I was born in the small island community of La Gonave, Haiti, where I grew up with both parents and 7 brothers and sisters in a Christian home.
We were very poor, but our parents worked hard to support us.
My father worked the land, and my mother, too. She also made and sold “Casav,” a bread made of Yucca.
We lived in a very small 2-room mud and thatch hut with a dirt floor, where my parents slept in one room and the 8 of us children slept in the other.
A Lesson In Faith
There were times my father would have a great harvest, and we’d have food to last for 6 months at a time. But then there were times of drought, when we would suffer terribly. I remember one time in particular: We had gone two days without eating, and went to bed so hungry that night. At about 1 o’clock in the morning, my mother woke us all up and gathered us around the table. We didn’t know what she was up to, but we sat there quietly. She came into the room with a big pot, plopped it down in the middle of the table, and with great authority, told us to pray. We laid our hands on that pot and my mother prayed loudly with great feeling: “Jesus! You didn’t give me all these children for them to die hungry! We need food! We need it today! And I know that you are going to give it to us!” Then, she sent us all back to bed.
In the morning, she went off to try and find some way to feed us. And that afternoon, a man showed up at our house. He had walked for hours up and down mountains to get there. He asked for our mother, who wasn't home, and he handed us a container of Sorghum and another of beans, and told us to prepare them for her. We had never taken such pleasure in preparing a meal as we did that day. Each of us ate until our bellies were ready to burst.
I will never forget that night and day, as it brought me to a new level of faith and trust in God. And to this day, I have a determined confidence that God will always provide for our needs.
As a child, my parents didn’t have the resources to send me to school. But when I was 10, a missionary from Michigan came to my town and started a school. My mother signed me up, and I went to school. What a proud moment that was for me! The missionary took my picture and showed it to people at her church back in the US, and another woman from there chose my photo and became my sponsor.
Every month, she faithfully sent money to the mission so I could get an education. Thanks to the grace of God and that woman’s generosity, my life was changed. I received an education that opened many doors of opportunity in my life.
After I finished school, I got a job as a school teacher and then as a director. I was one of the preachers in my local church, and I also preached at special meetings across the country. I never knew the woman who paid for my education, and I often wondered how God could use someone like that to bless me so.
Eventually, I came to America, where I married Renee and we had two wonderful children. I was working at a very good paying job and had a very comfortable place to live, two cars in the driveway…life was good!
After many years, I had the opportunity to return home to visit my family and friends in Haiti. It was great to see everyone again, but my heart was broken when I saw the children and recalled the difficulty of life, especially for the children.
And then I thought about that woman from Michigan, and all she did for me. So when I left, I gave away all the money I had with me and prayed the whole flight home. I asked the Lord to show me what I could do.
Several days after my return to the US, I was at work as a supervisor at a local textile plant, when I heard someone call my name, but I didn't see anyone there. I just figured one of my coworkers had called me then left. A while later, I heard the same voice. “Lex!” Again, I didn’t see anyone.
Eventually, I realized it was the Lord was talking to me. He was telling me He wanted me to return to Haiti to continue the same work as that woman from Michigan from when I was a child.
Beginning The Work Of The Ministry
I came home and immediately told Renee about all this. She had been a missionary to Haiti before, and she loved it, but now we had a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old to take care of.
So I decided to meet with our pastor. And while we thought he would tell us we weren't yet ready for such a ministry, he instead told us to go. He felt it was the Lord's leading, and we should follow.
We began to make plans, and in March of 2000, headed over to Haiti to start Mission of Hope.
It is the most challenging work we’ve ever done, but it is also the most fulfilling and rewarding. We hope to continue our work here in Haiti, changing lives for the better.