled, painted bathrooms in Jubilee School!

The English class taught by Chris Greene, continues to grow in number and in depth. Chris is using phrases that not only teach vocabulary but great wisdom. The discussions coming from that room are astounding. The Interns also facilitate a Bible study for young adults, twice a week. Again, the questions, the discussions , the depth of hunger for truth are like fresh wind blowing through us all.

The “Greening of Jubilee” was blessed to get several loads of good dirt brought in and we are about ready to plant the raised bed. We have two wonderful gardeners working with us. Moise and Jackyby. Pray for the Greening to become sight!

Chris Greene, Josh and Ben Rustin, and Isaac Gardener broke ground on the construction of their “adobe” dwelling in Jubilee. We drove down to Leogane, Haiti last week to investigate these super-adobe houses built after the earthquake and learn from what those builders accomplished. What we found were inexpensive, relatively easily constructed, houses that were strong, efficient and drastically cooler than the outside temperature. Right now the guys are temporarily living in one of the new poured concrete houses in the Jubilee neighborhood. This alone is creating new depths of relationships in Jubilee. The community is so happy to have them there. They “protect” these guys and give them lots of motherly advice! They will move into their adobe house as soon as possible. We will report the progress!

The Marketable Arts , Trade School : we are forming friendships and beginning to collaborate with other artisan groups here is Haiti…taking it step by step. The ApParent Project in PAP let us “borrow” one of their interns last week to come give new perspective and ideas to the jewelry portion of the trade school. It was both an affirmation of progress already made and a boost in continuing to help the ladies’ refine their craft. We are so thankful . God is allowing us to build toward healthy, life giving businesses that give families options , hope and the ability to feed and educate their children!

The Medical Training aspect of the TradeSchool has expanded three fold since its inception last spring. Martha Hanna is now leading nurses to teach in two hospitals here, in service training on a weekly basis, She is training a class of 12 in Jubilee to be potential nurses aids, to have real paying jobs in the Hospital! And she will begin teaching in the Gonaives Nursing School in November. Mid-Wife training begins Monday with two Mid Wives coming from Georgia to add to the knowledge of the practicing Mid Wives here. This makes such a difference ! Needless suffering ends sometimes with a passing on of some basic information. So thankful these ladies are willing to come ! Pray for Martha, her plate is very very full!

As for me, Kara Morrissey, talking to people and writing it all down has been my “job” here, one that, at times, seems daunting, but has proved to be very rewarding. In every conversation I have felt the heavy presence of God’s hand, opening doors and allowing trust to be built at supernatural speeds. I have been exposed to things and ideas and stories that I could never have imagined. One of the most beautiful things has been catching myself, in the middle of hearing about Jubilee and Gonaives history, wondering if we were still talking about the same place. I love that some of the horrors I have been told these past couple weeks seem unimaginable because of how much progress has been made.

“You cannot just take vices from the people-- you must fill their hands with something better, and they will naturally drop the violence, the addiction, and the selfishness. They, instead, will cling to their new vision.” -Addison, a leader in Jubilee

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 26, 2011


I sat on the floor in an unused classroom, under the walls decorated with illustrations of the alphabet and vowel charts, watching a dynamic unfold. Seated were Haitian men ranging in age from teens to late twenties; standing were three of the American men I have been living in community with. Welcome to the Thursday edition of a twice-weekly Bible study. Chris Greene was teaching the group a worship song, and sometime during the chorus I realized: this is more than theological discussion. This is binding people together, this is creating a space for two sets of friends from two nations to meet on an even plain. These are men that couldn’t be more different, but find common ground in their pursuit of Truth. The group started with Apps McNorton and one other man in the Jubilee gazebo, and though Apps isn’t in Haiti anymore, what he started continues to grow. From the floor I saw bridges being built; I saw a heart for God in that room that tore through layers of man-made heartache and doubt, replacing it with a yearning to see the face of God in whatever form He would reveal Himself; I saw the kingdom coming, one question at a time.

The first weekend in September Emory facilitated a gathering in the mountains south of Port Au Prince. The objective was to round up the people who have poured into the vision for Jubilee, to get them in one room and discuss community and how individual and corporate relationships play into the will of God. What has been realized is that relationship is the will of God. We aren’t here to provide this community material things. We aren’t here to teach people how to craft. First and foremost, we are here to advocate the worth of each person, as God places worth on each of us. We are here to live out what Jesus lived, and died, for. This changes the dynamic of any vision, it places the individuals and the relationship above what can be accomplished. As Brian Smith said, “We are finished and whole in Christ. Now what defines us are our relationships with each other. We are not striving for a product or an end-- Jesus is the end already. It is the process that matters.” This is lived out well in the connections being made in Jubilee and through working with medical care facilities, local churches, and individual families in Gonaives. These endeavors have never been, and might never be, easy, but they have produced life and what we are harvesting is well worth what was sown. We think it is beautiful now, but the glories of it have yet to be revealed. Kathy Brooks presented an idea during the gathering, challenging the common illustration that we are all climbing the mountain of life, striving to get to the goal at the top. But what if the goal isn’t at the top? A mountain climb suggests that one person can be further up than another or made more progress than his neighbor, or that either of those things matter. It also suggests that there is an end we are trying to reach, and like any goal, the faster we can get there the better. As she put it,“...maybe we are in a field instead, and all that matters is how close we are standing to each other.”

In the mountains we also discussed how to build up this community and each other effectively, instead of unknowingly doing more damage than good. Emory explained that he didn’t want to put rules or limits on this vision, but stressed the importance of walking in discernment and intentional love. Remembering 1 Corinthians 13, it is absolutely necessary that we do everything in love, lest we become resounding gongs or clanging cymbals that do no good. Putting form to the vision meant defining mission statements to allow for better communication, brainstorming ways to keep ties in the states strong and alive, expressing what God has laid on each of our hearts for specifically, and educating ourselves through reading and discussion. Through trying to understand the history and culture of Haiti we were better able to understand what our role is in the relief, rehabilitation, and development of this nation.

We began to listen to what God was laying on our hearts and comparing that with how the community is in need. Needless to say, the two lined up. Ben, Chris, Isaac, and Josh moved into a house in Jubilee tonight, with the intent of becoming as much a part of the community as they can. They want to be with the people, not just go see them. They are also being deliberate in the discipleship of a few teenage boys and the “greening” of Jubilee. Loads of dirt have already been brought in to create a raised garden just outside the school, and more time is being poured in to seeing that the project is one the whole community can be excited about. Grace Deal has also been working in Jubilee, trying to maximize the clinics potential. In addition, she is teaching in-service classes in the Gonaives hospital, which the staff has met with open and thankful arms.

It is Saturday, and it is in this same spirit of thankfulness I am living as another week in Haiti ends and a new one begins.

Kara Morrissey