We began the New Year by hosting a whole regiment of UN soldiers from Brazil. They were engineers and support crew here to prepare the road in the center of town to be paved. This is nice progress for the main town, but does not change the fact that all roads leading into town are still unpaved. When the UN did reconnaissance in preparation of sending their soldiers, they saw our school and realized it would be a very appropriate place to house them for the short time they needed to be here. The school has a large cafeteria, is wired for electricity, has access to water and for now has a couple of empty classrooms that could be used a barracks. They invited us for dinner on New Year’s Eve and I baked cakes for dessert. I decorated them in Brazilian colors and wrote Happy New Year in Portuguese for them. There were a couple of them that spoke a little English and Jean used an App on his phone that could translate into Portuguese what he wrote in English. With that and smiles and gestures we communicated. Before they left they used their heavy machinery to take out a half dozen large trees that needed to be removed for the future building of the multipurpose center planned for the expansion of the school. They also repaired the front gate and did other helpful odds and ends around the campus. We really enjoyed having them with us and many of them looked very similar to our sons which also made them lovable to me.
Very soon after they left, a group from Iowa came for a week. Many of them worked in the school library and made a big dent in getting the books organized in the Dewey Decimal system. They had a plumber who did plumbing and plumbing repair in our home, at the school and church, and at the guest house. A real blessing to get both of these things done. They also came with a big-machine mechanic that worked on the tractors, bulldozer, and backhoe. He stayed a week longer to get more done. A retired farmer who had come with the group last year came prepared to stay two months to help Jean get the farm off to a good start. Unfortunately, the shipping container with more farming equipment is still stuck in customs. He kept busy for a couple weeks, but has gone home for now and will come back when everything is ready for him. We are very blessed to have him share his expertise with us. Please pray that all the roadblocks in customs will be removed so that we can actually receive the equipment.
After them came a group from Alabama and Tennessee. This group has come several times and are experts at building roofing trusses and getting the roofs of our buildings up. In previous visits they have worked on the school cafeteria and the current pod of school classrooms. This trip they worked on and completed the roof of the new guest house built to replace the big house that will be demolished to make room for the building of the multi-purpose building next year. We are grateful for their faithful and continued work with us.
As they left, our most important VIP’s ever flew in on MAF. Our friend and mentor of almost 40 years, John Perkins, came for a short visit. He has been
here before, but this was special because it was an affirmation of our thirty years of putting the Biblical principles of the 3 R’s which he taught us into practice. Traveling with him were H and Terry Spees who’ve been our friends for just as long. H preached the sermon at our wedding and did the whole wedding for Lemec and Tara so it is a very special and honored friendship. As they flew in, they were greeted by all the primary and secondary school children on the airstrip. They sang ‘This Is the Day’ to them. It was a very moving experience for all of us. The students were the embodiment of the past and future ministries of HCDF. That evening we had a banquet attended by all the L’Exode teachers, the Caleb students, sponsored university students from our church who are attending school in Port au Prince, and all the pastors in the area. Seventh and ninth graders helped with the serving of the food and provided music entertainment with tambourines, hand bells and recorders. Saturday John held a short seminar with the local pastors and a preached at a Saturday evening service at the church. He preached again Sunday morning and shared another dinner with the pastors. The Sunday night service was scheduled for H, but instead of preaching he invited John up and interviewed him about his life mission and work. It was an awesome evening and I am so sorry we did not have the equipment available to record it. John had to fly out Monday morning, but H and Terry were able to stay a couple of extra days. We visited one of the Caleb students and his community and had a nice drive down the coastal road visiting along the way, finishing with a dinner of fish and lobster at a place overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Great memories.
Jean and I are feeling very grateful and blessed that after 30 years, the Lord is not finished with us yet. The school is going strong, but with much to be done in the future to complete it. Jean has decided to take charge of the school chapel times for now. I think this will make for a good growing experience for the students. The agricultural project is something for the whole community. The Caleb students are being trained to do the same in other communities. All of them have started with Bible studies in their areas as their base. It is fun and exciting to see the Lord help and guide us in all of it.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement currently and in the past.
Yours in Christ,