It has been a very busy but awesome 4 weeks since the last update. The first work team was scheduled to arrive on Saturday, January 16th/ the first day of PA’s big snow storm (which I am just so sorry I missed J ). Of course their flight was canceled and they weren’t able to come in till the following Wednesday. With the dates of their trip changing that meant it would overlap into the following week, which meant we had two large teams here at the same time. It seemed pretty intimidating with the thought of 20 people in a three-bedroom house but everyone was so understanding. Some of our boys pitched up tarps and took their air mattresses up to the roof, and some ladies found spots on the porch. As always, God provided.
Pouring the cement for ceiling of the second floor rooms on the depot
For the past almost 4 weeks of work teams had an awesome crew of men and women who endured the grueling task of carrying buckets of water and cement to finish the foundation & pour the floor of the children’s home as well as lay the roof of the second floor on the depot. Because we don’t have continuous running water we have to go down to the river to fill buckets. It is difficult and draining but I did not hear a single person complain. Every task was turned into an adventure filled with bruises, laughs, dirt, and smiles. What I appreciate most about the work teams is their willingness to do whatever they are asked. Because Haiti is so underdeveloped, compared to the states, every job in construction is done by hand. As I said, water is not delivered. Rocks do not come already crushed. Sand does not come already sifted. We don’t have skidloaders and fork lifts to transfer the materials. Every task takes 5x as long as it does in America. You learn what hard work truly looks like (and feels like) in Haiti. So to take a week off work in the states and then PAY to come to a third world country to work harder then you probably do at your normal job…that’s a big sacrifice! Thank you is not sufficient but I can say that I know God will bless them richly.
If you have ever come to Haiti, you probably know Mama Ruth. Today is her birthday and I want to give her a special shout out! Ruth Burkholder is a beautiful, kind hearted, 77 year old woman who has made a pact with the Lord to come to Haiti every time Cindy brings a team as long as her health allows. Ruth’s presence over these last 4 weeks has been such a blessing to me. She was my saving grace when I was experiencing culture clashing and helped me relax by taking Abe when he just would not stop crying. She is leaving tomorrow and I will miss her dearly. But THANK YOU Ruth for all the ways you blessed me here in Haiti these past 4 weeks but most importantly for your willingness to serve the Lord and bring others closer to him. Every time I was at my wit’s end these last couple of weeks, you were there to remind me of God’s presence. Can’t wait to see you in April!
Abe & his best buddy Mama Ruth Burkholder
Our dear friend, Melissa Wagner arrived two weeks ago and she will be staying with us until we leave in April. She has spent a lot of time in Haiti and is very well loved by not only our family but the community as well. She and I will be having English school together starting in the next two weeks or so! We plan on starting with the basics and working our way into vocabulary and sentence formation as particants progress and time allows. When I had school in 2012, our first day we had 30-40 people. Our second day 120 – of all ages – showed up! So it will be interesting to see what that will look like this time. We do anticipate the need for a children and adult class. Many people in Charrier are eager to learn English. As a Haitian, if you can speak English well there can be a lot more opportunities for you in the job field so we are excited to begin!
The depot with the finished roof. See that they have begun smoothing the exterior on the right picture
Building update – The floor was poured last Monday. The days where we lay cement floors or ceilings are always my favorite. By just word of mouth, 80+ people showed up to help carry buckets of water, sand, or cement. It’s always a site to see as they sing and dance to pass the long, hot hours. Because we rent a mixer we have to finish the project in one day so it’s nonstop work till we’re done! All the workers are given breakfast of coffee & bread and then a hot meal of rice & beans with sauce on these days. We can’t afford to pay everyone but they are just happy to not only have a meal but to be apart of it all. The phrase “it takes a village” comes to life when we pour cement J …This past week they began putting up the walls for the children’s home (see pictures). It’s just amazing the speed these guys work at. Watching a dirt patch turn into what it is now in just 6 weeks has been amazing! They started digging the septic hole, which in the pictures is at about 10 feet and they are going for 20 total! As for the rooms above the depot – the roof was poured several weeks ago and the forms have been removed. They are now in the process of smoothing over the interior and exterior walls to give it a nice finish. Soon they will finish the plumbing for the bathroom so we can hopefully move in by next month!
Digging the septic pit!
A view of the children’s home floor after cement pouring was finished!
A view from above of the children’s home walls going up!
We will be busy the next couple weeks with building and English school. The next 2 teams come the first and second week of April. Thank you so much for your continued prayers – we feel them! God is moving in Haiti and we have been so touched to see the ways he is using just the building project to bless the community.
- For Abraham – he is still not sleeping well and all the dust has given him quite the cough so for good health and restful nights!
- For the building project – continued progress and safety for our workers
- For English school
- Fidnel – a local young adult that recently accepted Christ. He is 22 years old and works every morning at the project then walks 7 miles to & from school every evening. He is striving to know and do God’s will for his life so please pray with us that he may continue to do so.
- For God’s will to be done in Charrier!
All our love,
Zacharie, Stevie & Abe
Photo by our dear friends with Janae Rose Photography