|Our first month in Haiti. This at Morency Church|
It is hard to believe that it has been nine months since we last sent a letter. A lot has happened in those months that leads us to say that this is our last newsletter as part of the RMI organization.
As usual, we had a very busy spring with RMI hosting church teams and visiting churches. However, we knew that it was time to make a decision about staying in Haiti longer than our four year commitment ending the beginning of September 2018 or leaving and going back to the United States. It was hard to believe that the time had passed by so quickly. So much happened during that time both as an organization ministering in Haiti and to us personally.
We made the decision soon after Christmas that it was time to return to the United States. We definitely were not getting younger and Laura continued to deal with worsening sciatica in her left hip and leg. This caused her to work at the computer helping teams to come to Haiti from home, often lying in bed. We also felt that we needed to be closer to our children, grandchildren, and new great-grandchild. Therefore, we made the decision to leave the end of June so we could visit family, supporters and churches in July and August as well as find a home and settle-in. Even after a trip to Gainesville, FL and six weeks of physical therapy in April and May, Laura's pain only grew worse. All the plans we had to travel were cancelled and has yet to happen! Laura is now scheduled for surgery on October 29 for a total hip replacement.
|Our home in Gainesville, FL|
flat-screen TV) from friends, visiting several "second-hand" furniture places and watching Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for additional things we needed. We were SO thankful that we were able to totally furnish our home with the money we received from selling everything in Haiti and monetary gifts from supporters.
God has been so good to us!
Joel is so excited that he was able to return to Littlewood Elementary School as an ESE Aid with the same teacher he worked with for years before we left. He's also very involved with a ministry called International Friendship. They teach English to international students and scholars using the Bible. Most often they are Chinese. However, this fall, Joel's group include a Japanese young man and a Brazilian young lady. He is also working with two young Haitian men who challenge us to speak Creole! Exciting!
(Pictured is Denis, one of the two young men from the Simon village that we support in school. He is
one of triplets!)
Most of the time, Laura is at home with trips out for the weekly women's Bible study, church, and small group weekly meetings. Constant pain is now affecting both hips and legs which limit her activities. Knowing she will be "grounded" for a couple months after surgery, she did fly to Charlottesville, VA to visit with her son and family and her daughter and family even with the discomfort. Her son just retired after 20 years in the Air Force with the last four years in Germany. Laura had not see her son and his family for almost five years. However, there are many other children to see as soon as possible!
For now, Gainesville, FL is our mission field although we really miss Haiti and the wonderful missionary and Haitian family there. There is no way we can thank each of you enough for your thoughts, prayers, and financial support over the past years. We ask for your continued prayers as continue our ministry here in the United States.
We do urge you to consider supporting RMI, especially the Hope for Kidz program (https://www.rmibridge.org/) and the Seventh Day Baptist Missionary Society (www.SDBMissions.org).
God bless you! (Bondye beni nou!)
Joel and Laura
Address: 4133 NW 19th Drive
Gainesville, FL 32605