Dear Family & Friends,
We have had a busy month in Haiti! This is really our June newsletter I
wrote more than a week ago but it took that long down to hunt down
Internet fast enough to upload everything. Let's just say high-speed is
not something we experience in rural Haiti. This past month we have been
bumping down Haiti’s dirt roads visiting outstations and churches,
snapping photos of kids for our new scholarship program, and making
connections with other organizations in the northern mountains of Haiti.
Our kids have been playing creative games with the orphans, learning to
cook rice and beans, and riding donkeys for fun.
This is our new normal.
In early June, we had a team here, including Dorina’s parents, Maria and
Doug, along with our friends, Forest and Stacie Benedict, their son,
Nathanael, and Stacie’s mom, Stephanie High. This was a fun week as we
welcomed family and very close friends into our Pignon mission house.
Our kids were delighted to have Nana and Papa and Nathanael’s Meema to
play games with them and hold them. They loved introducing Nathanael to
their Haitian friends and favorite foods.
That week Ericlee, Doug and Forest were guest speakers at the first
Men’s Conference for the Haitian men who are part of our four main
churches. Mostly leaders attended this conference. Our team shared on
the topics of physical, emotional and spiritual wellness, sexual purity
and godly leadership. The conference culminated with a time where the
men washed each others’ feet, imitating what Jesus did for his disciples
in the Bible. Ericlee was blessed by the response of the men in the
closing session. Some were skeptical at the start because they had never
attended a Men’s Conference before. One leader commented during
evaluation time that he believed every man in the church should attend.
He rallied for a longer conference and wanted to start planning for next
Stacie, Maria and Stephanie were instrumental in supporting Dorina in
the Haitian Bead Project. They taught the Haitian artisans to make some
new products using their recycled cardboard beads. These products
included lanyards (perfect for ID badges) and key chain bracelets (ideal
for people who carry their keys often). All three of the women shared a
devotion and word of encouragement with the artisans.
We ended the week with a family hiking trip for Father’s Day to Haiti’s
Citadel. This is the place where Ericlee proposed to Dorina 10 years
ago. Everyone worked together to make it to the top for the incredible
view of the island. We snapped an updated family photo from the one we
took last year with Zayla in belly and Ericlee reenacted the proposal.
This past week we had more friends here from Fresno, including Dale
Taunton, Mike Jones, Beverly and Kelly Damm. Our goal was to expose them
to many different parts of our work here and have them lend their
expertise in business and banking. They have met with our microfinance
group, our pastors, our laypreachers, our teachers and Haitian Bead
They have been especially helpful with the Haitian Bead Project and
putting together a new organizational structure for this growing
business. Dale helped us design a contract for our artisans and set up a
way to inspect the products for the highest quality. Mike also shared a
workshop on Biblical stewardship, teaching the ladies about spending,
saving, tithing and investing their money. Beverly and Kelly also helped
teach the ladies how to make earrings, which they were all very excited
about making and wearing! Kelly has also been a huge help watching our
girls and orchestrating fun activities for the kids in the orphanage.
We are looking forward to the next few weeks. Our friends, Stacey and
Tanner Munro and their kids, Gabe and Claire, just arrived on Wednesday.
They will be here until Friday and then we will welcome a team from our
church. They will help us lead a Vacation Bible School in one of the
ministry’s smaller churches in the nearby town of Savanette. We are
expecting 400-500 kids each day.
We also ask for prayers for health for our family and team. All four of
the Gilmore girls have been down this week with
cough/headache/aches/runny nose/fever. We are on the mend but now our
friends Stacey and Gabe have it. Thank you all again for your
encouraging notes, emails, texts and Facebook messages. You can’t
understand how meaningful it is when we are on the field to hear tidbits
from home. Even more we are blessed by your prayers. We couldn’t follow
God’s call here if it were not for your partnership!
Hope you all have a blessed 4th of July!
Saying Yes to God,
Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani, Giada and Zayla