With all the negativity you are enduring with the upcoming US election and all of the heartbreaking images of desperate need coming out of Haiti, I thought I’d share with you some positive things. This is not to discount the importance of relief funds needed in Haiti but a reminder that there is good and bad in each day. God works through it all and development efforts continue, as well as relief efforts. Thank you for your continued support!
The boys have started another school year and are loving their new apartment. Now they have a functional kitchen (as well as part time jobs) and I find they are eating less at my house. This is a good thing because the goal has always been to help them transition into adulthood… helping when needed but not creating a sense of dependency.
Patrick is pictured here with a tap tap that he able to purchase because of the micro loan program we have implemented. His dream is to be a successful businessman, and that he is already! He was recently promoted to supervisor at his job with HandUp Global Goods. He faithfully makes his payments on his tap tap loan and has hired a former Zanfan resident to drive it each day. The tap tap was also used to transport goods and people during our relief efforts during Hurricane Matthew. In addition to work and school, Patrick makes time to attend English classes on the weekends.
Reginald has learned a lot about business this past year. He usually is the first one to remind me that all things regarding money need to be in writing! He purchased a motorcycle through our micro loan program and successfully paid it off. Then he decided to hire one of his unemployed friends (former Zanfan resident) to drive the motorcycle as a “motorcycle taxi.” (Very popular form of transportation in Port au Prince.) In this picture, Reginald is shown purchasing the motorcycle he uses for himself as a part time motorcycle driver and also to transport himself to work and school. In addition, he works part time at HandUp Global Goods.
Five of the boys now have motorcycles that they use to earn additional income and to transport themselves where they need to go (work, school, etc.). It was quite the sight to see these guys using their motorcycles during Hurricane Matthew to serve those in need. Several of the other boys have talked with me about their desire to purchase a motorcycle but right now we do not have the funds to extend additional loans. Currently the price of a motorcycle is around $1,300 US and increasing rapidly with inflation. (The first one we purchased was just over $800 US and the last one was $1,373 US!)
For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)
These children pictured continue to weigh heavily on the hearts of the boys, especially on the heart of Max. Prior to the hurricane, many of the boys worked together to make sure that these kids who live in make-shift houses on the outskirts of Port au Prince (a “town” called Canaan… or Kanaran in Creole.) were safe during the storm. They transported them and their families (52 people in total) to a cement building and made sure the people had enough food to last for several days. Their homes sustained minor damage but their need for food continues. The boys take a percentage of their business earnings to help with food and school. A tap tap business was started as the result of God leading some of you to contribute funds for a vehicle, which not only helps these children in Canaan but also provides an income to a young family of three (husband, wife and child.) Two of the 16 children in Canaan are now in school thanks to everyone’s efforts and support! Max researched and learned that currently it would take $150 US per month, per child to provide food and schooling for these 16 children..
Josue started a wholesale business selling rice, sugar, flour, cooking oil, tomato paste… basic food necessities that people need. This came in very handy during the hurricane as we were able to easily get bags of food to people, enough to last them a few days. Josue has been able to hire a former Zanfan resident to help manage the store and continues to expand his product line to now offering cookies, crackers, canned products, etc. I was very happy to learn that he has incorporated into his budget to give a percentage of the store’s earnings to charity.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)
It is very important to the boys never to return to living life on the streets. They are examples, mentors, lights…leading other Haitians by their faith in God (Jesus)… and oftentimes inspiring (as well as humbling) me with their love for God and others. Each of the boys dreams of having a piece of land someday. Some are still in the dream stage. Some are in the planning stage. Some have purchased a piece of land. Two have begun building their future home. It warms my heart to know that all of them have been out there helping clean the land, move rocks, carry sand, etc. The goal is to have construction of this house completed before the next school year begins. It is possible to have it done in a month if God wants and He provides the funds. We have already seen prices increase drastically since Hurricane Matthew and won’t be able to accomplish this goal on our own. We realize that the house may need to be built in stages and that it may take years to complete but we are praying that God will provide the funds to complete it in a year. We are estimating that we will need $30,000 US to complete this project at today’s conversion rate of 65 gourdes per 1 US dollar.
In addition, God led me to five Haitian English teachers who had a dream of starting an innovative, affordable and effective English school. They have been teaching English in Port au Prince for years (and still do) but wanted to be able to expand their way of teaching beyond rote memorization for high school aged students and adults. They asked me to be one of their founding members and after months of planning, we opened New Generation English School which holds classes and practice sessions on the weekends. None of us are taking a salary but it is exciting to be a part of helping so many people to be able to reach their goal of speaking English, which will help them tremendously as they look for and secure employment. Some of the boys, as well as some of their friends, also attend New Generation English School.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11 (NIV)
I recently read a commentary by Dave Whitehead in reference to Exodus 3:11 and it resonated with me as to where God has me today. Rather than paraphrase it for you, I will just include his entire commentary before closing.
“God didn’t commission Moses when he was a trained warrior in the courts of Egypt. God took Moses to the desert instead, where Moses was broken of his natural ambitions. Yet it was at the point when Moses felt the least useful to God that God assigned Moses to lead the greatest slave liberation in ancient history. God’s glory in our story is when he uses us at our weakest; not at our peak. This is a consistent thread woven throughout the Scripture.”
As I close, thank you for all you have done to help with this mission God has us on. Please continue to pray for us and to pray for how God wants you to be involved. If that involvement is financial, your gifts, whether one-time or monthly recurring, are not currently tax deductible but can be made through my member church, either online or through the mail.
- Online – go to http://www.ashworthroad.com/donate.aspx
- Be sure and select “Other” and input purpose as “Linda Martin”
- When donating online, remember there is a 3% fee for credit card processing. (It is less than 2% if you use your bank account).
- Mail – Address is ARBC, 5300 Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
- Be sure and write “Linda Martin” in the memo line of your check.
Whether He is calling you to serve financially, prayerfully or in some other way, please listen to that call and respond accordingly. These young people are the next generation of leaders and business people in Haiti.