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!

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.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 2

Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

It is not about me.  One key to a joyful Christian life is understanding that we must die to self. What does it really mean to “die to self”?  Taking up our cross to follow Him doesn’t always go the way we think it will go.  Spiritual stretching is critical in ministry which involves dying to self.  If someone is rigid and callous, the spiritual stretching “loving your neighbor” as yourself doesn’t happen or a stretch in “Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind” falls short, and the challenging stretch of “loving your enemies” is greatly hindered! 

Learning to understand a different cultural mindset is challenging and takes spiritual stretching.  

How does one cope with the ever-changing environment of staff, children, etc?  Is it worth the effort of building new relationships?  Well, of course, the answer is yes!  Building relationships is of primary importance.  What happens when a relationship is struggling?  You ask for the LORD’s help to show His love and love the other person.  

It is a daily lesson of remembering whose identity you represent.  It is understanding that there is a spiritual battle waging and in order to win it you must be willing to decrease so that He can increase.  It is necessary for the Christian life.  It really is all about what the LORD God desires and to yield to Him so He can increase.  A Christ-follower should endeavor to walk in the fruits of the spirit so much so that it is the character of Jesus that others see.  An analogy would be to picture the tree that bears much fruit.  Its branches hang close to the ground.  This is a picture of humility.  To understand how to do this takes a deeper look at Galatians 5:22-25.

Gal 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit  is  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance:  against  such there is  no  law. 24 And they  that are Christ’s have crucified the  flesh  with   the  affections  and  lusts. 25 If  we live in the Spirit, let us also  walk   in the Spirit.” 

By definition the following Greek words give us a powerful picture of what this looks like:

    • G2590 fruit = (as plucked) to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force) wear, yield
    • G4151 Spirit = Christ’s spirit a mental disposition, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit: – life, spiritually minded.
    • G4717 crucified = self-denial 
    • G5547 Christ’s = annointed, to smear or rub with oil, to furnish what is needed
    • G2198 live = lifetime, alive or lively.
    • G4748 Walk = to march in (military) rank (keep step), to conform to virtue and piety: – walk orderly.

It is a daily and sometimes hourly, even minute by minute, remembering to WALK in the spirit.  If we spend a lifetime with the energetic activity of self-denial, full of Christ’s mental disposition, our walking in the fruit of the Spirit is the result of the Holy Spirit‘s presence and working in the lives of maturing believers.  It carries an anointing that passes onto people around us.  It is a place where we can truly be content.

Who knew that walking in the spirit is being annointed?

2 Corinthians 12:10 – Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

He is strong when I am weak.  On the surface, this makes no sense, does it?  We can have our own thoughts about what we can do as ambassadors for Christ and how our gifts and talents can be of benefit to others.  BUT, what about our weaknesses?  Can the LORD use those as well?  Absolutely!  When we yield to Him and are open to serving Him as He desires with a grateful heart, ministry blossoms beautifully with a greater opportunity for the Spirit’s power to manifest itself, not only for us spiritually but also for those to whom you are ministering.  This is for His Glory, where the Glory is due. 

In verse nine we read our LORD’S response.  2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Every good gift comes from Him, and yet we should be mindful that even every weakness His glory is shown in who He is in greater measure and puts emphasis on Him.  When He has the opportunity to strengthen my weaknesses, I am held up through His strength, I am able to stand up and activating His purpose while humbling myself for what He has ordained for me, if only I am willing.  

I enjoy teaching, but my challenge became greater when trying to put together a study in another language I barely knew, then learning how to present it in a different culture.  On top of those obvious things, I was teaching an age group I was not used to instructing and every culture has its own teaching style. What would that even look like?

For Bible studies I would often find myself asking the LORD, are you sure I am the one to do this teaching.  Isn’t there someone else more capable of teaching on this level.  I would tell Les, I think you should take over.  I am not sure I can think like a child.  It was a real struggle for me.  I like to dig, dig deep, to find treasures in the Word of God.  There are so many beautiful gems in scripture, but to find them you need to take time to dig.  How could I share what the LORD God meant on a child’s level and still make it interesting, exciting, and captivating?  The answer I felt the LORD put in my heart was to show many pictures and ask many questions, even tell stories. That is what I did and I trust it reached the target it was meant for.

Teaching can also be a relationship-building tool that includes dealing with those who are difficult to work with or don’t really want to learn or bad attitudes takes perseverance through Christ.  On occasions I would think, is there a way out of this?  But, when I really thought more deeply about it I knew that one of the ways to build trusting relationships is displaying a Christ-like countenance when it wasn’t so pleasant.  It presented me with the opportunity that I prayed for but not necessarily the way I thought would be best or wanted it.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 3

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

My Grace is sufficient.   Sometimes we need to walk through the fire, but the LORD promises we will not be burned.  Sometimes we pass through the waters, but He will be there with us.  This is a BIG lesson in contentment.  When this verse talks about always having all sufficiency in all things it is really referring to always having all contentment in all things.  

This was the year of some significantly great events.  Our Granddaughter, Hadasssah, was born.  Zachery & Olivia’s wedding in Maryland and Bridal shower in Iowa were other special events.  My teeth and jaw began giving me problems.  Les and I ended up coming home to seek what might be going on with me, leaving Zachery & Olivia in Haiti.

Have you ever been somewhere and wondered if you would be more helpful elsewhere else?

It really was an overwhelming year with emotions up and down.  I felt like I would be of more help for our daughter than I was able to be helpful in Haiti.  Others seemed more qualified to do what I was doing in Haiti.  What I viewed as a higher priority was not necessarily the LORD’s priority.

Zachery & Olivia were to be married, another special event.  I found myself challenged in planning for their special event, especially while continuing ministry in Haiti.

Was I willing to be joyful and accepting the role I played in Haiti, no matter what it was?  Would I take pleasure in being content where He had me?  Would I display delight and pleasure and contentment always in all things.  I knew the example I wanted to be to those around me.  I remember prostrating myself many times before the LORD submitting my desires to His.  After asking for the LORD’s help, He grace truly abounded toward me.

It took me a while to realize that these stresses weighing on me and were being expressed in my sleep at night.  Why was my jaw involuntarily moving.  How would I be able to teach Bible study with my jaw doing its new thing out of nowhere?  To talk wore my jaw out, and I also felt self-contious.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Fire is a wonderful picture of the work of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritual fire is to cleanse and purify our emotions, mental state, and even our physical being. It is through the Holy Spirit that gives you inner strength and power in the inner man to go through these times.

God is faithful. He is faithful to be there with us through anything.  PTL! We are not alone!

1 Samuel 12:24 – Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

The Lord Knows.   Wow, what a year!  The Lord was on my side.  It doesn’t matter what people are saying about you, He is for you.  Everything has a purpose in life.  All our efforts will bear fruit in His time.  When at any breaking point in which we cannot see how to move another step, the LORD is there to help, if you call out to him.  Again, I didn’t know I could be stretched like that.  On the surface, looks can be deceiving, but a peek behind the scenes can show more about a situation.

When no translator is available and you put yourself on the front lines to teach an inductive, serious study to teens in another language, it takes leaning on the Lord to another different level.  Whispers and other distractions of coming and going during a class can cause someone like me to wonder what is happening and where the respect is.  Questions of why this behavior was happening weighed on me.  I was feeling self-contious again.  Was I saying something wrong?  Was I not being understood?  What were they trying to tell me?  No matter what others may think of me, I had to trust that the Word of God being presented would not return void and that I was pressing on in the LORD.  I knew He was on my side.

Publishing a book in another language you barely know can also be a very mind-numbing and a time-intensive job.  A picture speaks a thousand words.  I was informed that someone on the current team visiting was an artist.  I Praise God for providing Dan LeBlanc, the artist to help illustrate health concepts for any reader to understand.  Thank you, Dan LeBlanc.  I was also in need of a translator, someone that knew medical terms.  Even though Djoune Constant was super busy, she offered to help.  Thank you, Djoune, for providing the correct creole in medical and health terminology to help translate for me.  Read Hot Off the Presses.

Let us not be weary in well doing good: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)  

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

As long as I am presenting my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service, (Romans 12:1), His design and plan for me will not be thwarted.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  (Romans 8:31)

Read 2016 Blogs.

Catherine’s 8 Ministry Pillars in Haiti – part 1

I, Catherine, have personal pillars with personal lessons that I call my Ministry Pillars in Haiti.

What is ministry really?  What does it look like?  Well, that can look different on many levels and to each person.  We have our own preconceived ideas of what ministry should look like, but in the end, it is the LORD God who directs and knows how best to minister in any given situation and place.

Every year over the eight (8) years of serving in Haiti, the LORD God gave me pillar lessons how to trust Him, lean on Him, know who I am in Him, teaching me what he can accomplish when I let go and let Him or when I get out of the way, and so much more.  These pillars that the LORD gave me were what gave me something to LEAN on, literally.

A pillar is a tall solid structure, which signifies support and is usually used to support part of a building.

In the Bible, a pillar represents various things:

  1. God’s house (Gen 28:22)
  2. A witness (Gen 31:52)
  3. Where God appears to His people (Num 14:14)
  4. A memorial (2Sa 18:18)
  5. A support of the Temple of God (2 Ki 11:14)
  6. A signpost
  7. Where God speaks
  8. A support of God’s Church, and
  9. An overcomer.

Printed on each pillar are the phrases we are all familiar with.  These were my lessons.  The scriptures are the meaning that back the phrases on the pillars.  Below the scripture, I have explained briefly how it all applied me on a personal level.

Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Blooming where planted.  When what you have planned in serving the LORD doesn’t happen the way you thought, and the best thing to do was to ask the LORD, okay now what?  What do you want me to do?

Asking this question is a bit scary.  For me and possibly many of you, the answer may not be what you think it will be or should be.  I asked the LORD many times, is this really ministry?  Is this really what you want me to do?  It is a tough learning curve sometimes, but when I yielded to Him, trust in Him and just did it, and became okay with it, the ministry went a lot better.  I need to remember that He also knows the greatest need.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together(G4903)for good to them, that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(G4903) means fellow worker, that is, co-operate (We are cooperating with Christ, laboring with Him for the benefit of others)

It’s all good.  That is too easy to say.  No not everything is good, at least on the surface.  Roadblocks, hurdles, miscommunication, getting made fun of, getting shunned, etc. are examples of what is a far cry from “it’s all good”.  But, with the LORD God, He works all things out for his glory.  When circumstances seem questionable or unbearable, we don’t need to worry. He’s got this.

The mental load seemed great.  I had taught my own four children for 12 years; but I never designed a curriculum this size, taught larger groups, and three different age groups in a different culture.  I love designing and planning, but this was almost over the top.

Who would be my translator?  Would I explain the lesson well enough for each age group?  Would the translator understand?  How will I keep up? Where will we meet?  What is the best way to teach in the culture?  What tools do I use?  Will I get the tools in time?  It was literally one day at a time for me.  I didn’t drive and counted on others, especially my dear husband, Les.  It always seemed to work out because he was always running errands for people or fit it in somehow to get me to where I needed to go. THANK YOU, LES!  And, thank you, Yvald, for translating for me.

The LORD God really does have everything in control. It all worked out and the LORD provided. Trusting Him through each circumstance is an opportunity for personal spiritual growth.  The curriculum was on the 7 Days of Creation in English/Creole.

The classes included worksheets to color, video cassette holders that held color pencils and worksheets, memory verses rebus style, flannel board where I would ask them to tell the creation story.

The LORD spoke to my heart many times, saying, “I’ve got this.” And, I can say truthfully that He does.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you for your own walk with the LORD.  We all have a special journey.  My prayer and encouragement for you are to trust Him and let go of your concerns and let Him take the reigns.  There is so much freedom when we yield to Him.

Has the LORD used you in your weakness?

Until next month, stay strong.

The Finer Skills In Life

This post is W A Y over due.  I began writing this in October, 2017, three months after the actual event in July.  This is now September, 2018. WOW!  Now, I have a lot of catching up to do.  Thank you for sticking around!

The month of July, 2017, was the second busiest schedule I, Catherine, have experienced, since the beginning of LWC ministry in Haiti.

Some of you know that I am a planner and researcher.  I enjoy planning, every little detail, a perfectionist at heart.  If I am going to teach something, I want to do it with as much skill and knowledge as I can so I don’t stumble through the task when performed.  So I am not wing-it, spur of the moment person.  That’s Les.

Planning an event in the US is certainly a challenge depending on how particular you are.  It is another level altogether planning an event outside of the US.  You need to know ahead of time how many people will attend the event, what theme or topic will be presented, what materials you will need, the amount of time it will take for those items to be delivered.  So during the 2016 year, I began planning to teach several classes in the summer to offer classes in practical skills and finer arts skills in the areas of baking, gardening (agronomy), sewing, first aid, oral care, making paper beads, Music, crochet departments.  Hmmm, that does sound a bit ambitious doesn’t it!  I had shared my desires and thoughts with Eddy, but my visits with Eddy are usually few and far between.  Time was ticking away, and I needed some answers; my verbal processing tendencies were sorely not given the attention I thought I needed.  I needed to figure out how the schedule would look at the center, finding interpreters, and helpers (a team with these specialties to help), etc.  I was trying to figure out how to fit it all in. As it turned out, I only had time to teach an oral care class 1, 2, 3, 4 during that 2016 Summer.  The Summer before, I had begun teaching sewing by hand and machine on a smaller scale on an individual level, as well as some crocheting to some of the older girls.  Teaching on an individual level is my style.

Then, upon returning to Haiti in January 2017, I found that they had started professional classes, some of which were on my list.  Part of my problem was solved with the number of classes being offered and that I would not be responsible for.  So I began targeting three of the class topics I had been focusing on in a smaller way.  I started planning, collecting materials, and just before the school year was over, I had one month to teach three different classes.  The next step was finding a way to fit them in and then create a sign up sheet to include only six for a class involving 4 girls and 2 house mothers for three different classes: Paper Bead Making, Basic Hand Sewing, and Basic Crochet.  The plan was for those in attendance to Learn these skills in a professional class setting as much as possible.  The house mothers who signed up were very happy for the chance to learn, plus they were great in managing the girls.

I was very excited to finally implement the year and a half of planning; but, to be honest, I was very nervous. I really wasn’t sure if I was ready to handle the necessary preparations for each class on top of the two Bible studies I was preparing for.  After two weeks into the busy schedule, I must admit the actual teaching was going better than I expected.  Instead of using a lot of Creole did one-on-one demonstration, which is the way they like it best.  It was very busy and a little overwhelming; but for the most part, I felt the guidance of the Lord as he helped me deal with each class.  Below is the schedule I kept that last month.

Monday Night @ CCH – All ages Bible Study

Tuesday 2:30 pm @ the Beach House – Paper Bead Making

Wednesday 2:30 pm @ the Beach House – Basic Hand Sewing

Thursday – Free to catch up on laundry and prep for Bible Study Friday

Friday 2:30 pm @ CCH – Youth Bible Study

Saturday, 2:30 pm @ the Beach House – Basic Crochet

Sunday – A day of rest *#:-S whew!

In the end, each participant was given a certificate, a pin, written instructions of things learned, and additional materials to create something.  As you can see from the pictures, all the creative art classes are at the beach house.  It was a lot less distracting than the Center and provided a greater atmosphere for learning and concentration.  I believe you will see from the pictures below, that they worked very hard and in the end were very proud of their work.

Crocheting Class: Hazard Josnithe, Pierre Samorah, Cadet Prisca, Corasme Chrisna, Vererl Manuela, Deser Sovenise
Paper Bead Making Class: Adonaica Jeanty, Jina Samedy, Mericiane Pierre, Saradgine Adonis, Kemberly, Syna Manouchka
Sewing Class: Alcime Kimberly, Petro Claudine, Amor Dieuna, Philippe Pauline, Body Marie, Riviere Keda

High & Low

Hurricane Matthew Food Distribution

After we began our food distribution efforts to the Bamboula Beach residents, as a result from hurricane Matthew, Les found out that the inland residents were the only residents that received the food.  Those residents living on the beach would not attempt to go to the magistrates house which is located on the left veering curve in the neighborhood area that you must drive through to get to the beach house.  We had dropped two loads of food.

Upon hearing this, Les made arrangements to pick up more food.  Just recently, we distributed two loads of food to the beach dwellers; however, this time Janette, the magistrate, came to the beach house to hand the food out and the inland residents refrained from coming.

This brings back memories to us of when we lived in a remote village called Maraingyur in India.  It had two sections, a high caste area and a low-caste area, which was divided by a 2-3 mile long foot/bike path.  Separating the two sections of the same village were agricultural rice paddy fields.  If you have been to the beach house in Haiti, you will have recognized a similar set-up.  How ironic – that no matter where you live, there is a segregation of sorts: low, middle, and high-class societies.

Janette, the Magistrate, is on the right. Denise, on the left, comes to help with yard work and other grounds upkeep

When Janette came, she tore open all the boxes and in neat piles laid out a portion of meals per household.  When she was ready to receive the residents, she sat down with a pad of graph-style padded note paper and a pen.  As the people came, they gave her their name and took their portion. Janette watched as each household took their portion.  When they left she proceeded by asking for the name of the next household name.  In the end 110 inland residents were fed and 148 beach dwellers are fed.  We praise God He has trusted us to be His instruments to make a difference anywhere we are.

Reflecting on this whole situation, we are reminded what we read in Romans 2:11 which says that the Lord God is not a respecter of persons.  Every one is important in his eyes.  If only we could follow the cultural system the Bible lays out for us to have, how much better off we would be.


Manna Packs Laid Out In Stacks Per Household
First Small Group Of Recipients

Are You Standing?

I didn’t think we would ever use the Armor of God armor suit that Les put on when we did the Armor of God choral reading as a family.

Just recently we finished studying each piece of the Armor of God.  During the series, we had a different girl volunteer each time to put on the pieces of the armor up to the point of the material we were covering.  For easier understanding, lots of pictures were used to describe the meaning of each armor piece and scripture to explain it as well.  Here is a small sampling of the images used.






We always end a bible study series with a quiz/final review in a game format, which they all really get into.  It really becomes deafening with all the screams and cheering on one side or the other for the team members especially when they get it right.  The closer we get to the end of the game, the louder it gets.

04/24/17 Les and Katia – throughout the drama Katia followed Les.  As he put on the armor so did she.

Now, here we are years later, and Les used the same armor suit to help illustrate in practical demonstration how to fight the spiritual battle that we all wage using the appropriate scripture while putting it on.  The drama did look a little different from our family version and there was a bit of excitement added.  The drama included satan’s accusations with Les, the soldier, responding to the fiery darts.  Graciously, Zachery’s friend, Alex, visiting from Mt. Zion school of ministries, helped fill Satan’s role and portrayed and prowled around like a lion looking for that weak, open spot to attack, and how he would devour the soldier, Les.   He came from within the crowd of kids with a big roar and even stalk the kids a little.  Les was  taunted, accused, and stalked by the devil.  He used his shield to guard himself and somewhat steer the “lion” away.  He remained attentive and alert.  I think they enjoyed it and now have a better idea how to use each armor piece.

The LORD God has given us such a huge gift with this armor in Ephesians 6:10-18. I, Catherine, learned a lot as I prepared for each lesson.  This has to be one of my favorite studies.

Being followers of Christ, we are all soldiers in His army.  What kind of soldier are you?  Are you fitted well with your armor on?  Is it in good shape: polished, sharpened, and fitted?  Are you practiced up?  Are you prepared for the “spiritual battle” that is waging around you?  Are you standing strong and continuing to stand?

May the LORD God help us to STAND FIRM in our faith in “the day”.

  • Thank you Les for being a “good sport” and playing the part of the soldier.
  • Thank you Zachery for helping translate such important truths for these young soldiers.
  • Thank you Alex for your willingness in the last-minute request to participate in the drama.
  • Thank you Olga for recording this drama.
  • Thank you Lael for the special picture.
  • Thank you Mom DeRoos for finding it, getting it ready, and sending it to us.

Sewing Basics

Sewing Dots
Sewing Dots

For some, sewing is just a hobby, it is therapy.  For these girls it means a possible future trade or keeping their hands busy with a useful project.

I began basic sewing classes 06/2013 with the oldest six girls here at the beach house on Friday’s after school.

The basic five hand/mending stitches that were in the line-up to learn were: the running stitch, the half back-stitch, the full back-stitch, the hem stitch, and fringe stitch.  The first class was a great learning lesson for me.  I tried to teach all five stitches and quickly learned I needed to slow down.  I ended up teaching only two stitches that day.

I thought I had prepared well enough with pictures to demonstrate.  I had used Google Translate to help with my Creole instruction to go with the pictures, but Google Translate used words that they were not familiar with, and it was too early in my language learning to know better.  While, pictures are a great way to instruct, I ended up using the best method for the circumstances.  I demonstrated the two stitches with each of the six individual girls.  I was kept hopping around the table for three hours with questions like “Konsa? Sa bon Madam Katrine?”  (“Like this? This good Madam Catherine?”) Some were getting it and some were not, even after the up close personal demonstration.  The poor dears seemed to want to do a “good job and do it right”, and I wanted to help, but felt a bit discouraged because that needed one-on-one instruction.  My approach was simply not working.  I was worn out. *#:-S whew!I felt like I had run a marathon and my feet were hurting. There were really too many of them for me to handle correctly and teach effectively.  There were four that needed more of a one-on-one instructional time, and a couple of them needed very little one-on-one time.

Sewing Kit
Sewing Kits

On another day, after talking with Madam Djoune and sharing my struggles, she shared that when she learned to sew by hand, they were taught with using dots and numbers.  The first image shows my original dots and numbers with the instructional postcard that I created for each of them.

One of the fun things for me in teaching my own children was to learn how they learn.  I was learning the personalities, their interest levels, and learning styles.  The most important factor for them was being able to get out regardless of the interest level.

Sewing girls: Lordine, Atinia, Yvelande, Willienne, & Sophonie

When school was out 06/29/2013, I ended up teaching them on an individual basis at the Center.  That was so much better.  Part of the class practice was spent mending some clothes, mostly school uniforms.

Now, fast forward, and here we are with five of the girls at the beach house.  I guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first time; however, the problem is that there is really no good place at the Center to do this.  I worked with the five who had already taken lessons before but quickly found out that I had to refresh their memories because it had been a while.

Each one of these girls will hand sewing their own sewing kit bag with pockets to have a place to put each sewing kit tool.

A huge thank you to Carolee Franzkowiak and Mom DeRoos for putting these sewing kits together.