Sep 15, 2020

Six Months Too Long

It had been 6 months since I had been able to visit Upstream friends, family and partners in Haiti. With more than 18 months of mounting political unrest, the spread of COVID-19, restricted flights, Port Au Prince’s closed airport and inflation like Haiti has never experienced before, the scene was surreal on arrival and as the days I was there went on.

Haiti has experienced so much in its history, yet those that know it best concur they’ve never seen days like this. The hunger in people's eyes both physical and spiritual, says they need change, and they need it soon. I learned in psychology classes that you shouldn't make decisions or take action when you're hungry, yet the people of Haiti have no other option. They are beyond hungry and if they want to survive they are forced to take action. So what are they doing? Some are laying their lives down for the cause, whether they are on the right side of the bullets flying is only known and guided by their personal conviction. It seems like everyone is out for themselves since the government has abandoned them, and in these last couple of years even the international community and many church families & orgs they have grown to count on. So many have had to make the brutal and painful decision to leave the chaos and violence. My own family had to make the gut wrenching decision to relocate our full time living back to the States because being behind walls and unable to leave for months on end was wearing on us. Compassion fatigue, PTSD and burn out are real things. Check on your pastors, missionaries and their families, please. 

Despite the hardest couple of years we have ever faced, Upstream’s commitment remains, and so do our Haiti leaders and partners as they press on. We have never been prouder of every single one of them, and trust us, they have made us quite proud over the years. Meeting regularly and praying continually, they look outside of the box for Jesus, His leading and His blessings. Just this week we were able to buy, package and distribute over 20,000 meals in 5 different communities. I have never seen the hope and gratitude as elevated as I did on this trip. Their appreciation to see Upstream in the midst of their toughest days was like a hug in the midst of desperate grieving when you feel abandoned and hopeless. I can't say thank you enough to all of you who continue giving us the opportunity to be a part of God's work in the hardest slum in the world. Our ability to be welcomed in with open arms after all of these years is a miracle and a testimony to the favor God has given us. We do not take this responsibility lightly. 

I promised I'd share a message to all of you on behalf of those we serve in Cite Soleil.  “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for not abandoning us and for continually coming through when we need you. We continue to press on because you have not given up on us.” After a few meetings with local leadership and much prayer we have commited to continue feeding the people of Citè Soleil by ramping up food distributions. We are also repairing roofs that are in great need of repair and we are bringing smiles back on to the faces of the community by restarting programs that had to be put on pause because of increased violence that has gone on since November of last year. I am pleased to say we've had 3 successful weeks of school with full classrooms. Sadly, our daily lunch program has been greatly reduced since some support has been lost in this season, yet we remain positive because we know God hears the prayers of the poor and that He will answer them. We have re-started our Better Than Bullets program and our students are in great need of new uniforms so we will are asking for $600 in donations to provide those for the students. They have had the same uniforms for over 2 years and if any of you have ever been fortunate enough to see them train and compete you'd know the miracle it is that they have lasted this long. Better Than Bullets is a beacon of light for this community and there is a lot of pride since they continue to bring home medals!

There is so much I could say, but I will keep it short and once again say the biggest thank you possible in writing. 

Thank you for the gift of allowing us to lead this ministry & for the ways you empower Upstream to be the hands and feet of Christ in Citè Soleil, Haiti.

Blessed to be a blessing,