Sunday, January 25, 2009

Church Building Trip to Jamaica Pictures/Audio

For the past two weeks I have shared about my two trips, one to Haiti and the other to Jamaica. I have some pictures this week for second trip so you can see the work that was done for this community in Westmoreland Parish.

Listen to me tell about these trips.

The men on the Jamaica Mission Trip formed a group of men called the King's Carpenters. This video shows the results of the efforts of these men and members of the church, taken from video of the trip.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Church Building Trip to Jamaica

Upon returning from Haiti, we started planning another trip down to the island with a target timeline to prepare and return within one year. We shared the events of our trip and enlisted fifteen of our friends to go. We completed the planning of the trip and before we could make the travel arrangements found that the political situation was getting really bad so we could not return to Haiti due to safety issues.
One of the men, Fred Morris, knew Pastor Moore in Jamaica, he was Fred's yard boy many years ago, was led to the Lord during his time there, and later became a pastor to the people up in the hill country of Westmoreland Parish and Burnt Ground. This area was five miles from the two nearest Baptist Churches. The people had to walk almost five miles to go to either of the churches and they had been working on a church at Burnt Ground for about two years; they just could not get the construction started. We decided to make plans to go down and complete the construction of this church. We shared our plans with Pastor Moore and requested that he send a list of what it would take to build the walls and to put on the roof. The next week we received a letter that contained all the information we needed. In the next few weeks, we raised enough money and planed a trip down.
We arrived on Monday night and were taken to the Baptist Bible College for the night. Early the first day we went to see what we had to do; to be honest we did not think we could do what they needed. The entire team got into a circle and had prayer. Fred and Pastor Moore went to buy the materials. It just so happened that on that day the money exchange was much better than it was on most days. We had taken enough money to put the wall up but now with the extra money we were able to buy enough materials to put the roof on. By noon that day all of the materials were delivered and we had made plans as to how we were going to do the job. I had taken a four foot level and enough line to get the building laid out the best we could. After we had lunch we started laying the concrete blocks and prayed continuously that we had the building level. The blocks were made with equipment that was use years ago when blocks were first being produced in America; the blocks were not uniform. The only sand that we had to mix with the mortar had rocks as big as marbles so we had to learn how to work around that hurdle. By the end of the week we had all of the walls up and when we got to the top we were only two inches out of level and Pastor Moore thought that that was great.

The work went so well that we had our last day to take a trip around parts of the island and were able to see a number of sites. We left them with enough supplies to put the roof on the church. We had made some wooden benches and they held services in the Church the first Sunday after we left even though it did not have the roof and the floor was dirt. On the tenth day we headed back to North Myrtle Beach. It sure made us feel good to have got so much done in just eight days.
Listen to me tell about this trip to Jamaica.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mission Trip to Haiti

After we got everything around our new home finished, I was asked by Ralph Schoverlan to go to Haiti and help build a church school. I shared with him that I was not able to go that far away from home with the unpredictable way my back was from time to time. He asked me to pray about it and see what God would want me to do about being part of the team. All went well until the time that I had to let him know. Judge Norwood Gasque had a house just across Eyerly Street and he wanted me to add a very small wash room to the rear of his beach house; I took the job and was able to complete it in a couple days and my back did very well! Later that week when Ralph called I told him that I had prayed about the trip and I feel like I should go. He said that I would have to come up with $550 for my part of the trip. That was a problem until Judge Gasque came down and saw what I did to his house and he paid me twice what I charged which was exactly $550!

Early Saturday morning Ralph Schoverlan, Fred Morris, two young fellows, and I left North Myrtle Beach and spent the day traveling down to Rockledge FL. where Good Shepard Ministries was based. We spent the night and at 4:00 a.m. the next day we were leaving Merritt Island, FL heading for Haiti. We arrived safely and as we landed I was shocked to see all of the little huts that the people were living in. We landed at Cap-Haitian International Airport and were surprised that it was just a small concrete block building with a front and rear door and the toilet was a hole in the floor of a small room. We were picked up and taken to the Good ShepardMinistries compound in a little pickup truck. We were told not to eat or drink anything other than what was in the compound kitchen and not to hug any of the little ones because many of them had AIDS.

We were told that all of the lumber that was sent down for our building was still on the ship and all of the workers were on strike and would not unload it. We were told it was best to stay away from the docks but Ralph suggested that we go and try to get our lumber. We arrived at the dock and talked to one of the men and told him that fourteen men came all the way from the U.S. to build a school up in the mountains for the children. This did the trick and the men got together in a huddle like football and came out in a little while and said that they would unload only the lumber, they even put it on the truck that we rented.

Ralph and I created the layout and made a pattern for the roof trusses, cut all the lumber to fit, and loaded it back on the truck for early next morning. We got up at 4:00 a.m. to a very rainy Tuesday morning. We had breakfast and were told that we should wait and see what the rain was going to do. Ralph and I talked and decided that we should at least take the lumber and look over the building site. Shortly after our meal, we drove up the mountain for about two hours; when we arrived the whole village was out in the rain. They gave us a heartfelt welcome. We were only able to get the truck to within about three hundred feet of the building site. We started unloading lumber and every one that was there tried to help us. We had the truck unloaded in just a little while. Fred said that we should go back down the mountain because it looked that it would rain all day. Ralph got us in a circle and said let us all talk to God and see what he would have us to do. We got in a circle and prayed for about fifteen minutes.Just as we started to walk back up the truck, the sun came out and all the people that were watching us let out a big cheer. We went to work and before the day was over we had done much more that we thought we would be able to do the first day. God gave us a good week, we could feel His presence with us all week and everything that we did was much better than we had planned. We finished the job in six days and had an extra day to work around the compound and fix things that were broken.

We were able to go out into the bush and have Bible study and preaching every night. All of this made me be thankful to God for what I had back home. When I returned home I told Hazel that I would never complain again about any food that I had to eat and I never have. I just had witnessed how God could look after people that did not have another meal to eat. I saw one little kid that had a bug in a can and that was his only food for the day. At the compound school, the children would be served one bowl of rice and beans. The children would take half of it home to their mothers or some old folks that did not have anything all day. The children would follow us around and if we would stop and talk to them they would sit and listen to every word even though they could not understand what we were saying.

We took as much money as we could to buy goats for the little boys. If a kid had a little nanny goat it would give them milk every day. We also bought them each a 10 foot piece of rope. The little children would play with their goats every day and it would sleep with then at night. We were able to buy fifty goats and give them to the kids. When we bought the goats we were also helping out the goat farmers.

Those ten days went by too fast. We got back on the little plane that came down for us and headed back to the US. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale, FL to go through customs and when we got there one of our young boys had not brought any identification with him. We thought that we would not be able to get him back into the country but finally we got through customs and flew on to Merritt Island, FL, spent the night in Rockledge, FL, and headed for North Myrtle Beach early the next day. We sure were thankful to get home safely. Listen to me tell about this trip to Haiti.