Hey There!

Wow, it’s been oh so quiet around here in the last few months. So sorry about that! I assure you that we are alive and kicking and very much still at work. Life just sometimes happens and we get wrapped up in the day to day and this seems to be the last space that gets any of our attention.

But, we’re excited that this might (hopefully) change in the next few months!

Last fall when Ryan left us Chris and I sat back and made a good assessment of what our needs were for staff going forward. We realized that while we liked having people here to help out with the filter program, it wasn’t really a need. And that’s a good thing! It means we’ve gotten to the place with our management and employees where they’re taking care of the day to day stuff and we don’t need outside help very often in this area. This is exactly where we want to be! Our motto is “Empowering. Improving. Sustaining.” We take that seriously. It means we’re always looking for ways to have people move towards independence, rather than dependence. Having our staff taking more and more leadership, and relying less on outside help means we’re getting there! It means they’re learning skills that they didn’t have when they started. It means they’re taking responsibility for things that they hadn’t before. It means they have more ownership over this whole thing, rather than just being employees.

So, we don’t really need volunteers to come in and help build filters or do errands. What we did need was someone to come in and help with the admin work. This was a realization that kind of came with magical wand sounds. You know, like Disney.

When I started working with the mission back in 2005 it was basically Chris and I. He did all the mechanical, electrical, fire fighting, business, fix it type stuff. I did the admin work. Accounting, working with potential visitors, getting training class materials together, etc. It was fine. I enjoyed it. It was where I was at. Two plus years into that we added Olivia to the picture. She was so chill as a baby that she would enjoy hanging out in her bouncy seat for hours next to my desk, as long as I wiggled it with my foot and threw her receiving blanket over her every five minutes so she could fight to get out of it. It was a fun game!

Fast forward three more years. We’ve upped our filter production. We just have more going on in general. We also add another kid to the mix when Alex is born. Unlike his sister, he is not chill and happy sitting in one place for hours at a time (not that she is anymore either!). He is all boy that needs more attention. We have Yonese coming in 5 days per week to help keep our house from impending destruction and to help with Alex so I might actually get some work done.

Now we’re almost three more years forward at present day. Olivia is in school full time, but Alex is not, and won’t be for another year. My days are still filled with admin work, but it is repetitive. I enjoy some of it and other items get delayed because I loathe doing it. Not that it’s horrible, I just don’t get excited about it. Things like accounting, getting class stuff ready, etc. There are things that are specific to me, as in I need to be the person to do it, and there are other things that can be done by someone else who had the ability.

So that’s where we landed. We needed someone to help me. To take some of those regular things off my plate, and free me up to work on new projects that are more specific to my skills and gifts now, as well as giving me time to be the mom and wife that my family needs right now.

We put the word out last fall that we wanted to fill this role, but nothing ever came of it. We knew God would bring the right person along at the right time. So we waited, and just kept going. In late March God answered that need!

We’re excited to share that in August Peggy Moss will be joining our full time, long term volunteer staff here in Haiti. Peggy was working with friends of ours, and for a variety of reasons just felt that God was moving her into something else. She knew she was supposed to be serving in missions, and to be in Haiti doing it. After lots of conversation and going through the application process we all feel this is exactly where she needs to be.

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Peggy previously owned her own catering company, so she has management experience and after having a staff of 16, she understands the dynamic of having employees. She has experience with all the major admin responsibilities that she’ll need to be responsible for, including familiarity with the programs we’ve been using for those jobs. She’s bubbly and the type of person that people are naturally drawn to. With that and her catering background she’ll be invaluable in helping to host and coordinate visitors to the mission, as well as assisting in a variety of ways when we do training classes. And most of all, she has a heart to serve wherever we need it most at any given moment, something that is invaluable in the mission field. We never know what any given day is going to bring, and often best laid plans get put aside for whatever is more pressing in the moment.

We’re very excited that Peggy will be joining our staff. The best part is that she feels a long term call to missions. In the past most of our volunteers have come on a maximum of a one year term and have looked at their time with us as an opportunity to gain cross-cultural and missions experience as part of a plan to do something else. Aside from Chris, I’ve been the only other volunteer that has been here indefinitely, and well, he married me so I’m kind of locked in now! Having a volunteer with an indefinite time frame means we can do so much more. Many times it wasn’t that I didn’t want to pass off some of my work to others, it was that by the time the training was done and they got the hang of it they would be leaving and I would have to take it back from them, and we would be no further ahead. Peggy will be able to take on those responsibilities and make them her own.

With those things taken off my plate I’m going to have the time and space to focus on some new areas that I’m really excited about. I love how God takes us through seasons of our lives and shows us how he’s put desires and things within us that he can use for his purposes. Administration and leadership are two of my skills/gifts, and I use those regularly. They’ve helped move the mission to where it is now. But, the mission now has different needs and for a long time they’ve been floating there in the background and I’ve felt frustrated at not having a more concrete, long term solution for meeting them. I’ve now realized that I’m that solution. Funny how that works!

With Peggy here as my assistant I’ll be able to focus my time on things like web site maintenance and design, relieving one of our board members of those duties so he can focus more on grant writing – something he’s feeling led to be actively involved in. I’ll be able to work more on graphic design and social media stuff, things that will help spread the word about what we’re doing here. Photography! This is something that I’ve had a love of for a long time, but didn’t have the time or equipment to do effectively. I now have a great camera and am in the process of learning how to use it well, and it’s exciting! Being able to go out on deliveries more often and connecting the rest of our process with you, our supporters, is something I’m so excited about.

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Being able to show you more of people like Evens and what really goes on around here every day – exciting!

Writing – I am so excited that I’ll have more time to actually write. More blog posts! Peggy also loves to write, so I know that we’ll be collaborating a lot in this area. It’ll be fun to have someone that shares this love to bounce ideas off of.

So much of this scary good for me. I say that because much of it requires dedicated learning on my pat. I literally have no idea how to do web design, as in the coding part and telling the program what I want things to look like. I do know how to do the graphic design part so it’s learning how to translate that into what people see on their screen. I’m already learning more about my learning style, and the challenges of having to learn all of this on my own (for the most part) where I can’t go take a class at the community college or sit down with a skilled friend whenever I hit a road block. But, the learning is good! It’s a challenge for me that I’m excited about.

Please be praying for our family, for Chris and I as directors and for Peggy, as well as the rest of our staff, as we all move towards her arrival in August. She’s back in the US right now transitioning and working at raising her support, as well as getting things in place for her move. Every time I think about her arrival I get more and more giddy. This is just such a big step forward for the mission in general. It’s one more building block on a foundation that we’ve worked hard at over the years, and it will mean so many good things for the way we do ministry here. Most of all, it’s a reminder that God cares about the details. He cares about the things that excite us and he cares about the gifts and abilities he’s put in each of us. He wants all of us to be serving him in ways that we’re excited about, because when we’re passionate that shines through and it draws people closer to him.

Excited about the future!

~Leslie

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