The Toll of Seeking Change

Photo by Doug Bradbury

By Jeff VanderMolen

“Hey. What’s really happening in Haiti? I can’t get any consistent news online.”

Pausing to think about how to respond to the text I received, I recalled a recent headline from the New York Times: “Haiti’s Ashes; Decades of misrule have once again brought Haiti to the brink of collapse. Does anyone care?”

This year has been hard—even by Haitian standards. Lenord called to tell me that it’s very hard on people in the countryside. Protests have disrupted the flow of goods out to countryside markets, causing food shortages. Jules told me that gas prices have skyrocketed. The exchange rate is at an all-time high. Jeanne said that even in Les Cayes, there have days when they just stayed inside.

The current events that do come through on Twitter and other Haitian outlets feature dire news. The Petro Carib Oil scandal has led to continued protests with calls for the president’s resignation. Schools, businesses, hospitals, and gas stations have had to close their doors.

I’m no expert in Haitian history or politics—even my Haitian friends say they don’t know how this will be resolved. Bondye konnen tout bagay—God knows all things. You cannot channel the work of God like a levee on a river. His goodness overflows and seeks its own path.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
  his love endures forever.

 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
  those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
  from east and west, from north and south.[

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
  finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
  and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.

 He led them by a straight way
  to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
  and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
  and fills the hungry with good things.

—Psalms 107:1-9

We’ve learned over the years that when we hit a wall, it’s really an opportunity to pivot and trust God for a new plan.

Two years ago, the entire Haiti H2O team met in St. Martin to discuss the future of the ministry. The conversations from that weekend have enabled us to continue ministry to each community this year while no American teams have been able to travel to Haiti.

Meloniere broke ground for a new school building with funds from the Bike4Haiti trip, raised by Church of the Ascension’s youth group. Plain Matin, in partnership with Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church, hosted a three-day medical clinic with an all-Haitian staff. Baissin Caiman’s long-term relationship with Friendship Community Church ensured that progress continued on several fronts—the floor for the corn grinder was poured and doors were installed at the school. They also have plans to host a medical clinic.

Our responsibilities don’t change because present circumstances are not what they once were. We continue to trust God’s goodness and seek to do His will. We thank all of you for partnering with us in this work!