TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
August 17, 2005
The tears were silently dripping down her cheek, following the Sunday morning church service. At first, I thought she wouldn’t shake my hand because she was being shy. But then, I saw her cheeks stained with tears. It was then that I realized she had just seen her grandfather. He had come up after the service to greet her. Our newest little girl, Lovelie, cannot understand the love that her grandfather has bestowed on her by finding her a lifetime home at the orphanage. She only knows that she loves her grandfather and for some hard-to-understand reason she can no longer go home with him everyday. Of course, you and I know that the aging grandfather realized that he can no longer feed her enough food and soon he will not be alive to care for her. He made the loving, but difficult choice. But how is a little girl, whose heart is breaking, supposed to understand that? There is never a time, when a new child is received into the orphanage, where I fail to wonder what is running through the minds of the family members who are releasing the child. I look for emotion on their faces and tears in their eyes. Many times I see none. It is a survival technique, I am convinced. And then, too, I look into the face of the child. How can they possibly understand? I try to give each new child extra hugs in the days ahead. Those days are filled with apprehension and with the struggle of trying to fit in with the other kids who already have formed a bond. There are days of loneliness and tears. Please remember our new little ones in your prayers!
It was my privilege, later on that same day, to visit the grandmother of Leon. She is an amazing 100 years old in a land where the average woman lives only to be 51. She lives with her daughter and proudly still has some of her own teeth. She is able to walk without a cane. She still is able to attend church. She has outlived 2 sons and 4 daughters. She is blessed with 1 son and 2 daughters and seven grandchildren that are still living. I find such character in the faces of the older Haitian people. Taking photos of children is my favorite type of photo. But my next favorite photo is that of the elderly. Thus, you will see a photo of Grandma Elvie Pierre Louis below!
With great joy, I wish to announce to you the pastor who will lead the flock formerly lead by our dear Pastor Israel. Dr. Paul Touloute (photo below) will be installed, during the month of September, as our new pastor. Dr. Touloute has just completed 6 years of study for his doctorate, at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He leaves two of his sons behind in Indiana and has returned to Les Cayes with his wife and youngest son. Immediately he was reminded of the hardships that will face him and his family. The truck transporting his household goods broke down on its way to Miami. Dr. Touloute was forced to place $3000 worth of expenses on his credit card to get his belongings on the road again. And now, he has accepted a position that currently has no salary. It is only because of his dedication to spreading the Word of God to his people in Haiti that would lead him to make such a decision. He must proceed having the faith that God will supply every need. What an incredible adjustment for him and his family to make following 6 years in the states! Your prayers and support for his ministry here are greatly needed! May God sustain him and his family and may they be richly blessed!
The church in Les Cayes is excited about the knowledge that Dr. Touloute will bring to the ministry here. He has spent years listening to Pastor Israel’s vision for the ministry. Dr. Touloute will be instrumental in seeing that the work here continues to reap the fruits of Pastor Israel’s labors. New and fresh ideas will also be brought to the table. The combination of the old and the new will keep the fire alive for the work of our Lord. God always has a plan. We must just be willing to be a part of His plan and allow Him to use us where He wishes! Pastor Israel was a shining example of the joy that one experiences if he follows God’s direction for his life!
A friend of mine captured the joy of Pastor Israel in a photo taken shortly before he died. The photo (shown below) shows Pastor Israel clapping with glee as he learns that the school that he is visiting will soon have a meal provided each school day for each child. In September 2005, FIVE schools will be feed in the Les Cayes District. This means that, for pennies per child per day, approximately 900 children will receive one wholesome meal each day, children whose only meal may be the one that they receive at school! Pastor Israel never witnessed the first meals being served to the children. But in his heart, Pastor Israel knew that God had given the long-awaited answer to his many prayers! This is another great reminder from my God and from Pastor Israel – my spiritual mentor. It reminds me to be diligent in my prayer life! I must pray BELIEVING God will answer. I know that He will answer in His way and in His time! I know that His timing is ALWAYS best!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic
Until next time …………