December and January have been good to us! We wrapped up our first and, arguably most important, phases of training our national community directors with Justice Water. This has been a dream on our hearts for a while, and we are excited to turn from a crazy team doing everything from planning to teaching to projects to transitioning now into a support staff for these 5 locations. It has been an interesting transition, but we consider ourselves so blessed to have been a part of facilitating this growth with Justice Water. (For a highlight reel of Justice Water’s work worldwide watch this:
What does this mean? Practically, this means we are freer to train and expand Justice Water into other areas we have been invited to continue training; it means we can see more projects and more leaders and staff being trained by OUR staff and not just by ourselves; it means that the concept known as “the ripple effect” is actually happening on the island of Hispaniola.
In other ways, it means we are doing something huge on this island- passing something off to the indigenous. While we will still be maintaining, assisting, mentoring and coaching these leaders, we also recognize that this is a great feat for us! We are so excited to be passing this leadership off to our friends who are totally capable of running Justice Water in their own locations.
What ELSE does this mean? It means we can continue to grow! We are working with a few newer locations or more abandoned due to our super busy work schedule in the past. We also will be able to focus some of our time on the development of our ministry- Konbit Haiti- which we are so excited to be launching soon!
December was wonderful for many reasons. We spent the beginning of it securing funding for our Community Directors and I was honestly blown away at the quick response we had to those who donated towards their “salaries” for the year. It really touched our hearts to know these guys are believed in by you, as well! In December we took a weekend break and hiked to a beautiful waterfall with our friends and staff, Zach and Sara. Seeing this cool site was a neat way to remind ourselves of how amazing it is to truly live and work on this island and serve these wonderful people!
We landed in Alabama just in time to see my brother’s band’s CD release show. It was so wonderful to see them. Check out The Mulligan Brothers if you haven’t already. So good! :)
A few days after arriving, we were able to do something very special: host our friend Rony LaRose in our hometown in Alabama! What a special time. He met some of our large family, met our advisory board for Konbit and had the opportunity to meet some of our church families as well. Thank you, those of you who met Rony, for welcoming him into your lives. He was so touched by all he met! And, thank you for those of you who endured my very rough translation skills on Sunday morning, haha. With this time with Rony, we were able to brainstorm, vision, plan and get excited for all that God is doing in 2015 and beyond! We are so thankful to be working with Rony and his family.
We were so happy our good friend, Drue, was able to visit for one night to see Rony! Drue is a nurse and good friend of ours and Haiti- she has served with us now two times! We of course, had to take Rony to the Waffle House.
Rony and some of our friends- Karl is also a big supporter of Haiti and of us. :)
Christmas was right after Rony left and it was great to spend a little time all over the Gulf Coast. We now have twin nieces, so they were the highlight of our time at home! :) What cute little nuggets.
Lastly, we were able to have our first board meeting in which we attempted to cram so many stories into one night. Man alive, is it difficult to come back and attempt to communicate all that God has done down here through Justice Water and now through the beginnings of Konbit. Thank you to those who listened to us as we rambled, cried, made jokes and attempted to bring you in- we WANT you in our lives!
January has been so fun. I have to admit that I was not totally looking forward to coming back, mostly because I was nervous that our “release” of the Community Directors wasn’t empowering enough. Thankfully, I was wrong. We returned to see Jose Luis, our San Pedro Community Director in the Dominican Republic running a week-long seminar in the community we built a rain tank in over the fall. The community approached HIM for more education and help. What an amazing blessing! Jose Luis and our other staff, Jonas, also speak on the radio now about hygiene, sanitation and the Gospel. Pretty neat. I was actually blown away.
( A photo of some of the community gathered around in San Pedro. Before the training began. Notice that awesome rain catchment tank!)
We are checking up on our Haitian staff this upcoming week and we are so excited. There will be a wedding and a new addition (baby BOY!) to our Justice Water Haiti family. I am excited- the guys have already been showing us how they are teaching the children in their communities about hand washing and sanitation.
Mirtil in La Ti Bonnet. We are so proud of him as this is an extremely difficult area to work in.
We are so excited to blast into 2015, but also to be able to relax in a way we haven’t felt we could before this year. We have so many indigenous staff, working so hard to bring living water to their communities- and we have the extreme privilege of supporting them and loving them.
There are still many ways you can get involved. We are talking about a few SMALL trips this summer, and if you meet the criteria, we’d love to talk with you! Other than that, we will be raising money for property soon, as well as our ongoing need for office space rentals, project finances and transportation. If you are interested in making a contribution to one of these things, visit justicewater.net or cotamontrose.com/donate (and select Konbit).
Guys, thank you so much for your willingness to partner with us, to journey with us as we seek to bring people to know God in a real way, to bring clean water to those without and to empower and develop communities through local leaders. Keep praying for us and keep loving us! We are SO thankful for you.