Four Years Later
March will mark 14 years since our arrival in Haiti to start Mission of Hope International. Lex felt God calling him here and our pastor (and many others) confirmed it. We came with some previous experience in Haiti, lots of grandiose ideas and a few good friends’ support. It’s never been easy, but it has been very rewarding.
From 2000 to 2010
January 12, 2010 we saw the majority of the physical work we’d done destroyed. At the time we were so grateful to be alive that the buildings didn’t really mean much. Eventually the tremors stopped enough that we could start cleaning up, which meant demolishing what was left. It was hard to watch buildings come down, knowing how hard we had worked on them and yet we were so grateful that no lives had been lost in them.
After the earthquake, we went in search of help for our communities. We were introduced to the world of NGOs. We began attending meetings to coordinate efforts. Kevin Groder and Stuart Rankin stepped in to help with this new load of work, as we could have easily spent all of our time in meetings and never gotten anything else done! Our time was consumed with consoling/encouraging others, responding to the deluge of emails, acquiring food and supplies for distribution and doing the actual distributions. The US Navy and Marines pulled ashore by the missionary compound and we were able to set up our water tanks on the one building that wasn’t destroyed, so that the troops could bathe.
Community meeting 2010
We’ve grown as individuals, as well as as a mission, over the past four years. One of our big lessons is that it’s okay to respond to a disaster with quick fixes, but that long term solutions must follow them. We can’t, with a clear conscience, keep putting Band-Aids on festering wounds. The wounds need to be cleaned out. People need jobs. They need education. They need to have that self respect that comes from feeding, providing for and protecting their families. They need to feel secure. They need a home to live in.
Road project employed 3,000 people
Over the past four years, MOHI has progressed from a Band-Aid ministry to a solution ministry. No, we don’t have all the answers, but through God’s grace and wisdom, we do have some. And through His goodness, the Lord has brought us some of the most incredible people who are working with us towards those solutions.
This past week, a team from Bless Back Worldwide came to work with us. There were many medical providers who ministered to our students and neighbors through medical and dental clinics. Several of the providers taught in the nursing school in the next city (Petit-Goave).
The youth on the team did fun activities with our high school students, to help them with their English and held story time with our little ones. Others distributed home first-aid kits to the high school students, and the younger student’s parents. They took a good while to instruct them, too: what’s in the kit, when to use it, how to use it, where to keep it… Everyone seemed very grateful to have these kits to take home with them.
Training parents to use first aid kits
Bless Back Worldwide also raised funds to build another home for a family in need of a secure house to call home. They had a beautiful dedication ceremony, complete with lots of hugs.
The team also held a mobile medical clinic in the Galet – the village just up from the missionary compound. There was also face painting, soccer, and the distribution of dresses and dental supplies. Many happy faces were witnessed!
Checking blood pressures, giving out dresses and face painting…each other?
Melissa Roper, who led this team, always plans plenty of activities for her teams. There was never a dull moment. I’m relatively certain that the entire team is feeling a bit… EXHAUSTED today.
A little R & R
We are expecting another big team from Mission USA and the Chapel in Akron on Tuesday. We are eagerly awaiting their arrival for many reasons, not the least of them being the long awaited unpacking of the bus and the launch of the mobile medical clinic!!! There will be plumbing, tiling, disability ministry, mobile clinics and more going on. Sooooo, please keep us all in prayer, that we all may communicate, coordinate and cooperate well.
Mobile medical clinic donated by the Chapel (Akron, OH)
This morning, we had somewhat of a memorial service – remembering what we went through four years ago and appreciating all the Lord brought us through. We remembered how much we depended on Him during that time and determined not to turn back. We remembered the people whose lives were cut short and prayed for their families whose hearts were heavy – especially today.
Children’s ministry in Thozin
worship service in Thozin
Young people are learning to sow
We also prayed for our friends Len and Cherylann Gengel, whose daughter Britney was one of those lost in the quake. We thank God for their determination and desire to carry on with their daughter’s dream to help the children of Haiti. In the past three years, they have built a 19,000 sq. ft. building that currently is home to 38 beautiful children.
Cherylann and Len speak about the friends and partners Pastor Lexidan and Renee Edme during the dedication ceremony in Grand Goave Haiti Saturday January 5, 2013. (RICK CINCLAIR / T&G Staff)