Dear Friends & Family,
Sometimes you pray so hard for a life boat it’s hard to believe when one seemingly rains down from the sky. We had this experience this month. As many of you know, our hearts are deeply invested in the work of Christian Friendship Ministries working in Haiti. God continues to open doors for the non-profit. Our board of directors has grown from four to nine members who are passionate and committed. We now have five California churches who have partnered with us in various ways. As the months and years pass, we continue to feel confident about our calling to Haiti. However, the last six months have been especially difficult for our family. We have not had enough financial support to pay our bills and we found ourselves slipping dangerously into debt. We have felt confused and stressed out. While Ericlee has enjoyed personal training and working at the Crossfit gym, the pay has not been sufficient to fill the gap between what we receive in monthly support and what it costs to meet the basic needs and ministry travel costs for our family of five.
A few weeks ago, Ericlee got a call from Fresno Christian Schools. Their junior high and high school Physical Education teacher had just resigned. They wanted Ericlee to come in for an interview. He agreed, although he wasn’t sure he had the time. He shared with them his heart for Haiti. He boldly expressed our family’s needs but limited time margin. He asked if they would consider letting him work four days a week instead of five. We had a week to pray, consult with some of our trusted mentors and wait. The principal called back and offered Ericlee the job – including a 4-day contract, time off to travel to Haiti in November/January, health benefits for our family and even 75% tuition discount for our kids if we choose to send them there. We were floored. It was just the kind of unbelievable proposal that would have God’s fingerprints all over it. A life boat.
We met with our board of directors for CFM and they encouraged us to take this opportunity. Ericlee felt a peace and confidence to step into the boat. Last Tuesday, he started his new job. Some of you may recall that Ericlee attended Fresno Christian Schools as a student and taught there for 9 years previously. He was laid off five years ago with several other teachers when the school was in economic trouble. That circumstance was the impetus we needed to initially move to Haiti and jump into work with the non-profit. This has been a beautiful, redemptive week of returning to a wonderful community of support at Fresno Christian Schools – all in God’s timing. Ericlee loves that he can use his passions for nutrition and fitness to influence young people and hopes to share his love for mission work with them too!
We covet your prayers during this time of transition for our family. Ericlee is settling into a new schedule and trying to learn how to delegate more of the non-profit work to the board. Dorina is also shifting her time because she needs to be fully available for the children. She is grateful for her administrative assistant, Hannah Blatchford, who is taking on more responsibility for the Haitian Bead Project. The other important piece of this puzzle is that we must keep our current financial supporters so we can meet our budget, pay off our debt, continue to travel to Haiti and live there during the summers. The Fresno Christian income will not cover those costs. If you have been a supporter, we assure you we are still invested in Haiti and we need your support. Please do not hesitate to call or email us at GilmoresHaiti@gmail.com if you have questions.
This Sunday we will be running in the U.S. Half Marathon across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with our Remember Haiti team. Then we depart Tuesday night for Haiti. We will be there November 5-13 with three friends, Nancy Willey, her granddaughter Zoe Casperite, and Regina Gleaves. Ericlee, Dorina and Zayla will be going on this trip while Meilani and Giada stay with grandparents. We will be devoting time to The Haitian Bead Project (making and bringing back products for the Christmas season) and visiting our kids in the orphanages. Ericlee will be checking progress on the gym being built in Pignon and working on some training of leaders.
Dorina & Ericlee
Meilani, Giada & Zayla