For those of you who may not know her, Ginger Muchmore is Lemuel’s co-founder. She helped Manis to start the ministry of Lemuel in 1996 in Port-au-Prince and was part of the very first trips to the Plateau starting in 1998. She has the background of knowing what things were like in the beginning. Here, she shares her perspective following her most recent trip back to Haiti:
The sounds of Pomp and Circumstance coming from the keyboard sent the usual chill up my spine. For some reason, I get very emotional when I hear that song. But, when Thony appeared walking with his Bible in hand, the tears began to flow. All I could see was that precious little boy outside the Lemuel office begging to go to school. Now here he was, graduating from Seminary and looking to pastor the church on the plateau.
As the beautiful ceremony came to an end, a group of young adults surrounded Thony. I realized that most of these were our “original kids”. Wow, what a difference 21 years makes…
The next day I started the long trip to the Plateau. As we pulled into the Lemuel property, I was once again fighting tears. Was this the same place where a dream had been birthed 19 years ago? The trees were so big and so green. Flowers decorated the landscape with colors of red, purple, white and yellow. The mango tree we planted years ago had little mangoes hanging from the branches. Pomegranate trees burst with promises of succulent fruit in the near future. Shade houses delivered beautiful salads to the table… lettuce, tomatoes, beets, and so much more. What a wonderful gift they have been. (many thanks to Global Compassion)
Manis drove me to see the trees and the tree nursery and I was shocked to find that there was now a chicken coup under construction, a gazebo that will provide not only shade but a wonderful breeze, and some new rooms for short term workers.
As we drove back to the house, Manis said, “Gigi, I am going to show you what thrills my heart the most. We walked to the school, then to the church and then to the development office. The leadership of all three of these institutions are men who grew up in Lemuel. How fun to sit with them, hear their dreams and vision, and watch them work. But most of all it was thrilling to see how they are faithfully walking with the Lord.
When we got back to the house I found that I had to take some time to get apart and thank God for allowing me to see what can happen when you invest years in one place. I sat on Judy’s porch and thought about God’s message to the church of Pergamum in Rev. 2 “I know where you live – where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to My Name.” My mind wandered back to our first trip to the plateau. As Manis and I looked over the dry thorn-infested land a man came up to us and said, “You don’t need to come back here. Satan already has a throne here.” But, years later, the mayor from the main town in our area made a speech in which he said, “As I stand here today, I realize that satan has been removed from the throne and Jesus now sits on the throne.” I thought about the comment of a man who drove through the Plateau on his way to another town for business. He told me, “I drove along a terrible road looking over a landscape of thorns and barren hills and suddenly came to a lush oasis. Then, as I left Lemuel behind, the road once again was marked with thorns and destitution. I thought how I had visually witnessed Jesus in the midst of a satanic stronghold.
For the staff who make the plateau their home, it is not easy. Manis has few men to help him with the development work who can also disciple. Judy has dealt with multiple health issues, exacerbated by the available diet there. Krischelle is stretched to the limit. She and Judy deal with much fatigue. The new family, Brad and Danyel Brunsch and their 5 children, have been overwhelmed with sickness and multiple skin issues as they adjust to a brand new environment.
Yet, God is doing His work there and they all sense a joy in being part of it. He has also poured out special blessings to them, a week of refreshing rain, the shade houses bringing new foods to the table, and a friendship among all of them that is shaped by a common vision and a committed love for Jesus Christ.
As I visited Jacques, a member of the church, a few days before he went to be with his Lord, he said, “Gigi, I am so glad that God brought Manis to this area. While I have lived in this paralyzed body for the last 7 years, I have been blessed to see so many changes and to know what Christian love looks like.” Congestive Heart Failure filled his body and his lungs with fluid so breathing was very hard for him. Brad and a friend, Jeremy helped me make a slant bed for him in a larger room. As we made the bed with new sheets, the guys covered the leaking tin with a tarp. As we laid him gently in his new bed, he smiled at me and said, “Gigi, please say hi to Manis and Judy and tell them thank you for me. God bless you Gigi.”
Those were the last words that I heard from this dear brother. But, they said everything… Persistent, faithful, service, ordained with the blessing of God has great dividends. But, all of us in Lemuel know that none of this would be possible without the prayers, the time, and the gifts of you all whom God has put into our paths. So, I trust that this [post] has blessed you as you see the fruit of your investment in Lemuel.