OUR AMAZING GOD
What an amazing 10 days in Haiti! It is so awesome to see God’s hand literally moving in tangible and visible ways on our behalf. He truly is accomplishing all of His promises that He gave us when He first planted the vision of Haiti ARISE in our hearts just over 10 years ago. He has been so faithful to complete what He has started in us and in Haiti and we are honored and in awe that He has used us to do it! So first and foremost, before I share all the great stories, we want to give glory to God, whom it is due first! And then we want to thank all of you who have stood by us, believed with us and this vision, supported us in your prayers and contributions and have come alongside to see each step fulfilled.
So let me just remind you of the vision of Haiti ARISE, that we felt God gave us back in 2003 and share with you how God is fulfilling each part of the vision. Our heart desire is to raise up godly leaders and strengthen the Haitian people spiritually while expanding their skill base so that they can bring positive change around them. And here is how we are doing it:
Our central venue for raising up godly leaders and strengthening the Haitians is the local church. We share the gospel, teach people love God and others, how to better care for their families, strengthen their marriages and be better citizens. On our very first trip back in 2003 to start the foundations of Haiti ARISE was for the buildings of the Bible College and Tech School, but God made it clear that the foundation was to be the church. In less than 2 weeks 45 people had accepted Christ and the church was birthed. Today, the church is literally bursting forth. Every Sunday there are not enough chairs and room for everyone coming. Over the summer our church leaders planned two months of prayer and fasting and then finished with a weekend of revival services. The result was more than 60 people giving their lives to Christ, and many people being healed of sickness and serious diseases. One woman had ovarian cancer with a tumor larger than a grapefruit and was scheduled to go in for an operation. She had gone twice for her appointment and each time there was some reason from the hospital the operation could not be done- no anesthesia, and not the right medication. Then she was prayed for in the services. When she went in the third time, she asked the doctor to do second ultrasound check and when they did the doctor said the cancer was completely gone! Out of these months of prayer and fasting, the women’s group were also led to go on a local mission to visit the hospitals and prisons in our area. The women all brought items to take along, like soap, feminine hygiene products, clothing, food etc. They had so much to give away that they were even able to leave extra with the prison guards for the prisoners to use later AND they made enough food to feed all the prisoners and hospital patients that they visited. While I was in Haiti this past week I got to meet with the ladies and hear these amazing reports, as well as with the young girls club and share gifts with them and teaching about feminine hygiene and purity as young women. I am amazed how God is using the Haitians to fulfill this vision by bringing good news to others and positive change!
TECHNICAL & BIBLE COLLEGE
It has always been one of our top priorities to work on developing and offering skills to the young people in our communities of Haiti so that they can in turn provide for themselves, their families and their country. It has been an amazing journey, especially since Marc and I are not “technically” skilled people at all, to see how God has brought alongside us so many people to help in this part of the vision. We were thrilled back in 2009 to see the fruit of the first part of the vision being accomplished and when the 2010 earthquake happened, we felt that God spoke to us about giving to Him as our tithe and sacrificial offering, the building that we had labored over for the previous seven years. It was the first part of the big vision God had given and we knew that if we obeyed him in giving it back to Him, He would fulfill His promises to build all the rest. And He has! We are just 3 years after the earthquake, with a beautifully finished building twice the size of the original and almost already as many students as we had in Dec 2009. On Oct 7, 2013 we re-opened classes in the Technical College with over 280 students in Bible, computers, ESL, construction, tiling, electricity and plumbing! Isn’t that amazing?! The campus is buzzing with young people, motor bikes, cars and backpacks. Marc spent all last week in meetings with each teacher working out salaries and positions. Roy Ralph is back in Haiti with us again to help on the start of the Shops for carpentry, mechanics and welding. And we had a team of guys from Montesano, WA come to help install the new computer lab, which we have heard is possibly the best in the country!
Educating children as well as young people has always been a part of the vision since the start. The 2010 earthquake helped propel us forward into opening the school in response to so many local schools being lost. We did not imagine this element of Haiti ARISE becoming such a catalyst for changing our community, but it has. Children that had never had an opportunity to attend school before now have it. This school year that just ended was a real celebration. We graduated our first group of kindergarten kids who started in our school in preschool. There was a huge party for them, all organized and planned by the great staff and teachers of these classes, recognizing this milestone in the lives of these young children who will become leaders of our future. We also had our first class of six graders moving up into secondary school take their official exams and every single one of them passed with flying colors! This is unheard of in most schools!
Another major piece of raising up leaders and giving them skills comes the essential element of health. When we first put this part of our goals on paper ten years ago, we had no idea how God would accomplish this one. And then in 2005 He began to unfold the process by partnering us with Hungry For Life and Dr. Bob Cutler from Cranbrook, BC. This man’s vision for building and supporting a local clinic in Haiti fit right along with ours to teach the people skills and positively impact their communities. It has been a huge answer to prayer to see the medical clinic now fully operating on a regular weekly basis with full-time Haiti staff. They are doing a fabulous job providing quality care and the number of patients coming from all over has steadily increased since last spring. They now see an average about 50 patients a day, 3 days a week. They also do health teaching seminars monthly and weekly home follow-up visits with many patients, some that live far up the mountain. God is not only helping raise up those that come for care, but also using the local Haitians to make it happen. They are being strengthened and supported by the medical teams that will still be coming alongside to assist. Our next medical team from HFL, with Dr. Bob, comes this November.
A goal that has been dear to Marc’s heart since the start is the Children’s Village, because of his own upbringing and experience, first as a slave, then in an orphanage. Over the last ten years, since we started, there has been so many times that we have come across abandoned, slave or orphaned children and wished so much that the Children’s Village was already open. So to now see it materializing and coming close to opening is so exciting. We will be continuing to work on the first two duplexes this fall and winter to get ready for opening this coming year. We are looking for teams to come help now with tiling, painting and cabinet making. We are also thrilled for the support of so many through our fundraising campaigns this summer. Thank you!
And lastly, the desire to see sustainable food production through an agricultural program and goat farm is developing. We were so blessed to have Laurens and Louisa Vanvliet travel with us to Haiti this month to work on the garden and envision some plans for the training program for agriculture and husbandry. They plan to return in the new year to help start classes and training, working alongside a Haitian teacher. We also are getting ready to get goats into the farm to start raising them for meat and then dairy.
COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION PROJECTS
I also just want to make mention of the other projects that reach outside of our campus walls and into the community to help bring lasting change, because as you’ll see here in a minute, the numbers are significant.
Our Education Fund program has exploded and we have a number of students who have graduated high school and gone on to college through the support of the program. We will keep helping students with schooling as long as we have opportunity. We are also excited about partnering with Childcare International to help find sponsors for our students.
Our EachONE BuildONE program continues to provide sustainable and secure housing for families that were victim to the 2010 earthquake. We have built more than 50 and will continue as we have funds.
The more than 15 wells that we have drilled throughout the surrounding communities continue to provide water and will soon also be outfitted with clean water filters.
And then there is the very practical program of meeting physical needs of people through food and clothing distributions. Our church distributed rice twice this summer. We also give monthly provisions to a group of about 10-15 widows and a few babies.
All of these things are actually happening now! Every single point of our goals and plans are being accomplished. Now, I just want to point out that when God asked us to give our tithe back in 2010, after seven years of our sweat and labor, and He promised to build all the rest, He has... in three years! And don’t you know, that numbers are so significant to Him, there are actually ten points in our list of goals of the vision that God gave us for Haiti ARISE. God established the first, the Church. We worked hard to establish the Technical and Bible College as our first point. It took us twice as long to do that one part as it did for God to accomplish all the rest and both the numbers 7 and 3 are numbers that represent completion. Isn’t God amazing?!
So I was so encouraged by this short 10 day trip and sad to be staying so short this fall. Marc will be in Haiti for another 5 weeks while I am back in Canada with the kids. Then we will all head back down for New Years. I can’t wait!
OUR AMAZING GOD