Has it really been since December when I posted in my blog? Really? Oh my! I post on social media all the time, but I sometimes forget to chronicle it all here too! There is just something about being in the US that just consumes all of your time! You have all of these things on your mind that need to be done, and before you know it, the day has passed, night has come, you’re exhausted, and you’ve only checked off two things on your list! Posting on my blog has been on my list for months now, but each day I find myself having to take care of other more pressing Haiti matters and push the blog over to the next day…and the next. So tonight, I sat down with my laptop next to Tony while he works on charts and I’m determined to “Post” before I turn in for the night.
I know so many of you continue to pray for us and pray for Haiti and pray for our mission in Haiti, so I know that you are very interested in knowing what all is going on. We do thank God for all who join us in prayer and support of Haiti, particularly our dear village of Galette Chambon. So here’s what’s been going on….
First of all, our clinic continues to see many patients ever day in our village and we have a new doctor who has joined us!! I’m sure if you have been keeping up, you remember Jores! We went to his graduation from medical school last December, and he finished his last rotation in social service in May, so now he is helping in our clinic in Galette Chambon! What an amazing plan God had to take a bright young man from Galette Chambon, put him through medical school, and then place him in the very clinic he started in as a translator!! Oh, God is Good and His plan is always PERFECT. We can’t always see what the big picture is, but if we are obedient in the little steps, He will reveal his plan in the long run, and it is always perfect. We welcome Jores, and we look forward to many good reports of his work in our clinic in Galette Chambon!
The next big thing is that our schools are finishing up another great year in spite of interruptions due to COVID and having to adapt to the pandemic. For the first time, we will be graduating 25 seniors from our BGM Secondary School. Of those 25 seniors, 8 were from our original 7th grade class that started the building progression of BGM Secondary. Each year, as we added one grade at a time, and this group has moved up through the years and they are now graduating!! This is so exciting! We are also hosting kindergarten graduations for the first time this year as well! In conjunction with our high school graduates, we will celebrate all of our preschoolers entering formal education for the first time to begin their journey in education. These kindergarteners represent a generation of children who were born after But God Ministries had already begun work in their village. Seeing their siblings and friends go to school has been a normal thing. But their parents and older siblings remember the days when a formal education was not financially obtainable for them. BUT GOD… has made a way, and these children are getting to go to school in spite of their family financial situation because of sponsorships.
Our sponsorship programs continue to grow strong and we now have over 1000 students sponsored in all of our schools, both in Galette Chambon and Thoman. These sponsorships not only help all of these children get an education, but they create jobs and supply food for the children, uniforms, books, and medical care! All of these things are growing the community of Galette Chambon into a sustainable community just as God called us there to do!
Now, as we prepare to graduate our first group of seniors, we are faced with the decision of what to do about their sponsorships after they graduate. We are in the middle of talks and brainstorming now as we make plans for continuing education programs at both the local university in Ganthier as well as the new Professional School that we will be opening at our new school building near Hope Center!! Our superintendent, Arcel Moliere, has been meeting with university officials to discuss how some of our graduates can go to the university AND he has been interviewing personnel to open our new Professional School in July. Our first six-month session will train students in their choice of Plumbing, Tile, Construction/Electricity, Cosmetology, or English. The future is soooo bright in the area of education in Galette Chambon!!
Another piece of big news is the launching of our BGM Kids for Kids Goat Sharing Program. This is a new business that we have been working on and building for the last two years! Just months before we left Haiti in August of 2019, a team had helped us convert our chicken yard into a goat pen equipped with two female goats and one male. We realized that if we can help a young entrepreneur get it started and maintain it, before long, he will have a growing and thriving business raising and selling goats. The Goat Program link is now live on our But God Ministries website. When someone purchases a goat from our website, our goat farmer, Redondo and his brothers (pictured below), gifts a female goat to a needy family in the village. He discusses the contract with them, and they agree to give back the first born goat to the program. He will make frequent visits to check on the goat and make sure it is healthy while educating the family on how to take good care of their goat. Once a baby goat is born and weaned, they give that baby to Redondo, and he can give that goat to someone else. If the baby goat is a male, he can take it to market and sell it. If he needs to buy another female to gift, he will have the money to do so. As more and more families are given goats, they are given an opportunity to begin raising goats for income as well. Redondo might even eventually buy his female goats from the families who have started raising goats. This creates income as well as a good source of meat protein for families to eat. Please pray for the success of this program and that many families will benefit from it.
More good news!! Our staff at Hope Center is doing an absolutely amazing job carrying on ministry as much as they can during this difficult time when teams cannot go to help serve. Recently one of our staff members expressed to me that people in the village really want us to make a way for them to be able to experience many of the ministries they participated in when we did have teams. What an amazing idea! Our first thoughts were Motherhood Seminars, Vet Clinics, and VBS. These three ministries touch women, men, and children the most. We are now in the process of putting together plans and cost breakdowns for us to present to people who love our village as we do and want to see ministry continue through the HAITIANS. So very soon, BGM will be offering opportunities for groups to sponsor a motherhood seminar led by our clinic staff or a VBS led by our church leadership, or a Mobile Vet Clinic using our two trained Haitian Vet Agents! THIS is sustainability folks!! Through these two events, we will also be supporting local businesses by purchasing snacks, drinks, and baby supplies from local vendors whose businesses has suffered since teams stopped coming. It will also show that it isn’t the AMERICANS who bring those blessings to their village BUT GOD. God is the giver of all good things, and HE wants to continue to bless this village through programs like this. I am SOOOO excited about this!!
Other good news….because sooooo many of you have stuck with us and continued to think of ways you can continue to support the ministries of BGM in Haiti, we have already built over 20 houses for families in need in the community, our Haitian staff has returned to their regular salaries after having to suffer a significant cut when all of the unrest started, and we have been able to bless people in the village with several food distributions. We continue to run our outpatient malnutrition program, and the sewing business is not only still booming, but they are becoming more and more sustainable. We are getting ready to make some structural improvements at our BGM Primary school very soon, and the other business in the business center (Silien’s Business Services) is about to launch a school supplies business that will offer an option to buy school supplies for students throughout the year. Not only will Americans have an opportunity to purchase from our website (link coming soon!), but Haitians will be able to buy these much needed supplies from him without having to go into the city. It is so exciting to see God moving in so many ways even when the Americans can’t be there. Again, what that shows both Haitians and Americans alike is that ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM GOD.
James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” The Haitian people have seen many, many “shadows due to change” come over their country in the last few years. It has been growing darker and darker due to corruption, violence, hunger, depression, etc. BUT GOD doesn’t change. His love is never ending. His blessings continue to flow upon our village, and we want the people there to focus on the GOOD things that are still happening. We want them to continue to see more and more blessings flow IN SPITE of the bad going on all around them. That is done through ALL of us continuing to pray, and give, and being led on how we can continue to bless them even in our absence.
One HUGE blessing we had the privilege of experiencing recently was a visit from our very dear brothers Vladimir and Pastor Mathurin!! They flew to the US a few weeks ago to be interviewed for our upcoming BGM Documentary. The documentary is being prepared for our 10 year anniversary celebration coming up in September. I picked them up at the airport and we spent a whole week laughing, eating, visiting friends, and just soaking up every precious moment we could together. Two days before we were to leave, we took Vladimir to New Orleans to just take in the city before they had to leave. He had flown in to NO before but had never gotten to see the city. It’s something he’s always wanted to do, so we made a plan! While in the Jackson area, we met up with Emily, Nash, Mary Mac and Abby for dinner, and then while in New Orleans, we met up with Meredith, Rachel, Pastor Mathurin, and Wesly! We had a wonderful time. We sure did hate to have to put them back on that plane! We do look forward to seeing them again in September though!
Now, on a personal note, you might be wondering where we are in Tony’s journey beating prostate cancer. In my last post, I shared about how he was doing with his radiation treatments. As I mentioned then, he finished his treatments on his birthday in November and has continued to be on a hormone therapy that essentially starves any remaining prostate specific cancer cells. After his first round of hormone treatments, his PSA was not zero as it needed to be. So he continued the treatments for another round and it went down to zero. He received a third round of hormone therapy and recently, he went in to have his PSA checked again. His PSA had moved up to .3 which means there are still come prostate specific cancer cells somewhere in his body. He will now continue on the hormone therapy and will check again after three months to see if it goes back down. If it goes up, we will reevaluate our options and possible have another round of radiation. We will cross that bridge if we come to it. Right now, the big prayer request is that the PSA go back down to zero and STAY THERE. Now, for some unexpected news….Tony is having surgery on his shoulder this Wednesday, June 9th. He has been trying to work out frequently to offset the weight gain that naturally comes with hormone therapy, and he has loved being able to get back in good shape. A few months back, he started playing racquetball with some other guys at the gym and was really enjoying getting back to doing something he always loved to do. Well, a couple of months ago, he took a hard slam against the wall and injured his shoulder. I took him to the ER and they determined that he had indeed done some damage, but they wanted to give it some time to see if it would heal on its own. It has not. Last week he had an MRI done and it showed very extensive damage that is going to require major surgery and reconstruction on his shoulder. Please lift him up in prayer as he goes to surgery and then recovery. Hopefully he will be back in action quickly, but Mickie isn’t so sure if that includes the racquetball court. We will have to wait and see….
I am still working on all areas Haiti from home and it is definitely a full-time job. Every morning, after I finish my devotional time, I open my WhatsApp on my phone and begin answering questions, making plans, checking on ongoing projects and current patients in advocacy. I am so thankful that we have this line of communication and I am able to transfer documents back and forth to our staff and use Google Drive to work together with all of our staff in real time. Joel and I are currently working on getting new school pictures made and as he loads them, I will be editing them. We are also working on getting updates and we will start loading those soon too. Moliere and I just last week put together the brochure for the professional school and Didier and Vladimir helped me edit my Creole so that it is just perfect! I sent it by email to Moliere, and he is having it printed and registration will begin June 19th! I also help Didier coordinate getting medicines to stock the pharmacy, and I help him find specialists to send our patients with special needs to in other parts of the country. Speaking of patients, LyniaNara seems to be doing very well right now. We had to find her a place to live in the city so that she could get to dialysis three time per week. It isn’t the most ideal situation, but she is being cared for and making the best of it and is safe. I want to THANK each and every one of you who continue to give towards her medical care. Without your support, she would not be able to get the dialysis treatments she needs to survive. She is such a sweet and vibrant young lady, and God called us to come along side her and her family (her father is the pastor of our church at Hope Center) and provide the care she needs. It is not easy and not cheap, but God will bless our faith and obedience in this.
I am sure I have left something out here. There is just soooo much to share when you let six months slip by without an update!! But then, as you can see, A LOT has been happening over those six months and there is A LOT to Praise the Lord about! Please continue to pray for Haiti. I have purposefully left out the bad things because I want to focus on the good things God is doing. But I do want to mention that Haiti needs our FERVENT prayers right now. The civil unrest and danger just continues to grow and grow and grow. Young people are beginning to lose hope and seek refuge in other countries. It is just becoming more and more difficult to simply survive, and those people who have no choice but to remain are hurting. This is not the time to turn our backs on them. Now is the time to beef up our prayers and beef up our support to show the enemy that he CANNOT stop the blessings from flowing through the evil plans of those who seek to destroy and control the country. God is ABLE to move and He often uses his people to do the moving together. Please ask yourself now how God can use you to help. First of all, we can ALL pray. So commit to daily prayer for God to bring an end to the suffering. Then if God calls you to do more, you can go to the BGM website and check out the other many ways you can become involved. You can become a part of our Circle of Hope, or you can sponsor a child, or you can gift a goat, or you can buy school supplies (link coming soon), or you can simply give to the general budget. I can assure you that every dime you send is used for the purpose for which you send it. It is ALL used to bless the Haitian people and further the plan of God for building a sustainable community in Galette Chambon. Your support makes a HUGE difference!!
You are soooo appreciated and we are overwhelmed with gratitude when we think of the many, many friends who have come alongside us on this journey… and we think of you often. It hasn’t looked like we would have ever imagined – especially the last few years – BUT GOD continues to use us all and continues to move His plan along by using many, many faithful people to get it done! Thank you for the part you continue to play in this journey!!
Mickie & Tony