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!