Thursday, July 22, 2010
I must have gone to bed too early, 2 AM, wide awake, and now, after perusing Facebook and emails, I'm drinking my morning coffee..it's 3AM. But that's okay, I can enjoy the peace and quiet that only seems to happen this time of day.
We had a bunch of rain yesterday. It cooled things off, but it sure makes life miserable for folks. We happened to be coming home from a jaunt to Montrouis when it started. People riding tap taps had to brave the rain on the back of pick up trucks, people on motorcycles, trying to see beyond the rain hitting them in the face and then those walking with their wares on their heads, trying to get home from the day of selling at the market. I suppose the walk in the rain was not bad if they made enough to cook a meal once they got home. Most market people come from the mountains, so it isn't just a block or two and home. It's a climb and usually an hour or more. As we rode through seeing these sights, I was again reminded of how blessed I am, and how hard life is here for people. I'm not saying life isn't hard everywhere else, but my eyes and heart tell me it's hard here!
We are going to Port in the morning, although it's already morning, but you know what I mean, morning when everyone rises! We have to deliver medical supplies to another mission, and p/u our truck papers so we're legal when we come back into the country, PLUS, p/u my Haiti drivers license. Isn't that interesting, ten years here, just got the nerve to drive on the highway!!! So, it's time to get a license so the police won't quibble. Not that they do,it's okay to use a US license but, you never know when you'll get one guy (or gal) who wants to give you a hard time about not following the laws of this country. As lawless as it is, there are laws and sometimes, there are those who want to enforce them. That's not wrong and if we are going to be here (and obviously we are), we need to comply.
I'll never forget the time we got to the airport to leave the country and they weren't going to let me leave because I didn't have a proper stamp in my passport. They sent me to an office, the office sent me back to the airline agent, the airline agent sent me back to the office. Finally, I pleaded and they said, "Okay, next time have it right." Next time we did. We found out you have to purchase a Haiti ID, Permis se de Jour. And, every year you have to have it stamped (at a nice fee) but with it, you pass through the airport without question because the law is that a foreigner cannot stay here more than three months without penalty. With our permis' we can stay indefinitely. There's one thing Gary and I never forget, we are foreigners here. No one has to be nice to us and all the people we don't help don't care whether we live or die. The people we help love us, (most of the time).
Having Aaron with us this short stint has been interesting. He has done so well, no complaining about heat or anything for that matter. He has loved playing with Junior and Olivie, and they have learned a lot of English from him. We leave Friday and I'm sure there will be something he'll want immediately upon setting his feet on US soil. We have to spend the night in FL, so he'll get to eat something good and my guess is, it'll be MacDonalds!
For Gary and I, we've been so busy these three plus weeks, we've barely had time to think. Well, maybe Gary more than I. He's had all the structural things to do trying to make this house safer since the break in and things that needed fixing. I did get the office, bedroom and kitchen to a place where I can stand it once we return in September and not have to think about "organizing" (agonizing)jobs. That's an accomplishment for me! The heat only allows you to work until noon. After 12, it's too hot to think about anything. I know everyone in the States is dealing with heat as well but when you don't have a way to shut it out and no air conditioning, there's only one reprieve and that's to sit in front of a fan. Like right now, at 3:45 AM.
As far as I know we have two girls coming in on the 13th of September to work at El Shaddai for two weeks. We have Crystal coming from Canada for nine months as well. So, we are beginning our year with a house full. We also have four teams booked already, so if anyone reading this would like to come to Touch Ministries for a mission trip, please contact us asap, our calendar is filling up fast.
More news, we got a Rottweiler pup. Right now he's at the Chris and Leslie Rollings who also got a new pup (thank God for their willingness to puppy sit). He doesn't have a name yet, but we are working on it. A dog is a good deterrent, except it takes Rotts a long time to become useful as a watch dog, so we might get a Haitian dog as well when we come back. They are ruthless when they are fed and cared for but I found them to be fickle as well. Libby left me for a Haitian family and now she's ailing badly. I doubt she'll live much longer. She was hit by a motor cycle and she's getting skinny. I'd have taken her in but she left and I've not seen her again.
Since the signal is so good, I'm going to try to put pictures on here and sign off. Two cups of coffee and I'm getting weary. Something is wrong with this picture, the coffee is supposed to wake me up. But, now it's almost 4 and it's nearly time to get up. Better push past the wearies and get myself charged up. Need to get into the Word.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Many are asking, and since we were in Port, yesterday, the sixth month since the tremble na te, (trembling of the earth), it seemed fitting to pen what I saw and didn't see.
What I saw: Thousands of tents everywhere as has been, on every available land space in Port. Some on mediums, if you can imagine living there, with traffic flying by all the time, diesel and gasoline fumes for air to breathe, plus the dirt from the street flying in your face, your food, your home. Some of the cities are rather well organized, so that the tents are in rows, and porta potties lining the periphery.
Traffic is horrible. You wouldn't think so would you? After all, an earthquake that destroyed the capital city of a nation, thousands of homes gone, people in tents and yet, traffic....unbelievable traffic. Much of it are the tap taps, (covered p/u trucks that shuttle people from one place to another, folks tapping the side of the truck when they reach their destination. Some of it are the newer buses that the former President Aristide had brought into the country, with the word Dignite written on the side, which is the name of the project. They are Mercedes buses, sleek and white, but the air conditioning must not work because the windows are always open. I don't know what the fare is or how it compares to the pick up trucks but both are always teeming with people. While you drive through all this, there are the "hockers" who seize every opportunity to sell you something when you are stopped in traffic. I applaud them for their desire to work. You need to understand that the sun is beaming and causing temps to be at least 100 degrees by 2PM. And they are out there, relentless, to find buyers for their various items; plug ins for recharging phones, plaintain chips (very good), soda and water.
Then there are the children who are begging, tapping on your window the moment you stop and in our case, windows open so a hand comes in asking, begging, "give me" Give me something, only make sure it's money because I don't want food, if you have no money, give me your watch, your ring, something that I can turn into money, but please, food is not what I want. (These children all work for someone who is watching and waiting for the money they get. They are beaten and abused and it's the most heartbreaking situation one can ever imagine. They are fearless, young, dirty, hungry, pathetic children, swallowed up by the street and all that entails).
I saw one building being restored. ONE. I saw others that were in the same shape they were six months ago, maybe a little more deteriorated. The government buildings are the same as they were, not repaired, not torn down, simply there, crumbling.
There were people in yellow T-shirts and yellow hard hats working on rubble. Shoveling it into a wheel barrow and depositing it in a special place. Their shirts read something like "Your Government at Work". Men and women working like machines to move away cement. The positive side, they have a job. The negative, of course, for how long? and how can their bodies take the abuse? Hopefully, they are getting paid a fair wage and not working with the "hope" that payday is coming.
There are places in Haiti where an American can cash an American check and get the Haitian equivalent right then. These are money changers who've gotten rich with this method of meeting a "need" for a foreigner. We operate this way. The man to whom we go, had a grocery store that went down in the quake. He and all his family (Christians) escaped. They had been in the process of building a new store and are continuing to try and get it open soon. While you can't buy groceries from him, you can still cash a check (for any amount, I might add). We pay our staff during the summer months, payday is coming again, we needed to get the cash for that. It was quite interesting to drive up to an iron gate in another section of town that has been building up for a long time. This area was not hurt by the quake, whether the buildings are being built better or why they weren't affected, is beyond me. The iron gate opens and we drove into a huge parking lot that had a couple of employee vehicles in it as construction for this building continues. Three guard dogs, and a guard accompanied us through the empty building to the office. We were greeted warmly and assured that if the store never opened, the check cashing would continue. It's a great service for us, and we appreciate the honesty of the man with whom we deal. The money changers have so much money it's mind boggling, beyond me. We are talking about the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. There are many of these "businesses" that change money.
We saw that the Epidor continues to do great business. The Epidor is across the street from where we pick up our mail. It's a bakery and a restaurant. They now have one in St Marc as well. The restaurant was full of young people, UN workers, French police, Americans. You can purchase a sandwich, a crepe, a MacDonald's type hamburger (only the brave eat the hamburgers) and pizza. The crepes are good, consisting of lunch meat, cheese, onions, sauce cooked on a thin pancake then folded over. Enough to take away that hungry feeling. I rarely eat all of mine, take it out with me and find a child who is hungry. And I did yesterday as well. He gobbled it down. It made me wish I'd not eaten any of it so that he could have had a whole on.
When we finally got through the traffic and headed out of town, we saw more rubble, more tents, and that tents are spreading outside city limits along the hillsides. We stopped to see Pastor Cesar. He'd had a wedding at his church on Saturday, the decorations were still up. The amusing part of that visit was the tent in the middle of the church, on top of the benches. Someone who stayed there during the night decided sleep would be more satisfying if they pitched their tent on top of the benches. Perhaps it was to keep mosquitoes at bay. We never quite got the full story. All is well there, he's getting ready to paint the wood so the rains don't damage it. He chose pink. Ahhh, it's Haiti, what can we say? He told us he had a wonderful Sunday service, that everything was going well and that he has a vision to have VBS all summer long. It's a marvelous idea to want to get the children out of their tents and have them in church. I hope he has the people to carry out this vision and I know we'll be involved somehow as we begin to plan with him in this endeavor.
Today there is supposed to be a political manifestation in Port au Prince. The way I understand it is this: President Preval has declared November for the election. Sounds good right? Well, not quite because those who will be "elected" will either be his wife or the former Prime Minister. No one in the political realm nor the people will allow this. Thus, the demonstration. We don't know how the political situation will be resolved but right now, Haiti has no government and no direction. All the Haitians we've talked with want Bill Clinton to run the country. Can you imagine? But, perhaps it's in the working and the people know more than we read in the news.
What I see is a grim future if I look from a physical standpoint. But, there is something else happening that far exceeds what the news media portrays and what one can see with their eyes. It's what is happening in the realm of the spirit. People are flocking to churches all over the country. Every pastor we speak with says, "My church is full. I don't have enough room, I don't have enough benches." It's happening, new converts, baptisms, repentance, interest in the Word of God. It's amazing that after ten years, we see a break through with the Gospel. People are afraid there will be another earthquake and they want to be right with God. They've left voodoo and embraced Christ. They are praying night and day, services at 4 AM. Services all night on Friday night. They've done this for years, they are praying in the harvest and harvest time is here. So, we are encouraged and excited not by what we see in the natural but what we know in the supernatural. God is at work and those in Haiti who embrace the Lord will survive eternally.
What have we accomplished?
Facilitated 13 teams from Jan through May: medical/surgical, teaching, evangelical.
Two quake victim boys, ages 11 and 8, out of Port au Prince, live with us.
Built a new church for a pastor who lost everything. (Continuing to help with this construction, need benches inside church).
Fed many children in that area
Gave tents to church members who lost homes
Gave clothing, shoes
Medical clinic saw 950 people in three days, all received meds and were ministered to.
Team bought new property to increase size of church
Supplied money for a pastor to accept quake victims (children) in his school.
Clothing given to many different pastors for quake victims who came into St Marc.
Orphanage outside of Port, badly damaged, gave rice and beans, water and money.
Accepted three children from quake into El Shaddai Learning Center, free of charge.
Team helped St Marc pastor to get sound system.
Evangelical team had many new converts.
Helped those families in St Marc who increased in size due to family victims moving in with them.
for your prayers and continued support in the efforts here. Our general fund operates El Shaddai Learning Center, the Bible school and the orphanage as well as maintains all our equipment. We need to build on our property. We are growing out of the two facilities we currently rent for school children and we are growing out of the house we live in. Only time will tell how many students will want to enroll this fall. We just spent over 7,000 dollars on curriculum for the 2020-2011 school year.
Concern: Our landlord is selling the house we've lived in for ten years. He wants 150,000 USD. It absolutely is not worth that price. If we had that kind of money we could put up a building that would far surpass this one. First, we have to put a road and water pipes in to the property, at least 20,000 USD. After that, another 20,000 USD would allow us to negotiate getting a Quonset hut type building on a boat to St Marc. (Earthquake and hurricane safe building). A new building will cost at least 100,000, if we include the orphanage and a place to live on the site I'm appealing for prayer and for help. This is no longer something we'd like to do in the future, this is something that must be done soon. In case you don't know, our orphanage is located on the other side of town, our Bible school is in another town. We'd like to pull all our programs together in one location. We can't tap our general fund, it keeps the programs moving that we do day to day. It's currently taking 7,000 dollars a month to run this ministry. We have 26 employees, and five Americans working with us.
We remain, your missionaries in Haiti.
Pastor Gary and Carolyn Walker
Friday, July 9, 2010
We do have the window fixed and we have razor wire around the wall so that now we look like a prison. Not a fun thought. Also realize that no one trusts anyone so why should we be so trusting. There will be some new rules as to who enters the house and where we let people go in the house.
Bible school is going great. We certainly loved being back with the students. I love it when the Lord takes what I'm teaching and hits me square in the heart with it. I love it not because it feels good, but because it's what I need. He is really all we need, isn't He? This time we've taken to be in Haiti when we are usually in the States has been wonderful for me in that I've had time to seek the Lord. While cleaning up the office, I ran across a book, Developing Heart Faith by Mark and Patti Virkler. It's been years since I went through this instruction book and a joy going through it again. I've also ordered Communion with God, by the same author. These are things we allow to slip and I'm blessed the Holy Spirit is directing me in this way.
On Facebook, I've been quoting a book by Reb Bradley. My intent is to try and help young parents so they won't look back with regret as I have so often. If parents set the standard high, and don't quite reach it, the child will be all right. But, if our standard is low and we don't reach it, how low is that? And, what happens to the child? I would suggest everyone who is a parent or grandparent get a copy of this book. We all know parenting is work, but it's more work than I imagined as a young mother. It isn't the ordinary household duties, but time consuming interaction with children who need direction and rules. This book points out areas of rebellion that we take as individuality.
That's about it for now. As you can see we don't live in "house beautiful" and we hated spending the money on this kind of stuff but what else are we to do? We have to leave again in a couple of weeks and this time we will make sure no one comes over the wall.
Friday, July 2, 2010
The three weeks we were home were wonderful. Family and friends, plus the Lord Jesus, who could ask for anything more? We had a very nice flight in, no turbulence which blessed me tremendously because I'm not good at that. I'm really a big chicken about a lot of things.
Before we got here we knew we were going to be faced with the looking at evidence of the robbery that took place a few days after we left Haiti. But, after looking at and talking with so many folks, we have no answers as to how the person got in, they didn't come through the hole in the window. They couldn't have, it was too small for an adult body, we aren't even sure if a child could come through it. There were two lights left on in the upstairs of the house where we live. The office was rummaged, as was Nancy's room. And out of her room was taken two computers, that we'd used at school. They were here for Nancy and Gary to work on. Why just those two when there were several others? Why not the cameras? Cell phones? And the safe! We have two, one bolted down, the other smaller one, not. It had money in it, would have been easily carried off. We think something scared them off and they left in a hurry, perhaps thinking they'd come back? The Lord knows and He will reveal what is hidden. It isn't about the "stuff", but after ten years of living here and no one breaking in, we are curious. If it was a young boy, we'd like to help him and if it is one of our staff, we certainly would like to fire them!
Gary is at the police station right now. We will go through the process of an investigation. It might bring the thief forward. One man had a key, our yard man. The problem we are having is this: the key that opened the gate to get in the yard would have also opened the kitchen door. Yes, he's been a suspect and we spent three hours grilling him last night. We had the neighbor here who thought something might be wrong at our house and contacted the yard man, came in with him to check. The yard man's story seemed to parallel the neighbors story. So now, many of us are playing detective and no one knows anything really. It's rather amusing if it were not so awful.
I wonder what happened in the realm of the Spirit. Did the angels of the Lord prevent further theft? What made him leave? Fear? Sure would like to know. But, I don't know so I trust that all the prayers we've prayed in this house sustained us in this moment of time.
Aaron, Gary's grandson is with us. He's adjusting well and enjoying Olivie and Junior. Not sure how they are communicating but they seem to be doing well. The two Haitian boys just told me they were hungry, evidently, meals were served by now at the orphanage. Aaron says little about food, I don't think there is anything to look forward to in that department. Madame Pierre is cooking us a Haitian meal today because sandwiches have gotten old.
Bible school tomorrow. It will be good to see our students. But, at the moment I think a nap is in order. I've been up since 4AM and the office organizing/cleaning should be done by now, second day at it but it'll take another day or so. Then the bedroom and I should be set for September, when it all begins again. We leave here at the end of the month for Chicago then St Louis, then WV. Less than two weeks in WV and we'll be back on the road again. What ever happened to the rocking chair, the front porch, children visiting grandparents, has not been what our elder years have been about. And, perhaps I wouldn't want it any other way than it is. God is good. I love Him because He first loved me.