Speak UP: Exciting things and Christmas Dreams (28 Nov 2022)
28 Nov 2022
You will notice that our update is coming to you via Gmail this time, instead of the usual MailChimp e-newsletter. Our internet signal lately has been too weak to support the MailChimp platform...in fact, it's been too weak to support a lot of things! This has caused delays in sending out our updates. (I've been trying to send this one out since before Thanksigiving.) Until we can find an internet solution, our e-mails may look a little less fancy!
We have some exciting things to tell you about below, but first we would like to share a bit about what's on our hearts for Christmas...
Christmas on the Plateau: Three Ways We Would Love to Bless Our Community
Life in Haiti continues to get harder with no foreseeable end or solution in sight. As we approach Christmas within this reality, we have three special ways on our hearts in which we hope to tangibly share the love of Christ while we share the message of Christ and the Good News of His coming at Christmas with our community:
1. Food Baskets: With the exaggerated cost of food in Haiti right now, we would like to bless our staff, as well as other particularly vulnerable people in our community with a gift of a food basket for Christmas.
(Estimated cost: $50USD per basket; $5000USD will provide food baskets to at least 100 families.) 2. A Special Prize for Two Neighborhoods: There is a new competition underway though the Chapel (see more about that below!). There are two teams working hard to clean up and beautify their neighborhoods. Both first and second place will receive a “prize” in the form of assistance with a community project of their own request. They have already made a list of suggestions such as latrines, lamp posts, and water holes. The final program and announcement of the winner and runner-up will be during a special Christmas Eve program on December 24th. In addition to their prize, we would love to give each neighborhood a small monetary gift with which to hold a special neighborhood “party” to celebrate Christmas, their teamwork, and their progress.
(Estimated cost: $7000USD) 3. Temporary Work/Water Projects: Each year, we tend to do a special Temporary Work project in the holiday season around December or January (January 1 is a major Haitian holiday: Independence Day) as a way of reaching out to those in our community who do not have regular work. This project will offer economic relief to struggling area families through temporary employment in a water project to deepen and improve our newest water hole (which benefits the entire community). The anticipated timing of this project will be late December or January.
(Estimated cost: Up to $10,000 for one month, depending on availability and cost of fuel and machinery and the number of workers.)
To accomplish these three things, we hope to raise $20,000-25,000 through the rest of November and December. Please note that the listed costs are estimations based on what we can anticipate at this time. We may have to adapt the specific execution of each project based on the available funding and the ever-changing realities in Haiti. Whatever realities may change along the way, we will use whatever the Lord provides to bless our community in the best way we can.
Perhaps you are a fan of Giving Tuesday (tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 29th), or perhaps you prefer to give an end-of-the year donation in December. Either way, would you consider giving to the COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS fund?
$45 can provide work and a daily meal for one week to one family breadwinner. $50 can provide a food basket for a family. $500 can make it possible for one neighborhood involved in the competition to have a special, neighborhood celebration. $2000 can build a latrine. A gift of any amount will be a blessing!
There are a couple options for sending your gift:
If you are accustomed to giving through Extreme Response International, you can certainly give your gift that way. Just be sure to type the designation in the “PARTNER” box: “Lemuel Ministries: Community Christmas.”
NEW! You can also donate directly to Lemuel via check or Paypal. With the recent approval of our 501c3, we can now offer tax-receipts to US donors for direct donations! (CANADIAN DONORS PLEASE NOTE: We currently cannot provide tax receipts in Canada. If you need a receipt for your donation, please give through Extreme Response Canada: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/6825?v1=true
To give to Lemuel directly by check: make your check payable to “OLAD” (this is the acronym of Lemuel’s full name in French). You can send it to Lemuel Ministries, c/o 1849 Lititz Pike, Lancaster PA, 17601. Be sure to write “Community Christmas” on the memo line.
To give via Paypal: use our Paypal username: email@example.com. (Paypal may charge a small fee.)
If you would like to donate by credit card, you must go through Extreme Response International: https://extremeresponse.org/us-donations/
Praises from the School!
Although things in the country continue to be very fragile and unstable, our school administrative staff felt extremely concerned about the children whose education is suffering as a result. Many schools are still not open, although some have cautiously started functioning. After doing a careful evaluation of the context in our community, the school administrative staff drafted a plan to open school for classes. They took their plan before Lemuel leadership, their teaching staff, and the parents to make sure that everyone was on board, and classes opened this past Tuesday! The schedule and approach are adapted to the current realities facing both teachers and families—for one thing, there is no available gas for transport. As one example, school will function on slightly shortened hours (7AM – 1PM) and will only hold classes for students three days a week. This will ease the burden for parents, students (especially small ones), and teachers that have to walk significant distances.
We are proud of Almaïs and his staff for their genuine, heart-driven initiative and motivation flowing out of their concern for the welfare of our local kids. Praise the Lord for the way He is using and working in and through our staff. Please continue to keep them in your prayers. Things are far from easy, and there is still a lot of general uncertainty and instability throughout the country.
PS To all our Grade Sponsors: we hope to have another update coming to you soon with a few more details.
New Activity in the Chapel
There is a new activity underway in the Chapel. It is integrated with a (friendly) competition between two local areas/neighborhoods. Several of the inhabitants of these neighborhoods are regular attenders of the Chapel services on Sunday mornings. The theme of the activity is “Unity.” The inhabitants of each area are putting heads and hands together to clean up and beautify their neighborhood. The Bible studies in Chapel are focused on our unity as believers in Christ. The competition in many ways provides practical opportunities to apply that unity. The teams collect points based on their progress in cleaning up and beautifying their neighborhood, as well as their participation in the Chapel services (attendance, bringing visitors, answering questions about the Bible studies, reciting verses we are memorizing, etc.). The winner and runner-up will be announced in a special program on Christmas Eve, and each will receive a prize. Their prize will be assistance for a project of their choice to improve their neighborhood.
We have already seen the competition open up wonderful doors to invest in the spiritual and leadership development of some of the community members and young leaders involved. It has also brought many people to the Sunday morning services who normally do not hear Truth from God’s Word.
Stories of Impact
Story 1: Unity within Competition
One element of the competition involves planting trees. Teams receive points for each tree planted. One of the teams has repeatedly discovered some of their planted trees torn out and some of their work to beautify the landscape damaged…presumably the work of one or more of the kids from the other team. Please understand: in this community in the past, this would be the basis for some serious conflict! But I (Krischelle) sat in the gazebo the other day and overheard the leaders from each team—one of whom has been known in the past to be divisive and even destructive to other activities—calmly and amicably discuss the problem and seek a solution together.
These are the leaders of two competing teams! Yet they are learning that the purpose of the competition is not to destroy each other, but to provide motivation and encouragement to everyone for the benefit of everyone. They are learning to put aside a selfish desire to win and instead seek first to encourage one another and work together as sisters in Christ, even as they compete.
This has not come naturally, by the way! It is the result of intentional discipleship and years of teaching and reinforcing Truth.
Story 2: Hiding God’s Word in Hearts
One of the communities has a lot of people—especially a group of kids—who are not regular attenders of Chapel. In the past, when these kids have happened to be in Chapel, it was obvious that they were shy and unaccustomed. When we recited verses or sang new songs together, they did not know the words and were awkward and uncomfortable. This past Sunday, when we recited together Romans 8:31-39, we noted with surprise that ALL these kids not only knew the verse; they knew the gestures, and they were shouting out the words with confidence and smiles. Even as I write it brings tears to my eyes. The leaders of their team had gathered them together during the week and worked with them so that they could know the verse on Sunday morning.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Praise the Lord with us for these things! And please keep this activity, its participants, and especially its leaders in your prayers! We have an enemy who seeks to divide and destroy. Although we do not need to fear him, we must remain alert. Many of the people participating in the activity are still rather young in their faith. Pray that God’s Spirit would continue to strengthen them and cause them to grow in their relationship with Him. Pray for those who do not yet know Him, but are visiting the Chapel services, that God would work in their hearts to be drawn to the Gospel.
To all of our US friends: We hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for each one of you (wherever you may be) that God has called alongside us through prayer, giving, and encouragement.
May He continue to bless you with reminders of His presence and promises as we approach the celebration of Christmas.