Bill flew back to Haiti in Dec. 2019 but was trapped in his hotel room for three days due to the unrest. He was finally able to get a ride across country, a normal 3-4 hour journey, but this time it took nearly 10 hours, dodging burning tires and boulders and mobs of people on the road. When he arrived at Ile a Vache, he found that the village well had gone dry and people were having to walk a long way to haul water home. So some of the men had gone a little way outside the village and dug another well. They had found water, but it was just a hole in the ground. Bill arranged to have the materials brought to make concrete blocks to line the well and for it to then be finished. He also was part of saving the life of a young mother of twins who had delivered one but was unable to deliver another. Though no gas could be bought, he had some left from his last trip and was able to give it to someone with a fast boat who was able to take the laboring mother to the mainland and get her to a hospital in time to save the her and the baby's life!! After three weeks, things were so bad in Haiti, Bill caught the last ride back across country and flew home, leaving behind a nation that appeared to be spiraling out of control.
Pam had bought baby clothes for young mothers in the village and it was a joy to distribute those! The team also visited with people on the island and distributed food. Children's Bible Story hour was held on the deck with on boy receiving a Creole Bible for answering questions so well! The wooden deck on the base was torn off and a concrete one was poured. The boards eventually will be repurposed into a small wharf for the village. The team left Haiti at the end of January. Things were deteriorating in Haiti with riots breaking out and roads being blocked. Bill and Mason took advantage of a friend who had reliable transportation and security to get a ride back to Port au Prince and fly home on Feb. 11th. Sadly, Haiti continued to spiral downward. In March, a vo-tech welding class in Kentucky began building steel forms for future marine habitats!!
Bill returned to Haiti on Jan. 3rd along with Mason, a 16 year old friend who came to help this trip. A great team came to Haiti 2 weeks later to install the second reef in the ocean. We built a raft to make the installation much safer than before. The pieces were hauled out and installed down current from the first reef on the advice of a marine biologist who happened by and told us the reef design was a good one!!!
Due to some health issues in 2018, Bill was unable to return to Haiti until September. He was there for nearly two months and returned again for three weeks in late November. The time was mostly spent with the people of the village and island, visiting with them, taking the destitute food and love, working with young men in the woodshed, etc. Our dear friend and helper, Ermithe, greeted her newborn baby boy! A Proclaimer, an audio Creole Bible, was given to Mama Poul, a friend who stood outside our base and loudly prayed God's protection over us before we even knew who she was! There were no major projects but much interaction with people, sharing God's love and shining light in the darkness.
Before the guys left, they all made a trip up to Janou, the village MCC had "adopted" and provided funds to replace roofs lost in Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The people were grateful for the many new roofs in the village! The guys also surveyed the destroyed church and worked on some plans to rebuild it, using it for a school and building a cistern on the side of it to provide the village with water. We also worked to provide a family on Ile a Vache with an improved floor. Their hut just had rocks on the floor. We had it cleaned out and poured a smooth floor, greatly improving their living conditions. We also met Alice, a crippled woman who has to pull herself around as she is unable to walk. She helps to support herself by shelling almonds and selling them. She is now one of the ones we regularly try to help support with food and love.
In January of 2018, Bill, Michael and B.J. spent two weeks finishing up a design Bill had been thinking about for a badly needed marine habitat due to commercial over fishing around the island, building and filling the forms for the 70 concrete pieces, and taking them out to the ocean, installing them on the seabed! What an accomplishment!! We hope to build many, many more of these to give the fish a place to grow for the future food supply of the island. After Michael and B.J. left, Bill and the Haitians built a second reef, assembling it in the yard and hoping for another scuba team from the U.S. would be able too come soon and put in the sea.
JUST MERCY bought a large garden plot and began planting to help provide food for the mission and people of the surrounding area. Besides vegetables we have planted 40 lime trees, 10 grapefruit trees, 20 sweet orange trees, 10 “cherry” trees (different than ours), AND 288 banana trees!! The food is so desperately needed! A solar dehydrator was built in the shop for a young man who is trying to start a business drying mangoes. The first prototype of a fish habitat was built with the goal of trying to increase the fish population in the bay that has been so depleted. Another trip to Janou was made and we saw more roofs being installed! Bill made another visit to the school at Chapelle. The weekly food distributions to the old folks continue. So do the confrontations with darkness!
There is an obvious battle going on between the light and the dark in Haiti. The confrontations grow as JUST MERCY seeks to bring light to the dark. Little things like first aid for a cut, a few groceries distributed each week to old folks who have little help, and even just plastering over a crumbling wall to keep debris off an old woman's bed, all in the name of Jesus, bring help to the poor. At the school in Chapelle, the children had a tree planting day!! In June, another team came from MO to check on the progress at Janou. Another grueling hike up (one member of the team had to stop half way up the mountain and spend the night with a family there!) and it was a blessing to find gardens growing and producing from the seeds the team brought up in March and new roofs being applied to leaking houses. What a blessing!
January found Skip Lindsey once again bringing a team to Haiti to help JUST MERCY on Ile a Vache. Dr. Konsavage also came with them again so along with building the new wood shop, many people with medical problems were treated. We also had a small Operation Christmas Child box distribution for the children of a village on the island that was devastated by the Hurricane. In Feb., a team from Monett Community Church in Monett, Mo, came to Ile a Vache. Shaun and Pam worked to stitch up a bad cut on a boys' leg. There was also a badly burned little boy whose face we treated. We traveled to the mountain village of Janou that had been nearly wiped out by Hurricane Matthew. The team returned to the states to speak to the church and they have "adopted" the village of Janou and are raising funds to replace roofs and repair houses there! Praise the Lord!
In November, JUST MERCY's good friend, James, and his friend David flew into Haiti to be with us several weeks and make some videos. Rita also came for a week to visit the school in Chapelle that she has such a large part of supporting. We traveled to Chapelle in the mountains and found that one room had been rebuilt in the teacher's house destroyed by the Hurricane Matthew. The school damage had been repaired quickly and the school was in session. We were excited to finally get to see the secondary class, the only one we know of in the mountains, where students when they graduate from grammar school can remain in the mountains to take their high school classes!! We then traveled to Ila a Vache. We continued making small food distributions to the needy. We also returned to the tiny island of Pelatin where we had taken food after the hurricane. There were the regular everyday things to be done but also, the clash of light with darkness was continual. I encourage you to read the update about this time in Haiti. http://justmercy.org/WordPress/?p=4156
On October 3, 2016, Hurricane Matthew roared across Haiti, bringing destruction in its wake! It took 5 days for Bill to get back into the country. He stopped in Port au Prince to get a truck load of food and headed to the island. Several friends from the US flew in to help JUST MERCY along with one from South Africa and one from Thailand! We brought chain saws to help with the clean-up. JUST MERCY continued to bring emergency shipments of food into the island for the next several weeks until a "stoning" riot stopped the mass distributions. We then continued with smaller shipments. The team also offered medical care to those who needed it.
Along with continued first aid for minor complaints of many people, the summer of 2016 saw two lives saved with the ambulance boat1 One was Christela, a 19 year old who was taken to the mainland and ended up in the hospital for several weeks. The other was a two month old baby of one of the men helping us in the wood shop. A chicken house was built for a family on the island and work in the wood shop continued. Back in Fonds Parisian, our Haitian daughter Nono had her baby. Many had been praying for her as there was some concern about the health of the baby but he was fine!
Our daughter Hannah arrived in Haiti with two of our grandsons, Anodos and Paul! Richard, our boat captain also came. Everyone, including the boys, helped JUST MERCY cut the lumber and get the roof put onto Estane’s new house!! Work in the wood shop continued with some beautiful Adirondack chairs being made and spoons out of exotic hardwoods that can be taken back to the states to be given to friends for donations to help these men support themselves and to help JUST MERCY continue working in Haiti. Cristophe is a new worker in the wood shop. He is working on building a concrete house around the hut his family currently lives in and working in the woodshop is helping him to accomplish that goal. Farah occasionally has seizures and fell into a fire, burning herself badly! She comes on a daily basis to say hello and have her burns treated. Our Haitian daughter Nono became pregnant right when the Zika virus arrived in Haiti and she came down with it. We are praying for a healthy baby in a few months. JUST MERCY continues to support the Chapelle school in the mountains, giving 300 children an education and a meal each day.
In January 2016, Skip Lindsey brought another group back to Haiti! Dr. Chris was with them and though clinics were not planned, there were still a lot of people that came for medical help. A highlight of the week was a gift distribution done in the coastal fishing village of Baie du Mesle (Bed-z-mel) and showing the Jesus Film after the gift distribution. The KY group helped get a roof on one of the Haitian fisherman’s house that had gaping holes in it, wetting everything inside with every rain. The team built the second story deck on the woodshop!! A trip was also made to a small fishing island bringing containers of fresh water, a rare thing on that island.
It was a busy few months. A family in Fonds Parisian was suffering from a terrible infestation of bed bugs. Bill acquired the things needed and they emptied the house, sprayed to kill the bugs, and had the block walls smoothed up to get rid of the hiding places for the bugs. The old mattresses were burned and replaced. A team came to Haiti for 10 days to help. They helped in the wood shop, interacted with the people of the village, and learned to sail with Haitian sailors. They visited the sailors in their homes and at the end of the week, they held a race with each boat having Haitian and American crew members!! They sailed to a small island and shared with the people there, popped popcorn for them, and showed the Jesus Film The men in the wood shop are really improving at making the spoons. We are giving to people for a donation of $30. Check out the website where you can order. A chicken house was built at Mssr. Yvon's house up the hill from Kapok. We plan to build another one to help provide food for people.
In August, progress was being made on the wood shop and the men were beginning to make beautiful wooden spoons!! The sick and helpless continued to come as they do on nearly a daily basis seeking help which we give as best we can. Bill and Sonel made a hike into the mountains to Janou, a village no outsider had ever been to before, meeting people with next to nothing.
It was wonderful having Bible story times on the deck with the children. They loved to read out of The Jesus Story Book Bible that we kept on the table so they could do so. Work on the boat continued. Chad Nissley came for three weeks to help. What a blessing. Finally, the boat was completed and launched!!
In early March, four members of the Aaron Hymer family came to serve. They had a great 10 days being involved with JUST MERCY. With new tools brought in, construction of the boat began. We visited a school and gave Bibles to children who had completed The Greatest Journey course. Yvon and his family hosted us for dinner at their home up the hill. The Hymer's helped give first aid to those who came for help and they loved interacting with the neighbors and all the children who come regularly to visit, sharing their faith. Mackenzie and Mason passed out Bundles of Hope backpacks that they brought for children. The Hymer's also brought a wedding dress and ring for our friends Soner and Lana so that they could get married after being together for years! We so enjoyed the Hymer's visit and are so grateful for all they do to help JUST MERCY!
When Bill came home for Christmas, one neighbor girl asked him if he would bring her a dress so she could go to church. The Aaron Hymer family took that request and made up "Christmas" packages of clothes for over 30 children for us to take to Haiti in January. The second week of January, Skip Lindsey brought several friends to Haiti for 10 days. Along with other donated clothes the team brought, we were able to give over 60 children new dress clothes. The next day, 20 of them showed up to go to church with us!! We also made a "Christmas Dinner" for the church and neighbors, had a "baking school" for some friends, passed out Operation Christmas Child boxes to an island school, helped harvest logs and run the sawmill, played with the children, built things for the base, and hiked to the market village on the island, stopping to help dig a ditch with some Haitian men. It was a wonderful month with many of the team wanting to return next year.
The sawmill continued to produce lumber in the fall of 2014. We were able to bring some additional needed woodworking tools into Haiti in our suitcases including a Delta chop saw and a bandsaw. The Haitians were amazed at the tools! People continue to come for medical care on a daily basis and we are blessed to be able to provide first aid and some pain medications. The neighborhood children are often found on our deck and we love interacting with them.
In June, the Chikungunya virus was sweeping the country of Haiti. The only treatment is to help alleviate the symptoms. Acetaminophen had disappeared or was being sold at exorbitant prices. JUST MERCY sent out the word in Joplin, MO, and within a week, a large suitcase full of acetaminophen and other medicines were collected in Joplin, MO, and taken into Haiti the next week by Jesse Montgomery and Cody Moore. Some were sent to the mountains with Dr. Jolius and the rest went to Ile a Vache to help the people there. The sawmill was producing boards for many projects and badly needed chairs are being built! Besides the needed medicines for Chikungunya, people come daily for first aid with injuries of various sorts. We continue to serve and seek to share God's love with the people of Haiti.
Friends came from the US to help and together we made the hike to the remote village of Lalou in the mountains. Long time JUST MERCY friends, Len Clevenger and Sid Davis came to visit on Ile a Vache and we sailed to the small island to look at their broken water catchment system and see what could be done to fix it. The sawmill arrived on a freighter, was unloaded, and put to good use. Janet came to join Bill for the month of February to take part in working on the base, visiting with the neighbors, administering first aid on a daily basis, feeding people, having Bible story times on the deck with the children, and having many interactions with people.
Thanks to several friends, we were able to buy the books for the 500 children at our three mountain schools. They had to be transported up the mountain in bundles on the children's heads. While up there, we finally showed the Jesus Film for Children at two of our schools and rejoiced when Poppy, our elderly host, committed his life to Jesus the next morning!!! Our visiting team made some major improvements to the base.
Our friend Jim H. came to Haiti for a month to help Bill start work on the new mission base, needed as we can no longer lease the big house we have held for two years. Mission of Hope began to give us food for our mountains school lunch programs which will let us keep the children fed on school days!!
Yvrose's compound and family are still growing. Dr. James Hamilton from Joplin came to the mountains to hold another medical clinic. Jon, James, Anthony, and Hannah P. flew in for a week to 10 days and helped make 30 benches for the schools. Molly and Nelly came for two months to help Yvrose with her children along with Hannah H. Brett M. helped with many things, including fixing the water catchment system on the school at Pelerin. We had our first ever teachers meeting and introduced the first two Christian character classes!! Katheryn M. came in March to help Yvrose after Molly & Nellie left. We are so grateful for friends who come to work and share in our lives in Haiti.
Fall of 2011 brought several trips to the mountains. We took a team with our first doctor, Dr. Chris Konsavage, into the mountains to hold a clinic for the people. The team also started on a bathroom for Yvrose's home. Yvrose took in two twin babies. Friends from CA came to help and we took donated cots up to the cholera clinics to get the patients off the floor. We met Dr. Alfredo Suarez and took another medical trip into the mountains to hold a clinic for the people. God was doing amazing things.
In April, Yvrose came to the states with us and shared her story at a few places. Our friend, Jim H., came over to Haiti and began work on a kitchen for Yvrose's family. Upon our return to Haiti, the cholera was worse and we began to do what was necessary to open a cholera clinic in the mountains where there was no help, taking up a donated tent, finding donated medical supplies, and hiring nurses to stay in the mountains to treat the people. Our first team of helpers from the states arrived to help on Yvrose's kitchen and go to the mountains with us.
Early 2011 found us working in cooperation with Victory Compassion of Tulsa to put up two small metal buildings for Yvrose and her family!! Our first volunteer from the states, Chevo V., worked to completely revamp the mud and twig home of a poor widow in the village next door. We also met Manolo and Juani Cazorla, a couple from the Canary Islands, Spain, working in Haiti. They came to live at the JUST MERCY base, worked hard, prayed hard, and began to bless our lives!!!
In the fall of 2010, we met Yvrose. She and her husband Pierre Richard had taken in 16 children since the earthquake, living in two bare rented rooms, struggling to find food. Yvrose, a Haitian American citizen, was passionate about God and loving children in His name in Haiti. Around this same time, cholera broke out in Haiti. The mountain people had no medical recourse so we started seeking ways to help. We also took on the support of a Christian mountain school in Pelerin with 180 students in an area where adult illiteracy rates push 100%. It was going to close due to lack of funding.
Upon hearing of the deadly earthquake in Haiti in January, 2010, Bill and Janet Montgomery personally bought nearly 200 tents along with other camping equipment and sent them to Haiti. Bill, son Jesse, and nurse Terry G. flew over and worked for five weeks, bringing medical help, shelter, and comfort to people hurt and displaced by the earthquake, seeking to share God's love with them.