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!

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.