Mission: Haiti 2008
Sharing news from the mission field ...
June 30, 2008
Climbing For Christ needs a truck for Mission: Haiti.
The one photographed here was rented for use on Saturday, June 28 for delivery of our Food Bank provisions to the mountain villages of Gentilhomme and Malasi. Each rental costs us U.S. $250 to $350
, plus another $100 for gas. We could purchase a truck like this for $700 a month. We are praying that a truck dealership in the United States would be moved to donate a truck to enable us to deliver food and agricultural supplies, as well as other goods and people. Transportation on the rugged “roads” (sometimes just a dried-up riverbed) in the Chaine de la Selle mountains of Haiti is one of the costly challenges Climbing For Christ has faced since starting to minister there in 2005. E-mail info@ClimbingForChrist.org
if you can help us with this need.
June 29, 2008
Our missionary has returned from the second Food Bank delivery, this time dropping additional food in Gentilhomme and then continuing on to make a first drop at Malasi.
“I give thanks to God for safety on my trip,” Miguel Rubén Guante said. “When I arrived in Soliette, Pastor Italian called me to tell me I must take care to do everything quickly because it was possible to have a problem with the people with the food. There was a plan to attack the truck and take the food.”
Soliette is a village on the river bed that serves as the road leading into the mountains. It is located at the base of the trail that climbs to Gentilhomme. We have, historically, had difficulties in and around Soliette.
“I asked him (Pastor Italian, whose church is in Soliette) to pray, thanking God for the food and the delivery,” Miguel said. “As soon I finished the delivery of Gentilhomme’s food, the people from Soliette started to come near the truck. I told the driver to run the truck engine while the people who were with me and I cleared a path around the truck.
“The people are letting the hunger bring them to the bad road (the sin). I do not know what we can do to get the cure the people. Jesus said: for big ill, big cure.”
Miguel talked about the story of the sinful woman who wept on Jesus’ feet and then washed them with expensive perfume found in the Gospel of Luke (7:36-50). “I tell you, her sins — and they are many — have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love,” Jesus said in Luke 7:47.
The people must seek forgiveness. But they are being deceived by desires of the flesh, namely hunger. “When you are doing some good work for the King, often the evil one will put a lot of difficulty in the process,” Miguel said.
After God protected the truck delivering the food, Miguel and the others proceeded to Malasi.
“Malasi’s people were very peaceful,” Miguel said. “Pastor Vilsuis knew more people than the 45 we listed (as recipients of our first food delivery there) would want to come to Gros Cheval, where I was scheduled to deliver the food. He took the people near the national forest to avoid problems for those receiving food and for me.” They were given the food that God provided.
People from Malasi, top, give thanks to God through prayer for the arrival of food in a national forest near their village. Above, some of the 160-plus people — including Pastor Vilsius, center holding hat — being fed in Malasi by our Food Bank program. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
Please keep praying for the Food Bank program, the Seed Bank program that will be starting soon, and all that we are doing in the mountains of troubled Haiti.
“The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” — Psalm 121:7-8 (NLT)
June 22, 2008
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported a “nice and fruitful trip” to Gentilhomme on Saturday. He was accompanied by an agronomist from the Dominican border town of Jimani. The agronomist recorded notes on existing plants and began to make plans for our Seed Bank program. The people of Gentilhomme were “waiting for us in joy for the project,” Miguel said.
Miguel said Gentilhomme is changing. It is greener and plants are blooming. The 7-month-old drought may be divinely easing.
Emilien, one of the teachers, was sent to Malasi to help Pastor Vilsuis prepare that village for its first Food Bank delivery on June 28. Forty-five families are to receive food. More food will also be dropped at Gentilhomme. In all, 108 families are receiving food from Climbing For Christ’s Food Bank.
We are praying for His continued protection and guidance in the delivery of food that He has provided for His hungry people.
“Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.” — Isaiah 59:1 (NLT)
The agronomist, top, holds a green mango eaten by a hungry Haitian along the trail leading to Gentilhomme. Crops, above, are green and growing. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
June 16, 2008
We have heard from Pastor Tresin and the teachers in Gentilhomme. They said that everyone in the village has been talking about Saturday, June 7 — “the day God sent food for them.”
Food was delivered to 42 families in Gentilhomme. We have now identified 45 families in Malasi that will receive something to eat from our Food Bank program.
June 12, 2008
Our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante read the prayer we sent to Climbing For Christ’s Prayer Team before he made the first delivery of food to the people of Gentilhomme. “That prayer helped me very much,” he said.
He rejoiced that the food reached the people who needed it. “In Gentilhomme, the people were eating green (unripened) mango because of their hunger,” Miguel learned. “Many of the people who I gave a bag divided the food with other people.
“We are in the time when God is inspiring in us to work for the poor.”
We know He is also working in the hearts of our members and friends to continue supporting Mission: Haiti through prayer and financial giving.
Miguel hosted our monthly seminary on Wednesday and met with Pastor Vilsuis of Malasi to start our Food Bank program in that mountain village. Both Gentilhomme and Malasi will also be part of our Seed Bank program. Miguel is establishing an “Association of Farmers” in both villages. Miguel and Pastor Vilsuis will meet again next week to make plans for food delivery to Malasi.
June 8, 2008
“I gave the food without any problems,” Miguel Rubén Guante reported today.
Those words and the images of hungry people receiving food and giving thanks to the One who provided this food makes our hearts dance with joy. Thank you, Jesus.
God delivers: Miguel Guante, right, hands out food to the first of five groups of people from Gentilhomme. Miguel arranged for those who would receive our initial Food Bank delivery to meet him in the river valley.
“It is immeasurable the way that God is using us to save His people in Gentilhomme,” a happy Miguel said after returning from delivering a truckload of food across the Dominican border and up the river valley to the mountain village of Gentilhomme.
In all, Miguel said food was given to 63 families. There is enough rice, beans, flour, corn flour, sugar, spaghetti, sardines in tomato sauce, cooking oil, and soap for about 500 people for four days.
Giving thanks: Pastor John from the Episcopal church in the Dominican border town of Jimani leads a group of people from Gentilhomme in prayer to give thanks for the food they were about to receive. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
Next weekend, Miguel will take an agronomist to Gentilhomme to begin our Seed Bank program for the people there.
Climbing For Christ’s monthly seminary for pastors and church leaders from several villages in the Chaine de la Selle will also be held on June 11. Miguel will meet with Pastor Vilsuis of Malasi to discuss the families of in that village who are most in need to food, which will be delivered in another two weeks.
June 6, 2008
The generosity of a few members and some friends of Climbing For Christ — people who were willing to share what the Lord has blessed them with — has allowed us to start a Food Bank program in the mountains of Haiti.
May the people eat and rejoice that the Lord our God has delivered them.
Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary, used gifts from Climbing For Christ to purchase rice, beans, corn flour, sugar, cooking oil, sardines in tomato sauce, spaghetti, and soap. He will be packing these items into bags today and tomorrow, and deliver the provisions to 42 needy families in Gentilhomme on Sunday.
Each bag will provide hungry families with at least four days of food.
“There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.” — Deuteronomy 12:7 (NIV)
Feeding the hungry: The start of Climbing For Christ's Food Bank program in Haiti. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
May 26, 2008
“After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’ So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria …” — 1 Kings 18:1-2 (NIV)
When our missionary Miguel Rubén Guante arrived in Gentilhomme on Saturday, May 24, he saw an old woman working in the fields. “I felt very sad,” Miguel said. “All the planting was dried. I said to her, ‘I’m not the prophet Elijah. If I were Elijah, I would ask God to send rain now for you. I’m not Elijah, but God understands my wish. Wait. He will send rain for you.’”
The following morning it began to rain in Gentilhomme. There has been very little rain in Gentilhomme since the end of the hurricane season last October — a drought of more than six months. Any rain provides great relief.
Barren landscape: A six-month drought has left the fields around Gentilhomme devoid of crops during this growing season. (Photo by Miguel Guante)
“I thank God for my exciting trip to Gentilhomme,” Miguel said of our emergency trip to take a census of the people most in need of our help. We are starting a food and seed bank project to deal with the hunger crisis striking Haiti.
Meeting the peoples' needs: Miguel Guante met with people in Gentilhomme to learn more about their need for food and how we might be able to meet those needs with the help of God. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
“The situation in Gentilhomme is more difficult than I even thought,” Miguel said. “We need to do something quickly to send some food for them. I carried some medicine with me and I gave some economic help to somebody. My presence was a blessing for them.”
We are currently working on a plan for how to distribute food and agricultural support to the desperate people living in this mountain village.
Signs of desperate times: A chopped down pinus tree, above. It is illegal to cut these trees in a deforested Haiti. Below, people carrying bags of twigs and sticks to be made into charcoal, one of the few resources they have to sell. (Photos by Miguel Guante)
May 19, 2008
Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reports: “There are many people from Gentilhomme and Malasi looking for jobs in Jimani. The hunger in Haiti is very hard for the poor people.”
Jimani, located in the Dominican Republic along the Haitian border, is a half-day’s walk from Gentilhomme and Malasi.
Miguel proposes that Climbing For Christ “raise some money to buy food for Gentilhomme and Malasi’s people.” With $400, we can provide wheat, beans, and cooking oil for 24 families in both Gentilhomme and Malasi. This will pay for two large meals for each family. A mere $4 can provide a Haitian family with a healthy meal.
“Give us today our daily bread,” it says in Matthew 6:11.
Proverbs 30:7-9 tells us: “Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
We also would like to help provide seeds and fertilizer to produce crops that would feed villagers and, in time, give the people something to sell.
Miguel reports that among those looking for work in Jimani are the teacher from Malasi’s school, Pastor Meristaine Tresin of Gentilhomme, and Pastor Tresin’s oldest son.
The Malasi teacher has requested support from Climbing For Christ in the past, but to date we have only been able to pay $100 a month to each of the two teachers in Gentilhomme. Pastor Tresin does not receive money from this ministry, although we received $300 from South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colo. to repair his home, which was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Noel last October.
If you are moved to help us with monthly support for Mission: Haiti — whether for food for families in Gentilhomme and Malasi, seed money for these poor farmers, or to pay the teachers providing an education to children in Gentilhomme and Malasi — please send your gift to Climbing For Christ at P.O. Box 16290, Rochester, N.Y. 14616.
May 12, 2008
Gilbert, center, with friends. Missionary Miguel Guante is starting to work on getting Gilbert a passport so Climbing For Christ can bring him to the United States for a prosthetic leg. [CLICK HERE to read “Saving Gilbert,” the story of how he lost his leg and gained his life.] A Colorado couple, the Hogans, are providing $100 a month in support to help Gilbert, who lives with Miguel and the Guante family.
May 10, 2008
“The seminary went very well,” missionary Miguel Rubén Guante reported. “The study was about the Holy Spirit. We had a very good group of pastors and church leaders.”
This month's study was about “Who is Jesus?”
Teaching at the May seminary.
“I am preparing my trip to Gentilhomme for May 24,” Miguel said. “We are praying for the mission help because it would be very good to finish the missionary house (an addition on the church) before September. We need a place for the teachers.
“From December, when we went to Malasi, we have not gone back there. I would like to go to Malasi in June.”
Malasi is the second village in the Chaine de la Selle mountains of southeastern Haiti where the Lord has led us to minister. It is farther up the mountain range than Gentilhomme, where we have been serving since 2005. Miguel and Climbing For Christ president Gary Fallesen visited Malasi during the December 2007 Mission: Haiti trip.
May 7, 2008
The food crisis in Haiti is “really hard on people,” said Sarah Brownell, a Climbing For Christ member who has moved from Rochester, N.Y. to live and work in Haiti. “It’s worse in the cities, I think. They call it ‘grangou klowoks.’ They are used to hunger, they say, but this kind is like drinking Clorox. In the countryside, the economy is less cash based and more dependent on trade of agricultural products between families — thus they are more affected by droughts and hurricanes than world prices. In the cities, people don't have land to grow food, so they have to buy it. Rice, corn, canned milk and other imports have, in some cases, more than doubled in price and Haitian production has been hurt by international policies over the last 20 years or so that put many Haitian growers out of business (especially rice). Rice for four people is at $3 U.S. ($22 Haitian).
“In Haiti, hungry people have taken to the streets, throwing rocks and bottles, burning tires, and breaking into businesses and food storehouses such as those of the World Food Program.”
Please read the rest of Sarah’s perspective (“Food for thought”) on the “Hunger in Haiti” page.
April 28, 2008
In her book, The Rainy Season, a compelling look at life in Haiti, author Amy Wilentz quotes former president and Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide saying, “If you are a Christian, you cannot allow what you are seeing to happen without saying something, because if you say nothing, you will be sinning by your silence.” The same could be said for inaction. If we see something that is wrong and do nothing to change it, we are not doing what Jesus Christ would do. We are falling short.
There is great hunger in Haiti — from the slums of the city to the deforested hills of the country. Food riots occurred in some places earlier this month as the cost of finding something to eat rose above what a people who earn, on average, less than U.S. $2 a day could afford to pay. There has been no unrest in the mountains, where Climbing For Christ is ministering. But there is suffering.
Please read the story “Hunger in Haiti.” This is a reminder that we have much to do.
April 11, 2008
The Department of State issued a warning to inform American citizens of violent demonstrations in Haiti, and to urge American citizens to defer non-essential travel to the country.
Violence is nothing new to Haiti. United Nations peacekeeping forces have been in the country for several years. In 2005, when Climbing For Christ first went to Haiti, a similar Department of State warning had been issued. The Peace Corps had pulled out of the country. Many missionaries were leaving. But God delivered us. Please read “Right where God wanted us” to learn how this mission began.
April 7, 2008
Thirty-two pastors and church leaders attended Climbing For Christ's monthly seminary in the Dominican border town of Jimani, where missionary Miguel Rubén Guante lives. Climbing For Christ, which oversees the study, paid for food to be served to those participating in the seminary (photo above). The seminary was held for the first time in a new Episcopal church that Miguel helped build.
March 26, 2008
Please read “State of Haiti: Ripe for Evil,” a look at the disastrous influence of voodoo on a culture that proves that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
March 19, 2008
South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton, Colo., donated $300 to Pastor Meristaine Tresin to rebuild his home in Gentilhomme, which was damaged by Tropical Storm Noel in late October 2007.
Pastor Tresin rebuilding his home in Gentilhomme.
March 12, 2008
Climbing For Christ is called to go where other missionaries cannot or will not go. But that doesn't keep people we meet along the way from asking for help. God has moved us to bring others to easier-to-reach villages in Haiti (not just the mountainous villages where we are serving). Please read “Adopt a Village” and prayerfully consider how you or your church or organization might be able to help a people in desperate need.
Feb. 5, 2008
The headline should have been alarming: “Haiti’s poor resort to eating mud as prices rise.” It was a news story by The Associated Press, released on Jan. 29, but it wasn’t news.
“Yes, many people in Haiti eat dirt,” said Miguel Rubén Guante, our missionary to the villages and churches in the Chaine de la Selle mountains. “It is custom of Haitian to eat dirt.”
To learn more about this sad fact, please read “Let them eat … dirt?!”
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
— James 2:15-17 (NIV)
Climbing For Christ has budgeted $1,380-$1,480 a month to start covering the expenses of Mission: Haiti. Among what is being paid for:
– Missionary Miguel Rubén Guante's salary $300
– Travel expenses $230-$430
– Communication $300
– Teachers $200
– Clinic $50
– Seminary $300
This does not include support for churches, pastors, school supplies, medical needs, and emergencies. Additionally, we need to raise funding for bigger projects in Gentilhomme, such as:
– Missionary house (an addition on the church in Gentilhomme) $5,000
– Truck to transport supplies and people $2,000 down payment + $700 per month
– Sanitation (arborloo construction) $30 per house = $3,000 for entire village of Gentilhomme
– Water system $2,000
This gives us a budget estimated at $40,500 for Mission: Haiti.
If you can help support Mission: Haiti, we ask you to send a tax-deductible donation to Climbing For Christ. Mail your gift (with the notation “For Haiti”) to:
Climbing For Christ, Inc.
P.O. Box 16290
Rochester, NY 14616-0290
You can also donate online using PayPal. CLICK HERE. Remember, a portion of your gift will be kept by PayPal as part of its processing fee.