Despite all of us being sick at some point over the holidays we had a great break. And, I won’t lie, it was actually nice to take a blogging break. I think sometimes I just get a bit burned out whether it’s time related and not being able to do the blogging that I would like, or whether it’s because I feel like there are things I want to talk about but know I just shouldn’t go there in internetland. Taking a break from this space sometimes helps me to feel refreshed and creative again. I think too, I spend a good portion of my day in the written word in some way, so by the time blogging rolls around it feels like work.
Despite the sick start to 2013 I want to tell you, I am SO excited about this year. I know there are a lot of people that look at #13 as unlucky, but things are shaping up nicely for us this year at the mission.
I feel like we’re constantly on a journey here, and as you know, the past 4 years or so have been A JOURNEY! We’ve been through fire, death threats, building projects, adoption, natural disasters, internal organizational issues, PTSD, and a new baby (just to mention a few things)… man, it has been a ride and a half!
Through all of that though, even in the deepest, darkest moments where I would find myself doing the ugly cry and wondering how on earth we were going to get through the next battle I would see God’s heart for us, and I would so deeply feel his calling on our lives. That calling is to be here, doing this very thing that we’re in elbow deep day in and day out. Countless times people asked us if it was maybe time to consider something else. We NEVER felt that. Instead, in those moments we felt the need to dig deeper and hold on tighter, knowing, just knowing, that at some point there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
And people, today the sun is shining down on us!!
I have such a deep sense of hope and excitement for everything this year is going to hold for the mission and our family. I believe it’s a year of moving into something bigger, something God has been preparing us for through all the hardships. I believe we are moving into a season of fruit and that all the hard work, all the gritting our teeth, all the digging deeper, all of the character testing, all of the relationship building – ALL of it is going to start exploding. I just feel it!
You see, God has been working and showing himself faithful.
As you probably know, if you’ve been reading for a while, CWH went through some organizational, hmmm, shall we call it strife, in 2011. In many ways that I don’t feel the need to elaborate on it got hard, but through it all Chris and I felt a deep need to put integrity at the top of our focus and chose the do the right thing, no matter how hard that was. We gathered people around us who felt the same way. We put our heads down and we went to work. We’ve been busy behind the scenes on an organizational level building a much stronger foundation for Clean Water for Haiti. We’ve worked with our BOD to put new, healthy governance policies in place that will protect the organization from going through what we have gone through. And, in Canada we did a lot of paperwork and prayed a lot. We hadn’t been able to work directly with Canadian donors because of the organizational separation, and our funding was hurting.
Yesterday we got the news that our new organization in Canada has received its charitable status!
We’re so excited to welcome the CWH Foundation of Canada into the Clean Water for Haiti family of ministries. It has literally been a labor of love, of taking the high, hard road. Of making sure everything was done right, and it was so worth it!
We had incorporation status months ago, and were just waiting on the review by CRA to be completed. We had to take some extra steps for them, and did so, and were hoping and praying that we would be approved sometime in the next couple of months. We had intentionally decided to keep the process quiet because CRA had changed the process in the last year and we really didn’t know how long it was going to take. There’s nothing worse than jumping the gun on announcing things and then having to tell people you’re not quite there yet. The entire time that we’ve been working on this we’ve had to channel funding through another organization and we’d seen donations in Canada drop drastically. Last year we had to cut back our work because of it, but we chose to keep praying and trust God’s timing.
I want to share that in the past years as we’ve been going through all of this I’ve had several moments where God has so blatantly reminded me that he really is taking care of everything. Most of our funding base has come from Canada in the past, and the loss of those donations really did affect us. We have questioned how many donors we’ve truly lost over the last year or so and worried that maybe they wouldn’t come back once we could process things ourselves. Many are hesitant to give through an umbrella organization because they aren’t sure if the funds will get where they’re supposed to go, and rightly so.
At different times our major donors contributed again and we were elated. As we got closer to the end of last year and got more concerned about the time it was taking people started asking how much longer we thought it was going to be – because they wanted to give, but they wanted to do it directly. I started feeling more confident that maybe all wasn’t lost. Then people started giving our BOD in Canada donations, and told them to just hold on to them until the registration was done. Monday we talked with our staff about where the finances are at and asked everyone to pray that the registration would be done quickly so we could start accepting donations in Canada again. Yesterday, as I was writing our monthly email update I kept thinking about how much I wanted to be able to include information about the new organization, but that I couldn’t until everything was finished. As the email program was going through it’s final verification process I checked my email and found the news that our registration was complete! Needless to say, that email got completely revamped!
I love how God provides and cares for us. I love how he shows himself to us. You would think that this would be a good enough start to the year, but, there’s more…
- The filter installations we did last year pushed us over the 18,000 mark – that’s almost 2% of Haiti’s entire population that we’ve helped since opening our doors in 2001.
- In mid-December we found out that not only is CWH the largest Bio-sand filter project in Haiti, we’re the largest CAWST recognized Bio-sand filter project working in any single country in the ENTIRE world. These guys are pretty much the go to people when it comes to household water treatment. Huge and humbling thing for us!!
- In early December CWH Haiti became the new owners of an acre of land for our relocation.
- Last year was a hard one financially for us. As we went into the end of the year Chris told the workers that he knew we needed about $40,000 by the end of the year to feel comfortable working at full production come January 7th. On Sunday night we found out that our treasurer was wiring most of that to Haiti. We still have no idea where it all came from.
Monday morning we took our staff to the new land for the first time. We walked the perimeter then stood in the shade of a big mango tree and talked about how we wanted to develop things. In the past the discussion about the move was always met with silence or a feeling of apprehension. As we stood and talked everyone was laughing, happy, enthusiastic and excited about the ideas we were sharing. I looked around and kept thinking, “This is what it’s all been about, the getting here.”
All the hard stuff, the tears, the frustration, the feeling of waiting and things not making sense and just feeling overwhelmed, yet knowing that we needed to keep pushing through. It was to get here, to the place where I know that we’re walking into something BIG.
I feel humbled right now and so grateful that Chris and I, and our kids, get to be part of this. So often I look at us, two ordinary people, and see what God is doing through us and with us. I feel so ill-equipped most of the time, but then look back over the years and see how often I’ve learned new things and found skills I didn’t know I had that have helped move the mission forward. God really does use us in ways we can’t imagine when we start something.
If you’re Canadian and you want to be part of something HUGE, please consider donating to the CWH Foundation. You can do so by sending cheques made payable to CWH Foundation to the following address:
Here’s to 2013!