Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
“Betterment does for others; development enables others to do for themselves…betterment tends to erode dignity, while development strengthens capacity.”
This is at the core of why we've chosen to create a Christmas Store. Giving gifts...the haves to the have nots...does not often strengthen capacity nor does it build community. It seems, instead, to keep us separate from one another. The "haves" can feel good about themselves for their generosity, and the "have nots" can feel just a bit worse about themselves for not being able to provide.
I was thinking about this whole Christmas gift giving the other day as I was trying to imagine the difference it might make to allow a parent to shop and buy gifts for their children as opposed to someone handing them an armload of gifts. I tried to imagine a Christmas morning at our house if Mike and I purchased no gifts for our children, Sara and Nathan. A knock on our door and in walks our neighbors, the Martinson's, with a stack of amazing gifts for our kids. I wouldn't harbor any negative thoughts toward them...I would be grateful to them for blessing our family. But I would feel inadequate myself. A bit embarrassed and ashamed, perhaps. Personally, I believe we've gone way overboard as consumers at Christmastime (I include myself in this), but even with that being true, I think I would still like to be the one providing a gift for my child over a stranger doing so. What about you? What do you think?
And please know that I don't mean that there is never a place for giving a gift to someone in need. I think there definitely is a place for that. I, also, believe though, that we've often take the easy way out through charity giving which does nothing to strengthen relationship or empower people. I think we need to begin to think more critically about what will actually begin to help develop people and transform our communities.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Ps. 29: 1, 2 "Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness."
As we near the time for heading back to the States, we are so grateful for all that has happened this year. The earthquake and all of its pain, along with the joys and accomplishments that followed were all a part of this memorable year. In the name of both the US and the Haitian boards we want to thank you. We can't tell you in this letter all that has happened because of your prayers and support, but we would like to highlight some of the ministries. The Lord has done so many things. We can see His hands everywhere. It could not have happened without your commitment to UCI and Haiti.
We welcome Andre, Marie, Jamborite, and recently Sainpristo to the family of God. These former witchdoctors are turning their backs on their former way of life and trusting that God will sustain them. It's the same for all Christians. Continue to pray for Frank and Nelson, who while more open to talking about God, are still unwilling to take the step of faith required to give their lives to Christ.
Union Chretienne de Caiman, our primary school, is going very well. We are so pleased to have good Christian teachers and administrator. They are very serious about giving good quality, Christian education. We have been able to provide solid resources in the form of books, materials, and electives. Pray that the parents and children will be changed due to the school's ministry. And pray for endurance and patience for the teachers; any primary school teacher will tell you that is needed!
Praise the Lord for so many cement floor and new houses. It is awesome to know that this year and the years to come, these family won't have to live in the mud and worry about rats and parasites entering their houses through their dirt floors. We have also been able to build a church building for a neighboring community. This is something that UCI sees as an important part of ministry for the future. We would like all believers to have a place for worship.
Total cement floors completed: 146 Total houses completed: 10 Total churches completed by UCI: 3
You should see our drip irrigation garden and the gardens with the irrigation pumps. I hope my pictures do them justice. Saul is so good at doing agriculture that make sense and that has lasting value. We'll have lots of vegetables for the school and nutrition centers.
I just took the pictures of the kids in the nutrition centers for our Christmas gift give-away. They are looking so great. This year it went pretty well to get the kids to pose--some of them even smiled! I still have some kids that don't have sponsors for their Christmas gift. For the past 5 years I have done a Samaritan Purse-type Christmas gift. If anyone or church is interested in participating in this program, just let me know. I'll send you pictures of the kids and all the information of costs.
Thank you to all the teams that have come this past year and helped with the work. Because teams come, many more projects are done. Preaching the Word, VBS, prayer walks, clinics, construction and painting, relationship-building, and so much more were accomplished. Praise the Lord!
We hope to get a chance to talk to all of you in person while we are in the U.S. If you would like us to speak at your church, or at a small group, or just come over, let us know. We would love for it to happen, if possible.
God bless you all!!
JeanJean, Kristie and Tana and Kerri Mompremier
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
"The marginalized folks in the upside-down order of God remind those of us who think we know something that the pearls of great price are often hidden from the arrogant and proud. 'Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?'" (James 2:5) - Jimmy Dorrell
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Calling all artisans! Midway through July, I received a phone call from a young woman who was about to head off to college in Missouri, but who had recently heard a whisper from God that she couldn't ignore. Megan contacted me for coffee, and she spoke with passion of hosting an art show in which any proceeds from the art sale would go toward one of our church's initiatives to fight poverty. She shared the dream, we prayed, we explored the idea further together. And this is how such a whisper is playing out:
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We're first time planning for "A Christmas Store" this year. In the past, the Orchard Hill Church Congregation has previously given gifts for moms at House of Hope or Christmas boxes for every family at Longfellow Elementary, the school where we partnered in Waterloo before it was closed. Families from our congregation- a predominately upper-middle class demographic- often look for ways to give at Christmas, and providing gifts to those in need has been a part of our congregation's history at Christmas.
So, we are in the middle of planning a store in which new gift items given by the congregation will be priced at a big discount and allow parents the dignity and the choice of shopping for their own children this Christmas! The money generated will then go to the Boys n' Girls Club and the schools attended by the shoppers' children.
So, we are in the middle of planning a store in which new gift items given by the congregation will be priced at a big discount and allow parents the dignity and the choice of shopping for their own children this Christmas! The money generated will then go to the Boys n' Girls Club and the schools attended by the shoppers' children.The store will be hosted at the Boys n' Girls Club in the Walnut Neighborhood, and we're looking forward to this opportunity to connect with the community through this store.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
To serve as a market place for international handicrafts made by needy artisans from 35 developing countries.
To help the artisans gain a life of dignity for themselves and their families.
To use educational programs to increase awareness of health, welfare, and environmental issues in third world countries.
To promote inter-cultural understanding, peace, justice, and economic development.
Fair trade is so powerful because it offers respect for the hard work of talented people. It provides a sustainable way of life for developing communities. It is anti-slavery, anti-child labor. It supports the conservation of the environment, and fair trade empowers women and minorities.
Consider fair trade this year as you think about Christmas purchases. Here are a few website links: