Greetings to all! It’s way past time to update you on what God’s been doing in our lives. As you may or may not know, last summer the Hattens and we found God shifting our focus regarding the children’s home. Instead of looking for land to build a new children’s home, we were led to look for younger children’s home directors for the long-term. The first couple we talked to was Stephen and Autumn Byxbe of Together We Can – Haiti. Stephen and Autumn have lived in Haiti for over 4 years, were former house parents at the New Vision children’s home, and are in the process of adopting one of the original children in the home. They are very familiar with the kids and are well qualified for this special ministry. Within a matter of days after talking with them, the Byxbes let us know that God was leading them to say ‘Yes’. After much work on remodeling a larger two-story house near downtown Montrouis, the children were transferred to their new home the last week of January and are doing well.
Our school, New Vision Academy, has been a tremendous blessing to our eighteen students this past year, and we thank God for all He’s done through it. However, in latter November the Hattens discerned that God was not leading them to continue the school after May of this year. As a result, we faced a significant decision point in the future of New Vision Ministries. Would we look for another building to rent after the school year is over (and the lease on the mission building is done) and continue our current ministries? Or would we consider other options?
Based on our gifts and skill sets, we’ve always believed God brought us to Haiti to work in a supportive role with an established mission that clearly shares our spiritual convictions and priority of making disciples. That is, advancing the kingdom of God in such a way that Haitian lives are transformed for all of eternity! Because of this, we determined that God was leading us to find out if there might be other possible partners, opportunities, or ministries for us to work with. If nothing was found, perhaps God would be telling us to patiently continue doing what we’re doing with New Vision. Or, perhaps it was time to return to America. On the other hand, if He had another plan for us, He could show that to us as well.
So, in early December, we began our ‘exploration’ by talking to a ministry friend with Baptist Haiti Mission (BHM). BHM is a long-established, large independent evangelical mission that was started in the mountains behind Port au Prince in the 1940’s. One of the many things that impressed us about BHM is their emphasis on strengthening the churches of Haiti. That is their motto and theme, and everything they do is focused on making disciples through local Haitian churches (they have 350+ churches/schools over central and northern Haiti). It was very “interesting” to learn that one of the ministries BHM wants to develop in the coming year is their ophthalmology service, and they need equipment to start doing cataract surgery. They have well developed discipleship/training ministries, a solid school sponsorship program, a very fine hospital, and many other ministries, all of which need ongoing missionary and administrative support.
During December we made two exploratory trips to the main BHM campus in Fermathe, which is located 5,200 ft. above Port au Prince. After spending time there, and getting to know the ministries and other missionaries who serve there, we were convinced that God was calling us to serve with BHM. Dennis will do eye care and administrative work, and Sara will assist with various ministries, including their education and Haitian sustainable income programs. It will require that we relocate to Fermathe, and we anticipate moving there in latter April.
As we mentioned earlier, we’ve been surprised and amazed to see how quickly God has put all of this together. But as we look back, we also see how God has been preparing us for this kind of ministry for some time. It will be very hard for us to leave Montrouis and New Vision, and all of the wonderful friends we have here. While several things are changing here, we’re comforted to know our faithful God has everything under His control, and is making sure all things work in conformity to His will. We’re so grateful for your prayers and support. May He be praised in the days ahead!
For His Glory,
Dennis and Sara