Though riots and protests have calmed, there is still an uneasiness.
It’s been a full week since returning back from Haiti and all news seems to have moved on to other stories. I was utterly exhausted after returning home, as was Miesha. We both probably slept solid for three full afternoons. The adrenaline of being in a high stress situation for a sustained amount of time suddenly catches up once all seems to return to normal. I remember these same feelings in dealing with other disasters in the past, the biggest one being the earthquake of 2010. This was by far a mild inconvenience compared to the utter destruction that followed that disaster and the PTSD that both Marc and I sustained then lasted us almost 6 months to a year. Thankfully, this time was just about a week. Nonetheless, it took some toll and we had to recoup.
I don’t think Haiti has recovered yet, nor do I think this problem is yet resolved.
and fear of the uncertainty whether things will flair up again. There is talk of protest recommencing again next week and many schools have still been closed throughout this last week. That’s because there has not yet been a solution to answer the insurmountable financial trouble Haiti is in. Quite frankly, it’s been a mountain building for years, decades, I would even say centuries of political and financial turmoil. This most current political issues are not just a result of this current president, Jovenel Moise, whom the people are insisting to step down from office. That won’t actually solve the problem, cause he was not actually the cause. It is years of government corruption, waste of funds that should have been used for the impoverished country’s development. On a national level, the country has very little to show for the investments, loans and aid they have received. And this is becoming a burden breaking the backs of the vast 80% of the population of those that live below the poverty line.
The real change that can be seen in Haiti is largely due to NGO’s like Haiti ARISE, in small pockets that you must look for, where integrity and accountability can be guaranteed. They are glimmers of hope and light shining brightly in the midst of a dark backdrop. We are the ones providing the services to the communities where the government cannot or will not reach. Non-Government Organizations provide 70% of the schools in the country. Many of us also provide a large sector of health care, orphan care, agricultural training and job provisions, along with many other outreaches.
As we were waiting the last week out in Haiti with the team, we had lots of opportunities to pray and think. I was impressed with the reminder of this: When Jesus came, the people did not expect Him to come the way He did. They were looking for change for their nation, for a Messiah that would deliver them politically from an oppressive Roman government. They thought that was how freedom would come. But that’s not the way Jesus did it. He came humbly, to seek and save the lost, to teach, to feed the hungry, heal the sick, set the prisoners free, and build a kingdom organically, grassroots, with normal, everyday folks. That’s what I think is happening in Haiti and where true change will come- in the hearts of those that receive Him. Though I would love to see a major change happen in the government, for them to do what they promise and fight corruption, that’s not where the real freedom will happen. It will happen when hearts are changed by the power of the gospel. Then officials will take conscience, serve with integrity and use resources to build up rather than tear down. That is what our prayer for Haiti really needs to be. And that is why we are there. To change one life at a time by helping change one heart at a time.
So, my heart is a bit torn, to be back in Canada while Marc is still in Haiti along with the people we love. He did not feel it was the right time to take a vacation or a break away, but a time to dig in and stick with the people in the midst of the struggle. He felt it was his duty to help the people rise up in prayer and faith, to go after God more, to dig in deeper in fasting and worship. He’s a great leader. That’s what I love about him. So all this week, our churches have been holding prayer and worship services every day to pray for Haiti, it’s leaders, officials and the president. As well, our leadership team worked on finding food to distribute to our local community, to help those that we can. They were able to purchase oil and beans in Grand-Goave, but due to the unrest and everything being cut off for almost 10 days, rice was in shortage and could not be bought in town. They arranged to purchase 150 bags in Leogane, which is a city closer to the capital. The same food distribution we did last year around June after those riots happened, cost us about $3,500 US. This time it cost us $6,000 US. But we were able to prepare enough to serve just over 500 families in our church and immediate community. The plan is to continue to do some more distributions over the next few weeks to help alleviate the pressure on the people in as much as we can. We can do that through people’s support through donations to our Disaster Relief fund.
It is still a bit of a waiting game right now, as we anticipate what the next few weeks look like. Unfortunately, due to the political unrest, we have had 7 teams cancel between now and April. We cannot rebook teams until the US and Canadian Embassies lower their travel warnings. As long as they are at the highest level, travel insurance companies will not cover our team’s if they happen to get caught in a similar situation of unrest since we’ve been warned. Though things are calm at the moment, there is still a feeling that this is not done yet. For us, it means a loss of revenue and team involvement in our ministries and projects. But this one thing we are sure, God Knows and He has a plan through this all.
So thank you for your prayers. We ask that you continue to stand with us. Pray that Haiti will be changed by the power of the gospel, that revival would capture hearts the yolk of poverty and the enemy’s plans to kill, steal and destroy would be broken. Please keep us also in your prayers as a family, for God’s grace to be sufficient for us.