An update from Ernie

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As many of you know I (Sharon) have moved back to the states and am working.  Ernie is continuing to go back and forth to Haiti.  He was home here in Texas this past month and just returned a little over a week ago.  He has written an update which I am posting here.  I will try to start doing post again more regularly giving updates of what is happening in Haiti.

Please pray for Ernie’s left foot.  Before he left he had swelling and pain which the doctor feels was an infection from some chigger bites.  It is improving but this past week he did have to go to see an American doctor in Haiti.  Pray for complete healing of this foot.

Here is Ernie’s update:

“It has been a whirlwind of activity since I came back to Petit Goave. Opening the house after being gone so long took some time. One pleasant surprise was the noticeable absence of ants. I am not sure if they found no food and lost interest or if the measures I took finally took effect.  But I am cautiously optimistic. 

Longtime friend Dukenson came for a weekend stay. He is preparing for his upcoming wedding in July. He is getting married in Pastor Marc’s church in Belo and his fiancées family live in Aquin. My house is on the route from Port au Prince to Aquin. 

He and I are designing and building a bed for him for his new life so we spent two wonderful days in the wood shop making sawdust!  We will continue to work on it when he can come back. 

We had lots of time to catch up but the time went too fast. He was explaining the many costs of the wedding. One of the costs involves the wedding cake. This led to a thought about baking it ourselves instead of having it done. Sharon’s cake pans are here and I have an oven so we talked about box mixes, icing, and cake layering and other manly talk (it was late at night). And since my house is close to the church and since I have an oven we considered that he and I can bake and assemble the cake and we discussed the steps that might be involved to do so. (ok! Who laughed out loud!?!)

Fortunately better sense finally prevailed and we decide that Charlene, his bride to be, might be more capable than us. ‎We have plans for her to come test recipes in my house and Dukey and I will be the critics. (requires tasting of the cake)

Interesting tidbit I learned while he was here. Charlene is a twin and her brother’s name is Charly. So the Ch in her name is pronounced so it sounds like Charly not Charlotte. ‎ Very confusing during introduction since Charly Rikenson  (not Charlenes brother) and Dukenson are lifelong friends. 

 ‎There is no end to the fun I can have with my two friends with this name game. 

My collaboration with Haiti Arise continues to be strong. This organization, based in Canada, brings teams into Haiti in the fall and spring, on average about two teams per month. This allows Marc and Lisa the directors as well as Canadian staff to take vacation time during the summer. 

This in no way slows down the activities on the two campuses they have in Grand Goave. Their woodshop, under my supervision, is beginning fabrication of kitchen cabinets for two children’s homes this week. Haiti Arise ministers to abandoned and orphaned children placing them in smaller homes with house parents and about six children. These cabinets will go into two of these newly constructed homes.  

Last week there were trades classes held for masonry work, ceramic tile installation, and window and door building. Each class had fifteen to twenty students in attendance and were conducted in an area right outside the woodshop. Some of the students craned their necks to see what we were doing in the shop. Others came into the shop to see the techniques we were using up close.  ‎I am very encouraged to see such keen interest by the Haitian students and their capacity to learn. 

I am preparing for a team of 20 coming to Haiti this month. The team from Ash Creek Baptist Church of Azle, Texas is led by longtime friend ‎ Pastor Wesley Shotwell. They are poised to paint the primary school at Tapion Mountan (Cap Destree) and to conduct vacation bible school and any other ministry that presents itself. The school is owned by the church led by Pastor Phenix Bail (pronounced Buy) and is an arm of their ministry to the community that is renowned for its voodoo practices. 

Ash Creek has supported this difficult ministry for several years and continues to look for effective ways to support without hurting.

Our fledgling organization, Good For Haiti, is partnering with Pastor Phenix’ ministry ‎ to create an industrial arts school to teach wood working and furniture building.  

Please continue to pray for this partnership and this ministry that endeavors to be self-sustaining and Haitian led.”

Thank you so much for supporting us.  We could not serve without this support.  God is so good to supply our needs.

The link for online giving is:

https://texasbaptists.givingfuel.com/um-ernie-sharon-rice

For checks, make them payable to BGCT and send it to the following address with a note that it is for Ernie & Sharon Rice’s ministry in Haiti:

BGCT
7557 Rambler Road, Suite 1100
Dallas, TX 75231-2310

 

Hurricane Mathew Response

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Here is a letter Ernie has written in response to Hurricane Matthew.  Since writing this letter Ernie has been out 2 more times and is out today.  Please keep him and the people with him in your prayers as they travel.

The impact of Hurricane Matthew has been felt the most on the western part of the peninsula of Haiti. As I traveled west on National Highway 2 the first evidence of wind damage was just east of Leoganne. Leaves, limbs and whole trees were on the road and in the neighborhoods. The banana orchards, sugar cane fields and row crops were flattened and a total loss. Rocks and boulders were on the roads where landslides had occurred.

The heaviest damage from the storm, by far, is from the rain and flooding. The highway in places had huge piles of soil where runoff from the mountains had washed over the road leaving the dirt. I found the Route 2 bridge just east of Petit Goave washed away. Until this crossing is repaired there is no truck access to the western part of the island where the brunt of the storm was felt. This is as far as I went on this my first trip into the storm affected area.

There are four pastors that I relate to that are in the affected area, Pastor Remy at Croix Hillaire Baptist Church, Pastor Enoch at the Good Samaritan Project, Pastor Phenix Bail (pronounced Buy) at the church and school of Mourn Tapion (Tapion Mountain) and Pastor Jean Claude at the church in Les Cayes. The communities that Remy and Jean Claude minister to are on the western side of the washed out bridge. Yesterday I took bags of rice and beans and propane to Enoch and Remy. Remy met us at the washed out river crossing and hand carried the supplies across. Jean Claude already has support being mustered on his behalf so I will focus on supporting Remy, Phenix and Enoch who live and minister within 10 miles of each other. They already partner in ministry.

The Haitian poor live in a day to day existence in a very precarious balance of survival. These kinds of events interrupt their ability to feed themselves and create an immediate and urgent need for food. This is the case whether their house was damaged or not. Those that have lost their home or have a home that was damaged have had to find shelter. All three pastors are sheltering people in their churches and are ministering to the needs of their community. Clean up supplies and hygiene are the next critical needs so as to combat diseases such as Cholera.

Our response priorities are as follows:

Provide food and fuel to cook it. Rice, beans, spaghetti, cooking oil, sugar are all staples of the Haitian diet and are in good supply in Port au Prince. 25 pound bag of rice costs $17. Beans $31.

Provide cleaning and hygiene supplies. Clorox, laundry soap, toothpaste, bath soap are also available in PaP.

Provide personal water filtration devices. I have about 500 ceramic water filters suitable for the two bucket systems TBM has provided in the past. I need the buckets to make the systems with. Plastec in PaP has a food grade bucket with a lid for $2.75. One system requires two buckets.

Haiti is about to fill up with all sorts of organizations and people who will attempt to help. Some will be affective. Some will not. And then they will go home. The key for us as Kingdom workers is to point everything to God. It is very difficult to provide help and not look like the Haitians salvation. Think on it. Many Haitians believe that the blanc (white person) is their savior. They have good reason to believe it. For a long time expatriates have come here to save Haiti. You only need to read their t-shirts to know this. I have tried to make myself small if not invisible for that reason. As a strategy for Kingdom work I support the local Kingdom servant, the pastor. My point is that while there are many opportunities for teams to come and be effective in Haiti, now is not one of them. To be affective we should act immediately on the priorities listed.

Many people here need your help. Thank you for all that you do whether it is saving lives now or in the long term. God bless you.

It is very discouraging to me to see the same problem arise time and again when disasters strike Haiti. While it is a good thing that people come to the aid of Haiti it is my heart to provide a remedy whereby Haitians are able to help themselves. If you have a similar perspective then contact me and I will give you details on how I intend to help accomplish this as a long term goal.

I have rainy day funds that I can use today to act. As you commit financially I will use those funds and then replace them when your funds arrive here.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas receives funds for Haiti and then wires them to me here. Your contact there is Marla Bearden. Checks can be sent to Texas Baptists 7557 Rambler Road Suite 1200 Dallas, Texas 75231 ATTENTION MARLA BEARDEN. In the memo of the check put Haiti Relief.

For more information, contact Marla Bearden at marla.bearden@texasbaptists.org or 214-537-7358 or Gerald Davis at gerald.davis@texasbaptists.org or 214-924-6401.

 

I have the ability to purchase and deliver all these goods and have Haitian volunteers to help me to do it.

Our family is growing

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I am so happy and feel so blessed to announce the arrival of our second grandson, Titus Philip Rice.  He was born on August 24 coming in at 9 lbs and 2 oz.  He and his mommy are doing great!  His daddy and big brother are pretty proud and excited as well.

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Jake Casey meeting Titus for the first time

Jake Casey meeting Titus

I am so thankful to have the opportunity to come and be a part of the welcoming party.  I pray that Titus will grow in strength and wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

 

Overdue Update – Happy 4th of July

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Writing a blog is harder that it seems like it should be. How do you share what’s happening in a country most people have never been to and really don’t understand the dynamics. (I don’t think I understand, and I live here). I wish I could say that things are always so wonderful and great and that I feel so excited about all that is happening. But the reality is that sometimes it’s not so great and things aren’t so wonderful and it’s hard. I know that life is not just hard here, it is hard everywhere, just in different ways – whether it is living conditions, hunger, no electricity, illness, death of loved ones, shootings, difficult relationships, political unrest, homesick, – they are all real struggles faced by many all across the world. It is easy to say I have learned to be content in all circumstances when your circumstances are good but much harder to be content and thankful when there are challenges.

Contentment – Definition:
The state of being happy and satisfied.
Freedom from worry or restlessness: peaceful satisfaction
The state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.
An internal satisfaction which does not demand changes in external circumstances.
Pleased with your situation and not hoping for change or improvement.

In Philippians 4: 11-13 Paul writes about how he has learned to be content in all circumstances (he was beaten and in jail a lot). “I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives the strength I need.”

I am thankful that God is in control of all our circumstances and has us covered. I think He is trying to get me to really take these verses to heart and to truly trust Him completely in all situations. I will tell you my sinful nature doesn’t always like it and somedays I am arguing and trying to tell Him how I think it should be – how silly is that?

As you know we live in Haiti and in April rented a cute little house. It is great! But you do have to realize there are bars on all the windows and there is a cement wall all around it with barbed wire fence on top just like around prisons. Sometime this can work on your brain.

Right now there is a lot of unrest in Haiti concerning the elections (not that there isn’t in the US too, LOL). This causes many manifestations (aka protests) to happen. Lately they have been trying to blow up gas stations and shooting at hotels and banks. I read the government has beefed up protection around gas stations and other targeted areas. The elections took place last year, but it was decided that too much fraud happened and now they have to start over. Right now we have a provisional president and his term was supposed to be up on June 14th, because we were supposed to have already had a new election and new president – didn’t happen. Now they are scheduling the new elections in October and January, I’m not sure how the new elections will not have fraud involved. If all goes well the earliest we will have a new president here will be February – April 2017. This is a cause of turmoil in this country. As I said there are more shootings, hold ups, etc. mainly scare tactics to keep unrest. Thankfully God keeps me at peace in Haiti and I really don’t feel fear (cautious yes, but fear no) – that is hard to explain but am thankful for it. It’s a peace that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus.

In addition to all the political unrest, doctors and nurses at government hospitals are on strike which leaves many poor sick people with no health care, this has been going on since March. They are striking because of pay issues and poor working conditions.

In June two of the men that work with Ernie in the transition program lost their mothers.  Please pray for Manel and Marval as they grieve these losses.  Thankfully there is comfort in knowing these women had faith in Jesus as their savior.

Ernie and his guys in the transition workshop have been busy!! They have been cranking out the beds for orphans! Pastor Enoch came and picked up a load of them. We had a team here from Universal City last week that went to Pastor Enoch’s orphanage “The Good Samaritan Project” and put the beds together, among other things. This church funded this project for Pastor Enoch’s orphanage and it was so great to see how happy the kids were with their new beds. There are still more to be made but soon all the kids will have brand new beds, mattress and linens, praise The Lord!!

It was so great having the team from Universal City here and it was fun having Ed and Teri here a couple of days early just to visit. The team did a lot of traveling while they were here praying and trying to see the vision God has for their church’s work in Haiti.  They taught about brushing teeth properly and did fluoride treatments on children, helped with the feeding program at Child Hope, put beds together, and visited many different ministries here in Haiti.  I wish I could post pictures but today the pictures just don’t want to upload, imagine that – life in Haiti, LOL!

Ernie has also been working on designing furniture for our house with the intention of also making these products available for sale. I am happy to report we have our loveseat, couch and chair in our living room! At least the wood parts, we are waiting on the cushions to be made by another organization. Now he is working on dining room table and chairs. He will always have plenty of work to do.  Again when internet will allow me to upload to WordPress I will post pictures.

A wonderful praise was the baptism of 2 people in June! One young man from a group from California had accepted the Lord and wanted to be baptized when we went to the beach and also the Tugwell’s youngest daughter, Ester was baptized.  What a great way to spend time at the beach!!  God is good all the time!

Please continue to pray for God’s direction in all we do as well as for safety, health and well being.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers for us and we pray you all have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Month of April flew by!

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So I can’t believe it is May 5th! Happy Cinco de Mayo!!  April was a crazy busy month.  It started off with a visit from the board of Child Hope International.  What a great group of people!

Child Hope Board and Staff

Child Hope Board and Staff

We had a great time of brainstorming, meeting and planning.

Next Ernie and I rented our little house!!

This is outside the gate of the house

This is outside the gate of the house

Then we flew to Texas for 2 weeks.  It was a busy 2 weeks!  We had several places to speak and give reports as well as meetings to attend with our friends at BGCT.  Of course there was also some fun time visiting with family and friends!

This guy was the star attraction.

This guy was the star attraction.

Love him bunches.  He is getting so big!  He is going to be a big brother in August!!  He has a new brother on the way.

We were able to see both Chandler and Morgan while in Texas.  Hoping they are going to come visit this summer!

Chandler at Chick Fil A

Chandler at Chick Fil A

Morgan and us

Morgan and us outside our hotel

On our return we actually moved into our house.  Making progress slowly but surely.  We have an inverter and batteries so that we can have electricity during the day.  The City power comes on in the evenings anywhere from 6 pm to 10 pm (usually 10 pm sometimes not) and then goes off by 6 am every morning. We also went and got internet service yesterday, thus I can do this blog!

Inverter and batteries

Inverter and batteries

We have our stove.

Stove and kitchen counter

Stove and kitchen counter

Our refrigerator

Refrigerator

Refrigerator

Rocking chairs and coffee table

Rocking chairs and coffee table

Make shift table out of plywood and old metal frame

Make shift table out of plywood and old metal frame

Ernie will be working on furniture as time permits but for now we have enough.  As you can see by pictures we are still unpacking and putting things in their place – if there is a place, LOL.

The woodshop is still making lots of saw dust!  They just finished cutting a bunch of lumber for another ministry and now are going to be making more bed for orphans for Pastor Enoch at the Good Samaritan Project.

These are some of the beds Ernie and the guys have been working on for Pastor Enoch. They have been delivered and now more to be made!

These are some the parts for the beds Ernie and the guys have been working on for Pastor Enoch. They have been delivered and now more are being made!

This past Sunday Ernie, with Jimmy as his interpreter, preached at Croix Hillare Baptist Church. You might remember, this is the church where Ernie began working in Haiti back in 2011 when he first came here with Texas Baptist Men.

Ernie & Jimmy at Croix Hillare

Ernie & Jimmy at Croix Hillare

God is always at work even in the every day things of life.  Living life here may be a little different but really not so much.  We love meeting all the new people and building relationships with our friends.  We have work just like you do but its more about living your life in a way that brings honor to God in all that you do wherever you are.  Praying for all of you.  Please continue to pray for us.

“We have continued praying for you ever since we first heard about you.  We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritural wisdom.  Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others.  All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.  We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need.  May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God’s holy people, who live in the light.”
Colossians 1:9-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Time to Celebrate!

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“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7

It is such a blessing to be able to share that there were 16 children and young adults baptized Saturday afternoon at Quisqueya Chapel. Afterward there was a celebration time of food and worship at the Community Center.  It is so exciting to see how God has been moving in the lives of the children and workers at Child Hope International.  Bible study and worship time is an ongoing ministry at the children’s homes and at the Community Center and God is blessing this ministry and speaking to the hearts of many that attend.  Please continue to pray for more hearts to be touch by the word of God and that the Holy Spirit moves in their lives. Pray for these new believers that they will grow in their faith.

It was a very moving time with all the people singing hymns during the baptisms in French or Creole.

Here are just a few pictures:

Gathering for baptisms

Gathering for baptisms

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Ladies praying and singing during the baptism service

Ladies praying and singing during the baptism service

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The ladies at the guest house worked hard all afternoon preparing a nice celebration meal for after the baptisms. They fixed hotdogs in a sauce, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and cupcakes for dessert.

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The young men at the Trans house finished up the benches just in time to be used for dinner that night at the community center. They still have to be varnished but they worked great that night.

Enjoying dinner afterwards

Enjoying dinner afterwards

Fun times!

Fun times!

Pray for our friend Mario who was shot in the chin and robbed this past week.  He is still in the hospital but seems to be doing great thanks to the good doctors and nurses taking care of him and all the prayers!

Please continue to pray for all the ministries going on at Child Hope.  There seem to be many attacks that take place when you are serving the Lord.  Pray for spiritual wisdom, pray for unity, pray for safety. Pray that we will be light where ever we go.

As we get close to palm Sunday these versus come to mind:

“8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna![a]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Mark  11:8-10 (NIV)

 

Sawdust is flying!

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The guys are “making a lot of sawdust” according to Ernie. He is in his element teaching the young Haitian men about woodworking.  Right now they are finishing up 16 benches that are needed at the Community Center where the community feeding program, bible study and a Saturday night worship service take place.  The center is also used for recreation, it has a soccer area and basketball hoop which the kids love!

The goal of the woodworking program is to teach skills, both in wordworking and the skills needed to have your own business, while teaching biblical principles. Pray for insight and direction for this program and for the young men that will be a part of the program.  Pray for Ernie to have wisdom in how to train and teach.

Gluing benches

Gluing benches

Taking clamps off benches

Taking clamps off benches

Ernie is working on the design of a couch that we can use in our home and also the children’s homes.  Who knows who else might want one.  This is the beginning of a prototype.

Designing coach

Designing coach

Clamping down coach end

Clamping down coach end

Door

Door

A men’s and a women’s bible study started this week at Child Hope for the workers. We are excited to see what God will teach us during these times together.  We pray for unity and for spiritual growth for all who attend.

I am happy to say that Ernie and I feel like we have found a little house to rent! It will be available the 1st of April.  It is right down the street from the guest house so that is very convenient, we will be within walking distance of everything, which is great since we don’t have a vehicle.

We will have to purchase a refrigerator, stove, batteries, inverter, generator, mattresses and hopefully an air conditioner for the bedroom. Ernie will be building the furniture including bedframes, table and chairs, sofa, etc.

Please continue to pray for the provisions we need and for our health and spiritual growth.

Pray also for Haiti as a country.  The elections are still undetermined and many days there are still protest.

 

To support our work in Haiti click here.  https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=25b7c2