Verona Free Methodist Church (VFMC) Haiti team update, (and some divine appointments):
The VFMC Haiti mission team, along with a group from the Smiths Falls FMC, went to Guerin Haiti on September 28, 2010, to rebuild a school that had been flattened in the earthquake.
Guerin is close to Leogone, the epicenter of the earthquake. Rebuilding a school is rebuilding opportunity, and laying a foundation for hope. We had the privilege of starting the job, digging in and forming up the new footings, laying the block, welding the rebar and steel for the windows and doors, and cleaning up the rubble. We saw a lot of progress in the eight days we were on the job site.
That was our mission.
But there was a mission within the mission. There was a very special dynamic at work within the group that had chosen to go. We felt His hand was at work in each of our lives, and in the group, as a vibrant and lively team (like a football team, with talents and skills to meet specific challenges)
So, when 5 gallons of water was mistakenly put in the diesel generator, it could have been a show stopper. But, one of our guys who does small engine repair, was skilled and able, and had the engine running within an hour.
We felt His love and care in very personal ways. Should I have been surprised that the Haitian couple sitting beside me on the airplane was related to an old friend I had lost touch with? Friendship restored!
Lastly, we met people who ‘informed’ us of their own very special needs that resulted from the devastation of the earthquake. It’s clear that we could not help everyone, but the question became evident.could we help a few?
It’s that last ‘mission within a mission, within a mission’ that I am referring to as the ‘divine appointments.’
It started Sunday morning when I had introduced our team and mission at the FM church we attended.
That evening a woman who had heard me, came and said she had appreciated my words and our mission. But, she said, there was more we needed to see and hear.
I gathered our team together and we visited her in her makeshift shelter / tent, set up on the street, very near to FOHO (Friends of Haiti
Organization) where we were staying.
She told us that she owned a home nearby that had been badly damaged by the earthquake, and there seemed to be no way to ever get it repaired; she had lived on the street for 8 months, hoping and praying.
We went to the home which she owned. The builder / contractor guys on the team assessed the damage. It needed the old roof taken off, and trusses and tin put on. But how? We were very focused on our mission to complete the first leg of the Guerin school. This was no time to get sidetracked.
But we could not turn away. We knew we could not help everyone. We also knew that Jesus did not pass by the women mentioned in Luke 8:43, although he was already enroute to another task. So we determined to help.
Then, on an afternoon when we had returned to Port au Prince from the Guerin worksite, we took a walk up the choking congestion on Delmas street. A few blocks later we turned up a side street for relief from the fumes and traffic.
Some way up the street we met a group of local women dressed in sky blue skirts and tops. I inquired about the meaning of the outfits. It turned out to be a group from the Free Methodist Women’s Missionary society from a nearby church. We exchanged greetings with joy and marveled at the coincidence (both being from FM heritage)
I asked the group if there was a way to get back to our lodgings at FOHO without going back down to Delmas street. One woman offered to show us the laneways and pathways back.
As we talked along the way, Mme. Faustin told us about her family. In her 8 children, one 16 year old daughter was severely disabled. Several in our group have worked in the field of disabilities (advocacy, teaching, care giving etc) and wanted to know more. She invited us to her home.
A circuitous route brought us to her street. Then down a long set of stairs in an alley, and back up to a second floor home where we were introduced to her husband and children.
Her disabled daughter requires total care. Knowing what it takes to care for a developmentally challenged and high needs child in Canada, we were in awe of the Faustin family’s sacrifice, and ability to care for their daughter and sister.
Although her house had not been destroyed in the earthquake, it had suffered damage. Every time it rained, the water poured in. They mopped it up, and carried on. A new roof wouldn’t cost much. Could we help the Faustin family?
The team is back in Canada now, but these encounters, and two others, have both informed us and led us in an exciting new direction. There were 13 of us on the team, and so we have determined to repair and / or restore 13 families to homes.
(Time does not allow me to explain all the details on how that will happen, but already we have a good start on one family and one home. Several people have contributed to the $1250US per home, on average, that we think will be
Many people contributed to the purpose and success of this mission (including donations, Health Kits, time and energy) It’s with gratitude and humility that we thank you.
Jeff Nault (Haiti Mission Team 2010)