SPIRIT OF TRUTH SCHOOL IN DROUIN, HAITI

     In October of 2007 a trip was made to a remote village named Drouin (pronounced Dway) on the west side of the country of Haiti.  Drouin is located in the Arbonite Region ofHaiti.  It is a 4 hour drive North West of the capital. It is the rice growing area of Haiti and is prone to flooding and extreme heat.  The poverty, the lack of fresh water, the     mundane diet of rice and maybe a few black beans and the lack of education opportunity made a dramatic impact.  As Stepstones became a reality and incorporated in 2009, a new reality was dawning in Drouin as a school building was erected.  The school has been greatly impacted by Center, Texas.  Metal for the roof was donated by a local business, desks, dry-erase boards, student and teacher desks, and filing cabinets were donated by CISD.  There have been men who have traveled to work on, teach at and around the school from Center.  Eight teachers are presently teaching an increasing number of students.  This six room school houses a little over 380 students.  The class size averages around 50 students. The school day is divided into two sections to accommodate the older students in the afternoon so they can work in the rice fields early in the morning. We are well over capacity and are in a great need to expand the present rooms.  The cost to expand the rooms and remodel with tile, paint, louvered windows and iron security bars will cost $21,000.00.   Stepstones is in need of businesses, individuals, foundations and churches to join us in continuing to provide an education for the children in Drouin.  The only way a   nation can rise out of poverty is through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Education.  Every mother and father desires to see their children have a better life than they have had.  This is true in Drouin as well.  Children attend school for free and every day they receive a hot meal.  The students are testing very high on the national tests and have high expectations. The teachers are paid $125.00 per month which is above the national average.  Four more    teachers could be hired if donations of $6000.00 per year were given.  This can be achieved through one time donations or through monthly installments.  Anyone interested in helping meet these critical needs can contact Mike Brister at 936-591-8877, email at mike.stepstones@yahoo.com or send contributions made payable to Stepstones Ministry   International to P.O. Box 1988 Center, Texas 75935.  All donations are tax-deductible.

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2016 YEAR IN REVIEW

Haiti Overview

     One leadership conference canceled due to personal health issue which turned out to be a false positive on a treadmill stress test.  The conference would have been taking place during the time Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti.  Praise God for His divine intervention!

   Assisted 350 kids receive an education by raising teacher salaries for educators.  You can help with teacher salaries by purchasing items  from Smile Amazon rather than the usual Amazon Page.  Register to support Stepstones and a percentage of every purchase goes to support teachers at the Spirit of Truth School in Drouin, Haiti.

 

Haiti Disaster Relief Needs

  We would like to do our part in helping Haiti rebuild following Hurricane Matthew in October.  We would like to assist 15 families build a new house at $5,000.00 per house.  Please join us in praying and giving toward this $75,000.00 goal.

  Each time we hit $25,000.00, enough to build five houses, a team with the necessary skills will be assembled and sent to help build the houses. 

  We would like to ship a container with building supplies, tools and food.  The container rental, shipping cost and customs fees will run around $10,000.00.  Once we have these fees secured, a list of specific items will be shared, gathered and a date for loading the container will be announced.  Much prayer, packing help and sacrifice will be required to see this accomplished.                                                                                                 

Domestic  Overview

High school coaches bible study 5 attending

Baseball team building Saturday.

Began working with two churches in mobilizing them to serve in local community.

Middle school coaches bible study 5 attending.

Sharing weekly devotion with varsity football, basketball and baseball teams.       

Sharing weekly devotion with eighth grade football team.            

Began Uncommon, a mentoring program for high school students — averaging 29 students and 10 mentors each Monday evening.  There are 6 churches represented by the mentors and there are 8 cook teams from churches and businesses providing the meals.                                                                                                    

Guatemala Overview

22 people representing 9 churches.

A third trip was postponed to further develop the team for 2017.

4 houses were built.

Children’s bible storying program each afternoon.

Hosted first youth leadership forum.  A one day event during each trip and had an average of 40 students participate. Representing 11 villages.

Ministry in men’s drug and alcohol rehab center.

Assisted 74 students in their education through raised sponsorships.

 

When was the last time you were a part of something that only God could do?                        

         I’m longing for the day when a group of Jesus followers would join together and approach the throne of grace with boldness for the welfare of others and ask Him to do something that only He can do.  In 2009,  God moved and Stepstones was birthed.  As a nonprofit we have to adopt a budget every year with total reliance on God to provide the resources for ministry.  As we approach 2017, the Board of Directors has the daunting task of setting a budget then watching God’s provision throughout the year and fulfilling the task before us.  As we look back over 2016 and look forward to 2017 we see areas where God has given us relationships and favor.  Our responsibility is to assess the opportunities to make an impact with the gospel among the many needs and abundance of hurting people.  They are in our local community, in our schools, in Guatemala and Haiti.  Some amazing things are happening locally AND IF we had the human and financial resources, an impact could take place in our community that could change the culture. 

 In Guatemala,

There are women who need houses.                                                                                                           Children who need education scholarships.                                                                                                           Men who need encouragement and job training.          

 In Haiti,       

 Teachers need to be paid so 350 kids can receive an education.                                                                    Church Leaders need consistent Biblical Training.                                                                                                Land owners need to be trained in growing cash crops so they can feed their families.                                  Following Hurricane Matthew thousands are without houses, food, clean water and clothes. 

   A conservative budget approach to the needs is around $220,000.00.  A budget to really make an impact in 2017, especially considering the number of churches, schools and homes of communities and people where we have relationships could easily run $1,075,000.00.  Now THAT’S something only God can do!  Our job is to continue seeking God and responding when provisions are available.  It is heart breaking to see so many hurts, needs and opportunities and knowing that we as Americans support a multi-billion dollar industry called storage units by storing material possessions we have not seen or used in years.  What if we followed the leadership of the new born church in Acts, sold stuff and gave it in support of others?  Would people take notice?  Would they see us getting free of things that bind us?  Would they see needs being met and begin asking why? When the why is asked, it would give an open door to share the gospel and declare the EXCELLENCIES OF GOD!  Now, back to trying to see the what, when, how, and where of God’s activity and provision!  Would you consider having a Jesus Garage Sale and getting rid of items and supporting Stepstones Ministry International?  What needs could be met with the money being spent on rental space alone?                                                                                                                                 

MAJOR NEEDS FOR 2017 

Increase in General Budget Donations.  As a nonprofit this is the hardest line item for which to raise money.  It is not glamorous. There are no fun pictures or exciting stories, but, this is a very necessary item that keeps the ministry moving forward and the doors open.  Please pray for an   increase of $600.00 in monthly donations.

We have a new Domestic Line Item this year for local ministry to students, student athletes and coaches.   A minimum of $4000.00 is needed to sustain this ministry.

We will be building six houses in Guatemala requiring a total of $14,400.00.

We are in need of $4100.00 in scholarship funds for students in Guatemala.

We are in need of teacher sponsorships to help pay our teachers in the Spirit of Truth School in Drouin, Haiti.  We need to increase our sponsorships by $600.00 per month.  Any one time gifts or monthly commitments would be greatly appreciated!.

A church or corporate sponsor for the Leadership Training Conference in Drouin, Haiti totaling $4200.00.

 

RESPONDING TO NEEDS FOLLOWING HURRICANE MATTHEW

             After praying through the massive need and listening for the directive from God, we believe He is asking us to respond within our calling to Teach, Train and Take by “Mobilizing The Local Church For Global Impact”.  Our initial response will be two fold in accordance to God’s provision. Anyone desiring to give toward meeting these needs can do so by sending a check made payable to Stepstones Ministry International with Haiti Relief recorded on the Memo Line or attach a note stating what need your are addressing.  Checks should be sent to P.O. Box 1988 Center, Texas 75935.  All donations are tax-deductible. Those who would like to give material items for the container please make contact at either mike.stepstones@yahoo.com or call the office at 936-591-8877. 

            The first response will be to gather resources and teams to build 15 houses.  The cost of each house is $5000.00, thus requiring $75,000.00 for the total response.  When the resources for 5 houses or $25,000.00 has been gathered we will take a team of 10-15 people with necessary skills to work alongside our Haitian Friends to build the 5 houses.  As more resources are provided we will gather other teams to go and serve.

            The second response with God’s Provision will be to send a 40’ container with needed supplies, tools and food.  The shipping cost for one container will run around $10,000.00.  We will only start receiving items for the container once the shipping cost is secured.  An item of prayer concerning this response is a warehouse type facility in Center, Texas where we can store items and out of which we can easily load a container. 

        The following is an initial list of items needed for the container.

               Roofing metal 12’  length                                    400 sheets
                 2x6x12’                                                         240 boards
                 1x4x16’                                                         300 boards
                 ½”  Plywood                                                    15 sheets
                 Rebar  ¼”                                                     400 strands
                 Rebar 3/8”                                                    100 strands
                 Rebar ½”                                                      600 strands
                J-Bolt Concrete Anchors                               400
                Concrete Tie Wire                             Numerous Rolls or Contractor bags
                Metal to Metal Screws 1” length                   300 pounds                                                                   Metal to Wood Screws 1” length                    300 pounds                                                                   16 Penny Nails                                               300 pounds                                                                   Wood Screws 2.5” length                               300 pounds                                                                   15 water filters x 130.00 each                                                      $1950.00
              5 New Diesel generators x 900.00 each                                       $4500.00    
              10 New Dewalt 18v Cordless Drills  x 100.00 each                   $1000.00
              5 New Dewalt 18v battery packs two per pack  100.00 each       $  500.00
              5 New Circular Saws    130.00 each                                            $  650.00        
              10 saw blades for metal  25.00 each                                            $  250.00
              10 rip blades for wood  30.00 each                                             $  300.00
              5 chalk lines    7.00 each                                                             $    35.00                                         5 levels   4 foot long  25.00 each                                                 $  125.00
              5 New hand saws x 20.00 each                                                   $  100.00                                             5 speed squares                                                                         $    65.00
              2 box of black sharpies                                                               $    22.00                                           30  4 person tents    x 75.00 each                                               $2250.00
              Cases of Red Beans            TBD    
              Cases of Pinto Beans          TBD                                                                                                         Cases of Black Beans          TBD                                                                                                         Cases of Rice                      TBD
              Cases of Pasta                    TBD

 

HAITI RELIEF RESPONSE FOLLOWING HURRICANE MATTHEW

 

PLEASE CONTINUE PRAYING FOR STEPSTONES MINISTRY AS WE SEEK GOD’S PLAN FOR MEETING NEEDS IN HAITI FOLLOWING HURRICANE MATTHEW.

 

THE NEEDS ARE GREAT SO RESEARCH AND EVALUATION ARE BEING DONE WITH DUE DILIGENCE SO THAT WE ACT RESPONSIBLY. OUR DESIRE IS TO NOT JUST RESPOND WITH EMOTION OR IN HASTE, BUT WITH A CLEAR PLAN TO DECLARE THE GOSPEL THROUGH THE MEETING OF NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES WITH WHOM WE ALREADY HAVE A RELATIONSHIP.

 

THINGS TO PRAY:

 WISDOM IN HOW TO RESPOND.

GOD TO TOUCH HEARTS TO GIVE TOWARD THE MAJOR AMOUNT OF FUNDS NEEDED.

GOD TO TOUCH PEOPLE TO HELP LOCALLY AND IN HAITI ONCE PLAN IS ANNOUNCED.

 

PLEASE KEEP COMING BACK FOR THIS UPCOMING ANNOUNCEMENT!

HUMILITY, SERVANTHOOD, VISION HAITI

Humility, Servant hood and Vision are the words the men used to describe the essence of their trip to Drouin, Haiti.  Eleven men traveled to Haiti thinking they were going to pour a basketball/playground court for the school in Drouin.  What they actually learned are lessons which will take a lifetime to live out.  Life in Christ is a journey that requires one step of obedience after another.  As we seek God, listen for His voice, watch to see where He is at work and then join Him we grow to learn more of who God is and enjoy Him in a deeper fuller manner.  We are more like Christ when we are serving than at any other time.  During the week of service in Drouin these men wrestled with aspects of humility, servant hood and a God sized vision.  Each day was a further lesson in learning to walk in obedience to these words.  The lessons were learned as we moved rocks by hand, shoveled a multitude of buckets of rock and sand, told Bible Stories to children during their snack time and by hauling buckets of concrete to create the slab.  We were in a laboratory rich with opportunities to die to self and our American ways and simply serve the Haitian workers.  In this laboratory there were failures and successes, but at the end of the trip the consensus was we have to return home to live these words in the places God allows us to walk day by day.  

1 THING CHANGE A COUNTRY

Many of you know the devastation and poverty of Haiti either by news reports, the scenes from the devastating earth quake in 2010 or by traveling the country with me and Stepstones Ministry International or other ministry groups. It has been said the only thing that can change a country is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Education. We at Stepstones believe this statement and are striving to build up church leaders through training conferences and by providing education for 350 students taught by eight teachers a little village called Drouin. We, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, rely on donations from individuals, churches and businesses to help us meet the needs of the tasks to which we are called. As we transition out of Summer Break and back to the routine of school and hopefully soon Autumn, so is Haiti. With this transition happening in Haiti and our call to build up church leaders to share the Gospel and to provide education in Drouin comes great need of financial resources. We have two pressing needs as we move into this portion of the year. The first is resources to pay our teachers. The teachers are paid $125.00 per month and we are in need of people to help sponsor four teachers. Sponsors can contribute any amount either as a onetime gift or on a monthly basis. The goal is to raise commitments from sponsors that total $500.00 per month. The second pressing need is to raise $7500.00 to provide Creole Study Bibles that contain a simple concordance and commentary. We will be hosting a Leadership Conference the first week of October for 150-200 pastors and church leaders. Most of the pastors and leaders don’t have a personal copy of the Bible. We would like to present each participant a new study bible as they arrive for the conference. This one act of compassion will assist the pastors in their personal growth in the Lord as well as help them become better students and proclaimers of the Word. Would you please join us in praying for and sharing the pressing need of these resources? All financial contributions and sponsorships are tax deductible and can be made payable to Stepstones Ministry International and sent to P.O. Box 1988 Center, Texas 75935.

 

2015 Begins

The year of 2015 has started with some excitement and a God given privilege and provision. Since May of 2014, I have been praying for the welfare of Shelby County and Center, Texas the county seat and God is beginning to produce fruit. There are now nine people committed to pray each morning between 8:00-9:00 Monday through Friday. These people are praying over a specific list each day of names that are leaders in our community. This group of nine made a commitment to The Lord and to each other to pray for one month and gather again to share what God speaks. The excitement in the room was refreshing and now we wait upon The Lord to speak. Since that meeting I have had the privilege to meet with a few key leaders in the community and have a few more scheduled in the coming weeks. Out of these meetings, opportunities for the community of faith to join hands to reclaim our city and county are emerging. During the days of January 12th-13th, I will be in Austin at a conference discussing communities of faith reclaiming their city. I wait in excited anticipation for what God will reveal through this training intensive. On January 6th, I along with several Stepstones Board Members met with a missionary couple from Zambia. It was a joy to hear their stories and see what God is doing through them. At the conclusion of our time they made a comment concerning a need that had to be met that day so it could be placed on a container that would be picked up the next day for delivery to Zambia. The need was for a medical autoclave. As the words left their mouths, we knew that God had answered their prayers because we had one in storage waiting for the opportunity to be given away. As I headed for the warehouse they were wondering what was going on. As I arrived back in the room with the autoclave they were overwhelmed and amazed at God’s provision. As we continued to talk I shared with them that we also had two certified defibrillators with EKG capabilities if they could use them. We were able to send them away with these greatly needed items to be used in the new medical clinic being built in a village in Zambia. We look forward to walking step by step with our Heavenly Father to see what all He will reveal and the opportunities He offers during this New Year. The only way we can know God, His purposes and His ways is to be consistently in His Word and take time to talk with and listen to Him. I encourage each of us to make time in the Word of God a priority this year. In Romans 10:17 we read, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” I pray each of us will hear clearly the voice of God this year as we spend time with Him in His Word.