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Note

In some stories on this Web site and in back issues of The Climbing Way magazine, we spelled the village of Gentilhomme “Jeantilhome.” That is because it was spelled for us that way upon first visiting Haiti. Maps and government material spell it Gentilhomme so we have elected to correct our spelling on current and future stories.

 

Mission: Haiti

Plan for 2007 — and beyond

A note about “Subject to change.” Mission work is constantly in a state of flux. Our plans are not always His plans and we must always be aware of the Holy Spirit's leading. For that reason, some (if not most) of what we are planning could change as we move forward in His leading. [See “The Word” at right.]

This story was originally posted in April 2007. The latest update was made on Sept. 20, 2007.

By GARY FALLESEN
President, Climbing For Christ

GENTILHOMME, Haiti — Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary to Haiti, was preaching to Le Gliz Monte Pou Krist. That is Haitian Creole for the Church of Climbing For Christ, which is what they call themselves in Gentilhomme.

It was a Sunday in April 2007 and he was retelling the story of how the building that is a sanctuary to many villagers and a school to their children came to be. He was explaining how Monte Pou Krist (Climbing For Christ in Creole) works “with people nobody else can go to help. They don't come up the mountain as Miguel comes. Someone carries Miguel's bag. They take their own bags. They feel they are doing something nobody can do. They are carrying Jesus Christ up the mountain.”

We listened as he shared again how God brought us to Gentilhomme when we were climbing Pic la Selle — Haiti's tallest mountain — on the original mission trip in June/July 2005. It was an answer to Pastor Meristaire Tresin's prayer. He needed help and God provided it in the form of Climbing For Christ.

“They promised to help Gentilhomme make a church,” Miguel said. “We are a church.

“They promised to help Gentilhomme with a school. We are a school.”

The church was finished in April 2006 and the school was started in September 2006. It is the first time the children of Gentilhomme have had a school to attend.

Miguel then outlined some of the work still ahead of us:

  • Establishing a health clinic and providing medical supplies and help.
  • A sanitation project in a place where using a toilet is unheard of.
  • Providing clean water.

As much as that seems like a lot of work, it only scratches the surface of what needs to be done in the mountains of Haiti.

God has begun to lay out what He will have us do in this impoverished, troubled country — a nation that is among the poorest in the world and is a prisoner to voodoo (see the story “Voodoo is NOT the answer” on the News on Haiti page).

First, the people must be released from bondage to Satan through Holy Spirit power. We witnessed this occurring during baptisms on our April mission trip. Evil spirits fought for control of some of the people as the Holy Spirit descended to bless their lives (read the Saturday, April 14, 2007 — 3 p.m. report on the Dispatches page). In the end, God won the day.

We can minister to the spiritual needs of these people while addressing their physical needs: such as clean water, sanitation, food, health care, and education. There are many churches and villages seeking our help. [See MISSION: HAITISPECIAL REPORT in The Climbing Way (Volume 8, Summer 2007).]

While we continue to seek the Lord's direction through prayer, we plan the next steps to be taken in the mountains of Haiti. Here is an overview of what God is calling us to do:

 

Baptism

A woman desiring to be baptized flails in the river as she is lowered into the water by pastors. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)

APRIL

* After returning from our trip, letters were sent to the World Food Programme in Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, requesting assistance for the school in Gentilhomme. This time of year (called the “dead time” because it is planting season) the people often eat only one meal a day, consisting of corn and beans. There is no rice and little else to eat. One little girl who met us with a group of schoolchildren when we arrived in Soliette nearly passed out as we ascended the trail in 93-degree heat because she had not eaten that day and had drunk only a little water. We provided her with some food and Miguel gave her water. It is not uncommon for the children to come to school on empty stomachs.

Unfortunately, the World Food Programme in Santo Domingo wrote its regrets: “WFP in the Dominican Republic no longer executes projects nor operations to donate food.” The letter went on to say the WFP in D.R. now provides technical assistance to the Dominican government “to improve its policies and programs aimed to fighting hunger and malnutrition.

“We congratulate you on the excellent initiatives your church is leading to those in need.”

 

Hungry girl

A young girl overcome with hunger and thirst sits along the trail, eating some crackers we had in our backpacks after drinking some water Miguel gave her. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)

MAY

* Miguel was scheduled to accompany Dr. Yirdana Corporan, a Dominican doctor working with the Haitian (and U.S.-educated) Dr. Marc Pinard of the International Medical Alliance, to Gentilhomme on May 4 (this was postponed numerous times by Dr. Yirdana). She was going to check on the sick and injured that we prayed over, including Clerisia Blanc (stomach ailment since January), Jolicia Mondelis (blindness), and Santane Senrigene (crippled left leg). Dr. Yirdana was also going to provide us with a list of the most serious health issues to help us prepare for a clinic that we are planning to administer in December. Preliminarily, she expects that there is a great need for:

  • Vitamins for pregnant women and babies.
  • Soap for skin ailments (scabies) and rashes.
  • Medicine for stomach problems, such as worms.
  • Cold medicines, especially respiratory drugs.
  • Ointments for foot and head funguses.

* The greatest needs to improve health are sanitation (there are NO toilets in Gentilhomme and the people go to the bathroom everywhere) and clean water (a river running off the mountain is the source for water — it is located about 425 vertical feet below the village, a steep hike that people make three times a day to collect water, clean themselves, and do wash). Sarah Brownell of Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), which works in the north coast town of Borgne, Haiti, is partnering with us on this project. Sarah, who has a Master's degree in environmental engineering, has suggested we introduce arborloos to Gentilhomme. It would cost about $15 per house. There are approximately 50-100 houses in Gentilhomme. We have photographed and mapped the water source for the village and I have begun discussing this with Sarah as we seek ideas for ways to bring water to the village and purify it before consumption. Miguel will help us design this system.

* Miguel also has suggested (and we agree) that we need to build an addition on the church that will serve as a kitchen and private place to eat, change clothes, and sleep. As it is, these things are done in the church/school in full view of everyone. Miguel feels it is inappropriate to be cooking, eating, etc. in the church. He has provided a design idea and cost estimate for this addition. He estimated $3,678 for materials, $1,133 for labor, $503 for transportation and $531 for “the unexpected” for a total of $5,845. As we send more people to Gentilhomme, this will be a valuable addition to the church property.

* Miguel, who was trained in the Christian Reformed Church seminary in Santo Domingo, was scheduled to visit the churches at Thoman, Malasi, and Soliette to provide spiritual guidance and evaluate the requests for our help in those places. His report:

  • May 5-6: Visited the church of the shepherd Liten Olisin in Thoman to evaluate the necessity of the aid that they have solicited.
  • May 12-13: Visited the church of the shepherd Vilsuis in Malasi to evaluate the church as a whole (the building, furniture, its membership and shepherd) for a possible affiliation with Climbing For Christ.
  • May 19-20: Visited the Church of the shepherd Italien in Soliette to evaluate the attendance and the membership for a possible affiliation with Climbing For Christ.

JUNE

* The school year ended June 12. We were paying each of the teachers $50 per month from January-March. This was increased to $100 a month after seeing what a blessing the school is to the children in Gentilhomme. We will not pay the teachers during the summer months (July and August).

* Dr. Yirdana finally was able to visit Gentilhomme and appraise the health situation. The most serious problems in order of priority:

  • Flu, asthma, and other pulmonary diseases
  • Anemia
  • Gastritis
  • Vaginal infection
  • Urine infection
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dermatitis and other skin diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Ear infections

 

Raising flag

Students raise the Haitian flag before school begins and lower it at the end of the school day. (Photo by Brian Arnold)

JULY

* Miguel visited Gentilhomme to learn how the school year ended and see what the church's needs might be. He also made a follow-up trip to Malasi to encourage the church there. In late June, Pastor Vilsuis came to Jimani with 27 members of the church of Malasi to visit Miguel. They are eager to be affiliated with Climbing For Christ.

AUGUST

* Purchase of school supplies and preparation for the new school year.

BREAKING NEWS: Hurricane Dean passes by Haiti on Aug. 19 and a young boy in Gentilhomme is severely injured in a fall, requiring medical attention. CLICK HERE to learn more about “Saving Gilbert.”

 

School's open
2007-08 School Year begins

Students returned to the classroom in the church in Gentilhomme the week of Sept. 17. (Photo by Miguel Rubén Guante)

SEPTEMBER

* School began again on Sept. 17. School supplies and a plan for the two teachers were delivered by Miguel.

DECEMBER

* A 10-person team is expected to go on mission to help with the school and church in Gentilhomme. There are about 125 students in only their second year of school. We are paying two teachers to provide instruction. Team members will have an opportunity to witness a typical school day and perhaps serve as a teacher's assistant. In April, team members delivered several bags of clothing for children and adults in the village. We also took Creole Bibles to the church. We will take clothing, Bibles, school supplies, and the makings for shoebox Christmas gifts. Members of Hope Lutheran Church in Rochester, N.Y., have been donating gifts to fill shoeboxes that will be distributed to children in the village. We will construct the boxes after reaching the village.

But that's not all. We'll also be:

  • Working on sanitation. There are NO TOILETS in Gentilhomme.
  • Working on the water supply — or lack thereof. There is NO WATER in the village. Villagers descend 600-to-800 vertical feet three times a day to fetch water from a river and springs running off the mountain.
  • Appraise the health of the village. There is NO MEDICAL CARE within 30 kilometers of the village. Sick or injured people must walk 18 miles over two mountains to seek help. They usually can't or don't make the trek.
  • Visit the village of Malasi, a three-hour hike from Gentilhomme to survey the needs and possible work Climbing For Christ can do there in the future.

Tentative schedule (Monday, Dec. 3 to Wednesday, Dec. 12):

  • Day 1: Travel from U.S.
  • Day 2: Transport to Soliette and hike to Gentilhomme.
  • Day 3: Begin work in Gentilhomme.
  • Days 4-6: One group will climb Pic la Selle (via Malasi) while another group continues to work in Gentilhomme.
  • Day 7: Worship.
  • Day 8: Work in Gentilhomme.
  • Day 9: Hike to Soliette and transport out.
  • Day 10: Travel. 

The estimated cost to Climbing For Christ members who are led to participate: $1,500 to $1,800 (including round-trip airfare from New York City to Hispaniola).

EARLY 2008

* Health clinic in Gentilhomme. This clinic will be open to people from Gentilhomme and surrounding villages. It will possibly involve several health-care workers from the U.S. and several members of Climbing For Christ. In addition to the clinic, we will deliver more clothing, school supplies, and Creole Bibles. Work will begin or continue on sanitation and water. Tentative schedule:

  • Day 1: Fly from U.S.
  • Day 2: Transport to Soliette and hike to Gentilhomme.
  • Day 3: Set up clinic.
  • Days 4-8: Clinic.
  • Day 9: Break down clinic.
  • Day 10: Hike to Soliette and transport out.
  • Day 11: Fly to U.S.

The estimated cost to Climbing For Christ members who are led to participate: $1,500 to $1,800 (including round-trip airfare from New York City to Hispaniolia).

YEAR IN REVIEW

Our goal is to fulfill our pledge to Gentilhomme to provide a church, school, health care, water, and toilets before extending greater aid to other villages and churches in Haiti. We can provide prayer support, spiritual guidance, and Creole Bibles to other churches, and will begin to do so immediately. Health care as part of our plan in Gentilhomme also will be available to some of the neighboring villages and churches.

All that is being planned will require funding. In addition to the usual monthly support — $700 to $1,200 to pay for our missionary's salary, communication, travel, the teachers, and help for the church — we will have bigger-ticket items, ranging from building supplies to toilets to developing a water system. Estimates are in the works. We also feel it would be prudent to buy a truck for about $4,000 since it has cost us from $1,000 to $1,250 in rental expenses each of the past two trips. This vehicle will be used to transport supplies (from building to medical) and carry our teams in-country. A little U.S. money can go a long way toward improving conditions for those in need in Haiti.

Fundraising will include:

  • Stories on our Web site, in E-Newsletters, and with a “Special Report” in the The Climbing Way (Volume 8, Summer 2007). Pitching story ideas to the secular media (newspapers, TV and radio) as well as Christian media.
  • Appeals to past Mission: Haiti supporters to continue providing financial help.
  • Appeals to local churches known to have a heart for Haiti.
  • An event or events similar to our “Share the Wealth” concert, which featured recording artist and Caedmon's Call song-writer Randall Goodgame and raised more than $10,000 to build the church in 2005.

As part of Mission: Haiti, we are in prayer for a staff pastor. We believe it would be an important part of that job to serve as a spiritual advisor to the growing Le Gliz Monte Pou Krist in Haiti. God is moving; we're just trying to keep up with Him.

The Word

“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.”
— Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

 

What's Needed

To do the work the Lord has put before us in Haiti, we need the following funding for 2007 (January through December; note that these numbers are estimates):

Monthly expenses (including support for our missionary and two school teachers): $13,500
Transportation: $4,000 for truck purchase
Church addition and building maintenance: $7,000
Sanitation: $6,000
Water project: To be determined
Staff visits: $4,500

Goal: $35,000+
Money raised: $9,993.82*
Still needed: $25,500+

* Does not include $4,450 for “Saving Gilbert.”

 

Helping Hands

We need your help. More importantly, the people of Haiti need your help.

It starts with your prayer support and includes your financial gifts. Please consider contributing to Climbing For Christ to help us do His work in the mountains of Haiti. The need is great in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world.

Please send a donation payable to Climbing For Christ, earmarked “Mission: Haiti.” Mail your gift to: Climbing For Christ, Inc., P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, N.Y. 14616-0290

 

Special Note

Sending money to missionaries in developing countries is a challenge. Climbing For Christ no longer will use Western Union to do this. Unprofessional business practices by Western Union have led us to decide to stop using this service.

 

Our Prayer

“LORD, keep our eyes on You and our pace in sync with Yours. May the Gospel spread like wildfire from the backdoor entrance of Haiti throughout the nation. That Jesus You would be exalted as the God and Savior of Haiti as voodoo is crushed under Your mighty foot!  Set them FREE in Your powerful Name!  AMEN.”
— Pastor Derek Fullerton, Climbing For Christ board member

 

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