Below is our latest e-newsletter:
26 Oct 2019
I would like to thank each of you who responded to my last email with words of encouragement, prayer, and financial support. Thank you for standing with us in this very difficult time for my country. Thank you for your trust – for believing in our work and in us – and for demonstrating it tangibly. You are not only an encouragement to us, but you motivate us continually to do our work with excellence.
Nothing has essentially changed in the situation in my country since I last wrote. There continues to be a political gridlock that holds the country hostage. As time goes on, however, life gets harder and harder for everyone. There is still no gas available most of the time, and what reserves people had are running out. Banks are hardly functioning. When they are open, only $200US can be withdrawn at a time. Food is running out, particularly in the towns and cities, and what is available is extremely expensive. Schools are shut down across most of the country as threats have been made to any who open. Many hospitals and medical facilities have shut down, and the ones that remain open have hardly any supplies. My people were struggling to survive before all of this. You can imagine the humanitarian crisis that is building daily.
Our community is struggling, but we have the benefit of being remote (hence, distanced from the centers of violence) and close to gardens.
We kept school running as long as we were able. However, this past week, we had to make the decision to close classes until things improve. For one thing, rumors of threats and violent acts against students/teachers/schools had both our students and our teachers stressed and on edge. In fact, the same day we made the decision to close, a rumor broke out in the community that a group was on its way to the school from a nearby area to cause trouble because we were still functioning. This time it was not true, but it caused panic among parents and our staff.
In addition, since there are no banks nearby, we pay our employees with cash, which has become more and more difficult to obtain throughout the country. This past week, a mob actually attacked our bank in Gonaives, forcing them to close. If we ourselves cannot get cash from the bank, we cannot pay our employees or purchase the supplies that we need to function. This not only affects the school, but the entire organization. We are keeping an eye on the situation, hoping for a change. However, if things continue as they are, we may be obliged to shut down and reduce our staff to an absolute minimum. This is not what we would choose. Please pray for us as we confront this very difficult decision. We will have to decide by Wednesday.
As you stand with us in the difficult things, I want you to rejoice with us in the exciting things as well
Josiane and Williamso, both of whom grew up in Lemuel, will continue running their girls and boys programs respectively. Williamso began this month, and Josiane is making preparations to begin next weekend. This is something they have chosen to do voluntarily, and they are determined to move forward regardless of the situation in the country. It will be very challenging as many of the materials they were counting on are now unavailable, but they are up for the challenge. About 40 girls and young women and 40 boys and young men will be involved in these activities. Williamso and Josiane will also be looking for those they can disciple more closely and who may one day take their place.
A few days ago a young man approached me. He is originally from this community but has been living in a low-income area of Port-au-Prince for years. He has come back due to the insecurity in Port-au-Prince. He came to me to thank me for the work Lemuel has done in the community. He said, “I feel like I can come home now. I don’t have to stay in the city where I could be shot any day. I have something to come home to and something to be proud of.” This brings me so much joy! Second to knowing Christ, this is the message I most want my fellow Haitians to understand: We don’t have to look to the cities or to other countries as the solution to our problems. We need to work hard to make our own communities, our own country the kind of place where we want to live – places that we can be proud of.
Even as circumstances beyond our control place greater and greater limitations upon us, we will continue to pour into the people around us as much as we are able. The problems my country is facing today will not be resolved tomorrow. Even if the political crisis reaches some kind of resolution, the repercussions will remain. Though we currently cannot easily access funds, the financial gifts you have given and continue to give during this time will ensure that we can address the increased needs of my people that will remain long after the immediate crisis has been resolved.Tomorrow, we will be spending the entire Sunday morning service in prayer for Haiti, Lemuel, and our community.
Praise God with us:
For the young men and women He is raising up to share His love and message with others
For the testimony of the community development work that has been done
For the ways He is caring for us in the midst of crisis
And out of that praise, please pray with us:
For a resolution to the political situation
For wisdom to lead and make decisions during very difficult times. Pray especially as we confront the decision of if/how to continue functioning in November.
For Williamso, Djefson, Luccene, and Kerby who will be working with the boys
For Josiane, Modelene, Rose-Mitha, and Geniese who will be working with the girls
Thank you, and may God bless you.
This article from the New York Times does a pretty good job of describing the current reality in Haiti: 'There Is No Hope':Crisis Pushes Haiti to the Brink of Collapse.