TO MY PARTNERS in MINISTRY
to the PEOPLE of HAITI
December 18, 2011
GRACE … unmerited favor! At least that is one of the meanings that I found spelled out in the 1961 version of the New College Standard Dictionary that I have in my possession! Oh, but GRACE is so much more than that!
Part of the work that I do in Haiti is under the umbrella of GRACE Ministries, a Haitian non-profit organization working solely on the tiny impoverished island of Ile-a-Vache. Time and time again, we have seen the grace of God at work in this underdeveloped area – a place with no clean drinking water, no electricity, no roads, no hospital and meager incomes from primitive forms of farming and fishing.
Most recently, God’s grace was evidenced with the November 20th opening of GRACE Orphanage. Six boys, ranging in age from 8 to 16 now call the orphanage home! The structure in which they live is crude (two unfinished classrooms on the second floor of GRACE School). Cement rubble litters the floors, that have a zigzag of electrical wire nestled in plastic pipe awaiting the final pouring of the cement floor surface. Rough cement block walls are crying for a smoother stucco surface, which can eventually be painted in colorful shades. A toilet yearns for running water while the boys listen to instructions as to how a toilet is actually used, having only knowledge of the use of an outdoor latrine or nearby bush for nature’s business. Windows and doors are in a half-state of completion. The best luxury of all is the bunk beds, each complete with a thick mattress and blankets to ward off the December chill that is felt by the Haitian people when temperatures fall into the 70s.
You may ask, how does such a hodge podge of a home, show God’s grace?
Following the earthquake of January 2010, Ile-a-Vache saw a flood of children appearing in the homes of next-of-kin. These children had lost parents in the earthquake and were sent to their only known family members, some of whom they had never met. On an island where families struggle to feed their own children, these children came with physical and emotional needs and added financial stress to the families they came to live with. The community cried out, “Please open an orphanage”. Our only response was that everyone needed to pray for God to open doors, as we had no funding for an orphanage.
And then … by the grace of God, in January 2011, the idea of “Bless the Orphans Resale Shop” was born! When one woman listened to God’s calling to make GRACE Orphanage a reality, the idea blossomed into a non-profit business. People donate items for the shop, scores of volunteers run the shop and mission-minded shoppers purchase the variety of items offered at this boutique-style store! All of the proceeds go to GRACE Orphanage! Because of the dedication of all of these people … Bless the Orphans is indeed blessing the orphans of GRACE Orphanage with a place to call home! What a wonderful, gracious God we have!
God’s grace did not stop there! Before we even dared to dream the dream of constructing an orphanage building, we received a call that a group of people wanted to make the orphanage building “their mission”. By the end of November 2011, ground was broke for the foundation of the building that this team will come to work on in January 2012!
But by the grace of God … what marvelous things He can do!!!
As you go about the holiday season and are thinking of all the things that you can be grateful for, please include a word of thanks for GRACE Orphanage! Please keep Mommy Yèyèt (caregiver & spiritual mentor to the boys) in your prayers. Reserve some extra prayer time for Judlin, Gladimy, Jean Louis, Micaël, Maxon and Max – our six precious boys! May God continue to be gracious to them throughout their lifetime!
Perhaps you are struggling with issues of your own. I plead with you to lay it at the feet of God. He has enough graciousness for all who seek Him!
If you are ever in the Jenison, Michigan area (near Grand Rapids MI)
please come shop at “Bless the Orphans”.
They are located at 668 Chicago Drive, Jenison MI 49428 (10-6 Mon-Sat) 616.457.2310
Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic Until next time. God willing …………