BUILDING THE NEXT STEPS FOR GDE HAITI
Ten years ago, we were in the first, unofficial, year of running GDE Haiti. Hugues was living in Haiti, and I traveled with our eight month old son to visit him. It was my second trip to Haiti, and my first to the area of Les Cayes. One morning we were out walking and came to the end of the path, on top of a hill overlooking the ocean and the city of Les Cayes. We stopped and dreamed…”How incredible would it be someday to build a home here, on top of this mountain?” Sheep were grazing on the land and Hugues picked one up to show Jovan. I took a quick picture and it became an image that we hung on our wall and have seen daily over the years, imagining and praying. The image has been shared, but the dream behind it we have kept close to our hearts.
Throughout the years, we have often discussed the need to have a “home base”, a place of our own. We have been running GDE Haiti out of Hugues’s brother’s house all of these years and we are so grateful to him for opening his doors to us. As GDE grows, the need for a larger and more permanent place has become obvious, especially over the past two years or so. Our staff needs a place with reliable internet and electricity. Our family desires to be in Haiti more…for our children to run in the hills and make friends, to have the opportunity to serve and love on the Massey community in a deeper and more consistent way.
After years of dreaming and talking about “someday”, the past few months have flipped everything upside down and we’ve heard God loud and clear saying, “Now is the time.” Our dreamland need wasn't shared widely, just as it came up in conversation here and there. Then, a few months ago, we received an envelope in the mail. Inside, we found a large donation, completely unexpected and unsolicited, designated specifically for the purchase of land in Haiti. Disbelief, tears, and honestly a bit of numbness came over us. The direction of GDE instantly became clear, after years of wondering what our next step was and how to make it happen. It was an overwhelmingly clear moment of God saying, “THIS IS YOUR NEXT STEP.”
Hugues traveled to Haiti in August 2018 for our annual trip to prepare students for the beginning of school. While there, he began reaching out to friends asking about land that might be available for purchase. He specifically inquired about the mountaintop we dreamed of ten years ago. It took a few weeks for his message to make the rounds, and finally the owner was tracked down. Turns out, the owner was a good friend of Hugues’s…who had actually offered to sell us land years ago. We didn’t consider it at the time because the finances weren’t available. Little did we know, the land he had been offering was “our” land.
Negotiations ensued. Land surveys were completed. Paperwork was filed. And in November 2018, Hugues made another trip to Haiti and GDE Haiti became owners of the gorgeous piece of land seen above, overlooking the ocean on one side and the mountains of Massey on the other. A far-off dream of ours was placed on the hearts of others, and God put all the pieces together to make it reality.
So, of course at the end of this story, there is an ask. We have the land, Praise God! Now we need a building. Massey is a rural area, so there aren’t hotels or homes available to rent. Our only option is to build. This building will serve many purposes, some of which we know and others we will learn along the way.
First and foremost, this building will enable our family to be in Haiti for longer stretches of time and more often. It will allow us to GO when God says it is time. Secondly, it will serve as an operations center for our staff. They will have a place they can have reliable internet and power, access to a computer and printer, and a place to meet with school directors, families, etc. Thirdly, this home will be a welcoming place for the community…a place for children to come and play soccer, a place we can offer tutoring (complete with electricity!), and a place where the love of God can be shown in our daily interactions with the community. Lastly, this building will enable others to visit Massey and join in with this work God’s given to us. Throughout the years, we’ve had multiple people ask what they can offer to our friends in Haiti…everything from pregnancy care to dental clinics. But we’ve had to say no because we don’t have the structure in place to host guests.
In the weeks and months to come, we’d like to ask you to join with us in funding this building in Massey, and to do so IN ADDITION to the gifts so many of you already give regularly. Our first priority is still funding education for children in Massey. This is not about a building, but about service and love. The building is a vehicle for us to deliver that love on a deep and ongoing level.
THANK YOU for all of the gifts, prayers, and words of support you’ve given over the years. As we walk into a new phase of this ministry, we are just so grateful to have such a strong group of supporters behind us, encouraging us along the way. We love you ALL and can’t wait to see God’s hand at work in the coming weeks, months, and years!