A Very Full February

February felt like it absolutely flew past. Maybe it was because there are a few less days in the month, or maybe it was because it was so full and busy for us. It’s quite possibly both!


We started the month off with the biggest part of our move to the mountains. Due to our schedule with teams, the house still being under construction, and the distance between Montrouis and Delice, we knew the move would not be a quick process, but that it would likely stretch into the month of March. After months of being apart so much, with Stephen working in the mountains for several days at a time while Autumn and the kids stayed back in Montrouis, or sometimes accompanied him and camped for multiple days, we decided that even if the house wasn’t finished, we were more than ready (and needing) to all be in the same place again. Even if that meant roughing it for a while. So, we packed up as much as we could get into a couple truck and land cruiser loads and headed up with everything we anticipated needing for the next couple weeks, and left things that were less important for the time being. Drywall had been hung through the majority of the house, but there were (are) still several places where it has yet to be hung because we ran out of sheetrock before our first team came in in the beginning of February. We made do by tying sheets to metal studs in our master bedroom to give us some privacy from our boys’ bedroom. There are still several projects that are unfinished. We are living more or less like pioneers and only able to bathe with bucket or camping solar bag showers every 4-5 days (or sometimes more) because our water cistern isn’t finished yet and we can’t collect much rain water yet. We also are unable to flush toilets after every use, so that has been interesting as well. ;) Thankfully the rainy season hasn’t officially begun so we have a few weeks to get gutters up and the cistern finished and sealed before the heavy rains start that will provide all of our necessary water on the mountain for drinking, bathing, washing, flushing toilets, etc. For now, Stephen has jerry-rigged a piece of metal into a makeshift gutter and catches as much rain water as he can into a 55-gallon drum. So, when it rains, we get excited because that means we “might” get showers! We may be roughing it to a degree, but our first 6 years in Haiti were full of times where we had to “rough it” in one manner or another, so we’ve really all handled it pretty well. It is nice to no longer have to deal with the crazy heat and massive amounts of mosquitoes. Roughing it in the mountains just looks different than it did in Port-au-Prince or Montrouis. We are all so happy to be together and the kids are so happy to finally have outdoor space to play in (rather than being trapped in by a large wall), that we have been able to handle the stresses of living in a house that is still under construction very well. We’ve been very impressed with our kids, and though they are missing the Agape House kids immensely, they are so excited about their new home. We know this will only be a season, and it will make us appreciate the luxuries of flushing toilets and running water and finished walls EVEN more when they are able to be finished. Another huge part of the decision to go ahead with the move was because we knew the final push of completing the house could go faster with all of us there, rather than Stephen having to continue to go back and forth. This means the sooner our house is in a functioning state for our family and teams (even if some projects remain), the sooner we can break ground and push forward with the construction of the Agape House homes, and the sooner we can get all the kids moved up to the new property with us.

We are extremely grateful for the invaluable role that Torie Schaefer and Dago are playing in overseeing the care of the Agape House children when we can’t be as close by during this time. Torie is living at the AH, and Dago, as the director, is checking on the kids on a daily basis. We are grateful for their oversight, but also for the mama’s, cleaning ladies, security guards, and cooks who are carrying out their responsibilities well, whether we are able to check in every day or not. This has always been a goal of our’s to make every area of our ministry able to function without our constant involvement or interference. We believe that is how we can most effectively train leaders and develop a ministry that has the potential to continue long into the future, and be well-maintained through seasons like this when we aren’t as close by. If we don’t train them well and have confidence in their ability to carry out their responsibilities well, then if we have to go to the States to update supporters, or are obligated to be away due to a health issue for a couple weeks (like we have had to in the past unexpectedly), we can be assured the wheels won’t come off and the quality won’t be compromised. This season of building and transition, though absolutely necessary and the best for their futures, is hard on all of us as seasons of change often are. We are eager to push through this season and get the kids moved into their new homes in such a calm and beautiful area. We are hopeful that the move to a rural location won’t only allow for opportunities to run and play outside more, learn agricultural skills, and how to raise animals, but also will provide a more calm, and peaceful atmosphere that will be conducive to the healing so many of these kids need.

Torie has been keeping up with the Agape House children’s birthdays for us and our sweet Jeffnika turned 6 this past month! Can’t believe how quickly she is growing!

Our first team in February came from our parent organization, Together We Can, Inc. out of Raleigh, NC. They bring a medical team every year, usually sometime in January or February. A few of our board members are always on the team, and they come so well-prepared and organized that they are always tremendously effective in their ministry endeavors. This was the first clinic we held on our new mission property, rather than traveling down to the villages nearby every morning. We were unsure how many people would show up, but on the morning of the first day, there were approximately 150 already there waiting at 7:30 a.m. In only 4 and a half days, this team saw more than 1,400 patients. It was absolutely astounding to hear how far many of them would walk to see a doctor. There were a few men in their mid-sixties who said they had never seen a doctor before in their lives. Women and children and families walked 2-3 hours to see a doctor because the closest medical facility is a 8-10 hour walk, and most people can’t get a moto because the area is so remote, and local taxis are non-existant. The day before the team headed back to the States, a woman showed up with a bag of oranges to give to one of the nurses because she was so grateful for the love and care that this nurse showed to her baby earlier that week. She walked 2 hours. Just to say thank you. These people are so deeply grateful. So many got to not only hear of Christ, but see His love manifested through the loving arms of the providers who came to serve so tirelessly. It was a profound thing to witness. On the last day, it was very, very wet, foggy, and cold. People stood in line to see a doctor shivering. One of the doctors discreetly gave his own jacket to an older man who was shaking from the cold. We are always so grateful for the way TWC brings teams that are so prepared and who serve with such an outpouring of the love they themselves have encountered from Christ because they desire for that love to impact the lives of those they are there to serve in the same way. They add so much to our continual, long-term ministry efforts by the way they so effectively come alongside of us and serve until every last patient is seen. They communicated and showed more than 1,400 people that not only do we love them, but so does Jesus. We were able to get some power issues worked out, electrical wiring done, water pump figured out, toilets installed, and lots of odd jobs taken care of thanks to the help of a guy on the team named Mike. He was a lifesaver in many ways as we hosted our first time in our yet-to-be-finished home. We also had a flat tire on our way down the mountain trying to get them all to the airport on time, but thankfully, because we had allowed for a cushion of time, Stephen was able to improvise and successfully delivered them to the airport on time. There’s a creole word– “degaje” that basically means, “figure it out” or, “make it work”– and that’s what we had to do! Thankfully Dago was at the base of the mountain waiting with the bus, so we unloaded everyone in the Cruiser along with their luggage and Stephen took off to rescue the rest of the team and their luggage from the currently crippled pick-up truck. All we can say is, God works things out! We’ve seen it over and over again.


A picture of the patients waiting on the second morning of clinic.
It was astounding to see how many people came,
and how far they walked to get care.

This is what it looks like to “degaje.” ;)

After they departed, we had day or two to get the house and routine (a normal homeschooling schedule can be difficult to maintain when we have teams here) back in order before Stephen’s mom arrived and Autumn flew out the following morning. Autumn’s uncle covered her flights to get her to Dayton to surprise her dad for his 60th birthday. The surprise was pulled off without a hitch and there were many grateful tears all around. He was completely surprised–as were Autumn’s brothers. It was a short visit, but it was a good one. Autumn was able to help pull off a surprise party for her dad, and was able to finally meet her foster sister that has been fighting for her life for the past 3 months. Living on the mission field full-time, we have to miss a lot of important moments in the lives of our loved ones, but we were thankful that this wasn’t one that Autumn had to miss. Stephen’s mom helped hold down the fort while Autumn was in the States, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed having her here. They got in LOTS of play time, she helped further develop Abby’s sewing and crocheting skills (even helped the girls make their own dresses), sang songs with Asher, and helped Stephen can tons of tomatoes and spaghetti sauce that will be so helpful to us as the closest grocery store is at least 2.5 hours away from our new home. The kids were sad to see her go home, like always, but they were so happy she was able to come.

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Two days after Autumn returned and Grammy went home, a group of five from FBC New Lebanon out of Ohio came to help us with whatever projects we needed to help finish our home and get us better settled. We were overwhelmed that people would volunteer to come just to minister to our family in such a huge way, and they went above and beyond what we could have hoped to have accomplished in their time with us. The back of the white pick up truck was giving up after hauling so many loads of sand and gravel, so one of the guys on the team (who also happens to be a welder), built a new flat bed on the back of the F-250 that will serve the ministry well hopefully for years to come. it was a huge project and a huge need and he knocked it out of the park. Jason (the welder on the team) also built a small luggage rack on the back of our Land Cruiser to help provide much-needed additional luggage space when transporting teams to and from the airport.  Another guy on the team is a very skilled mason and helped us finish our fireplace. Asher may or may not have helped a little too much a couple times, but it is beautiful! He also skillfully poured our concrete countertop on the island in our kitchen. Chris, (the mason on the team) gave Josiah and Abby lessons on laying block too, so they’re both considering masonry for their future careers now. ;) Our cabinets still needed to be stained and dishes organized, so the women on the team spent lots of time planning it out with Autumn and organizing it all to best suit both our needs, and the needs of future teams that will be staying with us. We still have pretty long way to go before the drywalling will be all hung and mudded, but they helped us put a big dent in the amount of mudding that needs to be done. On top of all of that, they brought a bag full of kitchen utensils and supplies that Charity (Autumn’s good friend) had gotten together by throwing a Pampered Chef party and people in their church and Autumn’s home church came together to bless us with things like knives, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, baking sheets, etc. She was blown away and so grateful. Our time with teams from FBCNL is always, always encouraging. Beyond the physical tasks we were able to tackle together, they were a blessing to just have their company in our home for several days.

IMG_5671Abby and JoJo helping build the chimney and getting some block laying lessons with Chris.


Our very first fire in the fireplace! Still so weird that we can still be in Haiti and be this cold!

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These additions to the vehicles will be incredibly helpful to the ministry.

If you have tried to contact us via facebook, email, phone call, imessage, or text message over the past month or so, please bear with us as we have no internet service and no phone service without walking up to the hill next to our house in the mountains. Stephen checks his phone at least once a day and can usually receive SMS text messages, but usually cannot access anything requiring internet signal unless we have come down the mountain for a day to get supplies, check on things in Montrouis, or take/pick-up a team from the airport. We do our best to catch up on every message that comes through whenever we have the opportunity to, but it can be a week or so between opportunities to do so. If you have an urgent need to contact us, please get in touch with our Stateside director, Phililp Dail at philip_dail@yahoo.com as he checks his email very frequently. We are working hard to get HughesNet internet established up on our property and are hopeful to have the necessary equipment and have it up and running sometime in the next month. We will see!

We are also preparing to launch our Agape House Ambassador program as a new approach to raising necessary support for the children’s home over the next year. We will need people to step forward and commit to being an ambassador and an advocate for the care of an individual child. This will help to significantly reduce costs of us traveling in an effort to raise support for the care of the AH children, and will help to alleviate the huge burden of raising necessary funds to cover the comprehensive needs of all the children by breaking it down into manageable amounts for those who would wish to advocate for these children as ambassadors. If you are interested in receiving an informational packet on how you can become an Agape House ambassador, please email us at; twchaiti@gmail.com so we can be sure to put you on the list. So far, Nakicha and Klimako are covered, but the other children are still in need of ambassadors.

We are also working hard to update all of the short-term mission team packet information and will be sending that out as soon as we have it all together. There are some necessary changes that have been made as far as how we manage teams, transportation costs, and what to pack (i.e. it’s a little bit colder in Delice!). We will be getting that finalized soon and sending it to team leaders so you can prepare accordingly. If you would like to be added to the list of those who receive the packet, just let us know!

We love you all so much and continue to thank God for the way He provides for our family and our ministry even when we aren’t sure how ends will meet, He is faithful. We continue to covet your prayers as we push through this busy and difficult season of building. Thank you for how so many of you rally behind our family and the Agape House children. We can’t do this without you.

In His Grip,

Stephen & Autumn







A New Year & a New Home

The beginning of 2016 looked a lot different for our family and for the ministry. If you would have told us a year ago that we would be nearing the completion of our permanent home on new property in a remote part of Haiti where we would have 30 acres for building out the mission facilities and Agape House homes, we would have said you were crazy! But, with our God, all things are possible. And while we couldn’t have possibly imagined what last year held in store, we know it is He who has led us every step of the way. Coming into the new year, our house in Delice was rapidly advancing. We spent the majority of the month of January in the mountains working on the house. We were joined by some good friends from Arizona – the Brown brothers – who are amazing woodworkers. They came and helped to build out our kitchen and windows. It was a huge undertaking, but we did it! They were definitely a blessing to have with us and we couldn’t have done it without them. They did beautiful work and we are so thankful! If any of you on the west coast need some woodworking done, you should contact Brothers Woodworks.


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Immediately after the Browns left we had a team from California – Learning to Hope in Haiti – come to help out at the house in the mountains and do an outreach program for kids in the area. We ended up having 144 children show up and participate in the VBS style program. They loved it and asked when we will be doing it again! Most of these kids had never had the opportunity to attend a program like this. We were honored for the opportunity to host them and grateful for a team so ready and willing to share Jesus with them. We are excited about getting moved up to Delice so we can really get the ministry outreach programs running on a more regular basis. The team also worked hard helping us paint all the windows and insides of the cabinets and get the house much further along. The remainder of their time was spent down in Montrouis working with the Agape House children (the AH kids LOVE when the team from CA comes because they bring a team at least 4 times a year and the kids have come to know many of them like family members over the years) and doing community outreach in the form of prayer walks, a women’s Bible study, and playing soccer with some of the village children.



Many people may have wondered how we have had the funding to build our home, and if it wasn’t for the generosity of One Heart Two Homes (a real estate group from CA that gives towards the building of a home in another country, every time they sell a house in the States—they have partnered with us before in building or repairing homes for those in need in the Montrouis area), we wouldn’t have been able to come this far. They have also given to build the future Agape House homes. Our home was the first necessary piece in building out our ministry property facilities on the new land in the mountains. Our house will serve as a home for family, as well as house visiting mission teams. We just can’t adequately express our gratitude. We thank you for stepping up to meet such a huge need of our family and ministry, and we are excited to break ground on the Agape House homes in the near future! We praise God for what He can do through His people partnering together to advance the Kingdom. Rick and Angela were here in Haiti with us the very week God put this property before us. His timing is perfect! This picture is from the day we all saw it together for the first time and prayed together about the future of the ministry and this land. God is faithful! We are excited to see the vision He has laid on our hearts continue to come to fruition. We are continually blown away that though we are so unworthy, God chooses to use us anyways and allow us to be a part of one of the ways He is moving in this world.


To think that our month couldn’t get much busier, we rounded it out with Ryan and Trey who came to help us hang drywall at the house. They have been working early mornings and late nights trying to get everything finished. I have learned so much about hanging drywall from them. It was great having them down here and we could not have done it without these guys either. The role they played was absolutely crucial, and they came at just the right time.

Though we are incredibly tired from months of heavy building, camping, and going back and forth between Montrouis and Delice, we are overwhelmingly grateful for all of the willing and skilled hands that have stepped forward to make this happen. From those who gave so generously to make this home possible, to those who donated materials, to those who donated their time and talent and energy—we just can’t find adequate words to say how much it means to us.

We aren’t tiling, except in the bathrooms, so we are buffing and sealing the concrete floors.
It looks a little rustic, but it seems to fit in well with our stone walls!

Besides having teams, we have been trying to get moved. Taking everything from our house in Montrouis to the house in Delice has been no easy task. A 6 hour round trip makes for a long day, tired people and lots of wear on vehicles. We have moved the majority of our stuff but there are a few things that still have to go up. So far, we haven’t lost anything important or really broken anything…but then again, we have yet to bring the dishes! ;)

For the past week and a half, our kids and Autumn have all had a bad cold/flu virus. Please pray for them as they are all still struggling with this and recovery has not been quick for some of them. We’re trying to get settled into the new house (as much as we can with the drywall still being a work-in-progress) so that we can all be in the same place as a family. We’ve had to spend a lot of time apart while Stephen worked long days on the house and we stayed back in Montrouis and we are so ready to have that season behind us! We are hopeful that our move to Delice will bring a season of rest that our family has needed so much after many of the struggles that 2015 held for us. Please pray for renewed strength for us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our kids are both tremendously excited and also apprehensive about the move. For two of our children, change is a very difficult thing—even when it is a positive change because so much of the change they have endured in their young lives hasn’t been good.  Please pray this will be a smooth and joyous transition for them, and that they will feel calm and reassured in the midst of a move.


Thank you to everyone who has helped with the building of our home. It has been so exciting to see it all come together and we are ready to embark on this new phase of ministry in Delice. Please continue to pray for us as we work hard to get settled, continue to build relationships with members of the community, and start construction on The Agape House homes soon.


The political climate remains tense and uncertain at best with Haiti’s current president supposedly leaving office this weekend with no newly elected president to take his place. Please pray for stability for this vulnerable nation, and that any powerful political players that may be plotting any kind of evil for selfish gain would be stopped in their tracks. Haiti has been the victim of too many presidents and government officials that have only sought power and wealth at the expense of the good of their country. The Zika virus has also hit Haiti hard. Please pray for pregnant mothers, that God would protect the children in their wombs from the horrible effects this virus can cause.

As we write this, we realized we have even more updated pictures from the last few days of work, but Stephen’s phone died on our way down the mountain tonight (we are packing up and leaving first thing in the morning with the rest of our furniture) and he accidentally left his only charger up there…so we will try to get those uploaded as soon as we can! Please bear with us over the next month or so as we try to get internet figured out in our new home. We currently do not have internet signal available where we live, but are working on a satellite option through HughesNet that hopefully will work out! For now, we may have to go a few days at a time without any signal, so please be gracious towards our tardy email or message responses! We will do our very best to catch up on them whenever it is possible. :)

As always, we cannot thank you all enough for your continued prayers, encouragement, and support. We do not take one bit of it for granted and are continually humbled and spurred on by the love many of you show to our family. Life on the mission field is anything but easy, and we couldn’t press on during the hard parts if it wasn’t for us knowing so many of you are behind us, being our Aaron and holding our arms up. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In His Grip,

Stephen & Autumn




Looking back on December & 2015

Merry Christmas from Haiti! December is sometimes a difficult month for us. Though we are quickly approaching our 6 year anniversary of living in Haiti and it wasn’t our first time spending Christmas here, this was the first year we didn’t spend any of the holidays with our families in the States. It may sound cliche, but there is something about the holidays that really does make you miss your family and loved ones even more. We took a couple special outings this December in search of festive lights and fun, but most ended up being a little disappointing. However, we did have a very special Christmas together as a family. Almost all of the presents from the grandparents arrived just in time through the missionary mail service. We were going to be in the mountains over Christmas Day, so we surprised the kids (who had a countdown going and thought they had to wait 5 more days) early on the morning of the 20th and had our Christmas morning before we left for the mountains. It was so much fun to surprise them, and it was special to get to spend our first Christmas with the girls in our family. We began the day by reading the Christmas story out of the Book of Luke as a family. So thankful for the gift of Christ and the hope His birth brought to all generations and all nations.


IMG_4912Josiah really wanted suspenders like Charles Ingalls for Christmas, 
so this was a big deal!


Being in Delice has helped make this December feel a little more like Christmas. At an altitude of almost 5000 ft, we get some really cool breezes that blow through and most nights you find yourself appreciating a heavy blanket or sleeping bag!

Wild poinsettias that grow along the mountain road 

 We were grateful to have spent yet another Christmas with the Agape House children. What a blessing it is to get to be a part of their lives, and have the honor of helping make Christmas special for them. We are grateful for all of the Christmas cards that poured in, for those who gave towards their Christmas meal, and for everyone who sent gifts or decorations. You all helped make 21 kiddos feel so special. Check out this short video to get a glimpse into their Christmas!


We knew that we were going to be doing a lot of work on the house in December, so we decided not to have any teams. We did host some of our really good friends, Majesty and Carla, from North Carolina. They came and spent a week with us, getting to visit The Agape House and some of their other friends in Haiti. We enjoyed having them and wished they could have stayed longer.

The house is really coming along up in Delice. Our family has been “roughing it” by camping for 4-5 days at a time throughout the past month. It has been both fun and challenging at times.  Our kids are loving having space to run and play outside for the first time. It’s so much better than being surrounded by a towering concrete wall with barbed wire on top. They’ve been learning to ride bikes, been busy digging in the dirt and exploring our new home, and have even enjoyed helping with different projects like sanding the window frames as they are made. In December, we finished installing the roof, installed all the exterior doors, started framing the interior walls, started building the windows, started the septic tank and are finishing up the massive water tank. (We won’t have a well, but will use a gutter system to collect rain water and store it in a massive cistern underground, so this is a huge and vital project in completing the house). We are eager to be finished with the work and get moved in to our new home so that the new ministry location can grow even more as we prepare to start building the Agape House homes upon the completion of our house.




Interior metal framing has begun

We found it was cheaper (and better quality) to make our own windows,
so we have started on the framing for them

Water cistern

Framing up walls of water cistern

 Super thankful for the donation of the interior metal framing studs and track!

Lots of work is still before us, but we are excited for all that God holds in store for the future of our ministry in Delice. As we see the vision continue to grow and unfold for this property, for this community, and for the Agape House children, we are overwhelmed, excited, a little scared, and so grateful. All the feelings. It’s exciting to think about the huge spaces the Agape House children will have in which to run and play and grow. After a year that started with a lot of local rioting in Montrouis, where the AH children were gassed because police were shooting canisters of tear gas in every direction and we had to get them to our house via back roads in the middle of the night while we all hunkered down away from windows and turned movies up loudly so as to not hear the gun shots outside, it is so exciting to realize they will soon be living in place where that won’t happen again. It’s encouraging to see God continue to provide opportunities for further relationship building in our remote new community in the mountains. We already have several guys who have become like an extended part of the family throughout the building process of our home.  Building in such a remote location has been extremely challenging, but God has sustained us and blessed our efforts, and with His abiding presence, we have the confidence to continue to press forward knowing that the vision He has laid on our hearts is worth every bit of it.


As we reflect on the year of 2015, we aren’t sure where to start. It’s a lot. When I look back I see difficulties, heartbreaking moments, stressful events but I also see growth, family, beautiful moments and hope. On January 1st, we introduced two new members to our family, Abigail and Ryleigh, which was a huge change for us. We went from all boys to the two oldest now being girls. There have been lots of joys and lots of challenges along the way of growing from a family of 4 to a family of 6, but we are committed to walking through every one of them by God’s grace and together as a family.


This year also included a great deal of health struggles for Autumn. From unexpected surgery in the spring, to the emergent and heartbreaking loss of our baby in the fall, it has been difficult to say the least. But, as always, we have seen God’s unmistakable faithfulness, His sovereignty, and His grace in all of the brokenness. He has and will continue to carry us through the unknown and through the times of heartache. We take heart in knowing we have a Heavenly Father that is a God of restoration, of redemption. He brings beauty from ashes and He won’t leave us in our brokenness.

As a ministry, we hosted over 20 short-term mission teams throughout the year. Wow! I knew we were busy but with 20+ teams that explains a lot. Our mission teams worked with the Agape House children through various Biblical and educational programs, provided training seminars to local pastors and leaders, served in local schools, hosted outreach programs for local village children, worked on the farm, brought medical care, went out in door-to-door prayer outreach, trained some of our Haitian staff with first-aid and security training, helped with needs at the Agape House, worked hard to help us develop the new mountain property, and in all of it, kept the central focus of loving people and sharing Christ with them. We saw many lives impacted. We witnessed growth in the lives of the Agape House children as they continue to have a loving home where they are afforded the opportunity to have good nourishment, an education, a sense of belonging, and daily discipleship. We saw pastors be encouraged and get excited about taking what they learned in the conferences back to their churches. We saw women with renewed passion and purpose from the seminars they had the opportunity to attend. We saw Agape House foster children find amazing, permanent, adoptive Haitian families where they are growing and thriving tremendously. We saw people come to Christ through our medical clinics. We saw Agape House children rehabilitated from horrible states of health and malnourishment—one of whom has been successfully reunited with her family. We celebrated Michelet getting approved for a medical visa so he could go home with his adoptive family sooner than expected and rejoiced when we have received videos of him learning to walk! Such a beautiful miracle. We saw Haitian men gathered together to work with men from a visiting team who were quickly in a deep discussion about the Gospel, asking good questions, wanting to better to understand this Jesus they had heard and read about. We saw lives saved through the medical care offered from visiting teams to areas with little to no medical care available. All we can do is praise God for what He allowed us to be a part of. For the fruit He allowed us to witness even in the midst of a hard and challenging year. Obedience, even when it is hard, is always worth it. Never in vain. He uses willing vessels. Even if those vessels are a little battle-worn and don’t have all the answers. His grace is enough. And we never walk alone.

In case you missed it, this year brought a huge change for our family and ministry. We felt like God had been working on our hearts to leave Montrouis and go to a different area of Haiti to serve where no one had ever really gone before. We needed to have a piece of property where we could build out permanent ministry facilities (i.e. Agape House homes, a home for us, and a training facility to start out with), in an effort to work towards much lower annual operating costs when rent is no longer a financial burden hanging over us and we can invest in a ministry property that will last indefinitely. We are also hoping to greatly reduce cost of living for our family and the Agape House children by utilizing both solar and wind power on the new property since there is so much wind at that elevation. This was a hard decision for us to move to such a remote location and to leave the community we have known as home for nearly 5 years, but we are excited for the many new opportunities to do ministry in an undeveloped area of Haiti.

We want to thank each and everyone of you for your support and want you to know that without your financial contributions, none of this would be possible. For those of you who have given towards the ongoing needs of the Agape House, we cannot express the depth of our gratitude on behalf of these children we seek to provide excellent care for. We truly couldn’t do it without your partnership. You are changing lives and impacting their futures in such a profound way. Thank you so, so much.

For the churches, individuals, families, small groups, etc. that have given in some way towards supporting our family over this past year, we wish there were adequate words to convey how deeply grateful we are for your continued partnership. We couldn’t be here serving without your support, without your prayers, or your encouragement. We don’t take any of it for granted. God uses each of you to remind us that even when times are uncertain, He will provide for our needs. Thank you so much to all of you who have allowed God to use you in such an enormous way this past year. We are so, so thankful.

To those who have given to TWCH in some manner in 2015, whether that be through a donation of supplies or a financial gift, every bit of it allows us to continue to minister well and effectively here in Haiti. We cannot thank you enough for considering us, and for your sacrificial and generous giving.

If you would like to learn more about our upcoming move, we would love to answer any questions that you may have and share the vision for our new property, for the Agape House, and for the future of our ministry as a whole.

In Haiti, election years are always unpredictable and unstable at best. This year has been no exception as there is a great deal of manifesting (aka marching, protesting, rioting, and/or blocking roads) that has been going on throughout the country throughout the year. There has also been a huge dispute over whether or not the first round of elections were legitimate or not, which only contributes to the tension. The final round of presidential elections is set for either January 10th or the 17th. Please pray for stability in Haiti, for safe and fair voting process, and for someone to be elected who will not bring further harm to this country as so many presidents in the past have.

Thank you all for walking with us through 2015 and all that it held. We look forward to 2016 with hope and encouragement—knowing our God is for us and with us, and we have so many good people behind us.


In His Grip,

Stephen & Autumn Byxbe

November 2015 Update

What can I say about November… OH yeah! It’s the best month ever because it’s my birthday month. On November 2nd, I (Stephen) turned 30. The big 3-0. A lot of people asked me how it felt to turn 30… do I feel like I am getting older? It seems like it must be a pretty common thing to be concerned about your age. For me, it is just another day. Getting older doesn’t bother me. I definitely feel like I have learned a lot the older I have gotten, so I say bring it on! However, this year brings something different. More than just the big 3-0. Something that most people wouldn’t even think about because our lives are so crazy and distant and different than what most people reading this know. We have been waiting for 30 because now we officially qualify to adopt our three children here in Haiti. That is the very last piece to the puzzle we have been waiting 4 and a half years for. My birthday was the timing for having held official residence in Haiti for over 5 years and meeting the age requirement for our domestic adoptions. A lot of people think that we have finished the adoption process because we have traveled with Josiah so much, when actually – we tried over 4 years ago, and we were scammed out of a lot of money. We then learned the actual requirements and realized we would have to just wait it out. He has been able to travel with us thanks to a five-year visa we were granted during Autumn’s high-risk pregnancy with Asher. So, as I celebrated 30, it was a time of joy as we knew that a new chapter was about to start. Please pray for us as we begin this process. Adoptions can be anything but simple here in Haiti. Please pray we wouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary struggles due to any form of corruption along the way.

Also, what more could you ask for that your best friend, Bernie Fanning, surprising you in Haiti?!? Autumn (who loves trying to surprise me, but loves to spoil her own surprises because she wants me to know what it is) did a fantastic job of secretly planning Bernie’s trip to Haiti. It was so great to have him here and for him to see all that we are doing. A huge thanks to him for coming down. We loved having him here.

November was also jam-packed with groups. We started off the month with a team from New Beginnings Church out of California who came and held pastoral training seminars, women’s conferences, taught us a lot about better hair care for the girls at The Agape House, and just loved on us as a family. All of the guys on the team were able to take a quick trip up into the mountains to see the new property and hear the vision for our ministry in Delice.

The pastors all eagerly taking notes during the conference.

Hair time at the Agape House!

Slowly, but surely, we have been making progress on our new house. We were blessed to have two friends from Ohio come down and weld all of the trusses for the roof of our house. We spent multiple day and nights cutting, welding, grinding, loading the truck, unloading the truck and then headed up to mountains to install everything. It is nothing short of amazing that we were able to get all of the work done in that short amount of time. We cannot say thank you enough to Ricky and Tom and for First Baptist New Lebanon for sending them to us at a critical point in the building process.

Back-to-back with the welders was a team from Macon, GA at Northway Church. They came to help work on the house and also to offer a medical clinic in the Delice area (only the 3rd time that has ever happened for this remote community). The group of doctors and nurses saw over 300+ people at clinics. The community was so excited to have medical care. There is absolutely no medical care in Delice and the closest medical facility is a 8-10 hour walk. We were blessed to have them with us.

The week that Northway was in the mountains was a frustrating week logistically speaking to say the least. We had a total of three flat tires. The pick up had one flat and another bad tire. I sent Wilson down the mountain to go get two new tires. The other was on the way back from clinic in the Land Cruiser, requiring us to have to walk for a little over an hour. As I sat in the drivers seat trying to control my frustration, I began to pray and ask God to give me peace. I knew that something larger than me was happening and I needed to be patient to see how God was at work.

The next day we still had flat tires so clinic wasn’t an option, however we had numerous people who showed up at our house in need of medical care. One was a lady that had lots of fluid in her lungs and a few other major problems. The doctors were very afraid that she would not live much longer. We were able to give her a ride down the mountain and to the hospital once the tires were replaced. One of the nurses on the Northway team had the opportunity to share the Gospel with the lady, and she said that she knew of Jesus, but she didn’t really know Him as her Savior. Our friend got to pray with her and lead her to Christ. We are thankful for the heart of the Northway team to embrace opportunities to not only address physical needs and suffering, but to make the most of every chance to share Christ with all those they encounter.

The next evening when Wilson made it back (It had taken much longer for him to get back than expected) I was joking with him about being late. He said he had a really bad problem. One of his children had swallowed a lot of some very dangerous liquid which ended with him rushing his child to the ER at the hospital. At that moment I began to tear up. If we wouldn’t have had flat tires I would never have sent Wilson down to get new tires. He would not have gone to see his family/received a phone call about the child and the child would have most likely died. If the Land Cruiser didn’t get a flat, the doctors would have headed off to clinic and not been able to see the lady with fluid in her lungs and she would have gone back home where she most likely would have died shortly after.  God is always at work… most of the time we cannot see what is happening, but we must remember that it is larger than us.

The construction side of the crew faced a lot of challenges, from rain, several drill bits breaking, not enough materials, and just the challenges of building in a remote part of Haiti. They handled everything incredibly well and did a fantastic job. Without this Northway team we would not be nearly as far as we are today.

We have made so many new friends through these three groups and are so thankful for the partnerships that have been created. We were so encouraged by all three teams this past month.

Once all the teams were finished and headed back to the States, we did our best to slow down and set up for Thanksgiving. We had a few different missionary families as well as some of our closest Haitian friends over to our current home in Montrouis to join in the Thanksgiving feast. It was a great time of fellowship and good food. Not being in the States for holidays with family is hard sometimes, but we had a good time of fellowship and especially enjoyed sharing the tradition and food with our Haitian friends. They are now big fans of the holiday.

After Thanksgiving, Wilson and I headed back up to Delice and worked to finish putting the roof on the house. We worked and worked until we ran out of materials. We lack a few remaining sheets of roofing metal and some screws to finish, but we are very close! We are excited to start working on finishing the interior of the house in the coming weeks.

We are so very grateful for those of you who have stepped up and given towards the ongoing needs of the Agape House children. If you haven’t given, but would still like to give an end-of-year donation towards the Agape House, or the building out of the Agape Village, you can do so by following this link and designating your financial gift.   


Also, for those of you who would like to honor a loved one by giving a financial donation to the Agape House this Christmas season, we have created cards available for download and printing that can be placed in an envelope for them to open at a gift exchange! If you have given, or plan to give in honor of someone and would like one of these cards, please let us know and we will make sure to send you a printable copy! Thank you so much for prayerfully considering The Agape House and Together We Can, Haiti in your year-end giving.

We say it a lot, but it remains as true as ever: we cannot thank you all enough for your continued prayers and financial support. We could not do this without your partnership. May God richly bless you for your faithful giving and commitment to helping further our ministry here in Haiti for the sake of the Gospel and the glory of God.

                      “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?                                 I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” - Isaiah 43:19

In His grip,

Stephen and Autumn Byxbe