The two of us made a short trip to LaGonave in September. Jerry worked with his local team to complete his last building project, the addition to the church. When we bought Campus One and started the ministry 18 years ago, we began with the most important structure which was the church. The people of LaGonave needed a worship center which was both comfortable and uplifting. He built our guest house, then the elementary school, the secondary school, storage buildings, and the clinic. All along our feeding program was growing in the town of Anse A Galet. The handful of church families multiplied until an extension was needed, and Jerry built the south wing. We bought the Promised Land and he built a well and fence for church community gardens. Next came Campus Two which we named The Dwelling Place where 12 houses now provide comfortable shelter for the neediest of employees and their families. People continued to come to faith in Jesus, and now finally he has finished his last planned construction, the north wing of the church. Capacity is now 400 with room for more lost ones on LaGonave to come to Jesus. His expertise in building and leading “his men” from Haiti has come full circle.
We traveled alone, but God surprised us with an unexpected drop-in from the Cowboy of GUTS Church in Tulsa, OK. He was part of the team from GUTS who drilled several wells on LaGonave and met a great need for clean water here. Now the rig has been donated to a ministry on the main island of Haiti. But before it leaves LaGonave, the Cowboy and his wife will repair all the wells from the erosion that comes from the salt air and we look forward to their return.
Sonja spent her time with all the people in leadership, seeking their thoughts on the best way to go forward with the ministry. God has blessed us with wonderfully gifted and spiritually mature leaders. Marie Claude, the new elementary school principal, is both talented and godly. She sets a great example for the women on the island to see her in such a position. She is bold with us and isn’t intimidated to ask for what she needs. If the answer is no, she moves on without offense. Dr. Zacky, head of the free children’s clinic, is both skilled and compassionate. He is both gentle and fun with the children. The clinic administrator told us privately that he always keeps money in his pocket. When he treats a child for malnutrition he slips a few bills into the hand of the mother to purchase powdered milk for the child. If a woman has walked for hours to bring her sick child down from the mountains to see him, he pays for her taxi (motorcycle) ride back home. When she asked him what one thing is really important for the children, he said “Pastor Sonja, they are hungry, so hungry.”
People ask us “Do you make a difference in Haiti?” For the 900 children who get a meal every day it makes a difference to them. In Psalm 41, David told about his own experience in caring for the needy in his kingdom. “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.” This ministry to some of the poorest people in the world has given us so much joy. God has always been there for us when we have had needs. He has rescued us from hurricanes, dengue fever, and rejection, and prospered us spirit, soul, and body. He has given us friends who truly are the salt of the earth. If you are reading this letter, it’s because you are one of those. Much joy to you today, friend.
Sonja and Jerry Dickherber