What happened in May?
Sorry for the silence this past month, everyone! Posting on the blog requires quite a bit of internet power, and we have not had it for several weeks. I (Krischelle) am currently in Port-au-Prince taking advantage of the internet!
So what was happening on the Plateau in May?
Steps toward Food Security: Listening, Building Relationships, Empowering Local Leaders
For years now, our development department has been working very hard to build relationships with leaders in our community and the surrounding communities. They have continued to meet with them, listen to them, and respond according to their expressed needs.
In May, Williamso and his staff worked closely with leaders to organize community led projects aimed at stabilizing water and food supplies while supporting families through temporary work programs. They worked on rainwater catchment reservoirs, canals to carry water to gardens, and more. At the end of May, Williamso shared the following:
"[Lemuel's recent support] has left joy in the hearts and smiles on the faces of people in several communities. They are encouraged, and they feel that we love them and are thinking of them (ie, thinking about how we can best help them)."
These local men have been part of a temporary work program through which they have been able to support their families. (They were having a meeting, so I couldn't really say, "Hey! Smile for the camera!" )
With the indefinite closing of schools, Almaïs and Lenique have temporarily joined (or in Lenique's case re-joined) the DDL admin staff. They are all working together to brainstorm and plan ways to support local farmers and to address the water problem. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, stabilizing the food and water supply have become urgent priorities in light of the current crises our community is facing.
Recent rains and water in the canals have caused many farmers to plant their gardens. The crops were coming up beautifully....and the crop pests are eager to begin chomping away. Responding to the requests of community leaders, DDL recently developed a farmer assistance project. As a part of this project, they purchased sprayers and insecticide and taught the community leaders how to properly use them to help the farmers in their area combat the destructive worms and aphids.
Friends, can I take a break from reporting for a minute to be honest? Things are hard right now. It's hard to know what to do. It's hard to know where to invest one's energy and resources. It's hard to know how to best prepare and take action against the impending famine, water crisis, and economic disaster in the midst of worldwide upheaval and uncertainty. While we feel in our gut--with the grace and wisdom that God has granted us---that we MUST do something to stabilize food production in our area, and while we are working desperately to create local water solutions...at the end of the day, we know that the success of these investments depends on the rain, which is completely out of our control. The problems are much greater than we are. But they are not greater than God. Every day, we move forward in weakness by faith. Every day, we encourage those around us to do the same. We cannot solve these problems. We can only be faithful in what God has called us to do, acknowledging before Him our dependence and acknowledging before all the people we work with that He is the only one worthy of their confidence and trust.
Investing: Making the most of the opportunities
The other day as we sat around talking, we discussed how discouraging it can feel that after years of hard work sharing the Gospel and intense effort to teach Biblical truth, the COVID-19 restrictions have scattered everyone and cut off many people from the regular exhortation and encouragement that they need to grow in their faith. At the same time, we encouraged one another as we thought of the opportunities we have had to invest more deeply in a smaller circle of serious individuals.
We each are able to invest in different people through the oppportunities that come with the changing rhythms. Williamso and Djeffson continue to invest in a group of young guys. This month, I had the chance to work with a small group of young women. Manis and Judy continue to invest in our young leaders and the many people who come to them for counsel.
Sometimes the rhythm changes through sorrow. Our community suffered two significant deaths in May (not from COVID-19), both affecting some of those closest to us. Though difficult and sad, these life-on-life experiences allowed us to come alongside families---encouraging them and demonstrating to others in community the perspective and response of the Gospel to death.