As many of you know, Lisa and I have taken many trips to Haiti over the past 20 plus years. Haiti has been a huge part of our lives and service to God and His people. There is also a personal attachment for us in Haiti.
On my very first trip in 1995, I met a young teenage boy named St. Vertie. He was about 15 years old at the time and had been a part of the mission’s nutrition and school program for many years. He was sponsored by a family from Cayuga, so I had known about him before my trip. At our first meeting, he and I immediately bonded in what has become a father/son relationship. And several years later, when he first met Lisa, she became his mother.
On my first trip, he became our personal interpreter even though he was limited in his English, but we did our best. I felt such trust in him and a deep sincerity in his love for Jesus. On that trip, he took me to meet his mother, whom he cared for because she was ill. He had several brothers and a sister who were older and a few who were younger. I learned later that his father had abandoned his family many times and would show up from time to time and then disappear again. In time, it was known that his father had created a new life with a new family.
This family had struggled greatly to make ends meet, but thanks to the mission, they received the needed help and Jesus. Incidentally, St. Vertie’s mother was the first person baptized by the missionaries when they first came to their city. Sadly, their hardship grew greater and the younger children were placed in the mission’s orphanage because the mother could not provide for them. St. Vertie was the only child to remain at home and he cared for his mother and was ever so devoted. He not only remained devoted to his family, but also to his schooling, and to his God.
Lisa and I grew closer to St. Vertie, especially so, when he married his wife Elda and had their first child, Davidson. We were so fortunate to have been there on the day Davidson was born in the year 2000. St. Vertie continued his education beyond high school by attending a trade school and studying to be a Pharmacy Technician. He completed his studies and was blessed to find work within the missions newly establish pharmacy.
Through his studies, he remained faithful to God and his church and even was elected to the position of deacon, which comes with a lot of leadership. St. Vertie became more and more involved in the church and even began filling in the pulpit when the church was without a minister. Well, it wasn’t long until the people elected St. Vertie to be their Minister full time.
He is a great Pastor and a very powerful preacher, even though I don’t understand what he is saying, I can see his passion for God and see the spirit working through him. He is now the longest serving Pastor that his church has ever had and has such a wonderful ministry for Christ. When we returned last May, it was so wonderful to get to worship with him and his family again.
Our Haitian family has grown to include another boy, Dale Steve, who was born in 2011 when we were in Haiti. We were on leave from Haiti and Lisa had told Elda not to have her baby until we returned as a joke, well, we arrived mid-morning and that afternoon Dale Steve was born. Again, we got to hold that precious child on his birth day, just like his brother born 11 years earlier. So, we have two grandsons in Haiti!
Davidson, our oldest grandson, is in his final semester of high school and is taking an English proficiency test on Saturday, February 24th to see if he can be accepted into a U.S. college or university. If all goes well, and within God’s will, Davidson will graduate in June and come to live with us to attend IVY Tech to study nursing in January. There are still so many hoops to jump through, but if it is God’s will.
Truthfully, I had my doubts whether it could come to be, but how can I limit God. It is dependent upon Davidson’s performance, the U.S. government’s approval, the college acceptance and Lisa and I’s finances. It may seem beyond us, but it is not beyond Him. It is dependent upon HIM!
God has given us this amazing love for this family and from this family that has now spanned 23 years. What remains beyond the struggles and hardships; What remains beyond this world is HIS Love. If it doesn’t come to be, there will be disappointment, but there will always be love.
I ask for your prayers in seeking God’s will for Davidson. I also ask for prayers for his family as they wait and then deal with the possible separation from each other during this education. It will not be easy. I ask that you pray for God’s provision to meet the needs for this.
Our hope is that Davidson will get his undergraduate in nursing then seek what comes after that so that he can return to Haiti and serve God and his people.