When Haiti was going through the long period of political unrest from September to December, Bethesda never once closed. All of our staff were going through road blocks, getting rocks and bottles thrown at them and going in public transport (which was twice the price) to get there. If they were making that kind of effort then it was important that I, in my own car, should also make the effort to go. On my work days I would wait for Junel (who works at Emmaus and comes from Vaudrieul where the clinic is) to see how the roads were then drive to the clinic. Thankfully there was never any trouble on the drive from Emmaus to Bethesda.
|A section of my daily drive to work or school|
I always made sure I was able to leave before 3, as usually the roadblocks would be later in the day but there was no one to ask about the way home so I got in the car, prayed and drove home. Emmaus is kind of out in the country and there is one stretch of the road where there is no one about, the road is terrible so you need to drive slow and the area has a bad reputation. So I would pray a little harder. Everytime I drove around that stretch of road I would ask for God's protection. Then later when the boy's school opened and many other schools were still shut, I would be driving home alone with the boys and I would do the same thing, pray for our safety the whole way home. And the Lord answered. We always made it home safely.
Around mid October Bethesda had finally found a piece of property after more than 6 months of searching but there was one pretty big problem. We had no money to buy it and the property cost $220,000 (US) which by the way, is very reasonable for its location, land in Haiti is crazy expensive. We had a $50,000 loan from a donor which we were able to use as a down payment, a payment plan was agreed on with the owner and the final payment was due in May 2020.
|The new property|
I felt the Lord telling me to ask for the money for the property to come in by the end of the year. I shared this with our board and our supporters and we started praying. I am sure many people thought there was no way we would be able to raise this much money in such a short period of time. All throughout December funds came in and kept coming and by early January once everything was counted up we had the full $220K to pay off the property. The Lord had answered our prayer. Not only did he answer our prayer for funds but He also put together a design / construction team filled with highly skilled people.
|A render of what a new Bethesda may look like|
Have you every tried travelling on a 9 hour flight, with less than 24 hours notice that you have to leave, in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, with 3 small kids who normally don't stay still long enough to even sit and eat their dinner? Then connect to another flight for another couple of hours when your body clock is telling you it’s the middle of the night. It should be awful, there should be tears and tantrums and screaming and very stressed out parents. The 9 hour flight actually turned into on the plane for 11 hours because it sat on the runway for 2 hours before we took off. We don't normally go through an 11 hour time period in our house without someone crying or melting down (usually its Bill!!!😃).....anyone with toddlers & young children understands how that is. But we did, we traveled for a long time, about 40 hours I think and not one of the boys had a single meltdown, there were a few tears and the parents were a little stressed but given the circumstances it really did all go well. I really think this is because of the prayers of God's people calming our kids for that time.
|We said goodbye to Miss Pam in Paris as she got her connection to Manchester.|
While living in Haiti over the past four years there are so many things which happen where I wish I could help, where I wish I could fix the situation but I can't. All I can do is pray and its probably the best thing I can do. I have one friend who always tells me, 'Julie I can't do anything for you to say thank you, I can't give you anything but what I can do is pray and I pray for you everyday.' In fact even now, she is very worried about us because she hears how bad things are in Europe. How ironic, she is sitting in her house, most days with no idea what she is going to give her 3 children to eat, never mind how they will ever afford to send them to school when it opens and she is praying for me because of our difficult situation. That is the best gift she could give me.
I am so thankful for the many people praying for us especially those OMS prayer warriors who spend hours everyday praying for missionaries. A friend recently told me of her granny who has a pile of prayer letters and prayer cards and prays through them everyday! How humbling to think of how faithful these people are.
So please keep praying for us. We really have no idea when we will get back to Haiti, somedays I read the news and it feels like its going to be a really long time before we can but we take comfort in the fact that God knows.
It is also really hard to be here and not be able to see our family and friends. I know everyone is struggling with that so you can identify with how we feel. The boys are mostly doing ok, they often ask when we are going back to Haiti, or when they can go to grannys house or when they can play with their friends.
Please keep praying for Haiti too, while reported numbers of coronavirus are still low there are many other problems which have been been there for a long time but are getting worse because of the pandemic.
Pray for Emmaus, they are using whatsapp to finish the semester which isn't ideal but the only possible way right now. Our neighbours, the Ayars, have moved to Jackson Mississippi where Matt has taken the job of president of Wesley Biblical Seminary. Pray for Emmaus board as they search for a new president. Pray also for the Ayars, this is a massive change after 12 years in Haiti and they also had to leave with less than 24 hours notice so had no opportunity to see anyone or say goodbye.
Pray for Bethesda, clinics all across Haiti are struggling. People are so scared to go incase they get coronavirus but many people are suffering from all sorts of other illnesses. Bethesda moved its staff to a 50% work schedule which was an extremely difficult decision for Dr Rodney and the board to make given the circumstances. To pray more specifically for Bethesda, tomorrow is our monthly half day of prayer and you can join us in praying here. You can also download the May prayer guide here.
I guess what I have been learning is already written and promised in God's word, its just a matter of having the faith to believe it.
Matthew 21 v 22
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive , if you have faith.
Mark 11 v 24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.
John 15 v 16
You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give it to you.
Ephesians 6 v 18
praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication for all the saints
Colossians 4 v 2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.