Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Thank You Haiti Supporters!

Dear friends,

It is with a mix of emotions that we are writing this final and overdue newsletter, wrapping up our time in Haiti. We are sad to say goodbye to many friends, fruitful work, and an amazing five years in a complex, beautiful and sometimes difficult country. What an adventure God has had us on! We are also excited about this new season in our lives, and grateful for how God has taken care of us in this transition.

First and foremost, we want to say thank you to you, our friends and supporters. We are so overwhelmingly grateful to you, for your prayers, financial support, and encouragement over the course of the last five years in Haiti, and especially in the period of transition back to the States. You were faithful friends and financial partners even when it was clear that God was calling us away from Haiti, and God has provided for all of our needs, through your generosity and kindness. Thank you.

So, where did we end up? God led us to Alexandria, VA, to Christ the King Anglican Church, where Robbie is serving as the Pastoral Associate and Director of Youth Ministry. We have been so amazed at God’s provision in every detail. We live close by the church, in a great little rented condo, with friendly neighbors, and even a sweet friend for Grace in our courtyard. The area is very walkable--close to Shirlington, the library, many playgrounds, and Four Mile Run trail--and we are loving it! We even found an opening for Grace at a local preschool, which she loves, after we had given up the search, thinking that there was no room. Being close to Irene’s parents has also been a true gift. Hannah and Grace are both healthy and happy, and makes us smile every day. Our cup is truly overflowing with God’s kindness and blessing towards us.

We have all been watching the terrible effects of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, where so many villages, homes, family vegetable gardens, and larger-scale crops were destroyed. Though the news cameras have moved on, the suffering continues as people struggle to find clean water, food, and medical care, especially for cholera, which is spreading. Because of the devastation of the crops, food will be scarce for some time, and it will take years to rebuild.

Many of you have been faithfully supporting us financially, and may be looking for a new organization to partner with. If so, may we suggest World Relief’s work in Haiti? We have been so impressed with this organization, led by our good and trusted friend, Joseph Bataille, who is the Country Director. This organization already had relationships with local leaders of the area that was hardest hit, and has been able to effectively partner with them to provide disaster relief. They are doing everything right, which most organizations get wrong--they are using Haitian products in their efforts, partnering with local churches, and strengthening the communities they work with, instead of creating dependence. Learn more, read their blogs, and donate here: http://www.worldrelief.org/haiti

Once again, thank you so much for all of the ways you have encouraged and supported us through prayer, financial partnership, and friendship. It was because of you that our work in Haiti was possible.

We would love to catch up and hear about how you and your families are doing. Our new contact information is:

Robbie and Irene Pruitt
1258 Martha Custis Drive
Alexandria, VA 22302

Robbie’s Cell: 571-346-9583
Robbie’s e-mail: stay411@msn.com and rpruitt@ctkalexandria.org
Irene’s Cell: 703-539-9242
Irene’s e-mail: irenepruitt@gmail.com

With love and gratitude,

Irene, Robbie, Grace and Hannah

Friday, July 22, 2016

Opening A New Chapter

Hello friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers for us during this time of transition in our lives. We are so excited to report that our prayers for clarity in next steps have been answered! Robbie has been called to serve at Christ the King Anglican in Alexandria, VA. He will be serving as Director of Youth Ministry/Pastoral Associate. In this role, he will serve both the youth and families as well as the church community. Here is a link to the church: http://www.ctkalexandria.org

Hannah is continuing to do well, and is growing like a weed! She is blessing us with sweet smiles that completely melt our hearts. Grace loves her so much, and also has some moments of wanting more attention than we can offer at the time. Having more than one child is tricky!

Please continue to pray for us, as we will continue to pray for you, too. In particular, please pray for this period of transition to a new calling, ministry, and place. Pray that God would guide our search for a place to live near the church, so we can best serve the community. Also, please pray for us, and especially Grace, as we adjust to being a family of four.

We would very much appreciate your continued financial support through the month of September, to offset the costs associated with relocation. We are so grateful for your partnership with us, as we come back to the States and seek to serve the Lord in this context.

As we reflect on our time in Haiti, we are so grateful to each of you, who supported us through your friendship, your prayers, and your giving. There were many joys and challenges during the last five years, and we know that we would not have been able to do it without you, and without the grace of God every step of the way. We are deeply grateful and “we do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers (Ephesians 1:16).

With love and gratitude,

Robbie, Irene, Grace, and Hannah

Please support our work in Haiti through September:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Welcome Baby Hannah!

Dear friends,

We are so excited to announce that Hannah is here! She was born on June 17, 2016, at 7:20 PM. At birth, she weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 21 inches long.

We are grateful for a healthy and natural birth, and most of all, for a healthy baby! Though Hannah had her own ideas about timing (she was born a week after her expected due date), labor was relatively quick, and Irene's recovery has been great. Hannah is nursing and growing like a champ, and we're delighted to see her more alert by the day.

Grace has been adjusting well to the new arrival. She absolutely adores "my baby Hannah," whom she showers with kisses, hugs, and snuggles. It is so sweet to see her growing into her new role of big sister.

Hannah's full name is Hannah Lidia Basia Pruitt. Her first name comes from 1 Samuel 1-2, which presents the story of a woman named Hannah, who was barren and prayed to conceive a child. The Lord answered her prayer, and she gave birth to Samuel, whom she then dedicated to the Lord. She prayed a beautiful song to the Lord, which begins:

My heart rejoices in the Lord;
in the Lord my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

“There is no one holy like the Lord;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Hannah's middle names, Lidia Basia (pronounced Ba-sha), are in honor of Irene's aunt, an amazing woman who has been like a second mother to her throughout her life. Basia is full of whimsy and caring, and has been such a gift to our family--we are so happy that our daughter now bears her name.

Thank you so much for your prayers for us, especially for the pregnancy and birth. God has been so faithful and good to answer those prayers. Thank you, Lord! Please continue to pray for us, especially for wisdom as we make decisions and transition to life in the US.

In Christ,

Robbie, Irene, Grace and Hannah

Please support our work in Haiti through September:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902


Monday, May 9, 2016

May Update from the Pruitts

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” –Proverbs 16:3, NIV

Dear friends,

Five years ago, around this time of year, we started to share with family and friends that God was calling us to Haiti, and that we would be moving there to work at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince. Now, five years later, it has become clear to us that God is leading us back to the United States at the end of this school year.

Why now? The major factor that precipitated this decision is the Zika virus, which was introduced to Haiti in December, and continues to spread quickly. As you know, Irene and Grace left in order to protect our unborn child, while Robbie completed the school year. Because the virus continues to present a risk for any future children that we may have, we do not feel that we can return to Haiti as a family. There are a number of other factors, like increased violence in our neighborhood, political instability, and transitions in the school, that have confirmed the sense that God is leading us into a season of change.

What's next? At this point, we just do not know yet. Our short-term plan is to stay with Irene's parents in Reston, VA for a while, welcome our baby in June, and navigate through the strange experience of reverse culture shock and reentry after living abroad. After that, we are not sure. Robbie is actively discerning God’s next call, and applying for various positions at churches and Christian schools. We are trusting that God will make our next steps clear, as we seek to honor and serve Him as a family.

If you feel so led, we would ask for your continued prayer and financial support through September, as we transition into the next part of our journey together. We are partnered with RCE, through which you can make tax-deductible contributions. We also welcome personal gifts to help offset the transition, but these are not tax deductible. You may contribute through RCE by clicking here.

This past Wednesday, Robbie spoke for the last time at the school's high school and middle school chapel services, about trusting God in the midst of change and transition. He shared more about our situation, and how we are personally called to trust God in our lives, even with so much uncertainty about the future. If you would like, you can listen to the talk by clicking here.

Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Like Abraham, we trust that God is leading, even though we do not see the complete picture, and we will go in obedience to Him.

Please pray for our family during this time of transition.

· For wisdom and clarity as we discern next steps for our family.
· For guidance for Robbie in particular, that the Holy Spirit would lead and call him as He chooses.
· For insight, patience, and peace during the process of reentry into life in the US.
· For God's continued provision for us, financial and otherwise, during this time of transition.
· For health for Irene and our new baby during the rest of pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

In the midst of these circumstances that we did not choose, God has been so faithful, for which we are so grateful. We are also thankful for you, our friends and family. Your prayers, friendship and financial partnership have encouraged and strengthened us, making our ministry in Haiti possible for the last five years. Thank you so much.

In Christ alone,

Robbie, Irene and Grace


Supporting our work in Haiti:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April Update from the Pruitts

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…”  –Philippians 1:3-5, NIV

Dear friends,

We continue to be so grateful for you prayers, encouragement, and support! Thank you so much.

The last couple of months have had some surprises for us and for the school community where Robbie works. The long-time director of the school, a friend of ours, resigned from his position. This is a huge change for him and his family, as well as for the school. The secondary principal has stepped into the role of interim director, to help navigate the school through this transition. A number of other teachers have left the school in the last few months because of Zika or other health concerns, leaving the school somewhat short staffed. Please pray for all involved—the administration, the teachers, and the students—as they deal with this change and discern how God is leading them into the future.

Even in the midst of these challenges, God continues to be good, and has blessed Robbie's ministry in some wonderful ways. A few weeks ago, just before Easter, he delivered the message in the high school and middle school chapels. He preached about Jesus' transformative work in the life of Nicodemus, whom he told that he must be born again. You can listen to the messages by clicking the links here: High School and Middle School. The Holy Spirit really blessed the message, and used it to draw many students into a new or renewed relationship with God. In the high school, four students responded publicly to the Gospel invitation, and gave their lives to the Lord. In middle school, literally every student came forward at the time of the invitation! Robbie was absolutely stunned and overjoyed. Several of them were giving their lives to the Lord for the first time, and the rest were rededicating their lives to God. We are still thanking God for answering our prayers, that He would use Robbie's words to draw students to Himself. Please join us in praying for the students, especially the new believers, that they would continue to grow in faith and in their love for the Lord.

Our family got to have a wonderful reunion and celebrate Easter together in Virginia. We were all so happy to see each other after a few weeks of being apart. Grace kept on saying, "My Daddy is home! I am so glad!" It was truly a time of renewal and connection, also a huge answer to prayer. We are now in the home stretch of our separation, with about seven weeks left at this point. Please pray that the time would go quickly, and that God would give us patience, endurance, and unity as a family.

One of the blessings that have come out of Irene's being in Virginia with her parents during this time is that she has been able to help out during her father's recovery from knee replacement surgery. She is grateful that she was able to visit him in the hospital and rehab center, give him rides to physical therapy and other appointments, and help out with cooking. We know that many of you have been praying for Irene's dad and we are so grateful! His recovery is going very well—he's now able to walk up to two and a half miles and go up and down stairs with ease. Even so, he does still have pain on and off, even with strong pain medication. Please pray for physical comfort from pain, especially as he reduces the pain medication, for good sleep, and for continued healing and recovery.

Irene's pregnancy is going relatively well. She is awaiting results of the Zika test, which have been sent off to the CDC by the health department. She is also struggling with low iron, leading to tiredness, even while she is eating iron-rich foods and using high doses of supplements. Please pray that the new supplements that the midwives prescribed are more effective, and that her iron levels will go back up to a normal range, and for the baby's continued growth and development.

Thanks again for your friendship and support! May God bless you and your family!

In Christ alone,

Robbie and Irene and Grace

Supporting our work in Haiti:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February update from the Pruitts

Hello friends,

Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement to us over the course of the last month. (In case you missed the last update, Irene and Grace have left Haiti in order to protect our unborn baby from the Zika virus. Robbie is staying in Port-au-Prince to continue teaching until the end of the school year in May.)

Irene and Grace have been so grateful for a soft landing with family, first in South Carolina and now in Virginia. We are so blessed to have such caring parents, especially, who were willing to take us in at the drop of a hat. The sudden departure from Haiti was emotionally exhausting, and it has taken a while to process and adjust to being back in the US. We loved seeing Robbie for a week during Spring Break--the long periods of separation are so hard, so we're grateful that they can be broken up a bit by a couple of visits.

Robbie is back in Haiti now, continuing to teach and do ministry. This spring, an accrediting team will come to visit the school, and he is especially occupied with preparations for that visit. Irene is settling back in to Northern Virginia, and enjoying the many wonderful things to do with a toddler in the area. Though the separation is still hard, we're grateful for the ability to Skype everyday and to stay connected.

As we've reflected on what God is doing in our lives, we've been struck by the fact that none of this was in our plans. We have been reminded so many times that, "A man's mind plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). We are learning to trust God more and more, and trying to listen to and accept the ways He is leading us, even the ones we didn't expect at all.

We are so grateful for your continued prayers, encouragement and support, as our family is in the midst of this season of separation. Please specifically pray…

  •      For Robbie's ministry at school, that he would finish the school year well and positively impact his students, the staff, and the school.
  •       For continued health for our family, especially Irene and baby during pregnancy.
  •      For guidance, discernment, and wisdom about how God is leading our family.
  •       For comfort and protection from loneliness and discouragement during this time of separation.
  •       For the many other families whose lives are being affected but the Zika virus in one way or another.

May God bless you and your families!

In Christ,

Robbie, Irene, Grace, and Baby Pruitt

Supporting our work in Haiti:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902

Friday, January 29, 2016

January Update from the Pruitts

Dear Friends,

A lot has happened in the last few days, leading us to decide that Irene and Grace will leave Haiti. A few days ago, news broke about probable link between the Zika virus, which was introduced to Haiti in December, and serious birth defects among babies whose moms have the disease during pregnancy. The next day, a warning for pregnant women was issued for Haiti and other affected countries. A number of our friends and colleagues have had this mosquito-borne virus over the last month and a half, so we know that the risk of transmission is high in our area. With the news of the link to birth defects, we were launched into a weekend of Google searches, seeking wisdom from friends, doctors, and midwives, and lots of tears, prayer, and discernment about next steps for our family. At the end of it, we decided that Irene and Grace will leave Haiti on this coming Friday in order to protect this precious little girl (yes, it's a girl!) with whom we have been entrusted, while Robbie stays to complete the school year.

We both have experienced peace and relief at this decision, even though it comes with a high emotional cost of being separated for several weeks at a time, and saying many hasty goodbyes to good friends in the next few days. Irene also has to abruptly end counseling with a number of clients, and say goodbye to her discipleship group of eighth grade girls.

As usual, the harsh reality of Haiti looms large in the background, where most pregnant women do not have the luxury of leaving, or even of protecting themselves adequately from mosquitos. We are so grateful for God's provision for our family, while at the same time being heartbroken for the possible suffering that will be endured by many in this country.

In the midst of all of this, we ask for your prayers for us and for Haiti:

   For all pregnant women in Haiti, that God would protect them and their unborn babies from harm caused by this illness.
   For Haiti, that the upcoming elections (now rescheduled to Jan. 24), would be peaceful and just.
   For our baby, that God would bless her growth and development, and that He would especially protect her from Zika virus.
   For Irene, for a continued healthy pregnancy, and for strength and peace over the course of the next few days.
   For our marriage, especially as we undergo periods of separation over the course of the next four months.
   For Robbie, that God would bless his teaching, and provide him with everything he needs while being separated from Irene and Grace.
   For Grace, that God would protect her heart from the pain of separation from her dad.
   For Irene's counseling clients and discipleship group, that the Holy Spirit would continue to bring healing, insight, and growth into their lives.

Thank you so much for your friendship and your prayers! We wish you all the best in the New Year!

In Christ alone,

Robbie, Irene, Grace, and “Little One” 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Pruitts!‏

                                                                                                                  December 2015
Dear Friends,                                                                                           

Merry Christmas!

This season and into the New Year, we hope that you and your family experience the deep joy of welcoming Immanuel, God with Us.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” –Isaiah 7:14

This has been quite a year for our family. Some highlights include...

  • Robbie fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Israel for a study tour.
  • We are working our way through our fifth (yes, fifth!) school year in Haiti.
  • Grace turned 2 in the summer and delights us every day with the funny things she says, her songs, her ballerina twirls, and the creative ways she paints her face and body with water colors (oh, brother!).
  • Robbie earned his Master of Arts in Theology from Columbia International University this December!

And (drumroll, please)...

We're expecting another baby! We are so excited, and can't wait to meet the new addition to our family, who is expected to arrive in June, while we are in Virginia for the summer.

Know that we are thinking and praying for you and your family, and ask for your prayers for us as well...

  • For health, especially for a healthy pregnancy and birth
  • For safety, especially during and after Haitian elections
  • For God's wisdom and leading for our family
  • For Robbie's teaching and ministry, that he communicate and teach God's word clearly and faithfully, and that the students would be receptive and transformed.

We hope that you and your family are thriving, filled with joy, and experiencing deep love and peace during this season, and into the coming year.

Merry Christmas!

Robbie, Irene, and Grace
Year-end giving supporting our work in Haiti:
If you would like to make a tax-deductible year-end donation, we are partnered with Resourcing Christian Education International (RCE) in order to raise the funds needed for our ministry at Quisqueya Christian School. All donations made through RCE are tax-deductible. Please visit: https://rceinternational.webconnex.com/26902