TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
December 18, 2007
During a three month period of time, many things can change and many things can stay the same. I have found both statements to be true as I find myself back at home in Les Cayes after three months in the states.
One of the joyous changes is the addition of four little faces at the Children of Israel Orphanage. The first two little ones to arrive were siblings, Raphael (Age 3½) and his sister Loriana (Age 6). They came from a family of seven siblings. Their parents knew that their children would die, as they are too poor to keep all of them fed. It was out of love for their children that they traveled a long distance to plead with the orphanage to take their two youngest children. The next to arrive was Cassandra, who is now 22 months old. Her mother had abandoned the family, leaving her father to care for her. Since he had no one to watch the baby, he could not go to work, thus he had no income with which to feed Cassandra. She came to us very malnourished! She will be on a special diet for a long time to help her re-gain the nutrition she was so desperately lacking. Four year old Peter was the last to arrive. His mother has died and he was living with a maternal aunt who could no longer care for him. Although Peter has a father, he was not an active part of Peter’s life. We welcome these little ones into the fold! Please pray that they will soon feel loved and a part of our family. The early transition times are very difficult for these children. We rejoice that they will learn about the love of Jesus in their new home! They will learn that He is a loving Father who will never abandon them! (To view photos of our newest children … pull up the Children of Israel Orphanage photo album)
Léon and I arrived home to find that our dog Wilips had died from rabies. We were saddened to learn that, when she became ill, our dog killed two other animals and bit one of the orphanage workers. We are thankful that the expensive rabies shots were available in Haiti for this worker. She must endure a series of five shots! Please also keep her in your prayers.
Tropical Storm Noel also took its toll! In addition to destroyed homes, lives lost, and epidemics of malaria, typhoid, and pink eye, our goat herd on Ile-a-Vache also sustained losses. 2 female goats and 5 of 6 newborn goats died during the storm. Constant rain for almost 30 days, left the pasture land flooded, resulting in no grass for grazing. Parasites infected the herd. We are thankful that 10 of the goats were survivors!
Whatever disaster we face, we are happy to know that through it all God is with us! He knows our sufferings and our needs. He supplies us with people to uphold us in prayer.
Being back in Haiti, gave Léon and I time to reflect back on his first trip to the United States. One thing that left a big impression was the orderliness of our traffic flow. Interestingly enough, the other thing that stood out most was the fact that American families are too busy, too busy for even their own families. Wow! That message came through loud and clear and very quickly. Is it true that the American family has become numb to their lack of time for their spouses and children??? What a sad fact that is!
It was a joy for Léon and me to spend time with my family. Léon was concerned if our two little grandsons would be afraid of his dark skin. But children have a way of seeing right past that! Within minutes, the oldest was handing him a truck to play with and kissing him right on the mouth! So much for that worry! Léon was able to finally meet my father, my four brothers and their spouses and several of my nieces and nephews. He was able to tour workplaces with a couple of my brothers and see the sights of modern technology that is non-existent in Haiti. Léon even was able to visit with two of the girls who were originally from the orphanage and are now settled into life with their new families in the states. It was a long awaited trip. Finally, I had proof that my husband really did exist, after the long process of trying to get him to the states!!!
Léon has also shared with me the many aspects of his 10 week time of study at SIFAT (Servants in Faith & Technology). I was able to get a small glimpse into his experience when I visited the campus in Lineville, Alabama for the last few days of the session and for the graduation of students from over 20 countries. What an awesome ministry this is! The goal is to bring together students from third world countries and in 10 weeks teach them at least 10 different ways that they can go back and help people in their country by applying their newly acquired skills and teaching other people to teach these same skills. So much more can be accomplished in a short amount of time versus sending one missionary to one country to teach one skill. The session taught water purification methods, alternative cooking methods, how to deliver a baby, HIV education techniques, how to make compost with worms, how to make (yes, make!) eyeglasses and test people for the correct prescription, how to construct various water pump systems and a myriad of other vital skills. You can learn more about this program by visiting www.sifat.org. Their campus also offers young students in the United States an opportunity to spend time during the summer “seeing the world in one week.” A global village is constructed on the campus, where you can see “working models” of homes in countries like Uganda, the Philippines and others. I would highly recommend either course of study to anyone interested! Scholarships provided by area churches make the cost of tuition affordable to anyone!
While Léon was busy studying, I was busy globetrotting! It was my privilege to visit people in Oklahoma, Ohio, New York, Michigan and Wyoming to speak about the ministry work in Haiti. Everywhere I went I was welcomed with open arms. Old friends and new friends alike welcomed me into their homes, gave me a place to sleep, food to eat, scheduled speaking engagements and other activities for me and transported me from here to there. There were those who even found time to help me celebrate my birthday while I was apart from my family! I was touched by the interest of so many from the primary school student who couldn’t wait to ask me after class time, “Where do you send donations to help the children?” to the elderly lady on a fixed income sending me a huge grocery bag full of jars of peanut butter and bags of beans and rice for me to bring back to Haiti to help feed the hungry people. Wherever I went, people were touched by the needs in Haiti and I was touched by the generous spirits of those who took the time to listen to what I had to say! God is alive and well in the hearts of so many people! Together, He can use us to make a difference in the lives of the poor and orphaned!
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time ………….