November 6, 2022
Pastor Lex completed his mission to West Africa and returned to Massachusetts over the weekend. It was a very impactful time for him and I'll share some of the details with you at the end of this post.
The breaking news in Haiti? Well, is changing moment by moment. We are starting to see some action amidst what has been a 9-week standoff between the Haitian government and the FRG9 gang. FRG9 had blocked the main fuel terminal in Port-au-Prince, causing a fuel shortage beyond anything previously experienced in Haiti. The national police now claim to have regained control of the terminal, although skirmishes between the two forces were still being witnessed yesterday afternoon and last night the word on the street was that FRG9 had penned the police into the terminal and the couldn't get out. Obviously the situation is changing moment by moment. By the time you read this... who knows?
Even if the terminal is actually liberated, the truckers (unionized) who transport the fuel throughout the country are saying they will not transport any fuel until the government drops the price back down again. In addition to this, there's also the fact that streets throughout the capital city (as well as throughout much of the country) are still being blocked. So, we continue to watch - and pray.
The US and Canada have made some decisions that the US Ambassador to Haiti spoke of over the weekend. They have placed sanctions on several very prominent Haitian leaders, including the president of the senate, for feeding into the current problems in Haiti through various illegal activities (such as arms and drug dealing). Their US and Canadian visas have been revoked and their assets frozen.
The US has indicated there will be assistance with security in the days ahead. While I'll refrain from any political narrative on that one, I will say (looking on the "bright" side) such assistance would likely benefit us in getting the container through customs - which has remained closed since the container's arrival. Praying praying praying! I did receive reports of US military planes arriving at the Port-au-Prince over the weekend, carrying fuel for the embassy and unspecified supplies.
The big news today in Grand-Goave and St. Etienne Haiti? MOHI schools are scheduled to reopen in TOMORROW!!! Praise the Lord! This is a united effort between parents, students, staff, and administration. Please continue lifting all of them up in prayer, as this is simply not possible without the Lord's guidance and protection. It is our hope that the school will be able to continue functioning for the rest of the year and as far as it depends on us, that will be the case. With God, all things are possible.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
- Psalm 98:4
We are so glad that Dr. Evens and Dr. Cadèt were back in the clinic this past week. This is another area in which we value your prayers. Transportation is difficult and very expensive. And yet people entrust their very lives to the services offered at the medical and dental clinics. I trust the Lord will continue to provide.
We had a full dental clinic staff this week, as well. They are making such an impact in the lives of their patients!
Lex and I have 2 beautiful grandchildren. We cannot even begin to comprehend the depth of love and desire to care for them that we possess. When I look at the little ones in the Baby Feeding Programs at MOHI, my heart is overjoyed. I have comments I could make on each one I post. Today I am considering the grandparents, the joy these babies bring to them, and the gratitude they feel for these daily meals. Feeding babies is saving lives AND ensuring an impartation of joy at the same time.
In 2008 we added the word "International" (you know, the US and Haiti - two nations) to our name and incorporated as Mission of Hope International, Inc. Today I'm wondering, "Did the Lord want us to grasp that name more fully?" It's certainly starting to look like it.
Our Haitian-Dominican friend, Saintalien was seen by the surgeon's team this past week for evaluation and testing. He has another appointment tomorrow with the surgeon. We are praying they will discover he's good to go and we'll get a date for the surgery. Amen!!!
Would you pray for us as we are preparing to return to the Dominican Republic this week? Thank you!
Shall we move on to Africa now? As I shared last week, Pastor Lex had the privilege of traveling with our mentors and friends Pastor Rex and Sherry Holt, founders of Le Pont International - A Bridge to Africa. Along with a a wonderful team of folks (mostly from California) they traveled to the country of Togo.
My daughter's family and I drove from Massachusetts to New Jersey to pick Pastor Lex up at the airport. This gave us a nice, long ride back to listen to Lex's take on his trip and ask lots and lots of questions. As I could tell from the pictures and the short texts he shared during his stay in Togo, the trip impacted Lex deeply - both professionally (or in a ministerial way) and personally.
The familiarity with the culture, lifestyle, and surroundings was surreal. It was very obvious to him Haitians (himself included) are descended from the same ancestors as the Togalaise people he was getting to know. He immediately felt himself drawn to the children (of course!), but he also felt a special bond with several Togolaise pastors he met.
His visit to the slave prison/house impacted him very deeply. As he crawled through the dirt under the house, where slaves were chained and held for days or even months, he imagined his own father in there. As more slaves were added to the holding area the heat became excessive and the smell unbearable. Limbs would cramp with no relief as bodies were shoved onto each other. Many never even made it to the ship. When it was time to load the ship, the people (human beings forced against their wills into serving other humans aka slaves) were pulled out of the crawl space and into the yard where water was dumped on them (aka bathing). Their journey then continued on the ship and into the fields and homes of the French colonists on the island of Hispaniola.
How extraordinary and extremely fragile life is. Walking where his forefathers walked and hearing accounting after accounting of the atrocities that took place right there under his feet... To know how easily it could have been his ancestors that never made it to the ship. It was an awe-inspiring moment to realize that the Lord protected and conserved his lineage so that he could be born. Knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for his life so much so that he brought him out of such darkness Yes, it was a deeply impactful experience for Pastor Lex.
The connection he felt with the local pastors was quite intriguing and inspirational. God's word and His heart for people transcend the continents. The same Jesus Pastor Lex serves in Haiti is in the US and he found Him there in Togo, as well. And he found a kindred spirit in his new friend, Pastor John Laba.
His heart was stirred as he taught a group of men about business with Christ as the foundation and in the center of every part of one's life. They were hungry for understanding and encouraged that they can be more in and through Christ.
The International House of Prayer (I don't believe they are associated with the ministry in Kansas with the same name) in Lomé was a firey, joy-filled place of praise and prayer. It isn't a particular church or denomination, but rather a place where Believers from all different congregations come together. Pastor Lex appreciated the freedom the people felt to express themselves through not only prayer, but singing, dancing, and waving hankies. It was quite exhilarating. (I've uploaded 3 different videos because I just couldn't decide on one!)
The team Lex was traveling with drove 3+ hours north to a remote village called Adeui Cope. (Le Pont International - A Bridge to Africa will be drilling a well for this community next month, Lord willing.) Lex suddenly felt transported back in time to his little village on the island of la Gonave, Haiti. The plants and trees were the same. And this house so reminded him of the home he'd grown up in.
Hanging out with the kids was easy. I wonder if, in his own mind, Lex was a little 8-year-old boy once more who, like these others, had never yet been to school.
He enjoyed the adventure of accompanying the director of Le Pont International in Togo, Pastor John Laba, across the border into the country of Ghana a couple of times. It's very similar to Togo and thus very similar to Haiti - including the charcoal industry.
He took note of the level of cleanliness in these African countries - even in Togo's capital city of Lomé. He did find that the same Jesus he first met in Haiti was alive and well in his new West African friends (Pastors Ben, John Laba, Lex, Joseph, and Nani).