The King of Heaven and Earth left his glorious abundance and came to us as a baby born in a cave. That’s as high and as low as it gets. He didn’t start out at the bottom and earn his way to the top. He left the top to come down to the very bottom. Just as the Word made flesh humbly and graciously came down to us, we are continually discovering his invitation to do the same. We want our days to be spent with this eternal perspective making the most of every opportunity. We give God glory for all that he has faithfully accomplished this past year and eagerly anticipate how he will grow us and the ministries we are privileged to partner with in Haiti and around the world in the year to come!
Heart of God International Ministries
We remember praying for a mission organization like HGIM once upon a time and are still so amazed that God saw fit for our paths to cross, connect, and collaborate for the Kingdom. Eric recently attended the stateside board meeting made possible through Heart of God Haiti and enjoyed the fellowship, planning, and praying that our God will accomplish more than we can ask or think. It is an honor and joy to be a part of it. Jesus tells us why he left Heaven to come to Earth. “I came to seek and to save the lost.” We are thankful to be part of a team that is sharing our Savior’s purpose and love for them around the world. https://heartofgodinternational.org
Eric and Elisabeth will be partnering with Heart of God Israel and World of the Bible Ministries in leading a tour to Israel summer 2017. There will also be an optional mission opportunity after the tour to come alongside our partners in Israel who are serving drug addicts and prostitutes. We are really excited about this trip and invite you to join us in our travels beginning June 8th! If you have always wanted to visit the Holy Land, this is your chance! You can learn more and sign up at: http://www.worldofthebible.com/IsraelTours.htm
Pastoral Training Equipping National Leaders
Eric is meeting weekly with a smaller group of Haitian pastors and monthly with a larger group. The teaching focus is a macro understanding of the Bible and a personal discipleship movement for each pastor and church. We are thrilled to now be partnering with Disciple’s Village and leading their Haitian pastor trainings. http://www.disciplesvillage.org/evangelize
KOFAEL-Women’s Microloan Ministry
KOFAEL microloan ministry continues to expand! The pilot program in Port au Prince has been going strong for the past five years under the leadership of co-founders Frantz and Julienne Osier. Our hope is to not only help KOFAEL families survive in their business and family life but also thrive! We have now implemented health insurance, bank accounts for all deposits and checks issued, and a mandatory savings plan to encourage the progression out of a daily survival mentality. These are BIG steps for our small program! A new KOFAEL branch has now been launched in Kayès, located on the far north side of Haiti and we are blessed to have a wonderful Haitian director named Sophonie and fifteen new KOFAEL loan approval recipients! We are planning to expand next in our own village of Saint Marc. God has graciously provided a new Haitian director for Saint Marc in our dear friend Roselie who has already been meeting with many of the prospective women we have been building relationships with for the past few years. We hope to begin giving the first loans in our community in early 2017. If you would like to give towards funding this new program, each woman sponsored will receive a $300.00 microloan which will carry over to other women for years to come. Each area is now open to serve twenty-five qualified women. $7,500.00 will fully fund each KOFAEL branch. Any amount will help. Please visit http:/www/KOFAEL.org to donate and learn more about one of our favorite ministries!
Montrouis International Fellowship
The fellowship of this church body has been a great encouragement to our family. We have been able to minister and be ministered to from the international community of believers where Eric has served as an elder for the past two years. The communion service held beachside every third Sunday is one of our monthly favorites. We are so thankful for lives touched, hearts changed, and spirits renewed through sharing the Word of God.
Neighborhood Ministry, School Sponsorships and Hurricane Matthew Relief
Elisabeth has worked hard at building relationships with Haitian moms and their children in our community. Each week we have set aside two afternoons where the school sponsored children come to our house for a Bible story, snack and play time led by our children. This year we have been able to provide school sponsorships to twenty-five additional children through Heart of God, Haiti! Hurricane Matthew brought greater hardships to some of these families already struggling with immense need. Because of your generosity we have been able to help them! More importantly, through these efforts we have had the joy of sharing the Good News of Jesus and seeing some place their faith and trust in Him! Thank you for your partnership and continued prayers! Hurricane relief and rebuilding efforts will continue throughout the upcoming year.
Mission Teams-Partners with Purpose
We love to host purposeful mission teams and individuals that have a heart and capacity to serve well! This past year we have hosted teams from Florida, Canada, Kansas/Missouri, New York and Hawaii! We are so thankful for those that come to fill needs difficult to accomplish otherwise in Haiti. Medical teams have enabled us to build relationships, see physical healing, and share eternal hope with many whom we never would have come across otherwise. Educational teams have worked alongside Haitian teachers and students and encouraged them greatly! Thank you for coming to a hard place, investing in lives and serving well. We are better because of you!
Family Reunification-Children Should Grow Up in Families, Not Orphanages
The longer we stay in Haiti the more this becomes a passion. Extensive worldwide research (along with our personal experience on the ground in Haiti) screams that children need to grow up in families, not institutions like orphanages. Our director for Heart of God Haiti, David Young, connected with kids at an orphanage several years ago and saw the great need to help them. Our Heart of God Haiti team has pursued God’s best to meet the daily needs of the children and staff at the Children’s Center in Godet, Haiti. A few years ago God opened our eyes and led us to discover that most of the children in the Center’s care actually do have families. For those with the possibility, we began to ask how best to help reunite these parents and their children who have been separated by mere poverty. We have now facilitated and supported nine of the children being reunited with their biological families. Upon reunification, we are still helping these families meet some of their daily needs along with sponsoring the children for school. Our goal is to fully accomplish the reunification process by May 2017. Please pray with us for the other half of the kids still residing in the orphanage to realize the hope of a family as well. It is expensive to travel the long distance to the center, stay overnight to check on the kids and have meetings with their families and school teachers. We are praying for the extra funding needed to complete this goal.
Year End Giving Opportunity
We are humbled and thrilled by all those who give generously to make it possible for us to participate in the ministries we have shared so others can be redeemed by the Savior who came so many years ago to save us from our poverty and slavery to sin. We look forward to His future return and rejoice in sharing our confident hope.
Thank you to those who have faithfully supported our family and the work of the ministry. We never cease to mention you in our thanksgiving prayers! If you are not already a regular financial supporter, we invite you to partner with us at this time to help meet our personal and ministry needs by your end of the year gift to the “Ream Team” and/or one of our partner ministries. You can mail a check or donate online through a one time or monthly recurring tax deductible gift. Please stay updated with us through Facebook and at: http://reamteaminternational.org
Full time ministry often takes its toll on the family and ours is no exception. Add to that the stresses of living as foreigners on the mission field in an undeveloped country. It takes strong, stretchable and servant hearted kids working as a united front to carry on well here. The Ream Team kids are all of those things and more. Their hearts to stay and serve even when it is hot and hard humble and encourage us. Our children are truly gifts from the Lord and we could not do many of the ministries God has given us without them.
Believe it or not, this little spitfire will turn eighteen soon! The past five years have not been without their struggles, but our Chosen daughter is the definition of an overcomer. She is never afraid to do hard things or try new things. Her dream is to be able to travel the world and share Jesus. When we read stories of martyrs in the Middle East and talk about how much harder it would be to do missions there, Elita is the one who says, “I’ll go. I’m not afraid.” This past summer she was invited to test her wings traveling to and from Canada by herself and serving at Circle Square Ranch Camp in their Leadership in Training program for one month. This proved to be a great experience! Elita has been taking classes through an accredited online high school called Penn Foster. She loves to read almost anything she can get her hands on and is a diligent student. Elita hopes to accomplish her goal of graduation with a diploma in the next two years. Her current aspiration after graduation is to join the U.S. Military which she believes will open many doors for her future to travel the world and share the gospel. We shall see. We are just thankful we get a few more years with her at home! She is Elisabeth’s partner in crime and a force to be reckoned with when poverty stricken Haitian moms offer to give us their babies. She is the first one the neighbor kids call to come out and play. Often the little children will put on their uniforms and bring their backpacks and books to come “do school” with Elita. Because she did not have the opportunity to go to school as a child, this ministry is very close to her heart. If you ask her she may tell you she doesn’t really like little kids. But if you get a chance to watch her you will see her compassionate spirit and teacher’s heart. We are so proud of her and the godly young woman she is becoming. Elita’s only request for Christmas this year was to give the children who live on the hill (who are materially the poorest in our village) a special Christmas.
Six months to sixteen! How did our baby girl grow up this fast? Unlike her sister who desperately wished to celebrate her sweet sixteen in the states, Esmée only wants to be in Haiti to celebrate with her friends this year. While she is our only somewhat introverted and quiet (meaning not obnoxiously loud) member of the family, Esmée is also very social and makes friends easily. She loves structure, school, early mornings, early bedtimes, her bed, her headphones, her friends, her music and dance. If she could do anything she would choose to dance. She certainly did not acquire this talent or desire from us, but we do believe that she wants to use her passions for God’s glory and we pray that somehow we can give her the opportunity to do so. Finding any extracurricular outlets on the mission field is a daunting and discouraging task at times but we continue to trust that the Lord will provide the things our children truly need. We are so in awe of our darling, dancing girl who desires to know and share the one true God. She is the one we can count on to wake us up, get us out the door with our heads half on and keep her sister and brothers in tow. We honestly don’t know how we ever survived without our Much Loved Girl. She doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty while filling up the generator with diesel but somehow manages to keep her nails always painted and pretty. She is simple and complicated. Silly and deep. Easy to love.
Also a favorite among the neighbor children is Ethan. He is a good listener and a good friend. He loves being able to speak Kreyol and is wise beyond his years in many ways. The difficulty lies in finding enough ways to expel his physical energy and head knowledge without driving everyone crazy. He very much takes after his grandpa “Ba” Dr. Randall Price. This is pretty much a good thing except that they have identical feet and we cannot keep Ethan in shoes that fit him. While the rest of our children seem to be stunted, growing like a weed is an actual thing for our twelve years old Ethan. Ethan is currently completing eighth grade on the computer from home and we are always looking for ways to challenge him. Our most academically geared child, nothing seems to be too hard for this kid (although he won’t let you think that if he can get away with it). We always joke that we will be sending him to college with his sisters and get them an apartment to share. One day the kids actually thought about what that might look like to others who probably would never guess or believe that they are brother and sisters. LOL. Ethan loves his sisters dearly and says he would be just fine with that plan despite what people think.
Ethan is starting to accept more responsibility running the Haiti house when Eric has to be away. His favorite companions are his dastardly dog Dally and baby goat Kanna. Ethan typically fits in with kids older than his age (especially in Haitian culture) and true friends have been difficult to come by since schooling from home. We are thankful for some new friendships among missionary families with older kids and a new youth group outreach our kids have been attending. Ethan is hoping (and we are hoping along with him) for some sports avenues to come our way or at least to be able to participate in sports stateside this summer while his parents are in Israel. In the meantime, he will continue to enjoy the blessings of our trampoline and swimming in the ocean a stone’s throw away. Ethan is still a bit shy in sharing his faith but is forced to step out of his comfort zone on nearly a daily basis. We are so proud of his love for the Lord and how well he loves people.
Oh let us count the ways our baby in the family lets his presence be known. Ten years old Evan, an extreme extrovert who also doesn’t mind being alone with his secure little self, is a mini version of his father. He has never met a stranger and danger is only a myth spread by those who just don’t understand. His favorite thing in the whole wide world other than talking incessantly, inappropriate over sharing (which he might get from his mother), and boldly sharing the gospel, is cheese. Cheese can be hard to come by in Haiti but Evan seems to acquire his daily quota in full. We recently completed the Whole30 diet as a family which was cheese free and caused Evan to have a near death experience (according to him). Evan attends fifth grade at El Shaddai Learning Center with his sister Esmée. He is responsible for making sure his excessive loud mouth oversharing and annoying little brotherness keeps all teenage boys at bay. This is a very important job now that Daddy is no longer a daily presence working at the school. We are oh so proud of such shenanigans despite his sister’s utter disapproval. Evan has learned to cook and clean this past year in addition to revving up his chaperoning techniques. He doesn’t like the fact that he knows how to clean but is becoming a pro at cooking breakfast (especially if there is cheese involved). His other great love is video games. His cooking and cleaning abilities have developed due to his needing to earn video game privileges. We are hoping this will be the year that he develops a love for reading books but we are thankful that above all Evan is concerned for those who don’t know eternal security found in Christ alone. Evan has a close friendship with our neighbor Aleando whom Evan led to Christ. This relationship has grown Evan’s desire to encourage others to share the Good News at every opportunity. Evan is not shy (understatement) and often shares praises, prayers, and encouraging words from the microphone at church. The highlight of Evan’s year was his baptism in September. His prayer this year is that he would be able to take guitar lessons which he has been longing for a few years now without any available teachers. Evan would like to learn to play guitar so that he can help lead worship at church.
Thank you for being part of our lives and praying for our family!