Updated: Jan 6
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As we wrap up another successful year, I want to say thank you on behalf of my family and staff. It is our goal every day to prove that your trust in us is well placed. We look forward to providing quality service in the years to come.
I also would like to share something exciting happening in our family.
For 20 years now, I have worked long hours operating my lawn care business, and Furniture4u of Lititz for the last 7 years. I feel God has blessed my work and I am thankful that my family has been taken care of. I also have been privileged to be able to share with those in need around me.
In February 2020, I was able to make my first trip to Haiti with a friend. We visited Lemuel Ministries in the northwest region. Lemuel Ministries is founded and operated by Haitians; focused on bringing employment, education and spiritual growth to their community. It has been my pleasure to partner with them and their work, bringing hope and possibilities to an unimaginable difficult situation. I have had the pleasure of three more visits to Lemuel Ministry along with family and friends. I’ve been able to build relationships and gain a level of understanding regarding the context in which they live and work.
This area has been thankfully spared from violent gang activity of Port-au-Prince. However, it is one of the driest parts of Haiti, receiving virtually no direct rainfall. When it rains in the mountains, many miles away, they are able to collect water from the ravines, through hand dug canals into large water holes.
In early January, I will be visiting the Lemuel Ministries again. Our hope this trip is to further study a system to gather water from the multiple water holes into an elevated cistern, then pump it through underground lines to the gardens, and small cisterns throughout the community.
Currently, people walk many miles each day to gather a few gallons of water. It is also important to note that this water is not safe for drinking.
I am also exploring how to set up a commercial reverse osmosis system to purify water.
The goal in both of these projects is to bring sustainability and freedom from the need to import food and water at great cost.
When I travel to Haiti, the depth of poverty is frankly overwhelming. However, I do not encounter
people wallowing in self-pity. On the whole, there are only loving people that care for their families and community making the best of the difficult life they face.
I have found that the children love Raisins!
While traveling out of the country through Cap Haitian, I feel God has led me to two such families.
Richecard is 21 years old. His father was killed by gangs in Port-au-Prince when he was 13. Life has been very difficult since. Paying for food, shelter, and education has been a struggle. He taught himself English and Spanish on YouTube. I am working with him to start his own business. He has a desire to help others including teaching English and mentoring and employing boys in his neighborhood. He also does anything possible to help his mother in affording school for his little sister.
Then there is Achille, who is fairly stable in Haitian terms. He lives with his wife and two daughters in his concrete house and he makes a living selling local crafts to tourists at Labadee beach when cruise ships come in. He cares for his extended family and others in need around him as best as he can.
Through these two relationships I was able to connect with two young local boys. Kenzie is 12 years old. His parents left him behind and moved to the Dominican Republic. He only asked for help to pay for school so he can continue his education development. Papi, another charming 12-year-old , was traveling 10 miles from his family in Milot to Cap Haitian to connect with business people. In time I discovered he was doing this to provide for his mother and five younger siblings. He has never been in school.
Aschille made a deal with Papi that he regularly brings money for Papi's mother to buy food and in exchange, Papi will stay in his hometown and start attending school for the first time. We are also well into construction of a concrete home to replace the dirt floor shack they currently live in.
Last story… during my most recent trip to Haiti in December with my son, Mitchell, we traveled to Milot. We visited a church that Aschille preaches at monthly, then drove to see Papi, and to view the
construction progress. After church, the elderly pastor showed me a small school behind the church.
With Richecard translating , I was informed that he requested help in his current situation.
Many years ago, he chose to sell his house in Cap Haitien to use the money to build a church and school in the countryside of Milot. In three small rooms, he was able provide free education for over 150 children, grades 1-6, who would otherwise not be able to afford school.
Many years later, with no government or outside funding, he is no longer able to keep the school open. Aschille is working with him, with funds I left under his management to open the school in early January.
The Pastor in Milot discussing his school.
I plan to be there January 14 on the backside of my trip to Lemuel. I hope to visit a re-opened school and bring funds to keep it open. It’s incredible that only a few thousand dollars provides education and daily nutrition for 150 children.
This is only a brief summary of my experiences in Haiti. My time there has led to an increased
appreciation of the privilege of living in an orderly society with tremendously developed infrastructure. Yet, in great contrast, Haitians persevere daily with no electricity, fuel shortages, and no running water.
My 12-year-old daughter said she can’t find words to accurately describe the difficulties she witnessed following our September family trip to Haiti. When confronted face-to-face with people, who at their core express love no differently than I do, and who have children who are no less valuable than my own children, and knowing I have the resources to make a difference -- how can I say “No”?
I certainly acknowledge that I am not the most perfect or qualified person. However,
throughout scripture, God used deeply flawed people for His purposes, so that He could receive the
glory. That is certainly the case here. My desire is to be obedient to the calling God puts in front of me.
This experience has been life-changing, and I am very thankful for it.
Your continued patronage of Rockbridge Lawnworks and Funiture4U is appreciated and enables my continued involvement with the people of Haiti. However, the needs I encounter in Haiti often
overwhelm my own financial resources. While we are all not called to make regular trips to Haiti, I
encourage you to consider how you may be called to invest in the lives of those in need. I’m sure most
are already doing this as you are able. If you have interest in partnering with my work in Haiti, I would love to talk to you. Thank you for taking the time to read my update.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God blessings!!
David Garman 717–808–7852.
PS: Please check back in a couple of weeks for an update on this trip.