Last Sunday I had the privilege of attending church services with my two children living in the States, their spouses and children. My son’s father-in-law led the adult Sunday School class in reading the first two chapters of Genesis and discussing the number of new things that occurred in the text as well as the new beginnings we have in our lives. The first days. The first week. The first plants. Animals. People. Job. First day of school. College. Marriage. Children. Career Changes. New Pastor. And yes, even death is a new beginning. My favorite one was from a wise woman who noted that each day of our lives is a new beginning. I am excited to be able to continue learning with this group of people online over the next few months.
Coming back to Haiti is like a new beginning too. It did not take long to get accustomed to having electricity at the flip of a switch and running water 24/7. Since coming back here I have literally walked into the wall and tripped over a table while searching in the darkness for the inverter switch… on more than one occasion! Several times I have reached for the water faucet while doing dishes instead of the 5 gallon bucket of water on the floor. And yes, I have even started to flush the toilet with the handle before remembering to use the water sitting in the bucket on the bathroom floor. But those are minor things compared to the new beginnings going on with the boys. Some exciting. Some heart-wrenching..
We are all in this together and I wish I could detail everything for everyone. Here are some of the highlights:
Several of the boys God has us ministering to moved into a new (to them) apartment last month. It is much more spacious and welcoming than the tiny (400 sq ft) 2 bedroom, concrete cube they were sharing before. It is about three times the size of the previous apartment and they now have a working kitchen, living area and three fair-sized bedrooms. The sense of pride and accomplishment is apparent on their faces as they talk about their new home. They have worked hard and have planned a long time for this Many thanks go to Grangou and HandUp Global Goods for helping the boys get to where they are today. Some of the boys are still working towards building a home of their own as they recognize that it is far better to own than to rent.
Of course, a new school year is upon us. And for the boys, it will be at a different, hopefully better, school this year. They will still be going to school in the afternoon, which is the hottest part of the day. (No, the schools are not air conditioned. They are “open air” which also means a person hears the noise from all the other classrooms.) Please pray for them as they embark on this challenging journey. Those who are attending vocational or extra-curricular schooling will continue with such and thank you to Ashworth Road Baptist Church for supporting them in vocational training.
The most heart-wrenching new beginning is for the orphans the boys have been working to help. You may recall that the boys have been using their own money and the money that some readers of this blog have generously donated to bring food to these orphans. The big picture is first to feed them since they often go days without eating then to get them into school. There are no free schools in Haiti and we are looking at needing $100 per month per child for food and education. The next step to their plan is to help finance businesses to provide an income for the adults who are currently caring for these young children.
It was a difficult talk when I came back and told them I had gathered $120 in support, which will only buy a small amount of food. I was encouraged by the faith of one of the boys when he said that the same God who parted the Red Sea for His children to escape bondage and fed them manna and meat will provide for His children today. This same boy, Max, came to my house tonight and talked about how sad the children are. They were looking forward to going to school on Monday and he had to tell them that they can not go this year. Perhaps next year. Max recognizes that they need food before they need school. He also recognizes that a year from now, some of them may die of starvation. It’s a tough new beginning.
My mind went to the abundance we have in the States. I thought about the many times we packaged Meals from the Heartland and wondered how does a person get shipments of meals from there. I listened as Max talked about wishing they had the funds to buy a tap tap (Haitian taxi) and use the money generated from the tap tap to feed and educate the children. I prayed for answers as he talked and told him I totally understand the dilemma they are in. If they use the money they have for food, they have no money to invest in something to generate a sufficient income to provide for the children. If they save the money they have to invest in something to generate an income, it is probable some, perhaps all, of the children will die waiting. The parable of the seeds they are planting today growing into something substantial sounded, to me, to be of little help as I spoke them in a world facing tremendous need.
Thank you again and/or in advance for your prayers, support and encouragement. Please pray about how God wants you to help. If you have any ideas or suggestions or questions, feel free to email me. If you would like to contribute financially, either with a one time donation or an ongoing, monthly contribution, you can conveniently do so online at: http://www.ashworthroad.com/donate.aspx (Be sure and put “Other – Linda Martin – Haiti” in the comments section.)
I will leave you with the memory verse from last Sunday’s Sunday School lesson. It was a neat reminder to me that God is always involved in the details of our lives. This was one of the first memory verses we had the boys learn in English and Creole.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.