The Long Road
The medical clinic and radio station are the two areas of MOHI that have been operating this week.
Much radio time is dedicated to prayer and to education about COVID-19 virus prevention and more. In between we are playing Christian music and trusting the Lord is visiting people in their homes, drawing them into worship.
Patients are washing their hands as soon as they come through the gate and are then seated with a good distance between them. The medical staff are using masks and gloves and the heavily used surfaces are being sanitized regularly.
"REAL LIFE" IN HAITI
Unfortunately, "real life" in Grand-Goave is not very conducive to social distancing. Food and supplies are purchased in the open market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. People come from miles around and the market area is wall to wall people rubbing against one another all day long.
Public transportation is pretty similar - people are packed into the backs of pick up trucks, buses, and open backed BIG trucks. Putting space between the passengers would mean the driver wouldn't be able to pay for fuel and his business would fold.
Missions, schools, and businesses supply much needed jobs. Most have now shut down. In a country that was already hungry after months of a political lock down, a virus lock down is devastating. I am hoping that the Haitian sun will slow down the spread of COVID-19 in Haiti. What I know, is that God is good. He has a good plan for all the people of Haiti.
GOD AND YOU
God has a good plan for you, as well. He said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. I trust Him and encourage you to do likewise. No amount of worrying and fretting will change what is happening around us. If you have extra time on your hands due to the COVID-19 crisis, use that time wisely. Draw closer to God. Serve others as opportunity presents itself. Communicate care and concern for those God has placed in your life. It's a great time to take advantage of social media to do good!
We are in constant communication with our staff in Haiti and are anticipating needs during the COVID-19 crisis. The two main areas of need that we believe we should be responding to right now are for food and soap. With the already desperate economical state of the country, we are anticipating unprecedented and widespread hunger.
Once again, we are asking for your help on behalf of our students and neighbors in Grand-Goave. $90 will purchase a sack of rice and help to provide a meal for 18 families. Thanks to our friends at Lifeline Christian Mission we have beans to add to the rice distribution.
Our friends at Kids Against Hunger are currently trying to locate food for us, as well. A container of food (285,120 meals) will cost us about $11,000 to get to our storage building in Grand-Goave (about $ .25 per package). This rice and soy casserole was created with added nutrients to combat malnutrition and is highly valued in our area.
Please help us to feed the hungry in the coming months. You can donate here.
Lex and I are blessed to have so many friends who are medical professionals. I know it's a trying time for all of you. I want to encourage you to look beyond what your eyes show you and what your brain screams at you. Ask God to show you HIS perspective today. Who knows? Perhaps it's for such a time as this that HE has prepared you to be where you are with the skill set that you have.
Know, too, that you are so appreciated. Thank you for serving on the front lines! Lex and I, along with the MOHI churches are praying for you! May the Lord use you to touch lives and shine the light of the glorious Gospel!
Last Sunday, there were many churches in Haiti that met, assuming President Jovenel's order to not have gatherings of more than 10 people certainly didn't apply to them. Several found out differently when they were arrested. YIKES! Glad we didn't thumb our noses at that one!!!
As so many of us have experienced here in the States, not attending church each week can be wearisome. We were created for relationship - First with God and then with one another. Realizing this would be a difficult season for our churches in Haiti, we decided to create a Facebook page specifically for our Haitian Kreyol speaking churches: Eglise Evangélique Mission of Hope. Today was our first "official" service. We did run into some technical difficulties, but nevertheless were able to post. Angie Sutton was so kind as to record a few songs for the service and Pastor Lex brought a message to the church. We are really glad to be able to continue edifying the church during this season of separation!
I know that this is a difficult time for all of us. Our defaults have gone offline! Times and seasons seem uncertain. Trust me, it's not time to pull back. It's time to go deep. Today, I challenge you to go deeper with God. Trust HIM like never before. No matter what your physical senses are shouting at you, look to God first and foremost. Every moment of every day we have two choices. Remember this!!!
THE LONG ROAD
Quite a bit changed between last Sunday's blog post and Monday morning. Since we had family visiting who had (or at least at the time they thought they had) schedules to keep with school and work, ensuring their return to the US became a priority for Lex and I.
Originally they had return airfare to Boston for Saturday, but that flight had been cancelled - even before the closing of the airport. Consequently, a new fare on a different airline had been purchased for Sunday. Once the airport was shut down, another fare was purchased on American Airlines for Thursday - the earliest one with seats available. We learned that the Haitian government had given authorization to American Airlines to bring in empty planes in order to repatriate US citizens, but the Wednesday and Thursday flights had not yet been authorized.
Lex and I both had the sense that the authorization might not come (and it didn't), so we decided we'd all go to the airport early Monday and attempt to fly on standby. Late Sunday night I received a notification from the US Embassy that there was a charter company that had been authorized to fly US citizens out on Tuesday and Wednesday. I quickly went to their website to try to purchase tickets for the 5 of us. To my dismay, one ticket from Port-au-Prince to Miami cost almost 25% more than what we'd paid for all 5 of us to get to Boston on Thursday. I went back to bed.
We were up and at 'em at 3AM and on the road at 4:30. We arrived at the airport a 6am and spent most of the morning waiting outside. We were told that there was no standby list, but conversations with AA in the US proved that there was SUPPOSED to be a standby list.
The first AA flight landed and left full of passengers. Very encouraging and yet there we were still standing outside with no indication that we would be going anywhere, except maybe back to Grand-Goave.
VERY long story short - about 12pm we were allowed into the airport and seated to wait to see if they would put us on a standby list. We were also told that even if we were able to go on standby, they didn't expect more than one or two of us to be able to go. A few hours later we were called to the counter and quickly checked in, our luggage tagged "pending," and pointed to the immigration area with tickets to Miami (without seat assignments) in hand. Many hurdles later, all 5 of us were boarding a flight to Miami...uncertain of how we'd be getting to Boston.
In Miami we discovered that we were already ticketed through to Boston. Family members picked us up at the airport and we were home, in bed at just about midnight. It was a crazy, long, exhausting day, but we were praising God for HIS provision.
Next was praying for all our missionary friends in Grand-Goave. They were encouraged that we were able to get out, but they were about to face the same uncertainty that we'd just gone through. Whether through extra funds or acts of favor, all of them were able to get back to the US Tuesday evening and even made it to their final destinations on Wednesday. I think we were all in agreement that these were our most difficult travel days ever. All of us are overflowing with gratitude.
Our missionary friend, Jenny chose to stay in Grand-Goave during this outbreak. I've come to realize that God's plan for each of us is as unique as our personalities are unique. He seats one and sends another. There are many little details to be executed. He has the master blueprint in hand and we are blessed to have a role to play in the amazing building He's designed.
We are praying for you, friends, as we all face uncertainty in this season. You are never alone and you are oh, so loved!