Guest post by Adam and Ann Uhler
Greetings from the Uhler family (Adam, Ann, Lane, Elise, Mathias, and Brielle). We are members of the Smithville AC church. A family that we have grown very close to over the years (the Walders) were called into the mission field in 2013. Mike and Susie Walder along with their children: Evan, Grant, Trinity, and Grace are serving in Les Cayes, Haiti in the child sponsorship department.
In March 2015 we felt that God had given an open door to visit the Walders. We went to visit and encourage Mike and Susie and their family and were not a part of a work team. Elise and Grace are close friends so we took our two oldest children (Lane and Elise). We knew that it would be an opportunity for them to experience another culture and bring a 3rd world perspective to their comfortable life in America.
A Few Highlights from our Trip:
- Once we were close to Les Cayes, Jan Gutwein met us and gave us a tour of the Cancer Redemption Project founded and operated by Loving Shephard Ministries. We were able to tour the campus and meet the family that we sponsor. We were very impressed with the LSM campus and the warm smiles and singing that greeted us.
- On Sunday, we went to a Haitian church service were we enjoyed very enthusiastic singing and preaching. Obviously, the language barrier prevented us from understanding anything being said. It was amazing how the people had such bright, clean clothes to wear to church. They had walked there on dirty roads in the blazing sun and they stayed clean and in good cheer. The pastor had been a sponsored child. We met a number of pastors who had developed through child sponsorship.
- A young man at Rainbow beach was desperate for some money. He worked very hard for a handful of shells. When he was chased away by an older Haitian, we could see his shorts were ripped clear down the back. There were a few stitches holding them together. Such a helpless face!
- On Monday, we visited the child sponsorship office which is on the missionary compound. We toured the facility and met the staff. Our two sponsored children walked some distance to meet with us. We also met a young lady that our Sunday school sponsors.
- We visited a number of villages and homes. The Walders have made a number of connections outside of the child sponsorship work. They are discipling a number of young Haitian men and women to help them grow in their relationship with Christ. As we drove along, Mike and Susie would point out children who were being sponsored by different church people. One boy was walking a goat that a Smithville couple had purchased.
We had a wonderful time with the Walders. It was a blessing to spend the week with them, an experience that we will not forget. We experienced a taste of life with the Walders in Haiti. There wasn’t a meal when someone didn’t come to the door in need of help. Or, driving through a village and someone would call out to Grant. They have built relationships with young men and women that they are ministering to. The children and communities that are impacted by the child sponsorship are truly a blessing.
The Haitian people were warm and friendly and easy for us to love. The Walders know them on a deeper level and will tell you that the challenges they face are very real. The spiritual battle is closer to the surface and can seem more real. The need and impact of prayer is more evident. There are more people to help than there are time and resources. The people and the culture are very different, but human nature is very much the same. We only tasted what life is like in a foreign culture.
We have a deeper appreciation of the need to pray for wisdom and discernment to know who to help and invest in. As the hurricane passed through Les Cayes in October 2016, we felt like it was hitting a familiar place. Our hearts and prayers were much more connected and personal. It was an experience that deepened our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father.
If you too are interested in visiting those you are supporting, we have an exciting opportunity for you!
The Bluffton/Bluffton North ACC core team is happy to announce that there are funds available to cover up to 50% of your costs to visit the missionary family you are representing. The purpose of the fund is to help us better connect with our missionary families and to communicate their story to our local congregations. If you have a conviction to visit your missionary, but would need financial assistance, please consider applying for this grant. These funds are available to both individuals and families. All grant applications will be reviewed by the core team.