This Little Light of Mine

"To whom much is given, much is required"


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A Goat for Maxo

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It’s really hard to explain to my friends and family the depth of poverty some of the villagers of Dos-Palais live in. Traveling on short mission trips to various parts of the world gives me but a glimpse of a comparable, but to those who have not traveled, how do you help them understand. This story about Maxo explains the hardship that a family can experience in this part of Haiti.

I first saw Maxo in a picture as I filtered through the applications when Wissel returned from his trip to Haiti. During the trip, he had an open enrollment for the villagers with many kids wanting a chance to go to school. Maxo and his mom attended the enrollment and she signed him up. His sweet little face beamed from the picture as it portrayed a child with a sparkle in his eyes and one who loved life.

My husband’s sister asked to sponsor a child and I immediately thought of Maxo. Earlene has a grandson named Max so there it was, the double whammy! With Earlene and Bob’s help, Maxo was enrolled in school.

Our October trip had Maxo’s name listed as a child we wanted to meet and get to know. We didn’t even have to search, Maxo and 25 plus more sponsored children were there to greet us when we arrived. What a sweet child. His smile was infectious and he was indeed so very playful. His eyes always searching to see if we were looking at him so he could do something funny.

Maxo’s family, the Mombayards, have 14 children. Two of the children live with their grandfather, one is in the Dominican Republic. Another one has been given away to a family in Port-au-Prince. It’s not uncommon to give a child away to a family that is financially more stable.

So now John Robert and Miracile Noel live with 10 children in a house that has 2 small rooms but only one room is suitable for living in. The house and surroundings are DSCF1409always kept clean so there is pride in what they do own. Food is still scarce but Jean Robert has been hired by Wissel Joseph, our President/Founder to help with the building of his new house in Dos-Palais so the family will eat better for awhile. In March, Miracile gave birth to another child. Birth control is not available.

Wissel traveled to Dos-Palais in the middle of March. While there he honored Earlene and Bob’s request to purchase a goat for the family. He did not alert the family that money for a goat was given for them and it was such a surprise when the rope with a goat tethered at the other end was handed to them. A goat means so much to a family. Goats usually have 2-3 kids twice a year. Some of the kids they will sell and some they will eat. The family has a better chance at survival with a goat. When Wissel packed up to go home, the family was already constructing a goat pen.

See Maxo and his goat:  http://youtu.be/b9RRzMiaAmY

What a gift for that family! The compassion to lift others not only blesses that family but you as the donor also experience those blessings. We want to thank you for your concern and compassion for a little boy named Maxo who now knows that you cared for him and his family in a special way.

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The Rock Pile

20130312 9486 gp HaitiIt was just a little rock pile. Not like the ones on down the road that were completed and ready for projects. But what made this rock pile interesting was the little boy sitting on the pile, hammer in hand, tap, tap, tapping.

The morning sun cast shafts of light across his little pile and the air was still cool from the night. Tap, tap, tap and the little hammer continued on.

Groups of children passed by on their way to school, laughing, and usually carrying a stick or two for the school cook to make the noon time meal. The little boy turns away. Tap, tap, tap.

Construction in the out of the way village of Dos-Palais is rather crude by US standards. But also very modern as you compare it to Haitian standards. Cement bricks, mortar, gravel, and rebar all were being used for the new medical clinic in the center of town. Most of the supplies came from Loscohobas which is about an hours drive on rough roads. But the gravel came from Dos-Palais. Hard labor produced that gravel.

Rocks were taken from the river as the children transported water back home to their Mothers’ kitchen. They either carried the rock in their hands and balanced the bucket of water on their head or the rock on their head and the bucket in hand. Either way, the rocks were transported to the growing rock pile being made into large chunk gravel used by the workmen for the new clinic.

Money is important to the family trying to keep up with food for 8 or 10 kids. The money for the gravel is quickly gone. So everyone that is strong enough to swing the hammer works, never mind school because many of them have no money for that dream.

So he sat on the rock pile. Tap, tap, tap. As I came near I asked him why he wasn’t in school. Not wanting to answer he dipped his head down to look away. It’s so hard to hide the tears and the hurt of seeing your friends walking to school and now this man wants to know why. How do I answer he questioned to himself.

Finally, in as few words as possible he explained he could not go to school because his family could not afford the uniform. Family information was given and I knew of his father.

Here I stand, a man born in Haiti, with memories of growing up poor and the unknown flooding through me, knowing somewhat how this little boy felt.

“Lord, there are so many, where do I start!” And the Still Small Voice said “Just one, start with just one!”.

~Story as related to me by Wissel Joseph, President/Founder, Children for a New Haiti


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Heart Pictures

She sat like a little dumpling on the pink bench. Her big eyes willing you to notice her and smile back. She was probably 2. I love babies and this little one captivated my heart and so I took a picture. And then another.

It was our last day in Dos Palais. We finished our work and it was time to pack up and head home. We felt like we had accomplished a lot but in the grand scheme of things, we had barely scratched the surface. So many needs by the families, so many children needing education, and so many basics that needed to be put in place to make their village safe to live in. Returning home was bittersweet.

A picture here and a picture there, I had documented our trip as best I could. But I was unprepared for my last picture of Dos Palais.

It was decided that we would pack up and leave after dinner. Suitcases were always packed and ready to travel at a moments notice. Not because we needed to “get out of town” but because there was very little room to call your own. It was the goodbyes to family and friends that would take the most time. But first dinner.

The cook prepared a scrumptious meal of rice and beans, plump fried chicken legs, salad, and their famous sauce. But that will be another story.

We loaded our plates and noticed that the family were all sitting inside the little house and it was really hot so Joe and I moved outside to the porch where it was cooler and sat down.

My heart dropped. There sat our little dumpling with 9 of her brothers and sisters plus her mom on the two pink benches in the twilight. The kids have a way of dipping their heads down and then looking up that signals so many needs in their lives. They all had those needs.

That evening, my heart took a picture. It will be my most long lasting picture of Dos Palais and will forever illustrate how much the people need. It will spur me on to continue seeking help for that sweet little dumpling in the viewfinder of my heart.

So many needs and we Americans have so much. If we all share just a little, we can make a big difference in the lives of the people in Dos Palais and Haiti. Please consider supporting a child in school. Or just making a donation for unspecified needs will also go directly to help a family with food or a hand up to start a business so that they can feed their family. We……… no, they need your help.

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Donations are accepted through http://www.childrenforanewhaiti.org/ or through the Razoo button above.
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“This Little Light of Mine” blog is written specifically for “Children for a New Haiti” organization. It is our mission to bring hope to the children of Haiti through education sponsorships, nutrition, and medical services.


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“. . . . in my Peruvian Hut”

 

Growing up in Pendleton, Oregon was like living in a punch bowl surrounded by dusty wheat fields. The summers were filled with hot, dry heat and dust devils whipping tumbleweeds across the road to be caught by the barbed wire fences.

No wonder I was captivated in the late 50’s with the grainy black and white film of the new mission launches carrying medical teams on the Amazon River. The launches were called Luzieros. Our world-wide church funded the project in the 30’s which was spearheaded by the Halliwells. The Luzieros are still in service.

Fixing lunch!

Little did I know that someday I would be working on those very same launches. After 2 tours of duty on the Brazilian Amazon, the mission team switched over to the Peruvian Amazon where we traveled between Pulculpa and Iquitos on rented ferry boats. Eventually a boat was purchased and upgraded to meet our needs.

We traveled from destination to destination mostly in the early evening and during the night while we slept and then docked for clinics during the day. Sitting on the bow of the boat headed to our next town, as the sun was setting, was beautiful beyond words. Along the banks were stilted houses with parents sitting on the steps watching children bath in the water. The wash was hung to dry and contentment reigned.

Joe and Pat

They had so little. No windows or doors, hammocks for beds and just the bare essentials. How could they be so contented? Finally, it sunk in. They were contented because they had the same as everyone else, there were no stores with glossy marketing campaigns to make them feel they had to have something new to feel good about themselves.

Sure, they had needs but still they were contented. I wanted that contentment!

Coming home to my nice house I realized how blessed I am but some were not blessings at all. It was work keeping up with the world. So I began a campaign to purchase less and to really think about things and decide if it was really a critical purchase.

My family has since heard me mutter to myself, “It doesn’t fit in my Peruvian Hut!” before putting things back on the shelf. It’s okay to admire and enjoy pretty things but not in my house.

Putting my saying into practice has opened up new monies that I have available for really important things. “Children for a New Haiti” is dear to my heart and I am so happy to do without the “newest and latest” upgrade of anything so that I can make a difference in a child’s life.

In a few weeks I will be able to look into the eyes of the children of Haiti and know that all of us have a very worthy mission. To see kids in school learning so that they can better their lives and someday pass along to other needy kids the gift of an education.

But more than that, I want to look into the eyes of the boys we support and know that I have done my best to make a difference for them. What greater gift is there?

We all know that education is power and that is more important than the useless things I could ever choose to purchase for my house. But more than that, when Christ comes, I want to be able to say that I have cared for the “least of these” and hear the words “well done”!