Many of you will recall that Haiti has been a part of our family’s story for many years. In 2005, we helped establish a non-profit organization called Christian Friendship Ministries with Ericlee’s mom, Christene Karlyn. Our mission is to connect resources to the people of Haiti. Ericlee’s grandparents, the Bells, started their mission work spreading the Gospel in Haiti in 1947. Today, this organization is led by Haitians who are working to rebuild their communities, share the love of Christ, and create jobs for the many people in Haiti living in poverty and hopelessness. The grass-roots ministry includes two orphanages, two health clinics, five schools and eight churches with many other projects in the works.
In February and March of this year, we felt God prompting us that it was time to do more than just send resources. We both felt a confidence that “for such a time as this” our family was to go to Haiti for a longer term of service. We know that we cannot lead an organization unless we spend quality time with the people it serves. We are going to encourage the leaders and to learn the Haitian Kreyol language and culture so we can better meet the needs of the people.
We recently put our house up for sale. We are moving forward with plans to go to Haiti in early 2011 and live at our ministry’s base for one year. Our departure date is dependent on when our house sells and how quickly God raises our financial support. We are writing to invite you to partner with us. If you have the resources to give financially, we need your support to pursue this calling. We have spent many weeks working out a reasonable budget for our time there. We estimate we will need approximately $3,300/month for our expenses. In addition, we need to raise funds for a four-wheel drive truck that can handle the mountain terrain, which is an estimated cost of $30,000-50,000, depending on if it is new or used. This vehicle will help bless the ministry in the future.
We recognize that many people may desire to give but not have the financial means to do so. First of all, we want to encourage you because every little bit counts. No donation is too small if you feel moved to give. Also, we do have some creative ways that people can support us through time and service. We are downsizing and we have lots of items to sell. Come help us take photos and put our stuff up on E-Bay if you are the technical type. Volunteer at our coming yard sale. When our house sells, we will need help packing our things to move. We will need people to help babysit our kids during that transition time. Help connect us with the right person at your church or organization so we can share more about what we are doing in Haiti with others. (We are willing to travel!)
This November 7 we are running the Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno with 17 of our friends. We are all raising money jog-a-thon style for our trip to Haiti. People can come cheer on our team as we train for the race each Saturday or come encourage us the day of the race. We are also looking for local businesses who might sponsor our team. For $150, a business can be recognized as one of our corporate sponsors with their name and logo on the back of our team T-shirts. Maybe you frequent a local business that might be interested in contributing to our trip to Haiti.
Prayer coverage is a vital part of our ministry whenever we go to Haiti. We need committed prayer warriors to lift us up every step along the way. We welcome questions and covet your prayers. We look forward to hearing from you!