Merite pa mande. (Worth does not ask.)

Another hot day in our concrete jungle known as Port au Prince, Haiti was coming to an end.  The sun was beginning to set and the temperature was starting to cool.  There was a gentle breeze in the air and I walked over to the boys’ apartment…something God has granted me the privilege to do everyday.  Mackenson and I struck up a conversation while sitting outside of the apartment. We talked about each other’s day and soon we could hear two male voices singing worship songs.  It was a beautiful sound coming from one of the sparsely furnished bedrooms inside their apartment.  In time, more voices joined them, both male and female.  Friends and neighbors had gathered to worship and pray.  They sang, then audibly prayed personal prayers at the same time, sang some more and prayed again.  We could have joined them but this time we stayed outside and talked.

I was humbled and honored as he shared with me things that were on his heart.  He’s done so before but it doesn’t happen often, so it is extra special when it does happen.  He talked about how difficult life is with no mother, father or siblings but how grateful he is that God brought people into his life to give him hope for a brighter future.  God has created a family for him within the body of Christ, as well as a strong bond of brotherhood with the guys he lives with.  Mackenson has spent years making jewelry and sandals in his spare time, some of which many who are reading this have purchased.  He has saved all that he can from the sale of those handmade products, as well as from the part time job he has with HandUp Global Goods.  His next goal is to finish paying off a small piece of land.  One day he will build his house on it.  My heart ached as I listened to him talk about love and sacrifice and how he suffers today so that tomorrow life will be better.  Often he chooses to save the little money he has rather than buy food to eat.  I realized what I thought of as suffering was very different from what he was describing.  I have made choices not to go to events in order to save money or not to purchase certain name brand products but I have always had the option to eat when I was hungry.  Prayer is a big part of his life and he hopes to be a pastor someday.  He wants his life to be an inspiration to the many other children living on the streets.  He believes that if they see him reach his goals, maybe they will believe their lives can be better too.   We talked some more about life, responsibility, peer pressure and even girls.  He does not have a girlfriend because he believes, at this time, they would be a distraction for him in reaching his goals.  As he walked me home I told him that when he is thinking of getting a girlfriend, I would like to meet her first.  The hug he gave me in response to that will always be remembered but I cannot find the words to describe the sense of realization he seemed to have of his own worth and value.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 4:19

All of the boys remember what it was like to be living on the streets as young children, not being able to attend school or even know where their next meal would come from.   They remember that God sent people to help them along their way and they want to be used by God to help others who are where they used to be.  One of the things that strikes me the most about these guys is their ability to work together, realizing that more can be accomplished together than on one’s own.  Recently Herby, Marcial and Patrick purchased (with their own money) crackers and juice to give to a few of the children currently living on the streets.  (There are more children literally living on the streets than you can imagine!)   They shared their own personal stories and how they want to do for these young people what others have done to help them.

They are targeting children aged 7 – 12 years old and will start by teaching a small group of them to read and write.  They will provide some type of food as funds are available for them to do so.  When I asked them how much they spent on the crackers and juice, they seemed to be almost ashamed to answer and said, “It wasn’t much.”  When I calculated the amount, I was impressed to learn it was over 18% of their COMBINED weekly income!  At the same time, I was ashamed for balking at God when giving my 10% tithe to the church.

Their short term goal is to teach a small group of children to read and write and to provide 100 meals per month.  This would be done by all of the guys (including ones not previously mentioned) working together, providing what they can.  Some have the ability to teach.  Some have the ability of transportation.  Some have the ability of food preparation.  They all feel an obligation stemming from gratitude to serve as they have been served.  All have the ability to pray, which they have been doing fervently.  With wisdom beyond their years, they said they know they can walk along side these young people and can understand them because they have been there before.  And because they have been there, their lives today are examples of what could be for these children  They also recognize that with their experiences they are better able to reach these young people than someone who has never lived the life… but they can’t do it on their own.  They have the knowledge, experience and heart to serve.  They have faith that God will provide the $500-$700 needed each month for paper, pencils, food, etc as they start.  They envision being able to continue teaching these children and ultimately providing a home for them.

It was difficult getting a dollar amount from them of funds needed.  The difficulty stemmed from several things.  First, prices vary from day to day due to inflation and sometimes even due to a person’s ability to negotiate with a vendor.  Also they have a strong faith that God will provide for their needs; they have seen Him provide before.  In addition to their belief that God will provide for them, proverbs are very prevalent in Haitian culture.  Today’s proverb, “Merite pa mande” means when someone deserves something, he does not even need to ask.  It will be given to him. If they do not give him anything it is because they think he does not deserve it.  I agreed to share their story with others, as they have shared with me and others.  If you want to help financially with this, please send me an email and your tax deductible contributions will go directly to them.

And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard.  Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask Him.  – Matthew 6:7-8

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
automatic monthly gifts if you select the “monthly” option.)

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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