This is written by Pastor David Burling, Memorial Lutheran Church of Nevada, IA. David has a unique perspective on Mission Etoile in Gonaives, as he was here one year ago and was part of building the first building – the stick church. This is his second visit to Haiti.
Greetings from Haiti!
This is Pastor David Burling from Memorial Lutheran Church in Nevada, Iowa. A year ago we had a delegation come to Gonaives to be a part of the beginning of Mission Etiole. I will never forget the feeling as we went to the land that had been purchased for the beginning of this mission. I said to myself, “how will this ever become something…anything?” It was a plot of land that had been used as a garbage dump for much of the area.
Today! When we arrived from Port au Prince we went directly to the mission site. What an incredible difference! I couldn’t believe what I saw. The children were so excited to greet us.Before each school day, the kids of Etoile honor the flag as it is raised and then pray.
They had their uniforms on, their smiles on, and their excitement on their sleeves. We toured the classrooms that have been built; the church that once was held together by sticks now has a cement floor and a tin roof. I can’t wait for worship on Sunday. We spent most of the afternoon at the mission site. The young women were having their sewing classes and what they have learned in only a couple of months is astounding; far beyond what our expectations were.One of the young women sewing in the sewing program.
Yes, the people of Mission Etoile have done something amazing in one year’s time. But, you and I both know that it is the power of God that is driving this vision and ministry. This is not about us; it is about God. My surprise regarding this day and what I saw reminds me of scripture in the midst of my own faith and doubt . “Lord, I believe…help my unbelief.”
P.S. Took the motorcycle for a spin down the road. Many questioning looks as I made my way down the road. “Who is the fat, bald guy and what is he doing in Haiti?”
Peace and take good care. David.