In February we brought a small group of sponsors to visit Marchasse, a mountain community supported by Haiti Friendship Ministries.
The road to Marchasse was in the worst condition we have ever seen, due to the flooding caused by storms last May. The landscape was at times completely unrecognizable. Entire towns have been washed away, and buried beneath an avalanche of rocks and boulders that cascaded down badly eroded mountainsides. Mapou, a farming plateau next to Marchasse, was hardest hit. The areas not covered in rock, remain as yet, underwater. The survivors are encamped along the surrounding hillside in small wood-frame shelters covered with Red Cross issued tarpaulin. We also visited this area, the Tent City as it is called, and spoke with several children who attend the school in Marchasse, as well as one of our teachers.
Through many tears, fourteen-year old Roselene Jean recounted her harrowing ordeal the night the flood destroyed her home. She was knocked down several times by the force of the water as she and her cousins raced toward higher ground. She and a small group of survivors took refuge on the roof of an abandoned medical clinic. “A lot of people and animals died,” she said. “Cars could not go through town, only helicopters could bring food to us. My mother’s house is still underwater. We are alive by the grace of God.”
We especially want to thank you for your prayer support during this trip as well as providing material and monetary donations. We received an excess of foot-ware and clothing, along with the usual first aid, hygiene and school supplies. It was a blessing to distribute these much-needed items to those hardest hit by the floods. An additional praise, we want to thank those of you praying specifically for favor with American Airlines. After weeks of trying unsuccessfully to have the excess baggage fee waived, we received a phone call, less than twelve hours before our flight, advising us that each team member would be allowed one extra piece of luggage for free. As usual, God’s timing was perfect!
Although our gifts seemed trivial when faced with such overwhelming need, just as the Bible illustrates how one small boy’s lunch, which appeared inadequate to sustain the hungry multitudes, with Jesus’ blessing, was multiplied to an overabundance. Once again we are reminded that it is only with faith in Our Lord’s unfailing love and provision for the people of Haiti that we are able to make a difference. The money we saved on excess luggage, and the additional financial donations from many of you, was used to expand the feeding program at the school from two days per week to three, and will continue for at least six weeks. With additional sponsorships, we hope to raise enough funds to sustain and hopefully increase the feeding program. We were also able to help the teacher, Met Colbert, to rebuild his home, and provided benches for a neighboring school, which had only two benches for 120 children.
It was a joy to bring your love and support in a tangible way to the people of Marchasse. For our family it was a special blessing to have both of our children with us on this trip. Even though our team this year was comparatively small, we were able to accomplish the majority of what we had set out to do. We conducted a V.B.S. program for all four hundred children at the school and completed the survey work of our sponsored children as well as many more currently in need of sponsors. We were also able to visit the homes of some of the friends we have made over the years, and pray together and mutually encourage each other.
Please continue to pray for the country of Haiti and all of the needs represented. Often times these needs seem so overwhelming that it is easy to become discouraged. And yet in the midst of disaster, God never forsakes His children. As in the words of fifteen-year old Walner Jean-Baptiste, who writes, “In our town there was a big flood. Many people died. Houses and animals vanished. But God protected me and my family. The water went by the house of my father, but it did not go in.”
For the least of these,