The last week of June, a 4 person team from our home church, Monett Community (MCC), flew to Haiti with a specific purpose in mind: to reroof the first house needing it in the remote mountain village of Janou and to do a survey of the village to ascertain each family’s situation and needs.
The team went to Ile a Vache for a day to rest from their extended journey and prepare for the trip. The next morning they took the boat back cross the sea to make the gueling hike up the mountain.
Maella ran into trouble not long into the hike and was unable to complete the journey. Evidently God had other plans for her than going to Janou. They found a family part way up the mountain where she could stay while the rest of the team continued on. So Maella spent nearly 48 hours experiencing true Haitian life in a small hut on the side of the mountain.
Maella writes: My personal mission took its own path when I became ill while climbing the mountain to Janou. Bill was able to find a family willing to let me stay with them. So for 2 days and nights I stayed in a small tin hut with a family of 9. God gave me strength and love to share with this family of strangers and their many neighbors. I played games, sang, danced, and prayed over them. Their friends and relatives all came to see the “blanc” and were as warm as they were curious. Life was rugged but I felt safe and blessed.
When it was time to go I cried. I cried because although I tried to show them God’s love, I had no language to be able to tell them about Christ and His love for them. So all I could do was hug them good-bye and pray that God sends someone to tell them about Him. And I’m still praying. Is that someone you?
The rest of the team arrived in Janou later that day, spent the night in the pastor’s house, and…..it RAINED! Needless to say, they got wet and experienced first hand the great need for roofs for the houses in Janou!
The next morning, work began tearing off the roof of that house and getting the new tin on it. While that was going on, some of the team traveled through the village meeting the people, getting information about the family, and assessing the needs of each structure to find out what it needed to keep the rain out.
Dr. Justin wrote: We began our walk through the village, stopping at each home, speaking with whoever was there and recording who lived there and what was needed to make the home weather tight. Most of the homes needed partial or complete replacement of the roof. One elderly woman accompanied us all day, helping introduce us to other families, and guiding us around the village. She made sure no houses were overlooked – she even took us to the house of “the foolish one” – a man with mental disabilities who lived alone and apparently was unable to do any repairs on his home.
This woman lived with her husband in a home with a leaky roof. Her husband had already managed to cut some small trees to serve as rafters for the new roof, but there was no way he could climb up and rebuild it himself. Despite her own need she was careful to make sure her neighbors received help as well. Before we left we were able to make arrangements to pay for a crew of local workers to replace her roof. It’s stories like this that give me great hope that working with the people of Janou we can make long-lasting change, and bring hope to people otherwise forgotten.
Devan wrote: The thing that was most shocking to me was just how bad things really were down in Haiti. I had seen pictures of the houses and parts of the cities, but until I was actually there, I didn’t realize how small the houses were and how much trash was all over the cities.
I think the thing that touched my heart the most were the kids. I love being around kids and playing with them. When we would eat dinner, they would always give us huge portions and I could never eat it all and so I would give it to the kids. It warmed my heart to see that just a little food would feed so many kids.
The pastor’s roof was finished that day! Can you imagine how wonderful to be able to go to sleep when it is raining and NOT get wet when all you’ve known for months is getting wet when it rained??? So much that we take for granted is not standard for much of the world.
It was also wonderful to see the vegetables growing from seeds that the February MCC team had taken to the village!! The corn was doing well!!
The team had to leave the next day. But Bill is making arrangements for two more roofs to be done in the next couple of weeks, including the lady that guided the team as they made the survey.
We are so grateful to MCC for “adopting” Janou, giving generously to provide shelter through new roofs for the village, coming to help, and making plans to continue working with Janou long term. They hope to return in September, hopefully to rebuild the church that can be used as a school and a place where those who come to help can stay.
Shaun B. who came to Janou in February and is being instrumental in coordinating MCC involvement with JUST MERCY in Janou wrote: On top of a mountain in Haiti is a village with little influence from the outside world. It is there that God has led us to be the light in this dark world. By helping meet the most fundamental needs in their lives, without taking away the basic human dignity of providing for themselves, we can earn the right to share our faith. By providing a school we can help children learn to read, especially God’s Word. Just like the moon reflects the light of the sun onto a dark earth at night, we can reflect God’s light into this little corner of a dark world.
Thank you for your prayers and support! Blessings on you.