Dear Friends of Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti,
On November 2, 2019, the 3rd Annual Christmas Craft Bazaar and Bake Sale was held at Mount Olive Lutheran in St. Paul, benefiting Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti, Inc. I am very pleased to announce that over $4,500 was raised for “our kids” in Haiti.
I would like to thank the following churches and their craft sale organizers who so graciously donated hundreds of items and bake sale goodies for us to sell.
Thanks to Thrivent Financial for once again granting start-up money for the ingredients for our lunch, bread-making supplies, and last-minute needs.
Another Craft Sale Coming December 7!
Thank you to Trinity Lutheran Church, Osceola, WI, for agreeing to host the 2019 Craft Sale – Part 2. The sale will be held at Trinity, 300 Seminole Avenue, 10:00 – 4:00, December 7. There will be a huge variety of gift items, Christmas decorations, quilts and quilted items, baby and toddler items, unique nativity sets, etc., as well as bake sale goodies. There will also be lunch offered on-site for a free will donation.
Thank you to our dear Lord and Savior for making all of this possible, for supplying crafters, bakers, volunteers, financial donors, and many, many, many shoppers. Thank you to all who prayed for the success of the sale and especially for our over 900 students who attend our schools in Haiti, their teachers, directors and loved ones. Please continue to remember them as they are still struggling with political unrest and demonstrations in Haiti!
May God bless you all!!!!! Linda Petersen, Special Projects Coordinator, Branch Schools
Dear Friends of Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti,
Today the children, teachers, orphanage directors, and national pastor in Haiti desperately need your prayers. Conditions in Haiti, which have always been difficult, are deteriorating. After months of protests intended to unseat the current president of Haiti, violence is intensifying. As a result of the extreme danger and blockades, three of our schools have been unable to operate consistently. The school in Carrefour has been unable to hold classes for three weeks. At least one of the orphanages is suffering food and water scarcity. Another major protest is taking place today, October 11. We’re asking you to join us in prayer for protection of the children and an end to violence.
Maybe you’ve read the news accounts. More likely, you haven’t - world news organizations rarely mention Haiti except on its darkest days. Sadly, today is one of those days. I encourage you to type “Haiti news today” in your search engine for breaking news.
God is richly blessing the Branch Schools ministry and, despite this crisis, we still anticipate another year of tremendous growth. More than 900 children are enrolled, an increase from 650 last year. We also raised funds to open a middle school in Pilate. At school, children are eagerly learning, they are safe, and they receive daily nutrition. Although many aid organizations have fled Haiti due to the violence, God has allowed us to become firmly rooted there with Haitian teachers, directors, administrator, and a Haitian national pastor as well as an excellent reputation for educational standards.
However, Branch Schools are not immune in this current time of suffering. Because banks are affected by the violence, September the funding for salaries, nutrition, and water, set to arrive in Haiti on September 26, has not reached the schools as of October 10. Banks are so far behind with money transfers, Time reports that, "cash transfers to some 37,000 people in need were postponed."
In times like this, it’s easy to feel helpless. Instead, we turn to the words of Isaiah, the same words we are sharing with our Haitian friends in our daily communication via mobile apps: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
God is still working in Haiti and so are we with the help of your prayers and gifts. When blockades lift, we are bracing to effectively meet the additional needs created by the crisis. Please remember the Branch Schools ministry in your prayers, including the orphans, orphanage directors, teachers, neighborhood children and their families, and Pastor Rona (the national pastor). We pray that unrest will end, no further violence and bloodshed will occur, that Branch Schools will reopen, food and water will be available, and the banking system will operate again. Above all, we pray the gospel will spread throughout Haiti. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Lee Petersen, Branch Schools Chairman
This just in from Special Projects Coordinator Linda Petersen! We hope you can help. Please reply to the blog, click on the contact button at the top of the page, or contact Linda directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the addition of a fourth school and more than 900 students this year, let's make this our best Christmas Bazaar and Bake sale ever!
Mike demonstrates the solar-powered
projection system in Haiti.
Mary Lillian Schultz, Missionary
Mary is the wife of Missionary, Dr. Terry L. Schultz. She has a business degree in fashion merchandising from the Minnesota School of Business (a program through the University of Minnesota), with an emphasis on human relations and the arts. She also completed a sales and travel agent certificate program through Travel Leaders Network in the Twin Cities and completed courses in jewelry design and sales through Finlay Inc.
In the church where she grew up, she worked for five summers as a counselor for a summer day camp program and led a girls’ group for four years. After marrying Terry, she taught Sunday school and VBS and created and co-lead a youth program called Terrific Tuesdays, with a focus on outreach, for Mt. Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church in Saint Paul, MN.
In 1995 Mary moved with Terry to Lima, Peru, where she studied Spanish, counseling, art, coaching, and teaching EFL, among other things. Her ministries varied through their 15 years in Peru. She created 15 art projects to go along with Bible stories for VBS each year, taught VBS teacher training for 50 plus Peruvian teachers yearly, and taught art therapy for two years at a residential drug rehab center for men. She also worked with a women's group in the ANCASH region of Peru. Mary was asked to start beginner EFL classes at the seminary in Lima for the incoming students, and led an advanced conversation class on Sunday afternoons for anyone connected to the Mission.
Mary was the Short-Term Volunteer Coordinator for the Peruvian mission. This included organizing all the details of the trip and working with individuals/ teams once they were on the Peru mission field. Throughout their 15 years in Peru, Mary traveled the country, getting to know the different cultures and customs in each province, most times driving herself and a car full of friends. She took many trips on horseback to remote Andean villages two days out from public transportation in the Peruvian Andes. She also accompanied her husband on 12 jungle trips deep to the Amazon.
One of her central ministries in her last years in Lima was a ministry with foreign women in Peruvian prisons. Over 99 percent of the ladies she ministered to in the prisons were caught at the Lima airport with cocaine. Her work involved leading an international group of ladies in Bible studies, counseling, organizing parent visits, writing and responding to emails, shopping, and developing partnerships with foreign embassies. She entered the prison three times a week and mentored the ladies who were on parole.
Another role Mary had in Lima, Peru, was being a part of the General Federation of Women in Lima (GFW). The General Federation of Women's Club was founded in 1890, and its headquarters are in Washington DC. It is an organization whose members are dedicated to community improvement through volunteer service. Their objective is to unite women's clubs and like organizations throughout the world for mutual benefit and the promotion of their shared interest in education, moral values, civics, and fine arts. Mary held various positions from 2001 to 2009, such as year book contributor, program liaison on the advisory committee and the executive board, member-at-large, vice president, and, in 2007 and 2008, president of the Club for a two-year limited term. The Lima membership is around 200, and the majority of the group members are North American.
In 2011, Mary and Terry moved to the Dominican Republic, where Terry was quickly assigned to work in Haiti due to the 2010 earthquake. Once arriving in the DR, Mary took on the role of Terry's administrative assistant, in charge of accounting, travel arrangements, PowerPoints, and other duties. She also started going on medical mission trips to Haiti, assisting our mission nurse and seeing between 200 and 700 children per trip. Those trips continued with two trips a year until 2018, when the risk management group of the mission no longer approved visiting due to the danger levels for foreigners.
Since moving to Chicago in 2016, Mary has worked in various ministries at their church, including designing a children's art project weekly for a kids’ club, leading a team of 14 church members in a refugee ministry for two years, leading a women's fellowship group and a ladies Bible study, and being the Sunday school teacher sub in a team of three. She also is active with her local LWMS (Lutheran Women's Missionary Society) and recently has had speaking engagements for women's groups, doing presentations on foreign missions from a woman's perspective.
Currently, Mary is pursuing a lifelong dream to go to photography school and continues to assist Terry. She is also a board member of Branch Lutheran Schools of Haiti.
Kathleen Menke, CPA, Treasurer
Kathleen has been a member of our board since 2015. It was truly God's hand in how she became a part of the organization. She has loved every minute of it - from helping to start and grow the organization to her first trip to Haiti in December 2017 to even filing our tax returns. She attended the University of St. Thomas, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. She works at Ernst & Young LLP in Minneapolis as a senior manager in the Assurance practice. She is a licensed CPA in the state of Minnesota and a member of the AICPA and the MN Society of CPAs. In her free time, she likes to garden and run and is currently training for the Twin Cities marathon in October.