“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
With hearts of thanksgiving, we want to recognize that God has been undeniably faithful to Source of Life Ministries during a year that has been unparalleled in recent history! In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul experienced what he called, “a thorn in my flesh,” and pleaded with God three times to take it away. Like Paul, most of us would rather not have faced the negative events of 2020, but God’s response to us is the same as His response was to Paul,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
God has truly blessed Source of Life Ministries this year by providing in phenomenal ways for every need that we encountered. Let us recount together some of the blessings of 2020 . . .
Our family increased to 18 children when three year old Esther was added. For the first time, Jacques was not present in Haiti to personally complete the legal process but supervised as the procedure progressed. Now Esther is no longer undernourished and no longer needs to play using trash; she is attending school and blossoming as she experiences the love of God and her SLM family. Source of Life Ministries has been honored to be used by God in the life of one more child!
On February 6,
Source of Life Ministries marked the 11th anniversary of the founding of the safe house. From its beginnings in the small, crowded conditions of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Carrefour to an open, remote territory in Gressier, through God’s power and the faithfulness of His people, the work has continued. Dormitories, a kitchen, dining hall, church and children’s pavilion all exist within the walls of the compound, and the construction of a large guest house is underway. The adjoining property has been purchased, providing over 2 more acres of land to develop as God births dreams and moves Source of Life Ministries forward in the coming years. We rejoice and pray that Jesus’ name will continue to be honored as ministry continues in the lives of our children and the community of Gressier, Haiti.
On March 20,
Schools were closed because COVID-19 reached Haiti. There had already been repeated school closings in the 2019-2020 due to gang activities and political unrest, so we wondered, at the time, if the entire class year would be lost. Thank God the school year was redeemed later in the year.
In the same month of March, the home and church received a new coat of paint. Teams from the USA normally cover the cost of the paint and provide the labor; instead local workers were hired. The Source of Life safe home is a beautiful oasis that has been described by Haitian Social Services as a “pansyon,” (the Creole name of a home where rich children live). The Caribbean sun brutally attacks the paint on the outside of the buildings, causing it to peel. No one could safely travel to Haiti to help paint the buildings, but our supporters were quick to help by praying and giving financially.
April & May:
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US and Jacques realized that some of the monthly donors were going to be unable to maintain their usual gifts, he felt himself tremble inside. Would there be enough money to cover the costs of feeding the children and paying the staff? He made an important decision to “give everything to God and trust Him.” Only a couple weeks later, Pastor Jeff Riedel from Haitian Christian Projects contacted Jacques to ask what current needs Source of Life was facing. The result has been like “manna from heaven.” There have been deliveries of peanut butter, sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes, eggs, cereal, milk, spinach, beef, goat, chicken, okra, Congo beans, and more that are helping our children and staff to remain healthy and strong.
It was brought to Jacques’ attention that the boards that were supporting the guest house were rotting. The walls had been erected in September 2018, and the 2 x 4’s had been intended to be temporary supports until the next team could help continue construction. With teams unable to safely travel to the home since November of 2018, construction could not move forward, and the Caribbean sun again caused damage. We praised God for Natacha’s skills and the willing help of the oldest boys as they replaced the boards, having no idea that Tropical Storm Isaiah was on the horizon! Then on June 29th, we learned that high winds had swept south of Port au Prince and completely destroyed our “housefather” Sony’s house. Praise God his entire family was safe! And praise God the guest house had been prepared and remained intact!
On the afternoon of July 3,
Jacques received word that Tafana was sick with a fever and was vomiting; she was taken to a hospital for tests. In the next couple days, it became clear that Tafana was in grave condition. As her body deteriorated, she became unable to eat, her kidneys and bowels stopped functioning, her jaw became locked, her temperature rose to 109°, and she began experiencing seizures; finally the doctor suggested a CT scan of her brain. Medically we were told there were no other options for Tafana. We placed her in God’s hands, continued praying for a miracle, and believed that God knew better than all of us.
The CT results showed Tafana had a large brain tumor that was growing and possibly connected to the brain stem. The doctor explained that Tafana needed to have surgery soon, or she would die. Though Jacques’ original instinct was to not have the surgery performed in Haiti, he knew it would likely be impossible to bring her to the US. Medical options were researched in both Haiti and the USA. The conclusion of all the searches regarding medical care in Haiti were the same: The hospital where the Haitian doctor wanted to do the surgery was the only one that is qualified to do brain surgery in Haiti, and the doctor who would be performing the surgery is known as Haiti’s “senior formally trained neurosurgeon.”
Medical care must be pre-paid in Haiti. We made a financial appeal, and in less than 48 hours, money pledged was sufficient to cover surgery and to begin her aftercare. Some helped who have never even met Tafana; yet their hearts were stirred. Without your help, Tafana would no longer be with us. This is a testimony to the power of God and the love of His people!
On August 6,
Word came that Tafana’s surgery was complete, and she was awake!!! Initially, she was very weak and in need of both speech and physical therapy. God miraculously provided a therapist in our own town, and the level of care Tafana is receiving far exceeds what is normally available in Haiti. Although it is anticipated that Tafana will need to be in a special education program, she has been progressing step-by-step. And finally 10 weeks after her surgery, the pathology results revealed there were NO cancer cells found! The surgeon wants to be cautious and would like her to have a follow-up CT scan. Pray for safety so that this can be scheduled.
In late August, the children were finally able to return to school to complete the 2019-2020 year, their final exams were given during October, and the 2020-2021 school year began in early November. Though they missed many months of school, we thank God that they were able to complete their class year.
The usual monthly funds for food and supplies for the children’s home were wired, but they weren’t enough to buy food for the month! The national bank of Haiti had put 150 million US dollars into circulation, and the exchange rate of the Haitian Gourde against the US dollar dropped “like a stone” from nearly 120 all the way to 60, reducing the buying power of the US dollar to ONE-HALF its value against the Haitian gourde. Ministry organizations in Haiti are all hoping that the currency situation will stabilize eventually. In the meantime, the normal budget has been $5000 short of what is needed in the present market. Again, we appealed to our friends and supporters, and within a week, we had received enough money to supplement the budget through the end of January!
Our staff member, Natacha, had a mass removed from her breast. When we made her situation known, a number of people gave financially; her surgery would not have been possible without your help! For many families in Haiti, putting food on the table each day is a luxury, and the thought of going to a doctor is an impossible dream for them. Source of Life Ministries is not only in Gressier to save the children at our home. It is a “source of life” to many others. Thank you for making surgery possible for Natacha; we praise God with her that her pathology report in December revealed that the mass was not cancer! Praise God she will be ok!
As of November,
It was officially two years since a team has been able to travel to Haiti and a year and a half since the last time Jacques has been in Haiti. As he follows the news from Haiti and receives in-person reports from the country, he is not seeing a door opening to safely return yet. Though he personally longs to go, he knows that his protection as a husband, father, and ministry director are of utmost importance. Also his commitment to the ministry supporters is to not take anybody to the country until he knows it will be safe.
Jacques made an urgent appeal for prayer for the security of the children’s home. In recent months, Haiti has been experiencing another increase in kidnappings for ransom. When the astronomic ransoms demanded by gang members cannot be paid, they do not hesitate to kill. While we praise God that there have been no specific threats against Source of Life, it has become clear that safety has been deteriorating recently in the Gressier/Léogâne area. As a result, the staff is being even more vigilant and have started taking extreme measures with the children, requiring them to not only stay inside the safety of the Source of Life compound but also not permitting them to go near the entry gate to the property. Continue to pray with us that evil activities will never come near our children, staff, or their families.
God has been undeniably faithful to Source of Life Ministries during 2020. We have so many reasons to thank Him for so many amazing provisions of His grace and power! His grace has been sufficient, and His power has been made perfect in weakness, and we know that same God will be with us every day of 2021. To Him be all the glory!