End of the work day.

A team of 8 persons from UB churches in Canada is in Haiti right now. Joan Sider, from New Hope church in Toronto, is sending back daily reports. Here is her report for Wednesday, February 1.

Joan Sider, New Hope Community Church, Toronto, Ontario

Before I tell of today’s work, let me mention the school associated with this Gonaives church. There are 5 classes of children ranging in age probably equivalent to our K-6 schools. The pastor’s wife is the director/principal and there are 3 female and 2 male teachers. I went into each classroom, took pictures, and greeted the children. They stood to their feet as I entered. They are dressed in their school uniforms and the female teachers have vests made of the same material as the girls. The older classes had scribblers and appeared to be doing a lot of work from the blackboard. There is a lot of rote teaching, and in the mornings when Audrey is doing the quilting with the ladies, it can be quite noisy. One of these 5 classes meets at the back of the church and we’re at the front.

It was very interesting to notice that the children taught by the ladies, had an extra long break because the principal and the female teachers wanted to quilt. So, as kids do, they were playing and not being too quiet about it. I was surprised when two of the teachers started into a second round of quilting–it was a lucky day for those children. The principal and one of the teachers each won a quilt in the draw. The others received sewing kits.

Now to start today. The owner of this hotel and the pastor drove us back and forth to our work sites–Audrey, to the old church and the men to the construction site. I floated between the two places.


Global Ministries is sponsoring three seminars for persons interested in leading or participating in a short-term mission team. It’s a very informative, interactive, and fun seminar.

You can choose from these locations and dates.

March 2-3, 2012
Monroe UB church
205 South Adams Street
Monroe, Ind. 46772

March 9-10, 2012
HomeFront UB church
6265 8th Avenue
Grandville, Mich. 49418

June 8-9, 2012
Criders UB church
2380 Loudon Road
Chambersburg, Pa. 17202

The cost is $50 per person (or $45 if you bring 5 persons from your church). Ministers can earn 1 CEU for attending.

Al Jazeera did a fascinating 60-Minutes style report about the illegal logging trade in Sierra Leone, which threatens to deforest the country. It includes an undercover sting operation on the vice president himself. Chinese companies lead the way in this multi-million dollar business. You can watch the 25-minute report here and read the accompanying article.

Three Huntington University faculty members have been granted promotions for the 2012-13 school year, by action of the Board of Trustees at its January 2012 meeting.

  • Dr. Luke Fetters will be promoted from associate professor to professor of ministry and missions.
  • Dr. Thomas Bergler will be promoted from associate professor to professor of ministry and missions.
  • Diana Shenefield will be promoted from instructor to assistant professor of nursing.

Top: the entire team together (with Joan behind the camera). Bottom right: the guest house. Bottom left: Joan Sider and Pastor Wedemarc, a professional engineer.

Top: the entire team together (with Joan behind the camera). Bottom right: the guest house. Bottom left: Joan Sider and Pastor Wedemarc, a professional engineer.

A team of 8 persons from UB churches in Canada is in Haiti right now. Joan Sider, from New Hope church in Toronto, is sending back daily reports. Here is her report for Wednesday, February 1.

Our day began early–and nothing like a cold water shower to get you up and at it. The shower was good, but it is still a shock when that first cold water hits. I’m not complaining, just giving you the facts.

Everyone slept well, enjoying the coolness of our rooms with the AC. Speaking of temperature–January/February is the best time to come. It is mid-80s, but here in Gonaives, at this time of year there is a good breeze. It would be very hot on the construction site, if there were no breeze.

We had a good breakfast–scrambled egg and cheese sandwiches, coffee and juice. It was filling and delicious. Haiti-style egg McMuffin, I guess. We ate out on the patio and enjoyed the breeze indicating another good day weather-wise.

Another great day with lots accomplished. I spent the morning with Audrey and the quilting ladies. There were 7 in the first group and the remaining 3 groups had 12. One of the women knew how to use the sewing machine and so worked away at binding the quilts, won by one of the women each time–their names go in a hat and one is drawn. All the other women were given a sewing kit. The women enjoy the bright coloured material used in these kits. They were actually arguing over the kits this morning trying to get the brightest material ones.

There is a young man, Michel, who has been a great help to Audrey. He helps organize the ladies since he speaks English very well. It is a blessing to see a young man keen to serve the Lord by helping this way. I saw him actually doing a few ties on the quilt. We are expecially thankful to God for providing him. This leaves Michel to be with the men on the construction site.


The Canadian work team in Haiti.

Joan Sider, New Hope Community Church, Toronto, Ontario

A team of eight persons from Canada is currently in Haiti, the latest of a long string of work groups from Ontario over the years. Joan Sider, a member of many of those teams, sent back this report about their first full day in the country, Tuesday, January 31.

Our day began very early. Pastor Oliam Richard wanted us away by 6 am, so breakfast was at 5:30.

Packing up the van took some time–we had 10 bins, 1 generator, and all our personal belongings, plus 11 people to fit into a 15-passenger van. The roof was loaded as you can imagine–and the items were held down with rope and a tarp tied over it all. I can’t begin to imagine the weight we carried.

What a privilege for us to have Michel along on this trip north. He is our interpreter, a very good one at that, but also a brother in the Lord. We were thrilled to learn that Michel has a job in the field of his interest. He is on probation for a three-month period I believe and if successful. will have the job permanently.

Our trip to Gonaives was interesting–the road north is indeed a great improvement over the last number of years. We were slowed in traffic in towns, as would be expected. People are everywhere holding markets.

One sad thing was, a man carrying some wood was hit by a car. Fortunately, people dragged him off to the side of the road so he wouldn’t be hit by other traffic. He appeared to have at least a broken leg. Hopefully the Doctors Without Borders vehicle that we saw had someone who could help him.

We were fortunate at one point on the drive to have missed hitting a cow crossing the road. The cow sped up and just made it off the road in time. It would have been a bad thing for us if it hadn’t.

We saw many rice fields in varying stages of growth. They have high quality rice grown in Haiti. Most of it is exported, since it is too expensive for Haitians to buy and use. About 90% of Haiti’s rice is imported from the US.

Arriving in Gonaives, we went to the church site to figure out what our schedule would be. Then we headed for the recommended hotel “L’Eternal Est Mon Secours Hotel” run by a Christian couple known to Pastor Weed Maarce (I’ve seen this name spelled 3 ways, so don’t know which is correct). It is a lovely place–and we are so glad we’ll be here for the 4 nights. The couple are bending over backwards to serve us and make our stay a good one. We had a lovely supper tonight and will have our first breakfast at 7:15 tomorrow morning.

Driving back and forth from the hotel to the church site, we nearly hit a dog one time and a pig another. The animals roam all over–goats, chickens, as well. The drivers don’t seem to slow down at all, so if they can’t manage to get out of the way, game over. No, I haven’t seen much road kill, so they must be successful.

We had sandwiches for lunch at the hotel after getting settled into our rooms. Then it was off to the church work site. Block laying is the stage they’re at, so our guys jumped in right away and began carrying cement and blocks as well as laying blocks on top of the first row which was already in place. The building is about 80-by-40 feet. Unfortunately, after getting several more layers in place, it was discovered that the first row of block was not level. It was tilting inwards. Our guys were very glad they hadn’t laid the first course of blocks. It meant that much of what some of them had laid, needed to be torn out. Once all was made right, they were able to manage laying 4 more rows–6 had been the goal for the day.

Around 3, Audrey, Michel and I headed over to the old church to set up the quilting frames for the first session of quilt tying. Thanks to James Jackson’s great construction of stands, we were able to set up the quilt in record time. James had a great design and they worked well.

At 4:00, 6 ladies came over a period of 30 minutes or so. It was a good start and since we weren’t really ready until 4:15, they were finished in record time by 5:30. That was the leaving time for us to get back to the hotel, have supper–and then get back to church for a service.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the church with them. Four different musical groups sang and Pastor Richard gave a brief message. The people were enthusiastic in their worship as we have come to expect. I brought greetings and introduced the team. Just as amen was said, the lights went out and it was DAAAAARRRRKKKKKK! Flashlights were on within seconds–obviously, this wasn’t a first experience of this kind of happening.

Arriving back to the hotel, we spent a few minutes debriefing, sharing with each other God moments from the day. It was interesting to hear the various things mentioned.

The team is jelling and working together well. We are sensing God’s using us to bless, but we are being blessed so much more by our Haitian brothers and sisters.

Matt McKeown (right), associate pastor of First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla., does a lot of song-writing. He does full-blown church musicals, individual songs…and jingles. The NFL has used his stuff in the past.

Last fall, the city of Palm Coast, just up the beach from him, commissioned Matt to write a song for them–sort of a city theme song, which they could use in various types of promotions. The song uses “Find Your Florida” as a city slogan. It went public today.

Watch the video above. It includes the song. You can also read an online article titled “Holly Hill Musician Carries Tune for Palm Coast.”