The Lord Looks at the Heart
Lex receives regular photo and video updates of the work on the roof project at our Port-au-Prince campus, along with many long phone calls each day. There are so many details to be considered. As we uncover the roof we also discover other situations that need to be addressed.
A few months ago, I shared about the plumbing situation throughout the building. Well, it makes sense for at least some of those issues to be addressed now, Consequently, toilets, sinks, and water lines on this third-floor wing are being torn out. The sinks and toilets that will be reinstalled are put into storage where they are less likely to be damaged by falling debris.
I got to participate in a recent phone call with Lex and Mr. Bernard, who is supervising the roof project. I was so excited to hear about the young men in the area he hired as laborers. He "found" these men by being friendly. He stops and talks to people on his way to work each day. Not like I do, "Hi!" with a big smile and a wave of my hand as I run by, but he stops and walks up to the person, looks them in the eyes, asks about their family, listens... he is showing that he cares with his attention and his time. Through these encounters, when he needed to find people he could trust to come into the school to work on this project, he found many references from the people he'd established a rapport with. Sounds like what we read of Jesus in the Gospels.
We hear a lot about gangs in Haiti. Why is it there are so many gangs? And where do they find all these people to join them? Are there really that many "bad apples" in Haiti? Over the years I've struggled with these sorts of questions in my own mind.
In my personal experience, Haitians are overwhelmingly very friendly, eager to help someone in need, have very close-knit families, are fiercely loyal, and every single one of them has an unsurpassed love for their mother. For most, it is actually these qualities that lead them to join a gang. When the ones they love are suffering from hunger and lack - and I do mean SUFFERING - and you are a strong, young man with a drive to care for them, what do you do? You get a job, right? You work so you can take care of your mom, your siblings, your relatives, and maybe even help some of your friends. Listen to this: Many of these young gang members are educated! They've gone to school. But when they look for work they can't find any.
I am not defending joining a gang or even suggesting that gang members are good people. I am, however, offering a different way of looking at "all these gangs." All these gangs are filled with many young men who love their moms and their little sisters and their brothers - and an opportunity presented itself so they took it. Bad choice? Absolutely! Does it make them evil people? Hmmmmm. Only God can judge our hearts and our motives. What can you and I do? We can pray for these young men - just like we would pray for our own sons, brothers, nephews...and we can forgive them, just as Christ has forgiven us.
Lex and I are rejoicing at the opportunity to provide honest work for these young men. We are so grateful to each of you who has given so generously to this project. God multiplies what you give. You're providing a needed roof, but you are also providing a meal for a widow or a young family who may have gone to bed hungry. You are providing an alternative for a young man so that he can choose life. You are enabling the Gospel to be preached in word, as well as through actions. Thank you!!!
Hauling the materials to the third floor takes a considerable amount of manpower and time.
Rebar has been formed into columns and are being added to the top of the wall. The walls are being built up a little higher, too.
This man has his work cut out for him. He's cutting and bending hundreds of pieces of rebar to be used in forming columns and beams.
Before the materials began arriving, the crew put up temporary barriers to keep the students from approaching any of the construction areas. When materials began arriving, the students still had plenty of room to move around safely.
This week we received a box of mats from some of our friends on Amelia Island. They have been crocheting them from shopping bags. They will provide a little cushioning for these little ones when they go to sleep.
Bread, avocado, peanut butter, and avocado equals a great nutritional boost for these babies!
Students serve their classmates in the classrooms.
Students and teachers work hard each day.
The third graders are practicing their French with a conversation in front of the class.
Our friends at Mission USA sent us a busload of supplies that arrived this month, including this new table for the dental clinic.
I'm constantly amazed at the creative solutions our dental staff provides for our patients. Miala is pretty thrilled about it! She shared with us, "I am 18 years old. Anyone who has a conversation with me, especially my classmates, is insulting me in my teeth. Thanks to MOHI's dental clinic they may now seek another way to tease me. Thank you very much!"
All of us working together is bringing significant impact to people's lives. Caring for physical needs is a part of caring for the whole person.
The medical clinic is open Monday through Friday and provides services for students, their families, and their neighbors. We're so grateful for our friends at Bless Back Worldwide who provided hundreds of pounds of medicine for the clinic this week.
Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and monetary support. We are designed to work as a body. When we do so, we are amazed by what the Lord accomplishes through that unity. Please do remember the roof project this week in your prayers, encouragement, and support. Thank you!