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May 2007
 
 
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Lord has blessed our family with many challenges and blessings this month. As some of you remember, this month is the 2-year anniversary of Shelby going Home. We all still deeply grieve her being gone, yet we look forward to joining her in Heaven one day.
Our son Kenny had hoped to do a hike in Haiti in her memory for quite some time. He wanted it to be in the mountains south of Port-au-Prince where he and Shelby had talked about hiking together one day. After a lot of last minute decisions and planning, the Lord brought everything and everyone together allowing the hike to happen this month.
Kenny, Sara, and Micah flew to Port-au-Prince Haiti and met with our friend and board member, John Leininger. John and Micah then boarded another plane and flew to Cayes and then drove on to Joli Guibert. There they installed some much needed water tanks and were also able to participate in a medical clinic.
While John and Micah were in Joli Guibert, Sara and Kenny had 3 fun days of V.B.S. at the two schools in Port-au-Prince. They were joined on the last day by three friends, Joel Wean, Cody Carnett, and Rainer Park. The school children were so happy to have our group there and just loved the songs, crafts, verses, stories and all the attention. V.B.S at Pastor Mark's school was pretty  crowded with 150 children packed in a small room. It was so hot and the children's faces were dripping with sweat, but this didn't stop them from having fun singing their hearts out and joining in the activities. Even through the discomforts, the school children were for the most part very well behaved and kept as much order as possible.
Please continue to keep the two schools in your prayers. Both are struggling right now as many of the children can't afford to pay the very small amount to attend the schools, but they are still given admittance. This causes a problem because there is no money to pay the teachers who of course need money to provide for their families. O.S.M. sponsors a feeding program for both schools, but for the many other financial needs the schools are on their own.

The second week in Haiti was spent hiking the beautiful mountains near Jacmel. Sara, Kenny, Joel, Cody, and Rainer flew from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel meeting John Leininger, Micah, David Bustin, Dinel and Anthony (Haitian pastors) and 5 other young men from Cayes. David Bustin grew up in the mountains where the hike took place and has spent most of his life in Haiti. What a blessing it was to have him as the guide on this trip. He took Kenneth hiking in the same mountains 12 years ago when we lived in Haiti. David knows so many of the people out there and is very much loved by them.

The hike was an incredible adventure, very fun, but physically and mentally challenging as well. Words or even pictures cannot adequately describe the experience of the trip or the beauty of God's creations in the mountains. A  truck drove the team of hikers 3 hours into the mountains to an elevation of 6,000'. From there the group went on foot as the road eventually ended. They hiked four days straight, covering about 60 miles total. They crossed many beautiful, rugged mountains and passed through several villages along the way. Personal food, bedding and camping gear, along with medical supplies, were carried in backpacks. The group was grateful to have help from several Haitians in carrying these  packs. There were many streams and waterfalls along the way which provided the group with drinking water after being filtered. It rained two days while on the hike. The showers soaked everyone and the mountainsides, making it very slippery and dangerous on the steep areas. The last day was the most challenging and memorable. The morning was spent doing a small clinic at the village where they stayed the previous night. Since it was such late notice they didn't get a huge crowd, but still the medicines they brought ran out pretty fast. After the clinic the group headed out for the last stretch of the hike. It rained a lot that day and everyone was wet and tired. The grand finale was crossing the river which was flowing strong from all the rain; they forded it 20 times in the dark before reaching their final destination at 10:00pm.  The next day was spent in Marbial at the old compound where David Bustin grew up. Here the group took a day to relax, walk around, and play in the river, which felt great after several days without a nice shower.
The Haitian mountain people were very kind, giving the team their best in food and lodging. They were just overjoyed to have a group of Americans come to their villages. At many places where the group would stop to rest, a crowd of curious Haitians would show up to just look and watch. David Bustin told us that the last white people they saw were Kenneth and he, 12 years ago. Several asked about Kenneth and said that they thought they had lost contact with us forever. They were all so sweet and welcoming. Many of the village children had never seen foreigners, so some of them were scared of the 'white people' and their cameras. It didn't take long for them to warm up, especially after showing them  images of themselves in the screens of the digital cameras. They would look and a big smile would spread out on their faces as they would laugh and point at themselves on the little screen, then they would want to do it again.
On the top of one of the mountains, Kenny took the opportunity to carve Shelby's name in an old tree. It was his way of remembering and honoring her, as this is exactly the sort of thing she loved to do in Haiti. Even though she is no longer here with us, the spirit of Christ which she walked out in our family, will forever impact each of us strongly.
Sara and Kenny made a short trip to Mexico the beginning of this month. They had some good rain showers while there which flooded the colonia making it quite a sight. Sara stayed busy sewing with the ladies in the Dorcas House. This year the ladies in Nava have sewn over 100 dresses and skirts, about 40 of them for the Jamestown Quadricentennial Celebration this June. Kenny spent his time helping Pastor Santos on the ranches and at the church. This month was the Juan 3:16 Church's 7th anniversary. The brothers and sisters from the church were painting and cleaning the church, getting it ready for a big 'fiesta'. It's hard to believe the church is already 7 years old. We were sorry to miss the celebration this year, but we needed to hurry back home for the Haiti trip.
Again the Lord has blessed our family beyond words; He is such an awesome God. We pray that this newsletter is a blessing for you and your families. We are very grateful for the Lord's protection this month through all the adventures. Thank you so very much for your prayers and for allowing our family to minister Christ in the way He has directed us. May each of you know Him and His love over you.
Blessings in Christ,
The Kennedy Family