Do you ever suddenly feel like a light bulb went on in your head and you wonder what were you thinking up to that point? It just occurred to me yesterday that, as much as we love it and as much fun as it is, we almost exclusively talk about the Medika Mamba program in our blogs. Medika Mamba is an important part of our ministry in Carrefour, Haiti but it is really the point at which we enter into the story of the families we serve.
We are now beginning to realize how God has led us, through Pastor Firmin and his family and his church, into a much bigger and broader mission field. Because Pastor Firmin asked us to do a medical clinic at his church and ensuing conversations convinced us to focus the clinic on malnourished children, we launched the Medika mamba program in October 2012.
As we got to know the children, their moms and sometimes their fathers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles we started to understand the daily struggles they live with that are unthinkable to us. They live in tents made of sticks and torn tarps, living on dirt floors. They cook on charcoal if they can afford it, use a river to wash their clothes (if they can afford to buy soap), and sometimes to bathe in the river, drink dirty water that keeps their kids sick most of the time, often only eat once a day, are unable to put their children in school and are usually illiterate themselves. And most of the moms do this without a father around to help.
We began to question how we could have a longer lasting impact on these families than just pulling their child or children out of the malnutrition rut, and how we could protect the investment we had had made in the children already. One obvious and quick answer was to find a reliable food source for them. We are blessed to partner with Kids Against Hunger in Alexandria, Minnesota and receive food that we are now able to distribute to 21 families weekly. We could easily double or triple that amount if it were available by including more families that have been through the Mamba program. That doubling or tripling would focus only those in greatest need with no other source of assistance. The need is that great.
We have seen many Mamba moms make decisions to follow Christ and several of those are now regular attendees at Pastor Firmin’s church. We have watched them become involved in the church women’s group, minister to other moms in the program, and even participate in teaching within Mamba! We discussed, prayed over and ultimately decided that we were being called to assist four of these families (kind of our pilot families). We felt that starting very small by choosing four families to mentor, teach and assist in ‘getting on their feet’ was the best path. We want to learn from this experience how best to help these families without creating new dependencies. We want to develop deep lasting relationships with these families as well as see them become independent and self sufficient for the long haul. We deeply desire to build strong families that will outlast our presence, whether that is 5 years or 50 years.
Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to these families and telling you about their challenges, their victories and their dreams. We hope you will fall in
love with them as we have. We hope you will see God’s hand in this ministry as we do. And we hope you will feel God tugging at your hearts to join us in this ministry as a sustaining partner so we can help many more families literally rise out of the dust and ashes of Haiti and become victorious disciple-makers for Jesus. Because that is our ultimate goal – followers of Jesus. Jesus is the only One who can transform Haiti. We can only be obedient to His call to bless these brothers and sisters in Christ.
We will end this post with more pictures and names of the four families. Please keep them and us in your prayers and check back soon to meet the families. Read more about Haiti here.