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August 2005
Dear Friends in Christ,
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matthew 11:28-30
How blessed we are to have rest in Him!
This month our daughter Sara had the opportunity to join a team from our church, Fredericksburg Christian Fellowship, to Haiti. The group of 13 was led by friends of ours Tim and Carol Bolton. Each day they held Bible schools in an orphanage called "Hope for Haiti" in Ounaminthe. The Bible schools consisted of skits, stories, songs, crafts, scripture memory, and lots of games. Because of being able to speak some Creole Sara helped the children as a group, memorize verses and songs each morning. By the end of the week they had memorized all of Psalm 1 and learned several new songs. In the afternoon the team enjoyed spending time playing jump-rope, soccer, basketball, and any other games they could think of. The children soaked up any attention they could get and enjoyed just sitting on laps and being loved.
The "Hope for Haiti" orphanage (consisting of 75 children) is run by a Christian woman who also has a school for 500 children. Each day the children are fed and taught about Jesus. The orphans are well educated and cared for. They know their Bible stories and are learning English in school, which made it easier for the team to communicate with them.
During the daily Bible schools, Tim Bolton would take a small group of people and go evangelize in the villages. One day Sara was able to be a part of this group. She especially enjoyed this time as she was able to share Christ with many people. Her group was able to evangelize at the market, a radio station, a motorcycle stop, a nursing home and to different people, young and old, on the streets. At each place they stopped, a crowd would quickly grow as they shared about the Lord. The people had such a hunger to hear; everyone wanted a Bible and it was difficult to walk away leaving many empty handed after supplies ran out. Every place they stopped people prayed to receive Christ and were encouraged to go the "Hope for Haiti" church.
Each evening the team traveled 45 minutes to stay in cabanas right off a northern beach in the Dominican Republic. Sara was happy for the opportunity to use her Spanish in helping communicate with the locals. This was the first time for any of our family to go to the Dominican after many years of traveling to Haiti. It was beautiful!
Lussade and his brother Mario traveled 12 hours from Port-au-Prince, where they live, to join and help translate for the team. They were a huge help with the Bible schools as well as the groups evangelizing. Mario, who is a pastor, was able to help translate for another team that was there holding a pastor's meeting.
Schools have started once again in Haiti and are going well. O.S.M.'s two schools are full of eager children ready to learn. The children are being provided with one hearty meal a day. Please be in prayer with us for Lussade, the teachers and students in this new school year. Lussade stays busy with the administration of the schools, making sure they're stocked with the food and school supplies necessary, as well as giving the teachers a salary.
A Sweet Field Report
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust." Psalms 91:1,2
How great it is to see some more families have a comfortable place where they can go for shelter from the elements of the weather. However, it is our desire that each of these families would find a lasting shelter in "the shadow of the Almighty," and that He indeed would become their refuge and strength.
Nathan Macias and his family, Joseph and Graham Jaroski, and Sara Kennedy, blessed a family with some additional living space. Fast and furiously working, the team completed the project in two days. On Sunday morning, the event was capped off with a genuine Mexico breakfast at the worksite, a service, and the dedication.
Another building project was completed this month with the John Brymer crew and a diversified group from Texas, Oklahoma, and Ohio. Many of these workers are involved with youth evangelism to inner-city children, so there was a ton of fun and energy. Not only did they bless a Mexican family with a green room, but they also insisted on helping our family complete a new concrete patio in our back yard.
What a joy it was to receive a visit from Liz's dad, Raymond Whetstone, and her sister, Sarah Scott! Having been a pastor almost all of his life, he is no stranger to ministering God's love. He and Sarah got a tour of Nava and delivered some groceries to a needy family.
Standing directly in front of the John 3:16 church are two buildings, a beautiful chain link fence, and over a block of land. A ministry from Atlanta, Georgia, has built these for a school and has given the church the responsibility of running it. Paco, the pastor's son, will be the director as assisted in the installation of the septic system and are now working on the wiring and fixtures. The second building still needs to be sheet rocked and painted, plus there is floor tile to be laid in both buildings. As the first Christian school in Nava, it will be the beginning of a powerful outreach.
Being involved in many different tasks here in Nava, we are reminded of God's Word, "And whatsoever ye do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." Colossians 3:17. May God richly bless each of you as you endeavor to do the same.
In His Service,
The Sweet Family
Debbi and I had our 28th anniversary this month, to celebrate we spent a weekend at the gulf. The following Monday the children joined us for a few days. The Lord provided, through friends, for us to stay in a beautiful water front home. It was a relaxing time for us to get away as a family and enjoy one another. The boys spent time fishing and we all had fun going out in a boat and watching dolphins play in the waves. We were blessed by this gesture of love and thoroughly enjoyed our stay!
Our granddaughter Heidi Summer has been a constant joy in our lives. She is growing up so fast and getting very active. Going on six months she's now rolling and scooting all over the place, and even attempting to crawl. Micah and Holly couldn't be more happily married. Micah continues to work for his dad and Holly comes out when she can to help us in the office and with the newsletter.
We have decided that life never will be "normal" as we have known it in the past again. The pain that comes with the loss of Shelby will probably never go away. Debbi read a great book that encouraged her and she has read parts of it to the rest of our family. The book 'Heaven' by Randy Alcorn, has given us an exciting vision for heaven. This has been helpful in thinking about Shelby and where she is and why she is there instead of here with us. It has made us think of this whole situation in a much more positive way, and in all this, knowing and believing that our Father is in complete control.
We are very grateful to each of you for your prayers, your kind and encouraging notes and cards, and many other ways you have shown your love to our family and O.S.M. over these past months!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family