Monday, November 2, 2015

Decompressing and Going!

Wanted to drop in while decompressing since returning from Haiti.  I am already in the mode of preparing for the next trip; this time for a short conference, visiting four of the 10 affiliated Greater Grace Churches and in the second weekend, facilitating Bible College classes.
Three brothers still smiling
(Wedley, Jeffte, Gedeon); their father has Parkinson's
(54 yrs old), mom  -- intestinal bleeding...

Several from Maryland will be joining us in Haiti this month.  Our dates are November 4-10 conference and 13-15 Bible College.  

Want to stop in and say thanks again for your prayers and financial support of the work here and across the Caribbean.  Having lost some of my property maintenance contracts recently (I would use to assist with needs in Haiti), we now have deeper request for assistance in prayer to the Lord.
A good day, the water truck came!...
Municipal water, rare, and most times
not enough pressure to get up the hill...

So much seems to have happened this past visit; many issues needed to be covered financially.  Right from the start, the facility was in need of water, electricity, and propane gas for cooking.  Again, I went to schools and paid down on the tuitions of the five students we assist.  Two are in their final year of classic school (high school).  They all expressed appreciation and thanks for the assistance.  I bought two pairs of school shoes, one for Justin (in the group of supported students) and the other I gave to Bob (funny name for a Haitian).  Although I tried to find them in thrift stores in Puerto Rico, I had to buy them new, since I could not find good used ones.  
Jeffte in his school uniform... 
Last year of classic school (high school) 
20 years old (missed some years, not 
having money for tuition)... Wants to go to college, 
then medical school (wants to be a Pediatrician)... 

After reviewing a series of situations in the last couple months, I counseled with Bob and we agreed that it was best to have him go back to his parents 1 1/2 hours from St. Marc.  We do not have the budget to begin assisting him with his tuition.  It is a running policy that we will not start any new projects or make any new commitments that cannot be continued to its end.  Bob is in his last year of school also.  

With a borrowed piece of luggage and the rest of his things in a rice sack, I went with Bob to his parents to the town of Desarmes and spoke with them about the decision.  Brokenhearted, I would give him some money and part ways in prayer from him and his parents--farmers.  He had been with us at the church building/residence for two years.  A diligent and very capable young man, Bob finished top in his electrical vocational school but was unable to graduate; needing to finish paying for his classes and the cost of graduation/certificate.  He went to high school during the week and on the weekends to vocational school.  He was our resident electrician at the church/house.  He wired several homes in the area but was not enough to get him back into school.  I am now working on transferring his academic records to Desarmes. Still heartbreaking...  Any wonder I come back to Puerto Rico and must just close myself off, reflecting and in prayer!  
New kids on the block... 

Some more:

While in Desarmes, I visited Mrs. Mercy, our Assistant Pastor Police's mom.  She is 54 years old.  Surprised that I had made it up to the family, we sat outside, she and others lying on a blanket, under the trees.  Already a thin lady, she was even thinner now.  She told me of her prior stay in the hospital for three days and had not told her son, Pastor Police.  Before I left Haiti she would be readmitted.  Tests have not revealed what the ailment/situation is.  Hospitalization is very expensive -- no government/universal insurance there...  Mrs. Mercy is a seamstress, her husband, a farmer.
New kids on the block with some backup, their dads... 

Our meeting with young adults and members of the church for the past 5 years to counsel about marriage has its own weight, if not, hidden tears.  This couple had been faithful: he, a very hard and ever-ready worker, she, then still in high school (Students graduate usually around 24 years old, because some years are missed -- lack of money-- there is no free/public education in Haiti).  With sick parents, Willy dropped out of school and began working mostly in construction and whatever odd jobs he could find.

I had no idea who would use the wet suit I bought at a thrift store in Puerto Rico, but the Lord knew Willy would be the one needing it.  Fishing for eels from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the morning has its problems, if not dangers!  Other things would be nipping and biting at him in the dark sea waters.  I could not find a more thankful and delighted young man that day when I handed him the wet suit, pulling it from underneath the other donated items I had brought.  With two other friends, he would sell his catch of $40 Haitian dollars ($4 US) a pound and divide the return among themselves.  They never get more than 8-12 pounds per night; they go out three nights weekly.  I remember him being excited that the rains had come and from the run-off and the rivers there would be more to eat (bait), bringing more eels and other creatures to the waist-high waters of the sea where they would be fishing. He told me, the edible eels are the ones without the fangs! I will go with them sometime but only to stand and see them fish from the shore!
Willy/Wedley, now a fisherman
of eels in his "new" wetsuit.

Lack of finances have kept Willy from getting married and having moved in with him and his family, due to a deteriorated relationship with her aunt, his long-time girlfriend is now pregnant.  As it stands, it is more acceptable to be live-ins than to have a less than beyond-your-means, we-will-be-sleeping-under-the-bridge-after-this-wedding-is-paid-for wedding.  The stigma and burden of not having an extravagant wedding is so great that it is commonplace to call the bride by her maiden name after the wedding because, "she did not really get married!"  At our church in St. Marc, we working on breaking that mindset! This will be our second "simple-God-blessed-wedding!"  With assistance, he went to pay for the marriage certificate; only to pay the expected amount but got a receipt for much less that what was paid...  We are praying that their wedding can take place this November.

I have now brought two sewing machines in encouragement to one of the young adults to coordinate a startup uniform/clothes-making and sewing machine rental business. Several of them are ready, some went to vocational school for sewing but were unable to finish or purchase a machine.  This is their opportunity to make something of that unfinished training.
It has a roof, walls, desks, books,
uniforms, teachers, ready learners
-- IT'S A SCHOOL!... 

I met with Ebed Jacques, director/general manager of the Christian radio program, they bought a gas generator because the municipal electric supply is infrequent and inconsistent.  Programs are running for 5 hours.  I am encouraging him to start a campaign for sponsors to donate for the daily purchase of gas.  The station, Voix de Salut, has a listening audience of 80-100,000 people.
Ebed at Radio Station

We are now up to 30 students at the Bible College, and we are also giving an opportunity to others to be audit or sit-in students for their edification in the Word.

With flashlights, Pastor Police and I visited several families in an attempt to connect, share the Gospel and give out all the donated items that were left over from other visits.  I met for the first time and prayed with some of the parents of the children who faithfully come to church.   

I am continuing to meet with a former US Marine to assist with job creation/connection or starting an apprentice program for the youth who are unemployed or later will be unable to go to college/those interested in vocational trades.  He is proficient in under-water welding, construction trades, heavy-equipment, earth moving machinery and carpentry. The church in St. Michele (Pastor Dityl) has outgrown its building – we gave them a 32X25 tarp from the St. Marc Church to serve as an overhead for additional members.  Let’s pray for their construction of additional space.

Nov. 4-10 does not give us sufficient time to visit the affiliated church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and have the conference in Gonaives/St. Marc, Haiti.  Pray that we are able to visit the DR early in 2016 -- they are due one.

In Puerto Rico:  

We have a steady flow of exchange university students and members of Campus Crusade for Christ attending church services.  We are hoping to host some of them and other internationals for our Church Thanksgiving dinner.
A few months ago in Mayaguez

The Ladies Bible Study, counseling and outings with home-school parents are going well.  
Worship team

With credits and frequent flyer mileage, Cindy visited Abigail for Williams College, Parents Weekend, Oct. 22-26.
Taking in some Fall weather!
Well all for now, so much to report, to share, to pray about... Thanks for being on Team Caribbean... Hoping to hear from you soon. 

Continued blessings, P Julian...
Rainy season in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is no joke--waterfall stairs!