Haiti Mission Trip 3, 4-7 October 2018

Overview

Our most recent trip to Port Au Prince, Haiti was a continuation and expansion of work started during the summer of this same year (Summer 2018). What did we do? We studied and practiced principles of discipleship, installed more-than-a-little-cool electrical improvements, successfully prototyped much-needed carpentry work, rectified plumbing problems, preached in a local church from the Gospel of John (John 2:1-11), and endeavored to encourage the staff and children of the orphanage. In the material that follows are brief summaries about the work, media that shows what happened, and information about how you can get involved with a work that means much to the Lord (Matthew 25:36; James 1:27).
 
Many thanks to those who prayed (1) for our safety and (2) that we would be effective. We are also very grateful for those who gave financially toward the work. Every penny of what you gave made a difference. Keep reading and see how.

The Team

Francisco Platas – This godly man recently graduated from UTSA and now works in the private sector as a software developer. He is not a member of Three Rivers but has spent the past three summers in Martindale helping our fellowship reach the surrounding community. In the summer of 2017 Francisco went to Port Au Prince on our first mission trip. He helped with fixes around facilities, with gaining an understanding of the challenges that face the orphanage, and with the joy of trying to encourage the children.

Francisco returned with us this past summer to install a solar panel system and help with other fixes. When building the first solar panel prototype got tough… Francisco stepped up the effort and help to get it working. On this most recent trip he worked with Carlos Munoz and Haitian locals to make significant improvements to the solar panel system. He is humble, godly, and a huge benefit to our team.
DaMia Breathett – When DaMia first expressed an interest in going Pastor Rod told her, “Haiti is hard.” He was not trying to dissuade her from missions but did not want anyone to be naive about the work. DaMia is a strong-willed godly woman. She was not deterred but determined to go. Along with Francisco Platas and a few others DaMia went this past summer to Port Au Prince to help at the orphanage. She filmed, supported the whole solar panel prototyping effort, and developed a heart for the children – especially Evansly.

On this trip DaMia worked with Ana Najera to deal with the window problem of the baby rooms. She went to hardware stores, did research, and helped identify a company that could get the work done. It was daunting but she persevered. In the midst of all of that she encouraged the children and studied old books like The Master Plan of Evangelism.
Ana Najera – When our church sent a team to Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts Ana was with them. Among her joys on that trip was the opportunity to connect and encourage the children. She loves children. When she found out that her friend DaMia was going back to Haiti she decided to help with the work. Pastor Rod told her the same thing he had told Damia Breathett: “Haiti is hard.” With that statement in mind she decided to go.

Before the trip Ana’s mother visited Three Rivers Community Church. She drove nine hours from El Paso to meet the people that her daughter talked about. After the service she sat with her daughter and Pastor Rod to share something and make a request. She shared that the sermon was too long. She requested, with tears in her eyes and a very solemn tone, that Pastor Rod take care of her daughter. Ana went with her mother’s blessing, helped with a successful window prototype, studied discipleship, and spent time with children. She loves children.
Carlos Munoz – Intense is what comes to mind as I write about this man. He is an engineering student at UTSA. This past summer he interned with BIF Technologies and helped Three Rivers reach the surrounding community. During that time Carlos watched as a few people went on a mission trip to Haiti. Carlos stated his desire to go and began reading about solar power in preparation for the trip in October.

Carlos met regularly with the team to plan, continued to read about solar power, and prepared to go to Port Au Prince. When he arrived he was a little frustrated; he wanted to be hands-on in the solar panel work. After all, he had studied for this. He remained positive, watched the work being done by native electricians, and then did a lot to help with carpentry and electrical projects around the orphanage. When a light in the boys dorm did not work after a cursory attempt to get it working, Carlos stayed with it until he fixed the problem. Intense!
Roderick Barnes – I serve with Three Rivers Community Church as a preacher and teaching pastor. When I am not preparing a sermon or helping with some aspect of church life I can be found either working with my wife to raise our boys or writing software for a small company based in San Antonio, Texas. I stay busy. My first trip to Port Au Prince was in the summer of 2017. (Christy Guenther came to our Sunday School class in the winter of 2017 and helped us see the need. If you are trying to get your church started in missions… have her come by.) On that trip I worked alongside Col. (Retired) John Bellizan, Francisco Platas, Cameron Deike, and Elya Deike to understand the challenges of the orphanage and to help with a few repairs. It was a working vision trip. Since then I have had the opportunity to return a few times. Since then my love for the people of Haiti and the work of reaching the nations with the gospel and its consequences has grown. May the Lord bless me, for His own glory and the good of His people, with more opportunities to preach and teach the good news through words and works.
 

The Projects

Haiti Projects 4-7 October 2018

This project started in the summer of 2018. Back then, by the grace of God and with the help of local Haitian electricians, we installed two 200 watt solar panels. With that installation we had the power from one of the baby rooms rewired to take advantage of the clean energy. Why did we do this? We did it because the orphanage requires a power solution that is
  • Reliable - Electricity provided by the city is unreliable. During our time in Port Au Prince the availability grid-supplied electricity in the orphanage was random. If the country of Haiti has one thing in abundance it is sunlight. By giving them a way to harness the freely available solar power that is pouring on them daily we are enabling them to move away from unpredictable power sources toward the reliability of the Son... I mean the Sun.
  • Affordable - To compensate for the up-and-down electricity the orphanage has to run a diesel-based generator at the cost of 60.00 $/day. In a month this costs the orphanage $2000.00. This money, if it were not being spent on a diesel generator, could be used for food, medicine, or educational materials. The 200 watt solar panels cost about $220.00 each. We have put in four of them. They are getting 800 watts of power from the Sun free of charge. Combined with the switch away from incandescent bulbs toward LED-based lighting their electrical system has become much more affordable.

Defunct Fan

Picture 1 of 2

Some of the children in the rooms that were rewired are not well. Although they are cared for and loved they have congenital health problems. The intense heat makes matters worse. Adding the solar panels to the orphanage not only give the children reliable and affordable power... it helps make the environment livable for those with the least ability to talk about their pain or handle adverse conditions. Your gift has helped to make life better for children that God loves dearly (James 1:27).
The building that houses the children is not altogether different from our homes. It has doors, floors, and windows. However, their doors and windows are in need of repair or replacement. Their current windows, for example, are comprised of multiple glass slats that are closed like blinds with a crank. But no matter how much you turn the crank to close the window it won't matter. The glass is gone. And the glass that would be required to replace the slats has to be custom cut. We cannot make the environment better for the children if we cannot do something as simple as close a window. If we cannot close a window we cannot keep out the elements or the insects that prey upon the children in the evening. DaMia and Ana did research to find a window replacement solution. (In a previous trip we determined that replacing the glass slats was not sustainable or cost effective.) After review of hardware store inventory and some searching on the internet they found a local company that can do the job. The company was contracted to put in a modern window as a prototype. In the video below they are rerouting power and preparing the frame for the new window. We take closing a window for granted. If we can finish this project in January the staff and children of the orphanage it will enter a new day of being able to keep out unwanted weather, reduce exposure to biting insects, and a newfound ability to cool the environment.
The toilets in the boys and girls dorms were not working. (As I write this I reflect on the constant repair required with our family. We have six boys. I cannot imagine the vigilance and training program required for an orphanage of 60 youth.) We talked with a very affable plumber on the first day of our mission trip. He and his staff restored the function of three toilets by the time we left. Both boys toilets and the girls toilets were working.
 

Toilet Repaired in Girl Dorm. Note: The woman in the picture is not using the toilet. She is merely sitting on it.

Unfortunately the water pressure from the overhead water tower is too low. We hope to remedy that on the next trip.

Conclusion

We are planning a January 2019 trip to Haiti. It may be the last one. The goal will be to finish the work with windows, solar panels, and plumbing. In addition to that we will paint and decorate. The children need these things and we could really use your help in bringing aid to them. How can you help? Glad you asked! There are three ways you can help.
  • Pray – We need prayers for safety, wisdom, and strength for the work. Will you join us in praying for the next trip to Haiti? It would mean much if you were willing to meet with us regularly to pray for God’s leading and favor in the work.
  • Give – The work in Haiti requires funds. Solar panels, plumbing, windows, paint, light bulbs, chairs, tables, and travel for the team all require money. Prayerfully consider giving to make this work. The need is great and the cause is worthy.
  • Go – In this next trip we need more humble hands. If you can endeavor to walk in holiness, admit when you are wrong , work long hours with a team in difficult conditions, take direction from a team leader, persevere and collaborate to get a task done, play with children, study discipleship with a group, and worship… we need you.
If you would like more information contact DaMia Breathett or Ana Najera (1) about the next trip.
 
Notes:
(1) DaMia and Ana are rabble rousers.
(2) Tiffany Lee provided the picture of the repaired toilet.