PALM HARBOR, FL – For Haiti With Love is the exact representation of a faith mission. It has no plans for building bigger barns. (See Luke 12:18) It does what it can with what the Lord provides.
The on-the-ground work of For Haiti With Love consists of four primary elements.
- Offering nutritious, balanced meals to hungry families
- Making baby formula for children who need it
- Providing around-the-clock emergency medical care and
- Constructing houses, churches, and marketplaces
The Struggle in Haiti
Everything in Haiti is a struggle. Even before the 2010 earthquake, there was a dire need for 700,000 homes. Another 300,000 homes were destroyed by the quake. The living conditions in Haiti are almost beyond comprehension. For Haiti With Love describes it well.
Picture your house. Mentally remove EVERYTHING that uses either electricity or running water. Now, remove all carpeting and stuffed furniture, including the bed. Replace the bed with a straw mat. No floors, no slab, just bare earth and a thatched roof.
Take out all the screens in your house. While you’re at it, remove the windows and the doors. No grass around the house. Got a good picture? Good.
Now picture yourself with no car, or bike, or shoes for that matter: no job, no unemployment, or welfare checks. You have no money, no bank accounts, no credit cards, no refrigerator, no ice, and no food. You are always hungry. To make matters worse, your children are hungry. On top of that, they are sick, full of worms, and usually naked. This is the AVERAGE Haitian!! God’s people, just like you and me, just born farther south and east.
The Struggle to Rebuild Haiti
Haitians are at the mercy of miserable conditions made worse by the lack of supply and the high demand for building materials. Unscrupulous suppliers engage in price-gouging, which drives the cost of materials higher. Those who could afford nothing before sink deeper into despair. Families live under trees, sleep in the homes of relatives, or in the marketplaces at night.
Mission Network News recently published a story about how the Lord brought about a radical change in the home construction aspect of For Haiti With Love. The change was radical for two reasons.
First, home construction and restoration have been at the heart of the ministry since Don DeHart made his first mission trip to Haiti. (At the time, DeHart was a volunteer pastor at some small country churches in Indiana, where he worked full-time in heavy construction.)
Second, the new idea came as the result of a humble donor who gave what she could even though what she could give was not enough. She had $5,000, a very generous gift, but not enough to fund a house – which is what she desired to do.
Similar ministries may have decided to pool this woman’s gift with others’ to erect a standard For Haiti With Love “Pilgrim House.” This time the Lord opened the eyes of the ministry’s staff to a new – and desperately needed approach.
Being accustomed to doing what they could with what the Lord provided, they concluded that they could use the $5,000 to fill a need they hadn’t met before – and do more with less.”
They began to design and build Starter Homes especially designed for single moms. They are the For Haiti With Love’s version of so-called “tiny houses.” The Pilgrim Houses were built for large families and/or as multi-family units.
They designed and began constructing tiny homes that cost 50-60% less than the Pilgrim Houses, and that could be completely funded with the donor’s $5,000 gift.
Because the tiny houses take less time to complete, the locals witness not only improved housing but also more of it being built right before their eyes.
Once again, the Lord has used His people to accomplish things in ways not previously imagined or considered. What a wonderful reminder of what God can do in and through believers who are willing to trust Him, lean on Him, and follow Him wherever He leads.