Bonjou!! I hope this post finds you doing well and loving life amidst grand adventures. I write to you all this morning from the front porch of Mackenson’s home – there are five of us here at the moment (Berthide, Mackenson, William, Melanie and I) and we have enjoyed some good quiet time as well as Bible study this morning . . . all the while drinking Berthide’s delicious coffee – I am a big coffee shop guy and while in the US I can often be found at the Tipping Point, Barnes and Noble, Starbucks or Caribou (or all four throughout a long day of reading . However, I must write today that the “coffee shop” atmosphere we have here on the front porch this morning rocks my world . . .
Whew – once again there is much to write about. I think the biggest joy of the last week is observing the progress of the deaf construction workers as they complete their first contract building two homes here in the new community. With this blog are a few pictures – check out the progress in only 5 work days from this crew!!!!! I stop by the site everyday when I am in Leveque and always find them hard at work and smiling while they do it. With progress and a work ethic like this I am confident they will easily procure more contracts this summer.
More deaf jobs are coming up as we break ground on the new church building and begin all of the woodwork for the church. At the moment our deaf carpenters are busy at work building a bookshelf for me and will possibly be contracted soon for some furniture and bedside tables for our new 410 Bridge guesthouse in Cabaret, Haiti. I enjoy observing these guys at work and marveling at the finished project – in this life down here in Haiti I think many missions find themselves giving work to communities like this mainly because the community needs the help and the work . . . we are in the very cool position of hiring the most skilled and hard-working people around, and they thankfully are the members of our community!!!
The deaf leaders and I are also hard at work in the coming weeks to begin developing micro-enterprise plans and a small business education plan that will support dozens of families in Leveque as they pursue sustainability and the dignity of receiving a loan that they must be disciplined in paying back as their business grows. This will be a long educational process and development of accountability with the community . . . this is also the area in which most organizations struggle in Haiti – As always, I have high hopes with this community.
In other news this week, the community at Leveque is enjoying time with several basketball players from a college in South Carolina – it has been funny the last couple of days, since I have been until this time one of the taller people that the community has seen . . . the people at Leveque constantly chuckle as we walk through the community and the three athletes dwarf me . . . in encouraging news, the kids are applying their biblical knowledge from recent VBS programming as they refer to one young man as “Goliath.” Check out the picture of William teaching two of these guys some basic sign language . . . .
The athletes tried their best in our community soccer game yesterday, but the Haitians definitely showed them that soccer is the National Sport down here. Today we turned those tables as the basketball players ran basic drills for the children in the community!! Even Matala – “mama Haiti” fit in a couple of good tries at dribbling, giggling the entire time.
Water meetings for the community are progressing nicely – a full community meeting and education program will occur tomorrow for basic overall health and hygiene instruction. All of that will occur while our technicians from Water Missions International conduct their last site visit before installing the purification system and completing the training for the Haitian operators!! I think we just might make our ambitious starting date of June 1st for the community water project!!!
We have been engaging even more regularly over the last two weeks in our deaf life group Bible studies that occur each Sunday after the community church – (stay tuned for a full blog on those studies with my next post).
Prayer requests for this week – An interpreting student (and good friend of mine) named Elizabeth Beaird is traveling to Haiti this week to stay and serve for 3 months on an internship. Please pray for her as she takes this courageous leap to challenge herself in order to serve the deaf in Haiti.
Please pray for the water committee in Leveque as they complete their initial training and continue to work together – that they remain peaceful and that they grow in good friendship to lead this aspect of their community development.
Please pray for the deaf in Leveque as we start our new community wide education programs and spiritual development programs. Pray for the hearing residents at Leveque as well – worship, education and work together can be powerful unifying factors for this community – let’s pray mightily that worship and a vibrant community church will be the foundation of it all.
Thank you all for your prayers and constant encouragement. I look forward to seeing many of you down here in Haiti in the coming months.
grace and peace,