We have finally caught up!
16 January 2023
Photo Credit: Billy Geffrard...one of our school staff members!
We are back online!
Praise the Lord, with the help of some tenacious and creative friends, we have been able to set up an internet connection again.
We regret that we were not able to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in a timely way, but we trust that they were meaningful times of reflection on God's faithfulness and joy in His presence.
We continue to overflow with wonder and thankfulness in God's provision for us. After we shared with you the outreaches that were on our hearts for the Christmas season, the response that we received actually surpassed our fundraising goal!
Christmas Food Baskets
On Thursday evening, December 22, our leadership staff came together to assemble 150 food baskets. Because times are particularly hard, each "basket" consisted of a large sack of rice, as well as a pretty market bag containing oil, spaghetti, sugar, milk, and bouillon cubes. To each basket was tied a card with a short message about the love of God that was expressed to us at Christmas time.
Each of our staff members (62 total) received a basket. Of the remaining baskets, 55 were shared with a few community leaders to distribute to widows and other vulnerable people in their nearby communities. The rest (33) are still being distributed among the widows, handicapped, and elderly in our immediate area.
Six of our staff members stand with the food baskets for their families.
The neighborhood competition that has been taking place through the Chapel since the end of October concluded in a special Christmas Eve service. Williamso shared a basic message from God's Word, reminding everyone exactly who Jesus is and why He came to Earth...in other words, WHY we celebrate. After performances of singing and dancing, the winner and runner-up were announced.
There was one more surprise after prizes were distributed: a spontaneous celebration of dancing--with both teams dancing and celebrating together--broke out as a kind of unexpected after-party!
Through the competition, and because of your kind gifts:
19 families/individuals received gift cards to assist them either with purchasing food or construction materials for personal development projects (a house, latrine, etc)
The winning neighborhood will receive future assistance in a development project of their choice: either a water hole or latrines.
Both neighborhoods received a monetary sum to plan their own community party to celebrate with all who had participated with them in cleaning up and beautifying their area.
I am extremely sorry to say that through a series of mishaps, we appear to have lost all the photos taken at the Christmas party. However, further below, you will find some photos taken during the course of the competition.
Temporary Work Programs and Water Holes
Through December and the beginning of January, at least 41 families found temporary employment through community work programs. Most of these were aimed at water holes.
For this project, there are still some funds remaining, and we are looking at the possibility of continuing in the newest water hole with the big tractor (the same one that helped us out before) in the coming month. We also plan to assist a couple other surrounding communities with water holes.
Speaking of water...
As we have frequently shared, the water holes have been the single most effective water solution we have found so far.
However, their one limitation is that they provide dirty water. By that we mean that it is not ideal for drinking and certain other household uses.
We are in the process of investigating a very promising opportunity for one more well drilling attempt. There is a very specific spot that we were not able to hit when we drilled in 2015. That door is now open at the same time that we have been put in contact with a company drilling with a rig in an area nearby.
Please keep this opportunity in your prayers! We will keep you updated.
Two Neighborhoods Pursue Beauty and Unity...
In our last e-mail, we told you about the neighborhood competition that was taking place through the Chapel. I won't add much here in terms of information, but below you can enjoy some pictures from the competition!
*Photo Exclusive!* Here on the blog you will find more photos than we could fit in the e-newsletter...enjoy!
Neighborhood "LIMYE" (LIGHT)
This rock mosaic says "Ann avanse nan linite," which means "Let's move forward in unity!" This was the theme phrase of the competition.
Two ladies clear out thorns and underbrush.
It was neat to see our teachers (who come from other areas) get involved and support the community. Mèt Claudy (fifth grade teacher) is a talented poet and artist. He was the mastermind behind the mosaic. He also helped the team write a song about the importance of beauty, cleanliness, and unity.
Fleurima, Wilny, and Edy (all teachers from other areas of Haiti) help clear out thorns and clean up debris.
Residents of all ages participated.
The Jn-Pierre family takes a break for some crackers and juice.
Neighborhood JERIZALEM (JERUSALEM)
Team leader Modelene oversees a group clearing away trash and underbrush...love the touch of the Santa hat!
It is dusty, dirty work!
The teams received points for the number of trees they planted. Well over 1000 trees were planted!
Team leader Makendy takes a breather from whacking thorns.
Big rubber boots are a definite advantage when working in this stuff!
Every Sunday, both teams came together for the Chapel service. The focus of the studies during the competition was on our unity as believers in Christ. After a time of worshipping together, the teams received points in categories such as attendance, ability to answer questions, etc. As the competition advanced, it was encouraging to see them not only cheering for themselves, but also cheering in encouragement for the other team! In fact, on the night that the results were announced, I (Krischelle) have one clear image in my head of the leader of the team that was runner-up standing, applauding, and smiling broadly at the celebrations of the team that won. Amazing!
Of course, there were difficulties...even conflict...that arose in the course of the competition. Of course, it wasn't a totally smooth path of everyone getting along, happy all the time, with absolutely no grumbling, discontent, or differing opinions.
Yet, overall, those moments provided opportunities to speak truth into people's lives. They provided opportunities for us and our community members and young leaders to learn and grow.
Please pray that God would continue to work in the hearts of these neighborhood residents. Pray that those community members who follow Jesus will continue to grow in their faith. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work in the hearts of those who are not yet believers, yet who heard Truth through the Chapel competition. Pray that they would seek to know God.
Oh, and if you're wondering who won, it was Jerizalem. :)
School is back in full swing!
On January 9th, most schools across the country opened their doors. Lemuel's school is now back to five days a week in uniform!
Of course, there is always more that could be told. But we will sign off here for now. Please continue to keep Manis and our leadership staff in your prayers. The context in Haiti remains extremely volatile and challenging (=exhausting).
Thank you for your faithful prayers for us! We look forward to what God will do in 2023. Whatever may come, how wonderful to have the promise of His presence with us in it all.
PS: Last week, we got a couple good rain showers! Please continue to pray for rain and water, as these are continual needs.