One of the first questions I was asked when I returned from Haiti last week was “How much progress has been made in the reconstruction?” The answer is complex. While much has been done to clean up and rebuild following last year’s earthquake, much more remains to be done. The enormous loss of life and crippling injuries will permanently affect all of Haiti’s people, and the underlying poverty makes these natural disasters even more devastating. But what I found pervasive in Haiti was hope!
Hope is the resource that looks beyond the immediate need and sees the possibility of a brighter future.
The eight men on our team worked on the Center of Hope in Bayonnais, building the forms in preparation for pouring the concrete roof, which will also be the second-story floor. We witnessed such hope in the eyes of the school children. When we finished our work, they climbed on top of the building and played on the concrete forms and supports, laughing with joy and excitement. They were full of hope as they saw the work progressing on their school and church building.
We also visited in the homes of several people. Their smiles and conversation were full of hope.
Since the last time I visited the school, the security wall surrounding the campus has been completed. A pure-water plant has been installed to provide the villagers with clean drinking water for just pennies a month, helping to increase the effectiveness of the school and helping to bring in more work teams to complete the construction. A large school bus and a second bus adapted to carry both people and supplies are providing much-needed means of transport.
All of these things add hope to the lives of the 600 children who attend ICDM’S Henri Christophe School and their families. What is more, as these children learn and grow, they have the chance to change the future of their nation by becoming leaders and workers with highly developed skills and abilities.
ICDM is also looking to add a trade school, finish its School of Evangelism building in Cap-Haitien, rebuild its headquarters building in Port-Au-Prince, and add new schools in other communities around Haiti. This kind of vision is the surest sign of hope for Haiti. Hope is built on dreams and vision, and no visions are more powerful than those that see the potential in children and young people. We witnessed just a small portion of the hope that will bring Haiti into a brighter future. But what we saw is enough to inspire us and draw us back to this nation of beautiful and hopeful people.
As a team, we are grateful to everyone who supported us in prayer and with donations of money and materials needed for the project. We are grateful for your compassion for the people of Haiti and your generous giving to help bring them hope.
If you would like to take part in a future mission trip, please call me at 609-465-7087. Or call Yvan Pierre at 407-922-2475. We are planning new trips for the spring and fall of 2012.
*Dr. Jesse McLain is pastor of discipleship at First United Methodist Church in Cape May Court House, New Jersey.