Friday, September 14, 2018

"Thank You Jesus..." in My Inbox

Part of my (Kate's ) work this month included creating this social media post, from a photo I took on the streets of Cap-Haitien, combined with a comment from a viewer, Robenson, on 4VEH's YouTube channel. It's a simple but profound comment, in essence the response we're hoping for from every person who listens, watches, reads our content from 4VEH.

Every day, comments from our YouTube channel flood my inbox, often an 'Amen', or an expression, a prayer, of faith, like this from Robenson. It hit me that this is a great privilege - to be a witness to God's work in people's lives.

If only everything else in my inbox was this good! What God-stories are flooding your inbox today?

Monday, January 29, 2018

"I'll listen to 4VEH till the day I die!"

Powerful testimony from listener Kersius

At the end of December, we interviewed 4VEH listener Kersius Jean, an elderly man confined to a wheelchair. Kersius was among an incredible group of listeners who call themselves" Super-Branché" meaning super-connected to 4VEH. They listen to practically every program, all day every day. At their own initiative, they meet together regularly - for fellowship, and to pray for and encourage us at 4VEH. They give financially, sacrificially, too.

When I asked Kersius if he had any prayer requests, he said:  

"Whether I'm walking or in this wheelchair, pray for me that I'll stay firm in the faith in Jesus."
"I've been listening to 4VEH for 53 years! 
"And I'll listen to 4VEH till the day I die". 

He made an impact on us...on me. His passion for Jesus, his love for 4VEH. 

Three days after our interview, on 1st January 2018, Kersius died, passing from this life into eternal life with his Savior Jesus. And I'm looking forward to seeing him again there.

As we've been watching the video recording...directing the editing...he is still having an impact on me. His enthusiasm is contagious. 

His testimony is being shared with our Haitian audiences from today (watch the interview - in Creole - on 4VEH's YouTube channel here: 

and I'll use his story for our supporter newsletters and other communications, too. We'll get the video subtitled in English so check back later if your Creole is a bit rusty :)

I pray his passion for Jesus will impact many people - in his death as in his life. We at 4VEH are privileged to be a part of Kersius' story. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to get this photo too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

VIDEO: Sneak Peak at Michels Ministry with 4VEH

One Mission Society videographer Michael Gearhart from World Headquarters (Greenwood, Indiana) gathered some great footage with us in Haiti in July, which we'll use to share various aspects of the ministry. Here's a sneak peak.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


To make up for the photos in the last post (did you make it all the way through to the last picture?), and realizing we haven't shared much the last few months, here are some snapshots of life and ministry with the Michels.

Storly speaking at Otterbein United Brethren Church in Greencastle, PA as part of their missions conference recently. Great to be with them, and to meet other missionaries this church supports as well. Notice the photo being projected - I had just shared the story of our dear friend John Menefee and the man, Fito, that John shared his faith with, and led to the Lord. Fito was among 20 men in a prison cell who heard the Gospel that day. Our team gave them a solar radio to encourage them.

Great to see our latest newsletter among many on Otterbein UB Church's noticeboard.

We were away at NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) international Christian media convention for a few days. The girls were well taken care of by our good friend Jane. This was our reunion selfie. 

We were glad to have our Columbus family, Wayne & Barb King, join us for a worship service while we were at NRB, in Orlando, FL, 

So, while we were waiting for dinner to arrive, with these two, John McLaughlin (MFM, 4VEH Board, left) and Tim Whitehead (Galcom, right) and their wives, they got up to do an interview. It's just what happens when you're surrounded by media people. 

At NRB, we got to see a premiere showing of the new movie, The Case for Christ, based on the book by journalist and atheist-turned-believer Lee Strobel. Very powerful movie. Go and see it. Take people with you to see it. Great to hear Lee and Leslie Strobel speak about their experiences, too. 

God answers many of our prayers by connecting us with people who can help. We're very thankful for Bill Tidwell, his expertise in AM radio and lots of other radio stuff. He'll be going to Haiti again with Storly soon.  

We knew there'd be two Haitians at NRB - from our delegation, Storly and our Operations manager who flew in from Cap, Witny Telfort (left). How cool to see Emmanuel Norestin (middle) too, a former 4VEH presenter who is now based in Florida.

I overheard some Quebecois accents (French from Quebec, Canada) and got talking to two guys, broadcast and streaming providers on the exhibition floor, one of whom had lived in Port-au-Prince for years. I kept wanting to speak Creole, though. I now speak French with a Haitian accent, apparently. 

Storly opened in prayer at NRB's Great Commission International Summit. Heard great reports from around the world, including from Cru, Sat-7, and others. (And it was very well attended, despite the empty seats in this photo). 

Always good to see our friends and ministry partners from TWR while we're at NRB. Here's Storly with Joe Fort, International Liaison for Thru The Bible. 

Earlier in February, it was a joy to be at Findlay E-Free church's missions conference - seen here with the Poynters, who serve with MFM (and lived and worked with the Homes for Haiti project in Port-au-Prince). 

If you need ideas for your next missions conversation/challenge/conference/whatever, this is a great one. Stick this verse on a mirror and BOOM!

Great display by Sarah Shaferly at Findlay E-Free. 

Ok, back to Haiti. A few weeks ago, 4VEH was honored by Conatel (the national telecommunications agency), along with three other radio stations, for its contribution to Haitian society over many years. 

Always good to peek through the studio window and see Storly and Dr. Nolly doing the live health show. 

During our 2-week trip to Haiti over Christmas, Hannah and Esther helped out at neighboring OMS ministry, Cowman International School, which they loved. 

Some of the challenges of starting a television ministry in a radio station is that there's no television studio to shoot video. Here Max and Storly are getting ready to record a short piece in the corner of the staff cafeteria - not a great location for so many reasons.   

Yep, Storly's buddy, Jake Bundy, is taller than him now.

Oh, the taxi-motos.....everywhere in Cap-Haitien, like ants. 

Fun playing volleyball at Cormier Plage. 

Scouting out the exterior of 4VEH's Broadcast Center property. Some repainting, clean-up, tree trimming and signage needed. 

Storly and I on our 13th Anniversary date, at a new hotel up in the mountains above Cap-Haitien, Gorgeous views. Check out their website, Habitation Joussaint if you're looking for a fancy hotel for your next visit to Cap. 

The 4VEH New Year's Eve crew - hosting the live all-night show, and interacting on social media. Time for a break to enjoy the traditional Soupe Joumou, yum. 

I occasionally get called up to the mic, to be interviewed by Storly, in Creole, about giving to 4VEH, how we can't operate with the support of listeners who give. 

 Ah, one of my favourite things! Drinking coconut water from our very own coconut trees!

Glad to see our orange trees are still producing, too. Unfortunately, not so for our lime trees :(

We had fun over Christmas reconnecting with our good friends, the Gross family. Here we're teaching Sarah how to get water from our well. 

With Melissa and Sarah Gross.

Great to be training our Haitian social media team - this is Max, Claudine, Cado and Milton (l to r).

Just some of the material we covered during our training - evergreen vs. perishable content, story arcs, storyboards, and calls-to-action.

Our radio presenters are becoming faces on television. It's a whole new skill set! 

Church on Christmas Day. Storly preached a simple but powerful message of God with us.

Displays around the building now help share stories of impact. 

Hannah buries Storly in the sand. One little kid who walked past was terrified. 

Fun at the 4VEH staff Christmas meeting and photo shoot. 

Scouting out a good location for our all-staff photo. Here's Max, Claudine and Cado.

Privileged to serve God and the Haitian people with this team. 
Thanks for all the ways you're part of the team, too! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lessons from the Bench

These last several months have been marked by problems in my calf muscle - firstly, noticeable as swelling, pressure and pain after running; a variety of tests, waiting, physical therapy, rest, using crutches; and then the meat thermometer test (really a pressure test...but given the season of an approaching American Thanksgiving, the image of stabbing your roasting turkey with a probe seemed appropriate) to confirm what I already suspected: a rare condition seen most often in younger athletes, runners especially, called chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

It's now eight weeks since the fasciotomy, or compartment release surgery, involving the surgeon cutting 4 inch incisions either side of my calf muscle, and once under the skin, cutting long slits in the casing of two of the four compartments in my calf muscle. Think of slitting the skin of sausages before popping them in the oven, so they don't explode when they cook. I've just come from a follow-up appointment with the surgeon, who is very happy with my progress. Walking well, nearly pain free, not yet ready to start running.

But for six months, I've been on the bench. Unable to run. Unable to bike. At times unable to walk very far, or stand for very long. Unable to lead the mission trip to Haiti last October, though I was able to go with our family over Christmas. On the bench.

And I've learned a few valuable lessons in the process.

1. The body is an incredible thing. Complex. Connected. Interdependent. When one part is not working as it should be, the body compensates. Other things get pulled out of line, messed up. Calf muscle issues become knee, leg, hip, back issues. Trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in after surgery was almost impossible, despite the vast array of pillows we arranged in our bed, providing protection, padding and support. When one part can't do its job, it impacts the whole. I can't help but think of the body of Christ, the locally-experienced, global-reaching church. Hurting in places, not doing its job in places. Impacting the whole body.

2. Healing is a marvel to watch and experience. Nearly every day since the a lesser degree now...I have taken photos of my leg, the incisions, the bruises, the swelling. I've resisted from sharing any on Facebook, but I'll share some with you if you've brave enough to make it to the end of this post.

3. I've learned that I'm a female athlete (my doctor's words, not mine). Not a term I've ever associated with myself, nor do I have any crazy ideas about winning the London marathon. But running in particular is something that's become important to me.

4. That I have a "history of tropical diseases" (a different doctor's words). Back in West Africa, I figured there may be long-term consequences that could at some point down the road be linked back to malaria, dengue fever that I've had (malaria probably from a mosquito in Sierra Leone, got sick with it a couple of weeks later and was nursed while trying to visit a health project in Tera, Niger; dengue fever from mosquito in Haiti). But this was the first time I'd heard about malaria affecting collagen in muscles. (Not sure that this had any effect on my calf muscle, but it was part of the discussions in getting a diagnosis).

5. That my children are perfectly capable of taking care of our family's laundry (though they still resist putting clean clothes back in the closet). They were also ready for more independence in other areas, and me out of action gave them the opportunity to step up.

6. That you really should pay attention to the warnings on post-surgery instructions that pain meds can cause constipation. Seriously, pay attention to those warnings. When all you can think about is the pain, it's hard to be concerned with side effects of painkillers. But that was real suffering for me. My poor body thought I was giving birth...and I was sure I was going to do some serious damage to my insides. Agony.

7. That people don't always know how to help, though they want to. It's good to be specific when asking for help, and when offering help to others. Saying "I'd like to bring you dinner on Friday, does chicken soup sound OK?" is more helpful than saying "Let me know how I can help".

8. That I missed people coming over to visit, calling to check on me, getting in touch. Though we may be connected with many people, especially via social media, it doesn't compare with direct contact.

9. That pain can be all-consuming. I'd often thought the same about hunger for many around the world, who on a daily basis are motivated, obsessed, only and exclusively with finding food and water. It was the first time I really experienced pain in this way. And I know it's nothing compared to those who live with constant pain.

10. It's okay to be on the bench for a while. God still loves me when I'm on the bench and not busy doing. After a few weeks on crutches, and still trying to get a diagnosis, I had to back out of leading a mission trip to Haiti that the girls and I were taking with our church. Days before we were due to leave, aware of my limitations and possible risks if I went to Haiti then, Storly and I prayed about whether I should go, and agreed that we needed to make a decision the next morning. (Uncharacteristically, I had already thought about canceling this trip for two different, unrelated reasons). I woke up earlier than usual, just after 5 a.m. that decision day, already feeling like I should not go, but asking God to confirm that this was what He wanted for me, not me just getting scared. 

As I made a steaming pot of coffee, the Bible App on my phone reminded me of the devotional reading for that day, from Streams in the Desert. So I sat down and read:

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, Luke 22:41 NIV
"It is a very difficult thing to be kept in the background during a time of crisis. In the Garden of Gethsemane, eight of the eleven remaining disciples were left behind to do nothing. When Jesus went ahead to pray, Peter, James and John went with him to watch, but the rest sat down to wait … They were in the garden, but that was all … It was a stormy time of crisis and great stress, yet they were not allowed to participate.
You and I have certainly had that experience and felt the same disappointment. Perhaps you have seen a great opportunity for Christian service arise, and some people are sent immediately to the work, while still others are being trained to go. Yet you are forced to do nothing but sit and wait … Whatever your situation, you have been kept from service, and … do not understand why you should be excluded from this part of the Christian life. It seems unjust that you have been allowed to enter the garden but have found no path assigned to you once inside.
Be still, dear soul—things are not what they seem! You are not excluded from any part of the Christian life. Do you believe that the garden of the Lord only has places for those who walk or those who stand? No! It also has a place set apart for those who are compelled to sit … There are active people, who go straight to the battle and struggle till the setting of the sun. There are passive people, who stand in the middle and simply report the progress of the fight. Yet there are also [others]—those who can neither fight nor be spectators of the fight but must simply lie down and wait. When this experience comes, do not think that you have been turned aside. Remember, it is Christ himself who says to you, “Sit here” (Matthew 26:36). Your place in the garden has also been set apart.
I had never thought about the other disciples in the garden. It was the confirmation I needed that I should sit this one out. and the peace to tell the rest of the team they would be going without me (I also had peace, through my bawling and theirs, to tell our very excited girls, Hannah and Esther, that they would not be going to Haiti - with their BFF Kora - on this trip either).

Reading this devotional, written by Lettie Cowman, (one of the founders of the mission we're part of, One Mission Society) had special significance. One missionary to another. One woman to another. One believer to another. I was deeply moved.


And now, for the brave among you, photos post-surgery, starting with the most recent. As I woke up from the anesthesia, I was thinking about two stripes on my leg, like the go-faster red stripes down the side of my very first car, a cute black Mini. My stripes are healing. But the lessons are for a lifetime.