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!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Letter

The last two weeks have been interesting to say the least. They have not been easy. I laugh when I see the word "easy." Let’s just say I have grown a lot in the last two weeks. I’m going to process some thoughts through this blog post. Stick with me. 

Two weeks ago we decided it would be a good time to purchase our land. We originally have agreed to lease it for 10 years for a very reasonable price with the option to buy it after the 10 years or renew it for another 10 years for the same amount. Yet it  became very clear to us that if we were going to purchase the land it was going to be now or never. I thought it would be quick and easy. I mean God you’re on my side right? And you want our organization to be placed on this land, right? 

I figured negotiations would be simple. They have been up to this point. And, if God is for us then who could be against us, right?

I picture you all sitting in your chairs shaking your heads. I’m sure you know what’s about to come...and you are probably on the right path with your assumptions. 

The land negotiations have not been easy and they have not worked in our favor. Nothing feels like it has worked.

Amy happened to be in the States during all these negotiations...lucky her. It's okay though. It was perfect timing for her to be in the States since she really doesn’t like negotiations.. or money if we’re being honest. Those things fall under Jenn’s portfolio of roles.


Okay, so back to things not going according to plan.

I was a tad bit angry. Poor sweet Amy received a little bit of my wrath via email. She encouraged me to reach out to the board, and to sit and pray a bit. It’s when you're irritated that you throw back a “what do you think I have been doing all this time?.” But she was right..maybe I hadn’t really been praying or maybe I needed to reach out and ask people to pray for me. 

Do you ever just sit during a bible study or small group and when asked for prayer requests you just sit there? Maybe if you're like me you can think of a thousand other people that need prayer but you would never think to include yourself? That’s me. 

I never thought of reaching out to people and saying, “hey, pray for me. My heart is heavy and it’s so heavy it’s not allowing me to think clearly.

So that’s what I did. 

I contacted the board. I either skyped or called every single one of them from Haiti. Two of the board members prayed over me over the phone, and another sent a Micheal W Smith youtube video of the song “Give it Away.”

You don’t find better board members then that. You really don’t. They were encouraging and uplifting. 

Then I sat down with a not-so-heavy heart and wrote, “The Letter.” It’s literally called “The Letter” in my google docs.

Confession: I got a little help with the grammar.

We are on the precipice of opening the doors of Second Mile Haiti to women and their children, and we couldn’t be more excited. However, we have hit a seeming road block. I say “seeming” because we serve an infinitely powerful and faithful God who has shown up for us over and over again in the past year. Instead of feeling discouraged, I feel excited because I think we are about to see God do something big. And we would love for you to be a part of it!

Unbelievably, it has been almost one year since we came to an agreement on renting the land Second Mile Haiti is building on. It has become absolutely clear to us that the most prudent decision would be to purchase the land. Unfortunately, when dealing with parties from two different cultures, there is the potential for misunderstandings and misperceptions. We want people here in Haiti to know our hearts and to grasp the potential this property has for the surrounding communities. Two weeks ago, we made the decision to purchase the land. Since then, we stopped all work on the land to focus on negotiations. We have met for countless hours in the landowner’s home, in rum distilleries, under mango trees, and even on a pig farm. These meetings have literally lasted from sunrise to sunset. We have been pouring out our hearts and vision for Second Mile Haiti, striving for everyone involved to be on the same page. 

And this is where you come in. In the past year, God has used so many of you to be His hands and feet and provide for the needs of Second Mile Haiti. We couldn’t have come this far without your financial support and your prayers and we are so thankful for you! In the past two weeks, we have reached two conclusions: First, we need help purchasing the land and secondly, we need some major prayer warriors supporting us.

Here's what we need, plain and simple:

In a two week period, we need to raise $15,000 in one-time donations, and we need to find 12 people willing to donate $100/month for one year. It sounds doable and easy when it's broken down. We serve a very big God that makes these numbers seem small.

Prayer warriors we need you too! We need you big time! We need you to pray for people to come into our life and commit to making this goal happen. We need you to pray for these one-time donors and monthly supporters. We need you to pray for our future negotiations and that the people involved in these decisions will see our hearts. We need prayer for guidance and direction at this critical time, especially as we look ahead to these next few exciting months.

I also have another request: Would you consider passing this email on to friends and family that you think might be looking for an opportunity to give? Or to someone else you know who is a faithful prayer warrior? This may be just how God wants to use you.

If you are interested in becoming a monthly donor or giving a one time donation via online then you can do so here.

If you would like to make a donation via check:
Make checks payable to Second Mile Ministries
5251 W Desert Falcon Ln
Tucson, AZ 85742

In two weeks, I will be sending out another email and I can’t wait to report back to you on what God has done. I know that God works powerfully through the body of Christ. Being a “missionary” means you often have to ask for things from people…it can be an uncomfortable position to be in sometimes. However, I am learning that it is when all of us work together as the body of Christ, each using the gifts God has given them, that He works most powerfully through His people. 

Thank you for the encouragement that each one of you are to us!

Jenn Schenk

Amy and I might have had to hold our breath and count 1...2...send when we actually emailed  this letter to a couple of our friends and family. This is not our favorite thing to do. But just as we sent those emails we had response emails come in.

We had people respond that they were praying over the letter and others responded by saying they would pass it along to other people they knew that would be interested. We flat out had people tell us it would a great letter and we were thanked for sending it to them. 


I laugh because I never thought I would be told it was a great letter and I certainly didn't think I would ever be thanked for sending it.

So in just a week's time we have had close to $8,000 come in and 4 more people committed to be monthly supporters. 

AND...drumroll please.

The price of land has decreased.

I guess if I was preaching a sermon this is where I would ask us all to give a hand clap for God. I would hope he gets a standing ovation. I think if we let him in our lives more often we would find ourselves clapping, whistling, and cheering quite often.

So here I am still with a not-so-heavy heart, and I can tell you..

This land stuff just isn't a big deal anymore. It's going to work out.
God just gave another trial to make sure we were giving him all the glory.
He needed people to see how freakin awesome he is in case they forgot.
And he needed to stay the main character in this story.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Small successes aren't so small here.

Small successes aren't so small here.

Today I woke up and started my day by inputting finances and working on payroll. Have I mentioned I love payroll? This time, inputting payroll had a whole different meaning to me. This time I was giving Dadou (our Haitian director/project manager/partner in work life) a check for the 12th time. 12 times means he has been working for a year! Time sure does fly by. He has been at my side every step of the journey. He has been a great teacher the last 12 months. Dadou has invested so much into me. He has taught me how to not get taken advantage of, prices in construction, appropriate creole phases, how to be a good boss to employees, and when it's appropriate to give. It's hard to sum up in one sentence everything he has done for me.  Let's just say he has played a huge role in Second Mile Haiti and all the successes that the organization has had so far.

Anyways, back to what I was saying. Dadou received his 12th check today. In a year Dadou has been able to purchase a motorcycle. This motorcycle has been a blessing to Second Mile Haiti. He has used the motorcycle to transport employees to the land, pick up random materials we need, and to give me rides into town and to the bank. Every time I go to the land his motorcycle isn't there because he is letting someone use it. That's what is so great about Dadou. He knows he has an advantage over most Haitians and instead of gloating or only using it for himself, he instead decides to use it for everyone and the needs of other people. This is what makes Dadou a great director. The higher he moves up the ladder the more he gives to people.

In a year Dadou has also been able to build a house! Dadou's house is almost finished. He put the roof on last December and today he has workers out at the house putting plaster on the walls. Today, I took a trip out to his house to see for myself. And as expected, It was bel. It felt good to be out at his house. The workers were singing, and there were smiles all around. Most of the workers were employed from his village. They were his neighbors and they were happy for him. There was even 4 other people standing in front of his house talking about how bel it was. This is exciting! There's something about a person 1. having a job, 2. rising through all the hardships, and 3. being able to build their own house. There is pride in that. A pride the unfortunately most Haitians don't get to understand. But, at least those workers and onlookers can look at Dadou, and say, "he did it, it can be done."

Best part of the story. Last week I sat down Dadou and we were going over everything for the week. He randomly interrupted me and said he had been saving 75% of his check each month and have been putting it in the bank. I smiled really big. He then continued by telling me he'd saved 3/4 of what he would need to purchase a truck. I just about gasped. A truck?? Wow. Now that's big time. And here's the what made me even more impressed; He started telling me all the reasons he wanted to purchase a truck.

"Jenn, when it rains to much it's hard to take Tania (his daughter) to school. I worry about her when she goes to school on a moto. And Jenn, there has been a lot of sick people in our village and people in my family are constantly going to the hospital. I need a truck so that I can take them to/from the hospital. (His mother-in-law recently had a stroke and once a week she goes to a local hospital for therapy.) And…when the organization's truck isn't working I'd be able to use my truck to pick up cement, rebar, and stuff for construction."

Wow. When he was finished talking I half expected him to borrow the rest of the money he needed for the car. But instead he said he thinks that in about 4 more months he'll have saved the rest of the money he needs.

This is why I love my job. I am glad I get to be on the same team as Dadou. I'm glad we have had the opportunity to invest in him, but I'm really glad that he's able to invest in me. I no longer see Dadou's job as an asset to his family alone. I see it as an asset to his whole village. Because he is building a house there have been job opportunities for his neighbors. Through him, his family and friends will be able to have the opportunity to go to the hospital on a minute's notice. And because he's just that good of a guy, his family and friends are taken care of.  The money he makes is invested back into the community when he makes purchases for things his family needs. And those people that sell food, and clothes, and materials receive much needed income. It's a chain. It's a chain I'm happy to be a part of. Our role as his employer seems so small compared to the role he plays in his friends and families lives. So yes, this 12th check meant something, and so will the 13th, 19th, and 24th. Don't worry I will let you know the amazing things that come from 24 checks ;)