Yon sèl dwèt pa manje kalalou. (Unity is strength.)

Haitians have many proverbs.  The literal translation of the one above is, “Only one finger does not eat okra.”  If you have ever eaten this delicious, yet slimy, vegetable then you probably have the same mental picture I have.  Seeing how challenging life is in Haiti, it does not take long to realize why this proverb is so prevalent in the culture. There is strength in numbers and by working together, things get done that could not get done on one’s own.  God has granted me the opportunity to observe daily life here and as I reflect on various Scripture verses, I am humbled by so many things and often made aware of my own shortcomings and pride.

Haitians, as a rule, are much better at living in community than I am.  It is not often you find a lone Haitian.  You see people walking together in groups.  You see large families living in small places.  You see women washing laundry in groups, braiding one another’s hair or doing each other’s nails.  You see men playing dominoes or cards as you walk down the street.  People gather together with no agenda other than just to talk with each other for minutes or even hours.  Transactions at stores, schools and banks generally are not done by one person but by multiple people.  For example, when you go to the hardware store, you bring your items to a person who makes a list of your items (either handwritten or computerized, depending upon the store.)  That person gives you a receipt which you then give to a cashier and make your payment.  Finally, a security person verifies everything is in order before you leave with your items.

From the little they have, Haitians seem to find a way to give to others in need.  To the old woman holding an empty cup, hoping to get some change or food.  To the crippled person, often doing the same.  To the children living on the streets, cleaning dust off the passing vehicles, hoping someone will pay them something for their service. To the hungry.  To the thirsty.  To the sick. To the bereaved.  Many demonstrate the belief that it they have something someone else needs, they willingly give it, without hesitation.  Perhaps it is because life here teaches that there will be a day when everyone will need help.  Perhaps they are more obedient than I am to the command in Deuteronomy to open their hand wide to the their brother, the needy and the poor.

This past week several of the guys were hospitalized, some for short periods of time and others for longer.  Everyone, including friends and neighbors, gathered what little they had to make sure medicine and food was available.  (No, hospitals do not provide medicine, meals or bedding for their patients!)  I was advised not to see any of the guys until all of their medical expenses were paid because if the hospital staff saw a Caucasian, the price would be inflated.  While it was a beautiful thing to see everyone working together to meet the needs of another, it was difficult to know the real sacrifices that were made; meals that were skipped, other obligations that would be postponed.

I was shocked to see a nurse ask the visitors in the room for the needed intravenous medication rather than the hospital having it on hand.  It was difficult to realize people only knew the symptoms the patient had rather than the underlying cause and how it could be prevented in the future.  It was most painful to learn eventually that the illness could be prevented by sanitary living conditions, clean water and a nutritious diet.  Sanitary living conditions and a nutritious diet may have saved the three year old who died last week in Canaan.  The reality can not be put into words without sounding as if it is being exaggerated.

Praise God for the BioSand Water filters which now provide us clean water, free of parasites and harmful bacteria!  And praise God for giving me a mother who studied nutrition in college and passed her knowledge on to her children as we were growing up!  They seem like such simple things yet they are so very important.  Please join me in praying that by being here, useful knowledge can be passed on and applied to make the lives of these young men and future generations better

Bear one another’s burdens and so, fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

Speaking of making the lives of these young men and future generations better, the builder positioned lumber this past weekend and is starting the process of building the main living area of the house!  Josue and Patrick chose to have the main living area above the parking and storage because it will be an open air house.  The higher in elevation, the more of a breeze is able to flow through the house.  Also they have lived in ground floor apartments and experienced major flooding so it is wise to have the living area as they plan.  The house is in Onaville, which is on the eastern edge of Canaan.  This is becoming a reality because many people are working together, pooling their resources of prayer, knowledge, skill, finances and time.

Last time I showed you a picture of Chatla and her newborn kittens.  Some of them have their eyes opened today and some do not yet have their eyes open.  This time I get to show you a picture of my ninth grandchild, due to be born March 10 in the States.  Mom and Dad are waiting until the baby is born to see if they have a girl or a boy.  It is difficult not to be there with them at this time but God allowed me to see something recently that brings comfort:  A missionary is someone who leaves their family for a short time so others can be with their family for eternity.  I thank all of the members of my family for the sacrifices they are making that allow me to be here.  The guys appreciate them too and often ask how they are doing or tell me to tell them hi.  It is impressive how many of the guys know all of their names.  (English names are as difficult for a Haitian to learn as Haitian names are for an English speaking person to learn.)

One area where my being Caucasian seems to benefit people involved rather than potentially harm them financially is in the creation and promotion of New Generation English School.  Haitians perceive having an American as one of the founders gives credibility to the school.  It is yet another example of people working together to fill a need in the lives of others.  God brought me to several native born Haitians who teach English for a living.  We spend our weekends teaching English to adult-aged people wanting to further develop their English skills.  Most Haitians realize that English is spoken throughout the world and the new president of Haiti has promised to make efforts to increase tourism in Haiti.  The ability to speak English will greatly enhance their possibilities of securing future potential employment.

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. Whether He is calling you to serve financially, prayerfully or in some other way, please listen to that call and respond accordingly.

Matthew 25:40 – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

(Search for “Martin, Linda – Haiti” and follow the prompts.  You can also set-up
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2.  MAIL CHECKS TO –                                  
World Outreach Ministries, Inc.
P.O. Box B
Marietta, GA  30061
(designate for Linda Martin #564)

3.  BILL PAY – via your online banking
World Outreach Ministries, Inc.
(designate for Linda Martin #564)
P.O. Box B
Marietta, GA 30061

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