When I got to Doko, I met strong people who are struggling with life so that they can bring bread to their family every day. Occupations include cultivators, farmers, vendors, and fishermen. They can’t provide all the necessaries things to get all of the kids in school on time, but they are making all of their best to make them go to school even at the age of 13 years old. -Hudson
It's been another year. We have another opportunity to look back and see God's providence, His faithful hand, His leading...and to see that once again, we never walked alone.
The first four months of the year were marked by change as the children came under our care. We also began to discuss the idea of expanding Haiti Awake outside of Port au Prince, hosted teams in the new upstairs guesthouse, launched our child sponsorship program, and added stateside coordinators - Hannah Telman, Liz Kyle, and Alicia Mercer.
Glwa pou Bondye.
The middle four months were characterized by teams - five of them to be exact . . . in addition to the four we had already hosted in the first four months of 2017. Fun times. Busy times. Times of growth. Many of this summer's team members became sponsors to our children, and for that we are grateful.
The latter part of 2017 brought great joy, as well as some hard times. The children returned to school for their 3rd year of schooling since Haiti Awake began providing for their tuition, and we rejoiced. Haiti Awake was also able to open the copy center and begin its first chicken project during this same period. We are thankful that God continues to expand our resonsibilities. We also were forced to think about the brevity of life when Wesly and Idelmy were involved in a serious accident. And we finished out the year with a wonderful Christmas celebration provided by friends and sponsors.
We look forward with great anticipation to where God will providentially lead in 2018. We anticipate growth through new business opportunities as well as outreach and expansion of responsibility outside of Port au Prince. But we recognize and affirm the truth found in Proverbs 16:9:
Tout glwa pou Bondye. Toutan.
I often get a different perspective on a familiar passage of Scripture when I attempt to put aside my American interpretation and try to see things the way a Haitian would see them.
For example, "Give us this day our daily bread" means something completely different when a person is actually depending on God each day to provide sustenance . . . in absence of a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
While I was in Haiti this week, I was asked to read Matthew 25:31-46 at The Bridge tomorrow morning. Reading that passage in Haiti as we were back and forth to the hospital, it took on a whole new meaning . . . especially because we now have a new friend, Herby Joseph.
Herby Joseph is from St. Marc, a town about 2 hours north of Tabarre. While in Port-au-Prince over two weeks ago, he had a moto accident and severely injured his leg. And he's been at Medecins San Frontiers since that time. With no one to visit him. Day after day. His family is too far away to come to see him.
Herby's bed was next to Wesly's, so as we visited Wesly day-by-day, Herby became our friend. His face would light up when we'd come into the room, and he was more than eager to play a hand of cards with Steeve or Polo to pass the time. (There were 9 men in the room with nothing to do all day.) He, along with the other men, were very happy when we brought snacks for them each day (snacks that many of you donated this summer).
This is what ministry often looks like - just loving the people God puts in front of us each day. There's not a big plan or agenda. It's just opening our eyes to the people around us who are in need. It's loving our neighbor . . . and that neighbor might be the person in the hospital bed next to our loved one.
On Tuesday when Polo and I went to the hospital for my last visit before Wesly would be discharged and I would return to the United States, Herby asked to take a photo with me. It was so hard to say goodbye knowing that Herby would be without visitors and because we don't know if or when we'll see each other again. He doesn't have a telephone, but he has Steeve and Wesly's phone numbers, and we're hopeful he'll call when he is released from the hospital.
There are many Herby Josephs in Haitian hospitals tonight. Some of them, like Herby, do not have family nearby who can visit. Some of their families do not have the money necessary to hire a moto or take a tap tap to the hospital. Some of them actually don't have anyone that cares. (There was a man like this in Wesly's room).
These people need someone to visit them, to encourage them, to show them Jesus' love. Will you pray with us that God will allow Haiti Awake to have an outreach to the hospitals in Haiti?