It has taken me a few days to get my thoughts together to share how incredible this last trip in February was. Incredible but very difficult. But we praise God, our Ultimate Guide, for how He did indeed direct and shepherd us every step of the way.
As you are all aware, we have been praying for a nurse to work alongside Max after Dieudonne’s passing. We prayed and believed God would bring someone that would fit just right in the ministry. And He did!
We praise God for a 2-day interview process – interviewing being something practically unheard of in Haiti – and then unanimously a decision was made, by not only our US team but our brothers and staff in Haiti, to bring Ertha Pieree on the mission team serving with us as a nurse. This was amazing confirmation by the Holy Spirit to have everyone independently select Ertha to work with Haitian Ministries! Praise God!
Ertha (pronounced “Air-ta”) loves God and is excited to serve with us. One of the things she said during the interview is that she went on-line to check us out, and liked what she saw and read. Ertha was a nursing instructor and possessed some experience in community health – just what we had prayed for! She is 26 years old, and Max and the rest of the team have taken her under their wings. Max is already calling her his daughter!
Over this week, we spent time in the book of Ephesians with the team. One thing that the Lord kept reminding me of was the ‘incredible greatness of God’s power and how He will empower us with inner strength through the Holy Spirit.’ And how we need that! What wonderful encouragement He provides through His Word!
This story that I’m going to share with you, a very difficult one, will hopefully give you an understanding why missionaries need your consistent, fervent prayers.
On our team, we have a young woman who has served with us several times. She does anything she can to help, but her passion is children and adults with disabilities. She asked us if she could specifically help us with this if Max discovered anyone with these needs during his home-to-home visits. We had a few discussions about this and what that would look like, and agreed it fit perfectly with what we are already doing. We were blessed that this young woman came with us this last trip and by the end of the week we found 4 people: 2 children and 2 women.
But I feel a burden to share one of our discoveries and how difficult life can be for so many we serve. We will call her Penny. She is 34 years old and is a paraplegic. She also has a mental disability. We were invited into her home to do an assessment and what we found was very sad. She and her grandmother, 80-some years old who is going blind, live in the ghetto. Their home has mud walls, dirt floor, a rusty tin roof, only 2 rooms. Each space had an old twin mattress. Penny’s mattress was all soiled with brown spots and a hole in the middle where you could see the springs, but the hole was open right to the floor, and it was 2 feet in diameter. We still do not know how she could ever sleep on this. The grandmother’s mattress was very thin, and it looked like it was a pile of cardboard with blankets over it.
Penny was sitting outside on a small Haitian chair. She was all wet from urine. She mumbled a few words but we didn’t understand her. Our team member examined her skin condition, how she transferred and how she managed her food intake. We received a little history from a cousin. We found something very disturbing about her: She has been violated many times by men in the past and has had 4 pregnancies. They have had to remove the babies and place them in an orphanage. As you can well imagine, this was heartbreaking. By the time we left this home, we were all in shock and struggled with what to do next. If only we had more money, I kept thinking we could pay someone to take care of her, maybe we should build a home for patients with disabilities. So many things ran through our minds.
And later that afternoon we found another very difficult situation, worse than the one I just shared about Penny, but just too painful to share with you now.
On that following Sunday, we all went to Pastor Jovite’s church. The message and worship were wonderful! It always feels like we are going to our home church when we are there, with many familiar faces and children that we’ve watched grow up.
But during church I received a message that Penny was raped in the night. Yes, again. There are no words for this. They did find the man and will prosecute him. My thoughts were to immediately remove her from the community. One of the family members said they would not be able to find anyone to take care of her and it would take money and wouldn’t know who they could trust. In the community where she is, there is some family that can check on her. Right now, they have a few men that are guarding her home until we can get better doors installed. We have been asked to put better doors on her home with locks. We will be doing that this week. We also have replaced the old mattresses with 2 new ones with new frames.
None of this makes any sense and it’s very hard to understand. I don’t have any answers. Please trust me when I say this is probably not an isolated case; in fact, we know it isn’t. Please pray for this young woman and her grandmother. The damage this does to a woman’s mind, heart and soul is horrific. Only God can heal this woman. Penny went to church before she became disabled and the grandmother goes to a Catholic church.
Pastor Jovite has introduced us to a family of 9 who live in a home across from the church. The home is buckling in on the sides. The roof has holes and is rusting and when it rains it goes into the home. And there are dirt floors.
Jovite asked if we would consider helping them by building a new home. The mother has been faithful for over 15 years. She attends Pastor Jovite’s church with her family. We all agreed this would be a good project to undertake. On Thursday, March 5, as I drafted this newsletter, we were shy $1000.00. But by the time of sending this newsletter, we have received ALL the money to build this home ~ this just affirms to us not only God’s goodness, but His sovereignty as well!! I believe this home will be built by the end of summer.
I also want to mention that we will be having another wedding in July! Clara and Saintfort are getting married. You may remember they are the elderly couple who were living together, and their home was falling down. They started going to church, received Christ as their Savior and want to get married. There are rumors I will be the “marenn maryaj la” – the matron of honor!
Further confirmation of God’s working is that John Pericles, whom we have known for many years, has joined the ministry. He has served with us in the past and we love his gentle spirit.
His passion is serving the Lord and he loves to teach Bible. John will be helping us serve the at‑risk population. He is married with a beautiful family.
- Unity with the team in the field.
- Our children we found with disabilities
- Penny and the grandmother(she is going blind from cataracts but we’re pursuing cataract surgery down there).
- Pastor Jovite as he coordinates the team that will be building a family home.
- Marc-Endy as he organizes and explains to groups about micro-loans, then finds a group that wants to start a micro-loan business and become a co-op that will hold each other accountable and encourage one another.
- John and his pastor friends as they explore and decide the best approach and ways to help the children at risk.
- The pastors’ conference in July.
- Travel back in April.
- The country, its political situation and economic instability
- Our nurse, Ertha, and Max. Pray Ertha will not be overwhelmed with the responsibilities of her job.
- Pray for Max and his family.
- Our new nurse.
- Team building.
- The gifts of money that came in for our new home construction.
- Safety while we travel on the roads.
- The direction the ministry is going.
Thank you all for being there for us, always through God’s working at just the right times!
~ Pam Brochu