2 Haiti 4 Him

The Heckman family serving the Lord in Haiti at Emmaus Biblical Seminary

Thursday, August 29, 2013

One Week Anniversary!

So today is our one week anniversary of our arrival in Haiti!  I can't believe how quickly time has flown by!  In my last post I gave you a little tour of the house, but now I want to share with you a little more of a taste of our life here so far!

On Tuesday night, we were invited to the home of our field director, Brett Bundy. We were served a wonderful meal and had a great time with him and his wife Angie and their beautiful children!

Here you see Ethan playing a game of Dutch Blitz with the Bundy kids and some of their Haitian friends...

and Haylie and Christina  (their youngest) playing a game of Memory... a favorite of mine as a kid!

Chapel service on Wednesday was great!  Led by Bill Edler, a visiting professor teaching Intro to the New Testament (and also staying with us!)...  it was a great message from 1 Timothy 3 on the qualifications of a church leader...

Our lunches each day are made by the amazing kitchen staff here at the seminary!  We really love Haitian food and have enjoyed trying new things... even Ethan!!!

A typical Haitian meal here is rice and beans, or a corn mush, with bean sauce or Creole sauce, sometimes plantains or beets,  and "meat" (we don't know... and we don't ask!)... 

whatever it is- it's GOOD!

Today we had a very productive day!  

Ethan has been our weed puller and has been doing a GREAT job!!!  He started out doing the job alone...

 But quickly found some other little girls who were excited to lend a helping hand!  Lily, Biga and Sophie were more than eager to join in the fun...

And other friends joined in too!  (And Ethan certainly didn't mind the extra hands helping out :)

Haylie has been fabulous around the house and while I went to meet with the student life team to plan worship for tomorrow, she finished the dishes, cleaned the floors, made tea, folded the rest of the laundry AND placed it on all of our beds for me!!!  Isn't she WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

Today I also got tables cleaned and the porch set up and ready for my first opportunity to serve food to the visiting professors this Saturday for breakfast.  (Stacey totally blessed me- like I mentioned before, but HAVE to mention again- with meals taken care of for us this entire week!!!)

It has been great to be able to not have to stress about cooking dinners this week and has really given us a time to breathe and settle in...  now I am ready to jump in and start doing what I LOVE :)

Aside from going with me to meet with the student life team for chapel tomorrow, Phil has been HARD at work doing what he is SO extremely gifted at doing... making things look beautiful!

With some great hired help, Phil planned out some much needed landscaping and they went to work...

and the building went from this...

to this... 

in just a few hours!!  

 Shade that will help keep rooms cooler and offer more privacy to this home and beauty to the campus!  

The highlight of my day though, would have to be, the lovely spider that decided to sneak into the house with one of the tables...  my first "large-bug kill" since we arrived...  and I am certain, will NOT be my last.  (Unfortunately this picture does not show how big this thing REALLY was!!!)

Tonight we are getting ready to head over to the Ayars house for a VERY special, one-week anniversary celebration!  Cokes and popcorn and a movie night is in store, and I am already late for the occasion!   But wanted to make sure that I shared our day with you before I go...  and one last picture...

While walking to the chapel today, I had to take this picture... this is from our very first mission trip to Haiti back in 2011, when we put in the cement walkway. Ethan, Haylie and Lily all placed their hands in the soft concrete before it dried.  

It took me back to that moment, to that trip, when God was calling us to come here and to serve the people of Haiti.  Emotions flood back when I think of His faithfulness to us through these last two years, of His provision to get us here, of His love for those who need the Gospel, and of His heart to expand His Kingdom through His people here in Haiti.   

Seeing those names etched into that walkway reminds me of Isaiah 49:16,

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."

THAT is how much He loves us... and He desires for us to share that love with the world!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Wonderful Haiti Welcome!

We are HERE!!!!

We arrived in Haiti on Thursday afternoon of last week and now, after 5 days, we are officially unpacked, settled in, and getting into a routine! Here are some pictures of our NEW home!

A peak inside...
Our living room, dining room and work space...

Our AWESOME hospitality-friendly kitchen!!!

Haylie and Ethan in their room

When we arrived we found out that Stacey (EBS missionary, neighbor, and friend!) blessed us with evening meals for an entire week!!! Our fellow missionaries here at EBS and at the Vaudreil campus are taking care of us and feeding us WELL!!!   The inside of our house had also been freshly painted, the fridge stocked with Cokes and some other necessities :), and an order of produce arrived the next day! We have yet to be hungry and are feeling welcomed beyond words!  SOOO thankful for the Ayars family and for the MANY other people who have been and are still making this a very special arrival!

On Saturday we jumped right in!  We had our EBS staff retreat in the morning.  It was a great time to hear the vision of the seminary, to get to know the employees and to have Matt introduce us and share about what we will be doing.  After retreat, Cammie (my other neighbor and fellow EBS missionary!) took me along for a trip to some local grocery stores... which was lots of fun!  The visiting professors arrived and settled in as well and we all ate dinner together at the Ayars home- ANOTHER delicious meal! It was a great day!

Sunday we went to church in Cap Haitien and then to a hotel for lunch and some time around the pool together.  It was a great time of relaxing and rest for the coming week of activities!

This is inside the church service in Cap Haitien.  Vilmer, the VP of Emmaus Biblical Seminary and pastor of the church, is sharing before one of the graduates from Emmaus comes to give the message.

Monday morning Phil started right in on maintenance stuff around the house and some landscaping outside.  I organized our homeschooling supplies (school for the kids begins next week!), worked on some language studying (A HUGE PRAYER REQUEST is for us to QUICKLY learn the language!), and did some more laundry and odds and ends around the house!  We also headed over for the first chapel of the school year...  a great opportunity to meet students, try to pick up some more Creole, and spend time in worship!

The students enjoyed playing Ethan's drum set (you can kind of see it in the back right corner!) and led a great time of worship!

And yesterday afternoon Ethan and Lily (as well as all of the other kids here!) had a BLAST in the sprinkler that Phil set up!  The Gross Family also stopped by for tutoring and the kids had a great time (as always) with their new and very special friends! [We also had an AMAZING dinner with the Grosses at their new home in Vaudreil (the other OMS campus) on Friday evening.  Melissa made delicious fajitas and Steve made some awesome homemade taco sauce!  We spent some time catching up after being away from each other since Indiana- we had LOTS to talk about!  It was a great time for both kids and adults!  We are SO going to enjoy getting together with them here in Haiti!]

It has been a FABULOUS 5 days here in Haiti.  We are SO excited to get started in ministry and to see all that God has in store.  Yesterday, as Phil was reading in his devotion time, a verse popped right off the page that has been stuck in my mind ever since he shared it with me.  I wrote it on our marker board in the kitchen and have read it over and over again... and every time it brings me to tears.  I will leave you with this verse, as it has become so special...  and a constant reminder of why we are here!

Proverbs 25:25- "Like cold water to a weary soul is Good News from a distant land"

THIS is why we have come...  2Haiti4Him

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Goodbye New Jersey...

This past week we said goodbye to New Jersey... and today is 4 days until we leave for Haiti!

I knew it was going to be hard to say goodbye... but I had NO idea it would be THAT hard.

When you have lived in the same state for over 30 years, and you have an AMAZING family, church, community and group of friends that you have built deep relationships with over the course of those years, one might expect that this day would be a difficult one...

and yet I STILL was not prepared for the emotions that poured (and are still pouring) out of my heart and my eyes!

We are in awe of the amount of love and support that has been shown to us since the beginning!  From the prayers and financial partnerships, to the gifts and words of encouragement, to the hugs and tears, and beyond- we are SO VERY blessed!

Below are some pictures that capture our last day in New Jersey!

 The moving gang all ready to get some work done!

The Sharptown Church staff popped over for a surprise visit!  LOVE them LOTS!!

Phil and I with Frankie, Maddy and Erika... hanging' in the moving truck!

Phil loading up some of the last few boxes!

Friends doing some heavy lifting!!

A Job Well Done!

 A well deserved relax time by the Burnley Pool...

And a wonderful meal too!!!

A final visit with GG before we left... emotional and special time!

We also had a wonderful time with friends this week, meeting for dinner, laughing and hugging and crying, spending time reminiscing about all the fun times we have had together over the years, and just enjoying each others company!

With all of this being said...

YES it is difficult to move away from what's comfortable...

Yes it has been EXTREMELY emotional to leave behind friends and family...

YES we will miss everyone SO MUCH...

but in the same breath I can say this...

God calls us to do what's uncomfortable sometimes... but He does it for His Glory and His purposes, and we can trust that it's best for us when He does...

God's heart is broken for those who have yet to hear His saving message and He gifts each one of us in order that we may share His love with others... and He has called us to go and leave it all behind for their sake...

We KNOW that all of the emotions of the last few days and weeks are not in vain, but for a much deeper purpose than we can even imagine, and we praise Him in advance for what He will do in the next few years!

So here are a few prayer requests that we have...

Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we spend our last few days with my mom and dad and Phil's mom here in Florida- this goodbye will be our final one before we board the plane for Haiti...

Also pray for safe travels as we fly, for a quick and problem-free experience in customs, and for us to quickly adjust to our new home so that we can begin to do the ministry God is calling us to do!

The next time you hear from us we will be in Haiti.. I can't believe it is finally a reality!!

Love you all so much and thankful that you are journeying with us...

2 Haiti 4 Him!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why Are You Afraid?

So today marks 18 days before we depart for Haiti....  Can you believe it?  We leave in less than 3 weeks!

When I think about our upcoming transition, and the events of the past few days, I am reminded of a message that I recently heard at a Group Workcamp being held at Delanco Camp this past June. As we get set to depart, and head off to a place where darkness is much more prevalent, I cannot think of a more appropriate message than this one!

This year's theme for the Group Workcamps all across the country and internationally is this:

Not only did they present this question throughout the week to the campers, but they also focused on different questions each night that centered on this theme.

This particular night the question was, "Why Are you Afraid?"

I slipped into the back of the service as the speaker was teaching the evening session in the tabernacle. He was teaching from Matthew 8:23-27, when Jesus calms the storm...

Scripture tells us that Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and while they were on the water, a great storm arose and the boat was being overcome by waves.... and as all of this was happening, Jesus was asleep!  The disciples ran to wake Him up and said to Jesus, "Save us Lord; we are perishing."

Jesus responds by saying these words:

"Why are you afraid...?"  

I had never thought much about this response until I sat in the tabernacle at Delanco that night...

After listening to the message that night I realized that this question is SO poignant!  You see, Jesus didn't ask His disciples WHAT they were afraid of...  He didn't ask them to explain WHAT was going on when they woke Him out of sleep... He simply asked them WHY?

It didn't matter WHAT was going on around them that night... the details surrounding their fears were NOT important....

What mattered was WHO was in their presence...

WHO was with them during that storm...

Jesus asked them WHY they were afraid, because they had NO reason to be- they were in the presence of JESUS!

It doesn't matter what it is that we are facing, or what struggle we are going through...

NO matter what it is that seems to be against us or before us... we don't have to be afraid!  The WHATS of this life pale in comparison to the ONE who can calm the wind and the waves, the ONE who has defeated sin and death!

I LOVE the words to Chris Tomlin's song- Whom Shall I Fear?...  They speak so clearly to the truth of Scripture...

As we face trials and difficulties and struggles, and as we feel fear or worry creep in...  we need to remind ourselves that we have no need to fear, our God is in control!

Here are the lyrics to that song (emphasis added by me!)...

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It CAN NOT hide the Light
Whom shall I fear?

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear?

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of Angel Armies
Is ALWAYS by my side
The One Who reigns forever 
He is a friend of mine 
The God of Angel Armies 
Is ALWAYS by my side 

My strength is in Your Name
For You alone can save
You WILL deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

And NOTHING formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hand
I'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful!

My prayer is that I will always remember this truth-  that the God of Angel Armies goes before us and stands behind us, that He is faithful and He is ALWAYS at our side as we go...  2 Haiti 4 Him!