Just a quick update from yesterday. Chuck 2, Simon and I went into Port au Prince about 9 a.m. with only two things that we needed to do before picking up part of the team at 4:30. It sounds crazy, but we barely managed to accomplish those two things and still make it to the airport on time. All we had to do was order lumber for a project at the mission house, and go to our grocery store to pay the bill for the food that Ginette purchased on Wednesday. This gives you an idea how hard it is to get things done in Haiti.
After picking up the team we got in one of the worst traffic jams I have seen in Haiti. Normally it takes us about an hour to drive to the mission house in the Ford, this time it took 2-1/2 hours. Where the road is supposed to have one lane going in each direction, we had 6 lanes going in our direction and 3 lanes coming toward us on a 2-lane road. Needless to say, we didn’t move for 10-15 minutes at a time. The other cars and trucks were so close you could not open your door. Only by the grace of the Lord did we not have an accident. When we would get out of one traffic jam we would just run into another. But, as usual, our Lord delivered us safely to the mission house. When we got here Karl, Jerry, Lane and John, from the St. Louis area, were here. They had been up to the Northwest several times in the past few days delivering food. Ginette had cooked, and they had waited on us to have dinner with them. After dinner everyone slowly headed to their beds after such a long day of travelling.
Note from John
This past week God called 4 men from St. Louis to serve in Haiti in a remarkable way. Jerry Lantz had started a food ministry several years ago – Kids Against Hunger. After retiring from block building, he answered the call of Isaiah 58 to feed the hungry and protect the defenseless. The ministry started slowly, but with the help of God a work began. Organizations, churches, friends, and strangers all rallied at food packing events, where over a million meals have been created.
That’s where this past week comes in. This fall, Jerry shipped a 40-foot container to Haiti containing mission supplies and 174,000 meals. Then Jerry, Karl Leiber, Layne Konneman, and John Wehrle all bought tickets to embark on the trip to Haiti for the challenge of moving the entire load from Saint Marc to the Northwest village of Petit Paradis, a 90-mile journey one way. We used a Ford 550 with a nice sized bed, and a 5-ton military truck, to move the contents of the container.
If you have never seen the country of Haiti, particularly the Northwest region, this doesn’t sound so difficult, but it was. The road proved to be the most difficult terrain imaginable. Boulders, rugged rocks, 45-degree inclines, and regresses were just some of the challenges we faced. The rough road battered every movable part of each vehicle, likewise our bodies were flung about like worn toys in a puppy’s mouth. It was brutal! We were one with the vehicles and took on their burden with our bodies.
We made a total of 3 trips back and forth, averaging around 10 mph. The trip ended up being 8 hours each way, in and out of the Northwest. We carried all of our food and supplies as we went; there was an air of uncertainty for nearly the entire trip. It was that uncertainty that challenged our faith evermore. Instead of being a phone call away from 911 or a friend who could bail us out, we were alone, driving in the wilderness – it was God and us. This can either bring a man to peace or turn him to insanity. Fortunately, through our hardships, we turned to God first. I can’t tell you how many times we prayed first before acting. It was all further proof of God’s hand at work and His favor on our trip.
The Bible contains over 100 verses which address our responsibility of service; many make mention of feeding the children and caring for orphans and widows. I believe God called us specifically to serve the ministries of Kids Against Hunger by delivering one of life’s essentials – food. Along the way we had several opportunities to open our mouths and proclaim the reason God had called us to go and serve people we had never met.
Truth Evangelistic Ministry partnered in our efforts by providing travel, safe lodging, food, and friendship. They have a wonderful school and mission house in Z‘Orange, which served as a go-between as we travelled to and from the Northwest.