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.
WEC planted peppers in his garden early in 2020. The ASAPH soccer team learned a bit about how you begin such plants from seed. The seeds sprouted. The plants grew. The peppers appeared.
WEC was able to send the peppers (by the sack) to the Fondeneg market for sale. His mother conveniently goes to market each work to sell produce. For four weeks, the sacks went to market full and came back empty. One day, she sold out so fast she called WEC and had him pick some more for that same day! In the end, WEC made money and people got good food for their tables.
For details, ask me about the numbers. I can't print them here.
It was a very encouraging way to begin branching into agriculture. WEC invested in the garden...time and money. ASAPH invested a bit as well. The results were very good. We will use this project as a building block for future projects.
I would love to see ASAPH help people in Pasbwadom to better live on the land God put under their feet.
In the past year or two, my eyes have been opened to the needs and possibilities of agriculture in Haiti. I have learned much while I worked on translating books : FARMING THAT BRINGS GLORY TO GOD and RESTORING THE SOIL. I am currently working on a set of lessons about REDEMPTIVE AGRICULTURE.
In short, God created a world that was rich in resources. Generations of bad farming and neglect have led to a great reduction in ability to produce, and now many of the world's farmers are so discouraged that they are pushing their children to leave 'the farm'. The future is ugly. If no one is farming, no one is eating. Farming should be a rewarding, honored way of life.
Vast areas of soil that used to be fertile are not fertile today, but they can be fertile again. That is the exciting part. Harvesting corn only year after year sucks life from soil. Either you pound artificial stuff into it, or it goes bad. OR, you restore it.
New techniques, that are really old, are based on the way God set up His creation. Smart people have taken the time to look at the way God kept soil fertile for ever. Those techniques are now being developed into a plan for restoring dead ground. It works.
Asaph Teaching Ministry is all about teaching. I am excited about the opportunity to teach farmers in Haiti, in Pasbwadom, about ways they can improve their lives long-term...and feed Haiti.
Pray for open doors as ASAPH moves into the future. Music is great. Soccer is valuable. Bible is essential. Agriculture is promising.
Plants have enemies. Most of them are microscopic. Bacteria. Virus. Some are tiny bugs. But one of a plant or garden is a cow.
WEC planted green peppers in his garden early this year (after digging a well and setting up a way to irrigate). Pictures are on the picture page of this website. Last week the peppers began reaching maturity. A first set of peppers was sold at market...for $400 H. Then a bigger second harvest happened. Last night, five cows entered the garden. My details are sketchy so far, but the cows are apparently in 'jail'. That means the local authority will hold the animal until the owner pays an amount of money equal to the damage the animal did. The problem with that, is that the cow owner won't have the money or want to pay it. Things like this often end in fractured relations.
Haiti is tough. You work hard. You invest. You see hope. You begin to make progress. Then it all washes away in one big blink of an eye.
WEC will gather the remaining crop and make the best of it, and he'll have a story to tell when he is old. Little by little, he will get better at what he does. Pray for people all over the planet who are working the land in order to put food on the table...yours and mine!
Missionary in Haiti.