Friday, August 23, 2019

How do you...live?

The question started out to be, "How do you make a living?" as a Many Hands for Haiti mission team was being introduced to a Haitian woman while sharing a gift of food. Exactly as it happened, a team member began to ask, "How do you... (pause)..." and the Haitian translator jumped in to finish the question by asking... "How do you LIVE?" Seated in her home with this group of visitors surrounding her, she replied without hesitation, "pa lafwa"... "by faith".



Just think about that a second. In American culture, people identify themselves often by what one does for a living, as in how you make money to support yourself and your family. A sense of security comes from a steady paycheck a savings account, several IRA's, and medical insurance. In contrast, none of those things are in the realm of 'achievement' for an overwhelming majority of families in Haiti as well as many other places around the world. It is just not there. You may be thinking, "oh those poor people living in poverty!







Turn to Matthew 5 and read verses 3-10. Start here with the first couple verses quoted from The Message translation of the bible...

3) "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
4) "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
5) "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are, no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought." (continue reading to verse 10)


Daily we find dire situations at our front door. Recently we met a family: mom, dad, and seven children, who lost their house and everything in it to a fire, No such thing as home owners insurance here. Not long after that, two brothers came to the MH gate to share their concern, Their father is blind and the family has nothing. Especially because it is rainy season, we constantly hear from people who are burdened by living in a stick and mud house with a leaky roof.

                 Blind and not able to stand

        He needs surgery but is anemic

          Nearly one year old and weighs 10 lbs 12 oz

During church this past Sunday, as it was time for prayer, the pastor beckoned the people... "close your eyes and talk to your father." As the pastor led the prayer, we prayed "for all the people who don't have the means to take care of themselves." Let's think about this again... if we go back to Matthew 5, WHO are those that are blessed? These very people whom we might feel pity for! Blessed, when you have nothing, so you FULLY rely on God in every moment.

A personal exchange of text messages between our daughter and I... I start... "I have been challenged by some tough things the past several days." (Received...two pictures of our beautiful granddaughter to "lift your spirits", along with the invitation, "is it anything you want to share about?") My response, "Thank you for asking. I think a term I have heard used...'poverty fatigue' would describe it. I have been doing my normal, caring for people with the various needs that exist, doing several special medical care things...medical help here is always challenging. Seeing malnutrition in babies, visiting people whose needs never end...legitimate needs. And most often feeling like we have to say, 'nope, got nothin', go on home now and have a nice life." Just that kind of stuff. But, there are so many rewards in the midst of the challenges, so it is just that time of weathering through. Finding peace and confidence in God's plan for it all. AND  keeping HOPE for tomorrow."

 This man, found just sitting in the hospital yard,
  is being transported in a 'Haitian gurney'

                  A family doing their best

This young woman found a 2 lb 3 oz baby in the bottom of their latrine

     This is where the baby was found...inside

         Latrine baby at about 2 weeks old

These words from 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 are what we cling to today.

12) "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13) But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."

So with all that...how does a person cope with this 'poverty fatigue'?...
Pa lafwa, By faith.

                                Teamwork

Blessed is the one who changes this roll

      Excited to have water to drink!


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Staying the course

Road work being done on 84 kilometers of mountainous terrain is back in business after being stalled due to the political unrest Haiti has seen in the past weeks. The current work is being done right here in the Many Hands for Haiti area. This is the mountain passage used to get from MH campus to Pignon each day.  Go! Go! Go! Rainy season is approaching!






Spiritual care is going strong. MH recently hired two part time Chaplains who will be working under the direction of MH Chaplains Pastor Jean Ronel and Pastor Lumanes shown above. This particular morning, they are ministering to Maintil in Tinot, a neighboring community. Maintil lives with a grandson in a broken down house with very few personal possessions. (see below) Maintil desires to be baptized. Pastor Lumanes is talking with the pastor of a church in Tinot to be sure this church family is aware of Maintil's situation.




Meet Elirose. She is part of the development programs happening in Sylvain through MH effort.


Elirose shared a story this week of how she has seen God at work in her life through MH. She started as she shared her recent struggles and then went on to express her gratitude for the impact MH has had on her life. Elirose sited July of 2015 as a beginning.  She was attending a type of young adult event at a church in Pignon with a Pastor Mane.  Each young adult in attendance was asked to write the challenges they face on a piece of paper. On the paper Elirose had in her hand, she wrote about the challenge of providing for her young son. She went on, "The very next day, MH came to my house to tell about a program for moms with young children that they would be starting in our community."  Elirose carried on our conversation with such confidence, courage, and a tone of true gratitude.

At this time, the child she wrote about on her paper is in MH School of Light which includes our Power to the Parents initiative. She has a child in MH First Thousand Days program, and was recently counseled and married on MH Campus on December 29th, 2018 with the help of MH chaplains. She, herself, has been carrying these wood posts that are in place as the first step toward their new house on the land that she and her husband have purchased.

Now, being married, she has opportunity to serve in church. With a beautiful voice and a heart for worshiping God, Elirose was the song leader at our church two weeks ago.




MH Safe Homes ministry is as active as ever. A MH home build house was painted, an estimate for repair on the house (Left) is in the works. MH is completed a small repair on another house this past week.








God has called a family to take in and care for Bolivar, a mentally and physically challenged young man that recieved a Mobility cart through MH in February 2018. The house where he is living needs to be more handicap accessible for Bolivar to safely come and go from his new room.  MH Safe Homes coordinator Jean Rene is getting an estimate on a better path through the yard and a safety railing for the steps.





MH continues to identify potential Mobility cart recipients. This little grandma shared the story of her younger years as a hard worker. However, several years ago she was left without the use of her legs. Below, Ewand, a Mobility cart repair technician for MH, shows a demonstration video on a MH I-phone of a Mobility cart in use to see if she thinks she has the capability of powering a cart. Still with a spunky personality and a smile with a can do attitude, she will have the opportunity to try. What a joy it was to be part of this day.



Meet Jean Philipp (Pictured above) and Alex.

Jean Philipp lives in Hinche, about one hour South of MH Campus. Alex lives in Maissade, about one hour Southwest of MH campus. They are the new  Mobility Cart Community Coordinators for MH in their respective communities. They will coordinate the repair schedule for the Mobility Cart owners in these areas. With so many carts in use, Jean Philipp and Alex will be able to help MH repair technicians, Ewand and Erilner, have efficient use of their cart repair time.


Both of these young men are Mobility cart owners themselves and have a heart for serving their peers.

Speaking of STAYING THE COURSE... These two young men, on their own effort had organized a Mobility cart course race.  They had the second annual Hinche race on December 3, 2018. Maissade held their first annual race in July 2018.  We didn't even know!! Maybe next years races should add color like a color blast run.


The right leg of a Mobility cart owner was amputated in January 2019. This woman has diabetes and the open sores she battles just never heal resulting in the amputation. She battles a sore on her left foot. Yesterday she said she has peace that GOD will not allow the need for her left leg to be amputated. Staying the course.


Fre Arnold, Brother Arnold, a Christian with as deep of a foundation as you will find, is test driving a new prototype of a Mobility cart provided by MH partner Mobility Worldwide. The body of the cart is molded plastic versus wood. The organization is hoping to design a cart that stands up to the rugged life such as is found in the county of Haiti. So far, the prototype is getting good reviews.


This is Fre Arnold's "abitasyon", the place where he gardens and spends time with God.  Here MH Agronomist, Claudin, is paying a visit to see what type of gardening technics he is using. Claudin is impressed with his willing attitude, hard work, and success. Maybe Fre Arnold could be a mentor for some young people


                                                   A locally made "awozwa", watering can.


Garden land is being prepared by MH Power to the Parents Alpha gardening group. After their success last year, these ladies are ready for their second year of gardening.


Jean Ribert pictured far left is giving these four budding musicians PIANO LESSONS!  MH is providing the needed electricity AND....a peanut butter sandwich, juice, and a sucker!!




Mme Manix, Master Laundress LOVES her work!
                                           A WORKING lunch at the local restaurant.


STAY THE COURSE and CELEBRATE with MH how God provides even in times of uncertainty.  Pray for signs of SHALOM in the CHAOS.  Chaos as translated into Creole means DEZOD, "out of control"  SHALOM...a state of being where everything is as GOD intends it to be.  Bring Shalom to Chaos wherever you are today, tomorrow and into the future. We can't know what tomorrow holds. This afternoon we will be visiting a neighbor who is dying of cancer. We will sing and read scripture. Shalom.

Jesus LOVES YOU this I know!..... stay the course


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Looking for normal and finding it!

Today there are many things uncertain in Haiti as well as in other places of the world. Communication through news media, social media, internet sources can be helpful but also can shed a negative light which in turn can breed fear as a side affect. In times of unrest, seeking God in prayer and looking for 'normal' can calm those fears. We would like to share some of the 'normal' we have found in the past twenty four hours.

Meet Djak. Djak is as normal as normal gets in the rural parts of Haiti. This 'beast of burden' is a new part of the Many Hands for Haiti (MH) work team. He will perform his duties at the MH goat project land located near the main campus of MH in Sylvain, Haiti. Djak's job is to carry the food from one part of the goatland to another to help with feeding the goats.


Also, meet TenTen (below L) and Ernest (R). They are 2 of the 'goat guard guys' in charge of keeping a total of fifty six goats fed and safe from predators and the elements of sun and rain. Kalo, between TenTen and Ernest, is MH head of security.  Djak is also part of the security team as he keeps outsider dogs away that could pose a threat to the well being of the goats.


The goat guard tower has revealed itself as a beautiful prayer tower as we seek God's wisdom and a sense of HIS peace. With the spectacular view, God's presence is SO real. The wind, two and a half stories up, demonstrates the unmatched power of God in ANY circumstance.



The late afternoon shadow of the guard tower out one side and the unbeatable view of Mt Pignon in another direction makes for a sweet space to lay any concern at the feet of our Almighty God.



Look closely. Djak thinks he has a view from the tower as he is watched by TenTen and Ernest. Below, the guys have brought Mango tree branches as food for the goats.



The goats continue to dine without a care in the world as TenTen, Ernest, and Djak keep watch. Finding normal!


Cashew trees are also normal in this area. In Kreyol, "bwa nwa" with the "pom nwa"... a cashew tree with the cashew fruit. The "pom nwa" below are ripening with the increasing heat of the days to come. See the cashew nut at the bottom of the fruit.  One cashew for each "pom"






Another normal comes as the days are getting warmer, bananas are growing and ground is being prepared for MH "Alpha Garden" project.





MH School of Light preschoolers are learning and studying today.





The Prayer path, designed to be used by MH staff and visitors on MH Campus, has several prayer stations. Today the stations are being outfitted with some beautiful shade through a normal roofing technic of using Djare as thatch.  Experts in their field, Boss Louis and Boss Villa do the work together with ease.












Beautiful smiles are also NORMAL among Haitian people. Babouzout and her daughter Elvie stand in front of their newly constructed house which was a gift from a generous donor of MH. Their previous home...a chicken coop.










Here, a perennial smile from Dieusel Daniel in spite of his normal of always being in need of basic life necessities.

It seems those with a 'connection to the outside world' are the ones worrying about the speculative shortages. The reality here...the short supply of resources available to a family in the countryside....is NORMAL.

As we pass through the area the normal tasks of carrying water from the well, sweeping the dirt road in front of your house with a handmade broom, a farmer walking to and from his garden with machete in hand, men gathered along the roadside in the late afternoon playing dominoes, and friends just sitting and chatting, reflect the peaceful attitude of the countryside.





And the greeting of a hug and a big smile from Anaika near her house as we came to visit. Normal!

Please lift Haiti up in your prayers.
Pray for leaders to come into the light. (Isaiah 60:3)
Pray for leaders to be just and to rule by the fear of the Lord (2 Samuel 23:3)
Pray for the poor and needy to be delivered (Psalm 72:12-13)
Sing a new song, bless HIS name.
Pray for the Lord to show HIS salvation day by day. (Psalm 96:1-3)
Pray for the breaking of every covenant with death and hell. (Isaiah 28:18)
Pray for the Haitian people to be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus (Isaiah 52:12)
Pray for new things, living waters in the wilderness, streams in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19-20)
Pray for Haiti to submit to the rule and reign of Christ. (Daniel 7:14)