Guest Writer: Jeff Ballard, Construction & Metal Fabrication Manager
I was looking through some pictures of my first trip to Haiti in 2011 and this one caught my attention:
I remember this young Haitian boy watching me as I was building this room and he wanted to build a little table out of the scrap wood. This in itself may not seem like a big deal, but what impressed me at the time was his attention to detail. You would think someone this young would simply try to nail the pieces together and be happy, but I remember that he had to have each piece cut exactly the same size - not a 16th of an inch too long or short. It was in that moment that I knew I needed to teach the skills God gave me to the people in Haiti. Even though welding is my specialty, I had so much to share in other skills sets also.
Fast forward 11 years where we are now working with Extollo, a multi skill set trade school. Every day in Haiti, I see that same desire in the students to learn and work towards perfection. As they pursue a skill set that will hopefully give them a better quality of life, they are also able to develop character skills found in God's word through morning devotions.
The reason I am reflecting and writing this is because Haiti is going through some of the most desperate and trying times right now that are not of the population's making. With gang violence, fuel, food, and water shortages, and government corruption, a lot of the NGO's have had to pull their staff away. I do understand the reasoning from a safety standpoint, but I also want to show the picture below for you to compare.
Remembering this small child from 11 years ago, and realizing what today can be - a full class of students as they are introduced to the many trainings that Extollo offers - is why we exist. This is why we persist, even in challenging times, to be a people that stand in the gap and to give hope to a new Haiti.
Please pray with us for Haiti and declare that even though we sometimes have to slow down, sometimes even stop for a short while, we will never give up and we shall not be defeated or moved as we pray God's protection over and for the growth of his Kingdom.