October 31, 1930 – October 2, 2021
On the date that would have been the 91st birthday of Manman Elmise Mèrinè, Source of Life Ministries is honoring her life by sharing more about this godly woman who made many sacrifices to raise her children in a third world country. The life of Manman Mèrinè (pronounced mama) made such a strong witness upon her children that every one of them have followed the same path of serving God and sacrificing for His Kingdom.
The Story, told by Jacques Merine
The day has come for me to celebrate a special life, the life of someone who was very dear to me. My mom is the one who was mainly responsible for raising six children: 3 boys and 3 girls. When I was young, I remember living with her in a very, very small one room house where my older brother had a small bed where he could lie down, but the rest of us did not have a bed. I remember there were nights when my mom did not have a place to lie to take a rest because there were too many people in that one small room.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:10-11
My mother fell in love with a very distinguished gentleman named Joseph Hermann Mèrinè, and the two were married in December 1956. Their primary residence was in Haute Sanite, Haiti, but my father carried on his family’s tradition of farming in the mountains of Haiti. His source of income was completely dependent on weather conditions. Farmers don’t get a paycheck every Friday as some fathers get when they go to work every day. If it did not rain, there was no crop of corn or potatoes. And for example, even when conditions were favorable, the garden did not bring a harvest and the trees did not bear bananas or mangoes on a weekly basis. Therefore my mom could not sit waiting till my father could bring something to us every 3 or 4 months. She had to do whatever she could to give us a day-to-day living.
“She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family.” Proverbs 31:15
My mother did whatever it took to clothe and educate her children and tried to give us a meal every day. Raising six children was not easy in a third world country. She would arise at 3:00 A.M. to go out to buy produce to resell. Sometimes she would buy tomatoes or carrots. Other days, she bought water cress. She would buy whatever she could for $2 or $3 and resell them, making just a little profit to provide food for us. I remember there were times when she did not have a good sale for that day. Life was very tough.
In the mornings, after her basket was filled, it was often so heavy that it required two or three adults to help lift it to her head. Once the basket sat on her head, her neck and back were strong enough to carry it for many miles until she reached the “marketplace” to sell her produce. So when you see a Haitian lady carrying a basket on top of her head, remember it is often not light; it is extremely heavy. I still have the picture in my mind of my mom carrying baskets of tomatoes over her head. My mother was a very, very tough woman.
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20
My mother was a very caring, compassionate woman. For example, when other family members needed a place to live, she welcomed them to our tiny one room house – even though it meant there was nowhere for her to lay her own head at night and would require her to sleep upright in a corner of the room for many nights. She taught us compassion by living it before our eyes. She was a very, very caring person.