We invite you to jump in the truck with us and take a ride out to one of our ministry’s “outstations.” Grab a sun hat and some bug spray and hold on to your seat. You will hear the sounds of our girls giggling and squealing as the truck passes through water and over ridges into the mountains. We head on the main road toward St. Raphael but then take a sharp right onto a side road – really a path just big enough for our vehicle. Cactus fences hug the truck on either side. In the U.S. people would be paying big money at Disneyland or some other theme park for this Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. We round the bend and see a cement block building with a beautiful mountain backdrop. We are here: Robinet Outstation.
People gather around the truck to greet us. They grin and wave, some laughing with delight to see “blancs” in their area. The kids point or hide shyly behind their mamas’ skirts. These people meet every week for a service or Bible study and fellowship together. They are more than an hour walk to water and about that same distance to their home church, which many attend faithfully every Sunday. Meilani and Giada pass out candy to the little ones. Ericlee shares a mini-sermon about trust and faith. Of course, these people have a lifetime of faith stories they could share to buoy our spirits.
They are just one example of a small group of believers who meet weekly across the countryside in little outstations – oases in the sun-scorched land – for encouragement, prayer and learning scripture. In the U.S., we might call this a “life group” or “small group” but sometimes as many as 60 people gather. One day we meet at an outstation just on the edge of Pignon near the city. Another morning Ericlee rises early and drives an hour, then hikes two hours up the mountain to meet a different group. Ericlee’s goal this month has been to visit as many of them as he can in much the same way his grandparents used to do many years ago.
When we are not visiting the outstations, our days have been full lately as we continue to connect with the leaders of the ministry and assess their needs. Last week we did an extensive evaluation of the orphanage here and we are working on plans to build a new school in Fontaine. Ericlee has been working with the church’s main accountant to teach him Excel and principles of budgeting.
Meanwhile, Dorina has kept busy with a new small business venture. We are partnering with the ApParentProject.org to help a group of women from the church start a jewelry-making business. Most afternoons Dorina and Meilani meet the ladies in a school classroom to make homemade beads from paper/cardboard and string beads for necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Dorina will help sell these items in the U.S. this fall and winter. What a joy to see the creativity of the women and to give them an opportunity to raise some money to provide for their families and the church!
We are excited about our friends, Serena & Lindsay Isaak and Kathryn Haw from Fresno coming next week to speak at our Esther Women’s Conference for the four churches. Serena, Kathryn and Dorina will be speaking on the topic of “Friendship” for the services on August 22-25. They will also be teaching the ladies crocheting and knitting in the afternoons.
We return to Fresno on August 27 with the three ladies from The Bridge. We will be jumping right into fundraising projects then. For the second year, we are putting together a “Remember Haiti” Half Marathon team to run the Two Cities Half Marathon in Fresno. If you or anyone you know might be interested in free personal training from Ericlee and participation in this fundraiser for Haiti, please let us know. Ericlee has already prepared group and individual workouts that begin on Monday, August 15.
For more details and photographs of our adventures in Haiti, remember to check out our family blog at www.AlohaGilmores.blogspot.com.
Dorina, Ericlee, Meilani, Giada & baby girl Gilmore
•We pray God would continue to help us build bridges across cultural lines and give us discernment as we assess the needs of the ministry and choosing new projects to create jobs for Haitians.
•We pray for health for our family in these final 3 weeks, especially Dorina who is starting her final trimester of pregnancy.
•Pray for the Bead Project that Dorina has been helping get off the ground in Pignon.
•Join us in praying for the Esther Women’s Conference in Pignon on August 22-25 with guest speakers Serena Isaak and Kathryn Haw from Fresno. Serena’s daughter, Lindsay, is also joining them.
•Remember us as we travel home to Fresno – driving to Port Au Prince on Friday, August 26 and flying into Fresno, August 27.
•Please pray for our Haitian field director Peter Constantin who will be getting surgery this month on his arm.