by Tim Brand, executive leader for MH4H
Today marks the 5 year anniversary for Many Hands for Haiti, as on May 7, 2009, we were granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS. When this all started, little did I know the ride God would take me and so many others on. From mountain top experiences to the depths of the ocean lows, here are five things God has shown me during the past five years.
1) His ways are always better than my ways.
When I put God in the driver seat of my life, and I let Him drive, leading me to wherever He takes me, the ride is thrilling, challenging, and worthwhile. But many times, I want to push God back into the passenger seat and say, “I’ve got this,” and when I do, everything falls apart. I remember having a conversation in 2004 with Pastor Kevin Korver about Haiti in which I stated, “My lifetime goal is to someday give $1,000,000 for work in Haiti.” God must be chuckling now to know that through MH4H, over the past five years, we’ve raised over $2,000,000 for the benefit of Haiti. And we’ve raised over $1,250,000 in the last 2 years. Yeah, His ways are definitely better than mine.
2) Do for one which you wish you could do for all.
In our work, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the huge need we see on a daily basis. We know we can’t help everyone, and the good news is, we continually hear God say, “It’s okay. I’m not asking you to help everyone. But I am asking you to help this one.” And so we help. And little by little, we see God move mountains. In the past five years, we estimate that we have managed feeding over 1,375,000 meals in Haiti, and it started with helping feed the patients at one hospital after the earthquake in 2010. Don’t tell God what you can’t do; start by telling God what you can do and get to it. The rest is up to Him.
3) Go an inch-wide, mile deep.
Breaking the chains of generational poverty is rocket-science. It is a complicated spider web, with so many interconnected parts. Focused effort is needed, not random activity. We call this stackable solutions, where our programs stack on top of one another to help break people free of poverty’s grip. That is why we’ve focused on Savanette, establishing feeding and health programs for the 0-5 year old children, providing primary school for the youth, installing cement floors in homes, growing community gardens, developing people through discipleship training, and hiring locals and creating jobs for our building projects. We live in the communities we work in and building relationships is the desired outcome.
4) We are better together.
First and foremost, we are ALL broken, poor, and needy without God – just in different ways as it says in Romans 12:3. This is foundational when we interact with those who are different than us. It is never a “We are here, they are there” mentality. Rather, it is in our brokenness that we need God and we need each other. For when I enter into your poverty with my riches, and you enter into my poverty with your riches, we are all transformed for the glory of God. As we pour out our wealth, our poverty is more exposed. We then, by God’s grace, get filled back up with more; our reservoir for retaining the blessings is deeper. I am eternally grateful for the relationships I’ve built with my brothers and sisters in Christ in Haiti. I am a better person today because of what they’ve shown me about love, friendship, and enduring in all circumstances. And I pray they are better people today because they’ve met me.
5) With God, all things are possible.
God has blown away my expectations of what is possible to those who fully trust in Him. We’ve launched two stateside businesses, serving thousands of people right here in the US, while bringing awareness and resources to our work in Haiti. We partnered with the Pella Christian School in Pella, launching the Pella Christian School in Pignon, allowing 200 children the opportunity to go to school, while at the same time changing the vision of many students here in Pella. We’ve built seven community homes and put in 28 cement floors in the past six months. We’ve helped 20 women learn how to sew, with another 100 on the waiting list. We’ve prayed with and shared the love of Jesus Christ with hundreds of families in their homes in Haiti. Daily, God is bringing people into our lives to fulfill His Kingdom purposes. The conversations are powerful, and He is definitely up to some God-sized things. We put our faith in Him, for through Him, all things are possible.
With all that said, I want to say thank you to each of you who said “yes” to helping us over the past five years. Thank you for trusting us with your time, resources, and prayers, even when things looked bleak. I hope you can see the fruits of your investments in Kingdom building and that we have been a good steward of the resources you’ve given. It has been an incredible ride, and I think the best is yet to come if we remain in Him. To Him be all honor and glory and power forever.