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Our second day on the work site was the day after Thanksgiving. A day we’ve come to call “Black Friday” in the USA.
These amazing volunteers that traveled to Haiti with me were building eternal friendships and helping connect people to God. They were, as Jesus said in Matthew 6, investing in heavenly “treasure”.
Water Tank — During the course of the day the crew working on the water tank project connected all the pipes to the tank and when the valve was turned on water flowed freely! It took about 65 minutes to completely fill the 300-gallon tank. Prayers had been answered in a powerful way.
Rain Catch System — God’s blessings continued to magnify when the team encountered a problem with the rain catch system. The block used to construct the building was too porous. Whenever the men attempted to use masonry screws to attach the wooden support brackets to the side of the building the screws easily worked their way out of the wall.
A “best solution” was devised, but it would require bolts that were over 8” long. This would allow the brackets to be securely attached to the side of the building with anchors that went from the outside wall, through the wall and terminated on the inside of the building. We were assured nothing like this existed in this rural mountain region.
In an effort to try every option Greg and Sonel went to the local hardware store. Sure enough, in a pile on one often overlooked corner of a store shelf were long bolts. They were the perfect size! The water catch system could now be completed.
Play Time for the Children — After Kathy taught more classes in French and the ladies conducted another afternoon VBS there was a little time left for play. The little girls enjoyed having their fingernails painted.
The little boys lined built marshmallow blow guns using 1/4” PVC pipe.
At the end of the day the church held a special time of worship to give glory to God for the new source of water and their new friendships. Greg was asked to preach and Sonel translated.
Food Distribution — On Saturday the team had the blessing of praying with families in the neighborhood near the hotel. Afterwards the families were invited to come to the hotel. No explanation was given, simply an invitation to stop by the hotel. Everyone accepted the invitation everyone received 55 pounds of rice and other staples for feeding their families.
Matthew 6:19-21 “21 Some people store up treasures in their homes here on earth. This is a shortsighted practice —don’t undertake it. Moths and rust will eat up any treasure you may store here. Thieves may break into your homes and steal your precious trinkets. 20 Instead, put up your treasures in heaven where moths do not attack, where rust does not corrode, and where thieves are barred at the door. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Greg Armstrong and his team of volunteers from Run4Water and Friendship Christian School are among those who regularly work with Mission Lazarus in Haiti and Honduras.
I have been on many short term mission trips, but this is the first time I’ve been with a group that intentionally gave up their Thanksgiving break to serve others less fortunate than themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about holidays and spending time enjoying family traditions. These are all good. Yet, this was probably the best Thanksgiving holiday of my life. It was made doubly joyous because my wife, Kathy and son, Geoff were able to join us.
This team landed on Wednesday afternoon, November 21 and we were greeted by Sonel’s beaming smile. He’s a one-man “Welkom to Haiti” force. After a quick stop at a nearby lumber store we made the 5+ hour drive to the mountain community of St. Michele. It was soon time for dinner, devo. and lights out.
THANKSGIVING DAY —
What a joyous day. The men of our group quickly assessed the water situation and began the process of determining the best way to fill our newly purchased 300-gallon water tank.
This was complicated because the water line the local people of the Lalomas church had worked so diligently to have ready in advance of our arrival was not providing water at a steady stream. It was more of an occasional burp. The team realized this would be a source of frustration instead of a source of clean drinking water.
We needed another place to tap into the water main. A quick scan of an agricultural field revealed a daunting task for our human limitations. Somewhere in this field was a junction point where the water was being split into a Y. The water line was buried about 3’ below grade. Where should we begin digging!
I’m a firm believer that all tasks should begin in prayer. This project has been covered in prayer for months. One member of the team was fasting and praying for the outcome. The team knew God would bring us victory. God’s blessings were quickly evident when the team began digging in the ground. Not only did the team quickly locate the water line they located the junction with the Y in the line.
While the men were working on the water system the ladies were preparing for an afternoon VBS and Kathy taught classes in French using Bible materials from Global Seed Sewers. The young ladies from Run4Water also taught a group of five Haitian ladies to make beaded bracelets using colorful magazines.
At the end of day-one our team all agreed that they received an amazing blessing from helping these people.
This truly was a day for giving Thanks!
Additional Pics. for December Lipscomb Vets. House Building Project.
These are additional pics. of the area where the Lipscomb US military vets will be building in December.
In Haiti, when so many people live on less than $2 per day it can take a lifetime to save enough money to build a house. This has caused countless people, displaced by the 2010 earthquake, to resort to living in tents or under tarps over dirt floors.
Friday afternoon Sonel Dorsainvil and I met with members of a beautiful congregation of Believers in a growing section of Port-au-Prince. This area is called Canaan III and is filled with people living in these tents.
We were blessed to be a part of a process for selecting the recipient of a new, sturdy, block house that will be constructed by US military vets attending Lipscomb University.
The Lipscomb volunteers will arrive mid-December and, Lord willing, in one week will construct a new home for this family of five. The family includes:
• Michele Roselène, the matriarch
• Michele’s adult daughter
• Michele’s 1 year old grandson
• Michele’s two younger daughters
The images shown here give an example of their current home and neighborhood.
These images are from a Haiti news blog. In the coming days we hope to post images from Sonel’s delivery to the area.
This morning Sonel Dorsainvil called me from Port-au-Prince and said, “Larry, many people in North Haiti lost their homes last night.” Sonel went on to tell me that high winds and rain hit Cap Haitien, Dumas and Gras. Cities where people near and dear to those of us at Mission Lazarus live.
About a month ago a team of Mission Lazarus volunteers from Houston and Nashville visited a church, a school and several communities in this region.
Today, the region is crippling emotions that come from the quick and sudden death of loved ones.
Today, residents of Dumas are homeless and living in the area school.
Streets of Cap Haitian are under water.
Mission Lazarus’ First Response:
Sonel is a known and respected leader among those in the Christian community in North Haiti. He began receiving phone calls this morning frantically asking for help.
The depot at the Mission Lazarus Refuge is stocked with thousands of servings of nutritionally fortified rice meals that were a gift from Matthew 25, a ministry based in Cincinnati, Ohio. When we received these rice meals we did not know they would be given in love to people who have lost everything. God knew.
Early this morning Sonel loaded the Mission Lazarus SUV with as many meals as he could safely transport to North Haiti and began the long drive to this devastated area. He should arrive before sundown with food for these precious hurting people.
” ‘Then the righteous will answer him,’ Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? ‘
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.’ “
The photos of the devastating flood scenes in North Haiti are from a Haiti news blog. In the coming days we hope to post photos from Sonel’s trip.