Lots of people are talking about slavery these days. Haiti is one the countries that still has a form of slavery. They call them RESTAVEK. They are kids who live with a family and are there for service all day everyday with no pay and lots of punishment...mental and physical. If those families were to practice love and 'adopt' the kids as one of their own, it would be a different story. But as it happens in reality, the RESTAVEK system destroys both the servant and the 'master' family. They live a twisted reality, and it goes from generation to generation. A family with a 'slave' isn't a healthy family. It is indeed destructive to the whole family structure. It is one thing that keeps Haitians from thriving.
In the 1700's and 1800's, slavery in the USA destroyed black families. Government regulations in the 1900's paid poor women to live without the father of their children. More black families were destroyed.
Wherever families are destroyed, society degenerates. Would a movement that talks about black lives have the destruction of the black family as a goal ? It cannot. It's not hard (for me) to see that the family is God's plan. Children grow under the united leadership of mother and father. Progressive culture is threatened by that simple plan. People have the idea that 'their' idea is superior. And so, the family is under attack.
We all know that not every family can look like the model image. That (for me) is why the Psalms talk about God being father to the fatherless. God is the ultimate parent. Still, the family remains God's plan in general for most. (Let's all thank God He can do great things in horrific situations!)
If Satan is the enemy of God, wouldn't he work to destroy what God establishes and blesses? It's not hard (for me) to see the hand behind the attacks on the family. It all makes sense if you believe what the Bible teaches about life on earth.
Black families matter. All families matter. It's easy to see, and easy to say.
My time in Haiti has often been spent strengthening families...helping young people to make good decisions about their future, helping couples to work together, helping kids to be obedient. I believe in the family. I believe families matter.
Any culture that desires to make progress must address the family. Black families are key to future of black society in America, in Haiti, in the world. Black families matter.
"There is violence in the streets. Going to the hospital is risky and worthy of serious calculation. Masses of people are out of a job. Prices are increasing. Store shelves are not close to full. Elections promise even more violence and upheaval. School is a great big question mark. You can't plan ahead because tomorrow is unpredictable."
Those words are a description of life in many countries across the globe all of the time. You may recognize the situation now. They characterize life in the USA these days.
Things I have followed pretty closely in Haiti are now a reality here in PA. In Haiti, you don't go certain places because it is too risky most days. In certain periods, you ask many questions before you even take to the streets to do common errands. It's a sad way to live, and something strange to most Americans...unless you live in a major city this summer.
It is a sad thing that Americans are now experiencing what much of the world lives every day. For some, they will say, "It's about time. America needs to be knocked down a few notches." I am not in that camp. I see how hard it is to climb up from insecurity. I see how hard it is to move on from vengeance and general distrust. I see the fruit of a pummeled society.
America is a necessary light on this planet. So many countries are downstream from the USA. When things are good here, those countries live better. When things dry up here, serious drought happens down stream. When America dips into depression, turmoil, strife...those things are piled right on top of the little countries in the shadow of the USA.
The world needs light. America is a shining city on a hill. May God continue to bless it, and thereby the whole world.
According to the things I have read and the news from 'my people' in Haiti, the country is now moving on from the virus stoppages. The airport is open. Churches are worshipping together again. Schools are making plans to open their doors.
The virus apparently made its way across the island with little fanfare. Some died to be sure. But, Haiti is no stranger to illnesses and plagues. It has been down this road before in some ways.
I have scheduled my flight into Haiti for early August. If things continue to 'flow', I should be there at my place the same day that I leave Pennsylvania.
I am looking forward to reconnecting with those I haven't seen since February. I am thankful for an internet connection that has worked about half of the time, and that allows me to visit with the guys at my house.
I am also very thankful for these strange days here in the USA. I am glad to have been here during the strangeness..."close" to family and especially my mother.
It is not hard to image more strange days ahead. I trust that God will have us all where He wants us to be for the days that are coming. In His will is the best place for anyone to be at any time. I am clear that He is leading me back to the little community of Pasbwadom once again.
The last time I spent four months here in the USA was the spring of 1992.
I have gone through five bars of soap. I have used a tube of toothpaste. I have shopped and shopped, and shopped again for groceries. I even bought deodorant. I haven't done that in a long time (I hope you didn't notice).
The time here has helped me to look forward to the day when I can't go back and forth easily or at all. I am making plans for the day I am gone as well. Making future plans is fun while you are young. The older you get, it becomes less fun and more of a...duty.
I don't know when flights will resume to Haiti. I've heard that the airport may open on June 30th. Even when flights begin to go and come again, I am not sure about who will be allowed to fly. I am sure Haitians coming home will be the first in line. I will wait to see if they are quarantined upon entry into the country. THEN, I would like to see how it goes for a few foreigners who fly into the country. If things stay cool and move smoothly, I will make my plans.
Sadly, through these four months many of the normal ASAPH activities are blocked. Hopefully that will pick up soon. We have been treading water for some time now. I look forward to swimming again. :)
So, 2020 has been a dramatic year. There is no doubt about that.
As I write, folks in Haiti are noting that the sky is hazy, and not just a little. People who live in the mountains can't see the next mountain over. People who live in walking distance to the beach can't see the ocean. It's hazy.
Many are aware that it is from the big Sahara dust cloud all the way from Africa. Many have heard that, but brush it off as a joke. "Dust...from Africa...yeah, that makes sense."
I've have also been told it is making the heat more dramatic...a kind of hothouse effect maybe. Either way, here's hoping the cloud moves along quickly.
I have often observed groups of people and how they function...together. I remember being in the street in Pasbwadom with a bunch of young men. One person says, "I think I'll go play soccer." Another says, "I would go to." But they both sit there. Then someone says, "Joe, are you going to play soccer?" And Joe thinks for a second. Everyone remains seated. Then Joe says, "Yep." Immediately the whole crowd stands up and leaves...to go play soccer. Joe is a leader. If he says no in that situation, nobody goes. If he says yes, they all go.
He wasn't voted into that place. No one ever nominated him. It is who he is. People naturally get behind a leader.
ASAPH is blessed with a good leader. Jude is our soccer coach. He is a mover and a shaker.
The road into our town was being overgrown with tree branches. It could cause accidents easily. Motorcycles, trucks, and cars come flying down the road and can't see what is up ahead. Add in goats, donkeys, and cows on the loose, and you have a recipe for disaster. Jude saw the problem. He got a group of guys together (many were AAF kids), and he found a willing driver with a vehicle (Thanks Randall!) Jude and the guys took their machetes and made the road safer for everyone. Nobody asked them to. Nobody paid them to. But they did. That doesn't happen without a leader.
When you support ASAPH, you support Jude and many others as they make today better.
F.B. is one ASAPH artist who is available to draw a portrait of YOUR family member. (What a great anniversary gift, mother's day gift). I can set it all up. F.B. and C.W. have now finished four (4) portraits done from photographs. That client was overjoyed and impressed with the handmade drawings. YOU can have one, too. Just contact me...Andy Stump. Prices are reasonable. We ask about $20 or $30 for a handmade 8x10 pencil drawing. Prices can go down if you do multiple portraits.
F.B. spends a lot of time drawing. He is also a Christian poet who is invited to special church services in a growing area in order to present his poetry. NOW, he is finding time to do private drawing lessons for other students. That is ASAPH. ASAPH is teaching. ASAPH is sharing what you know with someone who would benefit from knowing it.
And that is the call God puts on our lives...especially those called to be teachers.
Help support people who are teaching in a poor corner of the earth. Support ASAPH Teaching Ministry today.
When school stops in Haiti, young men are encouraged to get out of the house and make money...somehow. Several AAF soccer players got together and began chopping down trees for charcoal. They were working every day, from what I am told.
R.C. was one of the young men. He's...fifteen years old...or so. As so often happens when you swing a machete all day long, one of the swings went bad. It sliced into his leg. He and the guys around him were wise enough to do a kind of tourniquet. He made it to the hospital where it was stitched up.
Jude gave me the news. He always knows what's happening with 'his players'. I was able to speak with R.C. on the phone. He sounds as good as ever...but isn't moving around as much. :) He is able to play an ASAPH guitar while he is hobbled. R.C. plays trombone and tuba...and bass. It is exciting to think of the progress he'll make while he can't run and play.
I'm glad ASAPH is there when kids are in need (through WEC and Jude, through funding). Every ASAPH sponsor is an important part of the ASAPH chain.
Thank YOU for helping ASAPH to teach....even now.
Herold studied to be an electrician. Then he studied plumbing. Then, he began studying to be a tailor. (In developing countries, one profession is never enough.) He has a sewing machine that ASAPH helped him to acquire.
WEC, Herold and his wife set up a plan to make masks for the Covid-19 situation. It's a small project, and slow. Plus, masks aren't nearly as popular there as they are here. BUT, people in Haiti are being told to wear masks in public. WEC and Herold are making them.
In life, you have to adapt. In Haiti, you have to adapt even more. ASAPH has adapted to the virus situation by making masks.
Jude is ASAPH's very capable soccer coach. It's true he helped lead the team to 2 championships out of three 3 so far. But, the greatest successes are off the field. Jude is helping young people to grow up better!
Jude continues to work with the team. They play soccer often in the afternoons. When P.L.L. sprained or lightly broke his ankle playing soccer, Jude was there. With WEC, they made arrangements for P.L.L. to visit a hospital. It ended up being a few trips, but in the end his foot was in a cast. Jude is always a great contributor when 'his players' are in trouble. He is there.
Jude is teaching. Last year or so, he set up a coconut branch shelter next to his mom's house so that he could teach in the afternoons. (Kind of following my model...building a place where I can teach without being part of any institution.) He does academic lessons for kids not doing well in school, and helps motivate kids who are doing okay. Jude is (when Haiti allows) attending university...studying to be a teacher. Some people will be teachers when they get a degree. Jude IS a teacher.
Jude is also planting. He recognized the need for people all over Haiti to live better off of the land God put under their feet.
Missionary in Haiti.