Fall Newsletter 2021
Servants in Fellowhship
An Anchor for the Souls...
We live in a world of unknowns. A broken world full of pain, trauma, and unanswered questions. How do we make sense of it all? Why would an all knowing, all powerful, loving God allow these things to happen? A valid question. A question many of us have asked as we watch conditions in Haiti deteriorate. Gangs have taken over the streets preventing fuel distribution, kidnappings have risen to unprecedented numbers. Foreigners and locals alike are living with the reality that every time they leave the relative safety of their homes, they may not return. Food prices soar as stores can't ensure deliveries due to the lack of fuel. Fuel delivery drivers refuse to deliver whatever fuel they can get due to ongoing hijackings of fuel trucks and their drivers by local gangs. Hospitals are shutting down as they also rely on fuel to run their generators. Cell and internet towers are beginning to be affected as well. The lack of fuel brings the entire nation to a stop. Children can't go to school, food becomes unaffordable and scarce, transportation shuts down, communication becomes challenging or nearly impossible, and yet this is daily life for everyone here. And so we pray. We cry out "Abba!" We ask him "why?" We lament, and tears flow down our cheeks. And we wait for his answer. In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the suffering, we often don't know the "whys". But that same suffering can cause us to press in and lean close to our Lord, the only stability in an unstable world. The peace of the Holy Spirit is ours. Peace that this broken world cannot offer and does not understand. We can run to the shelter of his wings and there we are comforted, loved, and calmed. God doesn't promise us an easy road. He doesn't promise to give us all the answers our hearts long for. But he does promise us many things, including himself. And that is the anchor for our souls. Faith Academy
In the midst of the chaos, SIF has continued to serve the local community and share Christ's truth and love. As many of you know, Faith Academy is in the process of building a second school to house the K3, K4, & K5 classes. This will free up much needed classroom space at the original school for the older grades. This new building and property will also allow for the younger children to have an age-appropriate playground, a nurse's station, and additional offices for the school staff. Although construction is currently paused due to a lack of fuel and ongoing insecurity, we are extremely excited to see the progress that has already been made! Please continue to pray for the remaining financial need as well as for the construction to resume soon.
Walls are going up! The beams and blocks are now finished!
After an extremely difficult 2020-2021 school year, Faith Academy opened it's doors for the 2021-2022 school year in October. The previous school year finished up late due to closures throughout the year caused by Covid and safety concerns. After the school year ended, it was followed by 9th grade exams and a short break. Despite the overwhelming challenges of the last school year, all but one of the 9th grade students passed the national exams! This is a huge answer to prayer! The prep work and study that goes in to taking the 9th grade exams is intense. Without the benefit of a normal school year and regular classes due to COVID and insecurity, many of the 9th grade students had to be motivated to study on their own in order to be prepared to take the exams. We are so proud of all of the students, but especially those who stepped up and prepared for their exams. Faith Academy continues to be open as much as possible, but as insecurity, kidnappings, fuel shortages, and other concerns mount, Faith Academy, and especially Fanfan, must make decisions to keep students as safe as possible while continuing to educate and support them and their families. Over the short break between school years, Fanfan held a Vacation Bible School at Faith Academy. Children from the surrounding areas came and enjoyed a break from the chaos. They enjoyed spending time together, learning, and even a meal! Thanks for all your support of Faith Academy. Because of you these kids are supported, educated, fed, and loved.
Local children enjoying a meal during Faith Academy’s recent VBS Program
Discipleship + Community
Although transportation continues to be an obstacle, Junior has continued to hold Bible studies in several local communities. After being robbed at gunpoint, Junior is working to get new papers for his moto, as well as his ID card, driver's license, and other documents stolen during the robbery. With no fuel for his vehicle, Junior has resorted to walking from his apartment at the guesthouse to the communities where he meets with others to study scripture and lead discipleship. His drive and desire to help others in their relationship with our Lord is unceasing. Young people especially have been committing their lives to Christ and to his service.
Junior leading one of several Friday Bible Studies he does in the Rue Frere area.
SIF has rented a small apartment in one of the local communities that is being used as a space to hold several Bible studies. This space has also allowed for Junior to meet neighbors who live in the same apartment building. As power continues to be an issue, Junior has opened the apartment for others to charge their cell phones, giving him the opportunity to build relationships. This has led to some of the neighbors joining in on the weekly Bible studies held there.
In one community where Junior is beginning to hold a Bible study there are so many attendees that they've outgrown any available space in the neighborhood. They were meeting in a home built into a ravine, but with the amount of people in the home, there was concern that the floor may collapse. Junior and Natacha (a fellow SIF guesthouse staff member who resides in this community) are searching for a space to be able to hold the weekly Bible study. This community is full of young people searching for a relationship with the Lord. Some are former gang members, some rebellious teens, and unwed mothers. Please pray their fervor for the Lord leads them to a place of experiencing the salvation, grace, love, and relationship offered by our Heavenly Father.
"I used to praise Satan, but I have a new life now. The fear is gone from my life. To God be the glory!"
Adelson is a young man who lives in the Delmas 83 area. Adelson is 21. Drugs, violence, and selfishness led him through his teenage years. As he grew older, he continued to be involved in Voodoo, thinking he could control his future. His eyes were focused on money and power. He believed his involvement in a sect of voodoo known as the "chanprel" would keep him safe and give him the control over his future that he desired. On July 29th, 2020, while Adelson slept, a group from the "chanprel" entered his room in an attempt to capture him and cause him harm. They were unsuccessful. Adelson credits the Lord for protecting him that night. 2 nights later, Adelson heard an audible voice from God. He gave his life to Christ and has never looked back. Adelson admitted it hasn't been easy, but that God has b0rought people into his life to encourage him in his walk. Today he enjoys diving into God's word to learn more about him. He participates in a Bible study led by Junior and looks forward to sharing what he learns with others. Guesthouse
Travis & Erin continue to have the guesthouse open. Their prayer is that it will continue to be a light in the darkness, a safe haven to those in need. As power grids go down due to lack of fuel, many people will not have the ability to charge phones, laptops and other electronics needed for communication and work. A lack of fuel also leads to water shortages as water trucks cannot deliver water, both potable and non-potable. Thanks to a recent expansion to our solar and battery systems, they have the ability to run the water pump even if the power grid goes down. They also have power to run fans, lights, a refrigerator, and electronics. The guesthouse will be open to those who need a break from the challenges caused by the current insecurities here in Haiti.
This sign was handmade by a newly married Haitian couple who spent several months staying at the guesthouse while they awaited visas to move to the Dominican Republic. They were incredibly grateful for the support, months of discounted rent, and hospitality they experienced during their stay.
As Haiti continues to experience ongoing insecurity, the southern peninsula is still reeling from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck on August 14th. 800,000 people remain affected. More than 137,000 homes and 60 healthcare facilities were destroyed or damaged. The initial earthquake claimed the lives of an estimated 2,248 people, injuring more than 12,000. Fuel shortages and gang violence continue to thwart relief efforts. However, many organizations are pressing forward in their efforts to bring relief to those most affected. SIF received an incredible $50,000 anonymous donation towards the earthquake relief efforts to be distributed to organizations on the ground in the south who are tirelessly working to bring relief and restoration to those most affected. These funds will be distributed to several organizations, already chosen and approved, by the end of the year.
The earthquake in August destroyed many buildings including the Church Saint Anne in Chardonnières. Credit: Reginald Louissaint Jr/AFP via Getty
Travis, Erin, and their children have remained in Haiti during this unrest. Recently, Erin and Fitsum returned to the states for Fitsum to have an extensive eye surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The surgery was a success and they returned to Haiti after spending a week in Philadelphia for the surgery and follow ups. Fitsum continues to heal well.
Erin continues to homeschool their 4 children and is preparing to begin a women's Bible study for the women on the compound where they live. She also manages SIF's social media, website, and helps with administrative tasks. Travis and Erin work together to run the SIF guesthouse and host all those who walk through their doors. Travis continues to be very busy helping other organizations with their needs. There are many organizations who have emergent or on-going electrical problems (very common here). Thanks to Travis's background as an electrician and solar installer, he has been able to be a blessing to many organizations. He also continues to address any electrical issues on the compound where the guesthouse is located as well as at their church, Quisqueya Chapel. It's been a blessing for him to be able to use his God given strengths and abilities to help others so they can minister more effectively. The Brubakers continue to seek a US visa for their youngest daughter, Youneysie (Nesi) as they simoutanesly pursue her adoption. It has and will remain a complicated and difficult process. Whenever a visa is secured, the Brubakers will be going stateside for a long overdue furlough to connect with churches, supporters, family, and friends. It's been over 2 years since their last furlough. In the 3+ years the Brubakers have been involved with SIF, they have never had a shortage of funds (AMAZING), but throughout this last year, they have lost several supporters leaving them with a gap in their personal support. Please consider supporting Travis, Erin, and their children as they continue to serve in Haiti.
Eloise (8), Noah (11), Youneysie (2), Fitsum (6)
Home Office Update
SIF has been incredibly blessed with multiple anonymous donations in the last few weeks. These donations will help us pay rent at the guesthouse, as well as pay all our staff. We will also be able to utilize these funds to continue to do ministry and serve here in Haiti. A huge THANK YOU to the anonymous donors and to all our regular donors who allow our SIF team to serve well. Throughout these trying times many of you have reached out to let us know you're praying for us, or to encourage us. We are so grateful for your investment in Haiti, in SIF, and in each of our team members both stateside and in Haiti. More than a few of you have asked when we might be able to host short term ministry teams again. We want to assure you that we are prayerfully considering when we can resume hosting teams. For many of you, your hearts are linked to Haiti through your experience(s) on a short-term team. We long to be able to provide those opportunities again. As we ask for the Lord's discernment on hosting teams, there are many factors we must consider. Obviously safety is a concern, but not only the safety of those coming on the team, but also the safety of all our Haitian staff members who have to transport, cook, preview job sites, etc. We also have to consider the resources a team requires, food, water, fuel, availability of construction supplies, all these are factors we must consider in making these decisions. The entire SIF board works together to decide when teams are able to come, and when we need to hold off. Be assured that as soon as we can bring teams in again, we will. We miss you all and can't wait to have you back here in Haiti with us! As many of you know, we've had some exciting changes with our home office! The SIF home office has moved to Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Elya Brubaker, our new home office coordinator, is a native of Goshen, Indiana. She now resides in Lebanon, PA with her husband, Braden, and their two adorable children, 9-year-old Alexis, and 6-year-old Nicholas. Elya has a background in medical administration, child care, and janitorial services. She currently works part time for an urgent care center as well as cleaning for her church. Elya enjoys spending time with friends and family. When asked why she wanted to be a part of SIF she responded "I am passionate about being a part of something bigger than myself".
Braden, Elya, Alexis & Nicholas during their visit to Haiti in December 2020
As our team continues to serve in Haiti during these tumultuous times, we humbly ask that you continue to bring Haiti and our team before the Lord. Pray for us, and shout praises with us. We are so grateful for each of you!
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" Romans 12:15 “Prayer lays hold of God's plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit's prayer.” - Elisabeth Elliot
Praises & Prayers:
Fitsum's surgery was a success!
Junior has been able to continue weekly Bible studies in the midst of the country's chaos.
All but 1 ninth grader at Faith Academy passed the national exams!
The anonymous donors & significant donations that allow us to effectively minister in Haiti, so grateful for this!
Fitsum's healing to continue and that no complications arise.
Safety for Junior as he travels on foot to and from Bible studies.
A space for the Delmas 83 Bible study to meet.
Monthly supporters needed for the Brubakers.
Remaining financial need for Faith Academy 2 construction to be met.
Haiti and her people as they continue to experience one crisis after another.
Nesi's guardianship & visa paperwork would have forward motion.
Adelson as he continues to learn & grow in his walk with the Lord and share what he learns with those he meets.
Email: email@example.com Phone: (717)-679-7554 Address: P.O. Box 573 Myerstown, PA 17067 Website: www.sifministries.org
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