Dear Family and Friends,
It comes with great pain and tearful hearts that we write this letter to you.
We know there have been whispers and murmurs of why we left Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. We would like for you to hear from us the reasoning for leaving.
Natasha and I were no longer able serve within the structure of NWHCM as the current methodology and decisions made by the leaders have created, in our opinion, an organizational dysfunction that leads us to a lack of trust. We are convinced this is not what God has called us to as missionaries.
We miss all the children in the orphanage whom we came to love and care for so deeply. We miss our wonderful Haitian staff and friends that cared for us as family. Because of our love for Haiti, we are currently praying and seeking possible avenues to continue to serve in the country in whatever capacity God calls us to.
We are leaning on His understanding in this time and trust that as we seek and abide in His will, there we will be glory to our God and we will find the peace, and place, He has for us.
We want to thank each and every one of you who have supported us, our marriage, our ministry, and the people of Haiti we love so much over these last three years. We would like to extend a personal invitation to each of you to contact us about our decisions if you have any questions. We would love to discuss this individually with you and allow you to hear our hearts as we seek His will for our lives. Feel free to reach us at 912.224.4932.
Thank you for your prayers, your support and your love that has strengthened us these past several years.
In His love, Grant and Natasha Roszkowiak
It’s been a desire of my heart since we moved to the Baie to develop some kind of nutrition program like the one that is established and flourishing so well in St. Louis. Being a nurse of course, I want to be able to have it function more like a clinic, so we can have an avenue of reaching the truly malnourished in the Baie- focusing on children.
This past summer we were blessed to be able to form a uniquely personal relationship with two churches CCC, and Mosaic from the Baltimore area in MD. They since then have become our “neighbors project” churches meaning they partner with the Baie in many different facets including providing resources to help meet the needs of the people here in the Baie. A great resource and huge blessing to us is a lovely woman named Laura Matt. Laura is a registered Dietician and a genius when it comes to all things nutrition! During the time she was here with us this summer it seemed the Lord had spoken to both our hearts regarding malnutrition. We spoke about it more when Grant and I had the opportunity to go and speak at these two churches. She then wrote (no exaggeration) a TEXTBOOK on malnutrition and ways to combat this, combining resources from the US, WHO, and Haiti…I was blown away by this.
In January this year, Laura and our friend Heart (who also came on that same mission trip) came down to stay with us and “kick off” the malnutrition clinic we’d been praying over, preparing for and talking about. Earlier in the month we had held a small clinic and surveyed about 75 children under the age of 5 and recorded their heights, weights and other measurements. When Laura and Heart came we had the children come back along with children we hadn’t seen before, and we reevaluated them and Laura categorized them into severe, moderate, and mildly malnourished. Out of all the children we saw we were able to select 50 of the most severely malnourished and provide some rice and beans. The Lord had provided a group here serving at the same time that was donating rice, and beans to 50 families here in the Baie. It was a great way to meet the needs of these 50 children!
It was a HUGE eye opener, even to me, who have been living with this community for 7 months about how many children fell in one of the three malnutrition categories. I knew they were hungry. They all are. I I knew they were small. They all are. I knew their red hair was alarming. All of it is.
What I didn’t know was how severe their numbers lined up when evaluated and when explained by Laura about how close a lot of these children were to “protein starvation” it brought me back to a reality that the joy and peace in their faces can sometimes mask.
After they left, Laura and I’s heart again we spoken to on yet another topic- prenatal nutrition. The “clinic” or idea of that, is nothing official yet, but we are praying for avenues, resources and finances to soon make this hope more tangible to these families. We would love to target pregnant women and all children under 5, keep records of nutritional status and monitor them as they grow, giving resources along the way to those who are in need and who can not support themselves- which will be many of them.
My heart is really excited for this and how God is going to use this to feed the thousands here in La Baie, Haiti who are so hungry for His love.
She is an orphan who is taken care of by her aunt and grandmother here in the Baie. She is a sweet love of mine…and one of the kiddos who came through the clinic.
As it’s already January, I just realized that we hadn’t blogged about Christmas here in the Baie and wrapped up our year for our friends and family who follow us through our blog! SO here you go :)
Christmas in the Baie…How do I even begin to describe it? It was so beautiful and magical. It was filled with fellowship, peace and love. Something this community has longed for, and something our family cherishes. Something that only comes from the Lord.
We had our staff Christmas party on the 16th of December, a Friday and it was one that will go down in the books! ALL DAY the women prepared for the feast of Christmas (COMMUNION) dinner. It was actually humbling for me to be a part of it. We sat around in a circle and skinned thousands of beans, beginning in the morning, and then the rest of the day, Madam Mishelet, Madam Freuncuer along with Silocian and Monese (our kitchen staff) began frying, boiling, mixing, and cleaning all the pasta, chicken, plantains, rice and beans! The guys were responsible for a couple things too- drinks and music! They had bought tons of cokes, sprites, toros to fill a whole cooler! Our deep freeze literally was luke warm at one point from all the things they had tried to put in it!
(GIFTS) Meanwhile, we all gathered around the Christmas tree and handed out gifts to staff and our kids! *For the first time I had attended Black Friday while we were in the states for Thanksgiving with Grant’s family, and we were blessed with donations to provide our kiddos with awesome Christmas presents! SO the merriment continued…(we had already decorated the Christmas tree a few weeks before with some pipe cleaners that we twisted together to make candy canes) and so we gathered around our child-decorated Christmas tree… our children were SO surprised to find presents wrapped under the tree- we had been telling them they were going to get presents, but this was like nothing they could have imagined! When we started handing out gifts, they just held onto the box and didn’t know what to do with it! We had to help them at first, ripping open the wrapping paper, but then soon they were covered in a sea of wrapping paper! The girls each got a Barbie, and the boys each got remote control trucks! The funniest part was that our girls, and I should have guessed this would happen, instead of playing “house” or whatever my sister and I did with our Barbies, they sat in a row and braided their Barbies’ hair! :)
(FELLOWSHIP) In our kitchen… you had to watch where you stepped because there were 8 little trucks about to run into your feet! It truly felt so warm and comforting, just like the Holidays should feel- with friends and family helping with batteries for the trucks, the girls sharing their Barbies with other little girls that were there, everyone cooking and getting the party set up…our staff showing up with their families, one by one… some who we don’t see that often, everyone greeting each other as they showed up. Our campus was overfilled with joy. When it came time to eat, our Pastor prayed and myself, Madam Mishelet, Madam Frencuer, Silocian and Madam Scott, began dishing out the disposable plates with all the food that was labored over that day. Everyone was so satisfied and had such a great time that we even forgot to serve dessert- the brownies and chocolate cake I had made earlier! :)
(SACRIFICE) In addition to our party and all the merriment that we enjoyed we also took our kiddos up the mountains behind our home to deliver dresses to all the children that live up there. Grant’s grandmother Edith, along with her friends from church who have been inspired by her have been working hard ever since the summer to sew and create hundreds of beautiful pillow case dresses for our kiddos and the community! For Christmas we gave her gift to the girls of the Baie! It was a little confusing for our children at first because all month long they had been receiving these gorgeous dresses and seer sucker shorts from Grandma, and for Christmas we piled about 100 dresses into a huge duffle bag, and we climbed the mountain with it…and OUR CHILDREN gave out the dresses one by one to these little girls. At first some of our kids were not so happy about giving away these pretty dresses to others so we talked about the sacrifice that God made when he sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins, and how that brings JOY and HOPE to us everyday! Just like Jesus was so dear to God, and just as these dresses were so dear to our kids, they were to give them up- for others to have joy, and hope, just as God gave Jesus to us. So after talking they understood, and after the tears were dried, we climbed the mountain! It was AMAZING.
It truly was a Christmas to remember! As we remember Christmas, we remember that we have received the greatest gift of all- a humble grace and love that redeems us and SAVES us! We wish that our own families and friends were there to experience it with us! Hopefully this year, you will be able to experience the love that we share here, and how the Lord is moving here in our hearts and our community! Our Christmas wish and hope is that you either by visiting us or partnering with us through prayers or financially, will see all the fruits that have bloomed here among the people of the Baie this coming year! Thank you for your continued love and support!
We’ve been in the Baie since June now, and since then, we’ve had the privilege of helping to raise the most amazing six children that I’ve ever met. I know, I know, I’m biased but still, I think they are! In September, we added to our bunch another 8 children! This in of itself was a surprise because we thought we were only taking in 6 more! When we got to St. Louis to get our new babies, there were 7 little ones waiting for us, and a new boy named Pierreson who’s mom had recently passed away, leaving him an orphan to his grandmother who wasn’t able to care for him by herself. So as a mission we adopted Pierrson, who is 6 years old. So that gave us a total of 8 new kiddos to love and to care for. I myself, had thought we were pretty well prepared for the change in our family that was about to happen…
I prided myself in getting our kids mentally ready for the increase in our family that was about to happen…we busted a door in between the two bedrooms and we moved the boys into the new “boys bedroom” and the girls into the “girls bedroom”. SCC brought in some pink and blue fabric boxes for us to organize, label and sort all the kiddos clothes into! We made new beds for all the kiddos and organized the rooms; prepared them for how many were to come (at that time we thought 6)! And so for about a week our babies were so excited, they would ask about the new babies coming- they knew all their names! They would point out the empty beds at night and say, “mommy, this is where Donly and Kenny are going to sleep? and in this room, Junie and Magdaly are going to sleep”. When we got dressed, they would point to the boxes waiting to be filled with clothes and ask, “is this Mackendy’s box? His clothes will go here? Is this Wilgens box? This is where he will put his clothes?”. And so we thought, this is going to be GREAT and simple…no sibling rivalry whatsoever!
Well, then we came home with the new babies +2 and everything kind of just fell apart, and I mean it was CRAZY! First, all the new babies were so afraid of the dogs, they didn’t want to walk at all- they all had to be held 24/7…there just wasn’t enough of us to hold them all and we were double hipping it too! I thought they were the worst part, that they would adjust and then it would be okay in a few days, but the affect it had on our own kiddos, (the original 6) broke my heart! It started with our kids crying, then not wanting to feed themselves; basically anything to get attention. BOY- I thought, Lord this is going to be impossible…
Living in Haiti, living with these “orphans”, people sometimes call them, has been the most heart changing experience for me since I met Grant. As the Lord is so faithful, things began to change…and in seeing the changes, it has affirmed my heart SO MUCH of what is going on here in our little town of LA BAIE, here in our campus, our family- how truly just the LOVE OF CHRIST, can change a child, and that is one of the most beautiful things I have seen being at NWHCM, being a missionary of Christ, seeing that all that truly matters in this world, is that we strive to win those for Christ, that we TELL THE GOOD NEWS, that we raise up disciples to make disciples to make disciples and go out into this world…
The change that we saw was an eye opener, we really didn’t even realize that our children were so different until these new babies were brought into our world…The first week, I went to tuck the kiddos into bed, and the new babies had no idea what was going on, they laid there stoic, and their eyes gazed up and I’m sure wondered, “what is this woman doing?” the original 6 however, not the case. 1. they make out with you until you tickle them- just have a second to get away- but then they follow you, jump on your back to the next bed, and so on, basically I have to run out of the room :) We had a big talk with our original 6 and told them how we needed their help with the new babies, and that we couldn’t do this alone…that next week, our original six were taking the babies to the bathroom, feeding them and kissing their booboos! I walked into their bedroom one night and the twins (Haley and Hannah) had taken Junie, a new baby, onto their bed, and were holding one of her eyes open, blowing in it, and then kissing it after Junie blinked. The twins asked her, “is that better?” and it just brought the biggest smile and frown to my face- I was so happy, but it made me want to cry to see them imitating me, and how I care for them…they were growing up, right in front of my eyes, and were no longer babies as I once saw them! The older girls continue to be my biggest helpers, they even like to carry Magdaly when we cries to be held (and I tell them they are going to break their backs, but they never listen…if she cries, they run to pick her up- she is like their baby). Angela will herd the children home after school or church gets out, yelling “ALE ALE” telling the kids to hurry up and walk so we can all get home before the sun sets :) If someone cries, she is the one to sound an alarm, and let us know where to go…and just a few months ago, it was hard for us to understand what she was even saying. It is sweet the blessings we have been able to experience and witness.
At night in the beginning, I would ask Grant- these new babies are NOTHING like ours, they are so different! Ours were never like this, were they? And he replied “I’m sure they were, but we just don’t remember now because we are so used to how they are now, it is almost a faded memory we have forgotten.” And so we pray that as we continue to live with our new family (stretched a bit) that one day the exhausted, crazy nights where I laid in bed wondering, Lord are you sure this was your will, will be just another faded memory until the next batch comes… and we will remember and celebrate how beautiful these children have become as they are molded by the Holy Spirit!
The most recent thing, we all went to the beach Friday when school was out- and almost all 14 children got in the ocean! Even JUJU which is a big victory! We are lucky that the ocean is just low enough at the beach for all our kiddos to wade in it. They were all sitting on the boats, playing in the water, even holding their breath, going under, and I thought “ah you’re only 3 years old” but I guess that’s old enough! They loved it so much, they all were begging to stay, or saying “just let me wash my feet, hands and shoes once more” just to touch the ocean. So since we did so well, I think it will be our weekly Saturday outing- beach day :) and each day since they have been asking, “are we going to the beach today?”. No baby I say, not until next week…
The Salines Mayette kiddos came out (the oldest ones) and they had a beach day too this weekend! I have never seen such excitement, joy and play…they were much more crazy than our kids in the water, imagine that, as they had no chance of drowning in this low depth :) They seemed so at peace, and loved each other so well. It was encouraging to see how much PLAY is important for development of all children, even when they get older. One of them had written in the sand that he loved Jesus. He wrote thanking Jesus for this day- just to be here at the beach; he took the time to worship GOD in that moment, and I was humbled. I said earlier, some people call our kids “orphans” and sometimes I forget they are, because I don’t see it that way- but when we look at the work orphan Biblically and realize that we too are orphans, more so, we are the adopted sons and daughters of the King, and co-heirs with Christ. It humbles me to see our “orphans” in such a tangible way; to see and just KNOW how much I, Grant, the staff, LOVE LOVE LOVE these kids- but God loves them WAY MORE. I can’t even fathom His love for us!
And they will grow, as they have, stronger and stronger with the love of Christ, and they will be powerful, filled with the Holy Spirit and then THEY will be bringing hope to all the nations.
I just love that.
Were so sorry we haven’t had our blog updated as well as we would have liked it to be, we had been traveling so much the past few months, it was hard to get our feet planted in one place to write!
All that to say, what have we been up to?
Well October was a time for celebrations of marriage for us! Now I know what you’re thinking…we are already married! No, our friends Alex and Emily Riddle were married on the 1st and our friends Sam and Adam Keating were married on the 22nd! It was great to be both in KY and KS to visit with friends and family that we have missed so much! It was great to witness love and marriage, and be there for our friends as they joined as one, together, for the rest of their lives! It was here at these weddings that God really showed us how much we need each other- husband and wife. I know that for us, we would not have been able to move out to the Baie and take on caring for and raising orphans as children of the mission, we would not have been able to do a 700 child VBS, we would not have been able to open up our clinic and see patients, we would not have been able to work with the eye team in August and help them be as successful as God has purposed for His people, we would not have been able to meet great people and connect with great organizations and churches who also fight this fight we do. We would not even have been able to truly communicate all the beautiful blessing that the Lord has laid upon our community within these last 6 months if we were not together. We know, for us, that God has brought us together so that what we struggled to do for Him alone, we can do with excellence as one flesh to honor God. I am so thankful that God brought us together, I could never imagine life now without our marriage.
During the 2 weeks that separated the 2 weddings we were apart of, we decided instead of coming home to Haiti, we would go up to Baltimore and visit two churches who had come to Haiti this summer and had spent a few days with us in the Baie! These churches, CCC and Mosaic, were interested in a relationship with NWHCM in the future. So not knowing really what was ahead, we prayed about it and went to Baltimore where we stayed with a dear friend Laura, a registered dietician who, in January is helping us to kick off a personal nursing ministry- a malnutrition clinic (more to come about this). In Baltimore we were able to speak at CCC as well as make a video at Mosaic to be shown about partnering with missions in the future. At CCC we spoke about our lives in Haiti, our goals, and our dreams! We got to spend a lot of time with members from both CCC and Mosaic, and we truly had the time of our lives. They took such good care of us, were willing to donate to us on the spot (without us even asking), and gathered needed supplies for the kiddos and the community- it was so encouraging to see a community support us. As we left that week we learned that we were going to be partnering with these 2 churches as neighbor project churches :) This is really exciting news for us to have 2 churches that have become partnered with the Baie for long term support, development and encouragement!
The 23rd of Oct. we traveled back to Haiti and attended a week long conference about community health. Community Heath and Evangelism or CHE, is part of FAME and they are equipping pastors and medical personnel in Haiti to help bring community health to rural and untouched parts of Haiti. It was interesting mostly because, we were in a seminar with all Haitians! Here we were able to understand their ideas, questions, doubts and how they understood and processed this new information and new techniques.
In November we traveled to Savannah for SCC’s Faith Promise time. During this time the church brought in many of SCC’s missionaries and partners from all over the world and we all got to spend time together healing, being restored, refreshed and encouraged, prayed for and reminded of how strong God’s love for us is. It was exactly what we had needed, and God could not have ordained it more perfectly. We had a chance to speak at SCC’s campuses about La Baie and our work with NWHCM and how God had been moving in BIG ways since we had been married and moved to the Baie. We had the opportunity to get to know the other missionaries and their families, pray with them and hear their struggles and realize that we all feel the same way! We were able to met many families who wanted to come on trips to NW, wanted to help us in any way possible, we met people we didn’t know- who had been praying for us :) God showed us again, just how blessed we were. November was also special for us because, the love of my life- my “one and only” (my Haitian girlfriends would say) was ordained by Savannah Christian Church!!! Grant was ordained on the 16th of November to live a life devoted to full time ministry for the rest of his life. It was a beautiful ceremony; the purpose and the truth and conviction behind is even more beautiful!
We finally traveled HOME to Haiti the day after thanksgiving…saying goodbye to friends and family, to Savannah and were welcomed HOME to the BAIE by our energetic children who thought we had been gone way too long. They even had all walked down to the ocean to await our arrival, but by nightfall as we still were not there, they went up to the campus. We walked into their bedrooms as they were finishing their devotions, and it was the best surprise :)