Mark and Melissa Kauk are in Haiti for 5 weeks to assist with the work of MH4H. Mark recently transitioned out of teaching and coaching at Unity Christian in Orange City. Melissa recently transitioned out of 5th grade teaching in Murrieta, California. They married in 2019 and with their blended families have 5 children and 9 grandchildren. They currently live in Orange City, Iowa.
I (Mark) am going to share some of my thoughts this week of our time in Haiti and Melissa will share some of hers next week. Early this past Saturday morning we hiked Pignon mountain near the Many Hands for Haiti location. Our climb up the mountain and down gave us an opportunity to stop numerous times to see and enter into the stories of people along the way. This is thanks to Christi Gabhart’s language skills, who was our guide for the trip. Resting at the top, I noticed by my feet, plants growing out of the rock that had found a place to put a root down into a small bit of soil. How could that rocky place have provided a safe haven for the start of a seed? Its beginnings will remain undiscovered. But as we have been here this short time, the evidence of many flourishing activities growing out of a difficult place is a joy to see. Already, I have begun to discover the stories of the seeds that have been planted weeks, months, and years ago of God’s work through MH4H.
Along the way, we were able to see the hard work of the Haitians as this man (visible at the top of the picture below) worked to clear an area for eventually planting seeds in the soil exposed between the rocks. This is to become his small farm, only accessible by a difficult climb each day, to eventually provide the means to meet his daily needs. When asked when he hopes to plant, he said he is waiting for the rains. Meanwhile, he chops away with his machete to clear and define the edge of the land he has claimed from the mountain. His hope is evident in the work that he has already accomplished.
…the evidence of many flourishing activities growing out of a difficult place is a joy to see. Already, I have begun to discover the stories of the seeds that have been planted weeks, months, and years ago of God’s work through MH4H.
Getting a perspective of the whole area below multiple times as we climbed reminded me of how important it is to see the big picture of the transformation that God desires through MH4H. On a recent Friday, the traction team, consisting of staff managers along with Craig and Christi, met together and were led by Pastor Lumanes for a couple hours. They reviewed the mission to evangelize and disciple others for Jesus Christ as essential to the work of MH4H. This was exciting for me to see as each staff person has an opportunity to make deeper connections with those they work with besides the work of the pastors.
So much of what I notice here is seeing the seeds of hope planted in difficult soil. We had the opportunity to go on a PET cart delivery last week. This young man, who has not walked since birth, has grown out of a smaller cart and is now ready for a larger cart. His disposition before was quite subdued but when he was transferred into the bigger cart, he broke into a big smile. He was so happy, along with his faithful mother, to get it that he left before the papers had been signed and had to be brought back to complete the transaction!
Many others gathered at the same time to have their carts checked by the PET cart crew, Ewand and Erilner. Their skillful work in repairing and adjusting the carts was evident as they replaced worn out bearings (pictured below) and adjusted chain tensions, all the while engaging with the people. Meeting together was a way to also get their emotional and spiritual tanks refilled. Throughout our time there Jean Rubert and Christi conversed with them about their physical and spiritual needs.
An exciting local project was completed last week in which MH4H agreed to purchase some of the materials for a local Haitian group of workers to repair the walking/moto bridge going over a nearby river. Lumber and hardware were included in this purchase. This allows access to National Route 3 and Pignon. The lumber was brought to MH4H campus and then delivered one morning to the bridge site. The Haitan crew was able to complete the job in two days and it was interesting to see the initiative, problem solving, and cooperation that was needed for this project to be completed.
Looking around, these are just a few of the seeds of hope that are flourishing! Praise God!