Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Try to imagine living in a place that once offered no opportunity, no potential, no beauty, no value, nothing to keep you there…
What common link exists between a non-profit ministry, a community “store,” the desperate need for resources (both human and financial), and a sense of hope for young people in Haiti?
The answer on the Plateau is MACOL!
If you're impatient to find out how MACOL does this, scroll down.
If you're not even sure what MACOL is, exactly, let's start with some Q&A...
Q & A:
What is MACOL?
MACOL stands for Magasin Communautaire de Lemuel—that’s French for “Lemuel Commmunity Store.” It is a community store that will be run by Lemuel’s community development branch (Département Développement Lemuel, aka DDL). DDL has created the MACOL project as part of an endeavor to generate income for the community and for Lemuel outreaches through business ventures.
The purpose of MACOL is to benefit the community in three interconnected ways:
To provide employment that is not dependent on outside donations
To bolster the local economy and empower families
To financially support Lemuel’s non-profit work
The first phase of construction has already been nearly completed on the DDL campus.
The complete MACOL project is a massive endeavor that includes a construction depot, a food depot, and a micro-credit program. This cannot all be launched at once, but must be done in phases. We are beginning with the construction depot.
If you have not seen it yet, here is a super-helpful flowchart demonstrating Phase 1 of MACOL:
Now, how does MACOL provide a common link between non-profit ministry, a community “store,” the need for resources, and hope for Haitian young people?
Non-profit ministry: Lemuel is a non-profit ministry serving the people of the Plateau. One of the ways we do that is through DDL:
Département Développement Lemuel supports the work of Lemuel by helping people in Jesus’ name to improve their lives with dignity and through hard work.
A Community “store”: MACOL is the “community store” that will support our community in the ways mentioned above in the Q & A.
A desperate need for human and financial resources: How beautiful would it be if while bolstering the local economy and empowering families, MACOL at the same time could generate profit that would be invested in Lemuel’s school and in community development projects?
But that's only part of it. To run MACOL according to our core values and standards will require the development of human resources. (Context note: Remember, on the Plateau we are often beginning at the very beginning. By that I mean, we usually cannot immediately find local qualified people to just step into a job.) This means investing in people. It will take time. It will take patience. It will not be easy. But, we are here to build that foundation.
A sense of hope for young people: Let me share a quote with you from Williamso, the director of DDL:
"A project like MACOL that creates opportunity and a sense of pride in one's community will encourage youth to remain in their home town or to return to it if they have already left. Many youth flee to the cities looking for opportunity and a better life. Although in many cases, they gain a broader perspective and a better education they often end up staying in the city doing nothing. They did not find the opportunity they hoped for. But, if you can create a reason for them to return, they will bring their talents and initiative to invest in the development of their own community."
This means that young people find something to work toward, something to aspire to---a reason to learn and grow and reach for something---right in their own community. (This goes hand in hand with what we were saying in our last blog post.) It means they take initiative and responsibility, because they have hope that it will make a difference...
We have overheard comments like a parent saying to her child, “If you work really hard in school, you might be able to get a job in Lemuel one day!”
Why is that remarkable? What does it mean? Do we exist to give people jobs?
Of course not.
We exist to restore, develop, and empower our community and its people to the glory of God. Try to imagine living in a place that once offered no opportunity, no potential, no beauty, no value, nothing to keep you there…What would happen if Jesus moved there?
In a real sense, He has. He lives in us. And as we live here, we work with all our might to glorify Jesus by loving our community in their complex, real needs.
MACOL is one thread in that big tapestry.
These are uncertain times. We are very aware of that.
We pray. We dream. We anticipate and plan as strategically as we can. We move forward according to what we know and have at the time.
But, the game board keeps changing. Instability and insecurity in Haiti continue to increase. What’s more, most of the world seems to have destabilized to some degree as well. We were very accustomed to functioning with instability in our immediate context and relative stability in the parts of the world that directly affected us. All that has changed.
We have no idea what’s going to happen. The variables are spinning like slot machine numbers. Any combination of disasters could potentially happen. Sometimes it feels like we're working as hard as we can to build a boat that's racing at breakneck speed towards an unavoidable whirlpool.
That’s scary. That’s risky. It means stepping out in faith in pretty much all our endeavors.
And we feel it. But, we also commit it to God. Only He knows the future. We acknowledge Lemuel is His work, His way, His glory, and we ask for the guidance and grace to keep pressing on through the uncertainty and unknowns as best we can in the right direction.
This means that your prayers are invaluable to us. To each of you who faithfully pray for us, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.