This week I have two new homes…one is an apartment…the OTHER is to the covchurch blog site!

http://blogs.covchurch.org/biggs

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Make sure you check out the first and second half of the meeting. It is very informative.

Friday morning to the Bateys near Haiti. Gumer (my pastor) called me yesterday and we have made the decision, however, to not enter Haiti as originally planned. (We were teaming up with World Vision to bring supplies from all our churches in the Santiago/POP area and World Vision had actually said it would be helpful to have an American (me) with the men. The border patrol are letting more “white” people than non-whites in). The decision was made not to enter when we received news that an evangelical pastor from Santo Domingo just died from bacterial meningitis. Apparently there is an outbreak in PAP right now, so it isn’t a wise choice to go. Therefore, we are still going to Barahona/Batey3 to speak with Preminus about the needs there because of refugees, etc. and what action needs to be taken on this side of the border.

In other news, I met up with Dr. Manno who works in the Central Plateau. I gave him the tents I purchased through the Canadian Conference. He was exhausted when I saw him. His jeep broke down at the border and he spent 2 days in the jungle. Needless to say, sleep was much needed. More information to come.

Tuesday, Jan 12 is one of those days I will not forget. I won’t forget what I was doing, where I was or what the earth felt and looked like. I won’t forget the next hours, trying to locate friends, receiving and making calls to partners in ministry. I won’t forget the hours following as the stark reality of the situation began to unfold. I, like many of you, have been glued to the television, reading every Dominican paper I can get my hands on, gleaning as much information as I can from friends, pastors and fellow missionaries. I share, along with many of you, a pain deep in my soul and compassion for the people of Haiti. I have experienced those same feeling of helplessness and a desire to “do something”. Here are a few of my insights and what I know: (I hope this makes sense…my thoughts are still a little jumbled and is on overload right now!)

  • Being on the ground floor isn’t always the right floor. The outpouring of people wanting to come and help is incredible and we are forever grateful. This, however, is a time of extreme chaos and devastation. This is a time for professionals to be on the ground. Quite honestly, it is not safe for outsiders and we would have no way of supporting ourselves on the ground. Where would we get food and water? Where would we sleep? etc. When the television cameras leave and the news of Haiti fades, we are still looking at years of rebuilding. We need to take time to pray and seek the Lord on if our physical presence is the right action in the future.
  • We need to trust in those God has gifted and called during this time. Personally, I have been in constant contact with many who are on the ground or have years of connection to ministries in Haiti. My pastor and friend, Gumercindo and I have been coordinating with other ministries and organizations. Our partners in ministry, Pastor Preminus and Eliseo, from Barahona and the Bateys (in the area closest to Haiti) have visited Haiti and are accessing the needs. We are collecting donations through our local churches and these items will be housed in Barahona and brought over little by little to remain “under the radar” of looters. There are children wandering the streets without parents and we are praying for wisdom in how to best respond. Also, Covenant World Relief is working in coordination with World Relief International and Medical Teams International and I am trusting in their assessment and we will keep people informed as to our collective involvement. Please pray for wisdom in how to best minister in this difficult situation.
  • Pray for the distribution of funds and supplies. Many in whom I have spoken have said much of the aid is going to the richer areas and those is desperate need are not receiving the aid. Pray for justice. Please pray for safety of those distributing the supplies, as people are desperate and are breaking into distribution centers.
  • Pray for our Covenanters on the ground. I have been in contact with Janelle Peterson who is working with Dr. Manno in Limbe. They are evaluating the best way to help the people of Port au Prince.
  • Remember “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”. I am confident that God is working overtime to make something good of this horrific event. One way I see this is through the beginnings of uniting our two countries that share the island of Hispañola. There has been hundreds of years of hatred, racism and fighting between the DR and Haiti. For the first time, our countries are working together and the compassion that Dominicans are showing Haitians now is amazing.
  • Remember that God has placed each of us in a community that needs to know the love of Christ. Each day, we need to ask who God has placed in our path that needs to feel and experience God’s love, and in whom we are called to minister.
  • There are ways to give. Countless organizations are receiving donations. I am working closely with two in which I have total confidence. Donations can be given through Covenant World Relief (http://www.covchurch.org/cwr). Also Manos de Gracia, (Hands of Grace) http://www.hgworldwide.com, is collecting donations as well. Through donations to Manos de Gracia, our local churches will be purchasing food, water, medical supplies, gas, hygiene articles, etc. We will be housing the supplies in Barahona, as stated above, and will be sending the supplies over with our Haitian pastors.

Thank you for your past, present and future prayers and support to me personally, the ministry in which I have been called and for the dear people of Haiti. It is wonderful to be a part of the family of God. I have received many emails and my parents have also told me of the countless people that have called their home. Words cannot express how much that means to me.

I will continue to keep you informed as I know anything new. If you have any questions, please email me and please continue to pray for wisdom, safety, that God will be glorified in all that we say and do and that more will come to know Christ because of the Jesus they see in each of us.

I got the official word today I have been recommended for approval as a Project Missionary and I couldn’t be more excited! I presented a proposal to the Board of World Mission of the Covenant and they approved it. It was then approved by the Covenant Executive Board. The next step is approval at the Covenant Annual Meeting in June. In the meantime, I will be working closely with our Latin America Regional Coordinators to start implementing the new parts of my job. Here’s a part of my proposal, keeping in mind, it is a fluid document!

Even though the scope is wide, the focus is the same—to provide continuity and focus, and to empower health and integrity in mission through Local Church Initiative relationships, in what is present and what is possible, in the Caribbean. The goal is not to increase numbers, but work to mature, strengthen and deepen the passion for mission and add value to their passion through education, training and evaluating mission effectiveness and provide a wider picture of resources that are available.

  • Connect with ministry partners and the local church through Covenant Merge Ministries,  Local Church Intiatives already engaged in the Caribbean, Vision Trips, North Park University and North Park Theological Seminary and evaluate the possibility of a more active relationship between these groups and Covenant World Mission
  • Determine how ministry could be enhanced by additional resources, lead workshops and seminars, give suggestions for guided reading in order to resource, train, and equip Covenant initiatives in sound missiological principles
  • Facilitate selection sites for Covenant World Relief and the Paul Carlson Partnership, assist in project proposals, oversee the projects, facilitate the connection with partners on the ground, lead in the follow-up, accountability and evaluation

God has opened so many doors in order to make this a reality and I know He will provide richly. I am confident in His provision and He has given me a wonderful support system. I certainly cannot do this alone. This ministry expansion will take a lot of prayer support! In order to make this a reality, I am asking if you would partner with me, first and foremost in prayer for this life-changing ministry. Secondly, I am looking for those who can provide financial support. Please prayerfully consider how you can be involved. Even if you never step foot out of the U.S., I hope in partnering together, we can make a lasting impact in the Caribbean. Please contact me if you would like to get involved as a prayer and/or financial supporter.

I was stopped at a stop light counting down the seconds on the clock until I could show off my race car skills. The light changed and the cars in the other lanes were moving, but for some reason the car in front of me stopped. I went to honk my horn—which would probably be accompanied with a yell to “move it”—and then I noticed why they were stopped. The man from the car was giving a homeless man a bag of food. That was the reason we weren’t moving. Talk about feeling like a heel! I could say to myself it wasn’t as bad as it could be because I didn’t actual honk and yell, but I know better. I don’t want to be that kind of person that gets so wrapped up in where I am heading that I miss the opportunities right in front of me.

Check out my October update! There’s a link above…

Yesterday Jenny, Alex and I went after church to visit a friend who was admitted into the hospital. I use this word very loosely. The moment you walked in, you could smell the urine and there was a dog sleeping in a corner as we walked to the stairs. Our friend was on the 3rd floor. She was in a shared room and it was filthy. While talking our friend, she told us how she had seen one doctor and hadn’t even been checked on by a nurse for around 10 hours. She was in a lot of pain and the only person that came in was someone to switch her saline and they didn’t pay her any attention. We started asking about the care she was receiving, or lack there of, and discovered her insurance would cover the same amount at a different, MUCH better, hospital. I called our pastor for his advice and he thought the same—move her. Alex and our friend’s daughter started the process to have her discharged. During this time a lot of people caught wind of what we were doing…2 white girls and a Dominican man were going to get better care for their friend. Suddenly, 2 nurses were in her room checking her vitals. Now, it may have been the normal time they do rounds, I don’t know, but it set me off. I was so happy that my friend actually has insurance and can go to a better hospital…and then I looked down the hallway to see an elderly lady all alone and many others who do not have the same chance for good health care. It saddens me greatly. I don’t know how we, as Christians, can stand by and not participate in fighting for those that cannot fight for themselves. I know where Jesus would have been in this picture. He would have been fighting for the widow all alone and those that were stuck without another option. I’m still struggling with what role I played. I can’t feel good about just getting my friend out of that situation when there are so many others that were left as we drove away.

In an effort to streamline information and link things together, my blog now has a new home! I hope you will check back often! I have also posted new photos of our Merge Annual Meeting in Mexico. Check them out!People I like to hang with!

Sometimes it is easy for me to get discouraged about my comprehension level of Spanish. When I first arrived in the DR, I had a few people in particular that were very helpful in getting the necessities…like my phone, electricity, etc. This time around, however, I decided for better or worse, I needed to try to do it on my own. I figure it is the only way I am going to learn. Well, I have to say, it has been a great few weeks of showing my progress! I have battled it out with the electric company 2 different times in 2 weeks, had to talk with my cell phone company about my voicemail and have had plumbers in and out of my house for 3 days now. I even stopped the unfortunate demolition of my wall before it happened the day before my party! As silly as it sounds, it feels good to be able to look back at these events and say, “I did it!” I have electricity, my voicemail is fixed and my plumbers are almost finished! I have decided, however, I do not need more tests of my Spanish abilities in the area of home improvements, however…at least for now.

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