The Joy of Work!!

The team that came in January did so much more than put in the marine habitat to bless the people of Ile a Vache. You can read about that at The Lord had put the mothers and babies on Pam’s heart. She had brought clothes and other things to bless them.

Her friend Ermithe (on the left in the photo below) who had helped Pam the last time she was in Haiti had had a baby this year. She brought three other young mothers to the base and shared the gifts with them.

Two different times that week, the team hiked the hills around Kaykok, taking food to old folks who struggle to get enough to eat. Pam writes:

“While on Ile a Vache, it is not uncommon for Bill to say “we need to take food to the old people”.  The first few times I heard that I didn’t equate need to urgent until one day we were ‘planning’ our work when he said “if we don’t take food to them now, some may not eat tonight”.  Those hikes are a staple in my diet now when visiting the island.  I crave them more than any food I have ever tasted. 

Carrying food to the old folks

There is always a smile as they see Bill Montgomery arriving.  They communicate with Bill as he smiles, gently and lovingly touches them, and speaks to them in their language, living out the scriptures that we have all read in Proverbs about giving to the poor.  But it’s more than that, the scriptures also say the ones who give to the least of these will be blessed.  

Bill with one of the ladies we visit.

We arrived at a lady’s home who had had a stroke and was wheelchair bound.  Only a few people could fit in her little dark house, so several stood outside.   Kirk stepped outside the doorway and told me to go inside.  Not really sure why I needed to, I did.  Not really sure why I maneuvered my way through the crowd of people to get to this lady, but I did.  I leaned over to hold her outstretched hand that was connected to her sweet smile and when I did, she pulled me to her and embraced me with the longest tightest hug I have ever had from a total stranger.  Her words translated were “by God’s grace”. I assumed she was referring to being alive after suffering from the stroke.  But to me, it translated to this is why I wanted you to come inside, to see and feel God’s grace.” 

We had been having some problems with the wooden deck harboring masses of mosquitos and once a dog even died under it, exploding the flea population!! There is also a need in the village for a low wharf that they can actually use, not the ugly unfinished, too tall monstrosity that was built a couple of years ago. So we decided to change the deck to concrete and repurpose the lumber for a useful wharf.

Tearing off the wooden deck

After finishing the reef the third day, we unscrewed all the boards so we were ready the next morning to finish tearing them off and start the concrete work.

Emily wrote, “Today, we are pouring concrete to replace the deck of the base house.  Not exactly as important as bringing fish back into the area, and providing food for the neighbors in the village.  Or so I thought!  I asked God, ‘How will you use this for your glory?

‘So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?’ ~ Ecclesiastes 3:22

As you drive or walk through the filth covered streets of Haiti, the men sit waiting for something to happen…they are angry or sad and staring at all the things that could be done around them.  Depression is as real in Haiti as it is in American…only in Haiti there are very few places you can see Hope.  So how do they even know it is there?!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13

As the Haitian men began joining the “Blancs”, I saw a new expression on many of the mens’ faces…pure joy, pure happiness, SMILES!   I wish you could hear their laughter, songs, and jokes…as they all worked!  The more sweat that dripped from their brow, the more joy they dug out! This concrete patio is an opportunity for these men…an opportunity for work… an opportunity for money…an opportunity for food…an opportunity to provide for their family.  These men know they have a need within them to work, but on an island of 15,000, work is hard to find.

‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to keep it.’ ~Genesis 2:15

As God opened my eyes, but more importantly my heart, to the realization that these men were created to work (even if they don’t know why) a familiar song echoed from the radio. Happiness by NeedtoBreathe!  God is using Just Mercy to bring happiness to those in need of HOPE!”

There were two teams of Haitians working mixing concrete, one on each side of the project. It was going kind of slow so Bill told them he would give a bonus to the team who completed their half of the deck first. Did those shovels ever start flying!!! It was hard to tell who reached it first as the concrete from both sides had to blend in the middle. They completed the slab by 10 am!!

When it came time to give the Haitians their wages, Bill gave one team the bonus. They were SO excited!! Then he told them Jesus’ parable of the vineyard and handed the other team a bonus, too! Everyone was happy!!

Celebrating a job well done with a bonus!

Twice during the week, I was able to have a Bible study with some of the children. Our translator, Junior, read them a story from the Jesus Story Book Bible in Creole and translated for me as I talked with them about it.

Junior reading a Bible story to the children

One little boy was able to answer all the questions I asked about the story so I asked him to stay after and then gave him his own Creole New Testament, encouraging him to read it whenever he could.

Please keep Haiti in your prayers. As you may have heard, shortly after this team returned home, Haiti started having a lot of riots and demonstrations. Food and water became scarce as roads were blocked for days.

Bill and Mason were able to get across the country early one morning in February before the riots started again that day. They flew out and we are so grateful to God for their safe passage. Bill planned to return to Haiti last week with another team but riots were being called for again so the trip has been postponed. We would appreciate your prayers for Haiti. Thank you for reading, praying, and for the love and support you share with JUST MERCY.

Please enjoy more pictures of the January team’s trip below.

Pam with Ermithe and her baby
B.J. and Michael taking their turn holding the baby!
Michael, Emily, Mason, Shaun, and Pam enjoying some fresh coconut milk
A little girl who was brought for first aid

Pam visiting Ermithe’s home
Headed out to visit the old folks.
B.J. practicing his Creole as he visits with this lady.
One team mixing up concrete
Everybody helped!

Sure loved having Kirk, Michael, B.J., and Shaun helping in Haiti. Here they are with their week old beards. (Somebody was getting ready to shave.)

The basic slab is finished! Now for the rim…..
The team with our translator Junior and our cooks, Estane and Rashania. They did a great job! The food was incredible. We so appreciate their help.
Morning coffee and quiet time
Emily’s daughter had asked her to bring her a cat from Haiti. So at the start of the visit, we commissioned Danny, a wonderful Haitian artist, to paint a cat for her!
Michael and B.J. stayed a few extra days after the rest of the team left and they finished up the concrete deck!
Finished except for the middle insert.