DEVOTIONS

DEVOTIONS

A devotional time is a regular important part of the Aliyah Return Center’s (ARC’S) daily activity. The schedule does change a bit due to the group size and time of year as you will soon read.

LARGER GROUP DEVOTIONS:

When the Discipleship Journey for Israel (DJI) was here, every day included a time set aside to have a communal breakfast @ 6:30 a.m. and worship @ 7 a.m. with devotions to start our day.  Devotions were longer with worship leaders and a devotional series/teaching on the covenantal promises to the Jewish people.

The annual DJI group kept a detailed schedule and stayed for almost a month.  Again, we arrived the day after they did, so we participated in their schedule.  Once the DJI left, the schedule was more relaxed.

After the larger group left and COVID-19 hit, we began meeting at 8:25 – 9:00 a.m. and were divided up into nucleus families of no more than 10 persons. One of the devotions before we broke into nucleus families, Les was asked to lead a devotion.  You can listen to his devotion by clicking here.

SMALLER GROUP DEVOTIONS:  Our family was seven, five single ladies on three mornings a week: Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.  Tuesday and Thursday we were on an honor system to have our own individual devotional time.  Friday and Saturday are Shabbot.

Because of the ever-changing climate of people coming and going, we are presently down to three ladies and soon that will change.  Two of our young ladies had to leave, meeting a very empty airport and plane and face a fresh 14 day of quarantine start to their return home.  Shortly after their departure, many of the restrictions lifted in Israel.

We will begin meeting as a group again with the Volunteers that are here for a longer duration of time.

SUMMER GROUP DEVOTIONS:

When the rains stop and the weather peaks the upper 90’s and into the lower hundreds, devotions take place after lunch.  To take advantage of as many daylight hours as possible, work begins at 7 a.m. two hours earlier than usual.  So the regular devotional time is moved.

This is a welcomed move for some who are not morning people.  This also fits well for a relaxed personal devotion in the morning without having to rush to get ready for the day.

Here is what comes up next in the line-up of our “normal” life:  BIBLE STUDY

COVID-19 lockdown

April 1st marked our 3rd month in Israel at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC).

Just like the previous 2 months, this month will be no different.  It will be a very different month than all the rest because of the COVID-19 situation.  Please visit our COVID-19 updates.

How did we as missionaries continue ministry in a COVID-19 lockdown situation?

Here at the Aliyah Return Center (ARC), the ARC leaders have friends in high places of the Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI) that know what is coming before the announced mandate, we began maintaining a step or two ahead of the country as a witness of compliance with the authorities and keep a relationship in good standing with the JAFI that has an office on the ARC property.

The neighboring kibbutz community was also getting nervous with all the new faces showing up at the ARC property, some that came through the JAFI.  The kibbutz one morning locked the gate showing us their discomfort.  They also wanted only a couple and one guy, in the Family House, our second residence.  Soooo, all the girls moved onto the ARC property.  This is when Les and I became nucleus parents.

Gatherings in our small group changed.  To best maintain community moving from One bigger family to four smaller nuclear families.  We were divided into having 4 nucleus families.

Nucleus Family 1:  Les and I were parents to five single women on campus, seven of us in all.  This keeps within the 10 per homegroup guidelines.  Two ladies from our family cooked the meal for everyone, and then it was divided into our nuclear families.

Nucleus Family 2:  Another couple on campus became parents two single guys and their extended family of five.

Nucleus Family 3:  One couple lives outside the campus that lives in the kibbutz and only the husband was allowed to enter within our gates and take food from our campus home.

Nucleus Family 4:  The other couple also lives outside and is located centrally with the kibbutz.  They are both staying in their places.

Eating, devotions, and celebrations (Shabbat/Passover) were celebrated with the confines of the nucleus families 1 & 2.

The kitchen staff, two of our nucleus daughters, plus a couple of occasional helpers, prepared a meal for 16 people who were divided up into three nucleus family groups.

We were all requested to wear masks while outside walking about the ARC’S campus with a 2 by 2 principle with no more than two to a group and 2 meters apart.

Les has worked with a young group of Brazilians, South Americans who have stayed in the former post-army building, the first building we stayed in.  They are beautifying the grounds around the former post-army building.  The image on the building has a different name.  The hands are Jesus’s hands holding the valley.  The name says, Fiddlers in the Valley.  There were violin players that would play their fiddles in the valley.  The ARC is the Kibbutz’s original boarding school grounds for their children years ago.  This land became run down and the ARC and Jewish Agency are working together on this property.

Our Three Homes

WE WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT THE NORMAL ASPECTS OF OUR LIFE HERE IN OUR EVER-CHANGING ENVIRONMENT.  WE BEGIN WITH OUR LIVING QUARTERS.

OUR FIRST HOME:   The Former Post-Army Building Rm9

Our room was modest but nice.  We had our own bathroom which is luxury here on campus among the volunteers.  There was no little kitchenette with a stove or microwave.  It does have a small refrigerator.  The building we were in called the Golim had its own full kitchen downstairs on the main floor.  We were free to use this if we wanted.

Most volunteers receive a room with a shared bathroom which we were expecting, but our room came with its own bathroom.  We remained in this room, in the Former Post-Army buildingtill the end of the month.  The hope was to find an apartment in the local kibbutz; however, there were no current rentals available.   

The building we were in was a former boarding dorm. The Kibbutz, a communal settlement established in 1927 and 650 residents, typically a farming settlement, within walking distance nearby.  They have built a new settlement close by that is not quite ready to move into.  The plan was to move into the Kibbutz once its residents moved to this new settlement.  This plan has changed as you will find out as you continue reading.


Our Second Home:  Family House Rm3

On the morning of Shabbat, we hurriedly packed our belongings and headed to our new resting place.  What we thought would take most of the morning, and we were settled in within two hours into our new room.  We had moved off the ARC campus and into the Family House located in the kibbutz two blocks away.

With the DJI group gone, we moved right in behind their departure.  In fact, they had just packed and left that morning.  It seemed like a mass exodus.  It was very quiet.

Our room was nestled in one of the middle room of four rooms down a hallway. Residents at the Family House share a meeting room, kitchen, toilets (two for gals, two for guys), showers (two for gals, two for guys), and a washer/dryer set for laundry.  Our room was smaller but very comfortable and cozy.  Our stay here was only one long week.  As you continue reading, you will read about one of many favors we have been a recipient of from the LORD God.


Our Third and Final Home: University Building Rm13

March 8, marks the day we moved out of our second home into our third and final home.

On Thursday the day before Shabbot, Catherine was walking from the ARC to the Family House, our second home which was located in the Kibbutz, after lunch.  She saw Ofer, the director of the Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI). He has an office on the ARC property.  She went to greet him and he came to greet her.  While he was walking toward Catherine, the words I am giving you favor came to Catherine’s mind.  He asked how she was and if we were settled in yet.  Catherine shared with him that we were settled for now but still waiting to be settled, settled.  His immediate response was, I will find a place today for you.  Then, he quickly walked off to his next appointment.

BEFORE

The next day Catherine was in our new apartment cleaning and preparing to move into it.  It is a dorm room of a newly renovated University Building located back on the ARC property.

AFTER

We were given permission to find all our furnishings for free that were given to the JAFI from a hotel that had recently closed down.  The apartment is also 1/2 the amount normally charged to university students. What a blessing this was!

Here is what comes up next in the line-up of our “normal” life:  DEVOTIONS

Where are we serving in Israel?

The Aliyah Return Center (ARC) 

The ministry of the ARC located in Beit Zera is likened to a busy, buzzing beehive.  In fact, we haven’t seen a busier ministry in all our years of missionary service.

The ARC is a multi-faceted ministry.  One major facet is repairing run-down buildings in a kibbutz. The neighboring kibbutz, Beit Zera (House of Seed), is a communal settlement established in 1927 and 650 residents, typically a farming settlement, within walking distance nearby.

The ARC partnering with the Jewish Agency (JA) has a unique working relationship. Instead of both organizations financing and running the entire Aliyah/Welfare and Renovation/Development on their own, the responsibilities have been divided.

ARC – The property has many run-down buildings and the ARC is the primary fundraiser responsible for rebuilding and renovating and developing the buildings/grounds on the property for the kibbutz in place of paying rent for the property.  This renovation is done through the hands of many Volunteers who come anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months for work projects and financing comes through donations.  The ARC then provides renovated housing for the incoming Jews (Olim), pre-Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Soldiers, lone-Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Soldiers, and will soon incorporate special needs individuals.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) provides the primary funding responsible for administration and immersion programs (providing education and reabsorption training into life here in Israel) deepening the returning Jews (Olim) with their Jewish identity and understanding of Israel.

OUR SERVING PURPOSE:

We came to help get a FAAGRIC program up and running.  We have begun seed planting and tree planting and Moringa seedlings.  There are some exciting ideas coming, so stay tuned to the progress of FAAGRIC at the ARC.

THE KIBBUTZ HISTORY:

The residents of this kibbutz sent their children to this property, where the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) now resides, years ago when this place housed the kibbutz’s children in a boarding school. This former boarding school called Bikat Kinarot (Valley of Violins) was home to 350 high school students but closed in 2008.

Now it is being transformed as the Bikat Kinarot Center, an educational facility for Jews and Christians living and working together through the ARC.  So the building we first resided in was a former boarding dorm.  The Kibbutz, is a communal settlement established in 1927 and 650 residents, typically a farming settlement, within walking distance nearby.  The kibbutz has built a new settlement close by that is not quite ready to move into.

ISRAEL’S MEMORIAL DAYS

In Israel, a national action takes place where everyone stands still for 2 minutes in silence. You stand still wherever you may be at that moment.  Even if you are in a car, the car stops, people get out of the car stands until the siren’s cease.  If you are on a bus, the passengers on the bus will stand in the isles.


21 HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY

Yom HaShoah as it’s known in Hebrew is a somber commemoration of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. As is usual with Jewish holidays, it starts in the evening and continues throughout the following day. As you can imagine, it’s a holiday taken seriously in the Holy Land. Air-raid sirens wail their eerie wail for two minutes throughout Israel. During this siren, people stop what they are doing and stand at attention; cars stop, even on the highways, and the whole country comes to a standstill as people pay silent tribute to the dead. Listening to that wailing siren here in Israel and knowing that everyone around you has stopped at that moment in time to reflect, is almost impossible not to have images of Holocaust victims and heroic tales flash through your mind.

28 CASUALTIES OF WAR – MEMORIAL DAY

Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), the national day of public mourning, memorializes those who gave their lives in defense of the State of Israel. This day is officially an Israeli national holiday, but people sometimes work a short day. The whole country seems to come to a standstill and television and radio broadcasts are devoted to paying their respects to the fallen. A somber pause commemoration of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. With a one-minute siren during which Israelis stand in silence, remembering the fallen and to show their respect. The following morning a two-minute siren is heard at 11:00. The day officially ends at sunset and is immediately followed by celebrations for Israel’s Independence Day

29 INDEPENDENCE DAY

Yom Haazmaut (Hebrew: יום העצמאות)is Israel’s Independence Day. Israel declared independence on May 14th, 1948. This was only a few hours before the British Mandate of Palestine was to draw to an end.

Yom Haazmaut is a public holiday in Israel. All commercial establishments are closed, apart from Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars. Israelis celebrate Yom Haazmaut with an opening ceremony, comprising lighting of the Masuot (twelve torches, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel).

Please watch this demonstrated at the ARC on our Instagram.  You may want to follow us on Instagram to ensure you don’t miss a beat.

Our Arrival at ARC in Israel

At the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) in Israel

TRAVELING CONNECTIONS: 

We have to say that in all our years of traveling by air, we had the most smooth connections from Chicago to Newark to Tel Aviv.  Our entry at Ben Gurian airport went just as smoothly.  We had no VISA in hand, BUT when we gave them our name, we were found in the system and allowed to enter with no problems.

THE ALIYAH RETURN CENTER (ARC):

We were met by a couple from the Aliyah Return Center (ARC) who had come to pick us up and by seven in the evening, two hours later, we were at the ARC and in our room. The ARC is an approximate 15-minute drive from Tiberias and less than 5 minutes from the Sea of Galilee.

Aliyah Return Center (ARC) is an eight years young Bible-believing, prophecy-fulfilling ministry built on a foundation of love in uncompromising faith. Their vision is to build bridges encouraging Jews and Christians to work together to fulfill God’s plans for Israel and the Nations. ARC’S desire is to impart to people of faith, God’s covenant love for Israel, teaching them to be part of the prophesied “Return and Restoration” of His Jewish people from the four corners of the earth.

The ARC is set up as a communal setting where most everyone eats together.  Most volunteers stay in dorms which have public bathrooms and showers and sleeping arrangements.  Please read about our three living arrangements in our somewhat measured consistent life at the ARC.  Because this ministry has many moving parts with all of its volunteers, visitors, members, Interns, and Ambassadors, it is a bit of a juggling act.   

The ARC is also a communal setting where we eat, work, attend meetings, and travel together.  For someone like me, Catherine, who is an introvert, it seems as though I am destined to live my life in flexibility.  I hope I am getting better at it as time goes on.

Our arrival coincided with another group called Discipleship Journey in Israel (DJI), which is an annual program through the ARC for a couple of months, January in Jerusalem and February at the ARC.  This DJI group arrived the day before we did, and we were encouraged to join them for day trips (tours around Galilee) and some other classes, all that really help understand Israel better, and the prophecies about the Jewish people returning to their land, which is an integral part of ARC’s vision.  

Along with the DJI group, there were three-month interns present.  These interns are the mainstay of the internal running of the ARC.  This involves hospitality, cleaning, and work projects.

DJI, a group of individuals of different ages, lead us in some powerfully, anointed worship and then went through a devotional series/teaching on the covenantal promises to the Jewish people.  

After breakfast/devotions, the morning was filled with lots of work activity (building, cleaning, mowing, fix-it jobs, etc., a restoring of a property with many run-down buildings for which the returning Jewish families and pre and post-Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers stay.

Lectures usually commenced after lunch between 2-4 pm from different speakers.  We attended most of these.

While the DJI group was here for the month, one Saturday afternoon, and one Sunday morning, we attended a required class for all volunteers called “Ancient Paths.”  It was a very insightful class filled with many spiritual truths and biblical traditions that are considered blessings for families if they are practiced and expressed in our families lives.  Group sessions brought so much of letting go of the past and steps towards forgiveness which led to the release of the past and then made room for healing in the inner man if one was willing.

ARC’S BIG MONTH’S PROJECT:

Among the many projects in the plans, this month’s huge project was to finish the building called the “Olim” which means “immigrants”.  The ARC received its very first group of returning Jews on the 20th of February, 2020.  Eight families came from Ukraine.  The ARC helped by preparing a place for them by fixing up a run-down building that a group of volunteers renovated.  These Olim will have a nice place to live while they adjust to Israel.  Each family shares a kitchen/commons area.  The Olim’s job is to concentrate on learning Hebrew, then find a home, and finally, find a job.  They have six (6) months of time to accomplish this.  Once they leave another group of Olim will move in.

GREENHOUSE:  

Upon our arrival, we received news that the greenhouse where it sits will be moving, and it will take a lot of manpower and time to move the greenhouse.   Due to our later arrival time, the growing season is about over.  However, in order to take advantage of the remaining growing season, we were able to hitch a ride from someone visiting who had rented a car.  We had an enjoyable time visiting a greenhouse to purchase seeds, and we were given planting trays from a large seed company to start growing some things.  We purchased more

Bell Peppers (137) Chili Pepper (132) Lg. Tomatoes (126) Cherry Tomatoes (161) Eggplant (140) Moringa (24)

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Jewish Passover, Christian Passover

MEANING OF THE CHRISTIAN PASSOVER

There is a profound meaning of the Passover, especially for New Testament Christians.  Let us know if you learned something new.  Have you already celebrated a Passover Seder?  We are curious how many of you have participated in one before.

The original Passover, found in the Bible, is a memorial to God passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt. This miraculous event and its meaning occurred during the night of the fourteenth of the Hebrew month Nisan. It is not a memorial of the Israelites’ exodus out of Egypt.

‘On that night I will go through the land of Egypt, killing every first-born male, both human and animal, and punishing all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood on the doorposts will be a sign to mark the houses in which you live. When I see the blood, I will PASS OVER (from where we get the term Passover) you . . . (Exodus 12)

The Bible’s meaning of the Passover, for the New Testament Christian, revolves around the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a memorial of his death as the true Lamb of God as in John 1:29, “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” His shed blood covered our sins and protected us from death. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Believers partake of unleavened bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus’ beaten body and shed blood. This sacrifice makes possible the forgiveness of our sins.

The Passover Week:  In Israel, Passover Week is synonymous with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits. The Passover, representing death passing over the houses of the Israelites. The feast of unleavened bread, representing the departure from the sinful land of Egypt. These two feasts became the first of seven major feasts that God instituted with the Israelites and point towards things to come in the future. Jesus’s last Passover with His disciples is known as The Last Supper which all believers in Christ celebrate to remember Him in Holy Communion.

The Jewish Celebration we participated in:

Les led our nucleus family in our very first Passover meal, the Passover Seder (Seder meaning order) on Passover Eve (Erev Pesach).  See our Instagram for clips on lescatherinederoos and watch Erev Pesach (Passover Eve).

Haggadah’s meaning (telling) is the name of this feast.  It is the telling of Jesus and the Passover story of the Jews exiting out of Egypt to the children.  You know, the story of the Exodus, the land of bondage to the land of promise.  John 3:16 concisely tells the world of this picture.  This is a promise for the whole world.

There is a special plate that contains the elements of this Passover story and responsive reading that is recited by everyone.  This storytelling tradition effectively passes the baton onto the next generation and generations following.

The celebration centers around four cups. The number four in Hebrew is the letter “dalet.” It is a picture of a door (delete). the death angel passes over the blood of a lamb that has been applied to the lintels and doorposts (Yeshua declared Himself the door, John 10:9-10). There has always only been one way to the Father, through Yeshuah. Passover is the entry or doorway to covenant with Adonai (God, the Father)  Outside the covenant (door), the enemy seeks one’s destruction.

The Sedar explanation: While Passover remembers the Jews deliverance from slavery, it also is a depiction of Christ’s atonement for His people and His deliverance of us from the bondage of sin. The end result is certainly worthy of a Christian’s consideration.

~~~~~

HE SAVED US (1st cup of 4) – Represents Sanctification (Exodus 6:6-7) Kiddush (at the start of the seder)

    1. The Cup of Sanctification —- “I will bring you out”
    2. The Cup of Deliverance/Plagues/Judgment —- “I will deliver you”
    3. The Cup of Redemption/Blessing —- “I will redeem you”
    4. The Cup of Praise/Hope/Kingdom/Salvation/Restoration —- “I will take you for My people”

1st – Ur’chatz:  The washing of the hands is a custom symbolizing the desire to live lives of acceptable service to the Almighty God.  Jesus demonstrated this on Passover by washing His disciple’s feet, the act of humility.

2nd – Bitter Herbs (parsley-Karpas), a representation of the hyssop plant used to apply the blood to the doorposts, is a reminder of the bitterness of Egyptian slavery.  The Herbs dipped in saltwater.  The saltwater reminds of the tears that were shed by the Israelites.  Karpas also symbolize the initial flourishing of the Israelites in Egypt. Karpas also symbolizes springtime — which is appropriate since Passover is called Hag Ha’Aviv or the holiday of spring.

3rd – (1st Serving of Matzah) Matzah, unleavened bread which is pierced (Zecharaiah 12:10) Matzah is broken in half and one half is hidden for children to find later.  Motza is called “Food of Faith” and “Food of Healing”.  Matzah is also known as the Bread of Affliction, (Lechem Oni in Hebrew) symbolizes the hardship of slavery and the Jewish people’s hasty transition to freedom. The first time, the matzah is eaten by itself.

4th – Children are included to ask specific questions about what is different: the leavened vs unleavened, only bitter herbs, dipping twice, and reclining.  These questions are all answered.

5th – Maggid (Telling the Passover Story) Different readers read about the Exodus story (Exodus 1:10, 11; Deut. 26:7; Exodus 12:12)  The 10 Plagues are recounted by dipping a finger in the wine/grape juice and touching the napkin each time a plague is said.  This represents the sufferings of the Egyptians and lessening the joy of the Jews.

I WILL SAVE YOU (2nd cup of 4) – Represents Plagues (telling of Pesach story)

6th – Shank for the Lamb that was sacrificed for the blood put on the doorposts. (Exodus 12:13 the Passover)

7th – Motzi Matzah (bread without yeast – like a cracker Exodus 12:39) is served.

8th –   (2nd serving of Matzah) Bitter Herbs (horseradish) is a reminder of the hard labor from the Egyptians to make brick and mortar. (Exodus 1:14)  Matzah scoops up the horseradish and eaten.

9th – (3rd serving of Matzah) Charoseth (sweet apple, cinnamon, walnuts) reminder of redemption.  It is customary to make a sandwich with the Matzah, horseradish, charoseth, and eat. The word charoset is derived from the Hebrew word for clay, cheres. “Korech”, embodies the Israelites’ bitterness over their hard labor (masonry) and the spiritual affliction they suffered from being enslaved.

9th – Egg (chagigah – a symbol of mourning for the Temple) is dipped in saltwater.  The egg represents hope and the promise of new life.

10th – Bareich (Grace of giving thanks to the LORD after the meal)

11th – Tzafun (searching for the hidden Matzo bread – Afikomen)  Afikomen represents Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

I WILL REDEEM YOU (3rd cup of 4) – Represents Redemption (symbolizes the blood of the Passover Lamb – Luke 22:20)

12th – Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet – is the forerunner, will come and herald the coming of the Messiah.)  A child opens a door to demonstrate a looking forward to Elijah’s coming and announcing the Messiah.

13th – (Malachi 4:5-6)  Blessed is He who comes?  (Baruch ha-bah!)

    • Hallel: Psalms of Praise (Psalm 113 – 118)
    • Psalm 136 sung about Adonai’s mercy/lovingkindness/grace endures forever.
    • Psalm 188:22-24 is read together and His Love Endures Forever is sung (love=chesed (חֶסֶד)

HE IS ABLE (4th cup of 4) – Represents Praise (Hallel/Psalms of praise)

Netzach:  The Passover Seder Concludes with thanksgiving.


The only entry point to eternal life is accepting the Messiah and the Covenant. Understanding and deep Knowledge comes later and with maturity, as one’s own journey through the wilderness with YHWH.

Our prayer is that if you are metaphorically enslaved to Egypts affliction, oppressed, addicted, mournful, woeful, can’t fix it, and perplexed the LORD God made a way out for you through Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Passover Lamb.  We pray you will respond and be set free by walking through that door now.


NEW FACES FOR A WEEK 

During this week of Passover, A new group of orphans, juvenile delinquents, with no home to go to during Passover week, came to the ARC through the Jewish Agency (JA).  Sixteen (16) young men ages 12-16 with five men chaperones and one lady boss.  They were here for only over the Passover celebration because they had no home to go to.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 4

1 Corinthians 3:7 – then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

An Increase of FAITH & FAVOR – 1. Baptisms 2. Youth leading worship 3. Youth leading bible studies 4. Nursery and FAAGRIC farm going strong.

John 3:30 so clearly and concisely states, “He must increase, but I [must] decrease”.  What a contrast to what this world wants.  But, no matter what the world believes, the truth stands.  We must realize that we cannot do anything on our own.(John 5:30) Furthermore, the LORD has also chosen the body of Christ to work together.(1 Corinthians 12:15-26) One plants, one waters, but God gives the increase.(1 Corinthians 3:6) He is the vine, and we are the branches.  If we abide in HIM, and HE in us, much fruit is brought forth.  So without HIM ye can do nothing.(John 15:5)

It does not make sense in a world that desires to be mattered, to make a difference, to do great things and to receive the praises of men.  I must confess that the praises of men/words of encouragement are more important to me then I thought.  I once again needed to prostrate myself before the LORD and ask Him to show me in His own way if I was being used to make any difference.  Was fruit being produced?  Were the Bible studies sinking in at all and being understood?  Would the teaching of finer skills bear fruit?  Would His character be seen in my actions as I taught?

By God’s grace the LORD showed me in little ways:

  • One was by in teaching crochet.  I was passing the teaching onto the girls giving them responsibility to teach others.  I saw them teaching each other in patience and kindness and carefully instructing.  No words of encouragement were needed.  It was the LORD’S way of showing me.
  • Another was to hear Djoune encouraging and showing the Madams how to include Moringa in their food.  With the coming and going of Madams, it was difficult to keep the importance of Moringa alive in the diet at CCH.  She had helped me with the translation of the Moringa book into Creole and knew of its value.  Again, no words of encouragement were needed.  The LORD’S way of showing me was through the actions of others.  I just needed eyes to see and ears to hear and recognize the LORD’S way of encouraging me.

I think many times we can expect praises and encouragements to materlize our way.  If we are willing to receive from the LORD His way and open our eyes and ears to hear, we will see those encouragements.  But they also will be for His glory and not our own.

We increase in favor with God as we do the will of God. Being faithful in the work he gives us is the goal along with a grateful heart, whatever it may be, and whatever our station in life.  When our desires are in harmony with God’s will as it is revealed to us—keeping his work in our hearts—conquering selfish desires that would diminish our personal progress.

What sort of work is it that we are doing?  It will be manifested and declared through the fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

May this be our portion. May we continually increase in wisdom and in spiritual stature, pleasing God in all we do, and finding favor with both God and man. Amen.


1 Samuel 12:16  Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes.

It is a very humbling experience, to be able to witness the blessings of the LORD over the work that has been entrusted to you.  Feelings of gratefulness, relief, and joy come flooding into your heart.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.(Luke 6:38)

Les & I knew our time in Haiti was coming to an end.  We saw the writing on the wall.  Signs of passing the baton on were becoming evident.  We asked the LORD God for clear direction.  Was He finished with us or did He have another assignment for us.  He was faithful!

On September 18 we received a message from an acquaintence, a friend of my brother.  After inquiring about this, we were invited to visit Israel to investigate helping with an agricultural project.

I was very excited for this new adventure the LORD God seemed to be putting before us.  Quite honestly, staying focused on the task was difficult especially when my areas of involvement were becoming more difficult to achieve.  Other agenda’s were vying for the times I had spent with the girls.  Furthermore, during this time trouble increased in Haiti and seemed be becoming more unstable.

What would our exit from Haiti look like?  How would they respond to our announcement?  How many loose ends were needing attention in order to leave Haiti resulting in a smooth transition preparing for our departure.

The Haitians are generally not very expressive in showing how they truly feel, especially to foreigners.  No matter how long missionaries are in a foreign land, they are still foreigners.  Yes, relationships can be built and trust can be established, but a foreigner remains a foreigner.

With that being said…

I have no doubt that the LORD God was there with us through it all to help us stand with our Haitians friends, through the thick of it both physically (Hurricane Matthew) and spiritually (spiritual attacks).  We experienced some dark difficult moments together. We went through a lot of challenging times with the Haitians. Trust had been built over the years and for the Haitians trust is not an easy thing.

  • With His help, we stood on the promises of God and promoted Him, pointing to Him as their provider.
  • With His help we trusted that He had everything in His control.
  • With His help, we were able to establish a trust with the Haitians we had in our circle of influence.

We were not prepared for the measure of kind wishes, remarks, and emotions from every area:  CCH, James 1:27, Joshua House, Center of Help, Village of Hope, and our own neighborhood, Bamboula, Torbeck.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Honest, Godly effort is still rewarded. We continue to grow mentally—to grow in wisdom—to grow in truth.

By God’s grace...

Les & I desire this!  >>  Les & I pray for this to be demonstrated in our lives!  >> Les & I study to grow in wisdom and truth!  >> Les & I will practice it!

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti

Over the years in Haiti, the cycle of planning and preparing, implementing and teaching was the ongoing schedule for me, Catherine.  Coming and going as we did, brought new challenges to this schedule, thus adjustments galore and lots of spiritual stretching exercises, some very uncomfortable.  I didn’t know I could stretch in such ways.   I like fixed schedules, yet nothing was fixed that I was involved in.  Venues changed, participants were not consistent, and other programs were implemented.

How does one maintain some level of control in this kind of situation?  Many times, I must admit, I felt like quitting and throwing in the towel.  But, just when I needed the encouragement to keep going, the LORD God made a way to encourage me.

CCH Family Worship Song Book

CCH Family Worship SongbookWOW!! Can I say that again so soon? :)) This is another project that I have been working on for a l-o-n-g time, even before the Village of Hope (VOH) land was purchased.

The birth of this project came to be from the desire to learn Creole and also connect with the girls and staff.

I began by asking them for the written words on paper for a particular song and they in turn, requested the English words.

The challenges would come when I would teach them a new song and it needed to be transliterated into Creole. This is not the easiest thing to do. I have a whole new appreciation for Bible translators.

I also had other projects I was working on.