Tag Archives: Haiti

Ministry Update – November 2012

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In South Sudan, the first devotion shared was on being stretched as we pursue God and seek His Kingdom. November has definitely been a stretching experience in both my life and ministry.

The first part of the month was spent in Southern Sudan watching God throw the doors wide open for people to meet Christ as Savior. Though there were many challenges, such as having to wade across the river at the Kenya/S. Sudan border, it was well worth it. In a matter of days, we saw around 100 people saved – from the highest tribal chiefs to the lowest prisoners. God even confirmed our message with some divine acts of power as we saw a handful of people healed during times of prayer.

After S. Sudan I had 22 hours in Washington D.C., and spent a full, jet-lagged afternoon walking around visiting all the monuments and memorials. It was a great reminder of the wonderful history we have as a nation, and an encouragement that we must continue to be a people who seeks God on behalf of our nation and government.

Then, on the 10th, the return to Haiti was a weird experience for me as this place has become a second home. While in the U.S. and S. Sudan I even found myself craving some Haitian foods and definitely missing our kids like crazy.

Most ofHaiti doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but it was also my 28th birthday, so on that Saturday I took a big cake and celebrated with the kids. It was a very special day for me.

Though I am looking forward with much excitement to what God has in store for my ministry in the next year, leaving Haiti in February will definitely be a hard goodbye for me

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I know it’s always nice for kids to get a break from school, see all the family, and gorge ourselves.

Growing up, I never really thought too much about Thanksgiving. The majority of my family always lived close together, so it wasn’t unusual to see them all in one place. The main marker of the holiday was the food (that would usually continue well past Thursday.)

This year, though, being here away from it all was harder than I expected. As I saw all the pictures and status updates on social media, it hit me how much we really do have to be thankful for when we can gather with family and friends and think on God’s goodness to us. Fortunately for the modern missionary, there is Skype, and I was able to see all my family for about an hour that afternoon.

“But certainly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” ~Psalm 66:19

  • Pray for God to send revival; that salvation and healing will come to this nation.
  • Pray for Erin, the new HGIM missionary, as she prepares to move to Haiti in 2013.
  • Pray for me as I begin making speaking appointments for my time home next year.
  • Pray for the HGIM Board of Directors as they meet in Dec. to make some vital    decision for the future of the ministry.

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Contentment and Hope

This morning begins with me leaving early for the airport, leaving Haiti for the next 4 weeks. As I usually do my writing on Tuesdays, but seldom am able to get any thoughtful writing done sitting in airports, I thought that this week, I would just share what has been on my heart lately with the orphanage and our work here in Haiti. This post is one I originally wrote on Saturday over at the Heart of God Haiti blog. Please pray for our work with these kids, as we still have much work to do.

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More and more with every visit, I fall in love the kids in our orphanage here. As I am now preparing to head out for about 4 weeks for a pastor’s conference and a trip to South Sudan with Heart of God Africa, it is hitting me how attached I have become. Not only is it an honor to get to spend time with these kids every day, but God is also using them to teach me so much about the simplicity of life.

One of the most popular verses in the Bible for many Americans is Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

But what many Americans don’t realize is that this verse is in the context of talking about contentment. Specifically about contentment in situations like our children here face daily:

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:11-13)

This is one of the lessons that seeing these kids teaches me. Contentment in all things.

For the last month and a half we have had to learn a new normal for life at the center. With Hurricane Isaac taking the roof off the center, the kids have had no space of their own in which to live. Mattresses are daily carried outside of the church so that the building can be used during the day, then carried back in every night and set up to sleep on. Clothes that were soaked with rain were lost to mildew and have had to be tossed out. They now eat cramped into a small room on the side of the church because even the porch on which they spend their days eating, coloring, or doing homework has been useless as the reconstruction took over that space.

Yet despite a situation that most of us Americans would find absolutely unnacceptable, these kids (and our awesome staff) have pressed on, making the best of the situation. They have learned contentment. I am the one who has struggled.

The kids have seemingly not even noticed much of a change. They are happy every day. They have been helpful in cleaning clothes, washing dishes, and looking out for one another. They have taught me so many new ways to build toys out of the trash they find on the streets, whether toy cars made of oil jugs and milk bottle caps, or doing construction of their own with rocks and spare cardboard. They are content.

I on the other hand have remained so stressed through this whole ordeal, longing for the day we can “just fix everything” for these kids. The roof has been a struggle. Getting the kids enrolled in school was a struggle. Paying for uniforms and school books is still a struggle. Not because this stuff costs too much to do from and American perspective, but because these kids live in a world where they are easily forgotten. I know that everyone in America knows there are children living in Haiti in desperate and hopeless situations. But do most of us take the time to do something about it?

Hopefully today the roof will be finished, and the kids can return to their home. I am so thankful for the blessings of God through donors and prayers who have allowed this work to be accomplished. Yet I still look at these kids and see so much potential for a better life that could never actually reach them.

As you can see just in these pictures, we have aspiring mechanics, mothers, construction workers, and electrical engineers. But in order for those opportunities to reach reality, we need your partnership over the long-haul. We need people willing to do more than give money for a one time project. We need people who will make the commitment to sponsor a kid financially on a monthly basis to provide their food, healthcare, education, and daily needs like clothing and hygiene products. We need people and church groups who will donate a week or two of their time to come to Haiti and hold these kids, loving on them in person and sharing the Word of God. We need people who will pray for us and spread the word about the work being done here, even though it is so far from daily view.

Every day I get the opportunity to sit with these kids and dream about giving them a better future. I can’t fathom that the only thing keeping them from seeing these opportunities for themselves is the fact that the resources are not there for them. Will you partner with us to help give these kids the opportunity they will not otherwise have? Our kids have learned contentment. Will you offer these kids hope?

Ministry Update – September 2012

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It is really hard for me to believe I’ve already been in Haiti for a full seven months. It has gone by so fast. I am also quickly getting hit with the reality that my time here is growing shorter every day.

This month I have been preaching in multiple churches and we are continually making progress on the work projects as God gives us the ability. Today I delivered the money to buy the wood and nails to build the new rafters on the orphanage roof reconstruction. The retaining wall for the eroding church foundation is also almost complete, and plans are in the works to build an addition onto the orphanage so that my replacement on the ground full-time next year, Erin, can stay at the center and begin investing in the kids more hands-on every day than I have had the ability to do.

Another aspect of my personal ministry has been to begin planning out the next missions God has put before me. All my flights are booked to go with Heart of God Africa on the first-ever trip to South Sudan later in October. We are working on a possible trip with Heart of God India in March of next year, and I have personally been communicating with a ministry connection in the 10-40 window to plan an evangelistic outreach in April. (For security reasons, the location cannot be disclosed at this time.)

Among next month’s travels, I will also be making a quick stop in west Texas to get a new driver’s license. Mine was stolen with my phone and camera last month, and with the cops in Haiti cracking down on everything from seat belts to only allowing non-drivers to drink in the car, I must get this ASAP.

As many of you know, the missionary life carries with it a lot of responsibility to not only God and to the people on the mission field, but also to all of the churches and individuals who so graciously support the work in both prayer and finances.

Firstly, I don’t think I can tell you “thank you,” enough for your support. I can’t do this without you.

Secondly, I also want to let you know that this long-term stay in Haiti will be finishing up in February, and I will be back in the U.S. for a while to catch up with donors and do some much needed support raising.

Whether you are a current supporter or not, if you would like to schedule a visit to your church to give report and share my ministry, I would love to work that out with you. You can check for open dates on my itinerary.

No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it. ~Guy H. King

  • Pray for God to send revival; that salvation and healing will come to this nation.
  • Pray for my travel in October and November (17 flights in all).
  • Pray for Erin as she is beginning her own preparation to move to Haiti in 2013.
  • Pray for me as the move to the higher altitude is causing daily headaches and frequent allergies.

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What About It, Pat Robertson?

Now Tropical Storm Isaac has passed Haiti, I think it’s fair to say that God demonstrated how great His mercy is to this nation. After all, it was predicted that the storm would reach hurricane force wind before hitting our coast. The trajectory of the storm for days before had predicted that the eye of the hurricane would come straight across Port-au-Prince. And the devastating expectations were set very, very high.

What happened, though, was that many people, including many of you reading this right now, showered this nation with prayers asking for God to act. And He did.

If I were to be really honest about my feelings going into the storm, I had a lot of anxiety about the potential damage to our orphanage (which could have been way worse than losing a tin roof), worry for the people living in the tent cities, and fear for the unknown. At the same time, however, there was also a little bit of excitement in me because, as a west Texas boy, it’s fair to assume I’ve never been in a hurricane before. There is always a sense of adventure that comes with the possibility of danger.

However, as the time drew close for the storm to hit, one thought kept coming through my mind… “This must be the most boring ‘hurricane’ ever.” In the end, the storm never picked up enough speed to become a hurricane, and the course had shifted away from coming right over us. In fact, the storm was so ‘boring’ that after it had stalled in the ocean to the south of us for almost 8 hours, I went to bed and slept right through it. The next morning I learned that the core of the storm finally shot across the southern peninsula of Haiti in just under 3 hours. How crazy is that?

As far as the devastation goes, the last count I heard was that Isaac has left 24 dead, 42 injured, 335 homes destroyed, and 2,346 homes damaged (the numbers include regular homes as well as shanties built after the 2010 earthquake). All in all, what could have been a major catastrophe was pretty much diverted.

Is God to blame for this?

When a natural disaster strikes and there is major loss of life and major destruction left in it’s wake, God always catches the blame. So now I think it is vital to point out the fact that this storm was restrained from doing that much damage, must also be considered the hand of God. I absolutely believe that God held back this storm.

So I must ask the question: What about it, Pat Robertson?

If only two years ago, God was ready to destroy this nation because of it’s history of sin and voodou, then why didn’t He finish the job now, before reconstruction can really have much affect?

Well, I’ll tell you why. Because even though God will put an end to all sin and even though the whole earth is saved up for destruction in God’s wrath, we are living in an age where God is withholding this judgement in order that grace can be extended to the nations and all peoples will have the opportunity to repent and be saved. But don’t take my word for it. Check out what God said Himself in His word:

“…the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…” (2 Peter 3:5-9)

So while the curse is still on much of humanity from sin, and the creation is still fighting against us making life difficult (see Genesis 3:17-18), we cannot attribute this to God’s decisive judgement. The new testament teaches that those things have and will always come our way (see passages like Matthew 24:6-8). Instead of destroying humanity, after having won the victory on the cross, God is currently in the business of putting salvation into full effect by reaching those who should be saved. This generation is seeing grace upon grace despite the fact that our sin deserves God’s destruction.

So in the case of Tropical Storm Isaac, I absolutely believe that God heard the prayers of His people for Haiti and has spared her. I further believe that God is at work in Haiti, as the gospel continues to go out and souls are being brought into His Kingdom. I will even go farther and say it is my personal conviction that revival is ready to break out in Haiti as the people of God here are beginning to rise up and seeking His face on behalf of this place.

All of that to say this. I am very thankful to our merciful Savior for a boring storm, and all the grace that this lack-of-destruction demonstrates. And now, as this storm approaches New Orleans (another of Pat Robertson’s ‘condemned’ cities), I pray that God graces those people with a boring storm as well. Will you pray the same as well?

“Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.”

After Isaac Damage Report: “The Orphan House Broke”

Yesterday afternoon, after the streets were somewhat cleared and the storm had calmed down to mainly rain, I decided to go check on the orphanage and see how well they fared.

If you aren’t already aware, I stay down in the Port-au-Prince area which is lower down and closed in on most sides by the mountains. Since the storm was coming over those mountains, and didn’t hit nearly as hard as expected, it doesn’t seem like way too much damage was done in the city other than trees and power lines going down, and some people in tents or shacks being quite wind-blown. Our orphanage, on the other hand, is high in the mountains overlooking the city, and while we weren’t even getting much rain or winds as the storm came close, they were hit consistently for over 24 hours with heavy winds and rains.

In the morning, since I couldn’t get my translator on the phone, I personally called Pastor Justin at the center to get a report. Although I didn’t get any details at this point I knew something was bad, but I understood from the conversation was, “I have many problems…The orphan house broke…” It was at this point I decided to make my way up the mountain to see what’s going on. Here is what I found:

The story I heard once we arrived was that the roof just banged all night through the major part of the storm, but about 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning, just shortly before I had called Justin, a big gust of wind took half the roof off of the orphanage.

Currently the kids are staying in the church, having pushed the benches together and laid the mattresses on them, however, Justin is looking for a house nearby to rent for a week or two until the roof is fixed. The most fortunate part is that no one was hurt by flying tin, and once we showed up, the kids’ fears were eased some. By the time we left everyone was in good spirits.

The immediate needs we have are small comfort items like blankets, jackets, etc., that I can purchase here in Haiti; as well as the funds to repair to roof and to fix other minor damage around the property.

If you would like any more info about the situation or the projects at hand, you can email me (singram@heartofgodinternational.org) or Haiti Director, Dave Young (dyoung@heartofgodinternational.org) and you can subscribe to this blog to stay up to date with any future updates. If you would like to make a donation for the rebuilding (expected costs coming soon), you can click the ‘Donate’ link at the top. Please make sure and specify that the funds are for Haiti Orphanage Repairs.

Tropical Storm Isaac Photo Updates

As long as internet holds up, I’ll try and post an updated picture every couple of hours so you guys can see what’s happening here. If you want to find it on a map, I am in the Santo area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. You can also track the storm here to see what’s overhead right now.

It started to drizzle about 30 minutes before this set of photos and the wind has started gusting pretty good every little bit.

This storm still hasn’t picked up much. It’s slow moving, and all day has just slowly been building. The rain is just now hitting us pretty good. It’s raining bad at the orphanage in the mountains, but until now hasn’t done more than drizzle here. I also just posted an update from Pastor Justin at the orphanage that you can read over here.

From where we are sitting we still haven’t gotten much of anything, other than some pretty pictures of clouds. I’m guessing that the storm is going to have to move closer and come over the mountains before we will get much of the rain included. But, hey, I’ll take all the pretty pictures I’m getting and be content without any of the destruction that can come with it. The mountains to the south and southeast of us are still getting hit pretty consistently with the rain.

Had to take these pics an hour early. It’s dark early tonight thanks to the clouds. House internet has stopped working. I’m on my Natcom data stick now. We’ll see how long it lasts… The wind has started consistently blowing here now, and slowly gaining strength. It’s gonna be an interesting night.

One other thing, I did realize that I put the pics in the wrong order… I’ll correct them soon, but for now, from left to right they should be labelled SouthEast, NorthEast, West…

Unfortunately for picture update’s sake, all the bad part of the storm happened between sundown and sunrise. For Haiti’s sake, we were very fortunate in Port-au-Prince to have missed the major part of the storm. There are still big gusts of wind, and we will probably keep having rain all day today. But there is no major damage in our neighborhood where I am staying. I’ll be getting out another update from the orphanage later, after I talk to Pastor Justin, but for now, unless for some reason a tornado pops up in these clouds, these will probably be the last pics I post of the sky. (Although, if I do get out today to have a look around town, I’ll post pics of that later.) Thank you so much for all the prayers. God definitely diverted major destruction away from here. Now keep praying for Cuba and Florida.

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In response to a private message I received, which said, “Bro, your storm pics are the most boring storm pics I’ve ever seen,” all I can say is, “GREAT!” I am so glad that these storm pics are boring because it means the destructive power of the storm was held back from us. I know they are not exciting, news-worthy pics. And I am so grateful for that fact. Let Hollywood entertain our senses, and let’s praise God for His restraining actual destructive forces.

(Soon to be) Hurricane Isaac

 

Dear Friends,

Please keep Haiti as a top priority in your prayers for at least the next 72 hours. It looks like Tropical Storm Isaac — soon to be Hurricane Isaac — will be coming right over the top of Port-au-Prince. Because of the 2010 earthquake, there are still over 400,000 people living in tent cities in PaP, mostly in makeshift shelters made of sticks and tarps. They are the most at risk.

Please also offer up specific prayer for Heart of God‘s orphanage and the 17 kids who live there full-time. The building is not completely closed off (there is about 6 inches open between walls and ceiling) and the roof is only wooden rafters and tin sheeting.

We have also been preparing to shore up a wall on the church where erosion is happening pretty rapidly threatening the foundation, and too much water could wash it out and knock down the wall completely.

Where I am staying, I feel pretty secure and have made the necessary preparations to wait it out. The kids are my primary worry at this point. If God doesn’t intervene, this could be a major setback to a lot of our work getting them a better living condition and also to Haiti’s reconstruction as a whole, which seems to only recently be gaining good momentum.