CLM Reflection: Charite

The reflection below from Pastor Rick Barger describes how God works with and through the CLM program and through HTF when we visit CLM clients in the Central Plateau.

Dear People of Epiphany Light,

The white Ford pickup truck made its way along the muddy road in the region of Boukan Kare, north of Mirebalais, Haiti in the Plateau Central. The truck was full.   Six sat in the two seat cab and seven sat in the back. Steve, a regional manager for Fonkoze’s CLM Project (Chemen Lavi Miyò,meaning “path to better life”) had full confidence in the driver, calling him the “very best.” We crossed several streams and rivers as we made our way, often sliding and spinning through sections of deep ruts and knee-deep mud caused by the torrential rainfall the night before. Without the 4-wheel drive capability downshifted into low range, this trip would not have happened.

Yet we slowly made our way on Monday morning, passing by little villages and the meager homes of barefoot Haitians, many children without clothes, and we soaked in what was clearly another world. There are even Haitians who have never seen poverty like it exists in the Central Plateau. People along the way would smile and say “Bonjou” to us as we passed along. We would respond. After about an hour or so of traveling up this road, it became impassable. We got out and walked. Up a steep hill we climbed until we reached the new home of a woman named Charite and her three children. She was waiting for us and greeted us with the Haitian exchange of a kiss on the cheek.

Charite and team members outside of her new home

Charite (second from right) greets the team outside her new home

In January of this year, I was with a small delegation from Epiphany who also visited this strong Haitian woman. Back in January, she had been in the CLM program only a couple of months. Her house at the time was a simple lean-to made of two large sticks and straw. Whenever it rained, she, her kids, and whatever they owned got soaked. Now she has a house. She has a water filtration system and is drinking clean water. She has goats she is raising. She does some merchandizing. And she has a latrine system, though she had to sell the PVC ventilator pipe in order to get some emergency funds to survive.

This woman was one of the true stars in the group of HTF-sponsored clients launched near the end of 2011, but recently her progress toward a better life had stalled. Her sister, also desperately poor, was left destitute with her two children. A not-so-nice man had set fire to her house destroying everything, and Charite took her in. After all, Charite means “charity” in Creole. I thought of the King James Version of I Corinthians 13:13 - “Now faith, hope, and charity abideth, these three, and the greatest of these is charity.”

After visiting with her for a while and making our way to the next client, we spoke about what we could do to help Charite get unstuck and move forward with her progress. Many times CLM case workers will come to their monthly meetings with a special situation and the case workers would pass the hat to get additional funds to solve the problem. That was not an option because the workers had just met and passed the hat on another situation. Steve, Etrenne (the case worker), and we talked about an economic stimulus package not aimed at Charite but for her sister to get her on her feet and off of Charite’s back. After some discussion and more discussion when we arrived back in Mirebalais early in the afternoon, Hebert, the regional director of the HTF-sponsored clients, said that $270 would be what would be required. With such money, they would create an exit strategy for the sister.

God works in amazing ways. Just that morning, I was prepared to give Michael [at St. Joseph’s] $3200 to purchase Haitian artwork for us to bring back and resell, but “something” told me to hold back $200. I am glad I did. With the $200 and some other personal money I was carrying, we were able to come up with the needed amount. Charite would not be told that it came from HTF but rather from Fonkoze. The lives of two women and their children were changed on Monday because we were prepared for the movement of the Spirit. I told this story to the entire group of 40 at our departure breakfast yesterday morning and it produced a rousing applause and cheer.

An anonymous person once wrote,

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.” “Well, why don’t you ask Him?" 
"Because I am afraid He would ask me the same question.”

Margaret Mead once wrote,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Epiphany is raising up world changers.   Come and hear their stories and testimonies on Sunday.

God loves you and I do too!

Pastor Rick