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Over the Mountains & Through the Burning Road Blocks....
You know how things tend to get a little crazy during the holiday season?  Well, ours started a bit earlier than normal this year and I am not really sure when it's going to let up.  Any one or two of the things that are filling our calendar, by themselves, wouldn't be overwhelming but looking at the big picture tends to make my stomach clench up as if I am preparing to take a punch.  I am constantly reminding myself to take a step back, breathe deeply, relax and focus on what today holds- not worrying about tomorrow- heck, not "worrying" at all!  It seems like I've read that somewhere before.
 
I (Jeff) just returned from Haiti the day after Thanksgiving.  We took a group of 18 to Jacmel to connect with the ministry work there and it was a great trip.  Every trip to Haiti is different from the ones before.  You never know what to expect and the rules are always changing.  This trip was certainly no exception.  The biggest challenge this time around was a series of manifestations (aka protests) throughout the city.  The local population was angry at the police due to a history of not responding when called.  This recent flare up happened after a child was kidnapped (he has since been rescued and returned, praise God) and his uncle killed in a gun fight against the kidnappers.  The incident lasted for over an hour and the police were called many times but never came to the rescue.  The anger and frustration of the people boiled over and they took to the streets blocking roads, burning tires, and marching in the hundreds down the main streets of Jacmel.  And while none of this was aimed at us visitors, it still hampered our ability to get from where we were to where we needed to be.  I shouldn't really say where we needed to be, because along the way it seems that God had us right where He wanted us to be.  One particular day we ended up getting blocked from returning to Pastor's house, so we detoured into a local hotel to regroup and refresh with a cold drink.  While we were there we met up with another group that was conducting vision screenings and giving out glasses.  They needed a translator, and we just happened to have a French speaking student (Abbi Fryer) in our group.  She jumped right in and translated for over an hour until all the patients had been examined and outfitted with some proper eyewear!

Blessings in Chaos

Throughout the week, the call to worry was ever present but so was the call to serve.  Due to the manifestations, school was canceled for the week and while this is normally an inconvenience this particular week it allowed our group to spend even more time building relationships with the children of New Life Children's Home.  We were able to take the kids to the beach one day, we played soccer with the boys another day and the girls got a spa day, complete with manis and pedis.  We even had a couple movie nights with Finding Nemo and the Narnia movies.  We ended our time there with a BBQ dinner and dancing- which is becoming the hallmark of our student trips.  I parted with the group halfway through their return trip home and met up with Tammi and the kids in Alabama where we shared a belated Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday and spent Sunday driving back up to Sawyer, MI.  

Tammi is in full swing trying to pull together some semblance of a traditional Christmas for the kids, but we really don't have any traditions, per se.  As we look back, we have been on the move for the past 8 years or so and every year we are in a different place.  Emily and Elliott have some memories of being in one place for a while, but the Edison and Eva have only known our nomadic lifestyle.  We are hoping that our next move will afford us some stability and permanence.  Which leads me back to our schedule.

Upcoming Events

12/15 - 12/20
Vison Trip to Costa Rica
San Jose

1/17 - 1/23
Christmas in January
New Life Children's Home
Jacmel, Haiti

Our Upcoming Vision Trip

We will be heading to Costa Rica on December 15th for a vision trip and to meet the ReachGlobal team on the ground in San Jose!  We have a list of things we are interested in exploring, everything from schools to grocery stores, but after having lived in Haiti, I am not too concerned about having problems with the infrastructure and amenities there.  We are really excited!  One thing we would ask for specific prayer is the financing of this trip.  Thankfully, Tammi and I seem to be naturally wired to be thrifty (or cheap, depending on your perspective).  I like to call it financially conservative.  This pattern throughout our marriage has enabled us to finance some of our ministry steps along the way.  Our trip to Costa Rica is no exception, but has tapped us out financially- for the time being- as we had to cash out an old life insurance policy (which we were blessed to have purchased back in the day when we had something called "disposable income").  We would like to simply share the costs associated with this trip and ask you to prayerfully consider contributing a special gift to cover some of these costs, knowing full well that God will provide as He sees fit.  If you would like to partner with us in covering these costs you can find directions for on-line giving and via check by clicking here.
 
The total budget for this trip is estimated to be about $5,000, and breaks down like this:
  • $4,100 for 6 round trip airline tickets from O'Hare to San Jose, Costa Rica
  • $500 for 6 people for 5 days at the AMCA Guest House in San Jose
  • $170 for 6 exit taxes
  • $200 for taxis for 5 days
  • $100 for 2 taxi trips from airport to guest house and return to airport
     Total:  $5,070

We would also like to ask for you all to be in prayer about a few things for us.

  • Please pray that we are focused on what God has for us to do and not to be distracted and worry.
  • Help us to be bold in seeking partnerships in our ministry work and effective in communicating the need.
  • Pray that Emily, Elliott, Edison, Eva, (and even Tammi and I) are strengthened and encouraged through this time of transition.
  • We pray for direction, wisdom, and discernment as we seek out God's leading on our lives each day.
  • Praise for God's continued provision and sustaining of our family.
 
I know I don't say it enough to each of you who support our ministry work, but thank you for your sacrifice and generosity.  We do lift you up in prayer and thank God for His provision through each of you.  We are reminded each day of our dependence on Him and it is a humbling place to be.  Thank you for allowing us this blessing.

Jeff, Tammi
Emily, Elliott, Edison, and Eva

 
 

Copyright © 2012 Jeff and Tammi Brown / ReachGlobal, All rights reserved.
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