Eric teaches 7th, 8th, and 9th Bible classes at Quisqueya Christian School and is also in charge of weekly chapel services. He has 75 students that attend his classes and these keep him quite busy along with his 9th grade discipleship group.
Students in one of Eric’s classes performing Walk Through the Old Testament
A group of 20 year old college guys have sought Eric out on a weekly basis for discipleship as well. We can count on them to show up on our doorstep each Friday night. They attend an English speaking college nearby where Eric has been invited to speak a few times and has been asked to come as often as possible and share whatever he wishes! These young men desire to grow in their relationship with the Lord and in their English fluency. We use God’s Word to accomplish both! This is also another opportunity for Creole practice in addition to Eric’s Creole class three nights per week. He is now in level 3 and our Haitian friends often comment on how good his Creole is in such a short amount of time!
Elisabeth with 4 of the KOFAEL women
Elisabeth keeps busy attending to the needs of family, hosting all our many houseguests, visiting orphanages and nearby ministries often, subbing and volunteering at school, taking Creole lessons, and working with a grassroots women’s organization called KOFAEL. This ministry seeking to help women affected by the earthquake was started one year ago by two Haitian friends we have come to trust and love. KOFAEL provides small business loans to these women so they can purchase the goods for their little businesses in order to provide for their families and send their children to school. We are in the beginning stages of helping to get KOFAEL off the ground. Elisabeth serves as the only American on the Haitian board for this ministry. Her role is primarily to provide direction, facilitate meetings with those in Haiti who can give sound advice in business matters, help with the translation of documents in English, work on a KOFAEL blog, raise awareness and support, and attend monthly meetings with the women. These women are primarily older women whose husbands are physically incapable of working, widows, and single mothers whose already meager livelihoods were destroyed by the earthquake and who have since been living in tent cities surviving on faith from day to day. It has been a blessing to watch how even the small efforts of KOFAEL have brought them hope and encouragement. We pray that God opens the doors to be able to bless these women with greater sustenance in the coming months.
KOFAEL women praising the Lord for the loans 18 of them received in January.
Ethan and his classmate friends
Ethan is our 7 year old 2nd grader who has made an easy adjustment to life in Haiti. Ethan’s favorite thing about living in Haiti is “making lots of new friends”. Ethan has made many new friends from all over the world on the campus of Quisqueya Christian School. He is a little more reserved off campus and is very sensitive to what he sees beyond our security gate. Ethan watches intently, ponders, and asks a lot of “why’s” about other children that do not have the opportunity and privileges that he and his classmates do. Ethan sees and processes these things with the personally painful knowledge that “other children” include his own Haitian sisters whom he loves dearly and prays for daily. Ethan misses his school and friends back in TX and is looking forward to our visit in the summer months. But when asked what other things were his favorites about living in Haiti he said, “that we get to be here for such a long time”. We are thankful that our entire family considers it a blessing to be here and we pray that doors will continue to open for us to be in Haiti for “such a long time”.
Evan attraction is inevitable wherever he goes.
Evan Daniel, our uninhibited 5 year old (whom we had very little concern about making the transition to Haiti life) says his favorite thing about living in Haiti is “going to school”. Evan started Kindergarten the morning after we arrived in Haiti so he naturally integrates his first school experiences with his first Haiti experiences. Evan preferred to use the outdoor restroom 50% of the time back in TX, and the word “stranger” has never held a lot of weight with him (He’s A LOT like his daddy).
These and the fact that potential consequences of “wandering off” don’t hold a lot of weight with him either held the bulk of our concern. Elisabeth was very thankful that everyone who understood where we would be living kept asking about how we would cope with “living on a compound”. She would then tell them that a compound is exactly where we need to be (referring to Eric and Evan’s wandering habits)! Our campus compound gives the boys (all 3 of them) the freedom to wander and explore safely and has been a tremendous blessing during our first year of transition. We are also thankful that our campus housing is not situated out in boonies with nothing else around but is right off one of the main streets in the largest city and capital Port au Prince. This allows many ministry opportunities both inside and outside our campus walls. Eric especially makes the most of these opportunities and can often be found outside the gate practicing his Creole gospel with his “machan” (vendor) friends. We are thankful these friendships provide occasions for Creole practice, but realize they also have provided drinking too many cokes.
Eric with his buddies outside our gate!
In return for Creole lessons, Eric keeps them in the coke business.
Our girls also love to venture outside the gate (though they are never permitted to do so without mom or dad). They love to teach mom all about Haitian street shopping, but mostly they just love feeling free. FYI: (just in case you have recently been introduced to our family) We have been in the process of adopting Elita Marguerite (13) and Esmée (9) from an orphanage in Haiti since February 2010.
Our Haitian Princesses
Our girls are what first brought us to Haiti opening our eyes and several trips later opening doors for us to move here. We have cherished precious time spent with our Haiti girls in the past two years and especially the past 5 months. We long for the day that they are permanently in our home and we believe that day will be here very soon! We recently received word that we have an Adoption Decree (meaning that the girls have been legally adopted in Haiti). We are now awaiting for U.S permission to issue the passports and visas. Once the visas are issued we will need to return to the states (since our adoption process took place in the states) and wait for documentation of U.S. citizenship. We are praying that the visas will be issued around the same time that school lets out for the summer months. Should the visas be issued before this time, Elisabeth will have to return to the states with the girls while Eric and the boys complete their teaching/school responsibilities at Quisqueya. We look forward to our return in the summer months in order to complete U.S. adoption paperwork, visit family and friends and Lord willing raise some needed support for our return to Haiti in August.
We have a wonderful church family and abundance of friends here at Quisqueya and surrounding ministries. We have visited several churches nearby several times (we can’t travel far because we usually lack a vehicle), and after 5 months have settled into our growing little Haiti Home Fellowship Church. It doesn’t really have a name but we’ve heard it called that before. It also isn’t really a home church since we don’t meet in a house but at the World Relief headquarters for Sunday service. However, it does feel like we are home when we are there and we are very blessed to be a part of this body.
We do miss family and friends back in the states, but loneliness hasn’t exactly been an issue. In fact, we usually embrace the opposite. Our small house is almost always fully occupied and on the rare occasion it’s not, someone is usually knocking. We’ve enjoyed hosting many Haiti visitors on a consistent basis (some for a few days, some for a few weeks) since our arrival in September. We welcome these opportunities to provide hospitality, fellowship, and for others to see another side of life in Haiti. We especially welcome adoptive families visiting their children in Haiti. We have prayed about ways we can give to others adoptions and this is one way we can do this to offset their cost. The long road to a completed adoption in Haiti is mostly a heartbreaking one. We pray for opportunities to provide as much encouragement as possible for fellow adoptive families along the way.
We praise the Lord for meeting our basic needs thus far and pray for continued provision. Living in Haiti is extremely expensive yet the Lord has provided for us to maintain a very low budget for the time being. However, we are currently short $1,000 per month of our projected needs. We have been able to keep going (praise God for help from family and the sale of Eric’s car back in TX), but have now fallen behind financially the past two months.
Our tight finances will not allow us to consider the purchase of a vehicle at this time, but the need remains. We have been able to use (paying $1 per mile) the school vehicles on occasion and get rides with generous friends the past 5 months. We know the time is drawing near that we will need to have our own ride (and get to be a blessing to others who don’t have one).
Vehicles are expensive but do not depreciate in Haiti. We have an opportunity to purchase the vehicle of friends leaving Haiti in June. They have a late 90’s model Nissan Safari in good condition, an automatic with 4WD that seats 9-10 and runs on diesel. This is exactly what we need! It would be very difficult and time consuming for us to go through the process of finding another vehicle like this that would meet our needs and we would love to be able to help our friends out by buying it from them! The cost to purchase this vehicle is around $15,000. We hope to raise this money by June for purchase and so that we can have the summer months to secure the paperwork and insurance documents needed as well (which can also be a time consuming process).
Here is a picture of the vehicle we are hoping to raise the money and purchase in the next 5 months.
It has two rows of bench seats in the very back which allows for up to 6 more passengers.
Prayer request and praise reports
Our greatest heartache and fervent prayer is that the Lord would allow/make a way for our Haitian daughters to leave the orphanage and live with us full time.
We ask that you continue to pray for continued adoption progress for us and for many friends whose paperwork is simply “stuck” in this broken system. Many, many children we know and love are simply waiting with no end in sight. Please pray for these children and their adoptive families to not loose heart or hope during these difficult days.
Pray for the hearts of our Quisqueya students to continue to turn toward spiritual things. Pray that these future leaders will be well equipped, one day leading the country of Haiti in a way that honors the Lord and breaks the cycle of slavery that has been the tragic inheritance of this beautiful land destroyed by greed and corruption.
Pray for the 40 women (representing many children) of KOFAEL. Pray for wisdom in how to proceed in helping them rebuild their lives and for hope and encouragement to reach their suffering hearts.
We praise the Lord and continue in prayer for continued health and opportunities to share the gospel and show hospitality to our Haitian friends and foreigners visiting Haiti.
We praise the Lord for financial provisions and pray for God to lead others to come alongside us for support in 2012.
We praise God for adoption progress and for the blessing of being able to bond with our girls in their own culture, learn more about their country, their language, and in turn understand our Haitian daughters so much better.
Praising the Lord for new renters for our house in TX! Our friends that were previously renting recently had job relocation and told us they would have to move out. A dear friend contacted us (before we even thought about advertising) and said she knew someone that might need to rent our furnished house until at least the summer. God provided!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we seek to serve Him in Haiti! It is always a blessing to hear how the Lord is working in your lives as well! If you would like to contact us with questions, comments, news, and prayer request of your own, please do so! Our contact information link is listed on the right side of this blog as well as our RCE International mission support info.
Much love from Haiti,
The Ream Family