April News from the Mompremiers in Haiti
Jesus said to the people, " I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will follow the light that leads to life". John 8 :12
I have seen how God is at work in all areas of life. Every Sunday, I see so many that are giving their life to Christ. I have been busy baptizing people--almost every Sunday for the past 6 Sundays. Praise the Lord!
TESTIMONY: I want to tell you the story of the man that killed my dad. His name is Andre and he is my mother's nephew. My mom told us kids that Andre was responsible for the death of my father when I was 13 years old. My dad was a hard worker and someone who wanted to help everyone. My dad wanted to buy a piece of land that Andre's dad had rented for gardens. The owner of that land decided to sell the land to my dad instead of continuing to rent it to Andre's dad. My dad bought the land. Andre was jealous and poisoned my dad. That was 28 years ago. The fact that Andre poisoned my dad was found out when Andre's friend and accomplice, confessed to this on his deathbed. Since November, one of my friends and fellow evangelists, Dabou, dreamed about how I needed to go and witness to Andre. Twice Dabou dreamed about the need to witness to Andre, even though he knew this was the man that killed my father. Andre has a history of being violent and deceptive. In December, he was fighting with another man over a land issue. They got into a fight with machetes. He was thrown into jail. The policemen of Pignon often come out to our place and they called me when they found out that their new inmate was a relative of mine. They didn't know what Andre had done 28 years ago. They just told me that there was a relative of mine in jail and wanted to know if I would talk to him. I asked who this was and they told me that it was Andre. I wasn't surprised that he was in jailed but I didn't know what to do with this opportunity to help him. After much prayer and discussion, my 2 older brothers and I went to see him.
When Andre saw us coming, he was shocked. He said, "You came to see me? No way!" He couldn't imagine that we would be there even though we knew what his actions were. We told him that we wanted to help get him out of jail. I talked to the judge, but I didn't mention his past crimes. He said that if Andre would pay restitution for what he had done against his neighbor and if we would vouch for him, he could go free. Andre was amazed.
A few days later, 2 men were sent from Andre to get me. Andre was asking about Jesus. He knew that there had been no reason for us to help him. There had to have been something special that gave us the ability to forgive. Andre knew that I was a pastor and so he wanted to learn more about Jesus. Andre had been in voudoo almost his whole life. This was the first time he was willing to talk about Christianity. It was a wonderful experience. There were a couple of people from a team that was with UCI and they got to share in this. Andre gave his life to Christ. Ever since, Andre is going to our church. Praise God for this new life in Christ. It is not me but Christ in me that was able to show him grace like the grace that Jesus shows us every day.
RELIEF: As we had mentioned before, we have been transitioning away from relief into development. UCI has purchased 6 water irrigation pumps and 2 cows for plowing. With these tools, we will be working with families to increase production of food. There are so many more mouths to feed in the community. Each pump will be shared by 5-6 families who have adjoining land by the river. The cows will be shared by all the families to plow. We have several gardens by the river side that produce wonderful vegetables and staple crops but it has always been limited by how much a family could water by hand. With the pumps, the food produced year-long will increase dramatically. UCI's hope is that people can start their own life again instead of depending on hand-outs. The proverb in Kreyol is, "Instead of giving someone a fish, show them how to fish." One of board members here puts it this way, "Since the quake, we have had to give people food. But, with this project, we hope that in a couple of months those same people will be knocking on our doors asking to sell us some food that they had grown."
HOUSING: Please help us pray about the housing situation for those from Port-au-Prince. There are many who are in limbo because there hasn't been many decisions made concerning the future of Port. But, many people are adamant that they will not return. These people need places to live. UCI's board is praying about ways to help with this need. The picture above shows a family receiving a cement floor. There have been 76 houses that were able to receive this blessing. No more sleeping on the dirt or mud, no more rats burrowing under the dirt to gnaw on people's feet while they sleep, and less chance of parasites.
MICRO-FINANCING: Another avenue that UCI is exploring is the use of small loans to help refugees find the start-up money for commerce or small businesses. We desire to get people back on their own feet again. We believe this will be a good, long-term use of the relief money that has come in.
SCHOOL: So many parents have come to us and asked us to open a school that would help their kids. We didn't have enough schools to handle the children that were here before the quake. Now, those schools are even more over-loaded. The parents are very worried about their kids' futures. This idea of a primary school is not a new one for UCI. For years we have been working with the schools in the area and providing scholarships for students and helping the administration of the schools. Now it seems that it is the moment to help even further. We also want to continue with our plans to offer university-level education. There is more of a need for that now, too, since most of the universities in Haiti are closed. We really want to offer theology, computer, and agricultural courses. There is also the difficulty of becoming accredited. Help us pray for what the Lord desires.
Thank you for all of your prayers, encouragement, and support for the ministries of UCI.
JeanJean, Kristie, Tana and Kerri