Give Thanks in All Circumstances
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
So much to give thanks for. Four of us traveled to Haiti on August 4th to deliver 84 backpacks for students in need. It was humbling that so many people provided for this need.
When possible our assistant director would give the back pack to the parent or care giver of the child, so that the parent could be the one gifting the child. When this wasn’t an option it was always Rithza who would distribute the back packs, not the white person. Each back pack was given with a prayer and a praise to the Lord. We will do a back pack drive again next year, if you are interested, please message us and we can get you details. You can send them any time of the year, and we will distribute in August of 2018.
You might not realize what a blessing this backpack and supplies are to these children. The kids might not go to school because a lack of supplies. The parents are responsible for paying a tuition, buying books/materials, and a uniform and shoes. This is a great expense to parents, especially when a family has several children. Thank you to God for laying it on the hearts of the people who blessed these children with these backpacks.
May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.
When we arrived in Haiti we were also met with many praise worthy surprises! We love our Director and Assistant director so much, they are in a constant state of giving! They were able to keep these two HUGE surprises from us, and were so very excited for us to see!
Surprise number 1. Remember the smaller piece of property we purchased, next to the larger piece that we call the widowage… Let me show you what it looked like when we purchased it.
Pretty right? Well we have done things here since we purchased it. Ronald had the garbage cleaned up in a day. We built a latrine on the property first, and it has sat barren ever since. Nothing built or grown on it. NOW:
Now we have a FENCE!!! This is wonderful! We have been praying for the means to build this fence, so that we could utilize this property for growing and gardening. Without a fence we can not plant anything without fear that goats or sheep will eat it all. Ronald is such an amazing steward of the money. If the exchange rate varies and there is left over when he converts the payroll from American to Haitian Gourde, he saves it. And now because of this we have a fence and can begin to grow on this piece of property! This food is used for our widows and the neighbors. The abundance is then taken to market to sell, to provide for urgent needs of our widows. God is so good, and we are so blessed by the people invested into this ministry. Before we left, it had even been planted with plantains.
Surprise number 2.
The second home on the Widowage is started! Now, the fact that the money was raised was not a surprise, but getting to Haiti and seeing that the construction has started! Tears. Now, I know that the question is “Why block? Where is the sand bags?” I wish I had an answer that made sense, but I don’t. We LOVE the earth bag homes. We pray that we can continue to build them. HOWEVER the village does not like them. When we build a house we always hire locals to do the building. We do not want to bring a team down to do this work and take away the opportunity to work from the locals. The locals are totally opposed to building earth bag homes. When Ronald looks for workers he finds NO ONE! Some of the reasons they give are “They won’t stand up” “We don’t know how to build one” “They are not safe” . It doesn’t matter that we have positive proof that these things will not happen, or that we have Haitian trainers to teach them how to build them. Stubborn, prideful, entitled. Those are the words that come to my mind, and yes it makes me MAD. Makes me what to say fine, figure it out yourself then. Makes me want to throw my hands in the air and scream that I AM DONE. But, it is not about me, and the Lord does not want me to give up. What it is about is the widow that needs a home and how are we going to provide that. I have made a deal with the villagers that every other house we build will be an earth bag house, and if they want the work they are welcome to it, or we will just have to continue to hire the Haitian trainers to come down and build them as we need them. What I am hoping is that now that we have a sand bag house and a block house standing side by side, that they will see the differences in deterioration, feel the differences in temperature, and not wishing for but a fierce storm might be the difference. Pray for this please. Pray for the villagers hearts. Pray that they will see that work is work regardless of myth or rumor.
By the time we left Haiti on the 11th the house looked like this:
And this is the finished product. We are just waiting for the funding for paint:
Now. This is where the story begins, and where your prayers are needed the most.
We had a widow set to move into this home. In June we had moved her out of her dilapidated shack that was not safe or even rain proof to a rental that we had until the end of August. We prayed that the funding would come in to finish the house on the Widowage before the end of August and IT DID! Praise God….. We have been supporting this widow with food for her and her grandson for 2 months. When we started having conversations about what to expect when she moves into her home on the property things went wrong… very very wrong. You see, we have a contract for our widows to sign and agree to terms before being allowed to move in. This contract was written after years of compiling and praying. We have to put God and his law first, and the protection of the widows and children next. In this contract it is very specific that men can NOT live on the property, and if men visit it has to be a pre arranged approved visit, with visiting hours established. Our widows grandson is 22 years old. He is a man. He can not live on the property. Our widow can not live without him. Our widow has 7 grown children that are living and one of them offered to let the grandson live with her so that our widow could still be blessed with a home, and our widow refused. The other issue is the 7 grown children, who live in the shadows and do not help provide for or take care of their mother, until there is food that is. As soon as we would bring monthly rations to our widow, all 7 kids would show up and the food would be gone. We explained how we were not honoring God or our supporters by letting this happen and our widow would not agree to stop. She had choices and options presented to her and she chose, on her own, that she did not want to move into the home on the widowage. Flabergasted? Just a little. After a meeting with her children (only 2 showed up because we did not offer food for the meeting) we agreed to find a room for our widow to rent, and that we would pay 1 year of rent for her. That is it. We gave the children the responsibility to feed her from now on and after the 1 year of rent they are responsible for her 7:10 is not. This sounds harsh, I know. I wish you knew how hard this is on my heart, but we really worked for hours with this family to have a different outcome and it just didn’t matter.
Where are we now? Now we have a completed house that is waiting for a new occupant. We are praying that the Lord will show us who should live here. We have established new guidelines for even putting a widow on the list of possible occupants and the Lord is in charge of the rest. Will you please join us in prayer? Psalm 17:6 I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Pray for our hearts at 7:10 to not bleed when the first person comes to our door and needs a home. Pray that we will be diligent in following the new guidelines and take time to pray about the people coming to us. My love language is gifts. I want to give everyone everything they need, and often I jump the gun and do not pray first to make sure that this is what the Lord wants not just what Tanja wants. It has been a hard lesson to learn, and I hope that we are there but will need your continued prayers to stay there.
Other prayer needs:
Upcoming Missionary Conference with Southbrook Baptist Church. Pray that Rodnald and Rithza will be granted their visas to visit during this time and speak at this conference.
Tires for our Nissan in Haiti. We are praying for $800.00 to purchase 4 new tires for our truck. This truck is really the lifeblood of what we do, and right now it is not safe to drive with the tires it has.
Dwire’s support to come in to move to Haiti.
The spiritual attack on our staff in Haiti.
The health of our staff in America and in Haiti.
The new school year that is starting.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Much love.