Free Methodist Missionaries in Haiti

The Haiti earthquake has directly or indirectly affected most people’s life in America one way or another.  Autumn and I have attended Wesley Free Methodist church in Anderson for some years now.  The Free Methodist lost some missionaries during the quake.  Please pray for the families and for the Haitian people in this devastating time of loss.  Below is taken from The website of the Free Methodist Church of N. A.

“With profound sadness, Free Methodist World Missions reports Rev. Jeanne Acheson-Munos, Merle West, and Gene Dufour, the three missionaries who have been unaccounted for, have not been located and are now presumed to not be alive. Today Bishop David Roller conducted a funeral service at the site of the building they were in which collapsed when Tuesday’s earthquake hit. These three individuals gave their lives in service to the Haitian people whom they loved deeply.

Pastor Jeanne Acheson-Munos

Rev. Jeanne Acheson-Munos, and her husband, Jack, were appointed as career missionaries to Haiti in March 2004. Together they worked alongside the national church to develop and strengthen the conference, pastors, church leaders and members. Jeanne’s deepest desire was that Haiti, the Pearl of the Antilles, would shine again with “Haiti for Christ” becoming a reality.

Merle West had been ministering in Haiti since 1978. He served as president of FOHO (Friends of Haiti Organization) and supervised construction of the new FOHO building. Merle was active in Craftsman for Christ and worked construction in the Miami Haitian churches. He also took three trips to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Gene Dufour

Gene Dufour had been on three trips to Haiti and one to Africa. Gene, along with Merle, was active in Craftsman for Christ and worked construction in the Miami Haitian churches. Gene and Merle were good friends, enjoying each other’s company and sharing a heart and love for Haiti.

Jack Munos and Katie Zook (Arlington FMC, Arlington WA) remain in ICU in a Miami hospital. Both continue to improve. Katie was on a 2 year VISA assignment which began September 2009. She was assisting Rev. Jeanne Acheson-Munos in day-to-day ministry and helping with hospitality at the FOHO Guesthouse.

DeeAnn Snyder has arrived safely in Michigan. Dan is expected to arrive late this evening. James, their son who was with them in Haiti, returns to his college in the U.S. this evening.

Among the Free Methodists serving in Haiti at the time of the earthquake were several VISA Ministries volunteers. Melanie Brooks, Chris Browne, Dave Hornish, and Bruce Oberlin, part of the Clear Blue Global Water Project from the Cornerstone FMC (Akron, OH), returned home safely late yesterday evening.

Working in conjunction with the Clear Blue team, Rev. Arron Swenson and Jason Sheete from Cornerstone Community Church (Pendelton, OR) and Kelly Perkins from the Deer Flat FMC (Caldwell, ID) are expected to arrive in Seattle this evening.

Russ and Sherrie Cole from the Quincy FMC (Quincy, WA), who have been in Haiti since November helping with guesthouse management/hospitality, bookkeeping and maintenance, depart from Miami on Monday.”

Things that Drive Me CRAZY… 20.

20. – It drives me crazy when someone, who uses the breakroom microwave, opens the microwave in the midst of heating something and does not clear the remainder of time on the countdown.  It is yet another thing that has to slow me down when I go to push the numbers and the dumb box beeps at me.  For a split second, my mind has to go “uh… what” and I have to fix someone else’s lack of follow through!  Please push the clear button or you will end up pushing my buttons!

Things that Drive Me CRAZY… 19.

16. – My job requires me to offer a service to those who I work with… as most jobs do. So I strive to do my best to help other people, and make their lives easier. So I exist with a ‘service’ state of mind. In addition, my position affords me the opportunity to buy large quantities of expensive items. It drives me crazy when I try to help someone out with a mistake they made and they do everything possible to not resolve the mistake… which would be in their favor. I recently purchased a $650 camcorder for work at the beginning of the month, which was delivered on the 10th of the month. On the 20th of the month, I received a second $650 camcorder. Trying to avoid my company being billed for the second, I called the vendor. After being navigating through a series of menus (and pressing 6 different buttons) and then being on hold for 9 mins (which seems like an eternity), I reached a live person and explained my situation. The person saw no record of the 2nd camcorder being ordered (which makes sense since I didn’t order it) and no record of the 2nd camcorder being sent, which is weird since it was on my desk. Clearly, this was too much work for this person, so he transferred me to ‘corporate’ to resolve. I again navigated through 4 menus and held for 6 mins to reach another live person. I explained the entire scenario again (which takes about 3 mins) only to be told, “Oh, you need to speak to Abe Rhauol, I think he is your customer service agent.” Thanks for letting me waste 3 mins of my life explaining your company’s screw up… I was transferred to “Abe” and had the pleasure of leaving him a voice mail since it appeared “Abe” is a very busy guy. “Abe” told me through his voice mail that it is best if I email him, since that is an easier way to reach him. He then told me, “In fact, you are MORE LIKELY to receive a response from me if you send me an email.” My first thought was, okay, so if I send you email, you might not get back with me and if I leave you a voice mail you would be even more less likely to get back to me! My message to “Abe” included all the pertinent information and I finished the message (after spending a total of 34 mins on the phone) with, “You have 2 options, you can call me back and I will be more than happy to send your camera back to me, or you can not call me back and I will keep the camera and will not pay for it! The choice is yours!” As of right now, I have not heard back. Poor “Abe” and his company… I wonder how many cameras they will have to sell to make up for the one camera I would gladly send back to them!?!

How to not get screwed by Rental Car companies…

My father-in-law asked me about how to avoid paying for too much for and avoid extra fees when renting a car yesterday.  As I wrote the response, I realized that the info would be great to share.  I use to work for Enterprise, so I know a little about the tricks of the trade.  Here is my response to his question.

Q. – “I just reserved a mini van from Enterprise to be used for a youth convention trip on March.  The cost for the rental is $309 and some change. What do we need to be aware of when we go to get the van or return it?  That is, what are the additional costs that they may “encourage” us to assume that we really don’t need to do?”

A. – Make sure to put the same amount of gas in the van that it had when you picked it up.  It is good to call the day you pick it up and insist that it have a full tank and confirm it is there.  They often don’t have the van ready to go, but if you call first, you are more likely not to have problems with it not being there when you pick it up.
They will want to sell you damage waiver (aka insurance).  It’s good if you like insurance and ‘peace of mind’ and bad if you don’t want to spend $20+ a day more.  If the church has some sort of insurance that covers that kind of thing, then don’t get it.  If not, and the van is rented under your name, you are liable for any damage.  If your insurance covers rentals (and most do, but not all), and there is damage, you risk your deductible and a claim on your policy.  It really depends on what you are comfortable with… If you don’t get the coverage, make sure you walk with them during the walk around and make them document EVERY DING AND SCRATCH.
When I was there, it was $17 for the coverage (which just covers the van), $10 for liability coverage (in case of an accident, it covers the other guy) and the $5 for life insurance.
The other thing to watch is the rates.  It is a great idea to check the rates once a week until your trip to see if they go up or down.  Did you book online?  If you called in and booked on the phone, check on-line.  Enterprises online rates are usually better than if you call in.  The employees have the ability to adjust rates to get your business, so they usually will quote a higher rate on the phone than what is online.  If the rate drops, call the office and let them know and they can adjust it easily.  And if you do that, always get the person’s name.  That is really helpful if you need to ‘remind’ them of the better rate.

Monday, Jan 4th, Devotion

7. – Put people first.
A. – There are so many ‘things’ to do in life. We have deadlines, play dates, to-do lists, and projects complicating every day. It is very easy to put these things ahead of the people around us. Jesus was surrounded by a million things to do in his short 3 years of ministry. He had lessons to teach, places to go, water to walk on and tables to overturn, but he always put people first. Jesus knew that people where his reason for coming. Likewise, we have to remember that people are why we do what we do.
Biblical reference: “As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed EVERY one.” – Luke 4:40

8. – Learn to eat ‘change’ for breakfast.
A. – As life is constantly changing, we need to be ready to change. We may feel like we have a handle on things and it all can and will change in a moment. You may start your day with an agenda when one of your little tikes decides that their agenda will now be your new agenda. Likewise, God may call you to leave behind something in your life, change your direction and point you towards something totally new. Our job is to always be ready for God’s change. It is always right around the corner!
Biblical reference: “And Jesus said to Simon, the fisherman, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.’ When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” – Luke 5:11

Christmas Observation

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Really?  I have to run around and buy things in the cold rain or snow.  I have to make sure to see everybody while juggling family time, church, work and  shopping.  I have to deal with stressful family situations, driving all over the country side to be in those stressful family situations… while putting on a happy face and ‘enjoying the holidays’.  All the while, knowing in the back of my mind that Christ was really born in April or July or August (there is scholarly debate on the exact day) and not on Dec 25th.  Wiki defines Dec 25th as Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  It is celebrated on December 25, but this date is not known to be Jesus’ actual birthday, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, a historical Roman festival, or the date of the northern hemisphere’s winter solstice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas).

So… I am doing all this knowing that Jesus is the Reason for the Season might just be something someone came up with for a Christmas card.  None the less, I will continue trekking through this time of year.  I will use this time not to celebrate the Savior’s birth like many, but will celebrate the Savior’s coming.  To me, the miracle is that he came to save me, not that he was born in a manager.  I give gifts not because the wise men/shepherds/kings brought gifts to Jesus, but because Jesus gives me the gift of salvation.  I will spend joyful time with family not because everyone expects me to be there, but because family is a blessing from God and I am truly blessed to have a family (even as stressful as it may be at times).  I hope that you, my faithful two readers, have a blessed Dec 25th.  Remember that Dec. 25th is just one day of year we open gifts… but we get to open Jesus’ gift everyday of the year.

Things that Drive Me CRAZY… 18.

Whilst driving into work this blessed morn, I was traveling 65 mph in a 55 mph zone on I-465.  There was a car about 3 car lengths ahead of me, which I try to leave for safety reasons (no at fault accidents since 1997).  It drives me crazy when the person behind me flashes their lights at me when there is no where for me to go!  Now I try to not get mad at people when the person in front of me is going the speed limit, since they are going the legal limit and I really should be too.  However, when I am trying not to get run over by going 65 in a 55 and someone wants to me to move, I get a little irritated.  I tried to switch lanes, but there were cars in my way. .. SO, I slowed down to the speed limit and the idiot went around me, only to have him cut me off and nearly run me off the road.  All things being said, I felt somewhat justified when I exited and came to the stop light only to find Mr. I Need To Get There Yesterday right in front of me.  Looks like his life risking move didn’t really pay off.  I saw him look in his rear view mirror and I politely waved… and he politely flipped me off!  Got to love those with the holiday spirit!  Drive safely!