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Mission: Haiti 2007

'Love one another'

By Gary Fallesen
April 5, 2007 (Maundy Thursday)

Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary to Haiti, refers to him as “Compadre.” To us, he was “Dancer.” He was one of the main builders on the church project in Gentilhomme. He danced and joked with everyone as we worked in April 2006.

Compadre, like our brother Miguel, lives in Jimani, Dominican Republic, on the border of Haiti because there is more work and a slightly better life in the D.R. Many hard-working Haitians live alongside Dominicans. But this is not without risk.

“Sunday night some gang attack him and cut him in four parts in his back,” Miguel e-mailed on Wednesday. “Many Dominican people hate the Haitians. Often you may read by the news, gangs of Dominicans killing Haitians.”

That is what they tried to do to Compadre on Palm Sunday.

Man mistreats man. On this day in history, Jesus left His disciples with a mandate: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

How are we doing?

A boatload of more than 100 Haitian migrants washed up on a beach in South Florida last week. One man was dead and three people were critically dehydrated after being at sea for three weeks in the dilapidated 30-foot sailboat, deemed “unseaworthy and grossly overloaded” by someone from the U.S. Coast Guard. A friend of Climbing For Christ, who was in Florida, saw the report about the Haitians on the TV news. The story followed a story about how much it costs Americans to keep diseased house pets alive. Our friend was struck by the juxtaposition: how much people are willing to pay for Spot or Fluffy and how little is done for our fellow man.

Love one another.

We are preparing for another Mission: Haiti trip — a visit to our favorite village on a hill. There is a church there now and a school with 140 students. We will be accompanied by two Dominican doctors; not all Dominicans dislike Haitians. We will study the medical needs in Jeantilhome to set up a clinic later this year. We will survey the sanitation and water situation. We will deliver clothing and Creole Bibles. We will show the love of Christ.

It is such a simple thing to do, especially when it is seen in the light of this holy week. Jesus went to the cross for us — all of us — and rose again so that any who believe in Him may have eternal life.

While we are in Jeantilhome, we will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the church that the Lord used us to build. A church that “Compadre” (“Dancer”) helped his Haitian brothers and sisters build. Compadre's name is also Miguel. He survived the gang attack and is in a hospital in the Dominican Republic. We send him the love of the Resurrected Savior.

Compadre, left, was one of the main workers on our building crew at the church in Jeantilhome, Haiti last spring.

This story originally appeared in E-Newsletter 77.

Factoid

Last year, Coast Guard agents patrolling the waters of South Carolina, Florida and the Caribbean stopped 6,061 migrants, 769 of them from Haiti, according to The Associated Press. Unlike the case of Cubans, who are generally allowed to stay once they reach U.S. soil, most Haitians who illegally make it into the U.S. are sent back.

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