Archive Page 2

July 26, 2011 Our plan or His?

Grace VBSLast week at the Eleuthera Bible Training Center we hosted a team of 30 students and leaders from Grace Church in Greenville South Carolina. We here on Eleuthera have been given unofficial status as the Island Campus, by our home church!
As part of the week long short term trip we hosted Bible School for children in 2 different settlements which also included the students from the Center for Exceptional Learners. These 7 special needs students arrived from as far as 50 miles from the site where we hold VBS and we ventured out to pick them up each day. What we didn’t know was that God had a much, much larger plan!
As we took the bus to the farthest settlement in the north of the island, we picked up 2 boys from the Haitian settlement. We also picked up a few children from the Haitian church in that settlement… but, they had a few friends who wanted to come along. By the end of the week we were carrying over 60 children from that settlement roughly 50 miles one way 3 to a seat and standing in the isles to our Bible School location in Hatchet Bay. Adding in the children from Hatchet Bay and Palmetto Point we ended up with over 120 kids by the end of the week!
As we rode along in the bus we had kids using the bus ceiling as a drum to create a beat so that they could sing praise to the Lord while riding to and from VBS. Talk about a joyful noise!!
It has been our desire to connect with the Hatian community in North Eleuthera so that we could begin a Bible Training Class there. We were able to establish credibility there through the VBS, and all of the kids that participated!
We now have several Haitian church leaders interested in a Bible training class, and they are very eager to have an opportunity to be instructed in how to effectively deliver God’s word to their congregations!

June 29, 2011

Stocking the Allendale Food Bank

Poverty is a chronic state of being, a condition that has characteristics that are consistent in every culture. I am struck by the similarities of poverty in Allendale County in South Carolina and on Eleuthera here in the Bahamas.

Lydia, is a very enterprising girl. By selling jewelery to our mission teams and babysitting, she raised enough money to pay for her ticket (and mine) to the US so that she could participate in the trip to Allendale County in the lower part of the state of South Carolina. This is the poorest county in the state and is a place where our church is partnering with a church that has few financial resources to minister in their own community.

I often consider the common charecteristics, of rampant sexual abuse of children, and girls. Women with children from multiple fathers, and men that are not motivated to provide for their multiple children. All of which are common in the culture of poverty.

We from our middle class perspective become enraged that everyone has a cell phone no matter how impoverished, even people who are homeless have cell phones! What? This just doesn’t make sense to us in our middle class mindset…we would never spend money on a cell phone if we didn’t have a home to live in, or a job!

Yet, when we stop to consider the mind set that drives what people in poverty do…it is often immediate gratification. If the guy on the street has $1 he will spend it on some small item like a bag of chips, rather than save it up so that he can buy enough to get a meal.

Oh, but wait a minute…are we so different? What do you do with that extra $25 you saved because you went to the store with coupons in hand? Go to the movies or maybe eat out that night? Immediate gratification.

Conclusion: Poverty is the condition that afflicts each and every one of us, even though it may be reflected differently in the physical realm it is all the same in the spiritual realm. A matter of the heart searching for gratification in something physical, when the only real peace is the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us.

What a way to counteract the spirit of poverty in all situations…the church with a lot of money working with the church with a little money to combat the poverty in both circumstances. All the same church body in the eyes of Christ.

Back on ELeuthera Feb. 24 2010

My day started early this morning. I left Greenville at 3:30 this morning with Robin Bell. He was driving me to Atlanta to catch my flight back down here to Eleuthera.
After I was picked up at the airport this afternoon by Ryan he told me of the events he had scheduled for us to attend this evening. We have had torrential rain since shortly after I landed. First we had a meeting for the reconstruction of the Clinic here in James Cistern. We had 12 people in attendance. After being there just a few minutes, I realized how much I miss this community when I’m not here. I was listening to the conversations around the room thanking different ones thanking God for the rain. A lady standing next to me was sharing that she was thankful for the rain because her water buckets were almost empty. She said she couldn’t afford to by the water from the processing plant & God new she needed rain. Nobody looked down on her for that they just added that they do that to sometimes if they can’t buy water. Something as basic as water & people can’t afford to buy it. We live in a nation of plenty.
Before the meeting got started, another lady picked up a phone & started yelling into it that a lady needed to come to the meeting. After she hung up, I guess she caught me staring at her & she said very calmly, there’s water in the lines from the rain, you have to yell. What do I know?
We opened the meeting with a hymn which brought a smile to my face thinking, where else in the world do we do that?
After we left the meeting in JC we drove to Palmetto Point to attend a prayer meeting at the Haitian Nazarene church. They were hosting a prayer meeting to pray for their country. The church had about 100 people in attendance both Bahamian & Haitian. It was the most moving thing to hear Bahamians up in front of the church praying for Haiti, knowing the prejudices this country seems to have for the Haitian population. The final person was asked to come forward & pray. He was a Bahamian man who opened his prayer by saying a few words in Creole which was so moving to all of the people there. For a Bahamian to learn Creole, is monumental to say the least. At that point, he asked us to all join hands & pray. What happened next, I can only describe as what it must have been like to be at the day of Pentecost. I heard so many different languages praying out loud at once to the same God. It was more than prayer it was worship. I heard over & over the Haitians saying Papa Papa. To hear someone call God Papa seemed so intimate & personal. In a culture that isn’t based on keeping track of time, the prayer meeting lasted until nearly ten o’clock. Nobody was in a hurry to rush off to catch the latest reality show on T.V. They were there to spend time with God & each other. Each person came up to say God Bless you & often something else in Creole to us before they went home.

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year to all freinds and family! The Fastzkies were all home for the holidays. We spent Christmas morning at Megan and Mike’s new home, this was their first Christmas as a married couple. It was a joy to celebrate with them. Our family enjoyed eating, playing the Wii and eating some more. (we will have to work on this in the new year!!)

We will spend the month of January raising support and on January 25th, we hope to be in Florida with Lexi and her mother Yolanda Johnson for a hearing evaluation and possible surgery (Lexi is pictured above with Bess).

We praise our Lord for being so faithful to bring just the right people together to accomplish this long awaited task and answer 5 years of prayer. Friends Keith and Lori Doster and the generous audiology staff at University of South Florida are a bkessing to us and to Lexi Johnson’s family. Of course, our Bahamian brother Martin Gaitor, is putting the details together on Eleuthera. As ususal communication is a bit of a challenge, sometimes the phones and email work and sometimes not. Please pray that all will go smoothly in this area.

Mike will be heading to Eleuthera in February for the first mission team of 2010. We are scheduled to host 15 teams this year. Please keep the mission teams in your prayers and watch for updates on our projects over the next several months.

Travel Plans

Mike travels to Eleuthera Nov. 2-6. He will be making arrangements for misson team construction projects for the teams that are scheduled from January to August of 2010. We are expanding the team ministry next year and will be hosting 10 teams (up from 5 in 2009).

Hi from Mike

The very first mission team from Grace Church in Greenville, SC served with us on Eleuthera May 16-23. Thanks to each one of them!

Welcome Home to Eleuthera

eleuthera1We are Mike and Shannan Fastzkie and we serve the Kingdom of God by working with CMA on the island of Eleuthera.  We love the people of the Bahamas and we are so excited about returning there to serve once again.


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