Celebrating the Thanksgiving Spirit in Haiti
On American Thanksgiving , our partner, CRECH (The Consortium for the Reinforcement of Christian Education in Haiti) held their annual National Assembly meeting, with thirty-three member organizations present and ready to participate . This year’s meeting had some interesting, I would even say, unexpected outcomes. In Haiti we don’t celebrate a holiday known as “Thanksgiving Day,” but at this Assembly, I witnessed a spirit of thanksgiving.
All was going smoothly and according to plan until the minutes needed to be approved by the Assembly. One person stood up and said, “We talk about raising funds to help CRECH print more books but we never take action.” The response was a call to take up an offering. Immediately, people came forward and presented their offering to God. Together, we raised $180 US!
Members speak up at the Assembly
The CRECH curriculum coordinator gave a colorful power-point presentation : “CRECH has completed the following books: Integrated Geography for 3rd grade–the book is finished and ready for printing. We are only waiting on the funding. History of Haiti for 3rd grade–the book is finished and ready for printing. We are only waiting on the funding. Geography f or 4th grade–the book is finished and ready for printing. We are only waiting on funding .” He went on to list the two new books that had been printed and that are now available . He also mentioned five other books that are in various stages in development. Clearly, CRECH is moving forward in their production of school materials.
The books that are ready and completed but lack funding, stood out as “unfinished business.” Someone suggested that CRECH present a catalog of resources to share with all of their member organizations. People were brainstorming together to find the means to complete these printing projects.
Our gifts help CRECH prepare Christian Schools to make a significant difference in the lives of students for years to come.
A year ago at the last National Assembly it was approved that CRECH begin a fund-raising campaign to purchase land. This could actually increase their local revenue and give them stronger stability as an organization.
As another staff member updated the consortium on their progress in this area, the level of participation rose dramatically. They wanted to know how they could contribute to this land purchase. Many stated that they would be willing to share this fund-drive with their own organizations and asked how they could do that. At the close of the Assembly, people were given the CRECH bank accounts so that anyone can send in a deposit for the land purchase.
This is a picture of thanksgiving. People with hearts full of gratitude to God for what CRECH has done for them and their schools were giving freely and making pledges. We closed the Assembly by thanking God for his provisions and for the progress that CRECH has been able to make in the past year.
Consider joining the CRECH Assembly by adding your support to what CRECH is doing. The Haiti field has a goal of raising $20,000 US this fiscal year (2013-2014) to help CRECH purchase land. The actual cost for a piece of property may be around $100,000. However, we are not the sole organization that supports CRECH. It is an ambitious goal. But if everyone gives what they are able, it can be reached.
The other goal that the Haiti field has set out to accomplish is to raise $5,000 for printing of student manuals that CRECH has designed. As it was reported at the Assembly, CRECH has three books that are ready for printing and the only thing lacking is funding. Your gifts will help CRECH better prepare Christian Schools to make a significant difference in the lives of students for years to come.
Simon Serleus, president of the UEBH (Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Haiti), was recently brutally killed and his wife was shot and wounded. UEBH is a large Baptist denomination where Sous Espwa engages with two of their ministries: FAJ (Federation of Youth Associations for the UEBH) and STEP (Evangelical Theological Seminary of Port-au-Prince).
In our most recent camp relocation that was near the STEP campus, Simon Serleus was instrumental in helping work out the logistics of this move.
Three of our own Sous Espwa team are members of the UEBH. This is a tragic loss for our team, for the UEBH, for the Protestant community, and for the country of Haiti. It has the potential to destabilize this country. Please keep our staff as well as the country of Haiti in your prayers at this time.
Howard made a second trip out to the community of Layay and worked with them on their community resources and abilities. It was a successful trip but left many challenges ahead. The largest being wondering how best to move and market their huge harvest of peanuts! The road is nearly impassable.
Our family, along with several friends enjoyed two days of mountain hiking to a village called Seguin. Haiti has a proverb that says, “Beyond the mountains are more mountains.” We certainly experienced that this past week end.
Christmas is coming and that means we get to enjoy having our daughter, Taressa join us again for a few weeks. Please pray for her to be able to finish her classes well and arrive safely on the 19th of December.
We pray that God blesses you this Advent season as you anticipate the coming celebration of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Howard and Ruth Van Dam and family
Clip and send in envelope ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. .
I’d like to join in thanksgiving by giving a gift to the following ministries of Christian Reformed World Missions in Haiti:
$_____ towards the purchase of land for GRECH. Total goal for 2013-2014 is $20,000. (write “Haiti GRECH Land purchase”)
$_____ towards the publishing of Christian School curriculum by GRECH. Total goal for 2013-2014 is $5,000. (Project #805641)
$_____ towards the support of Howard and Ruth Van Dam and family in Haiti. Total goal for 2013-2014 is $130,537.00. (Project #802154)
Make checks out to CRWM (include description or project number).
Send to: 1700 28th St. SE Grand Rapids, Ml 49508