I know that you do not often hear from me personally. I generally focus on working with my people and allow others on my staff to communicate with you what is going on here. But the current state of my country impels me to take up my pen.
I need your help, Lemuel and this community need your help – perhaps now more than ever. Without your support, I do not see how we can continue to face the ever-growing crisis and need around us. My country is quickly sliding beyond a political crisis to a humanitarian one. As I listened to the radio on Friday, one young man’s story brought tears to my eyes. This 25-year-old sat atop a road barricade. He said he was in the streets because he is starving and something in the country has to change. He earns his living as a motorcycle-taxi driver. He struggles to make even 500 Haitian gourdes a day (due to inflation over the past year, this is now equivalent to about $5US). But a gallon of gas now costs 1000 gourdes. He said he cannot buy food, as the prices are skyrocketing. He cannot survive. He has no gun and doesn’t want to hurt anyone or steal from anyone – he just wants a chance, just wants things to change so that he can make a living. When a policeman threatened to shoot him because he refused to climb down from his barricade, he said, “Please do. I don’t want to take my own life but if you would kill me you would end this misery I am living in.” His utter hopelessness broke my heart. So many of my people are at this point. And apart from God’s grace in my life, I could be too. (Click here to read Manis' story.) We have fought for years to help the people of our community move back from the brink of survival – to give them a chance to improve their lives with dignity and through hard work. But today, despite our best efforts, survival is getting more and more difficult and requiring greater and greater sacrifice. Today thousands of girls across my country – my sisters – are having to sell their bodies just to survive. Young men – my brothers – are being pressured into gangs and have no other viable options for making a living. These are not the lives they want, they are the lives that hopeless despair has forced them into. Amidst all this hopelessness and despair, why do we keep trying? Why do we stay? Why not just give up? Essentially, for two reasons: 1. God loves these people. We cannot share that love with people from a safe distance. We must engage the hardships people are facing. We must walk with them and do all we can to help them make a way through. God never promised us an easy life. He never promised that if we follow Him everything will go our way. He has called us to share His love and message of redemption – and that is what we will continue to do, no matter how hopeless the situation seems.
2. We firmly believe that nothing changes until people change. How can we hope for anything different for our country if we don’t invest in people? Where would I be if no one had invested in me? If missionaries and subsequently my cousin hadn’t paid for me to go to school? Even more so, if God hadn’t placed people in my life to form me in His ways? We need education for this country to change, but education is not enough. Every person who is leading my country into disaster is educated. But they do not have wisdom, they do not know how our Maker and Creator designed us to live. (Read more about this from Krischelle here.)
We are doing all we can to invest in those around us. Although our community has taken a hard hit in the current situation, when I look at our youth compared to the young man on the barricade, I see the fruit of what God has called us to do. And as we invest in young men and women, we have been thrilled to see many of them investing in others (see here, here, here, here, and here). This is a slow but powerful process. The twelve Jesus invested in changed the world. As I watch my country spiral downward, I plead with you to join us in investing in the next generation. Nothing will change until people change. I ask that you would join us in demonstrating Christ’s love for our community by helping us meet the needs around us. Please pray for us. Pray for God’s strength and wisdom. Pray for energy and mental clarity.
Please consider giving financially – even further, please consider giving sacrificially – to use what God has given you to make Him known. We do not doubt that God can provide for us and for our community. But would you allow Him to use you to do it?
In addition to praying and giving, consider taking the time to write to us. Your words of encouragement mean more than you know. Often my staff works so hard to get you up-to-date information and photos, putting hours into expressing their thoughts and experiences with you, and fighting with the internet to send them to you – only to be met with silence. When you respond, even if in just a few words, you encourage us and give us strength to continue. Thank you to each of you who continues to stand with us and support our work. May God bless you. May He bring you joy in your participation.
Things are so uncertain here in Haiti right now. Almost daily the situation changes and we have new realities to adapt to. The most effective way you can help us right now is to give in a general way through Extreme Response or directly.* Keeping donations general instead of for specific projects gives us the freedom to reach out in the most effective ways to each situation as it arises.
*If you do not need a tax receipt and would like more information about donating directly to us, please contact us.