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April 2013
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peckmeasure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works
and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
~ Matthew 5:14-16 ~
Dear Friends in Christ,
The work in Haiti continued at full pace as John Leininger and Kenny arrived with several major projects in mind. During the first days, they hired bosses (the term they use for the person in charge) to oversee each building project, gathered materials, and set up for construction. They planed to build a church, 3 homes, a guest house, and 5 additional buildings. These 5 buildings will be used as storage now, but next year they will serve as a school for the children in the village. The school was designed as separate buildings so they can easily be turned into homes if the school isn’t practical at that time.
Kenny and our family are so blessed and honored to be working with Mercy International in this beautiful village in Haiti. This is providing a great opportunity for Kenny to learn the skills he will need as he prepares for life on the mission field.
In our last newsletter, we mentioned that Derek Miller used his spring break from college to minister in Haiti. Derek was a major blessing and helped in so many ways. The first day, before the materials arrived, Derek did some hiking. He handed out shoes, took pictures, met some of the local children and helped in any way he could. The next day materials began arriving, so he started building rafters for the homes and church under construction. Before leaving the village, he completed a large pile of rafters. What a blessing! Derek was also a big help technically through setting up finances on Kenny’s laptop. His last afternoon in Haiti, he and Kenny went up a mountain to an orphanage where Derek ministered one summer. They had a great time visiting ‘God’s Littlest Angels’ run by John and Dixie Bickel. The next morning Kenny took Derek to the airport and he returned to the University of Florida. He is graduating this spring (go Gators!!) Kenny returned to Merci de Dieu (Thank the Lord), the village being built by God’s mercy and grace. OSM is very grateful for Derek’s help, encouragement, and enthusiasm as he ministered the love of Jesus Christ to the Haitian people.
The building projects always have their ups and downs. Working with so many people can be difficult, especially when you have 45 Haitian men, each having a better idea of how things should be done. It can get pretty confusing. Locating materials and delivering them to the work site to keep these men and their crews busy can be a big job in itself. This keeps Kenny quite busy. Even though the village has EDH (Haitian electricity) it is very sporadic and not dependable, so they use a generator as back up. Haitians are well acccustomed to working without electricity, but it is more efficient to have a few electric saws so the work goes faster.
Before John returned to Texas, three homes, the school, and the guest house were close to completion. More importantly, the village had their first beautiful worship service in their new church building. Praise the Lord! John and Kenny felt blessed to be a part of this project. We pray this new church will be a light in the midst of darkness and reflect the love of Christ to the village and the surrounding areas.
Kenny spent a few days at the schools. He visited Pastors Marc and Peti Noel, checking on the children and the teachers. The pastors both expressed needs. With our food prices rising almost every time we go to the grocery store, it is no surprise that on an island where most food and materials are imported, both pastors are in need of more money for food for the children. Kenny discussed renting another small building close to Pastor Peti Noel’s school as a kitchen to prepare the meals each day. We hope OSM will be able to help with that cost. Kenny also went to Ashley’s home to meet her parents and to check on her health. They are continuing to work on the necessary papers to prepare her for heart surgery in the Dominican Republic.
Toward the end of his trip, Kenny went to visit Pastor Jean Baptiste in the Anse Rouge area. They were exploring practical ways OSM may be able to assist the church’s ministry. Their goal is to provide the village with purified water. The local well is dried up most of the time, so they looked at a spring and another water source a few miles from the church. We are trying to determine the most cost efficient way to purify water. The night they arrived at the pastor’s home, there was a very nice rain. Kenny saw the cisterns, which were installed on the January medical trip, working well. He also checked on the 4 sisters that he and OSM have been helping for almost a year. Their parents were killed in the 2010 earthquake. Their Aunt, who attends Pastor Jean Baptiste’s church, cares for them. OSM purchased shoes and clothes for each of the girls, to help with their care. Their Aunt already has a family of her own, so any help is greatly appreciated.
Pastor Santos remains busy with the members of the John 3:16 church. The Carpenter Shop boys often help him care for the animals at The Ranch of Faith. This is a great blessing, getting the children out of the colonia and giving them hard work keeps their minds on more wholesome activities. Pastor Santos and Toncho lead them in Bible studies and activities which point them to Jesus Christ. Some of the girls from the Dorcas House occasionally go out with Sister Fini and also visit the ranch.
The John 3:16 Church had a wonderful foot washing service. It was emotional and humbling for the members. They were served and honored by Pastor Santos and Sister Fini who followed the example Jesus Christ gave us in John 13:1-17, washing one another’s feet. This reminds us that we are totally dependent on Christ, because without His death and resurrection, we are hopeless. What a blessing to be counted as Children of God!
In the midst of these projects, we had a nice visit from Debbi’s mom, Barbara McGovern. She traveled from Ocala, Florida to enjoy the beautiful blue bonnets and spend some time with us. Her witness of Jesus Christ in her life has been a great influence on our family. Thanks for coming Mema!
Slowly we are making headway with our home. This month, Ken, Kenny, Micah, and our friend, Tom Gordon, worked on the front porch. Working in Haiti and Mexico has definitely taught us how very blessed we are. We have so much to thank Jesus for every single day! Thank you for your kind love, prayers, and support which make it possible for us to accomplish the missions God entrusts us with each month!
Because of Christ,
The Kennedy Family