This afternoon I went for a mountain walk with my buddy, Peterson.
He's one of the 6 Louisant kids that lives on the mountain property next to the mission. As I stumbled along the goat path hand in hand with this 4 year old bundle of energy, I realized how long it's been since I've given an update on him and his family.
Currently, the 4 oldest Louisant kids attend school with their neighbour friends (3 from the Ferdinand family) in Source Matelas with a teacher that I was connected with earlier in the fall. I meet with the teacher every 2 weeks or so and I am thrilled with the progress they are making. Their uniforms are still worn faithfully to school on the porch of the teacher's family each weekday morning, and I recently got to see their mid-term reports from the past term. I was so excited to look through each subject and area of learning they have covered so far. Even though it's very basic compared to what they would be learning based on their different ages, it's a great foundation of knowledge that they are establishing.
I see the children and their mothers at church on Sundays and occasionally see their fathers during mountain visits after their time working in the fields growing crops. This time of year the land is very dry from a lack of rain, and so it is harder for them to get by simply on the things they harvest. Recently I learned that the workers involved in the university being built close by their property has given the fathers some land work to do which supplies them with a small income.
The shelters they live in still consist of tents and tarps, along with sticks and other materials they have accumulated over the years, but a new page is soon turning! Over the past few months at the mission, John (the father of my students, Noah and Caleb) has been overseeing the '500 Homes' project where building is happening for families who lost their homes in the earthquake and hurricane flooding. Find out more info about this on the MOH website.
Along with many other families who will be receiving homes, the mountain families are both on the list, which is such an answer to prayer! In the coming weeks and months, more decisions will be made as to when they will be moving and other commitments connected to this project.
It's amazing to look back to my first meeting with them about a year and a half ago, and see how the Lord has been working in their lives. Thinking about changes that will be taking place in the coming weeks, I have much to be thankful for, but also much to pray about.
Recently in our weekly staff meetings, Brad has initiated a group study of the book 'When Helping Hurts' by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. Taking time to read the text has been a good reality check for me to evaluate in what ways I have been a benefit to this family, and also ways that I have unknowingly hindered them. Above all, as I continue to nurture my relationship with the children and their parents, my ultimate goal is to empower them and assist them in being self-sufficient and strong witnesses for the Lord's provision in their lives. However, when I go to visit them at their homes and am asked to make decisions or faced with potential conflicts, I can easily resort to a quick fix rather than a lasting result. My prayer is that as I continue to invest in my friendship with these dear people, that I would have wisdom and discernment in how to effectively use the blessings I've been given to bless them. That I wouldn't create dependency, but that I would create opportunities for growth and abundance in the days ahead.
Thank you all for your journeying with me in my involvements with these families. Stay tuned for all that is to come, and please pray for them and for me as exciting changes unfold in the days ahead!