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Sean and Heather Christensen's family and ministry news
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Photo Journal of Summer Travels
September 2019

Dear Friends and Ministry Partners,

Haiti's political situation is even worse than it is in the US!  The impasse seems to have reached a point of no return, but only God is the Master of man's affairs, even when most live in rebellion against Him.  Yesterday a propane tank exploded by accident in downtown Cayes and injured 20 people.  The local hospitals don't have electricity, anesthesia, clean water, IV's or even enough doctors.  Ambulances tried to take eight burn victims, all children, to Port au Prince but the roads are blocked by protestors.  Diesel hasn't been for sale at the pumps for a month now.  Protests and general strikes are announced again for today and tomorrow.
Last June, Joey and I, along with 14 other missionaries, had to charter a flight with MFI just to get from Cayes to Port au Prince because of roadblocks.  Ironically, over the summer things were quite calm in Haiti, only to flare up again a week before our return date.  We've already had to cancel seven days of classes at the Bible School, although I did start my Epistles of John course last week.
Despite the unrest, we had a record number of new students register for the Bible college and they completed their first week of studies.  Heather is able to homeschool Erik, Joey and Ellie and I can do a lot of ministry from home, so we're keeping busy despite the nationwide lockdown.  Foreigners are not the target of the population's animosity, but we are keeping a low profile anyway.  Our biggest concern is for how long supplies will last.  The mission center has maybe enough diesel to generate electricity for about two weeks.  The power company hasn't given our zone electricity in four months.
Heather, Erik and Ellie left Haiti in early June during a window of calm.  Erik took his ACT and did very well and he completed some CLEP tests for college. He is a senior this year.  Ian joined us in Wisconsin for nine days.  He worked in Pennsylvania all summer with some friends of ours.  He's now back at CIU and doing great.
In Wisconsin, we celebrated Sean's grandmother's 90th birthday one weekend and then his cousin's wedding the next.  It was very good to see the extended family.  Sadly, on the other side of the family, we also attended Sean's cousin's wife's funeral, who battled cancer for several years; however, as it so often is, we got to see family and friends whom we hadn't seen in years.
 
Grandma far left, with her two sisters
In mid July, Sean accompanied two of his Haitian colleagues, Pastor Jean and Pastor David, to the jungle of Suriname where they preached at a Bible conference, spoke twice with the youth and held sessions with the elders.  Their ministry was greatly appreciated and they brought a perspective that European and North American missionaries cannot give.

In this photo is the former chief witch doctor of the Wayana Indians whose conversion decades ago effectively led to over 80% of the tribe receiving Christ as Lord and Savior!
Pastor Jean participated in the baptism service during the Bible conference.  Because several Wayana villages are along the river that borders Suriname and French Guiana, many of them, especially the younger generation, speak French quite well.  This provided a unique connection for my Haitian colleagues to teach God's Word and to answer their questions clearly.
Meanwhile, Sean and his supervisor, Gary, were World Team representatives at a conference in St. Lucia. He was able to translate for two delegates from French Guiana, Pastor Isidor (left) and Pastor Vincent (right).  Vincent is the pastor of a church on the same river as the Wayana, about a two-hour boat ride downstream.  These young men are energetic and visionary, both disciples of Nazaire Georges from St. Lucia who received Christ through the ministry of World Team missionaries decades ago.
The Evangelical Church of the West Indies celebrated two anniversaries (70th for St. Lucia and 50th for the association of member islands).  This association of churches sent Nazaire's family as missionaries to French Guiana in the 1980's. They continue to send and receive missionaries and to preach the Gospel.  World Team's role now is one of encouragement, partnership and training.

Sean and Gary were asked to speak several times at the conference and we were well received.
After Sean returned from the Caribbean, it was family vacation time!  We traveled with our good friends from Peoria, the Reinhards, and hit all of the Southwestern US states.  Our dear friend Beth Newton joined us in the desert and the Grand Canyon for a few days and we got to visit several friends along the journey.
Above the tree line at Pike's Peak
Arches National Park
After the Southwest, we spent a few days in Seattle with Heather's brother Brent's family and Heather's folks who were also visiting.  Our long-time friend from Haiti, Joyce Throness, came over to help celebrate Heather's birthday.
Then on to Germany for the World Team Europe conference.  We were part of the Tychicus Ministries team providing childcare, kid's and youth ministry to 45 missionary kids during the conference.  Erik, Joey and Ellie did a fantastic job despite their longing to join in the youth meetings with their newfound friends.  So many of you supported us in this ministry and we know God used your generosity to make that week special for the MK's and their family.  One teen said it was life-changing!

Tychicus founders, Peter and Janet, with Heather.
Before and after the conference we got to visit friends--one of the perks of being a missionary is that you have friends in almost every country in the world.  The Seel's, Schuerer's, Fuchshuber's and Meier's were all good hosts.
We wrapped up our weeks in Germany in Bavaria and hiked in the Austrian Alps.  We were beyond amazed at their beauty and for the opportunity to have this time together as a family (of course we missed Ian).  On a personal note, Sean saw 50 new bird species over the summer, bringing his life total to 645.  #645 was a Black Woodpecker about two miles from where this photo was taken.
We returned to Haiti in the midst of a fuel crisis.  MEBSH bent over backwards to get our truck into Port au Prince with fuel in the tank so we could drive home.  We are so thankful for our Haitian and missionary friends and colleagues here.  We all rely on one another and that is a unique opportunity to live like the family of God that we are.

Thank you for your prayers for Haiti, for us and the ministries.  At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

With love,

Sean, Heather, Ian, Erik, Joey and Ellie Christensen

Training the next generation of leaders for the Haitian church and beyond
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