Monday, November 27, 2017

Hites to Taiwan


In June 2018, the Hite family — Preston, Janelle, Logan, Karis, Nathan and Owen — will be moving to the small city of Taitung, Taiwan, where they will become part of a ministry called Taiwan Sunshine, which provides hope and encouragement for families with children who have special needs through sports, education and community development.  We appreciate your interest to learn more about the details of this adventure by reading this message.

Our Calling

God has placed a clear calling to the mission field on the Hites since before Janelle and Preston were married.  They have followed that calling in many different ways, from trips and projects in Alabama, to other parts of the US, to many nations around the world.  In 2009, Janelle, Preston and Logan moved to China after God showed them a particular calling to His work in Asia.  But, soon thereafter, Nathan, Mia and Owen came on the scene and opened up a new platform for the Hites’ ministry — walking in the joy and complexity of children with special needs.  Mia lives with Jesus now; and Nathan and Owen, along with Karis (who was adopted in 2014 at age eight), have shown Janelle, Preston and Logan that God’s calling was not withdrawn, but has rather been made clearer.  The message of the value God places in all people who bear His image — including through those who have special needs — is a message the world needs to hear!  God showed us the value of all people when He gave us His Son to redeem us and give us new life through His death and resurrection.  Our kids with special needs reveal that message in deeply joyful ways!






The Work

Our kids with special needs receive educational, therapy and medical services from skilled and caring professionals who have become dear to us.  We are so thankful that God has provided wonderful care for our kids in this way.  But, there is a kind of care that our entire family receives that gives us the hope, joy and inspiration to dance in the sunlight.  Without this care, our sunlight would appear like a stormy sky.  This is the care we receive in the grace of God, who reveals to us each day a new page of the story of our kids, revealing His faithfulness through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  From the many miracles of the kids’ first days to the joyous laughter of each evening when we put them in bed, God has been reminding us of His marvelous work in the world through Jesus, redeeming what was struggling, broken and weak to reveal a perfected and upward-bound purpose for His people.  God has blessed us with a new and clearer view of His redemption, and He has given us the privilege of sharing this new view with many groups around the world, usually by preaching without words.

Having been blessed in this way as a family, we began to sense that God wanted to move us back to the mission field full-time.  We prayed for a very long time about this, and God answered these prayers by connecting us with Taiwan Sunshine.  We discovered that Taiwan has a need for exactly what God has equipped us to bring in our ministry.  Taiwan is an advanced nation, and provides high-quality educational and medical opportunities for people with special needs.  But, the key piece that is largely missing is the infrastructure of hope, whereby the families of those with special needs are equipped with the inspiration to walk in victory through the challenges of life with special needs.  One child who recently came to one of Taiwan Sunshine’s events had parents who both admitted were contemplating suicide.  They had no inner resource to navigate the heavy expectations on them and their children so prevalent in their culture.  Now, with support and counsel from Taiwan Sunshine and its partners, these parents’ situation has stabilized.  With continued prayer and support, we hope this family will discover the eternal hope and purpose springing from the redemption of our brokenness.  That is just one of the many stories of families in Taitung who need the work of Taiwan Sunshine.

 

Now, the Hites are coming alongside Uwe and MaDonna Maurer, who are also special-needs parents, and who established Taiwan Sunshine by working with local schools, hosting opportunities for parents and equipping and encouraging local churches, with such programs as soccer clubs, “Hero Games,” educational outreaches for parents and children, and community development and training projects for sustainable employment for young adults with special needs.  Preston will be the Director of Operations for the ministry, and will also be managing the development of a new farm and adventure camp in the hills outside Taitung, that will be the location of some of the ministry’s training and employment opportunities.  We will also be generating opportunities for American college students to join the work through applied skills and research.  But, most of all, our family will be living in the light of the Gospel, always seeking to share the love of Christ with everyone around us in a country that, while highly educated, is spiritually very dark.


 

Your Part

Many have paid us compliments concerning the way we have walked the road of special needs in our family.  We are thankful for people’s kind words, but we are always mindful of the oft-quoted truism that God doesn’t call the equipped but rather equips the called.  He blesses us with beautiful certainty of His calling on us, and we rest in confidence of His provision to send us and use us in His work.  We also know that one of the important resources that God delights to use in His provision is the wider Body of Christ.  There is deep joy in opportunities to play a role in the work.

Of course, as part of that provision, God may move in your heart to participate in the financial support of our family’s work.  We thank you for your willingness to listen to God’s guidance regarding financial support.  The work of Taiwan Sunshine, including the day-to-day life expenses of our family in the field, are dependent on the continual donations of the many people that God leads to join us in this way.  The cost of living in Taiwan is not low, and we have budgeted according to the guidance of those already there.  We are happy to share this budget information with our supporters.  Obviously, we are thankful for one-time donations to assist us, especially in the expenses of moving our family, but we also pray for a family of ongoing regular supporters.  If the Lord is stirring you to support us financially, here is the information you need:

To donate by check:  Please make checks payable to “RCE International” (our support agency), and write only “Account no. 82901” on the check memo line, not our names.  Send the check to:

RCE International
PO Box 4528
Wheaton, IL 60189

You may also donate by credit card online or set up an automatic bank deduction at: http://www.rce-international.org/support-a-missionary/.

Supporters of Resourcing Christian Education International personnel can contribute to their financial support by check, EFT, by credit card.

We trust the Lord will provide for our financial needs for the work, because we know He has called us to the work.  However, our greatest need from the Church is the prayers of God’s people, as we head to a place of deep spiritual darkness.  We have an Almighty Father who leads and equips and protects us.  We also have an enemy who greatly desires to hinder God’s work.  That enemy has already been defeated by Jesus in His death and resurrection, but God uses the prayers of His people as part of his structure of protection for His harvest workers.  Will you please commit to praying for us weekly?  If you will become part of our prayer team, we will keep you updated with regular news from the field, encouraging you with reports of God’s work and sharing our current needs and concerns.  Please let us know about your commitment to be part of our weekly prayer time by replying to this email.

Finally, in these months leading up to our move to Taiwan, will you please lift up these needs in your prayers?:

·       Logan is leaving a group of beloved friends behind and going to a place where it is very hard for children to build friendships because of the pressure on children to focus on school.  Please ask that God will allow Logan to continue to cherish his friends in Birmingham while also finding friends in Taitung.

·       We have important decisions to make regarding how to continue our children’s education once we are in Taitung.  We have some peace in what we believe is the right direction, but we desire a clear sense of God’s wisdom in this.

·       We have quite a lot to do in preparation for our move.  Preston began renovating our kitchen before God led us to Taiwan, and he needs to finish that project and a few other smaller tasks so we can sell the house.  We also need to purge possessions as much as possible, except for items we will be taking to Taiwan.  There is also complexity in shipping both furniture and mobility equipment.  We need God’s guidance and help in these tasks.

·       Ask for God to assist us in our language study, both before and after our move.  The most common language in Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese.  (We didn’t live in China long enough before, and we’ve forgotten most of what we knew!)

·       Pray that Preston will finish strong in his jobs at Samford University and Hoar Construction, glorifying God in the transitions.

·       Pray for God’s continued help for Janelle as she continues her work toward her Master’s of Education in Assistive Technology from George Mason University.  We are very confident that God is planning powerful things through that hard work.

·       Pray that God will provide all the financial support we need before our moving date in mid-June.

·       Pray that God will continue to give us wisdom from the Holy Spirit as we discern the daily directions for this work to which He has called us; and that we will continually remember that our family itself is at the center of that work and His Gospel is the ultimate output of that work.

·       Ask God to guide the process of securing our visa or visas from the Taiwanese government.  There are a few different possibilities for attaining visas, and we need God’s wisdom in knowing the right way to go.

·       Ask God for His provision of housing for our family.  The qualities we need, with Nathan and Owen’s wheelchairs, are hard to find in Taitung.  But it’s not too hard for God!

Thank you so much for reading through this message.  It is our prayer that just knowing the story is a blessing to you that brings glory to God.  We look forward to watching Him assemble a team to come alongside us in this new chapter for our family!

In The Grace And Love Of Jesus,

Janelle and Preston


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The next chapter

Our lives are a story.  A story that is new to us every day.  Some days it is exciting, some days it is hard.  Some days are mundane, while other days catch us by surprise.  For our family, the future pages of our story are blank until the Lord writes them down.

We are very excited for the next chapter in our story.  In June, our family will move to Taitung, Taiwan to begin working with Taiwan Sunshine.  The organization provides hope and encouragement for families with children who have special needs through sports, education and community development.  The families participate in: I am a Hero Games, basketball, volleyball, swimming, the Taitung surf club, seminars, conferences and educational opportunities for parents, school outreaches, parent respite, parent support meetings, arts and crafts, summer camps and family retreats.

We would appreciate your prayers.  Over the next 10 months we have lots to do to get ready.  We will also fill you in on details, but for now we just wanted to let you know what our future holds.

Image result for taitung taiwanImage result for  taiwan

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bahamas

Nathan, Owen, Preston and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend five days in Freeport, Bahamas at the end of July.  The boys were part of an intensive cranial sacral therapy program.  Top therapist from all over the United States and Hungry gathered together at this program. Each day, each boy spent time with three different therapist all working with them at the same time.  All of the therapist were so nice and encouraging.  We also spent our time with around 20 different families.  It was a fun, encouraging and relaxing environment to get to know each other.




 A portion of the therapy is with dolphins.  For four days the boys got to spend about an 1 1/2 with the dolphins.  They absolutely loved it and the dolphins seemed to be pretty fond of them too.


 Nathan with a dolphin talking to him.

Dolphins next to Nathan and Owen.



Owen petting the dolphin.



This dolphin went under Owen and lifted him up out of the water and then just held him on his back.




Nathan petting a dolphin.

Each evening we had a little extra time to enjoy the island.







Nathan loved eating hamburgers.  He asked for them every day.


 This boy was tired by the end of our time there.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ecuador trip

When Preston and I got married in 2001, we knew God was calling us to mission work.  We took our first short-term trip to Ecuador in 2003 and returned again in 2004.  Over the next several years God took us on many more trips: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Germany, and two trips and one move to China.  One evening when Nathan and Owen were young, Preston received an e-mail asking him to go to Liberia to design a hospital with EMI.  He went on that trip in February and that fall I went on a trip to Cambodia to work with some of our friends from China who moved there as missionaries.  While in Cambodia I felt the Lord telling me that the next mission trip needed to be our entire family.  He was going to do a great work through all of us together.  

Since that time our children have traveled to Lebanon, Ukraine and Ecuador.  Each time, God uses them, especially Nathan and Owen, in a mighty way to share His message of love and salvation to all who believe, regardless of our own abilities.  Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  He knew in advance the way the boys would most effectively reach people was through their special needs, and that is how He prepared them.  He also prepared the trips, relationships, etc in advance, so when we follow obediently He is glorified.

This years trip was amazing!  A few things that really struck me were God's provision and how much we can accomplish when the body of Christ work together.  People are often amazed that we take all our children with us on a mission trip.  All I can say is when God calls and we follow obediently, He will provide.  When we arrived at the Jungle Camp, the staff had rearranged a dorm room and made an apartment for our family with two big bedrooms and a living room.  They also reconfigured the bathrooms and provided a shower for us.  Not only that, they also poured a concrete ramp down to our room, so we could easily roll the boys wheelchairs to our room.  The church where we did our work every day, also had a heart for individuals with physical disabilities and had already made a ramp to the second story of their church, while building it years ago.  If there was ever a place that was difficult to push the boys through, immediately the Ecuadorian staff were there to help carry the boys in their chairs.  We would joke saying the boys just needed grapes and palm branches, as they were being carried around like kings.  In Romans 2:4, "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."  It was so neat to see individuals with different skills, from different places all working together to accomplish the construction of the renovated church facility.  We all needed each other to do the job!

This church we worked with was amazing.  They had about 250 members.  They are about to finish 10 church plants and serve over 1000 children awake through Compassion International.  They are one of Compassion's biggest care points.  They provide the children with a hot lunch, tutoring, discipleship and medical care.  They also provide medical care for the mothers of these children.  Since there are a lot of abandoned women in this town, the provide sewing classes to teach them to be seamstresses, giving them a sewing machine upon completion of the class and for those who do not have the ability to take the class, they make ice cream so ladies can go in to town and sell it to make their living.  Everyone was very loving, focused on the Lord and hard working. 
Here are a few photos from our trip!

By the time we landed in Ecuador it was around 2:00 a.m.  Nathan was a little exhausted!

Every morning we would take pick-up trucks to the footbridge.  On the other side of the footbridge we would get on our bus.  The bridge for cars/busses had washed away, so we using the temporary fix of the footbridge.


Here we are sightseeing in Tena.

 This is the house where Nate Saint lived.  If you have seen the movie, The End of the Spear, or have heard the Jim Elliot story, this is place where they would fly from into the jungle.

 Hike to a beautiful waterfall.


 On the swinging basket, going over a huge gorge to a waterfall.  Nathan is a huge daredevil. 

  You will want to take a few seconds and watch this video.  It is awesome!


 View of the valley at the mountain camp, Camp Chacauco.  We were able to spend a weekend here relaxing.  This is Logan's favorite place of all the places he has ever been.  At the end of the valley is a volcano.  In our previous trips in 2003 and 2004 it was active.  Now it is covered with snow and should be dormant for the next 95 years.  I am thankful we were able to see it when it was active.

 We drove to the top of the mountain in Banos, a tourist town near Camp Chacauco.  We had some outdoor fun.






 Preston received an award from the church we were working with.  They were very thankful to Preston and his students for all of their work in the design and construction of the project.

 Logan was a huge help.  He did a lot of construction work in the morning and played with the children in the afternoon.
 

In the area of the old worship center we built a medical room, a dental room, two pastor offices, the church office, a youth area, a sewing room and ice cream room.


 The jungle was amazingly beautiful.  The plants and bugs were huge!
 Nathan helped Preston with construction.

 The boys are so good at making new friends every where they go.  The kids loved being with them.



 

 We enjoyed going down river to a village in the jungle to learn how they live.



 Logan and a boa constrictor. 
 Monkeys roam freely in this park.  They climbed all over us.  It was a really fun experience.
 Nathan was not really sure how he felt about the monkeys and Karis liked to watch them from afar.
 Owen thought the monkeys were pretty funny.
 Logan, our little monkey, climbed up a tree to be with the monkeys up high.