It has been a little while since our last blog post, and we have been extremely busy here. We have moved our kids into a new home here at Hope Rising (which we will write about in a blog soon), and we had a team here last week that was making sure everything would be ready for the move. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a very difficult question that I am often asked: “Can my child live at your orphanage?” If you missed that blog, please click here for a little bit of context for this blog. Today, however, I am going to write about the second most difficult question that I am asked almost every day, “Do you have a job for me/my wife/my child/my friend?” If you want to understand how often I am asked these questions, let me relate a recent trip I made about a 1/2 mile down the road to Christianville last week…
I drove a team from Neo Church in Cleveland, Ohio (which, by the way seems like an awesome church judging by the people we have met from there) back to Christianville after a long day of ministering here at Hope Rising together. Prior to me driving them back, I was asked by someone here if we would eventually have other children at our orphanage and if so, how would we find them. After dropping off the team, I was stopped and asked both of the questions I mentioned above. In fact, as I was driving down the road, people would step in front of the car (oftentimes people that I knew) so I would stop and roll my window down. I was asked for a total of 22 children to come and live with us and I was asked for a job 4 different times by 4 different groups of people…Just in the 5 minute drive from Hope Rising to Christianville. It would be difficult for me to express how common this is every time we leave the Hope Rising campus, but this short story should give you a general idea.
With that said, let’s get back to the point of today’s post. There are probably many of you who are reading this who have the power to give and take away jobs, and in this way you can kind of understand what I am saying. To be able to give someone work is a wonderful feeling (click here to see the story about when we hired Giselle), and to take that away is an equally difficult task. However, I would argue that being here and having that ability is quite different. When you give someone a job here, you are giving them the ability to feed their family, to send their children to school, and really to give them the slightest bit of hope and comfort in a place where that can be difficult to find. On the flip side, when you are forced to take away someone’s job (which we have had to do 5 different times), even if it is for viable reasons, it can be a very difficult thing to do. You have to be willing to take away their family’s livelihood with the knowledge that they will struggle to ever find a job again. They will not be able to file for unemployment and go out into a job market that is full of possibilities. They will be stuck looking for a way to survive with little to no resources and very little chance of finding a job again, they will be in the midst of true poverty.
In the same way, when someone comes and asks you for a job, it can be one of the most heartbreaking things in the world to witness, especially when you do not have one to give them. You can actually see the hope in their eyes when they come to you and you can see that hope quickly fade away into a despair that is difficult to describe. There are so few jobs here, and when a person finds even a sliver of hope, they put all of their eggs into that basket. They come after you, they stop you as you are driving past them, and they plead for a job from you no matter how many times you say you cannot hire them. It is one of the most emotionally exhausting things that can happen, to constantly be a source of hope for people and to constantly have to be there to see that hope slip away.
On a positive note, and because of many of your generous donations, we have been able to hire 21 Haitians to date and each one of them have been a wonderful addition to All Things New. We have hired security guards, a cook, a laundry woman, house moms, and many other positions and in a real sense, this a part of the ministry of All Things New. To be able to employ Haitians, to be able to keep families together, and to pay them a “livable” wage is all part of ministering in a nation where jobs are scarce. We also buy as much of what we use here as we possibly can rather than shipping down our own food or supplies. This allows us to pour money back into the local economy and, on a very small scale, pour money back into the area where we live and minister. While this can be a little more expensive at times, it is important to be a part of the economic climate of Haiti and specifically of Gressier where we live. I hope everyone reading this understands the importance of job creation as a ministry here in Haiti, and every time we make a new hire, as one of our supporters, you are helping to give families something that they desperately need…A Job!
So, for now, this is a part of our life in Haiti. To be constantly asked, “When will you have a job for me” or “My wife needs a job so we can send our child to school,” or “I am hungry, can you give me a job so I can eat?” We will go on having to answer these very difficult questions in a very difficult way and we will continue to have to be bearers of bad news.
On a side note, I hope we never get to the point that we do not realize the responsibility we have been given here. I hope we never lose the compassion that leads our hearts to break when we have to turn a person away without a job and send them back to their family with the news that they are still jobless and they are still penniless. Every time someone asks me this question, while I know I cannot do anything about it, I am driven to think about the blessings that I have, and I am driven to wonder “why?” Why have I been given these blessings while there are so many people who have nothing? Why have I been given the ability to say “yes” or “no” to this extremely important question…”Do you have a job for me?”
Unfortunately, I have no idea what the answer is and I could not even guess why GOD has blessed me in this way. All I can do (and all we can do as people who have been given this particular blessing like 99.99% of the readers of this blog have) is thank GOD and try to worship Him by using the blessings that He has given me every single day of my life. And I do not mean to give lip service to this and talk about what a great blessing it is, but I mean to turn my life completely around and seek to follow Him with all of my heart (and in turn with all of my pocketbook).