Wilson Haiti Newsletter
Please pray that Haitian Christians live out God’s Word
despite personal worry and national tragedy.
… one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13b, 14)
We were getting started on a July newsletter when we both came down with chikungunya, a mosquito borne disease that haunted our community for over a month as it kept cycling through. People had fever, moderate to severe pain, fatigue, and a variety of other symptoms. Both of us lost a couple weeks’ work because of it and Carla still suffers pain and muscle weakness issues, similar to last time we had it in 2014.
Thus, illness plus the normal pressure of work in Haiti pretty much swallowed up US correspondence time, until we got back to the US on Sept 28. Currently, we plan to return to Haiti December 5 depending on the stability of Haiti which seems to erode daily.
Thousands Displaced and Hunger Increasing
Haiti has suffered not only from increased killings, kidnappings and sexual violence from gangs which now control 90% of the capital but it also has border tensions with the Dominican Republic over an irrigation canal Haiti is building on the river they both share. Over 200,000 Haitians have been displaced due to gangs and another 200,000 have returned to Haiti from the DR voluntarily or through deportation. Many live in makeshift camps in already resource-poor neighborhoods or join poor relatives elsewhere in the country.
Surrounding larger cities, gangs charge tolls on major highways and restrict food and fuel transport. This has resulted in at least 45% inflation for over a year, driving prices higher and causing a scarcity of fuel and certain foods at times. Though Haiti imports 25% of its food from the DR, the border between Haiti and the DR is generally closed. Over half of Haiti is hungry, with 100,000 children at risk of starvation in the immediate future.
How National Problems Affect the Communities served by HAFF
Members of our staff are being joined by displaced family escaping the horrors of the capital, where whole neighborhoods are set on fire. Yolanda escaped with her 10 and 7-year-old children, and 3 and 4-year-old grand-children and nothing but this laundry basket of possessions. HAFF staff family members welcoming her had to find $700 US just for school and uniforms. That doesn’t include the other clothes needed for church and play and the increase in food for 5 more people.
Yolanda and her little ones are safe and loved
IPB Students are back at school with a hot lunch
Just as we had been praying last fall, God provided an almost miraculous outpouring of contributions this last year, allowing HAFF to keep up with inflation as well as to give our staff some relief with a 20% raise! They send their thanks to all our generous donors!! We are asking God to keep previous donors motivated at those levels or higher, as well as to help us find more new donors, because our HAFF family’s needs continue to increase due to the addition of displaced relatives and the rising costs of 45% inflation.
Thus, we are asking God to help us: 1) to give another 10% raise 2) to keep the school subsidized at a 90% level and 3) to increase the amount of food given for our hot lunches since more and more students count on that as the biggest part of their daily nutrition. We were excited that July, August and September donations were bringing us toward our goal. However, October was really low so please pray for God’s urgently needed bountiful mercy for November and December.
Our two 8-month community education classes started in October. This May, the Godly Woman class graduated 19 women and Young Leaders for Christ had 11 graduates. Local pastors are again teaching elementary school health classes in 24 schools/14 communities and want to take on still more schools.
A US team in June provided a warm-hearted seminar to pastors and their wives on marriage.
IPB ((7th grade through 13th) was one of the few schools in our area that started on time in September, with 340 students. In June, 19 9th graders and 22 13th graders passed their national exams, though we and another local school suspect some tampering with our national exam results.
Infrastructure: Finished Project, Future Opportunity
With high fuel prices necessitating less hours of running our generator, we thank God our solar water pump is now providing continuous water to students and missionaries. An ongoing gift of laptops has allowed us to develop a larger computer lab, but we still need another $6,500 for solar panels and batteries.
Legal and Security Issues
After 4 years, the courts have recognized our right to our land up the road. Police in another zone are the only ones who have transportation to arrest the bandits who are actively preparing to build on this property. However, until this week the police have been tied up with helping the police of Mirebalais just an hour south of HAFF, with gangs that shot up a hospital, looted over 30 businesses, and are sometimes blocking fuel and other commerce on highway #3 that goes right by HAFF. (See Map).
Many Haitians are praying that Kenya and other countries will indeed send forces to help the national police, but what will that pressure do towards spreading gangs further up our road? Please pray for community efforts to overcome visiting gangs and for our wisdom and peace about returning to Haiti on December 5.
Gangs in Mirebalais (yellow explosion); HAFF (blue rectangle)
Jocelyn with English class at his house
Many People Ask Us: What Do Students Do After Graduating from IPB?
IPB 13th grade student, Jocelyn Joseph (23) took his national exam this summer and since then is preparing to be self-supporting by learning how to sew (someone helped him buy a machine) as well as growing vegetables in his yard and selling telephone minutes. But his heartbeat is sharing Christ with others which he does while conducting free English classes for local grade school students. He will also soon be sharing preaching duties at a small local church. He hopes to join HAFF’s pastor seminars as well as some of the formal weekend/holiday theological classes offered locally.
He says, “I’m also trying to encourage my students to find the passion or talent God has given them and start developing it even in tiny ways. Learn to draw, to play a musical instrument, to sell something. Even in these dark times, I feel that God has called me to be a spiritual midwife. I am the one called to cheer people on, shouting. ‘Keep pushing. Push harder. Bring that new life to birth, in Jesus’s name!’”
Colin and Carla Wilson
(Please note our most recent email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Like us on Facebook: Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF)
Address: Colin Wilson, 3170 Airmans Dr., Unit 1069 – HAFF, Ft. Pierce, FL 34946
Contributions: HAFF 2400 Edgelea Dr., Lafayette, IN 47909