Oh come, let us sing unto Jehovah; Let us make a joyful noise to the
rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; Let us
make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For Jehovah is a great God,
And a great King above all gods. Psalms 95:1-3
NIGERIA’S CLIMATE AT A GLANCE
HAITI’S CLIMATE AT A GLANCE
2014 Total Rainfall
2015 Total Rainfall
2014 Total Rainfall
2015 Total Rainfall
We are anticipating a special time with friends and family upon our return to the U.S.! Shortly, we will have a daughter-in-law, see how the grandkids are growing, and a chance to spend time with our children, parents, and siblings. We are so grateful for God’s goodness to us and our family! We have learned to count our many blessings and not take them for granted. Thank you Lord.
A Look into our Lives
Just when you think it can’t get any worse:
Haiti is going through severe drought. We noticed in May and June the weather was unseasonably warm, and rainfall was minimal. In Les’ travels to different projects, he has noticed places that always seemed to have some water, now are all dried up. Wells are drying up also. Most of this was hearsay, but now we are experiencing the water issues on a much more personal level.
At the Consolation Center of Haiti (CCH), we have two different wells. One is used primarily for agriculture; the other is for the orphanage. For the last two weeks our agriculture well has been completely dry. The aquaponics project and water for watering the crops all came from the agriculture well. Now with that out of service, we have relied more on any rainfall, or when necessary, haul buckets of water from the orphanage area back to the aquaponics area. Just when we though it couldn’t get any worse, we now have realized that the main well for the orphanage is also close to running dry. This has been anticipated for a while, so we have been in contact with well people in Haiti, however, the demand for their services is extremely high due to the water shortages all over Haiti.
The aquaponics or fish project has really been a wonderful addition to the CCH. Les has been overseeing the project with all kinds of help. It has taken a couple of months to thoroughly understand the concept and get things to where they are now easily manageable. While the tilapia fish themselves take a while to grow to the point of harvest (10 – 12 months approximately), the growing vegetable side of things has had a quick results type of performance that is truly amazing. Without getting into too many specifics, we have two growing beds that we supply with “dirty” fish water. The plants just wick up the water in the growing beds. We have had ideal environmental conditions to witness the benefit of readily available nutrient dense water. While the crops we are trying to grow on the property under drought conditions struggle, at best, we have had the vegetables in the fish project flourish and provide abundant produce, (see the picture to the far right). We are already thinking we want to expand the project and install more wicking beds to take advantage of the abundant fishy water supply.
As we quickly approach our departure for the U.S., we also know we need to leave the project in the hands of someone who can help supervise during our absence. There are now three girls from CCH who are feeding and leaning the “how-to’s” of the project. There is something about looking inside the poly stock tanks and seeing fish swimming around. The kids love to visit and watch and “help”. That is evident in the picture above, as Lovenie “helps” test the water for ammonia levels. Eventually as the boys and girls learn the skill of aquaponics, that will be a great useful resource in the future.
Just under three weeks, we will return home for Zachery and Olivia's wedding on September 5th. Les has the privilege of officiating their wedding and wants to get home to have some time to pull everything together for the wedding. It’s such an honor for him to be asked and have this opportunity. On our way home from Zachery and Olivia’s wedding in Maryland, we plan on visiting Catherine's family in the St. Louis area. Her family experienced the sudden and tragic loss of Noelle, her sister-in-law, to a car accident. We were not able to attend the funeral but will take advantage of this time to visit on the way back for couple of days. Please pray for Catherine's brother and his family, as they adjust to their loss.
Annually there is a father/son men’s campout on the DeRoos side. It’s a little “hit and miss” for our family due to how spread out we are, but Les will be able to attend that with a couple sons before the wedding in August. This campout has become very special as they incorporate a time of family devotions every morning, and are very purposeful to make Jesus Christ the center of their time together. It’s especially good for the younger sons/nephews as they see and witness the importance of drawing close to our Almighty Savior.
We also hope to get away for a couple days and have a private retreat together. We wondered if any of you might have a place that might be available. We are thinking of Okoboji, or a location in one to two hours from the Alta area. Please let us know if anything comes to mind; and thank you very much!
One other fun experience we have had for the past couple of months is the addition of summer interns. These interns have come for a variety of reasons, but they all have come to serve and spend time with the people and projects in Haiti. It has been a desire of Les for a number of years to offer some sort of an agricultural missionary training resource to those who sense a calling in that area. Due to the lack of hosting facilities the last couple of years, we have had to turn down interested individuals that expressed an interest to come to Haiti. The three interns that served this summer either came through Global Compassion Network GCN or Laborers With Christ (LWC). Two of the interns worked heavily in the area of agriculture, and the third intern helped with piano lessons and updated some pictures and files. The names of the interns are Trent Kischer, Brittany Larson, and Jenn Flemming (Jenn is in the picture above under the Aquaponics 101: heading). It’s been a blessing to have all three of them here, and we hope their time was rewarding, and that God used it to give them a greater vision and heart for how to use the gospel to reach the world.
If an internship sounds interesting to you, and you would like more information, please contact us!
Church at CCH:
One of the highlights of visiting teams is attending church at CCH on Sunday afternoons. In the beginning, we would meet with the girls and staff and spend some time singing songs and then have a short devotion/message to share God’s word. This offered something on Sundays that would fill a gap as often the girls could not regularly attend a local church due to distance or the difficulty of 30 plus girls getting ready and walking to church. Over the last three years church has changed drastically. The older girls are now involved in organizing and leading the service. With the addition of a school bus, many of the older girls and boys get the opportunity to go to a church in Les Cayes; but we still have our own service that all are able to attend. It’s been a joy to watch the girls grow and mature into young women, and see and hear their hearts for the Lord as they lead worship. The volume of their voices, no matter how small, the energy, and the act of hearing them make a joyful noise unto the Lord is truly inspiring, especially when one considers the hardships and difficult pasts that are represented within the walls of the church building.
After the time of worship in song and prayer, there is a short message either given by visiting team members or Les and Zachery, when he is available. Les is just finishing up a series of simplified messages on the fruit of the Spirit, and just how those fruits should look in the lives of young believers. These messages are more like children’s sermons as the average age of the CCH “congregation” is 12 years old. Perhaps that helps explain why there is so much energy. He-he.
During the school year, the schedule is very limited to do much with the girls, by the time they attend school, do their homework, and finish their chores, the day is all but over, but their summer vacation is quite different. As the summer vacations began in late June, teams arrived with specific plans to offer a VBS with plenty of crafts and hands-on activities.
Now that there have been a couple of weeks of break from teams, Catherine used that time to work with 20 of the older girls who signed up to learn how to make paper bead angels (see the picture to the left). She worked with five girls at a time. They were able to pick their color of paper, learned how to measure, cut, roll, glue, and assemble them. Then they picked their own color of embroidery floss to complete their necklace.
The summer vacation also works best to take advantage of specific interests that the girls have and allow them to pursue those interests. For the month of July, Brittany, one of the interns, has worked with 6 girls who desired to take piano lessons. We also have the older girls working in agriculture, and they are learning how to prepare a compost bed, and use the bedding for planting seeds for fruit trees.
News from Nigeria
We are excited to share a recent picture we received from Nigeria. Through a generous donation from friends of Laborers With Christ, we were able to help meet some transportation needs for the staff members of FAAGRIC. Sunday Okorie has been such a faithful staff member serving in the capacities of Farm manger and instructor at a couple of FAAGRIC Learning Centers. The growth of the work in Nigeria has required for him to travel greater distances to help off-set some of the work load placed upon the Nigerian Director of FAAGRIC, Rev. Armstrong. We asked Rev. Armstrong if by providing transportation aid, and thereby make Sunday much more mobile, if this could help meet this demand. Laborers With Christ sent the necessary funds to purchase two motorcycles. It was determined that Rev. Armstrong could purchase his own motorcycle or use the money to repair his car. Below is a letter we received from Sunday, when he sent the picture:
Sir, I don’t know how I will express my gratitude to you people, due to the new Motorcycle you purchased for me. May Almighty Father bless you in Jesus name. I never expected such thing in my life but God gave it to me. Praise the Lord! Please Sir, pardon me, because the time I told you that I will send the picture, due to the inconvenience of the photograph delayed me from sending the picture. Thanks.
Seeds of Faith:
Seeds of Faith packages were sent and have arrived in Nigeria this past month. These seed are used as a way to encourage the students associated with the FAAGRIC program. While seed availability is very common in Haiti, it’s just the opposite in Nigeria. It is very difficult to get garden variety vegetable seed. On behalf of the students who are involved in the learning centers, thank you very much, and as they would say…”May God bless you real good!”
One Starfish at a Time
You may have noticed Rueben does not have a last name??
Over a year and a half ago a new project was started called the James 1:27 Center. This project was established by three different organizations, Consolation Center of Haiti (CCH), Global Compassion Network (GCN), and Laborers With Christ (LWC). The hope of this project was to offer a place of haven for widows who had no one to care for them, and abandoned babies, babies that are literally left by parents because they do not want the child or can’t properly care for them. Rueben was dropped at the doors of a local hospital. He has now been with us for the last 17 months, and my how he has grown. We have watched Rueben go from thin, frail, and abandoned, to healthy, chunky, and loved. Maybe too loved…he’s getting a little fed up with the girls at the orphanage trying to wrestle him out of each other arms ha-ha. Our hope, our being the three organizations who have collaborated together, is that Rueben will one day have a last name. Even now there are meetings and correspondence taking place to get the proper people involved to have the option of international adoption. However, this is a time consuming process that can take years to work through. During this time, we still have the ongoing expenses of him, 10 more and counting, infants that are in the same predicament, as well as 6 widows. We ask for a couple of things from you. Most importantly, please pray for the James 1:27 Center and all who live there or are involved. Secondly, if you sense God tugging on your heart, please give financially towards the ongoing needs at the James 1:27 Center. You can give through GCN, James 1:27 Center GCN or LWC, James 1:27 Center LWC. Please earmark your gift towards the James project. Thank you very much!!
Zachery & Olivia's Update
Late last month we were able to make a trip to Rochester, NY to re-connect with two teams that have come through a Slavic Pentecostal Church. Their leader is a friend of mine from bible college days and he has been a tremendous help in raising support for a toilet/shower house for the girls of CCH. It was great to catch up with them and be able to share with their church how we see God moving in Haiti. It is a strange, yet beautiful thing to have one’s message translated to a foreign tongue as he speaks in his home country. The mission field is all around us!
Recently Olivia and I made a trip to Iowa to celebrate a couple’s shower that my family and friends were throwing for us. Her mother, younger sister, and my brother (Josiah) all crammed in a small SUV for the 18 hour drive that followed. I was able to attend the wedding of a childhood friend that was going on the same weekend as our shower. At our shower, I was surprised to see the number of faces that have become familiar in Haiti! We felt so much support from family and friends and had a wonderful afternoon of mingling and opening gifts. It was nice to receive so many useful things that will help us as we set up our home in Haiti. We have received so much help and support and we would like to sincerely thank you for all that you have done for us.
As you know from previous newsletters, we are furnishing our home and raising funds for additional expenses that accumulate from supporting two people establishing themselves in ministry. It is so encouraging to see the response as we share our needs…and a huge faith booster to watch as the Lord provides. Thank you for being used of God to bless us!
We also wanted to remind you that we have created a Facebook page for Laborers with Christ. As part of our desire to keep family and friends informed, visitors and sponsors updated, and to share photos, announcements, praises/request—we are utilizing social media. If you have a Facebook profile and would like to stay connected, please “Like” our page: Laborers With Christ.
Nutritional Nuggets – Natures PharmacyABC’s of Vitamins and Minerals
Cabbage is one of the oldest known vegetables Vitamins C, E, A, B, B6, K Minerals and Fibers,
iron and sulfur, great source of folic acid.
Cabbage is powerful. Ancient healers declared it contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight. Its power comes from its high sulfur and vitamin C content. Either way – it’s worth adding this power food to your weekly diet. Be sure to eat the different varieties out there. Each one has different patterns of benefit.
1. Cabbage is a brain food!
It is full of vitamin K and anthocyanin’s that help with mental function and concentration. These nutrients also prevent nerve damage, improving your defense against Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Red cabbage has the highest amount of these power nutrients.
2. Cabbage is high in sulfur, the beautifying mineral, infection and inflammation mineral.
Cabbage helps dry up oily and acne skin. Internally sulfur is essential for keratin, a protein substance necessary for healthy hair, nails, and skin. For infections and inflammation on burns, bug stings, sulfur helps fight infections and healing of wounds. Cabbage can help general pain relief and muscle soreness, depending on how it is prepared.
3. Cabbage helps detoxify the body.
The high content of vitamin C and sulphur in cabbage purifies the blood and removes toxin (free radicals and uric acid). These are the main causes of arthritis, skin diseases, rheumatism, and gout.
4. Cabbage has well-known cancer preventative compounds lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane. They stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of cancer tumors and ulcers. This enzyme gives special attention to this prevention when cabbage is short-cooked or raw. In general sinigrin can be converted into a compound that has shown a unique reduction in breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer (by reducing constipation), and prostate cancer (positively linked through beta-carotene).
5. Cabbage is a rich eye health source: Cabbage's rich source of beta-carotene has the ability to prevent macular degeneration and generally promote good eye health and the delay of cataract formation.
6. Cabbage helps keep blood pressure from getting high.
The high potassium content helps by opening up blood vessels, easing the flow of blood.
7. Cabbage is an anti-inflammatory and blood sugar regulator.
The natural red pigments of red cabbage (betalains) is said to lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. Of course it has no white sugars and very few simple sugars. Betalains have powerful anti-inflammatory properties just like beets.
8. Cabbage is ideal for weight loss!
It has only 33 calories in a cup of cooked cabbage, is low in fat and high in fiber. It is definitely a smart carb.
9. Cabbage helps headaches and gangrene
A warm compress made with cabbage leaves can help relieve the pain of a headache. Crush cabbage leaves, place in a cloth, and apply on the forehead. Also, drink raw cabbage juice 1-2 oz. (25-50ml) daily for chronic headaches and treating fungus infections. In the 17th century, Captain Cook’s crew members were saved from gangrene when the ship’s doctor made poultices of cabbage to apply to their wounds.
10. Cabbage is good for anemia sufferers because of its iron content.
If you have thyroid problems, avoid eating large amounts of cabbage. It interferes with the body’s absorption of iodine, needed by the thyroid gland. This applies to all cruciferous vegetables.
Sauerkraut - make your own with "Perfect Pickler" from https://www.perfectpickler.com. It tastes great!
Cabbage salad – finely shredded cabbage, red apple, dried Ocean Spray Cranberries, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar to taste.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Promoting a lifestyle of preventative care!
WELLNESS PRINCIPAL: Health comes from within. You cannot buy it in a bottle.
Please visit Catherine’s Pinterest boards by clicking this link: Catherine (faagric). There, you will find a variety of healthy sources, natural solutions, recipes, God's Creation, and SO MUCH MORE. Grab yourself a healthy snack, make yourself comfortable, and take your time to browse the wealth of information and be not only inspired but uplifted. I would love to connect with you if you are on Pinterest.
Prayer & Praise
Praise the Lord for ways we see God working in Haiti.
Please pray for Catherine’s brother, Dan and his family, due to the unexpected loss of his wife.
Pray for the drought in Haiti. Pray for much needed rainfall throughout the whole country.
Pray for safe travel and our time back in the U.S.
We praise the Lord for the upcoming wedding celebration for Zachery and Olivia!
Pray for the James 1:27 Center, and the widows and babies.