Second Mile Haiti

Welcome to our blog! This is a place for us to keep friends and supporters up-to-date with the latest 'Second Mile' happenings! Check in often. Things are moving fast!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Helpful Tips

Welcome to Web Week everyone! In our last week and a half before heading back to Haiti we wanted to focus on our communication through the wonderful, and sometime all-encompassing World Wide Web. If you're like us, you probably find this social media thing is tricky. But hopefully these tips will help make things a little easier. 

Email Notifications for the Blog:
We wanted to make sure you have the opportunity to be notified each time we post something new to our blog. This is a new feature we just added today! To the left of this post just enter your email address where you see "Follow by email."

And/Or if you're already a Blogger user you can choose to "Join this Site." Even if you have no idea what I'm talking about you can still choose to join this site and have your picture displayed over there on the left if you have a Gmail or a Yahoo email account. Just make sure you also sign up to follow by email so that you don't miss a post. 

Monthly newsletter:
This is an easy one. Head to our website,, and enter your email address way up there in the right hand corner. You'll get a digital copy of our newsletter right there in your inbox each month. :) 

Big time Facebook user? 
We've got good news. Log in to Facebook and find our page by searching for Second Mile Ministries or, head to our website, and click the Facebook icon on the home page. 
"Like" our Facebook page and you'll receive Second Mile Ministries updates in your newsfeed. Phewww. 

Addicted to Twitter. 
I hate to say it, but we're not. Not yet anyway.. but we hope to be in the future. Still, you can follow us on Twitter and we'll try to entertain ya'll with a tweet from time to time. 

Post and Re-post! 
We've made it easy for you to tell your friends... on just about every page on our website you can choose to Share the content by clicking one of these icons. It's easy to post to Facebook, Twitter, or to email your friends!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Two weeks...

Preparing for Haiti is different this time...

Our backpacks are getting lighter and lighter as the days countdown.

As we select only what's really necessary.

Everyone keeps asking what will you do when you first get there..

Well, we have a plan. But we know that our "plan" could change a hundred times.

And let's be real, we don't want to follow our plan anyway. God's plan is where it's at.

All we know is that we are packing A LOT of oatmeal.

I think we've been gearing up for the trip of a lifetime.

Amy and I were incredibly blessed by the place where we were formerly volunteers- the place where God prepared us for...what's next. If I was a struggling Haitian mom I wouldn't want my baby cared for anywhere else. If I was an adoptive mom, I wouldn't want to my baby to be waiting for me anywhere else.

The amenities at Children of the Promise allow the children there to receive the best care available. Easily the nicest orphanage in Northern Haiti, Children of the Promise runs like a well-oiled machine.

We hope to be there someday. Maybe one day we'll have 24-hour power, a reliable water supply, and a roost full of chickens.

But who knows what bumpy roads we'll have to traverse before we get there. We're ready for whatever God has in store for us. Our food, our housing, our His hands. We could be bunking it, eating oatmeal, and riding taxi motos for a long time.
But hot showers and fancy things were never that important to us anyway.

In a way, this is the path we've always desired. We love the thrill of seeing God work with the bare minimum of what we have to offer...ourselves.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We hope you've had a truly special holiday weekend and enjoyed whatever combination of exciting and relaxing suits your fancy.

We just wanted to share some of our Holiday Highlights.

The greatest gift!

Joe and Tina Atkinson, who have already been key players in the beginnings of Second Mile Ministries, gave us this awesome Gift Set of Mai Thai Exotic Coffee. They recently connected with Abundant Life Foundation, a group in Thailand that has really figured out how to do Coffee... with a Mission. Here's how...

"Coffee farmers are treated fairly so they can develop their farms and properly care for their families. Coffee growing communities are being developed trough Mai Thai's social development programs; developing hygiene, sanitation and education for children. Consumers are treated to an excellent grade of 100% Specialty Grade Arabica coffee at a fair price. Best of all, as you drink Mai Thai Coffee you are helping to provide a home and education for orphans and at risk children... Proceeds support work with children in Thailand through Abundant Life Foundation."

This coffee is delicious, reasonably priced, fair trade, and best of all is helping these at risk children in Thailand. Head on over to the Mai Thai website to see for yourself! This gift box, priced at $25, is a perfect gift for any occasion. Thanks Joe and Tina!

Jenn's favorite present...

A brand new leather Bible that's been Pre- Duct taped to prevent future wear and tear. I don't know what she plans to do with this precious book that requires such heavy-duty protection, but Tie-dye was her special request...

Favorite Christmas Song:

Oh Holy Night...hands down. Is anyone else with me in thinking that this make for a great worship song anytime of the year? I can't think of better words the Joy of Christmas.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is
love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Highlight of our weekend:

I know that today is Christmas and yesterday was Christmas Eve and everything but I'm afraid the best day of our weekend was Friday. Friday, the day we arrived at the post office only seconds before closing time and mailed a very important application to the Internal Revenue Service. Again, thanks to Miss Tina, we were able to file form 1023 in hopes of attaining 501(c)3 tax-exempt status with the IRS.

Now, it's a waiting game. It could be weeks, maybe months, before we receive the letter that grants us this status. But let's pray that it's weeks, not months. ;)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

an honest humanitarian

Hope, and this story, are what crossed my mind several times as we traveled around Tennessee and North Carolina.

Hope. When you first head to a place like Haiti you have nothing but hope. You hope for every child to be healed, you hope for every person to have a job, you hope for every soul to be saved. You have a mindset that you believe you will change the world. In fact, you might even set your ringtone to "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer just a couple months before you take off for your journey.

Last September in Haiti, I can remember a short time where maybe I lost sight of "hope."

Amy and I were in the pharmacy drawing up meds when Renkins walked in and said that a plane had crashed. Amy walked in and said, "did you hear a plane has crashed"? I said yes that's what Renkins said, and then it finally registered. What do you do when you hear a plane has crashed? We finally decided we would go and check out the scene and see if there was anything we could do. We brought bandages and a first aid kit. I guess none of us really could have known what to expect.

So we got in the truck and headed about 1/2 mile down the road. I guess I have never really witnessed a "real" lightning storm. This wasn't a lightning storm where you saw a lightning bolt here and there in the sky and think it's pretty. No. We saw lightning hitting the ground everywhere.

We finally reached a point in the road where we thought the plane might have crashed. Several people were gathered around a footpath entering into a sugarcane field. Amy had decided that she would stay in the truck due to her fear of lightening. I laughed at her then, but in hindsight maybe she was the smart one.

Nikki and I began making our way into the sugarcane field. People had already cleared a path with their machetes. Walking through the field I didn't know what to think. I couldn't have imagined what I was about to stumble on.

After ten minutes of walking though the broken sugar cane, with water up to my knees I finally reached the scene. I could see only part of the propeller but otherwise the plane was in pieces scattered across the field. I saw people scavenging for different pieces of the plane, luggage, and just anything and everything they could get their hands on.

I started to recognize some of the Haitians, and they preceded to tell me that my friends were over there. They pointed out in the distance. I was confused because I knew Nikki and Amy were behind me. One Haitian decided to grab my hand and tug me over to the other side of the plane. That's when I saw things that I will never be able to get out of my head. That's when I saw a scene I hope no one ever has to see. Three bodies. Three barely recognizable bodies.

I can't describe how I felt that moment. But, all I know is that it felt normal.

But, surely you shouldn't feel normal upon seeing a site like that.

You're right. It's not normal. Not normal at all.

If we're honest, we all lose hope all the time. In Haiti it's just really really easy to become hopeless.

Death is witnessed all the time. Food is scarce. Jobs are non-existent. Plane crashes happen.

But last time I checked Jesus Christ, God's son, came to this earth to live and die for us in order to bring us fullness in Him. He is our hope. Who are we to circumstantially become hopeless?

I think a burnt out humanitarian may have seen my early enthusiasm and labeled me naive.

But lets be honest, my attitude proved that I was "the burnt out humanitarian."

Thankfully, I have a faithful friend that graciously reminds me that because He came, it's not naive
to hope for healing for every child
to hope for every person to have a job
and to hope for every soul to be saved.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Let the good news roll.

We needed to write this say it's long overdue is an understatement.

In the past three weeks we've practically traveled all over the country sharing the vision of Second Mile Ministries but we haven't told you one single thing about it!

We really pulled out all the stops in order to visit people we love and connect with others who have shown some excitement about our new venture. Combined, we (Jenn and Amy) spent time in 7 states, boarded 8 airplanes, and spent a total of 27 hours on a bus. All for the love of Haiti! (and our sweet friends at each of these destinations of course).

Prior to this trip we were stationed in Tucson, AZ and had spent most of our time tackling the logistical side of starting an organization. We teamed up to accomplish time consuming tasks like researching other ministries, creating a business plan, drafting project proposals, and estimating budgets. We created a web hosting account, chose a website design theme, experimented newsletter templates, and spent hours writing content for the website. We even attended a seminar on mission-focused house parties. Most importantly, we submitted to the State of Arizona the application to become a non-profit entity. I'm overjoyed to announce that our Articles of Incorporation were approved and have since been published. What does all this mean you ask? Well, basically, Second Mile Ministries officially exists! We are now legally recognized as a not-for-profit organization by the State of Arizona and are eligible to apply for tax exempt (501c3 status) with the IRS. This designation also meant that we had all the documents we would need in order to open a bank account and begin depositing Second Mile funds into this location. This was a huge step for our fundraising efforts and we couldn't wait to check-off this milestone. I arrived in Arizona on Monday and Jenn landed in Tucson on Tuesday of this week. First thing Wednesday morning we were sitting across from a bank clerk engaged in a beautiful exchange of paperwork, identification, and cold-hard cash. We were able to deposit all of the money that you've donated to date and transfer all contributions that were made via paypal into this account. We are thrilled to now be able to accept checks made out to Second Mile Ministries. We took a picture outside the bank to prove it,'s not the prettiest of shots so we'll spare you.

We can also breath a big sigh of relief, and shout out a big Thank You, now that our website is up and running. We learned quickly that web design was not our strong suite. I tried to pretend otherwise when I tore into an 880 page copy of Word Press for Dummies. Jenn tried to manage by watching You Tube tutorials but ultimately we didn't get very far before a talented friend stepped in to save the day.

Yikes, how much good news is too much for just one blog post?!

I'm going to assume that you can handle a few more positive stories, and keep writing.

Jenn and I split up at the start of our trip. While she headed to Texas, the first stop on my itinerary was my hometown Morgan Hill, California. When visiting this small town I am always encouraged by the people at Westhills Community, the church I grew up attending, and all of the family friends that live there. My first night in the area I got a call from my cousin Becky. I had just spent the day with she and her husband in San Francisco and she was calling to ask if by any chance I was available the following morning to speak to a class of 7th graders. Her 12 year old daughter attends a Christian school in Scotts Valley and had announced to her teacher that her cousin from Haiti was coming to visit. The teacher, who coincidently would be finishing up a unit on Poverty and Missions, asked if I might be free to come speak to the class the following day. My friend could overhear the conversation as my cousin retold this story over the phone. She quickly offered up a spare vehicle which was enough to seal the deal. What a privilege it was to speak to such formidable minds. They're at the age where what they hear and experience has a powerful impact on the foundation of their lives. I have proof to back up that statement! I'm convinced that my first mission trip at age 11 is what started this crazy journey. At a young age I learned that I was living in a pretty big world with some pretty big problems, but that the same God I prayed to was ministering to people in utter poverty and providing for their needs. What's more, I got to experience that love and be a part of it. I was hooked!

I admire this 7th grade teacher for teaching her students about the world, for showing them how they can give of themselves, and for giving them examples of great missionaries who have responded to God's call. This class will be taking a mission trip to Mexico at the end of the year. I hope it is for them what it was for me.

Life changing.

While in Scotts Valley I also had the privilege of stopping in to see my Grandmother, Kathryn Syres, age 96. She didn't know I was coming and when I swung by her home and called 'Hello' from the bottom of the stairs all I could hear was pure delight in her voice. Those of you who've ever done anything risky know what it's like to have a family member's approval on something that might not make sense to most. It's priceless. Lucky us, G-ma approves 100%.

I sense that this post is long enough for now but we have so much more to share. Stayed tuned for more on how God provided for Second Mile Ministries during the rest of our trip. More on Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, etc in Part 2 or.....3.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Houston we have a WEBSITE!

Ladies and Gentlemen! I have big news. We have a website and it's officially ready for your viewing pleasure.

Sorry we've been on the quiet side the last few weeks.
I promise a new blog post is just around the corner.

In the meantime check out our website. You might be familiar with some of the content from reading this blog. But it has a lot of new info as well. Such as..

New ways to get involved
A statement of faith...
And more!

Let us know what you think of the new site!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why twelve?

Many people have asked us why 12? Why do you plan to only take in 12 mothers at a time? It's a good question.

Let me start to answer it by saying this..

Our mission is two-fold. We know that in Haiti children are hungry and babies are dying. One in eight children will die before the age of five. And 50% of children are malnourished. We known that. We've seen it. For a year and a half we lived it and breathed it. I blogged about it here. It's an urgent need. Trust me, there's not always a lot of time to beat around the bush. With kids, there's simply not a lot of time...

We also know that mothers and fathers are desperate for work. Haiti boasts an unemployment rate of 70%. Can you even imagine? This means that not only are you without a job, but your mother and father, your sister, your other sister, your husband, and your neighbor also do not have an income. Just think about how hard life seems when the market takes a little dip. Losing your job can feel like life has come crumbling down and is threatening to suffocate you beneath the rubble. But imagine perpetually living beneath the rubble, never getting the chance to breath easily, never going a day without having to fight for your life and for those of your starving children. Really, can you imagine?

We know them.

We've cried with them, struggled with them, we've sat, staring blankly at a wall with them when there just doesn't seem to be any way to fix it. We've had to say far too many times, "no, I'm sorry I don't have a job for you. But I'll remember you. I'll pray for you. I understand." Saying this always killed me.

Since when is I'm sorry good enough?
And I understand?? Is it even possible for me to really understand what is like to have a starving child??? Really.

I might not understand what your life is really like but I do
understand that it's not your fault. It's not your fault that your country is situated in a hurricane belt and your mud and stick home crumbles every year, it's not your fault that the Earthquake has left you handicapped and homeless, it's not your fault that your family was too poor to send you to school, that rioters killed your father, that mosquitos make you their prey, and that systems that don't work have left you feeling powerless and confused.

So how do you go about conveying to someone who undeniably feels incapable, a failure, small, and scared that they are capable, loved by God, important, and powerful.

Relationship and opportunity.

So why 12? We know that in this work its the people and the process that are important. Not so much the numbers and not so much a long list of success stories. When the focus is placed on the projects and the products we've missed the point. When we're stretching ourselves too thin and focusing on the masses we're headed down a dangerous path one that ends in burnout and disappointment. And we don't want that. What we do want is healthy babies and women that feel loved and noticed. We're investing our time and energy into just 12 pairs at a time believing that God will bring them into victorious living. Our method isn't fool proof. Every situation is different. But with God all things are possible. Can I get an amen?

We were presenting our vision to a friend and got to the part about building accommodations for 12 mother/child pairs. He was smiling but he probed further. "Why twelve?" he asked. We gave our answers not knowing if we were giving the right ones. We respected his opinion and at this point couldn't tell if he thought we'd made a mistake on this point. At the same time, he was looking at us as if he couldn't wait to announce that Christmas was coming a week early. "You know that's significant, right?" He continued. "Just think of how many disciples Jesus had!" he said enthusiastically.


Jesus had twelve disciples. He knew the importance of investing in the few. His relationship with them led to knowledge, confidence in Him, and the power of the Holy Spirit. And then he sent them out to reach the nations.

These 12 beds will fill up. Then, one by one they will go out. They'll return to
their communities. They will reach Haiti.

And then Si Bondye vle, the beds will fill up again.

*Here are some other posts you might be interested in related to the life of a mom in Haiti and a story of survival. **Country statistics were taken from the Department of State, World Food Program, and Pure Water for the World. ***Si Bondye vle = if God wills

Monday, November 14, 2011

And we're off...

Well, it's been an eventful three weeks in Tucson, AZ. We have had the opportunity to meet some really awesome people, fostering some potential partnerships with Second Mile!

We just want to thank everyone for your words of wisdom, prayers, and donations. Thank you for putting your trust in Amy and I and especially your trust in what Second Mile will become.

In the next couple weeks we will be crazy busy traveling to different places in the United States. If you are in any of these areas we would love to meet up with you! Also, if you know of someone we should connect with in any of these places, let us know. And if we aren't coming to your town, yet you'd be interested in hosting us at your home church we'd love to hear from you.

Nov 17th-22nd -Bay Area/Silicon Valley, CA San Francisco, San Jose, Morgan Hill (Amy)

Nov 17th-20th - Hobbs, NM (Jenn)

Nov 20th-26th-Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (Jenn, with Amy joining later in the week)

Nov 26th-Dec 2nd -Knoxville, TN (Jenn and Amy)

Dec 3rd-Dec 5th - Blue Ridge, North Carolina (Jenn and Amy)

We also want to use this post to announce that through your donations we have raised enough money to purchase a vehicle for Haiti. Our hopes are to find a truck somewhere in Tennessee or North Carolina and then head to Florida by way of Georgia. We have learned quickly that we're not operating according to our own plans, rather we're on a divine path and we don't always know the next turn. We're very aware that these dates aren't set in stone! I was told recently that there is something wrong when God is your co-pilot. We don't want that!

We are also still very open to that fact that someone may have a truck they would like to donate to Second Mile! Feel free to contact us if that is the case. :)

As we have mentioned in previous posts our next fundraising goal is to raise enough money to purchase a plot of land in Haiti. This will be the site of our House of Hope for the mothers and sick infants. This will also be where Amy and I live after a portion of the building project is complete. Based upon visiting potential sites and speaking with land owners before leaving Haiti, we've set a goal of $10,000. Please spread the word if you know of others that would be interested in contributing to this mission.

And now for the boring portion of our status update. We are still plugging away at the non-profit paperwork in hopes of becoming a registered 501(c)(3) organization within the next few months. Oh, and our website is almost complete.

Well we can't really conclude a 'where we at' post without briefly mentioning where we've been. While in Tennessee this last week I got to meet with some incredible people, you know who you are. Thank you for being such an encouragement to me. I also want to give a shout out to Aunt Patty and Uncle Mike, Rivaldo's great aunt and uncle. It was an absolute privilege to meet these kind souls and enjoy their hospitality. Aunt Patty connected me with her church High Praises in Maryville, Tennessee. On a moments notice the pastor invited me to share a few words about Second Mile and an offering was collected. I was so amazed by this church's generous giving and words of blessing. God has been bringing some truly amazing people into our lives!

Thanks again everyone!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

They blessed me

They understand.

Maybe they "get it" more than we do.

I remember one day when during their daily time of worship, I was asked to preach or to say a couple words. I remember citing 1 Cor 13. "Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast..." After I read it I told them to replace 'love' with 'God' and to reread the passage. I explained how in is this description of Love we see the nature of God. I prayed for them and then asked if one of the ladies would also pray.

As I listened, these ladies were actually praying for the opportunity to live another day. It was mind blowing to me. I was convicted because even as these ladies were praying my mind was drifting every which way. I was thinking about relationships with people I work with, when my next day off would be, or when I would get rid of a nagging cold. Never have I prayed to live another day.

These people are trusting in God's sovereignty just to get through another day. I realized these ladies have a far greater intimacy with our father than I have experienced in my life.

God used people that were more visibly broken than I, to teach me about my own brokenness. They blessed me.

I say this all because people are always telling me what Haiti needs is a little more God. Sometimes, I even hear people say that Haitians are poor because they are less spiritual than the rest of us.

This upsets me to the core. I have to refrain from shaking people and raising my voice!

-I have been to a church in Cap Haitien where thousands and thousands attend several times a week. They stand outside in the scorching heat without food and water. I have listened to these people praise God for hours!
-Not a week goes by that I am not invited to church, numerous times in fact.
-I have had Haitians pray over me what feels like hundreds of times.
-I can retell countless stories of individuals who have had unfaltering faith through life's toughest trials.

The greatest lesson I have learned is the value of a thankful heart. These people are thankful for everything underneath the sun. You hear it as they pray. Thank you God that you allowed us to arrive here without harm. Thank you God for protecting my children as they are at home and I am here at work. Thank you God for the rice and chicken that we were able to eat today. Thank you for the rain that has watered our land...several minutes go by before they even begin to slow down.

I want to know what it's like to be thankful for everything under the sun.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When doing the impossible, Life is full of miracles.

When you are a part of something that simply can't be carried out by your own strength you will see miracles. When you are doing something that simply can't be done without the power of Christ in you, you'll see 'em- all the time! You just will. I was thinking about this as I was running today.

I used to be able to run long distances. I think fondly of the days when running 6 miles was just "taking it easy" and I'd finish an hour long run without breaking a sweat. But ever since I returned from Haiti this October I've been experiencing the limitations of asthma, a condition I thought I'd outgrown years ago. Now, although I'd like to run longer, after a mile or two the wheezing kicks in. I'm compelled to stop, to focus on just breathing. I took today's asthma invasion in stride, grateful for the reminder that I do have limitations and struck by the truth that in my weakness He is strong.

It's not common to welcome one's weaknesses. Rather, we try to hide them or even hide from them. But embrace your weaknesses for what they are: a gentle yet poignant reminder that all power and glory is found in Christ.

"My grace is sufficient for you" He says, "for power is perfected in weakness."
(2 Corinthians 12:9).

So let me get this straight, God.

My weakness a) allows me to see, in comparison, just how awesome and mighty you are, b) causes me to slip and fall only to experience your grace and love as you lift me up again, and c) allows me to live an EXTRAORDINARY life because of your power in me??

Okay, I'll take 'em.

I think about our current undertaking. If we would have viewed our weaknesses any other way we'd have given up already. But how happy we are to be in a place where we get to experience God's power on a daily basis. Jenn and I are building this project from the ground up. We're starting from nothing. We don't have the credentials. We don't have a nice nest egg to work with. Our bank accounts are scrappy. We're relying solely on God to bring this to pass; to connect us to people who know people who know some other people.

And because of our weakness he brings others with specific strengths, unique skills and the know-how to advance this vision...

...Writers, planners, teachers, friends, pastors, web designers, videographers, encouragers, photographers, senders, supporters, connecters, builders, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, you name it, will all get to be a part of this plan that God is masterfully coordinating behind the scenes and sometime so not-behind-the-scenes that it makes my eyes water. I get excited when I think of all the different people who will play a part in Second Mile Ministries both in Haiti and in the States.

It's so obvious. When something awesome happens, something we couldn't have even dreamed up ourselves on our most clever of days, I know that God is at work and we've witnessed a miracle.

I hope you're experiencing miracles in your life.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Lesson learned

Well we've been up to big things since our last post. There are days where we never get out of our sweat pants and tye die tees but that doesn't mean we aren't working. So much of what we're up to involves researching, networking, and creating online. We've spent so much time behind our computers lately that I might even need to start wearing glasses. This is really the antithesis of our lives in Haiti but this concentrated time of productivity has done wonders. We've had a chance to research and contact some organizations that partner with ministries like ours such as an organization that makes films for non-profits, another that gives small business loans, another that sells t-shirts for awareness and profit. We had some good face to face connections as well...prayer warriors, missionaries with tons of experience, pioneers in sustainable business projects, web design experts, the list goes on and on. Let's just say we've got a lot in the works rights now and we're so in awe of the people that God has placed in our lives at just the right time.

Last weekend we did get to spend some time outdoors. The garage sale we had at Amy's parent's house in Tucson was a success. Several families donated items and the proceeds of the two-day sale have brought us much closer to our goal of purchasing a truck. We had so much fun and so many additional items donates that we've decided to have another garage sale this Saturday.

Shameless plug.

Jenn, working the sales.

After last Saturday's garage sale we jumped full speed into our next fundraiser. The Burrito Sale. We had modest hopes for this event. We got the idea from a church in New Mexico that had this burrito making thing down to a science. In one day they were able to make and deliver 3,000 burritos for a net profit of $6,000. With that as our inspiration we set what we thought was a reasonable goal. We were hoping for a hundred orders. Maybe make about $300...cover the cost of our next plane ticket. We started advertising for our fundraiser at the garage sale and continued to spread the word throughout the week. Amy's mom was a champion for the cause. She runs in so many circles here in Tucson we thought we had a pretty good chance of meeting our goal. She passed out flyers every day, created a facebook event, and even sent out several emails! We planned to buy ingredients Thursday and make and deliver the breakfast burritos on Friday morning. By Wednesday we had no orders. By Thursday morning we had orders from just 2 families and by Thursday night only 2 more. We did our shopping, trying our best not to be discouraged. We had to laugh and hope to break even.

This morning was Friday. We prepared a few things last night but really started cooking at 6 am this morning. This is where I have to give a special shout-out to our dear friend Sarah. We spent Wednesday in Scottsdale with some of our favorite people. Catching wind of our limited cooking knowledge Sarah went to the grocery store and, after cooking a delicious meal for our dinner that evening, Sarah tutored me in everything from scrambling eggs to warming tortillas. You might be thinking aren't people pretty much born knowing how to scramble eggs... Yeah probably. I guess I just haven't done a lot of food preparation in my day. So Sarah, thank you. The burritos, all 21 of them, actually turned out really well.

I tell you this not to tempt you into your kitchen for a late night snack or cause you to feel guilty for not ordering this time around. I tell this story to admit how easy it is for me to get just a little discouraged when things don't go screamingly well. Jenn can attest that I wasn't the calmest person this morning. I really didn't want people to pay us for food that didn't taste good. But I think it was all okay. I think God used this sale to A.) remind me that he knows how much I can handle (note how stressed I was having just four families to please, imagine that x 100!) and B.) remind me that He is in control and has this money-thing totally worked out..

A few hours after we had the Burritos delivered and the kitchen sparkling again...a very special family stopped by to drop off some items for tomorrow's garage sale. She handed me a check, a very sizeable donation, more than we had even hoped to make in our day of burrito sales and said "We believe in what you are doing. It's tiring now. But when the doors open to your place you are going to know that every minute was worth it."

She's totally right.

Every burrito was worth it and every minute that we spend working towards this goal is completely worth it.

Thank you, special family, for what you gave today, worth its weight in both encouragement and gold.

And Thank you God, for one-up-ing us when we set goals that are too small.

Well, we're up early again tomorrow. Just one more thanks to all the families that have been apart of our fundraising efforts these last few weeks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

thoughts from Jenn

While in NM we had some great conversations with Wes and Tonya about faith, vision, and action. Before we left Wes flooded my iPod with some of his favorite Podcasts and gave us a list of his favorite sermons to look forward to.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to agree to listen to sermons on a road trip because I tend to get sleepy. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure I have overactive bladder disease (undiagnosed) and bathroom breaks every 30 minutes can make a sermon series a bit choppy. Much to my surprise, while listening to the energizing words of Steven Furtick not only did I not become sleepy, four hours later I still hadn't stopped to use the bathroom. In fact it was Amy begging me to stop to use the restroom.

In one particular sermon he spoke about how the enemy can use discouragement to slow down or stop what God is trying to do through you. This particular set of sermons hit home to me since this is exactly what we have and will continue to face as we start a new ministry.

Furtick says:

“the enemy is always going to plant a 'why bother' in the face of your 'it’s possible.'”

Why bother?

You have a lot of money to raise. Why bother?
This is a huge project for two girls. Why bother?
It's going to take years before this even gets off the ground. Why bother?
You are so young. Why bother?
Wouldn't you rather just get married? Why bother?

“I think so many people get their dreams chopped off at the neck when they are told why bother.”

I know people think we are crazy. But, what if God put this vision in our hearts…
Even I sometimes tend to laugh at our own vision because I too think we are crazy.
I know this is a BIG dream, but I also know we have a BIG God.

I know we are on the right track since I am believing God for something that is bigger than myself, a vision so big it causes some to laugh and cast their doubts. But if we can push aside the why bother statements and our own doubts and fears, all that's left is a really BIG God and a couple of servants that are ready to make this happen.

“If nobody has laughed at the size of your vision lately then you might not have a vision... you may have a daydream. I want to have a vision so big from God that people laugh when they hear about it. ” Steven Furtick

Mom's on the bandwagon. Garage Sale this Friday!

Well we've arrived in the wonderful state of Arizona, home to the Wildcats, my parents, and some of the world's largest cacti. Jenn and I rented a car and spent the better part of Saturday making our way from New Mexico to Tucson via the desert highways. It was beautiful.

The plan is to stay in Arizona for the next 3 weeks before we set off on a whirlwind trip to CA (amy), TX (jenn), TN, and NC. We're blown away by the opportunities God has set before us to make connections and cast vision. Can't wait to see what He has in store in the Tucson and Phoenix areas.

Speaking of Tucson, if you live in the area would like to either attend or contribute to our Garage Sale here are the dates and times.

Friday and Saturday (October 28th and 29th)

6 A.M. - 2 P.M

5251 W. Desert Falcon Ln.
Tucson, AZ 85742

(Amy's mom, Debby)

If you have any ITEMS that you would like to DONATE to the GARAGE SALE. We will come to your house for pick up at a time that is convenient for you!

Please call 323-901-8211. or email

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meet the Edwards!

Jenn and I have both arrived in Hobbs, New Mexico. We are staying with Wes, Tonya, and Rivaldo Edwards who have and will continue to play a huge roll in the beginnings of Second Mile Ministries, you just haven't met them yet! In fact it was Tonya who chose the name Second Mile. This photo was taken last night after a conference at ChooseLife Church where Tonya is on staff and Wes is the worship leader. Tonya and Wes are probably the most encouraging and generous people you will ever meet. We are all excited to work together to do what God is calling us to do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Steps

One of our first steps as an organization will be to purchase a vehicle. In light of frequent rain storms which render Haiti's roads practically unpassable and our need to transport supplies and the occasional load of friendly church goers, a 4-wheel drive pick-up truck will be vehicle of choice. Toyota models are desirable due to the availability of Toyota parts in-country.

We hope to purchase a used truck in or around Florida as the vehicle will then be shipped via boat to Haiti. However, driving the vehicle to Florida is an option if someone outside the area has such a vehicle for sale, or for gift.

A diesel powered truck is ideal. But gas powered models aren't out of the question.

(photo by Jaclyn Visbeen)

Once this goal is achieved, the search for land will continue with ease and the transportation of building materials to the perspective site can begin!

If you would like to donate specifically for the purchase of a vehicle, please do so here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where we at!

This seems to be the big question. So if you're not in Haiti, where are you?!

Well we arrived in the States two weeks ago today.

I've since spent quality time with my closest college friends in Los Angeles, attended the most beautiful wedding (love you Leah and Armen) in San Diego, got encouraged by visiting some of my APU professors, and went "home" for five fun-filled days with my high school bestie and her husband. Jenn got to chill with some quality friends at Pepperdine. We even had a few days of R & R. Much needed.

I'm writing from the Warnock's home in Morgan Hill which also feels like "home." It would be impossible to recount the number of hours I have spent in this house; church potlucks, play dates as a little girl, youth group nights as a high schooler, car pool pick-up in their drive-way, and even my own baptism in their pool. They opened their spare bed room to me for a few days which gives me the opportunity to reconnect with various people from Westhills Community Church; my church home for eighteen years.

This morning I attended Westhill's worship service. It was great to see familiar faces. Six years has a way of turning the "babies" I once babysat into mature students. I love where this church is at and where they're headed.

It was a privilege to be present for this evening's festivities: a send-off barbeque for the Well's, a missionary family in Cambodia. The potluck dinner was fabulous and the company was enriching.

This trip has been very unplanned which is usually the way I roll. Keeping plans at a minimum has its benefits. I would hate for my agenda to get in the way of God's divine way of connecting people. I wasn't sure if I was going to stay in the area long enough to attend this gathering.

I'm really glad I did.

I enjoyed many really engaging conversations tonight. It's natural for me to be incredibly passionate about Haiti and this effort but when others latch-on to that excitement, now that's energizing!

These next few months are going to be one fun adventure.

Now we can't forget about Jenn! Jenn got to spend the week in Texas with family and friends. At this very moment she's in route to Oklahoma where she will intersect Wes and Tonya and join them for the drive back to their home in Hobbs, NM. If all goes well I will meet up with them Monday. A team huddle is in order.

Thanks to everyone I chatted with tonight. I look forward to the next time we meet!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It's officially time to launch the blog. We've been working on a website for quite a while now and it's taken us this long to realize that we are not website people! We're going to need some professional help. For now, we will do our best to keep everyone up-to-date right here.

You've probably arrived at this site because we've been talking your ear off for the last several weeks, maybe you received one of our raw, unedited emails back in September, or perhaps you caught wind of this new project from a friend who heard from a friend, who heard from a friend. Great! We're so happy that the word is spreading. We couldn't be more excited about the path God is leading us down.

And we want YOU to be involved!

This blog will help you do just that. We'll try to share where we are, what we're doing, and how you can help set this vision in motion.

Be sure to visit The Vision if you haven't already.