Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vessels of God's Grace

“It is good when we sit together and talk about things.”  Burns Cesaire, Many Hands for Haiti Construction coordinator, expressed his thoughts today, “I like how we do things the right way.”  Appolon Paul Elysace, MH4H Accountant, shared encouraging words, “We are working together as a team, I am not just accountant.  If one of my team members needs me to help in their area, I will.”

MH4H ‘Agronom’ Claudin Augustin is excited to travel to the city of Limonade, Haiti on Friday to attend a seminar at a large banana farm to learn more as we are getting closer to being ready to expand the MH4H farm project.  A person with a degree and license in agronomy is given the title “Agronom”.  As we pass through the street with Claudin, people acknowledge him by greeting him ‘Agronom Claudin’.

Agronom Claudin giving his thoughts on the viability of a MH4H banana farm.  Banana tree in the background

Ebens Renard, Pignon Program Manager, gives us a tour of his personal garden.   Land that his father gave him as a boy.

The past week, quality time has been spent at the Many Hands for Haiti office located in downtown Pignon, with the intentional effort on Spiritual Discipleship, Leadership Development, and team building as we sit together with the 4 current MH4H staff, Ebens, Appolon, Claudin and Burns.  A routine, in the BEST sense of the word, is being developed to begin the work day by sharing a devotion, having discussion/reflection, and praying together. 

MH4H Office in Pignon

 Tuesday all 4 guys went together to the nearby city of Hinche to get “Assurance and Plaques”, we would say Insurance and license, for four MH4H motorcycles that are used for ministry transportation.  Before their departure at 7:00 AM, we shared a devotion together based on Galations 5:22-25 that emphasized, “if my Christianity is real, I will reflect my Father to the people around me.”  The guys were challenged to act in such a way that they would ‘imitate’ our Heavenly Father in their travels and encounters with people along the way.  (See scripture passage below)

The next day, the devotion was titled, “Unlikely Vessels” and the reading was from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.  (See scripture passage below)  Each of us shared an example of someone we encountered the previous day that was a vessel of God’s grace… how we saw God in someone else.  It allowed us to be thankful for each encounter with that ‘unlikely vessel’.

Monday evening as we were compiling thoughts and working on excel sheet documents the power in the dorm went out.  We paused, hoping it would be just momentary darkness.  But our pause turned into waiting, and then surrendering to the fact that the electricity was done for the night.  We learned the next morning that someone had cut the power line that connected the dorm to public power.  An entire section of the electrical wire was GONE, STOLEN!

Tuesday evening came… DARK.  Through the darkness came the clanking sound of a metal ladder being positioned.  

Shining a solar powered “Waka Waka” brand flashlight in the direction of the noise revealed our Dorm host, Manno and friend and neighbor Jean Rele up in the tree with a spool of wire, one pair of pliers and a tiny beam of light from a cell phone.  

We asked if we could help by providing more light…they were going to reconnect the dorm to the main public power line…IN THE DARK.  

What you have to deal with when you live in Haiti!?!  Not only is it DARK, not only is a dog growling and barking viciously, not only is the power line WAY up high…the line is LIVE. 

Manno (left) and Jean Rele (right) were confident and seemed to know just what they were doing. 

 After a time, using a rubber handled pliers, a plastic chair to stand on, a long branch with a “V” at the end to lift the wire up and over the trees, the job was done.  

Success…the lights were on in the dorm.  Amazing!                                                                                                                                                                                                  

We are amazed everyday at what God is doing in the lives of the staff, the country of Haiti and us.  As we continue to proceed with intention on listening and waiting on God, we look forward to being used by God in amazing ways.  We give Thanks for His amazing Grace that gives us eternal life with faith in Christ alone.   

A tall, cold glass of freshly made 'Passion Fruit Juice'.  Kind of like a smoothy!  Oh, my!!
See fine print under "TONIC WATER"................Pintrest Pigeon Coop Project................A neighborhood gas station

Galations 5:17-25     New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.  Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.  I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Fruit of the Spirit

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against such things.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 1:1-5  New Revised Standard Version  (NRSV)

Salutation:    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,  To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul’s Thanksgiving after Affliction:    Blessed be the God and Father of out Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wait on God

Wait on God!

Have you ever been wavering back and forth, day to day, wanting to identify what God is saying in a certain situation? we are! 

We returned to Haiti on Saturday, November 8th.  We have been greeted with such warmth and enthusiasm by so many.  We have been spending considerable time talking with people in Pignon and the nearby communities helping share the truth of what has occurred over the past weeks. 

Prayer time to end a meeting with people who came to represent the community of Acassia

 That truth basically centers around the fact that the primary MH4H leader in Haiti is no longer employed by Many Hands for Haiti because of unethical behavior while in this leadership role.  Some details are insignificant at this point but the main situation that is being sorted out is that the land that the MH4H compound was built on was purchased under the former Haitian employees name so he has claimed the land, buildings and other assets for his own. We have been working through different options and ideas of how to regain possession of assets. Many Hands for Haiti board president, Tim Van Maanen and wife Lucia have been here as well since November 10th to be part of some decision making opportunities. 

Craig with Tim VanMaanen..."Bad to the Bone!"

There have been numerous caring people, American and Haitian alike, who have given consistent, solid words of advice to be patient and listen for God’s direction, and wait for God’s vision of how to move forward.  One week down…we know there is more waiting and listening to come.

God has provided many things so far including a generous man named Jude who has welcomed us by inviting us to stay in his dorm on the south edge of Pignon.  It offers an amazing view, running water, fairly consistent electricity and a great location.  We are thankful beyond words.

Christi is on the balcony of the dorm where we are staying
Commons area of the dorm with the kitchen in the background and the screen door to the balcony off to the left
View from the balcony looks over the grass airstrip where MFI and MAF planes land a few times a week

Words of wisdom that have been shared with us…  This is wisdom that might be applicable, not only in Haiti
-          Determine who you want to surround yourself with as you move forward, work alongside    trusted proven  leaders
-          Pull back, test the field, don’t be in a hurry to restart, need time to assess and reflect, let the  tension come down.
-          What is it that we are here to do?
-          What are we all about as an organization?
-          What is it that will have a lasting impact?
-          Don’t be too fast to make alliance
-          “Life is like a mirror- remember where you came from.  See where you are now and where    you want to go.”
-          “Sometimes a man today is not a man tomorrow”
-          “This world is not our home”
-          “Things made are made in Heaven. Then they happen down here.”

It's the Chicken Taxi....transporting a whole flock.  Not sure they will all reach the destination ALIVE.
New friends
Looks like it might be Papaya season next!
Who knew that you plant the WHOLE coconut to start a new palm tree to produce coconuts?

We have been inspired by these words from Psalm 37 as we wait on God....

Do not fret because of evil men
 or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
 like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good,
 dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
 trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
 the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
 do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
 when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
 do not fret--it leads only to evil.
For evil men will be cut off,
 but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.