As Tam and I begin to spread the word that we are making a permanent move to Haiti, we find that the responses from the people we share this with elicit a wide array of responses, ranging from excitement for us to a blank stare of disbelief. Almost everyone wants to know WHY? Here, I’ll endeavor to share the why’s, what’s and when’s of our most recent decision to plunge into full time mission work in the western hemisphere’s most impoverished and destitute nation. I will mostly speak for myself here and from my own perspective, though I am certain Tammy shares the same. I will let her add her own thoughts if she chooses.
Why would you want to do that? Good question, one I’ve thought through for years now. I have been forced to answer my own mind’s voice of reason, whom I’ll forthwith refer to as Hal (just for fun and because I think a dialog is more telling than a monologue), with an adequate explanation.
A red light begins to glow in the recesses of my mind. As the light reaches it full intensity, I prepare for the onslaught of questions that are sure to follow. Hal always has questions. It’s his job, Hal is my voice of reason.
“Kev, Haiti is dirty, disease ridden, extremely poor and downright dangerous at times. This seems like a very risky move! Are you nuts?” Hal cautions.
“Hal, I’m 50 years old. I’ve probably lived more than half my life by now. I’m a Christian, an avowed Christ follower. You know that you and I have talents. We can use those talents to further our career, our possessions, our Kempo our comfort, or, we can do what really matters to us and our God. You know how much Tam and I love the good things in life, heck, cruising is our favorite pastime! You can’t get more pampered than that. But you also know that comfort is not our priority, making a difference in this world is.”, Kevin replies.
“I still think your nuts.” is Hal’s retort, “and I can only take so much rice and beans, you know.”
“So, why us?” Hal’s second line of defense. “There are so many other people already in Haiti? Why not let the BIG organizations and the government handle the dirty work?”
“Well, Hal” I begin, “the BIG organizations are doing good work, I guess, and maybe the government is too but it’s the little organizations that are getting the real work done. This is a “grass roots” sort of thing. There is no way in God’s green earth that I, or anyone else for that matter, is going to fix the mess in Haiti. The government is corrupt, there is no reliable infrastructure, no stable services like water and electricity, there is widespread poverty and 9 million people are hungry. There simply isn’t an easy fix. However, I know this simple fact. I… we, can make a true difference. In 13 years of working in Haiti, I have seen real changes in the community we work in. Real lives have been improved, educated, enlightened, fed, given an opportunity to work for pay and so much more.”
“Listen, of all the people in the world, there are a small percentage with the skills necessary to do what we do in Haiti, and there is a small percentage of that group that is willing. I am willing, if you, Hal, can be convinced, to do what most others cannot or will not do.”
“Well, if you put it that way…” is Hal’s sheepish reply, “I guess we kinda have a responsibility to go, huh. I STILL think you’re nuts”
“You may be right Hal, you may be right.”
“So, I guess I’m in. Let’s get ‘er done.” As the red light begins to slowly fade back to it’s normal darkened state, I’m relieved to find my mind’s quiet state again. I like it when my mind is at peace, even when the chaos of my life swirls about. Yes, being at peace is helpful, I have a lot of work to do.
Tam and I are adventurers. We’ve done some really wild things in our 29 years together and we both hope to continue this tradition.
While our move to Haiti is “permanent” this doesn’t mean that we won’t be home. I am hoping that I can continue to work remotely for some of my business clients, which would require regular trips back to the states ( I have always been “bi-vocational” in my ministry, meaning, I have always worked another job to help support my ministry ). We will also be required to come back every three months to meet the immigration requirements of the Haitian government, at least until we are able to apply for an annual visa.
We are in the process of selling our home and our worldly goods. We won’t be able to support them here, so liquidation is necessary. We will require financial support to live in Haiti. I am reaching out to my church family, friends and blood relatives to consider sponsoring us, should our cause strike a chord with your hearts. If we get a little monthly sponsorship from a lot of people, we will have what we need for living expenses and for the projects that we will administer there. If you are interested in helping you can see our “Ways to Help” page. We are a 501c(3) charitable organization, of course, so all donations are tax deductible. By the way, the “raising money” part is the part I hate the most so I won’t belabor the point. Maybe someone out there is good at fundraising? 😉
Lastly, Tam and I really love you guys… all of you, close or far, whether we are good friends or acquaintances. You play a special role in our lives. Whatever the level of our relationship, we hope and expect it to continue, even though we will be miles apart. Thank you for all you’ve done to contribute to our lives. May it increase as we pursue this new chapter of our lives.