Sunday, Nov. 16
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante traveled Saturday by motorbike to Thiote to pick up coffee seeds for our Seedling Bank program. He then took them to the national forest (Foret Des Pin) to meet Pastor Vilcuis Verite of Malasi. He gave Pastor Vilcuis the Malasi share of coffee seeds. Then he returned to Soliette to give Pastor Meristene Tresin the coffee seeds for Gentilhomme.
On Monday, Miguel is sending “Boss” Chalisma from Gentilhomme to Malasi to oversee completion of the warehouse there for the Seedling Bank. Chalisma is the man whom God used to introduce us to Pastor Tresin in 2005 and who supervised construction of the church at Gentilhomme. (CLICK HERE to read how God used Climbing For Christ to introduce Chalisma to Jesus.)
Miguel is busy preparing for the arrival of our short-term team in two weeks. The road (or what doubles as a road) remains difficult to travel.
Wednesday, Nov. 12
“This last seminary was very good,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said about our monthly meeting of pastors and church leaders from Gentilhomme and surrounding mountain villages (photographed below). “It was a test for the pastors to see how are their understanding about all the subjects we were teaching. Their answer was very good, too.”
Pastors and church leaders from six villages correctly answered questions about God and the Bible. The pastors are Meristene Trezin and Almando Paul of Gentilhomme, Vilcuis Verite of Malasi, Edma Saintilme (“Pastor Italien”) of Soliette, Luterne Polissain of Thoman, Axilus Charles of Bwapin Kouvé, and Enel Fleurimon of Jimani .
The seminary began last December, when three Climbing For Christ pastors (Dan Freng, Derek Fullerton, and Erica Zeiler) visited Gentilhomme. Miguel has asked us to present this first “graduating” class with certificates during our next short-term mission in December.
Miguel has also requested six wedding dresses for couples (like the one photographed below) who are waiting to be married. Climbing For Christ's short-term team delivered one new wedding dress last year.
“Remember, it is not necessary that the dress be new,” Miguel said. “Our work here in Jimani is increasing; many people are wanting to get married and baptized.”
Anyone who can donate a new or used wedding dress is asked to e-mail info@ClimbingForChrist.org.
Wednesday, Nov. 5
The good — actually “the best news,” according to missionary Miguel Rubén Guante — is that God answered our prayer about the road into the mountainous area of Haiti where we are going in December. He sent “an efficient company to fix the road,” Miguel said. “They are a good team trying to finish (the road that follows the riverbed into the mountains).”
Climbing For Christ is providing food for the workers to pay for this roadwork. U.S. $150 is buying one week's worth of food for those doing this job.
Miguel visited Thiote and Malasi on Oct. 28-29 to check on the road and also to arrange for the purchase of coffee seeds for the Seedling Bank project. In Malasi (photos below), Miguel visited the school, looked in on the warehouse built to store Seedling Bank supplies, and saw that the banana plants that we provided are growing.
As always, God is going before us and preparing the way for us to deliver the Gospel message of hope that is so sorely needed in Haiti. To Him be the glory!
Sunday, Oct. 12
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante worked for two days in Gentilhomme, where he visited the farmers who are participating in our Seedling Bank project to check on the banana plants. “The farms are very well,” Miguel said.
The bananas that the farmers in Gentilhomme planted have begun to grow.
The water basin and cistern outside the church have been completed and villagers are working on an addition to the church that will serve as a “missionary house.” This is a place to store supplies and where Miguel can sleep when he visits. It will also be used for cooking and storage when short-term teams, like the one going in December, arrive to serve in Gentilhomme.
The roof and walls have been completed on the missionary house, left, while work still must be done on the floor, doors, and plastering of the walls indoors. The water basin, right, is also completed. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
Miguel also spent a night in the village of Soliette, at the foot of the mountain where Gentilhomme is located. “The situation is in crisis,” he said. “I know we cannot help all Haiti, but I think our little help may be a light of hope.
“The situation in Gentilhomme is not good. There is hunger again because the people are waiting for the beans.”
The hills around Gentilhomme are green with beans that are growing, but not yet ready to pick.
Miguel walked from Soliette to his home in the Dominican border town of Jimani on Saturday – about 18 miles over the mountains – because there was no public transportation.
Later this week, Miguel will go to Malasi. The road, which doubles as a riverbed, is more river than road at the moment. Travel is difficult.
Wednesday, Oct. 8
The Climbing For Christ seminary met with missionary Miguel Rubén Guante teaching the second and third sessions on leadership. “The pastors were in joy for those subjects that are very good leaders,” Miguel said.
Pastors and leaders from churches in Gentilhomme, Malasi, Thoman, and Bwapin Kouve, Haiti, and Jimani, Dominican Republic were again in attendance. They will meet once more in November before our short-term mission team visits in December. That team includes two of the three pastors who helped start the seminary last December, Dan Freng and Erica Zeiler.
Monday, Sept. 22
Miguel Rubén Guante delivered 2,000 banana plants and school supplies to Malasi this weekend without incident. Thanks be to God!
“My trip was very well,” our missionary to Haiti said. “I had some difficulty with the truck because the driver has not done a good maintenance to the truck.” But otherwise, there were no difficulties.
“It was wonderful to see the people around Feret des Pins and Malasi,” Miguel said, referring to those who greeted him (photo above) to receive the banana plants. “I gave the plants without any problem. I gave books, notebooks, pencils, a cabinet (for the school), and other school supplies.”
The biggest problem on this trip (or any trip across the border at Jimani, Dominican Republic, photo above) is the high lake water that has flooded the road to Fond Parisien. This is the result of all the tropical storms.
Saturday, Sept. 20
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante is traveling from the Dominican border town of Jimani through the national forest to deliver banana plants to Malasi in the Chaine de la Selle mountains. He asks for your prayers.
“I’m carrying 2,000 banana plants,” Miguel reported this morning. “One-thousand eight-hundred and forty bananas for 46 Malasi farmers. One hundred for Pastor Charles Axis and his church in Bwapin Couve. The rest for the people around there.”
We ask for safe, unobstructed passage for Miguel and the truck carrying this precious cargo.
Banana truck loaded for delivery. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
Sept. 11, 2008
We have discerned that God’s provision of more banana plants than we thought we would be able to buy means He wants us to help some people beyond the mountain villages of Gentilhomme and Malasi. When our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante was confronted by a crowd of people in Soliette while transporting 2,667 banana plants to 50 Gentilhomme farmers on Sunday, he said, “They cried to me for some bananas.”
Miguel responded by giving them 267 banana plants.
“The people are despairing for the situation in Haiti,” said Miguel, who was traveling with two others, Blanco and Emilio, to make the delivery. He estimates perhaps 60-80 plants were stolen. “The Haitian custom is to be violent and untidy. Those are the big difficulties to the development in Haiti.”
Miguel has proposed that we deliver 1,000 banana plants to the lower village of Soliette. The farmers in Gentilhomme already have received twice as many plants as we originally planned, and the farmers in Malasi will also. God is looking after more of His children.
Sept. 8, 2008
Our missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante, spent Sunday and Monday taking banana plants to Soliette for the farmers in Gentilhomme who are participating in our Seedling Bank project. Like his Aug. 1 border crossing and delivery of food to Gentilhomme, it was again a perilous journey.
Neither the Haitian agriculture officer nor the customs official Miguel has been working with to make crossing the border easier were working, and those who were working at the border “would not let me cross” without great difficulty. Miguel said when he reached Soliette, “Pastor Tresin (from the church at Gentilhomme) was not waiting for me so I sent somebody to call (on) him. That gave time for the people of Soliette to gather around me (photo below). Some minutes later the people start to thief the bananas.”
The crowd of people threw stones at the truck when Miguel drove back down the riverbed road to Thoman. He unloaded the banana plants at Pastor Luterne's house in Thoman.
“This morning I gave the list of the people (getting banana plants) to Pastor Tresin to finish giving the bananas to the people of Gentilhomme,” Miguel said.
Thoman, which is located on the road into the mountains, is one of the many villages from which pastors and church leaders are attending Climbing For Christ's seminary. They have requested our assistance in building a new church, since they share a public building that is used by others for voodoo ceremonies and partying. [See Adopt a Village]
Pastor Italien of Soliette has also asked for our help. His church, which was destroyed in the 2004 flood that killed more than 3,000 people, was never fully rebuilt — despite receiving relief aid from the United States. Tropical Storm Hanna leveled the unfinished church and Pastor Italian's son was injured (photo above).
Soliette has long been a difficult place for us to pass. On our first trip there, a man who had agreed to show us the way up Pic la Selle decided for his day's work he wanted U.S. $150 (more than one-third the average annual salary). Last December, we needed to store some of the supplies we were taking to Gentilhomme in Soliette, and we had hundreds of dollars of gear stolen. It is a village badly in need of the Lord.
Sept. 7, 2008
“It's raining right now, but I'm (loading) the truck with the banana plants for the trip to Gentilhomme,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported early this afternoon (photo below).
“The road to Fond Parisien is very full of water,” Miguel said. “The lake (on the Haitian side of the border) is taking the road. I'll not go to Gentilhomme today. Only Soliette to deliver the banana and the fertilizer. Please pray to God for me for my safe trip. In His name.”
Sept. 6, 2008
Pastor Tresin visited missionary Miguel Rubén Guante in the Dominican border town of Jimani today. “He told me our church is well,” Miguel said, referring to the church God used Climbing For Christ to build in Gentilhomme. “From our members, two houses are damaged.”
Miguel said the houses of Charles Dormulis and Malasi Perans lost their roofs. He will check on the damage done by Tropical Storm Hanna — and the previous two storms — in Gentilhomme on Sunday when he delivers fertilizer and some of the 5,000 banana plants we have purchased (see Sept. 3 entry below).
The brunt of Hanna struck the north and west coasts, far from the mountains of the southeast. Climbing For Christ member Sarah Brownell, who is working on the north coast in Borgne, said their city is flooded. There is a great deal of destruction and loss of life. “Gonaives was the worst hit,” Sarah said, “so pray for them. They lost some people — maybe hundreds. There are supposed to be two more hurricanes coming our way!”
With Hurricane Ike approaching, the National Hurricane Center in Miami has issued a tropical storm warning for parts of Haiti, including Gonaives.
Sept. 3, 2008
It has been raining in southeastern Haiti. The third tropical storm in two weeks has passed over Hispaniola. Tropical Storm Hanna followed Fay and Gustav. More storms are on their way across the Atlantic. Hanna hit the north and west coasts, but it has brought rain to the mountains in the southeast as well. Some rain is good, but too much leads to flash flooding. The roads, which in the mountains follow rocky riverbeds, are now flooded and badly damaged. This happens every rainy season.
Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary, spent the weekend “working very hard to collect the banana plants from Limon to bring to my house (in Jimani) to get the best opportunity to bring them to Gentilhomme and Malasi.” We have purchased 5,000 plants for what we expected to pay for about 2,000. Miguel got a good price on the banana plants. We budgeted $1 per plant and they cost less than 40 cents per plant.
Collecting banana plants in Limon, Dominican Republic on Aug. 30.
(Photos by Miguel Guante)
In addition to acquiring banana plants for our Seedling Bank project, Miguel has been working with customs on both sides of the Dominican and Haitian border at Jimani to get us free and unobstructed passage. He’ll transport the plants to the farmers in Gentilhomme and Malasi on Friday.
He’ll also carry school supplies for both villages. We spent $1,200 on supplies — notebooks, pencils, pens, chalk, and blackboards — for the first three months of the school year. We will deliver more supplies when our short-term team visits both villages in December. There are about 100 students going to school in Gentilhomme, where we built the church in 2006, and another 30-40 in Malasi. This will be the third year of school in Gentilhomme and the first full year in Malasi. We are supporting three teachers for the two villages.
Aug. 28, 2008
“All is well in the mountain,” our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported today. “Only the road is damaged.”
That is saying something considering the road is a rocky path along the riverbed leading into the mountains. The rough road is the reason we need a heavy duty truck.
We give thanks that the people of Gentilhomme and Malasi were not harmed by Hurricane Gustav.
Aug. 26, 2008
Once again a storm eyed our friends in Haiti. This time it was a Category 1 hurricane named Gustav. Please pray for the people of Gentilhomme and Malasi — as well as missionary Miguel Rubén Guante and his family in the Dominican border town of Jimani — in the wake of this storm.
Gustav made landfall on the southwestern peninsula of Haiti, near the city of Jacmel, with winds of nearly 90 mph. The area where Climbing For Christ ministers is in the southeast. The storm was expected to dump about 4 to 8 inches of rain over Hispaniola, which prompted the customary warning that rains will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. (CLICK HERE
to read the news story, “Hurricane Gustav slams into Haiti.”)
We pray for relief in those drought-stricken hills, but we ask for rain, not storms.
Aug. 18, 2008
It rained Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15 and 16, in southeastern Haiti and the Dominican border town of Jimani. “Is true the storm killed five people between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and in Dominican Republic have about 53 villages without communication, but it is becoming stabilized,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante said. “In our village, we have not any dangers now.”
Tropical Storm Fay has rained and gone. Life is resuming to normal on Hispaniola.
“This morning I was in Limon again to get information about the banana plants,” Miguel said about the first crops for the Seedling Bank we are starting in Gentilhomme and Malasi.
“I had budgeted 1,920 banana plants. But buying them in Limon, I found some friends who helped me. I purchased 4,000 banana plants with the same budget. That mean, I may give 40 banana plants to each (farmer) in Gentilhomme and Malasi.
“I think ending this week it will be ready to be transporting.”
Miguel said he would purchase avocado and orange seeds later in the year. “Now is not a good season for them,” he explained.
Aug. 16, 2008
Tropical Storm Fay was dumping heavy rain Saturday morning on Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with some places expected to receive up to 12 inches, the National Hurricane Center said. “These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” forecasters said.
A man died while trying to cross a river in Leogane, south of Port-au-Prince, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of Haiti's civil protection department. No further information was immediately available.
Rice fields in the Artibonite Valley, Haiti's most fertile region, were flooded, according to reports from Radio Ginen. And Fay's heavy winds destroyed banana crops in Arcahaie, north of the capital, although it is unclear how many acres were affected, Jean-Baptiste said.
Haiti has struggled to cope with a food crisis that sparked deadly riots in April. This was not the way we had hoped drought would end in the mountains of Haiti. We have not had any reports from Gentilhomme, Malasi, or nearby Jimani, Dominican Republic since the storm developed.
Aug. 15, 2008
Pray for the people of Haiti.
Tropical Storm Fay developed over the Dominican Republic on Friday. Since the storm is over land, rapid intensification is not likely. However, this system is likely to produce a deluge of rain over the island of Hispaniola.
High mountains may enhance rainfall. Look for widespread flooding and mudslides that could lead to considerable loss of life.
Aug. 10, 2008
Service projects by families involved in Vacation Bible School at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trenton, Mich. raised $725 for mission work in Haiti. CLICK HERE to read “Hope for Haiti.”
Aug. 1, 2008
Our truck and crew wait to cross the border into Haiti carrying supplies to build the Seedling Bank (or Food Nursery) in Malasi. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
Today was “Black Friday” for our missionary, Miguel Rubén Guante. He dubbed it his “black day on the Haitian border.”
The day started with him loading a rented truck with hardware for the Malasi Food Nursery and preparing to travel across the border. The supplies were purchased in the Dominican Republic in a place not far from the Dominican border town where Miguel lives.
“I left the Dominican border at 11:05 a.m.,” he recounted. After crossing the no-man’s land that separates the two countries by several kilometers, he reached the Haitian border. “The Haitian authorities keep me walking from office to office until 4:09 p.m. before I paid U.S. $383 for duty.
“Always I have crossed the border paying only a little money to the people at the door. But today was my ‘black day.’”
We know, as the Bible tell us, “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). We also know if we put on all of God’s armor we will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
July 28, 2008
The people of Malasi have been filled with joy because of our project and the food they received last month, said our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante, who visited them this weekend. They recognize that God has sent Climbing For Christ to help them.
Miguel was instructed to tell the people of Malasi to search for God first. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). He also reminded them that every time God’s people run away from Him, they suffer. God told Israel, “You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live” (Judges 6:10). The people of Haiti must turn from voodoo and not worship other gods.
A plan is now in place for building a Food Nursery in Malasi as well as Gentilhomme. The people of Malasi like the idea of planting bananas, coffee, avocados and oranges to help them with their farming, which currently produces only onions and beans.
Between the two mountain villages, we will be assisting 90 farmers with the Seedling Bank.
From top to bottom: Onions growing in Malasi; farmers fields, and the church at Malasi. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
July 17, 2008*
The people of Gentilhomme have been polled about what they would like to grow in the next phase of our assistance there. “I met with the committee of farmers to get their understanding about the project,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported. “I tell them, I need their opinion about the project because that is not my project, it is their project.”
Miguel had proposed to sow coffee, oranges, avocado and plantain (bananas) in the new Seedling Bank. “But maybe they may have other opinion, so that I need their opinion,” he said, adding that the situation in Gentilhomme remains desperate.
It has not rained since Miguel pulled his prophet Elijah impersonation and prayed for rain on May 24. The drought, which began after Tropical Storm Noel struck in late October 2007, has stretched on for nearly nine months.
“All the plantings there are dying,” Miguel said.
After returning from Gentilhomme, Miguel met with our agronomist friend in Jimani, Dominican Republic. Rubén Darío Matos Durán told Miguel “the coffee need some shade; we must sow the other plants before. If we sow banana first, it will be very good.” The Seedling Bank (or Food Nursery) will be built to grow oranges, avocados, and bananas. After that, coffee will be planted.
Haitian coffee has a good market in Santo Domingo, according to Miguel, whose home village of Thiote, Haiti was known for producing coffee.
The idea for the Seedling Bank is to germinate seeds and then grow them under cover (or shade — the Food Nursery, photo below) so the hot sun will not kill them. When the plants are grown enough, they will be transplanted to the farms in Gentilhomme and Malasi.
As part of this project, basins are being built. One unfinished basin exists in Gentilhomme. It was built during the construction of the church and will be finished and used to hold water for irrigation. The basin will capture rainwater — when it rains. The mountain springs below Gentilhomme continue to run, providing drinking water for the village. A new basin will also be constructed in Malasi.
We are also working on a system that will pipe that spring water up the hill to make it more accessible to the people of Gentilhomme.
The people of Gentilhomme and Malasi — indeed, all of Haiti — remain in desperate need of your prayers.
* Corrected 7/23/08
An example of the Food Nursery, top, and the basin at the Gentilhomme church, above. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
July 9, 2008
Church leaders gathering in Jimani for Climbing For Christ's monthly seminary. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
“There was a good participation in the seminary and the pastors and the leaders had a good understanding of the subject: What is the role of the pastor?” said Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary and the leader of the monthly gathering of church leaders from several villages. “How can we be a good pastor? By following the Good Pastor — Jesus.”
- CLICK HERE to read “Mission Moments” from January to June 2008.