New Film on the
Story of the Ackerman's Work in Haiti
What a summer!
We hit the ground running early in June and didnít stop until August. That
was when Jodie had to leave to return to Haiti for school.
Together we visited 18 different churches in 6 different states. After Jodie
left, John visited three more churches in 3 more states before his return to
In addition to visiting many of our supporting churches we took part in the
North American Convention of the Church of God, which takes place in Anderson,
Indiana every June. While in Anderson we had a family reunion and spent lots of
time with Jodieís mother, our wonderful children, and grand dog.
Every other summer we are given the wonderful opportunity to visit a number
of the churches that make it financially possible for us to live in Haiti. I am
always amazed at how blessed we are to have chosen the vocation that we did. I
donít ALWAYS feel this way (no, Haiti isnít always the easiest place to live)
but after having a great summer being cared for and loved on by people who
really do love us we feel really upbeat about where weíve been and where weíve
Summer ends with some major surprises.
As usual, when we finished with most of our church visits Jodie and I had
our annual doctor appointments prior to returning to Haiti. All seemed to check
out well but after the appointments John was contacted by the doctorís office
saying that they had noticed something during our physical exam that they
questioned, so they wanted him to have a few tests done. After the initial ones
were done little was known except that more tests were needed. Then he was
scheduled for a test that took about four hours and it was like one you would
have in high school, testing the strength in different parts of your body, your
reaction times and memory. About four hours after finishing the test John got a
call from the nurse at our doctorís office us that the testing that morning had
confirmed that John had a right sided stroke which was believed to have happened
between 9 and 11 months earlier. The next morning it was confirmed with an MRI.
The only symptoms that we had noted during that time was John had begun to
experience some difficulty typing with the fourth and fifth finger of his left
hand, and that he would occasionally let the stress of Haiti get to him.
By the time we had a diagnosis Jodie had already returned to Haiti for the
beginning of school, and John would stay an extra three weeks and travel to more
churches by himself. The orders from the doctor went something like this: double
your aspirin daily, watch your left side since the stroke may make sight in that
side poor. (It hasnít.) And learn to handle stress positively. Iím still working
on that one, but not doing too badly.
On my return to Haiti my primary objective had to be get the car on the
road. And get lots of body work done. The Toyota was only two years old but it
had multiple bumps of varying degrees of seriousness, including a back door that
wouldnít open. To make a long and tedious story short, the Toyota is now
repaired and back on the road!
Storm Called Sandy
You probably saw many pictures of damage in the US from Hurricane Sandy. But
it also left the Caribbean, including Haiti, reeling in its wake. Lives were
lost, and many houses and crops were washed away. John attempted to go out to
the village of Prospere three weeks in a row. The first time the turnoff was
still a river, and a large backhoe was heading toward the area to work on the
road. The second trip out, he was able to go part way up the road, but at a
certain point it had turned into a 12 foot deep ditch and became impassable. The
backhoe he had seen on the previous trip was deeply embedded in the
The next week John met someone from Prospere and attempted to get there from
a back road. He reached to within a mile and could even see the church, but
could not get there by vehicle. Finally, almost a month after the storm, he was
able to go all the way there by the back road. He found that Prospere itself had
not suffered much damage, but the communities below had lost much in the way of
crops and topsoil, and looked like a rocky riverbed.
The flooding in this small area was repeated many times over in various
parts of Haiti. Please pray for these farmers and the resulting food shortage
because of lost crops.
We are thankful for the times we were able to spend with our kids this past
summer, although they always seem too short! Jacquie and Kevin were able to meet
us in Anderson several times, and we saw Jessica for a day or two here and
there. After working with children in a summer day camp of the YMCA, Jessica
started training in August to be a resident assistant in her dorm. She is loving
this job and taking care of the girls on her hall. She is in her junior year at
IU, studying secondary language arts.
Jacquie and Kevin were both job hunting after finishing mastersí degrees in
May, and we are happy to report that they have both started new jobs. Jacquie is
now working for the Center on Philanthropy at IUPUI in Indianapolis and Kevin is
working for L.M. Henderson and Company. They have moved to downtown Indianapolis
and love their new location. We are proud of them both!
We look forward to having Jessica here for Christmas in just a few days! We
are grateful for every moment we can spend with our wonderful kids!
TIS THE SEASON
I love to share Bible stories with my Kindergarten class, and to see them
anew through young eyes. I sometimes use Godly Play materials to really make the
stories come alive for the children. This week I was reviewing what we had
discussed on the upcoming time of Advent. I asked the class if they remembered
what special season was beginning this week. One little girl who is always on
top of things responded instantly: ďthe season of Advil!Ē Of course I had a good
laugh out of that! But then I thought of how many people really do see it that
way: a time of extra activity, stress, and a need to take pain medicine. Is that
the way God wants us to prepare for his sonís birth?
It takes discipline to be intentional about our preparations, and to not let
this month become one long to-do list. And believe me, Iím preaching to myself
here, as I also find it difficult to make spaces for Godís spirit to do his
work. But it is necessary for us to make those hard choices if we are to enter
in to the mystery of the incarnation. Be encouraged! God IS with us! Let us take
to heart the words of this carol, and make this the season of Advent (passionate
waiting for his coming) instead of the season of Advil!
And ye, beneath lifeís crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing:
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.
Some New Projects
If you have been following our work for very long you might note that we
have never brought up the subject of projects, mostly because we never felt the
need for projects and also because the clinic was bringing in enough funds to
take care of itís finances. A few individuals and churches gave consistently to
our Project Account and we have tried to us these funds wisely especially after
the earthquake and some were used toward the local transport of the BK
But things are changing in that we are discovering things that we believe
would be a positive thing for the people of Prospere.
Here is the list of Projects as it presently stands:
1. a solar charger for cell phones since they have no electricity and the cost a
running a generator to power cell phone charging would be exorbitant I am in
contact with a local person that is presently working to give me an estimate on
what it would cost to create something that would charge about 20 cell phones at
2. Much of the population of Haiti, including many of those in and near the
village of Prospere suffer from severe hypertension in high numbers. Playing
against this fact is the fact that the medicine that is needed to treat this
problem is very expensive. I am hoping to begin soon to treat and follow these
patients on a regular and recurrent basis enabled by a portion of the Project
3. OK, hereís the fun one:
This will probably sound strange to most who are reading this but the
children who go to school at Prospere speak Creole and are taught in Creole. But
most of them have no opportunity to go beyond a 5th grade education to enable
them to ever get a job unless they know and can function in the French language.
Also, when they finish their 5th grade most of those are primarily unemployable.
This goes especiallyfor the girls who, if not employed or working will, at the
age 18 or 19 become pregnant, usually have one or two babies then get married.
This is the circle of life in the provinces of Haiti. This is is a stretch but
stick with me please.
I have a feeling that, possibly the primary and easiest place to make
something good and positive come out of these lives might be through the
education of the French language. I know that preaching at them isnít going to
do it. That has already been tried. But I have an Idea. I want to take some of
these young kids and after school in the afternoon show them videos in the
French Language. These would be age appropriate videos of childrenís movies ,
and cartoons ONE question.! Does anybody have any idea if Veggie Tales can be
purchased in French? Anyway I know the kids would absolutely love this and would
naturally pickup some French from it. Change their lives? I donít know but want
to try it. Already have a projector and a computer is on the way. So the main
cost would be the DVDís and a screen.
So, there you have it. Thanks for listening We are figuring that the cost of
the projects will be approximately $200 for startup and probably around $2000 a
If you, your church, Bible School or youth group would like to give toward
the funding of these projects you would send checks to :
Church of God Ministries
PO Box 2420
If you send a check put the number42.30233
Ifyou would like to talk with about this program
Contact Don Smith, Project Link coordinator
or 1-8008482464 Ext 3047
Living-Link is a program whereby churches and individuals can give tax free
donations which go to our familyís personal support here in Haiti. Some of this
money is used by us personally for daily needs, and wants, some for things that
make it possible for us to carry out the clinic ministry here such as our office
and car, and medical equipment expenses, some is used for our medical insurance,
continuing education, and travel funds so we can visit and give first hand
reports to those who give to keep us here.
At present we have approximately 97% of our Living-Link budget committed to
us but Church of God Global Missions desire us to have approximately 110% in
order to make sure weíre covered for increases in things like insurance, and
cost of living, etc. As a Living-Link supporting church, the church commits a
designated amount of money per month or per year and for that commitment we, the
missionaries, commit to report on the ministry with our Living-Link partner at
least four times a year and make a personal visit to the church at least once
every five years.
To you our living link supporters please accept our sincere thanks for
making it possible to us to live in here in Haiti serving the Church, the poor
and needy of this land, and Christ. We know that many of you give very
sacrificially for us and we are humbled by your generosity.
If you or your church would be interested in becoming a Living-Link partner
please call Debbie Taylor at the Church of God Global Missions
(1-800-848-2464). She will be glad to assist you.
If you would like to give individually toward our personal support please
send these funds to :
Church of God Ministries
PO Box 2420
Anderson IN 46018
On the memo line of each check please write LL#42.10001 John Ackerman
Haiti still has a haunting natural beauty. View
some photos here!
The Ackermans are Career Missionaries with the Church of
God (Anderson, IN) and would love to hear from you. Their mail in Haiti is
delivered by Agape Flights, Inc. You can write to or email the Ackerman family at the
- Postal address
John, Jodie and Jessica Ackerman
Agape Flights #237
100 Airport Ave.
Venice, FL 34285-3901
- John, Jodie and Jessica
- Financial Support
- The Ackerman's work is supported by contributions from many individuals and Church of God
congregations. Despite the widespread poverty in Haiti, it is expensive to
support missions work there. We appreciate your tax deductible gift and
commit to using it wisely. Donations may be sent to:
Church of God Ministries
PO Box 2420, Anderson, Indiana,
or call (800) 848-2464, ext. 2129
Please be sure to specify the John Ackerman family and
use Project Number 42.10001 in your gift.
For a gift toward projects at the Prospere Medical Clinics, use
Project #42.30233- Haiti Prospere Clinics
Click here for a list of minor things needed
which will go a long way (perfect for children and Sunday School classes)