Dear Family & Friends,
Fall is finally in the air! We have had a busy couple of months - packed with fundraisers, meeting with new church partners, selling Haitian beads and experiencing God's miracles in the day-to-day. Thank you for your prayers about our financial situation and house. Although we are still underfunded, we have seen God's amazing provision in several areas. Ericlee launched Mission Fitness this month, a new personal training business to try to supplement some of our financial needs when we are in the U.S. He offered a "September Half-Off Special" and gained 12 new clients during the final weekend of the month. We went from being very discouraged to suddenly having a new, very full schedule. This is on top of the time Ericlee is putting in as U.S. Director of Christian Friendship Ministries, of course.
We also finally found renters for the house we own on Alamos Avenue. It's been a tough couple of months trying to cover the mortgage/expenses of that home. We ask for continued prayers as the new family plans to move in next week and we are still processing paperwork. We also gained two new supporters this month. We are reminded that although it may not always be in our time frame, God provides everything we need. This month He surprised us with people offering encouragement, financial support, loaning us a car when ours broke down, and even friends sharing meals and their garden abundance. We also have five new churches interested in partnering with Christian Friendship Ministries in the future and possibly sending short-term teams. This is something we have been praying for over the last few years; God is opening doors!
Dorina has been experiencing the growing pains of a quickly-expanding business. The Haitian Bead Project has really taken off this year as it has grown from 9 artisans to 57 artisans working today. This means a greater amount of inventory and the need for management and more marketing. She has been putting together teams of volunteers in the U.S. to help sell the jewelry, manage the business side, create new products for the future and even collect recycled cardboard so the artisans can continue making the beads. The jewelry was recently featured at the Central California Women's Conference and we have been taking it to many local festivals and craft fairs. This is quickly becoming a full-time job. We covet your prayers on time management as she is also staying home with our girls and trying to manage communications needs for the rest of CFM. (Please contact her if you might be interested in a "party box" of Haitian jewelry to share at your own open house, church, work place, school or local boutique. This is a neat way you, too, can bless the ladies in Haiti and offer them a hand up instead of a handout. We are shipping these all over the country!)
On September 22, Ericlee headed up the "Fresno's Fastest Fran CrossFit Competition" at CrossFit Combat Fitness gym, where he works. This was a fundraiser for Haiti and a competition where participants had to perform three different workouts, racing against each other and the clock. It was a fun day of working out and sharing our ministry in Haiti with new friends. We are also continuing training with our 3rd Annual "Remember Haiti" Half Marathon team. We have a smaller team this year but it has been a blessing to see their commitment and excitement in raising money for Haiti's schools. We look forward to the the big 13.1-mile race on November 4. If you are in Fresno, we would love to have you come out and cheer us on!
We are planning a quick trip to Haiti in November to bring a Construction team from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fresno. We are getting our plane tickets this week and plan to go Nov. 7-15. Our group is led by Gina and Richard Wathen. They have been the driving force behind the building of a new orphanage in St. Raphael. The Haitian construction team is putting on the roof this week. Our team plans to go to build furniture - bunk beds, tables, benches. Fourteen young people are already living at the church in St. Raphael in makeshift housing. They are eager to move into their new home. Dorina and Gina will also be working with the artisans from The Haitian Bead Project on this trip. They hope to work on more quality control, encourage the leadership and round up some of the new Christmas products for holiday sales in the U.S. We ask for your prayers over our team, the travel details and especially for Meilani and Giada who will be staying home with grandparents and good friends.
We have to be honest and say this has been a stressful season for our family as we juggle a lot of different responsibilities and seek God's guidance for this ministry. Please join us in praying for our friends in Haiti and their daily needs as well as discernment for us as we continue the journey of serving.
Saying Yes to God,
Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani, Giada and Zayla