“Legacy” Film dramatically shows John and Jodie's
ministries including the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
A QUICK SUMMER
June and July found us back in the US for a number of doctor visits and check-ups, and a bit of R and R with family and friends. We enjoyed attending our home congregation at Park Place Church of God, some family time, and even a few concerts. Two of the highlights of the summer were attending the Church of God convention in Oklahoma City, and spending a few days with our kids in a cabin in Brown County. Just as when we were growing up, summer goes by too quickly!
AN “INTERESTING” AUTUMN
We arrived back in Haiti on August 1, and jumped right back into a new school year and work at the clinic. Jodie began Kindergarten with a new group of children, and John tried to get everything up and running at the house and clinic. It seemed like it might be a relatively easy year. Then, in the last week of August, Jodie was awakened by a sharp pain in her eye, and knew that something was not right. Subsequent visits to the eye doctor confirmed what we had begun to suspect: a case of shingles in the right upper quadrant of her face, including the eye. Then, after things had begun to clear up, her eye flared up with new infections. If you have suffered from shingles, you will know how it feels! Finally, in December, things seem to be clearing up for good. It is in times like these that we especially appreciate your prayers! But this autumn has seen some happy times too! This summer, John received a call from his sister Caroline, telling us she was engaged to be married. Many of you know Caroline, who was a missionary in Kenya and Tanzania for many years. She had never married, so this was major news! We met the “young” man, Bill Marschal, in a trip to Newton Falls, Ohio this summer. And we were able to go to Florida for a few days in November for the big wedding. It was a very short but wonderful time!
WINTER IN HAITI
Winter in Haiti has always been my (Jodie’s) favorite season. There is something about the angle of the sun, the cooler temperatures, the different flowers that are blooming, and of course the holidays, that I find especially delightful. I love the Advent season, Christmas, and the promise of a new year. I love sharing the story of Jesus’ birth with a new set of little ones. But this year I have something extra to love. All our kids are coming to Haiti for Christmas! We are looking forward to our traditional Christmas Eve service and open house, and a few days at the beach. And of course, spending time together, a gift that is more precious as the years go by.
A CALL TO PRAYER
This is an election year in Haiti, a proposition that always presents huge challenges. In August the first round of elections were held to elect a new Parliament and local officials. In October the preliminary presidential elections were held. The run-off election for president is scheduled for December 27. The entire process, although mostly peaceful, has been marked by constant protests and charges of corruption and unfair voting practices. We receive almost daily emails from the US embassy, outlining the route for the “manifestation d’ jour” or demonstration of the day. We ask that you pray with us for fair and peaceful elections this month, and for Haiti to be able to move forward with a new government. As always, we ask that you pray for us, as we know that many of you do regularly. Pray that we will have patience, energy, and stamina in dealing with the stresses of life here, that we will have wisdom to know how best to meet challenges, and that we will truly love those around us with God’s love.
I love to sit on our balcony to see the day turn into evening. The sunset, the twilight, and the first stars coming out are a daily gift for those who take the time to see them. I’m sure God likes stars. He used one to announce Jesus’ birth. The stars remind me of these verses from Isaiah 40. “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Then the next verses transfer God’s attention to us. “Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Many times the world has us feeling disregarded and powerless against the evil and sin that appears so prevalent. But the message of Advent is that God continues to uphold and strengthen us, just as he keeps the stars burning. The light has shown in the darkness, and we are bearers of that light. I hope you will look up at the stars tonight, and remember that they are just one more sign that God is with us, and he has not abandoned us to our own devices. May you have a blessed Christmas and a new year of hope and peace!--Jodie and John Ackerman
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