I’ve been a busy bee over the last couple of weeks trying to get all of the Gift of Life stuff ready to go, as well as writing newsletters and email update letters. It seems that it all heaps on at once, and some times of the year are definitely busier than others with this kind of stuff.
Chris and I write monthly email updates for our friends and family, as well as a monthly mission email update that gets sent out to all of the mission supporters that are on the list. We share what’s been going on in the previous month and how people can be praying more specifically. We like writing them and people tell us they really like reading them, which is always encouraging. It’s a good chance to stop and see what’s really been going on for the last month.
Even with those updates though, I feel like it’s really easy for us to get tied up in the here and now, and to not really look back over the past months or years. It’s easy to forget where we’ve come from. I like writing the year end newsletter for mailing because it’s a chance for us to share what the mission has accomplished in the last year. This year almost had me in tears.
As I was writing I was having to look at the difficult things that this year has held, and if you’ve been reading for any length of time you’ll know that we have definitely had our share. I remember being in the midst of all the initial parts of the arson and what not and just wondering what the heck was going on. It was like being winded. We had already had the generator room fire over New Years, how much more did we need? Our family was trying to process so much. Then one day we just decided it was time to focus on what we were here to do.
As I was looking back over the last 10.5 months this last week I was really moved with what God has done this year. Last fall we set a goal of installing 120 filters each month, up from 100. I will be completely honest and admit that I was skeptical, simply because reaching 100/month had been a challenge. To date we have installed over 1400 filters – that’s an average of 135 per month. Some of those months we’ve been up in the 200’s like last month where we installed 224.
I know that for some of you those will just be numbers, but for me I see so much. Each filter that gets installed services a minimum of 8-10 people. That’s the average size of a household. People live in lakous here – a group of houses, so one filter might service not only one home, but several until others are able to purchase their own filter. That means that this year alone over 14,000 people are now drinking clean water in their homes, and the year isn’t over yet.
It gets better than that though. In September we realized we had crossed a major threshold. We saw our 10,000th filter installed since the mission started in 2001. 10,000th!! That’s over 100,000 people that have been given access to clean water in the last 8 years. That is so incredibly exciting.
As I was looking at those numbers and reflecting on the last year I was just struck with the contrast of everything. We had been, and continue to pray that through this whole arson situation God will continue to work. That he will use it to show that where his plans are involved the plans of men have no power. That he has bigger things in mind for Clean Water for Haiti, and Haiti in general than even we can see or understand.
What has been the most difficult year for the mission and our family to date, has also been the most successful as far as what we have been able to accomplish.
Back in April these words were given to us from Sara. I’ve thought about them a lot over the months since then.
“Blessed is he who has great regard for the weak;
The LORD delivers him in times of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and preserve his life;
he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to his foes.
The LORD will sustain him on his sick bed and restore him from his bed of illness.”
It’s very cool to see that God’s promises are true and active. That he does meet us in the middle of our “stuff” and care for us, and even when we feel there is nothing left to give or that life is too hard, he’s still at work.
Beyond delivering filters, we now have 18 employees. As I’ve shared before, employment is hard to come by here. The fact that we can employ 18 people from the local community is great. What I love more though is that because they work here and make a good wage we’ve seen their lives improving. Several have bought scooters so they don’t have to pay for public transit, others have bought land and are building better comes for their families. Their children can go to school. One even put himself through trade school in Port au Prince every weekend to learn plumbing and electrical.
I feel humbled to be part of so much life change. Like I said, it’s easy to focus on the here and now of the day or week or month. It’s easy to look at what we’ve been through and to feel tired and worn out. But then I look at the fact that despite that God is doing things here. He’s using us and the mission to save lives every day. So very humbling.