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๐‡๐š๐ข๐ญ๐ข ๐”๐ฉ๐๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐…๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐‰๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐“๐จ ๐‰๐ฎ๐ง๐ž 2023

Updated: Jun 27

Hello to everyone checking back in for updates on our mission in Haiti! My apologies that it has been a while since my last report. However, so much has happened!! From where God has brought us to today, it's hard to imagine it was only 15 months ago that my wife, a friend, and myself took our very first unassisted trip to Cap Haitien. I will try to briefly summarize the five trips since my last update.

In January, I traveled with a friend to Lemuel Ministry in Anse Rouge. We went to repair and diagnose some equipment used to filter and chlorinate rain water for usage in the school. Our last night there we set up some battery-powered floodlights I had brought and played some night soccer. It was a special time with the young people even though I struggled to keep up! Next I flew with MAF with two of the leaders from Lemuel, Djephim and Mozom, to Cap Haitien. We visited the Citadel together! I was encouraged to see them enjoy and take pride in their country even with the current state of dysfunction. Furthermore, we visited the school in Milot. I was thrilled to see all the smiling children so excited to be back in school. The teachers currently have a monthly salary of about $80 U.S. currency. I was encouraged to meet them all and witness their passion for their students. The next step forward is to help students with uniforms, begin a lunch program (for many students this is their only meal each day), and establish a monthly operational budget for the school.

In February I was honored that my mother was brave enough to make a weekend trip with me to Cap Haitien. We visited Papis' house that they now have moved into. At the school in Milot most of the students now have uniforms. The main focus of our time was to move Richecard and his mother and sister into a significantly better house near the school. Richecard teaches English and Bible, and his mother, Rosita, will manage the school lunch program. Richecard started an after-school and Saturday sports program. He has great joy that he shares every day with all the children. His passion to teach and share his knowledge is really fulfilled in this new position.

On an interesting side note, if you see the chest freezer in the pick up truck, it is only for storage. I have found that many Haitians put old appliances or televisions in their houses to experience the look of a modern house, even though they will likely never have electricity to power them. The vast majority of Haiti has no power grid and few can afford to purchase solar equipment. I've been able to bless several of the families I partner with in Haiti with a small solar generator battery, a 50 W panel, rechargeable lightbulbs, small fans, and needed cords. This little bit of power eliminates the struggle to charge cell phones and gives light to function at night time. The whole kit costs about $300 but it's far out of reach to most Haitiens who make less than $100 a month. The first night that Richecard had his kit, he sent me a video walking through the two rooms of his house. He was emotionally overwhelmed, as he is now able to function after the sun goes down. The highlights of this trip were the time spent with my mother and the deepening of friendships with the young Haitian leaders I'm blessed to serve beside.

In March, I had the opportunity to take a small group once again to Haiti! A fellow Christian businessman, Nate Shea, courageously decided to see Haiti for himself. I was also joined by my wife, Paola, youngest daughter, Ciera and my oldest son, Owen, who was making his first trip. We were joined by a group from Lemuel Ministry which travelled six hours from Anse Rouge. We visited the school, the Citadel, and Labadee Beach. It's rare for Haitians to travel for pleasure so it was a great joy to accompany them to the Citadel and Labadee for what is likely a first in a lifetime experience. I was blessed to watch my family as they just took in their surroundings. One can't help but to be touched, first by the incredible suffering and difficulty of everyday life in Haiti, but more importantly by the goodness and joy in the hearts and smiles of all the people we meet. We joined the church in Milot for Sunday service and played soccer with the children during the Saturday sport program. This trip was transformative as Nate and I both felt called by God to begin investing in water filtration and basic infrastructure at the school. Also on this trip I met Steve for the first time. He sat with me in the van ride to the beach and asked me via translated text if I was able to help his community in Bahon. A Haitian pastor from the States had provided some support for the school and church until he was killed last fall in a car accident. Now they were left with no outside help at all. While in Haiti, I am asked by many people for many things: a horse, a motorcycle, payment for school, phone, money for medical procedures, etc. I cannot say yes to everything. I pray for wisdom to best discern where God wants me to go and how to use limited resources. God has led me to a small group of Haitians that, long before they met me, were already working to love and care for the most needy that surround them. When I realize how much they give of the little they have to others, I feel confident of how they will handle greater resources. It also sets an example for me to continue giving sacrificially. Steve has since become a very key member of our team in Haiti!

In May, we had our first big work trip. Nate brought with him his children, Xavier and Arielle. My wife and daughter Chelsie came for their fourth and second time respectively! Peyton and Hunter, who just returned from a gap year Bible and Spanish program in Costa Rica with Chelsie and Ariella, also joined us. Jenna, who had recently returned from a gap year experience at Lemuel Ministry in Haiti, was excited to see another part of Haiti. Her knowledge of the Haitian language proved very valuable on our trip. Traveling with a group of nine was quite an undertaking. During an informal pre-trip gathering, I began to build excitement for what God had for us as I learned of the strengths and depth of character of each member of the team. During the three days in Haiti, God honestly exceeded any expectation we could have had!!!

To be continued shortly!!!

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