Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Year

Soup Joumou
They sing loud and clear.  I can hear their voices raised from across the ravine.  "Oh, how I love Jesus because He first loved me."  Again and again the music rolls forward until it is more than words sung but  hearts engaged.  Haitian voices, singing in unison, are definitely one of my favorite sounds.

The fireworks pop and crack tonight - magnified by concrete structures.  All three boys energetically blew off their last little stock pile of Black Cats.  This country, with such an interesting history, celebrates its won independence from France.  Patriotism runs high as it should...these people have fought hard.  Tomorrow, many Haitians will eat one of their favorite dishes.  Soup Joumou is a soup they created once they had the freedom to eat whatever they like because they were no longer slaves.  The Haitian boys have been looking forward to this cuisine for quite some time.  They'll gladly eat it for lunch and supper.  Delicious.

Charismene, our house help, told us in Creole that tonight when she finished the dishes she was going to church to adore (worship in song) God, dance and pray the new year in.  She wouldn't get home until one in the morning.  She looked tired but happy to be a part of this yearly tradition.  After giving her eldest a few final instructions she slipped past the iron gate topped with razor wire in her flippy floral skirt.  Makayla admired how pretty she looked.  She'd walk alone.

The motorcycles interject their ascending grumbles while tap-taps beep their horns.  The voodoo bongos provide the background beat to the night's events.  Voodoo is very active this time of year.  So many things all at once.  This is Haiti.

The kids head to bed after a few chapters of The Hobbit with Jason.  Inside, our house grows calm and I find myself lost in the sounds.  There is so much to take in.  Too much to process.  I scratch new and old mosquito bites on my ankles and simply pray, "Come Jesus, come.  Let Your Kingdom come.  Be jealous for these people's affection and bring clarifying truth that fills hearts and lives with joy!"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Lord's Glory Surrounded Them

Jesus "radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God"
Hebrews 1:3

Awhile back we were talking about the glory of God and we planned to unpack it.  We want to continue that slow journey what a better day than Christmas to reopen the topic of God's Glory!

What is the "glory of the LORD"?

Today in our Advent reading from Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room it read, "The glory of the Lord is the expression of who God is, the demonstration of his character.  It is the beauty and brightness of God made visible.  This is what happened that night so long ago when the shepherds were guarding their sheep.  It seemed like an ordinary night - just like so many nights before out in the fields.  But then, "suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. (Luke 2:9)

God made His glory visible - in fact, it surrounded the shepherds.  It was as if God pulled back the wrapping of the heavens so that God's glory spilled out and around those simple shepherds.  What they saw was a glory that has always been there but is usually hidden from human view."

"Jesus is the radiance of God streaming down on us so we can see God and experience God and know God."

We hope your day is filled with the wonder of His glory made known to man - that you would enjoy Him more and more from glory to glory!

Merry Christmas from the Schmicks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thought Provoking Quotes


We are so glad that Christian World Outreach clearly expects us to learn and has determined that our first 9 months is for that.  There is so much to learn and some days just taking a drive is over stimulating let alone an hour of Creole.  It can't be overstated: learning takes time and is incredibly essential.  Since being here there are several quotes/philosophies that prick us and cause us to really consider Haiti and especially ministry here.  We're not sure where we stand on many of these thoughts but we thought you might like a taste of what is daily bouncing around in our heads and hearts - sometimes inescapably so.  Some of them are tough and provide quite the mental wrestling match.  It's all so complicated.  Pray for the fear of God to give us wisdom so that we proceed with confident discernment in His truth and its timely application as we cross culturally minister.  Thank you!

Here are quite a few in no particular order.

"Keep your humanitarianism tourism out of my country."

"Development not dependancy."

"Missionaries are like manure.
Piled together they put off a lot of stink - spread 'em out and they can do a lot of good."

"Haiti's only export is poverty."

"Haiti has to change you before you can bring any change to Haiti.
That's why your container isn't here yet."

"The time exchange here is like this:  What takes a lunch hour in the states plan on it taking a day here.  One hour equals one day here."

"It can be consuming to learn how to live in another country and sometimes missionaries have a hard time transitioning from this to life and ministry in a foreign land."

"Just be.  Don't do."
(Observing and learning before doing something is the wisest approach.)

"Long term missionaries should be willing to learn the language, the culture and engage in relationships or go home."

"When you introduce money and resources into a culture that aren't naturally there
violence is always an outcome."

"Haitian people have style and really like to look nice.
Clothing is extremely important - this is very valued.
So it's a slap in the face to send the States leftovers."

"There is always time in Haiti."

"It is the process not the progress that's important.
Relationship over projected goals."

"Many missionaries are introverts at heart."

"When you stop learning Haiti or you think you have it figured out then it's time to go home."

"Haiti chews up missionaries and spits them out."

"If ministry is about you - it will be poisonous instead of life giving."

"The Gospel must be central in everything especially all humanitarian efforts."

"Be careful not to project your western world ideals as ministry."

"Missionaries have a celebrity-like existence.
Be careful to stay humble and not give way to the temptation of perceived greatness."

"Dignity is essential.  What is it and how do you bring it?"

"Haiti needs business and some pastoral development.
I'm not sure what everybody else is doing?"

"Don't do for Haiti what she can do for herself.  Don't import what is naturally already here."

"Handouts rarely empower or equip.  Handouts strip away dignity."

"There is a distinguishable sweetness about praying ministries."

"Maintaining a consistent devotional life, as a missionary, is like swimming upstream."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We've got mail!

That's right!
We now have mail service. That may not sound like a huge deal (it probably isn't) but we're very happy to have the ability to send and receive it!


There has been a few of you who have asked for our mailing address and we haven't been able to give it until now. You can mail letters or packages to:


Jason and/or Jessica Schmick  
c/o Agape Flights PAP 26676
100 Airport Avenue
VeniceFL  34285

(Yes, for those who didn't know, Andrea's first name is really Jessica.) 

Agape Flights is the organization that we are getting mail through. They ask that any packages sent weigh less than 40 pounds. Also keep in mind that our fee is $1.50 per pound, paid to Agape, on any packages that weigh more than 1 pound. We also pay customs fees for packages. These fees can vary, I'm told, so I don't know exactly what they will be. Having said that, please don't send cash to us through this address (or checks for that matter since we cannot deposit them or cash them here in Haiti).


I say all of this not to discourage sending us mail. We love getting mail! Makayla and Ethan especially do.  I just want to make anyone, who is interested in sending packages, aware of the process and costs associated with it. Along those lines, any items meant for ministry purposes needs to funnel through Christian World Outreach and come over on the containers that they send. If you have stuff that you want to send for ministry you can contact us or them for more information on that.


Below is part of the email that they sent to us today. Agape asked that we share this with anyone who would like to send mail:


"When speaking to your senders, please keep in mind that Agape’s overall cost to transport packages and cargo is actually $4.00 per pound.  We ask that you share this with your supporters when they are sending you packages and make an additional donation on our website to help defray these costs.  These costs include fuel, oil, landing fees, etc.  The missionaries contribute $1.50 of that total amount, but their donation of the entire $4.00 will greatly benefit both the missionaries and Agape Flights Ministry.  They can donate to Agape by selecting “Donate” on our home page and check the box “Flight Ministry cargo shipment to” and then put your name in the empty box below."

If you have questions on anything above let me know at jason.schmick@gmail.com

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's a....

boy? 
girl?
FORD RANGER
We are so thankful for this vehicle!  We have wheels.  Whoot!
Praise the Lord!
Thank you generous supporters!

Consider This

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal...

but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in
and steal...

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon."
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?

"Which of you by; worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"

"So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin..."

"...and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

"Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?"

"For after all these things the Gentiles seeks.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." 
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  (Excerpts from Matthew 6)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beholding His Sufficient Grace

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, 
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, 
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the LORD; 
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  Habakkuk 3:17-18

We've been 2 months in Haiti.  TWO MONTHS!  I can't believe it.  Much has happened in this time and yet not much of what we anticipated.  We made plans.  Many plans.  Good plans.

In anticipation for life in Haiti we packed a few things to come over on Christian World Outreach's ministry container.  Some things were of necessity like the kids' curricula past the initial six weeks we put in our suitcases.  Some things we just preferred like steel cut oats, favorite household items and Makayla's piano.  We packed up our kitchen too and planned ahead in simple ways for the holidays and a birthday.  This container holds lots of anticipated goodies for us - things that we thought might make the transition more enjoyable and productive.

When we got here we worked quickly on establishing the ability to send and receive mail through a ministry that services missionaries in Haiti.  We anticipated the connection with familiar people and the connection with our country and supplied benefits.

After selling our vehicle in the States and emptying our lives of extra things we thankfully received the funds needed to purchase a vehicle here.  Although this presented a tricky process we anticipated the freedom wheels afford and the opportunities for engaging in ministry.  Any time we've moved some where new we've spent ample amounts of time cruising the new surroundings.  We looked forward to this adventurous discovery.

Fellow missionaries of all sorts properly warned us to allow the time needed to adjust slowly and to realize that this transition will present many unanticipated challenges that require more time than expected.

Do you get the theme?  Anticipation.  Plans.  Expectations.  Time.

So who is God when we make plans with desired anticipations expecting things to go on a particular time line?  Who is God when our plans don't follow His time line?  Who is God when our plans get blocked?

I am discovering that He is exactly the same as before!  He is faithful, good, wise, sovereign, merciful, gracious and just!  He is God and can be trusted!

The discovery however isn't easy.  Often times heart attitudes aren't revealed until something presses in on us.  It doesn't take much for selfishness to be exposed or double motives - practical annoyances work quite nicely.

God is so patient with us.  He is such a great Heavenly Father that faithfully leads us into all truth - replacing our great with His absolute BEST!  I am in awe.  When He disciplines He establishes hope.  The same truth that He uses to cut away sin He uses to heal and fill us up with Himself!  Amazing!  His discipline always restores and brings more Joy!

So here we are 2 months later and none of the things we planned or anticipated have shown up.  Not one.  At first we threw fits and still fighting the urge.  Surely somebody is to blame.  Right?  Adam and Eve are so our parents.  The blame game can can't promise peace.  Slowly, we heard the Spirit say, "No - don't fall into the trap of blaming.  What victory of Christ is in that?"  Okay so if blaming is joyless then  I'm definitely entitled to be grumpy with a 'woe-is-me' attitude, right?  Again, the Spirit says, "Eh.  Where is your heart?  It is not joyfully resting but rather troubled with fret - the fret of not getting your way."  You get the idea.  I'm sure this wrestling between truth and flesh isn't foreign to you as the truth shapes us from glory to glory.

Who is God when our plans are blocked?  Who is God when circumstances press in on us and we find ourselves backed into a corner?  Who is God when our best efforts fall flat and we're not as prepared as we had expected?  Who is God when our definition of comfortable isn't His?

We're discovering that when backed into a corner and the sin of serving two masters (God and ourselves) is exposed He is faithful to point us to the Cross where we see Jesus, Who paid for this sin and offers His righteousness instead.  "Christ is all I have.  Christ is all I need."  We find the Spirit drawing us into all Truth - He is strengthening us with fresh supplies of grace to see Him as Supreme over plans.  When backed into a corner He has painted beautiful pictures of Himself that gladden our hearts more than the temporary delight of steel cut oats or our preferred celebration methods.  He really does know what's best.  He has made us know our place.  We are the clay and His is the Potter - there is a huge difference.  Everything is subject to Him.  Everything.


"For momentary, light affliction 
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  
For the things that are seen are transient, 
but the things that are unseen are eternal."  2 Corinthians 4:17,18


So I'm praying and seeking to pull up a chair, lay aside our splendid decisions and lofty anticipations for the majesty of His beauty in this place right now; beholding His sufficient supplied grace; enjoying the ample ways He provides for all our needs; praising Him for the way He emptied Himself and became a man to bring the ministry of reconciliation to a lost people.  We're thanking Him for the humility of Christ in the manger and the mysterious ways He makes His glory known.  His ways are not our ways.  His ways are so much better.  And we've only just begun the real adventure knowing God!  We lack nothing.  Absolutely nothing!

“Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), 
increases my overjoyed delight because I know 
that my Father knows and cares and I can watch and anticipate 
how He will unravel my problems.” -Chambers

“Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction 
which has not bound up in the midst of it 
sufficient grace.” - Spurgeon

Friday, December 9, 2011

Memorizing with my daughter


Earlier this year, following the example of Bethlehem Baptist church, I asked Makayla and Ethan if they wanted to memorize the book of Philippians with me. Ethan was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to. He tried for a bit but in the end it was too big of a bite for him. Makayla, being older, was able to memorize well. At first she wasn't sure she would be able to do it, but as we started working through the book she was easily able to keep up with me. In fact, I was the one trying to keep up!

It became somewhat of a competition after awhile. We've recited to each other, countless times, the amount of the book that we know. 

While in Broken Bow, both of us were able to get about 2 and a half chapters of the book memorized. Then we moved to Haiti. In the midst of moving, both of us put memorizing on hold. Not on purpose, but we just didn't make it a priority to do it in the midst of big change. 

After awhile of being here I thought that it had probably been too long to pick it up again. I thought I probably forgot too much of it and would have to re-memorize ground that we had already covered. We talked about it a few times but neither of us really had the drive to dive back in. 

Makayla came into our room a few weeks ago and asked if I wanted to listen to how much of the book she could recite. She started memorizing again! So I did too. We are now about 15 or 16 verses from having the entire book down.

We sort of just stumbled upon this idea and it has been a huge blessing to both of us. I mention it here because if you have older kids it's worth considering doing something like this with them. Especially for dads. It's been a source of fellowship, mutual encouragement, and it's been fun. And, most importantly, we are able to hide God's Word in our heart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Let's Go Fly A Kite

One of the time-honored traditions of Haitian culture is making and flying kites...with razor blades attached to the tail of the kite. I'll explain in a minute.

Ever since Hans introduced Ethan to the idea of making his own kite E was hooked. Even though kite-season is a few months away, he couldn't contain himself. Using the description that he got from Hans, Ethan started experimenting on his own with making a kite. He made kites for several days in row and every time Hans said, with the wisdom of an older man, that it wouldn't fly.

To build a Haitian kite you get leaves from coconut trees (behind the house) and strip them so only the center spine is left. These are the bones. Next, you tie 3 or 4 bones together to form the skeleton of the kite. Then you use thin plastic, from the bags at the grocery store, to stretch over the skeleton to finish the kite.

The other day Hans presented Ethan with a kite that would fly. Hans worked on it the night before. Ethan was really blessed and pretty excited to test his new gift. The kite flies marvelously.

Back to the razors. Hans tells us that during kite season everyone gets their kites up in the air, with razor attached, to play a game. The object is to bump into other kites and maneuver in such a way as to cut the other guys kite down. Sounds interesting. Come spring we'll understand more I'm sure.

Below are pictures from two of our kite-flying excursions. One during the day and one at night.

Hans is a skilled kite-flyer. With very little wind he can make them fly.

Taking a break to look out at PAP
Makayla even came up to watch!
So did Andrea but she's stuck behind the camera. 



E and Hans working on getting a longer line of string.
The kite flying by the moon. It was actually a pretty cool sight.
The picture didn't turn out so good.




Thursday, December 1, 2011

Makayla

Wow, do we love this girl.  She oozes creativity.  Always.
She brings beauty and life.  Color and happiness to otherwise dull places.
Lord, You love her so much more.  You spent the life of
Your Son to rescue her - so that she would know and love You
as first place in everything!  Thank you.
Lord, You know her.  You know her thoughts before
she thinks them.  You made her.  You know the hairs on her head.
You know the desires of her heart.
Lord, You are the answer to her every need.
Lord, please open up Your promises to her.
Make Your Word life and light.
Fill her up with the Spirit bringing Your beauty for Your glory.
When through the valleys you lead her make her cling to You.
Refine and establish her in Christ that she be without spot or wrinkle when You return.
May she bear much fruit in the unique ways You created her because of Jesus' finished work.
Thanks for sharing such a sweet gift with two undeserving parents and a busy brother.
You are good!  We praise You!



Aslan


C.W. Lewis represents well the relationship between Who God is and our interactions with Him.  That is, by far, my favorite part about his writings. Aslan is a great representation of God's character in so many ways.  This song recently came on Pandora and has become a family favorite.  Click the link for an Amazon sample.  By the way this is the only song of hers that I'm recommending as I'm not very familiar with her works but this one is good.

Aslan 
by Kendall Payne

Don't stop your crying on my account
A frightening lion, no doubt
He's not safe, no he's not safe
Are you tempted now to run away?
The King above all Kings is coming down

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

I know you're thirsty, the water is free
But I should warn you, it costs everything
Well, He's not fair, no He's not fair
When He fixes what's beyond repair
And graces everyone that don't deserve

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good

No one knows Him whom eyes never seen
No, I don't know Him but He knows me
He knows me, He knows me

Lay down your layers, shed off your skin
But without His incision, you can't enter in
He cuts deep, yeah He cuts deep
When the risk is great and the talk is cheap
But never leaves a wounded one behind

But He won't say the words you wish that he would
Oh, he don't do the deeds you know that He could
He won't think the thoughts you think He should
But He is good, He is good