VIEWS OF A FARM BOY
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."" (ESV) (1 Corinthians 13:13)
My first trip to Pignon, Haiti, was in 2005. I was with the Meredith Reformed Church Mission Team. One of my memorable events that year was a visit to a place they called "Campbell's Orphanage." The directors of operation, Bill and Jennifer Campbell (sponsored by the Red Bridge Baptist Church, Kansas City) were just commissioned to this important assignment two years before (2003) and it was already off to a great start. It was a huge long term challenge for them, but you could certainly see God at work. What a joy it was to visit the Campbell's this trip and see and hear about the wonderful things happening with this great mission--now known as Haiti Home of Hope.
There is a new kid on the block! our team liaison leader, Jacqueline and his lady have this handsome new son, Josh. Jacqueline still lives in a humble room in his mother's home and his fiance lives with her parents--not room in either house for a family! They are looking forward to marriage, but Haiti culture encourages a rather large and expensive wedding. We are confident all of their dreams will come true in due time. That's why I call this story "LOVE-HOPE---HOPE-LOVE."
Friday night in Haiti was a joyous occasion. We were all so honored to attend the wedding of long tlime pharmacist friend Edmund and his beautiful wife. The wedding was at the Notre Dame Catholic Church, followed by a reception at the National School.
The Mission of the Haiti Home of Hope is to provide spiritual, physical and emotional well being to those most in need. They do that so well. They provide a loving, God centered, campus-home for a number of people and it goes way beyond that. They care for the sick and food deprived children in the greater Pignon area. Through their milk, feeding, and general health care programs, they lovingly support these precious little children until they are able to transition back into their family unit. Then they follow up with parents and children to help them establish a strong, loving and spiritual home in their own community. These are just a few reasons it is no longer known as an orphanage--it truly lives up to the goal of being "Home of Hope." Yet, the story is not complete--there is more than hope--there is also love. That's why I titled this "HOPE-LOVE."
The pictures above tell the story, and in Haiti we are all family. One of our team members, Ann, was the maid of honor at the wedding (upper left) and Alicia played her guitar and sang Amazing Grace at the reception (lower left). Our new first-time-to-Haiti guy also got into the act. Ryan is an architect and he is drawing up a design for their future new home. Then Edmund invited him to come back next year to supervise construction. Congratulations Edmond and Emma--we all love you and wish you a very happy future as you love and serve the dear people of Haiti. This is a story of love--but it also is a story of hope. That is why I called this segment "LOVE-HOPE."
I realize my story titles on this page are kind of a play on words. But I think these words are so applicable to Haiti--the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere--and how this all plays out in today's world. When you hear about the poverty, disease, hunger and much more--you may think there is no HOPE. When you hear about the corruption in leadership with money intended for the poor being usurped by the rich--you may think there is no LOVE. However, I am overflowing with optimism. Since my first mission trip to Haiti in 2005, I have seen a decrease in satanic and voodoo activity, I have seen many people embrace Christianity with changed lives. I also have seen a huge change in streets and infrastructure in Pignon and I believe I have noticed a slight change in poverty, with a few more people having job opportunities. Throughout all of this, I strongly believe there is one thing that has not changed. That one thing is the people. I am amazed at how so many of them greet and welcome us--many times without asking for a thing. But most of all, I am just blown away how they look after each other--often putting other people's needs before their own. How else can I say this? Isn't that HOPE and LOVE? Isn't this LOVE and HOPE?