Monday, March 12, 2012
Following God as He expands our ministry
This winter God has been opening new doors for our family and for Christian Friendship Ministries as we continue to focus our efforts on connecting resources to Haiti. We hosted the 2nd Annual Valentine Crossfit Challenge (See picture at left of us at the competition). This was a great morning of sharing Haiti with a new group of people from around California who were competing in a fun fitness challenge. February proved a very *busy* month for us as we also participated in many events and speaking opportunities for our church's Missions Month. The Bridge Church dedicates one month a year to raising awareness and funds for a special project. This year the focus was on raising money for orphans through Children's Hope Chest in Russia. We were invited along with other missionaries to share about our work in Haiti with many individuals, groups and Sunday School classes.
This spring we are enrolled in a college course called "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement." This is a community class offered at another local church. We have wanted to take it for several years but the timing never worked out. We are getting a taste of the student life again with the hefty readings and assignments - but it's worth it! Our kids also attend their own "mission class" on Monday nights. We have learned about the Biblical mandate for sharing the gospel, the importance of going to unreached people groups and some strategies for community development. The course has challenged us to think through some important issues as we continue to partner with the ministry in Haiti and shape the work of this non-profit.
Plans for Summer
Our family (of 5!) is currently making plans to return to Haiti in early May. We would appreciate your prayers as we hunt down affordable plane tickets and make our travel plans. (Anyone have frequent flyer miles they would like to share?) We are very excited to have 10-12 individuals interested in visiting us and helping us this summer. We also have a short-term team from our church that will join us in July to help with our Vacation Bible School in the Savanette church.
Plans for the Future
We plan to return to Fresno at the end of July. We believe God is calling us to long-term involvement in the leadership of Christian Friendship Ministries. In other words, we know we are in this for the long haul. We believe our role is to equip, empower and encourage the Haitian leaders so they can in turn make disciples and help other Haitians. We also know there is a vital need to raise awareness and more support for the ministry here in the United States. Right now we see ourselves as a "bridge family," traveling back and forth between Haiti and the U.S. in the next few years. We are now praying for God's direction for the fall to see how Ericlee should split his time as U.S. director of CFM and wellness coach/personal trainer.
We are so thankful for God's continued provision. We have been praying a long time for God to provide in some key areas. Some of those answers to prayer include:
-a new intern to help us here in Fresno (Fresno Pacific student Brianna Watson)
-a couple willing to provide financial support for our Haitian director, Peter Constantin
-25 bicycles provided by a church for the laypreachers in Haiti
-breaking ground on construction of the new orphanage building in St. Raphael
-further Bible education here in Fresno for Music Director Walquis Seriphin
-new contacts with California businessmen to help with new job creation for Haitians
-seed money donated to start a micro-loan program when we return to Haiti this summer
Remember Haiti Cycling Team
We are so grateful for friends like Dave Scalzo who have stepped forward in helping us raise awareness and funds for special projects in Haiti. Dave is leading our "Remember Haiti Cycling Team" as they prepare for and ride the Eye-Q California Classic Century Ride on May 19. So far the team includes 15 riders. SImilar to our "Remember Haiti Marathon Team" they are meeting regularly to ride and also getting sponsors. The money raised will help with the needs in the upcoming year for the schools in Haiti. If you or someone you know likes to ride, let us know. We would love to have you join our team!
Haitian Bead Project
Our Haitian Bead Project continues to gain momentum as Dorina has had the opportunity to sell the jewelry at various venues and share the story of the artisans. Several local stores in Fresno are now carrying the jewelry. We also recently launched a new web site for the project at HaitianBeads.com, designed by our friend Kirsten Gould. We encourage you to check it out and share it with friends. This summer we will be bringing a team of friends to Haiti to work with our Haitian artisans as we expand to some new products. Please let us know if you would like to help sell jewelry to your circle of friends or co-workers
We recently were challenged by speaker and author Francis Chan who spoke at the Fresno Pacific Ministry Forum. He said we should all be doing more things that are "above our heads" so that we can depend more on God and witness Him at work. We are certainly in above our heads as we work for change in Haiti. We appreciate your continued prayers and faithful partnership!
Ericlee & Dorina
Meilani, Giada & Zayla