Monday, June 20, 2011

Bill Howard to lead Alex’s House Full Time

It’s hard to believe, but Jennifer and I came to Willlow Ridge Church twenty one years ago.  We were thirty then – only one year out of our twenties! My - how time flies.

A couple of decades later, we look back and praise God for the wonderful way He has blessed our church. To name just a few of the highlights, we were the first church in S.C. to survive and thrive a total church transition, and since have inspired many other congregations to follow. We changed our name from Agape Baptist to Willow Ridge Church; moved from a little plot of land to a beautiful 31 acre campus with wonderful facilities. We have become passionate about reaching our community and world for Jesus, starting one of the areas first Hispanic congregations and now passionately taking the gospel and love of Jesus to Haiti.  Through the years we have seen close to 1,000 people accept Jesus and follow Him in baptism and have seen our congregation greatly grow in their spiritual maturity and commitment to the Great Commission.

This commitment was seen clearly on June 12, 2011 when Willow Ridge commissioned Jennifer and I as missionaries to Haiti.  It’s not often that a congregation sends one of their members full time into the mission field, but special indeed when they send their Senior Pastor.

Jennifer and I are excited about what God has done in the past, yet even more excited about what He will do in the future through Alex’s House Orphanage. 

Please pray for us, that we would be bold, courageous and completely obedient in our surrender to the Lord.  Please pray for the homeless children of Haiti. Pray that God would use us to change the direction of their lives.  Pray that the financial needs of the ministry would be met. Pray that the funds would come in for the land and facilities to house the children. And right now – please pray that God would direct us to the property He wishes us to have. (This has been a challenge, but I know He will direct us to the right property in His time).

Also, please pray for our family as we adjust to this new journey of faith.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy. Stepping out of your comfort zone to work in Haiti – that’s another thing all together.

Thank you for your support, your love, your friendship and your prayers. I look forward to the next 21 years of ministry with you!

Let’s change the world! (Mt. 28:19)


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haiti’s Children Captured My Heart

My name is Monica. I’m the Sponsorship Director for Alex’s House and have just returned from my first trip to Haiti.  Need I say - it was a life-changing experience.

As Sponsorship Director, I have been seeing the photos of “our” children for nearly a year. To finally be able to meet each of them brought tears of joy.

Bible School for the neighborhood’s teenagers was our mission project for the week. We had curious and eager teens from 6-20 years old. Did you notice the age span for “teens”? That’s the way it is in Haiti. Children of all ages are eager to see what’s going on when strangers come. We began with music for everyone. I quickly learned that Haitians really like music! After three or four songs, the “under-teen” children were dismissed – but with the good news of a Bible School coming for them in June.

Sixty teenagers were then divided into two groups for Bible lessons, crafts and games.  You should have seen their delight and heard their laughter and shrieks when we played water balloon games! It was pure joy and excitement!

Another ministry point was located down a flooded road in a little concrete, mosquito infested house. It was the orphanage of Dorsainvil and Johanne Vernette. This loving couple took in 15 children who were left homeless after the earthquake, in addition to their own 4-year-old son. 

The Vernettes live outside in a tent so the children can sleep in the small house.                    
On Sunday after worship at Alex's House, our children opened some very belated Christmas gifts. Wow! Talk about fun to watch! It was just like Christmas morning in the US!  Children are children, no matter their nationality. We played, sang, laughed, tickled, blew bubbles – you name it, we probably did it!

Nine days flew by and before I knew it our day of departure was upon us.
Before the trip, there were so many “things” in my life that I thought I needed. Now - my eyes have been opened.  Yes, I’m thankful for the blessings of God, yet I now pray not for things – but for the deliverance from “things.”

One night during our devotion time, Sam, one of our college students said, “You can’t un-see the things you have seen.” How profound. Believe me, folks, there are no words to describe what one sees and feels in Haiti. It can only be experienced. I recommend you come. It will be a life-changing experience, I promise.

To the children of Haiti – you captured my heart. Bondye benni ou! God bless you! I WILL RETURN!

Serving with you,