Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The Host Family Program at UNI still needs 5 or 6 more families to befriend an international student at UNI.
The responsibility is to be a friend to an international student-not to have them live with you. The relationship varies with the student, but they have requested to meet an American family. Sponsors are introduced at UNI. There is a sponsored Thanksgiving potluck one Sunday evening in Nov, and we are encouraged to have a few other contacts during the year with the student. Some students are so busy, they have not had time to do things with our family. Others have participated in several activities. Most really like to visit to an American home. Many foreign students never get that opportunity.
International Friendship Family Program Committee
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
"There is one body. There is one Spirit. You were appointed to one hope when you were chosen. There is none Lord. There is one faith and one baptism. There is one God and Father of all. He is over everything. He through everything. He is in everything." Eph. 4:4-6
We desire to keep you all 'in the loop' of what is going on here in Haiti. We need your prayers. It is the prayers of the faithful ones such as you that keep this ministry going.
We had an incredible youth day last Friday. We have really enjoyed working with our local youth, even though there are many challenges. Many of the pastors in JeanJean's classes have been sharing with him about how they struggle to get their youth interested in being active in their community and church. When JeanJean told about how we've centered our youth group around Bible, Service, and Fun, many wanted to hear more. We decided to have a youth day and invited the 20 churches represented in JeanJean's class to bring their youth groups. We never imagined the interest this would generate. We thought that since many of these men walk 4, 5, and 11 hours to get to class, they wouldn't be able to take all their youth. Oh no, the man from close to the D.R. border brought 18 youth with him. It took them 13 hours and they stayed overnight in our dorm 2 nights, but they came. The man that comes 6 hours had originally told JeanJean that he wouldn't be able to come. Then he shows up on Friday with 10 kids. We said, "Pastor Jezula, we didn't think you were coming." He puts his hands in the air and tells us, "The kids made me come and they nagged me so much about it that we had to come." We ended up with 351 kids altogether. Our prayer for the worship center has always been for God to fill it up with people who want to know Him more. He answered that prayer. It was a great day of worshipping Him and learning more about His word. JeanJean really encouraged the youth to realize that the church will soon be in their hands--they need to be leaders now for Christ. JeanJean took his message from II Cor. 6: 14-18, and had the kids repeat, "We will not mix!" That is the prayer for us all; we cannot mix the godly with the ungodly.
It was also a great day where our youth took on a lot of responsibility to make the day go well. They cleaned and decorated the worship center, they organized skits and songs, they planned games, the helped with the food and water, they made name tags for all the kids and directed the other kids where to sit, and they gave an encouraging talk about what UCI's youth group is based on. It was great to see these kids, most of whom were not going to church a couple of years ago, talking about how the gospel changed their lives. They encouraged the other youth groups to take their Bible study seriously and to serve others in different ways. We ended the day with the promise that we will turn this one-day event into a real youth camp that will last 4 or 5 days. We got tremendous applause and cheers with that announcement. Pray for 2011 UCI youth camp!
Kristie, along with Martha Rankin and Debbie Nutzmann, participated in a 5-day women's conference last weekend. The theme was 'A life of abundance.' One hundred and fifty ladies were blessed by good, sound Biblical teaching. There were testimonies and crafts. The singing was amazing! There was even a lot of dancing for Jesus! Each of the women received a Bible in Kreyol and a hymnal. When they realized that they would each get a Bible and hymnal, there was a spontaneous dance that we coined, 'The Happy dance.' It includes a lot of hugging and kissing and ladies dancing and rejoicing together. Every night we had a wonderful 2-4 hour service led by a Haitian lady named Erlvie. Many friendships were made. What a blessing it is to encourage our fellow women.
The school roof is poured! We have found that pouring a cement floor in Haiti is a amazing feat that involves a lot of coordination. We enlisted the help of a professional group from Hinche. These 40 men came to our place at 4:30 AM (they would have gotten there at 3AM but their truck broke down in the muddy road!) and they worked hard until noon. The boss was a very knowledgeable man that was able to make sure everything went according to plan. It is a beautiful sight to see the 4 rooms completed. The rest will be finished next week. We have started the registration process. There has been a tremendous interest! We have had to close the registration for the preschool classes as we have reached our maximum of 35/class. We didn't even want to have that many kids but the need is so great. We are going to have 2 teachers per class. One will be a university-trained teacher and the other may not have a college education but they have experience teaching in primary schools. In Haiti, it is not required for a primary school teacher to even have a high-school diploma, but we desire to have strong Christian teachers. It is our hope that they will be able to train other teachers that have not had the opportunity to go to college. School opens Oct. 3, decreed by the Haitian Ministry of Education. Please pray that we are able to order all the books needed and make all the benches before year begins.
Well, we have even more to report but this update is getting long. There are more cement floors and houses built, the irrigation pumps are working, Saul has a new helper to assist him with the gardens and training, the kids in the centers have recently been weighed and their photos have been taken for the Christmas gift give-away. Price gave a wonderful testimony in church...yikes, I put it all in another newsletter.
Kristie, JeanJean, Tana, and Kerri Mompremier
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Some short phrases and thoughts that "stuck" with me today-
- Leaders not only need to cast a vision of a preferred future, they need to help their people see where they currently are and why remaining where they are is not acceptable. (Hybels)
- Because vision leaks so quickly, we must inspire and encourage by celebrating the progress made on the journey...especially in the middle of the journey. (Hybels)
- Humility separated the level 5 leaders from level 4 leaders studied. (Collins)
- You do what you want out of your passion. (what you have to out of obligation) - (Caine)
- Some problems should not be solved, some tensions should not be resolved. Managing well and leveraging these kinds of insistent problems/tensions can actually stimulate growth and progress in your organization. - (Stanley)
So many more thoughts behind those phrases, and so many leadership insights from the day. Looking forward to tomorrow!
I've had so many incomplete thoughts and hard-to-process impressions after this experience. I've mostly had just a lot of jumbled pieces that I'm trying to formulate into some framework in my head....here's some of the soup mix:
Marcus has achieved the highest level of freedom and privilege at the facility. He's at "honors" level which means he has a key to his room, and he can be out of his room all day until midnight. He has a job at the prison...he is a barber, and he talked with me about all the different cuts he's learned for all the different types of people and hair he works with. He eats in a small community room with others each day. His floor operates somewhat like a dorm floor. It has tv lounges, a big shared bathroom. Marcus also has the opportunity to go to a "shop" each day to make arts, crafts, projects. He can go to the gym, library, or outside where there is a baseball field, track, soccer field. Prisoners can take classes that help them advance academically, recover from addictions, or grow personally.
I recognize that this is prison, and no one wants to be locked away from the rest of society, but look at some of the positives of this structure for a minute. Marcus has been given clear direction and defined boundaries. He has accountability and structure. He has meaningful work. He has opportunities to learn and grow in the classroom. The limit of choices can actually help a person choose more wisely.
After getting a peek into daily life, I can more than ever understand why there is such a high rate of recidivism, or return to crime and prison. This kind of structure isn't available on the outside. For a short time, there's probation and a clearly defined path, and then there's nothing but a big black hole.....and insurmountable obstacles. Getting and sustaining meaningful work is difficult because of the criminal record. Affordable housing is in short supply and is limited for those with criminal backgrounds. Healthy friendships and community to support you is also in short supply, as most of the people you're connected with face some of the similar struggles. Your environment is not favorable. Even programs offered throughout the community are somewhat disconnected and don't help with the whole picture or fold you into a new community and network of friends and support.
Marcus may be out by February 2011. hmmm. Christian community and a structure that helps a person grow on the outside of that prison....that's something I've been thinking about since I left the facility last Friday.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
She had been spending a year in an inner-city neighborhood linking the neighborhood and her church, and she was feeling more and more called to move into the neighborhood. She and her family did move in about a year later, and she basically said this: "We prayed and we weighed...when we thought about the danger that everyone seems so concerned about, we began to ask ourselves, 'Which is more dangerous? Moving into the neighborhood or leaving our children in the suburban lifestyle we were living. We moved."
"The safest place to be is within the will of God." -Anonymous