Education

Because He Cares

Cast your burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

The principal of the school, Pastor Samuel, has done so much to improve the school in Carrefour Poy.  Since he’s been in this position, he has implemented improved record keeping practices and added three grade levels plus several vocational and extracurricular options for the students to participate in. Every time I talk with him, I’m impressed by his heart for these kids and his desire to offer them a well rounded education.

Pastor Samuel has a passion for education.

Of course, all of these wonderful additions add to the needs of the school.  In all honesty, there were several moments during this trip when I felt overwhelmed by the burden of the incredible amount of need & feeling like I have to figure out how to provide for these things:

The sewing class is in need of sewing machines. 

The computer class needs 30 laptops in order to eliminate the ongoing expense of renting computers. 

The computer class uses rented computers powered by a generator.

The music class currently consists of music theory and learning to play the recorder; but Pastor Samuel eventually wants to have a full band so they are in need of  band instruments. 

The music teacher plays a clapping game with the students to teach rhythm.

Honey bees got into the jewelry supplies.  They were eventually able to get rid of the bees by burning everything, so now all those supplies need to be replaced.

The addition of the upper grade levels has meant many more teachers, since each teacher typically only teaches one subject at that level.  That means that the school’s payroll has increased to the point that it exceeds the amount we are currently able to send each month. Combine that reality with the fact of out of control inflation in Haiti, and we have some underpaid and somewhat disgruntled teachers.  

On average, the teachers are paid about $50 a month.

It felt like I was confronted with a new need each day of our visit, progressively adding to my  feeling of stress and overwhelm. Even typing all that out, my heart begins to feel that burden. 

Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 that we can give all of our worries to God because He cares about us. Jesus told us that we can rest in Him because His burden is light.  Clearly, I struggle to take a hold of these promises!

Thankfully,  my husband continually pointed me back to God throughout the week, reminding me that this ministry originated from Him and that He will provide for the school’s needs as He sees fit. During one conversation with someone who asked me to meet another need, Jeremy said, “Instead of asking Wendy for this, you need to ask God!”  

Truly it is God alone who has the ability to meet all these needs.  He cares. Even more than me or Pastor Samuel or anyone… God cares about this school, the teachers, and these children. We get to partner with Him to do His work here on earth, but He is the One who provides what is needed, when it is needed.  What a relief it is to rest in that truth!

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Education, Haiti, Missions, Teachers | Leave a comment

Haiti: January 2021

After months of canceled plans and stay at home orders, I’m still processing the fact that my husband and I spent a week in Haiti! I had been trying to plan a trip for over a year and the timing just wasn’t working out. When Pastor Gilbert unexpectedly visited our church on a Sunday in October, the plans just came together as we talked after church.  We bought tickets on faith, but in the back of my mind, I knew that the trip was likely to be canceled. We were sitting on the plane between Miami and Port-au-Prince when it finally hit me that the trip wasn’t going to be canceled!  We were really doing this!!

This was my fourth time in Haiti and the first time without at least one of my children.  My husband had been to Haiti 5 times previously, but it was our first time to get to go together!  That was just one of many blessings about this trip. Although it was in many ways a difficult trip and there were several moments of discouragement, God was abundantly gracious to us… He was our strength in exhaustion and weakness, our peace in confusing and unfamiliar circumstances, and our joy in discouragement and overwhelm.

It was wonderful to see the school again and realize how much it has changed since the first time I visited 8 years ago! Over the years, the Bridge program has enabled them to add 7th, 8th, and 9th grade classes. More recently, they’ve been able to add plaster and paint to the entrance and courtyard, as well as adding a sewing class, computer class, music class, and the art clubs which make paper bead jewelry and macramé!

As always, the main goal was to meet with each of the sponsored students to get updates and current photos and to give them notes from their sponsor, if one was sent.  We also got to observe the extracurricular educational classes and I got to participate in several of the classrooms. It was our privilege to get to bring bonuses to the school staff, thanks to some generous extra donations. Plus, my husband got to lead morning devotions on three of the days. 

One thing I was really looking forward to was working in the classrooms to do a craft with the younger children and a writing activity with the upper grades. My reason for wanting to do this was to obtain something from each sponsored child that we could use as a gift for their sponsor. And why not do it with all the kids so everyone could join in the fun? While it didn’t work out quite like I had pictured, it was mostly successful and a lot of fun! I’m excited to give our sponsors their students craft or letter, although unfortunately I don’t have one for everyone since some of our sponsored students were absent when we were in their class.

Overall I feel incredibly full and blessed at the memories of the week we spent in Haiti! Both my husband and I felt God’s presence with us carrying us through every moment of our trip.  We got to see and experience the fruit of the last 9 years of ministry and prayer, and enjoy the smiles and laughter of so many children whose education we are honored to help support. We planted seeds of the gospel and witnessed several people accept Christ as their Savior. We were blessed to get to work with and be encouraged by some amazing people whose purpose in life is to glorify God and do what they can to help their country. We even got to spend a wonderful day of rest at the beach!

We look forward to sharing more details about a few specific aspects of the trip over the next few weeks.  Until then, “Orevwa!”

Categories: Child sponsorship, Children, Education, Haiti, Missions, Salvation | 8 Comments

Big Things in Carrefour Poy

There are few big things to report that have happened recently in Carrefour Poy.

This first one brings me so much joy!

Claudel emailed me recently to tell me that the mother of two of our sponsored children has accepted Christ as her Savior!  Here is the story as told to me by Claudel:

It is a obligation for all the children of The Bridge to come to Church every Sunday. But some of them refuse to come. I [will] go to talk to them and their families. It is the case for Michelet and Michelda. I explain how it is important and who is Jesus and Michelet, Michelda and their mom all began to come. A month ago she became Christian.

On our About Us page, I wrote

Our prayer is that God will provide the increase through these children to reach their families, friends, and neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is so exciting to hear about one way that prayer has been answered.  Thank you so much to our sponsors who have believed with me that God is working through this ministry.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

Michelet, Michelda & their mom in front of their home, July 2014.

The second big thing to report is another answered prayer:

When Claudel told me about the new regulations requiring that the school in Carrefour Poy open a seventh grade class, I was so overwhelmed by the thought of the extra money we would need for that to happen, that I couldn’t even think about the space needed to house the extra classes.  I prayed about it and felt that in light of everything I was dealing with, God was not calling me to try to raise funds to build the extra classrooms.  With some trepidation, I determined to trust that God would provide another way.

At one point Claudel emailed me to ask if I had been able to raise money to build more classroms & I wrote him back saying that I was not able to raise the money, but that I was looking forward to seeing how God would answer that prayer.

Construction began when the school received a small amount of money from the Haitian government, but when that money was gone, construction stopped.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

Here is how the new classrooms looked when the money from the government ran out.

In August, with the construction at a stand still and new school year approaching, Pastor Gilbert came to the states and spent a Sunday with us at Grace Fellowship.  After leaving Amador County he spent the next few days with a friend who is also one of our sponsors.  A few hours after Gilbert left here, I got a phone call from him telling me that this gentleman wanted to pay to finish the construction!  Praise God!

When Gilbert arrived back in Haiti, the construction began again, and there are now 3 new classrooms on the 2nd floor of the school!

New classrooms ready for the new seventh grade class.

Construction is complete on three new classrooms which were built to accomodate the seventh grade class.

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Ready for higher education with new upstairs classrooms!

The last thing to report is a big prayer request.

Over the last month there has been widespread, violent rioting in the city of Arcahaie as the citizens are protesting the government.

Claudel sent me this picture of the riots in Arcahaie.

Claudel sent me this picture of some of the rioting in Arcahaie.

Since Carrefour Poy is on the outskirts of Arcahaie, it has been too dangerous for the children to go to school so far this year.  Please join me in praying that this rebellion will come to a quick and peaceful resolution and that the leaders of our school will use wisdom as they balance the safety of the children with the importance of their education.

Oh Lord, God of our Fathers, are You not God in the Heavens? Are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand…

2 Chronicles 20:6

Categories: Children, Education, Haiti, Missions, Salvation, Sponsors | 1 Comment

Enough

I am very hesitant to post something so personal as this blog is supposed to be about Haiti and the work that God is accomplishing in Carrefour Poy.  My purpose is to point to God, and His all sufficient grace, not to talk about me.

A year ago today, I woke up in my own bed for the first time after 10 days in Haiti. As I reflect on the past year on a personal level, it has been one of tiredness and sickness, but more importantly, one of being reminded that God is enough.

Six months ago, as the calender was turned to 2015, I was dealing with pain, exhaustion & other unusual & ongoing symptoms. Through the various doctor visits, tests & procedures I kept hearing a word whispered to my soul:

“Enough”

During those hectic, stressful months, I wanted to shout “Enough!!!“, but the word whispered to me was soft and gentle, reassuring and comforting:

“Enough. I AM enough.”

I heard the word when I was told it was probably cancer and then later when I was told there was only a small chance it was cancer. I heard it through the very busy weeks before the Mission’s Conference when we didn’t know if Claudel’s visa would be approved and then when it was approved, as I scrambled to get my house ready for company and to prepare for the conference. During the conference weekend, I not only heard it, but felt it, like a presence when God showed up big time in every detail of that blessed weekend, big and small. And I heard it when I went into surgery a week after Claudel returned to Haiti. I even heard it during the long, anxiety-ridden month after surgery that it took to get the final biopsy report on whether or not it actually was cancer.

“Enough.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Although the nodule on my thyroid was cancerous, I am praising God that it had not spread beyond the nodule and it was completely removed during my surgery. I will not need further treatment for the foreseeable future.

When I sat down this morning to write this post, this is not at all what I had intended on writing about. I’m not even sure why I am continuing to type not knowing if I will post this. We all have trials. We have stress. It is part of the human experience. I look around me at the troubles of this world and get overwhelmed. Whether it is financial difficulties, health difficulties or the heartbreak of a family member walking a rebellious path. Then there are the world-wide problems: poverty, starvation, sex trafficking, ISIS. How can we NOT be overwhelmed?

So what does this have to do with Haiti and this blog?

For one thing, I have felt completely insufficient to run this ministry over the last year.  And yet, God has provided. Through people who have prayed for me and encouraged me.  Through the many cards & notes I received.  Through my friend Ashley who has been doing some of the regular monthly & quarterly tasks.  Through quite a few new sponsors who have joined us.  And even through other ministries who have provided for some of the needs in Carrefour Poy.

God has shown Himself to be faithful.  I have been reminded of His sovereignty and goodness time and again over this past year.

As we approach the new school year in Haiti, plans are being made to comply with the rule requiring schools to offer seventh grade.

They have begun building classrooms above the existing classrooms to accomodate more classes and students.

They have begun building classrooms above the existing classrooms to accommodate more classes and students. We are praying that God will provide the resources to finish construction before the new year begins.

I have a tendency to carry this sort of burden as if it is my job to provide everything necessary to accomplish this.  But again, I hear my Savior whisper,

“Enough. I am enough.”

By my own effort, I am not enough.  I don’t have the time, energy or finances to accomplish much of anything on my own.  So I am praying and trusting God for His provision for the school in Carrefour Poy as I have seen Him provide for me over this past year.

His grace IS enough.

 

Categories: Child sponsorship, Education, Haiti, Missions | 4 Comments

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