About ARM
As you read this history of Allegany Region Missions (ARM), I think you will come to the same conclusion as I: God has plans for His children that we can't see and can't fathom - we just need to be faithful in the journey.  What began as a small group of individuals interested in serving Christ in Haiti grew into a larger group initially interested in joining with others to encourage short-term mission endeavors; however, the Lord had more in mind.  ARM has continued to grow even further as its members have listened to His leading and have been willing to let Him take us for an incredible journey, a journey that keeps unfolding both locally and across the seas.  Thank you Lord Jesus for using each of us for your greatest plan and bringing more of your servants to join in Your endeavor.

ARM and Short-term Missions 
March 25 - April 3, 2000, a group of 10, led by Patty Wilcox, went to Haiti to hold a medical clinic in a yet-to-be completed health center being built by Christian Service International (CSI, Muncie, Indiana).  The team included a surgeon and a nurse practitioner, Bert and Mary Rappole, who would be instrumental in answering God's call to form a ministry.  After returning home, the team members spread the word about the incredible journey and soon another team was traveling to Haiti in 2001.  The team of 15 included a surgical team, mobile medical team and a construction team.  The surgeries were perfromed in the newly-opened Christian Service International health center.  The mobile medical team held its clinics in the church of the rural village of Galette and the construction crew built needed items a the health center.
The Lord continued to bless the groups by growing the next team in January 2002 and 20 members.  Then, amazingly, there were so many people interested in going in 2003, the team had to split, creating two teams that traveled back-to-back in January 2003.  The first team had 20 members, the second team had 19 members!  The groups' focus included combinations of surgical, mobile medical, construction and vacation Bible school teams.  Since then, God continues to add new members to each team, forming the perfect combinations of people to complete His tasks.
Seeing that the Lord wasn't going to let this group of people stop their activities, team members began talking about forming a not-for-profit organization.  The group had been blessed by the East Randolph United Methodist Church (the home church of some of the team members) which allowed ARM to set up a staging area and a budget line for teams, but the group's growth now necessitated stepping out on our own.  Needing a name for the new group, Lillian Cable suggested "Allegany Region Missions" since our group had grown to encompass a diverse group of people from western NY and northern PA, and the acronym A.R.M. would show the desire to reach out to help others in need.  On April 2, 2003, the group voted their agreement and ARM was born.  Meeting in the Rappole's home in the early months of 2003 with two guest lawyers, the groundwork was laid for the process of applying for the NYS non-profit status and then federal 501(c)(3) tax-exemption.  Officers were also named, David Messinger, President; Mary Rappole, Vice President; Judy Messinger, Treasurer; and Michele Harms, Secretary.  The Lord continued to bless this newly-forming organization.  When applications for non-profit organizations often takes years to get through the system, ARM's paperwork was accepted on the first submission.  In December 2003, ARM received its NYS non-profit corporation status and on August 5, 2004, ARM was granted 501(c)(3) status (effective date December 30, 2003).  The August 2004 Board of Directors meeting began with prayer and applause - God's blessings were abounding.  Since that glorious day, the Lord has blessed ARM with many activities in our home area and short-term mission trips to Haiti, Jamaica, Mississippi and beyond.  The journey is only beginning!

Teacher Sponsorship Program 
At this same time, God was working in another area of ARM.  Samuel Huffman went on a trip to Haiti in late January 2003.  This was his first experience to a third-world nation and the needs of the people astounded him as it had many of the team members.  Sam, not one to sit back and let the world solve its own problems, began to brainstorm on ways he could help his new love, the Haitian people.  A methane digester or a water wheel were a couple ideas for ways to create electricity in the rural town of Galette and, Sam's favorite, a child sponsorship program to help the local children.  Sam outlined his ideas to the amazed and excited March 2004 ARM Board of Directors and asked the members of the upcoming April team to investigate the feasibility of these endeavors with the CSI missionaries in Haiti.  Armed with Sam's tentative sponsorship brochure and matching Sam's excitement, team members met with the CSI Haiti missionaries and the Galette school director and discussions blossomed into a creative concept - a teacher sponsorship program.  With concerns over the vast administrative job required to run a child sponsorship program (other similar program already exist in Haiti) and other cultural-related issues, the idea of sponsoring the teachers emerged as a powerful approach.  The tuition the parents pay for their children to go to school pays the teacher's salaries and other school-related needs, and many times, the cost of tuition is too much for a struggling family and their ability to help their children better themselves is lost.  By providing for the teachers' salaries through a sponsorship program, a child could go to school tuition free, and by paying good wages, the school could entice and hire quality teachers, too.  The God-ordained beauty of this plan was that (1) the administrative job was minimal, (2) the invasiveness of the program into the culture and lives of the Haitians would be minimal, (3) it wouldn't compound the "have and have not" class system prevalent in Haiti, and (4) best of all, it would reach the maximum number of children all at the same time, no matter their level of need.  This win-win situation for all involved heightened the excitement level of the ARM team and they couldn't wait to go back home and share this excitement with Sam; his dream was about to become a reality, even sooner and smoother than he had hoped - God was continuing to shower blessing.
Clothing Ministry and More 
With the Teacher Sponsorship Program well underway, Sam focused his energies on another ministry that was growing in front of his eyes - clothing ministry.  With a core group of people in Randolph, NY, clothing would be gathered, inspected, rolled and boxed.  Much of the clothing was being shipped to Haiti, Jamaica, Kentucky, Moldova and more.  A store was donated and a retail outlet for inexpensive used clothing was begun in Randolph - the first "Depot Store" (named by Sam due to his love of trains).  With the need for more volunteers, Sam connected with the area organizations needing to have people work their community service hours and a new aspect of the ministry began to unfold.  Now, not only were people being helped with clothing, but the workers helping prepare the clothing were also being ministered to.  As the clothing ministry continued to grow, Sam met Gary Lynn, a local businessman, and philanthropist, and together, the ministry expanded to include a location in Falconer, NY.  Then, unexpectedly, Sam Huffman was called Home to meet the Lord on February 25, 2006.  The shock to The Depot ministry, the whole ARM organization, friends, family and his Haitian-ministry family was felt deep.  Not to let Sam's dream die, others stepped forward to keep the ministry working for Christ.  In the months following Sam's death, the ministry began to mold into the vision that Sam was beginning to unfold and a partnership with Community Helping Hands was formed.  The Falconer Depot store was moved to Jamestown, NY as part of the Gateway Center.  After establishment, the Depot was turned over to Community Helping Hands to combine with their already growing ministry of providing gently-used appliances and furniture.  Community service workers continue to staff the store and its donation rooms.  Individuals and families continue to receive personal care as they are referred to the Community Helping Hands Depot for needs from area churches and service organizations.
ARM ran a small gently-used clothing and household items store in Randolph, NY.  The Randolph Depot was run by ministry volunteers who took on this project of love to serve their local community's needs.  The store became a vital part of the "downtown" of Randolph, NY, and many returning customers were thankful for its ministry and the loving personal attention.  The Randolph Depot closed its doors in 2021.

The Future 
ARM has worked alongside a privately run Christian school in Galette, Haiti.  The desire to keep supporting this school and see the children of Haiti prepared to change the future of Haiti with their strong foundation in Christian education, makes this currently a vital focus of ARM's ministry.
We know that our Lord is not done molding, growing, forming, building and changing ARM.  As we stop in our busyness and remember where we have been and look to where we are going, it is through His eyes we long to see and with His heart we long to feel and with His hands we long to act.  With Jesus as our focus and cornerstone, we will continue on this journey, watching and marveling at where He will take us and who He will bring with us along the way.  Is He calling you?
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