After several months of filling a double classroom in Belair for worship services on Sunday, the roof is on the new church building. Soon the 100 or so worshipers will have the opportunity to invite their fellow villagers to join them on Sunday mornings at their new worship center. Many of them have said that when this building is completed they will come. We expect that not only the people from Belair but also many from surrounding villages will now find ample room to worship together.
While the construction team was installing the metal roofing, the painters were also at work. A primer coat of paint was applied by our team of expert painters. And when they weren’t doing that they were brightening up the classrooms in the Belair Elementary School. Thanks to the many donations of materials of educational posters and supplies, those rooms are much more functional as learning centers.
This short-term mission team was very effective in completing these projects. And we are very grateful for the work that was accomplished in a short time. But more importantly were the three afternoons of a Bible School presentation for the orphanage and village children. Each of these afternoons between 150 and 200 children came to sing, learn Bible verses, and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the result was that several of them responded to the invitation to receive Jesus as their Savior.
One of our team members, Starla Smit, a Physician Assistant, had the opportunity to work alongside our Dr. Augustine at the Tricotte Medical Clinic. It was a great experience for her and also a positive time for Dr. Augustine. At the end of the week I asked Dr. Augustine what he thought of Starla’s help at the clinic. His immediate response was, “When is she coming back?” He obviously saw the value in Starla’s abilities and looks forward to her and others being a part of this ministry.
On Monday morning, the clinic had a waiting room full of patients. I was close enough to hear a young child crying loudly and his mother couldn’t calm him down. This went on for almost half an hour but suddenly the crying stopped. I assumed that the mother had now been called to take the sick child into see the doctor. But I went out to see for myself and found that Eldier was pacing around outside the clinic while carrying the child. I met Eldier in 2000 when he first came to the orphanage. He was always a hard worker but struggled in school. After going as far in school as he could Eldier tried a couple of trades but couldn’t find his nitch.
Haitian Director Daniel had observed Eldier doing labor on our construction sites and began to talk to him about his future. As a result of those conversations Daniel offered Eldier a job as a boys’ assistant at the orphanage. For the past couple of years, Eldier has been a great help to Lizette at the orphanage. He has a way with these little orphans that is really encouraging.
Eldier probably heard the crying child as he was passing by the clinic. He didn’t have to stop and help the mother calm her child. But he did! It was a natural thing for Eldier to do. His gift of compassion for children is coming out and he is effectively using it for the glory of God!
On Sunday afternoon in Haiti, I was relaxing in the guesthouse. I saw an older gentleman come into the compound, find a chair, and sit under the big mango tree. Daniel wasn’t around so I went out to see if I could help him in any way. It’s at times like this that I could have used some Creole language skills. But he didn’t speak English, nor I Creole so all I could do is smile and say, “No comprend,” as he tried to talk to me.
I went back into the house and a couple hours went by before Daniel showed up. He immediately went to greet the man, then came into the house, prepared a plate of food and went out to give it to him. I asked Daniel about him and he told me about the man. He’s a Christian from Belair and even though his eye sight is not good, he comes down to Tricotte every Sunday to see Daniel. He wants Daniel to know that he prays for him every day and wants to know what Daniel’s needs are so he can effectively continue to pray for him.
It’s encouraging for me to see the way our Haitian partners serve! Eldier with the child;
Daniel with the partially blind man. God has truly blessed us with a Haitian staff of willing and capable workers. He is using them to minister to the most needy of the Tricotte area. We thank God for them and for you who make all this possible. Your prayer and financial support is making a difference!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl and Philip Bovenkamp