I heard from Mike tonight. He said that they had a great day yesterday. Thank you so much for your prayers. Yesterday Morning they really enjoyed their time in Pass Rein. Mike said it was so good to connect with the villagers. Some of the people were sharing just how much had changed since we first felt God had called us to Pass Rein. Thousands have given their lives to the Lord, including many witch doctors, more than I can count. God has been so good and faithful and many of you helped to pray the change in. Even the soil has changed, which is huge for an agricultural community.
In the afternoon they went to Perou, Joey took some drone footage, I've included one shot in this email. While there, Mike was working on an estimate for finishing the roof and floor of the school. Mike said it was really good to be able to connect with the community in Perou. Our hearts are still so intertwined with the villages we've been a part of.
I have also included photos of Joey, Mike and Cassandre landing in the field in Gonaives and one of Mike and Cassandre at our home in Gonaives. Cassandre is the representative for Partners World Wide that I talked about in the last e-mail.
An interesting story took place today, Mike was telling Cassandre about one of our friends, from our Gonaives neighborhood, that we had mentored. She asked if she could interview them. So Mike asked them if they were okay with that and they were, so Joey filmed while Cassandre interviewed them. I haven't seen footage of the interview, but I do have a couple of photos, so I thought I would share their story, since I know it :)
We met Kalano and his wife one day, because I like to take what I call Baby bundles to new moms in Haiti. So when we heard that Francesca had had a baby, we asked if we could visit. At that time Francesca who had a daughter from a previous relationship was living in one room with Kalano and their newborn son Rye. They only had a bed for them, not the children, and there would not have been room for one. We gave them a used pack and play from the Children's Village for their newborn. Then we just started becoming friends with them.
After a while, I honestly do not remember how long, they started asking about Jesus, they said they were sad because they could not go to church to find out about Him, because they did not own any good clothes. We shared with them about Jesus and they gave their hearts to the Lord. Then we told them they could come to our church, their clothes did not matter. So they started riding to church with us. After a while they became convicted by God and asked Mike if he would baptize them. So he did.
Kalano and Francesca had tried to start a little roadside boutique in front of their rented room. First it was selling cooked hotdogs. Next they tried to sell some non-perishable food items. When that failed also, we talked to them about trying it again in the little one room building connected to our front gate. They agreed to let us mentor them, in business this time. One of their previous mistakes had been not understanding that as you are paid for items by customers you need to set some of the money aside to purchase more goods, and not just go out and spend it all. They also needed to set aside some money for the wages they needed for their family expenses and learn how to budget along with other simple business practices.
In the beginning, we invested in a small chest freezer and some basic staples for the boutique. Then every evening they would bring the money they received for goods to us, along with a list of every item they had sold. We would show them how much to set aside into each category and such. The evening after the first month was over we gave them back what they had saved to purchase more goods. Then we gave them what they had put aside for their wages. Kalono not fully understanding said "no, I cant' take money from you after all you have done for us". So we re-explained that it was what he had earned and had been setting aside for his own wages. I don't think I have ever seen any man smile and beam as much as he did. He was so proud of himself. He had received a HAND UP not a HAND OUT. We worked with them for about 6 months, slowly transferring more and more of the responsibility over to them as they learned and grew.
A while later they said that they thought God wanted them to be married. So they asked Mike to marry them. Which he did with much joy. Now, about 5 1/2 years later, they run a very successful boutique and clean drinking water depot. They rent a home with multiple rooms, have a moto, so they do not have to pay tap tap (transportation) fees when buying their wholesale goods or when they go to church or take their children to school. And, they have both children enrolled school. They are a living God success story. We are so thankful to God for all that he has done for them.
Tomorrow will be the Pastors Conference. Please pray for open hearts, and that Mike is led by God as he teaches, models and imparts to the Pastors. Please pray they are encouraged. Thank you so much, we value your prayers.