A Bridge to Africa
Remember Saintalien? He's the young man we met on his bed in the Dominican Republic who had been badly injured in a motorcycle accident. He couldn't afford an operation to deal with the bone sticking out of his hip area. Thanks to the Lord and a generous donor, he was able to go to the hospital last week to begin the process for surgery. He returns again this week and then the surgery will be scheduled. I can't even imagine what he's been through and I am so full of hope for him!
The container has made it to the port in Haiti. Yayyyy!!!
Would you pray with us and trust the Lord to bring it through customs and to its destination smoothly? Easier said than done, but seriously with God, all things are possible!
While we patiently await the container, the show must go on! Protein is difficult for our friends in Haiti these days. With such high food prices, meat is the first item left off the menu. We've been feeding the babies peanut butter regularly but decided to send them home with some to share with their siblings.
We put the word out for our students to come to get some peanut butter for themselves and their families, too.
Neighbors and church members were not refused either. During difficult times we share what we can.
The clinics were a blessing to many again this week.
Sarah is both a nurse and a patient!
L'Eglise Evangélique Mission of Hope in Thozin LOVES to sing and praise the Lord!
They like to sing in Togo, West Africa, too. And play drums, dance, walk on stilts, and flip, too.
Check out the visiting drummer...
Yes, Pastor Lex arrived safely in Togo and is thoroughly enjoying his time there. One might say he is very much in his element, spending lots of his time with school kids.
Our dear friends and mentors, Rex and Sherry Holt have worked with the people of Togo for over 40 years, having lived there for 8 of those years. A few years ago they started a nonprofit organization called La Pont International - A Bridge to Africa. (Click here to see their website.)
Rex would come to Haiti each January to teach in our Leadership Academy in Grand-Goâve...that is until we could no longer bring teams into Haiti. The people were always eager to hear from him as he spoke to them in French - the language of the educated in Haiti. Honestly, whatever language was heard the true language was that of love. The man just oozes the love of Jesus, as Sherry does, as well. In Togo, the people fondly call them Papa Rex and Mama Sherry. And I watched as both Haitians and Americans would seek him out to listen to his words of wisdom outside of the meetings.
We visited Rex and Sherry in their home in Texas this past May. We happened to be going through a very difficult time and their "African anointing" of "mama and papa" was just what we needed. (Which is likely the "real" reason we were there!) Over dinner one evening, Rex asked Lex to join him on a trip to Togo in October. Any of you who know my husband KNOW that he didn't have to ask him twice! He was thrilled on many levels. Also, Rex had written a book over "COVIDcation" and gave us a copy of it.
When we got back to Massachusetts, I unpacked the book and set it on my bedside table. It sat there for a good while before I finally felt guilty enough to open it up. I don't know why, but I thought it would be kind of boring, but we love them and I wanted to be in their corner, so to speak, so I decided to take the time to start reading it. Well, I was in for a wonderful surprise. I couldn't put it down! This book sooooooooooo inspired me.
The things the Lord did through their humility and sacrifice were nothing short of miraculous. They poured their lives out for the sake of these high school and college students whom they had welcomed into their home. The Lord saw what they'd sacrificed for Him and His Kingdom. HE gave them a miracle - times three, actually! Anyway, I totally encourage you to read their book Le Foyer - An African love story of faith, friendship, family, and FIRE. (Le Foyer is French for "the home".) It's available from Amazon for free if you have Kindle Unlimited or $4.99 for the e-book, and $8.99 for the paperback. Splurge! You won't be disappointed.
Lex has an advantage in that he spoke French in school. His first full day in Togo he visited several schools. Like I said before, he was in his element.
Saturday was a super exciting day for one group of school students. It was camp day! The theme was "Champions" with 1 Corinthians 9:24 being the memory verse. Lex enjoyed interracting with the students and running a soccer station. Here he is with some of his little soccer champions.
Lex did one of those DNA tests a few years ago (thank you Chel!). The results showed that his ancestry is 89% West African with 17% of that being from Togo/Benin. So it's pretty cool that he is visiting that very area. He has already visited a place of particular interest. It's a house where slaves were held while awaiting a ship to bring them to the Caribbean - although they weren't actually held in the house. This is a picture of the table where the slave dealers would meet to discuss business and eat together.
The slaves were piled into the crawl space under the house.
How outrageous is this? This may very well have been where Lex's great-great-great...grandparents left Africa and sailed to the island of Hispaniola, as this is exactly where some of the ships sailed to.
Everywhere Lex goes, the people think he is from Togo - at least until he speaks. :)
Rex always told us how he loved being in Haiti because the people were so much like his friends in Togo. The similarities are amazing and yet the roots are from the same place. A Bridge to Africa, indeed. Notice there's no starting location indicated in that name. Perhaps "A Bridge to Africa" starts in California/Texas ... Perhaps another starts in Hispaniola! And a bridge can be traveled in two directions... From Hispaniola to Africa and from Africa to Hispaniola. Now there's some food for thought.