I struggled with whether or not to send a newsletter at this time given the worldwide crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, but I wanted to bring you up-to-date regarding the things going on in Haiti and here at Missions in Haiti. We are holding you up in our prayers, we are asking God to heal America and the world. Please hold Haiti up in your prayers, we now have a small number of confirmed coronavirus cases here. Given the crowded conditions, poor sanitation and lack of medical facilities, a major coronavirus outbreak in Haiti would be a disaster of epic proportions.
As the coronavirus pandemic spread stateside, all the airlines suspended international travel and Haiti closed its airport. There were a few flights that came into Haiti empty and carried Americans back to the U.S. We decided to stay here and try to help our kids and the people in our area get through this crisis. Churches and schools are closed and the police came by on Sunday to make sure we weren't having church.
The large scale protests reported in our earlier newsletters have stopped but Haiti has become a much more dangerous place now with armed gangs turning to robbery, kidnapping and murder. These gangs have little or no regard for human life, that point was driven home right after noon on February, 27 when a hoodlum with a gun came into our schoolyard and attempted to rob one of our employees. Obner, our school gate keeper, panicked and shut the armed robber inside the school yard. During the ensuing melee the robber shot and killed Obner in front of our students and staff.
Obner was a longtime (15 year) friend and employee and his loss has been a tremendous blow to his family, to us and to the Haitians in this area. Obner was saved, married and dedicated his two sons here at the Good Hope Church. Obner's funeral service was attended by around 1,000 people and his testimony and legacy will live on. Please pray for his family, Obner's wife is expecting their third child and his two sons were left without a father. As a result of this tragedy and the escalation of violent crime in our area, we added a full-time, armed security guard. This will increase our operating expenses by at least $1,000.00 per-month, but we felt this move was necessary to provide an added level of safety and security for our family, our staff and our students.
On a more positive note, we have been working for a couple years to acquire a property that adjoins our facilities and we were able to complete the purchase last December. In February we finished building a security wall around the property and we are preparing the site for a building. We plan to build a bakery for the purpose of baking bread for our orphanage, our family and to sell to people in our area. The idea behind this project is to create jobs for several of our young adults. We will start on this project as soon as things settle down and funding is available.
As you may recall, last year, our board recommended that we build a small home for our immediate family on the grounds of the House of Compassion so that we could move out of the orphanage. Living with 40 people in a big house is akin to living in a fish bowl and it is nearly impossible to rest and to find time to spend together as a family. I am pleased to report that we moved into our new 1,200 sq. ft. home and we are enjoying the privacy and peace and quiet! The home is very well insulated and we installed the latest in solar power technology which allows us to have air conditioning at night. I wanted to say “thanks” to our board and to everyone who contributed funds and/or time and hard work toward this project.
We appreciate the “Seek Team” from Neosho, Missouri for holding a week long Kids Crusade and revival in early February. This was the third year in a row that the Seek Team has been with us and our Church and our kids look forward to this time of fellowship.
Mardi Gras celebrations scheduled for the last week of February were cancelled due to the political unrest but that didn't stop a group from coming down to finish up our house and to hold our annual “Mardi Gras Revival.” We appreciate the group's hard work and the time of fellowship and worship.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We sincerely appreciate all that you do for this work. As I have said many times, we couldn't do what we do without our team of prayer warriors and those of you who generously support our efforts here. We are living in turbulent times and we must draw nearer to our Lord and Savior as the time of His return surely draws near!